An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Smoke (Panopolis #1) by Cari Z and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
where-theres-smoke-audioPanopolis is a rough place to be an average Joe. I came here looking for adventure and excitement, but nobody cares about one more normal guy in a city filled with super-powered heroes. The closest I’ve come to glory is working in a bank that villains often rob.

But then I maybe accidentally-on-purpose helped a villain escape the hero who was trying to save the day. Imagine my shock when, a week later, that villain asked me out for coffee. One date turned into more, and now I’m head over heels in love with Raul.

Falling in love with the guy dubbed the Mad Bombardier isn’t without its downsides, though. I’ve had to deal with near-death encounters with other villains, awkwardly flirtatious heroes who won’t take no for an answer, and a lover I’m not sure I can trust. It’s getting to the point where I know I’ll have to make a choice: side with the heroes, or stand fast by my villain.

Either way, I think my days as a normal guy are over.
I really enjoyed this unique and creative story. Panopolis is a city filled with Heroes and Villians (think comic book characters). Edward is an average guy who has never actually met either until his bank is robbed by a villian. The two men have an instant connection and end up meeting again soon after. As Edward finds himself falling for Raul he has to constantly question his own values and what he is doing with a criminal. The story is filled with an interesting background plot of political corruption while the two MC’s give us some adventure, some romance and some smexy times. The world building was really well done and I could totally picture it.  I thought this was a great start to a new series. I love when author’s come up with completely new ideas and this is totally different than the usual love story in the m/m genre.
This audio was narrated by  Nick J Russo and as usual he does a great job with all of the voices.  I find that he is one narrator that I consistently enjoy.  The audiobook is pretty short, under three hours, and is an easy one to follow along with.  It is something that I would definitely recommend.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I love the cover.  It’s very eye catching and it perfectly captures the world this book is set in.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published February 2nd 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published April 25th 2015)
ASINB01N7XRJQM
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPanopolis #1

An Ali Audiobook Review: What Remains by Garrett Leigh and Craig Beck (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
what-remains-audiobookWeb designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right? 

Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter. 

Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.
 
I liked this but I didn’t love it. The story follows the relationship of Rupert and Jodi as they experience some serious problems. I don’t want to say more about it because it really can’t be discussed without spoilers. Unfortunately there is another pretty famous book in this genre with the same plot and I could not stop comparing the two. This book has the same dream like quality that makes this author’s writing style unique but overall I wasn’t drawn in like I usually am to her stories. I was never super attached to the characters either. I never felt emotion other than a little sadness and I feel like this should have been a tear jerker. I spent some time wondering if I would have been more emotional if I wasn’t comparing with the other book but I don’t think I would have been. There was just some connection missing for me in this book. So…..not bad by any means but wasn’t as good as I usually find this author’s work.
The audiobook was narrated by Craig Beck and I thought he did an excellent job.  His voice is wonderful and he did a equally good job on both of the main characters as well as the side characters.  I think this was the perfect narrator for this story.
Cover by: G.D. Leigh:  I like the cover.  It’s a nice, striking cover that immediately catches your eye.
Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 424 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published July 4th 2016)
Original TitleWhat Remains
ASINB01N1XNY5D
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Audiobook Review: A Fortunate Blizzard by L.C. Chase and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
a-fortunate-blizzard-audiobookThere are worse things than being stranded in a blizzard.

Artist Trevor Morrison has always appreciated the little things in life, treating each day as a gift. And with good reason: he’s been on the transplant-recipient list for too long now. When he learns just how numbered his days truly are, he resolves not to take them for granted. But he won’t be unrealistic, either—which means romantic commitments are off the table.

Marcus Roberts seems to have it all. He’s handsome, financially sound, and on the fast track to partnership at a prestigious law firm. In reality, though, his drive for success has meant no time for friends or relationships. Add in the fact that his family discarded him long ago, and he’s facing yet another holiday season alone.

