A MelanieM Audio Review: Love You so Madly (Love You So Stories #2) by Tara Lain and Ry Forest (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

A Love You So story.

Ben Shane has it all…and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.

Though Dusty is odd for a 23-year-old – no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive – the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus?

He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben’s perfect…and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only mad in love.

If you love sweet contemporary MM romance, then here is a light-hearted story that is high on the warmth, feel goodery aspect and pretty much low on the angst.  It’s also on the short side, so if you are new to the experience of listening to novels in the audioformat, this is  just the right length for a first introduction.

Lain’s character of Ben Shane is someone we can all connect with.  Hardworking, Ben is totally invested in his job working with charities and finding investors to partner with them.  It’s rewarding work and he enjoys it, long hours and all.  Not so his wealthy, privileged fiance,Alan Ashland, who feels that Ben’s time should be spent with him, ala kept husband since Alan has more money he can spend in several lifetimes.  It doesn’t seem to matter what Ben is saying about the importance of his job or work, Alan doesn’t seem to be getting it.  Not a great thing with a wedding in the works.

I loved the character of Ben, he’s well defined, layered, and relatable.  Alan?  Well, he’s just about every rich boy stereotype rolled into one, and that may be accurate, as a person, he doesn’t come across as anything but less dimensional.  Probably intentionally as he’s not someone you  would want to spend time with.  The voice given to him by narrator Ry Forrest reinforces that impression perfectly of a spoiled rich young man with all the depth of a summer puddle on a 100 degree day.  Nope, not lidable at all.

Than there’s Dusty who comes with a  bit of a mystery.  It won’t take a genius for someone to figure out it’s medical but as I don’t do spoilers I won;t go further here.  Dustry is the polar opposite of Alan.  With a wide open personality, charming and fun, happy and easy to be around, Ben is quickly drawn to the man that is everything he needs and wants.

This romance drew me in as quickly as I connected to the men involved.  The contrast with Alan’s annoying appearances with Dusty’s interaction with Ben and, well, everyone around him, it was clear chemistry in the air. There is a riotous, strong woman at the center as well.  Adored her too. No, not Dusty’s mother.

If I had my concerns, it was bringing up a serious medical issues in a short story of this length.  I don’t believe you can adequately address it but Tara Lain    does a good job.

This story moves along quickly, there’s obstacles (because of course you have to have a few), and and absolutely lovely ending.  The original story is only 120 pages in all, so when  I say it goes by swiftly, it does.  The narrator, Ry Forest , does an excellent job with all the characters, different voices no matter the gender, and manages to sweep us along on this sweet emotional rollercoaster ride of a romance.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  I love this cover.  It’s in keeping with the branding for the series but it’s lightness and sweetness is in character for Dusty.

Sales Links:    Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 4 hours and 36 minutes

Audible Audio, 5 pages
Published September 14th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 29th 2018)
Original Title Love You So Madly
ASIN B07HB5VT9L
Edition Language English
Series Love You So Stories #2
setting California (United States)

A Lucy Audiobook Review: Hearts and Flour By Tara Lain/ Ry Forest (narrator), Stephen Kurpis (narrator)

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

In a word, I thought this story was adorable. Micah is a raw vegan food evangelist who owns a vegan cafe, making up for a childhood of poisoning (alcohol) that finally killed his mother. He is rabid about all things healthy and wants his customers to take it as seriously as he does. He gets upset when they “mostly” follow healthy guidelines.  To top it all off,  he goes home early and finds the cheating, pathetic loser he calls his boyfriend having sex in their bed with someone else. Very classy guy, who is then shocked that Micah is kicking him out.  Dharmaram is such a user it is ridiculous.  But poor Micah.  “And here he sat.  Alone.  Dharmaram didn’t want him.  His customers didn’t want him.”

When he begins to realize even his most loyal customers may be following some of his advice but certainly not all of it (as evidenced by the giant cupcakes he keeps catching them eating), its demoralizing for him. He decides to attend his friend Yancy’s anti-Valentine’s Day party (orgy) to get laid and forget the cheater. Here, he meets Queen, who is so pretty in a fire engine red dress that Micah first thinks he is a woman, and hot sex ensues. Queen is very reticent about meeting up again but Micah can’t forget him. When he calls Queen, they go out again and sparks again fly.

It is when Micah realizes who Queen really is, i.e. Quentin the evil cupcake baker, that the problem starts.  Despite the obvious attraction, “So masculine and ladylike at the same time.  So brazenly sexy and so innocent. You turn me on like a Ferrari ignition”, Micah can’t get past the “poison” that Quentin is selling to his customers.  As a vegetarian, even I was thinking “Micah, calm down!” but poor baby, he had a rough week.

There is more drama with Dharmaram, who really just is a piece of work.  There is Queen’s lovely Southern grandmother, Mary Beth, who is gentile and the typical Southern lady.  Or is she? The love she has for Quentin and he for her is so wonderful.

There is quite a bit of sex for the length of the book and the rest really is fluffy and cute. I did want to get to read Micah having an orgy of cupcakes (SUGAR cupcakes) but that will have to wait. I am positive he will succumb to Charismatic Cupcakes sooner or later. Recommended for a light, quirky read.

Interestingly enough, there are two narrators, Ry Forest and Stephen Kurpis, but I would have sworn it was all the same person.  I was a little worried at first because the voice seemed melodramatic but as the book progressed the voices fit.  Quentin is given that South Carolina drawl, sexy as hell.

Cover art by Amanda Kelsey shows Micah holding a fluffy pink cupcake and I felt that was a great fit to the book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible |

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published June 19th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published January 30th 2013)
Original TitleHearts and Flour
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingCalifornia (United States)
Laguna Beach, California (United States)