A Lila Audiobook Review: Once Upon a Wolf (Wayward Wolves #1) by Rhys Ford and Derrick McClain Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother, stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs – or four – and quiet evenings…until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.

For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough – right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water, then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.

Loving a werewolf – loving Gibson with all his secrets – has its challenges, but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big, bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.

Once Upon a Wolf has an interesting concept and a slow development. It has a different take on werewolves’ dynamics and relationships. I’m glad it was not an insta-love story–which I love as well-but the pacing gives the reader the chance to understand what makes this short story unique.

The story is more about the relationship between Ellis, Gibson, and Zack than a love story. I really like all the characters, especially Ellis. His relationship with Gibson and how they communicate even when he was in wolf form show the author’s attention to detail. Zach was a bit of a puzzle and I wanted more from him and his background.

Like most short stories, the amount of world-build and new information takes a lot of time to develop, leaving little time for other aspects of the story. It’s a strong start to a series, and I hope book two is better than this one.

Derrick McClain didn’t do much for this story. It felt flat and I have trouble following the characters at times. Other scenes were a bit over the top.

The cover by Reece Notley is simple and to the point just like the story. It’s interesting enough to make people stop and read the blurb.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Derrick McClain
Length: 3 hours and 49 minutes
Published: May 16, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07D314G4X

Edition Language: EnglishSeries: Wayward Wolves
Book #1: Once Upon a Wolf

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Learning to Love by Felice Stevens and Derrick McClain (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A very definite love story, this is the story of chef and caterer, Gideon Marks, owner of Garden of Eatin’.  Gideon lands the job he’s been looking forward to when he secures the catering of the function sponsored by the synagogue where he grew up.  He’s been away ten years and is back to prove he’s much more than anyone ever gave him credit for. 

Growing up poor and being called stupid by teachers and classmates did nothing to help his self-esteem, but now that he’s a business owner with his best friend, Rico, and has secured this job, he’ll prove he’s more than anyone ever thought.  The thing he doesn’t realize is that the  dyslexia that earned him the “stupid” label as a kid is something that can be treated now and his hurt and resentment, in large part, was more about what he thought people thought of him than what they actually did think.

Case in point, Rabbi Jonah Fine, former classmate and gorgeous man who now seems to be pursuing Gideon for more than just his food.  Apparently Jonah harbored a secret crush on Gideon and never acted on it since he wasn’t out in high school.  But he pursues him strongly now, and together with Jonah, Gideon learns how to love—not just Jonah, but himself, with a dawning self-esteem and a pursuit of therapy for his learning disorder and with communication with his father who had abandoned him in childhood and has come back now to beg forgiveness.  Gideon is the only one on the receiving end of help though.  Not even realizing it, he helps Jonah overcome his own personal hurdles as his father retires and he takes over the role of rabbi at their synagogue.   