When the biggest snowstorm to hit Colorado in decades leaves Marc and Trevor stranded at the same hotel, a chance encounter and a night of passion leads to more than either of them expected. Finding comfort in each other is a welcome surprise, but time is not on their side. Either they find a way to beat the odds, or they lose each other forever.
I really enjoyed this wonderful holiday tale.  Trevor and Marcus get caught in a blizzard and are both stranded at a hotel.  They are immediately attracted to each other and spend a magical few days getting to know each other.  Marcus wants it to be more but Trevor refuses due to his health problems.  But after going so long without anyone to care about or having someone care about him Marcus isn’t about to accept defeat and since this is a Christmas story, miracles happen.
I thought both MC’s were well done and I really felt for both of them.  I thought Trevor’s concerns were realistically done and my heart went out, not to just him, but to his family and Marcus as well.  You could feel everyone’s grief at the impending loss.  The ending was very touching and I may have gotten tears in my eyes at one point.  I think this is one of the best holiday stories I’ve read over the last few years and I really recommend it.
This was narrated by Nick J. Russo and I thought he did a very good job.  Both of his voices for the two main characters were good and I never had a hard time figuring out who was speaking.  All of the side characters were also well done, including Trevor’s mother.  I find some male narrators do don’t female voices in a way I enjoy but that was not the case here.  I enjoyed this audio alot and would really recommend this medium if you’re planning to read this story.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I like the cover but I don’t love it.  It doesn’t stand out to me and the models on the front don’t match that well to the descriptions of the MC’s in the book.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Listening Length: 4 hours and 15 minutes
Audible Audio, 5 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published August 2nd 2011)
ASINB01MQDPLN3
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersTrevor Morrison, Marc Roberts settingColorado (United States)Literary AwardsINDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards (2015)

A BJ Audio Review: Tempest (Playing the Fool #3) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, Narrated by Nick J. Russo

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Rating:  3.75 stars out of 5

Tempest_AudiobookSomething wicked this way comes.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness and con man Henry Page are on the run again. This time they’re headed back to where it all began: Altona, Indiana. Population: some goats. Henry’s not happy about lying low at the McGuinness family farm, but they’ve got nowhere else to go.

While Mac fights to clear his name and Henry struggles with whose side he’s really on, a ghost from the past threatens to destroy everything. And those aren’t the only storms on the radar. Cut off from both sides of the law, Mac and Henry must rely on their tenuous partnership to survive.

If Henry can convince himself to let Mac see the man behind the disguises, they’ll stand a chance of beating the forces that conspire against them. The course of true love never did run smooth, but for the two of them, it might be their only hope.

The finale of this three part serialized humorous romantic suspense was worth the wait. This installment was not as light as the first two, which I actually liked. Most of the banter and humor this time came towards the end. For those that love that sort of thing, it should be just what you are looking forward to as an ending. For me, I could have done without so much of that at the end. I’d hoped for Henry finally dropping all the banter and joking and letting his guard completely down with Mac but was disappointed there.

Lots of fast and furious action in the last third of that was sometimes a bit over the top. We finally have a resolution to the suspense and a romance, finally got to see the depth of Henry/Sebastian’s hurt and motivations, and Mac. Well, I just loved him through all of the stories. And also in this one we get to meet his family, and they are just as awesome! Viola and Mac young niece, Cory, rather stole the show for me at parts of this book, and I was totally on board with that. Loved them.

While there was no cliffhanger in this one, there were a few things left hanging (for me anyway). I wish there’d been more closure of Viola’s story, more than the one sentence comment that alluded to her possible fate. And something that bugged me to distraction was… what happened to Door Bell? Did they just abandon the poor dog there along with the apartment? If so, that is so sad. Certainly Henry didn’t take him and there was no mention when we see Stacy again that she did. I just really needed to know that he was okay, cuz yeah, I’m a dog household.

Nick J. Russo’s narration throughout this series was a highlight. All the voices were defined, the delivery of the humor was spot on, and the angsty bits were captivating. Overall, his narration was perhaps my favorite experience of the story.

Another simple cover design by L.C. Chase that works refreshingly well to set the tone of the book.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon | iTunes


Book Details:  

 Audible Audio
Published (first published March 9th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPlaying the Fool #3 settingIndiana (United States)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Let it Ride (Pickup Men #2) by L.C. Chase and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Let It Ride audiobookBridge Sullivan, pickup man and best friend of Marty Fairgrave (Pickup Men) has a secret. He’s lusting after EMT Eric Palmer and the problem is that everyone, including Eric, thinks he’s straight. But Bridge knows his mind and his heart, and he’s kept his past experience with a man secret so it shouldn’t surprise him when his flirtations with Eric aren’t taken seriously.

Bridge is a nice guy—a great friend, sweet and helpful and always there when you need him—but he’s not gay and Eric has been burned much too often in the past to take a chance on a guy who might change his mind and want to go back to dating a woman. Eric is a New York City native, complete with a realistic accent thanks to narrator Dorian Bane, but he feels unworthy of love. His parents had put him in foster care when he was thirteen and told them he was gay; most foster parents wouldn’t keep him either, and then the two men he loved in the past dumped him—one of them for a woman. It’s no wonder he’s guarding his heart. And Bridge will break it for sure. That is something he’s betting on.

