Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Clockwork Tangerine by Rhys Ford ~ Audiobook narrated by Greg Tremblay

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Clockwork TangerineWhen Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, set out to purchase a specialty tea for his mother, he had no idea his life was about to change. Walking along the streets of St. Francisco, a major city rivaling London during Queen Victoria’s reign, he encounters a group of thugs beating up a young man and immediately stops them before they kill him.

When he discovers that the person he saved is Robin Harris, the man who invented the mechanical stinger that killed his father, he’s taken aback. The man is much younger, and much more handsome, than he would have thought. In fact, Robin must have only been a child during the uprising in which his father was killed. The battle between those who believe in science and those who believe in the arcane was waging strong at that time. Now, all Marcus wants to do is take the young man someplace safe where he can get him treatment for his wounds. As far as Marcus is concerned, the past is the past.

He discovers that Robin has found a way to combine the use of arcane and mechanical elements to provide artificial limbs and eyes to those in need. In fact, Robin was returning from fitting artificial legs on a young boy when he was attacked. Though it takes a while, Marcus is finally able to convince Robin that he is friend, not foe. In fact, one of the unexpected supporters in Marcus’s case is his mother, who not only can forgive Robin for his inadvertent role in her husband’s death, but embraces his abilities and becomes a staunch supporter of his efforts.

This is a very short audiobook. Too short—I wanted more, more, more of this couple and their world. Maybe we’ll be lucky and Rhys Ford will revisit it someday, expanding on this little tidbit of goodness. Narrated by Greg Tremblay, the story unfolds magically. Between Rhys Ford’s inimitable writing style, and Greg Tremblay’s beautiful and varied vocalizations, this audiobook was a real treat.

The characters were wonderfully described, including the secondary characters. The dowager was actually my favorite of all. What a great woman she was! The romance between Marcus and Robin built slowly, or as slowly as it could in a novella. When they finally got to the point where Marcus made love to Robin, the scene was romantic and brought new joy to Robin’s life in a way he had never anticipated.

I highly recommend this one, especially to those who enjoy steampunk. A delicious afternoon treat—and no calories!


Cover art by Reese Notley depicts the inner workings of a clock with a young man superimposed in the forefront, looking up at a mechanical insect. The artwork creatively depicts all the main points of the story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 3 pages, 2 hrs 10 mins
Published May 12th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published February 18th 2014)
Original TitleClockwork Tangerine
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Audiobook Review: Heart of the Race by Mary Calmes, Greg Tremblay (Narrator) (Audiobook)

Rating 4 stars out of 5 (3,5 story/4,5 audio)audiobook clipart bw

Heart of the RAce audio coverVarro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart. 

Without Varro, Brian builds himself a life that’s all about just getting by, doing his best to ignore the hole in his heart and his life. Without Brian to balance him, Varro pushes harder and takes more risks to reach that ultimate high. His job racing high-octane bikes on suicide-level courses makes it easy to get that rush… until it’s no longer enough and Varro realizes it’s not the race, but who’s waiting at the finish line that truly matters. Now he just has to convince Brian to be there. 

Heart Of The Race was my first official audiobook. I only listened to a couple while I run, but this one was “serious”. I chose this specific audio for different reasons: first of all it’s short, just a couple of hours, and so if you are basically a audiobook virgin like me it could be the perfect one for you, as it was to me. Then, sorry everyone, but it’s Mary Calmes we’re talking about. I’m her biggest fan. She wrote what can be consider probably my all time favorite m/m book, Frog (I read it in English and Italian too and my heart just missed a beat when it realized there’s the audio version too *sigh*). So of course I was going to pick this up. Least but not last the narrator, Greg Tremblay was recommended to me by a friend for another audio. I  read the ebook a couple of years ago so I already knew what the story was about and I was confident I could fill up my “English listening gaps” with help from my memory. I don’t want to talk a lot about the story, once you read the blurb and know that this is written in perfect Mary’s style, you’re pretty much set for the ride.

I prefer to linger a little on the narrator and his qualities, and what great ones they are! I admit I was a little scared at first, because I know I can read English pretty well but listening to it? Intimidating. In my opinion Greg made a great work in making the words understandable and to me it was really important. I liked his voice, listenable and always with the rigth tone, in every little detail, from the different voices (but believable) to the short hot moments. I felt  it was true. I’m not sure if it’s normal or it was just me and the novelty of the first real time of an audiobook, but sometimes I found myself not only picturing Varro and Brian in my head, and  whole drama they made for themselves, but the narrator too and his experience in recording. I don’t know, it was two times engaging.

Of course I want to recommend this novellas by Mary Calmes but I want to highly recommend Greg Tremblay. I’m going to check out more about his works.

Cover art by Catt Ford. No other cover could have been more fitting but the style is not my favorite.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press  |  Audible  |  Amazon  |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

  • Audible Audio, 3 pages
  • Published July 6th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published May 31st 2013)
  • Edition Language English