A very well narrated audiobook, Derrick McClain brings these characters to life with fantastic vocalizations and a well-paced narrative.  The story is sweet and sexy and just what I needed to bring a smile to my face on a gloomy day.   

~~~~~

Cover art by Reese Dante. The attractive cover features a very handsome man, no doubt representing Gideon. 

Sales Links:

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2weRJAQ

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2wevxad

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published July 14th 2017 by Felice Stevens (first published April 30th 2016)
ASINB073VV9ZBK
Edition Language English

Audiobook Tour for Learning to Love by Felice Stevens and Derrick McClain (Narrator) ~ Excerpt and Giveaway

Standard

ltl

LEARNING TO LOVE

FELICE STEVENS

M/M ROMANCE

AUDIO RELEASE: 07.14.17

Learning To Love Cover 

COVER DESIGN: Reese Dante

NARRATOR: Derrick McClain

 

 

 

BLURB

After 10 years away from home, bad boy caterer Gideon Marks has a lot to prove. Getting the holiday catering job at his childhood synagogue is the first step in demonstrating to everyone he didn’t turn out to be the failure they predicted. What he doesn’t count on is Rabbi Jonah Fine, his high school nemesis and secret crush, stirring up old feelings Gideon thought long gone and secrets he’s buried deep for years.

An unexpectedly passionate encounter shocks Gideon, but he pushes Jonah away, convinced he isn’t good enough to be in a relationship and would never be accepted by Jonah’s father. But Jonah hangs tough – he won’t allow Gideon to hide or run away from life again. And when it comes to love, Gideon learns the most important lessons aren’t always taught in school.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/bo…/show/29632344-learning-to-love

 

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2weRJAQ

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2wevxad

 

 

Learning to Love Teas 1 final Learning to Love Teas 2

EXCERPT

“How did you know where to find me?”

“I didn’t. But when I went to your apartment and discovered you weren’t home, I thought to myself, ‘Where would a chef be early on Saturday morning?’”

Pleased he’d thought so carefully about me, I bit my lip to keep from smiling, then muttered with my head down, “Lucky guess on your part.”

“I’d like to think so,” said Jonah, his voice as soft as the breeze. My eyes met his, the hurt from our last conversation shimmering bright in their depths, causing a throb within me of a longing I’d never known existed. “Or maybe it was fate.”

He smiled then plucked the paper bag of rugelach out of my clutches, rummaged through it until he found an apricot one, and bit off half.

“Well, if you’re that hungry, I guess you can come home with me, and I’ll make you an omelet,” I grumbled but couldn’t stop the small grin tugging at my lips. “But I planned on browsing a bit more through the market first.”

“I’d like that.” Jonah walked beside me, and we meandered past the stands piled high with colorful peppers and squash. We strolled in silence, but every few steps I’d sneak a glance at him, expecting Jonah to speak. Instead he remained irritatingly, cheerfully silent.

I sampled some hot mulled cider and licked my lips. Spending so much time with Jonah gave me new insight. I’d always thought him superior and judgmental; perhaps I had been wrong in my assessment. He captivated me with the humor in his speech, warmth in his smile, and that unmistakable flare of desire in his eyes. Goddamn it, I wanted him.

I extended the paper cup. “Do you want a sip?” Its heady cinnamon scent remained one of my most favorite things about the fall season. To my shock, instead of answering me, he bent down and kissed me on my lips, lapping at their sticky sweetness. He stepped back, but I put a restraining hand on his wrist.

“What’s going on? Why are you really here?”

The honesty in Jonah’s face took my breath away.

“Do you really have to ask, after the last time?”

My body refused to listen to the war inside my head, kindling a deep need I couldn’t understand. I took a step forward, but unlike me, Jonah didn’t retreat. He stood firm, and I stood close enough to almost touch. Close enough to smell him.

“I’m not who you want; can’t you see that?”

“You don’t have any idea what I see when I look at you, Gideon.”

I wanted to yell back at him, No, you have no idea who I am, but I couldn’t bring myself to ruin the moment. I had no clue who Jonah thought I was, but I wanted to be that man if only to be able to have him always look at me like this. Like I was special. Like I was his. The sun beat hot upon my shoulders, and I held his gaze while contentment poured over me like a warm summer rain.

Felice Logo

 

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

 SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

 Twitter:https://twitter.com/FeliceStevens1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/felicestevens/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8432880.Felice_Stevens

Instagram: https://instagram.com/FeliceStevens

Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/felicestevensauthor?ref=hl

Newsletter:   http://felicestevens.us8.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=d43061d90bf2256eb322ed69f&id=586ac8fa57

GIVEAWAY

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c86a967037/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: The Mystery of Nevermore (Snow & Winter: Book One) by C.S. Poe and narrated by Derrick McClain

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

First of all, kudos to Derrick McClain for his outstanding performance of the characters in this story. His vocalizations were varied and seemed perfect for each one. That is especially true for the voice he gave Sebastian Snow, the geeky bookworm and antique store owner. Even with my eyes closed, I’d realize that voice belonged to a geek. It was perfect. So, getting this story in audio will set the stage for a very pleasant listening experience.

Now, for the story. I need to say that the audiobook doesn’t contain a note from the author, which I found out was present in the e-book version. That note apparently states that these characters are intended to be a tribute to Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English Mysteries, so at first I wondered why the story was so eerily familiar. And then I went to the reviews posted for the e-book version and read about the author’s fascination with, and tribute to, that series—one which is an all-time favorite among many, many MM romance readers.

Once I understood that, I was able to relax and enjoy all that unfolded in this book. This murder mystery took place in the world of antique and bookshop owners and involved the mystery of who was trying to find and steal a very rare copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tamerlane. Along the way, Sebastian Snow and his live-in lover, Neil, a deeply closeted cop, break up and Sebastian ends up in bed with the investigator of the murder mystery, Calvin Winter. Over the course of the story the romance between Snow and Winter develops to the point where we have a HFN by the end of the book.

I likely would have scored this book higher if Sebastian didn’t have sex with Calvin before he and Neil officially broke up, and in fact, it seemed as if it happened while Neil’s head indent was still on the pillows on the bed. Too soon for me, it smacked of cheating so it left me disinclined to be pleased for him, though by the end I really liked Calvin and wanted him to find happiness. I also think it’s critical that an author’s note be included in an audiobook when it includes an important piece of information as this one apparently did so I can’t give this more than 4 stars overall—3 for the story and 1 extra for the outstanding narration.

Because of Derrick’s narration, I enjoyed this story enough to highly recommend the audiobook to lovers of MM romance, geeks, and mystery.