Against his better judgement, Eric agrees to go out with Bridge, but only as friends with benefits. No more. So when things get hot and heavy between them, and Bridge continues to tell him he wants to date and get close to him, Eric bolts. Though he doesn’t want to lose them, he leaves the close friends he’s made in the rodeo circuit. He also leaves the man he cares about because he feels he needs to go now before the pain is too great. Of course, he then finds out that the pain is already too great. Will he man-up and go back? Will Bridge come looking for him? Or will the two “let it ride”?

I enjoyed this story, and I think it may be partly because the potential between Bridge and Eric was there and intrigued me in the previous story, and it’s partly due to the narration of Dorian Bane. I actually didn’t care for the voice he gave Bridge, but I was impressed by the vast difference in the two voices of the MCs and the variety of secondary character voices, all of which were different and distinctive. And that’s the bottom line for me—how well did the narrator handle the narration and vocalization of the story. So kudos to the narrator and kudos to LC Chase for a great story. Yes, I wanted to smack Eric upside the head quite a few times because his “poor me” litany wears a little thin, but in his case, with his history, it’s a reasonable reaction. I had to stay awake last night to finish the story because sleeping while the romance was still in doubt just wasn’t happening for me. So thanks for the HEA, Ms. Chase!

Though part of a series, Let It Ride can be read as a standalone. This is a wonderful MM story for readers who like a little NYC spice with their cowboys, GFY or men new to gay sex, virgins(!), hurt-comfort, and a delightful cast of secondary characters.

~~~~~

Cover Art by L.C. Chase features a close-up of a handsome, young cowboy, complete with large black cowboy hat. There’s a bronco rider in the background, symbolizing the rodeo in which this MC is a pickup man—a very fitting cover for this story.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon

Audiobook Details:
5 hrs 32 mins

Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published February 10th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published May 25th 2014)
Original TitleLet it Ride
ASINB01BLP6GZ0
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPickup Men #2
Literary AwardsEPIC (Eppie) Award (2015), Contemporary Romance, Bisexual Book Award Nominee (2015)

An Ali Audiobook Review: Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6) by Abigail Roux , J. F. Harding (Narrator)

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Rating:  5 of 5 stars                ★★★★★

Stars & Stripes audiobookSpecial Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have managed the impossible: a few months of peace and quiet. After nearly a year of personal and professional turmoil, they’re living together conflict-free, work is going smoothly, and they’re both happy, healthy, and home every night before dark. But anyone who knows them knows that can’t possibly last.

When an emergency call from home upsets the balance of their carefully arranged world, Ty and Zane must juggle family drama with a perplexing crime to save a helpless victim before time runs out.

From the mountains of West Virginia to a remote Texas horse ranch harboring more than just livestock and childhood memories, Ty and Zane must face their fears—and their families—to overcome an unlikely enemy and bring peace back into their newly shared world.

This was a re-read for me but the first time I had listened to it on audio. This book remains one of my favorites of the series. The guy’s have worked hard to get to the positive place in their relationship that they’re in. During the course of this story they go to both of their parents’s homes and it is interesting to see the different dynamics between the two families. Most of the story is spent at Zane’s home where they try to solve a case involving Zane’s family ranch. I enjoyed the case in this one and I found it fast paced and entertaining. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments in this story, some really sweet and romantic ones and some of the steamiest ones in the series. I love every minute of this book every time I read it.

Audio:

I had listened to the first four books in this series on audio in the past. There were two prior narrators and this narrator is totally new. I wasn’t sure about his voice for Ty when I first started. The problem with reading a book first, in my opinion, is that you have the characters firmly set in your mind. While his Ty was fine, it wasn’t how I envisioned Ty. His Zane though was fantastic. Deep, growly voice with just a bit of a Southern drawl. After a few chapters I got used to his Ty and decided I liked it. There are a lot of characters in this book, with a lot of different accents and I felt like this narrator did a great job on all of them. I also found him able to do both male and female voices well which is a talent some narrators do not have. I loved listening to this on audio. I think listening to this really emphasized the emotional scenes and made them more heart wrenching (There was a scene between Ty & Zane’s dad that made my eyes water. It was much more emotional listening to it than reading it.) And the sexy scenes? Holy moly they’re burning hot on audio. I would definitely recommend this to readers/listeners.

Cover art by L.C. Chase. I don’t know what to say about the cover really. It’s very simple but it’s a classic and I would never want to see it change.

Sales Links:  Audio at Amazon |  Audio at Audible

Audiobook Details:

Stars & Stripes
Written by: Abigail Roux
Narrated by: J. F. Harding
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
Series: Cut and Run, Book 6