~~~~

The predominantly white cover by Reese Dante features a gray-and-white rendition of Sebastian with a faint gray-on-white picture of a raven in the background. It suits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications |  Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Listening Time: 7 hrs 58 min

Audiobook

DSP Publications
Published March 30th 2017 (first published August 30th 2016)
Edition Language English
Series Snow & Winter #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Saving Silas by S.J. Himes and Derrick McClain (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

saving-silas-audiobook*Previously Published as part of Home For The Holidays, A M/M Holiday Anthology, Nov. 29th, 2015.*

This was a sweet-older-guy-rescues-twink story, and though there were quite a few plot holes, I did enjoy listening to it. That may possibly be due to the narration of Derrick McClain, who always comes through with a great narration.

Silas is caught in an alley while a shooter wreaks havoc on an area downtown. He’s in the alley because he crawled out a window to escape the wrath of his father, a nasty man who abhors homosexuals and has caught Silas in a lie about his sexuality. Though he’s always been brutal, this time Silas feels lucky to have escaped with his life and the shirt on his back. He can’t go to the cops because his father is the city’s DA and close friends with the police chief.

Fortunate that EMT Gael Dominic finds him behind the dumpster, the young man wakes up in the hospital to Gael’s soothing voice. Thinking he was underage, Gael volunteered to sit with him since there wasn’t anyone available from DCF. A John Doe that age would need to have someone on standby. Thankfully, when Silas awakens, he tries to keep his identity quiet, due to fear of his father finding him, but he does confirm that he’s nineteen. Unable to stop thinking about him, Gael heads out to visit him again the next day and finds out he’s just left AMA, disappeared from his room—a room which was now conspicuously crowded with men in suits. Acting on a hunch, Gael takes the back stairs generally used by staff and finds Silas near the outside door. When Silas begs for help, Gael can’t resist and takes him to his home.

There within two, possibly three days, they consummate their love, so to speak, and make plans for how Silas can cope without his ID. The resolution to the problem with his father was not quite believable, but no more remarkable than a near-death experience one day, running away the next, and having sex by the third day. It was a good concept, but not believably executed. Sprinkling in a little Christmas holiday emotion for good measure in the hopes it would leave readers feeling warm and fuzzy didn’t quite hit the mark.

So, not bad, not the best, but if you like big, tough, thirty-something, tattooed Alpha males and their romance with nineteen-year-old abused and injured homeless twinks, you may just rate this one higher. By all means, though, if you buy it, buy the audiobook version.

Cover art seems right for the story

Sales Link  Amazon Audible

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 3 hours and 38 minutes

Audiobook

Published November 30th 2016 by Sheena Jolee Himes (first published November 29th 2015)
ASINB01NCE7SXS
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Audiobook Review: Let the Wrong Light In by Avon Gale and Derrick McClain (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

let-the-wrong-light-in-audiobookAvery Hextall, a junior architect at a prestigious firm, is thrilled when his design is chosen for a new performing-arts center—even if it means working closely with his insufferably uptight project manager, Malin Lacroix. When a chance encounter in the boss’s office proves that Lacroix is anything but cold, Avery is determined to learn more about the real man beneath the aloof veneer.

Despite their growing attraction and their increasingly kinky encounters, the enigmatic Malin remains as emotionally distant as ever. Worse, Avery’s friends are convinced Malin thinks of Avery as a dirty secret and nothing more—a secret that might destroy both of their careers.

But the real secret is a single moment in time that haunts Malin and keeps him from committing to the life he wants with Avery. In order to move on, Avery must help Malin come to terms with the tragedy in his past before they can work on building a future together.

Let the Wrong Light In is a hard story to rate. This is my first Avon Gale book and I enjoyed it. The writing is good, well-paced, and the narration helps the feel of the story. The way the office works, the interactions between the characters, and how they work on the projects seems too convenient for the sake of the story.

It was hard to pinpoint Avery’s age and his real status within the company. Architecture is one of those professions, like medicine, in which practitioners tend to be older than average. For me, Avery read more as a young intern. He had too many layers protecting his heart, and there wasn’t enough time for them to be peel back. We get an idea of how good he can be when in a committed relationship, but not enough time to get invested in him/them.

Malin screams Christian Grey–a broken man with a hidden golden heart; only reachable by a young, sweet, and rebellious young man. He has the perfect apartment, house, cars, life, etc. but nothing makes sense to him anymore. He even needed Avery to reconnect with his family and smile again.

The BDSM aspect was something else that didn’t work for me. Unless the story is label Erotica with dub-con or non-con, I prefer to stay away. I like my relationships to be SSC or RACK. And in this case, it was none. Yes, we get to see the concern from Avery’s friends because of this, and Avery’s internal thoughts about it, but Malin having a hard time dealing with people isn’t a valid reason to ignore simple basic standards.

The last part of the story, when we get away from the wild kink and the walls between the main characters, was sweet and gave the story the little boost it needed. I think we needed a little more of Malin’s story early on to wrap it up even better. And Avery’s friends were great too.

I enjoyed Derrick McClain’s narration. He did a good job giving each character a distinctive voice. From all the characters, I think Malin was my favorite. His personality went well with the performance.

The cover by Aaron Anderson shows Avery through glass panels, which plays an important part in the story. The top part has a city line sketch.

Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Derrick McClain
Length: 5 hours and 35 minutes

Published: August 25, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01KZNJCU0
Edition Language: English

An Ali Audiobook Review: How To Be A Normal Person by T.J. Klune and Narrator Derrick McClain

Standard
 Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

How to be A Normal Person AudioGustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

I really enjoyed this book.  This author has a distinct writing style and I realize it doesn’t work for everyone but I personally adore it.  I’ve read books of his that have made me laugh out loud and ones that have made me cry.  This book was the best of both worlds.  There’s the trademark humor Klune brings to his stories but there were also a lot of scenes that were serious and filled with emotions.
I thought both Gus and Casey were great characters.  Neither are the traditional type of characters we usually see in romance novels and that is a good thing in my opinion.  Gus is quirky and Casey is asexual.  As the story develops they learn about each other’s unique characteristics and they fall in love.  The romance is a slow burn and the progression of the relationship felt realistic.  There are some great side characters in this and the scenes they are in added some of the funniest parts to the story.  Gus’ memories of his deceased father add some of the more emotional scenes and his dad is just as much a side character as the living characters are.
I did this on audio and I thought the narrator was really good. I’ve done a lot of this author’s books on audio and I think his storytelling style works well in this format.
This book is a definite recommend from me.  It has a bit of everything.  There is some humor and some serious emotions, there are great characters and it is low on the angst and steam levels.
Cover by Reese Dante.  I love this cover.  I think it fits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
Published April 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published October 16th 2015)
Original TitleHow To Be A Normal Person
ASINB01E9E5JOE
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingOregon (United States)

An Ali Review: Keys (City of Keys #1) by Amber Kell and narrator Derrick McClain (audiobook)

Standard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
KeysAUDMy name is Octavius Septimus Stalk, but my friends call me Oss. I live in the City of Keys, a town of gears, keys, locks, and wonder. Our forefathers banished magic long ago, bolted the doors and locked everything up tight to keep people out and the town’s secrets in. Four Lock Lords control what information is left, and everyone else is left struggling to survive.

Despite what Thorne, my naïve lover, thinks, I was an orphan, but not a victim. When I walked the streets at the age of twelve, I learned fast where to steal the best food, how to use my daggers, and where to hide my would-be attackers’ bodies. No one suspected me of such violence. No one knew then or now that I have magic inside me.

Now, power hungry men intend to release the magic for their own benefit—at the expense of the rest of the city. We will stop them, even if Thorne must battle his own kin, even if I must reveal my hidden talents and the role I seem destined to play.
 
I really loved the world this author created.  It’s a fantasy world where all locks are controlled by the Key Lords and key keepers.  As a result they control the entire city and it has created a dramatic separation between the rich and the poor.  Oss and Thorne are on opposite sides of this divide yet still love each other.  The imagery was well done and I could envision the shop owners waiting every morning for a key keeper to arrive to unlock their business.  The two main characters were enjoyable and I liked both of them.  I also really liked that they were an established couple when the story begins.  There was also a host of side characters that were interesting and the set up for the next two books was good.  My only real complaint is there are many parts, especially at the beginning, where the prose is very purple.  It is ridiculously flowery and overly descriptive.  I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to like the book because of that but I ended up liking the world enough to over look it.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.
 
I did this on audio and I enjoyed the narrator a lot.  I thought he did a good job on all the voices and I will probably do the next one on audio also.
 
Cover by Anne CainI like the cover a lot.  It’s simple, yet it captures the mood and feel of the story.  

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | iTunes | Audible | Amazon

Book Details:

Narrator Derrick McClain
Length 6 hours and 48 minutes
Categories: Audiobooks,Amber Kell, City of Keys by Amber Kell
Book Type Audiobook
Other Formats :eBook,Paperback