Audiobook: Joshua’s Rainbow by Victoria Sue narrated by Darcy Stark


Audible Link


Rainbow Key – an idyllic island retreat off the west coast of Florida. Think wedding destination, white sandy beaches, lurve… except at the moment Joshua is struggling to pay the electricity bill, they’ve no paying customers, and even if they did they can’t afford the repairs from the devastating hurricane that struck three years ago – and to top it off they have to take in Daniel, a grumpy businessman who has been ordered by his doctor to take some time off before he has a heart attack from too much stress.

Funnily enough, Daniel owns a very expensive hotel chain that has been trying to buy the island for the past two years. Not that Joshua knows that yet, and boy are sparks gonna fly when he thinks he’s been set up.

Of course, sparks of a different kind are also soon flying between them.
Then there’s Matt who just got let out of prison, Charlie who ran away from home, and Ben, a famous model until a devastating house fire destroyed his face.
Welcome to Rainbow Key – held together by love, family, and sticky tape


This is a gentle feel good book, perfect for when you want a little boost. Who doesn’t love the idea of beautiful beaches, an island to escape to and falling in love. This is the first book in a series and focuses on Joshua but also introduces two other intriguing characters, Charlie, Ben and Matt. All of them have sought a new start at Rainbow key. Daniel however goes there to rest and recover from a busy schedule. He never expected to meet the love of his life. I loved that neither Joshua or Daniel were looking for love and it swept both of them up. There are bumps along the way, but that’s what makes it so interesting. Each of them have secrets they just don’t want to get out, which of course they do.
I haven’t listened to a book narrated by Darcy Stark before but I will lookout for them. He has a good style and is able to bring out the personality of each character. They all have their own distinct voices and I was impressed with the voices he gave the female characters.

5 of stars out of 5 for the story
4 of stars out of 5 for the narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review





Audiobook: Smoldering Flame (Rekindled Flame #3) by Andrew Grey narrated by Michael Pauley


Dreamspinner Presents


Sometimes the strongest flames take the longest to ignite.

Firefighter Dean’s life revolves around his very ill son, Sammy. Caring for Sammy and working to make ends meet leave Dean time for little else, and romance isn’t something he can even consider—no matter how much he longs for someone special to join their family. Because money is tight, Dean couldn’t be more grateful to the photographer who does Sammy’s session free of charge.

After growing up in the foster care system, Marco knows how to rely on himself, and his hard work is about to pay off—he’s poised on the cusp of fame and success he could only have imagined as a lonely child. When Dean brings Sammy into Marco’s studio, Marco can see they’re struggling, and both the boy and his father stir Marco’s heart. The slow burn between the two men isn’t something either expected, but neither wants to lose the possibility of a loving future. With Dean’s dangerous and possibly life-threatening career and Marco’s demanding one, can romance and forever find a place to fit?


This is a book in a series, but does not have to be read in order and does well on it’s own. Andrew Grey mentions other characters from some of his other stories, but that’s about it.

Though this is in the fire-fighter series, the main character is a photographer and we spend most of the time in his head and though the issue of fire fighting is certainly there and a big issue, it’s not the main thrust.

I thought this was a lovely story about two men bravely willing to trust their hearts once again though they’ve been hurt before. Sammy is a cute kid but definitely doesn’t occupy the story.

There were some times when Marco acted in a way that felt inconsistent but in the end I really appreciated the way these two had to realistically assess their relationship and they made real life decisions.

Michael Pauley did a nice job differentiating all the different characters and giving Angus a fun accent!

Highly recommended in this format!

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars for the story and 5 of 5 stars for the narration, overall 4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Full Plate by Kim Fielding Narrated by Kenneth Obi


Dreamspinner Presents


Opposites come together for a spicy surprise.
Bradford “Tully” Tolliver has everything—money, a great car, a beautiful condo, and a promising career as one of Portland’s hottest young lawyers. Sure, he puts in long hours and has no social life to speak of, but who needs romance when corporations pay top dollar for his expertise? He hesitates when a colleague asks if her cousin can live with him, but the arrangement will last less than a year, and then the cousin—Sage Filling—will return to his tiny hometown.
But Sage is handsome and intriguing, and his cooking makes Tully swoon. Sage has obligations back home, though, and Tully has offers he might not refuse from a persistent—and very wealthy—ex. Since Tully and Sage each have a full plate, can they make room for a side of love?


I’m not a big chef nor a big lawyer fan, but I’m totally a big Kim Fielding fan!

I’m also a Portlander so I absolutely loved all the trivia and locale references of PDX!

This was a low heat, slow burn romance. A Misunderstanding for these pair of Opposites was at it’s center and it was generally sweet and an easy listen.

While I was a bit underwhelmed by the beginning I thought the ending made up for it!

I’m not blown away by the narrator. He does a solid job but didn’t “wow” me, though he’s easy enough to listen to that he’s not distracting and it’s a good way to experience this – especially if you want to go hands free.

3.5 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: Luke’s Present by Sue Brown Narrated by Aaron Pickering

Dreamspinner Presents

Lost Cow Ranch foreman Simon Bryan is worried about Luke, his boss and possessive partner of twelve years. Reeling from the flood that took his horse, Luke has postponed surgery on his knee, and his nightmares have been escalating. Worse, he is pulling away from Simon emotionally. Desperate to help his lover cope, Simon plans a special Christmas gift, but it is Luke’s present that changes their relationship foreve

Luke’s Present is a lovely short catch up with Luke and Simon. It’s about two years after the events in Morning Report, not much after the ending of Papa’s Boy. The story provides answers to loose ends such as wether Luke has the operation on his knee (injured in book two) as well as small parts for Noah & Tommy, Ray & Zeke. I love the strength of Luke and Simon’s relationship in this book. Simon knows there’s a problem and sees through the defensive behaviour Luke puts up to find the truth. Luke’s reaction is beautiful and provides the perfect wrap up for the contemporary part of the series.
I liked Aaron Pickering’s narration in this book. He has settled into the characters and i found him easy to listen to. This might also be that I am used to his style now. Although I can’t find any other books still available narrated by him.

4 of stars out of 5

Purchased by reviewer



Sometimes the Best Presents Can’t Be Wrapped by B.G. Thomas

release day review


Ned Balding used to be a decent man—until the stress of seemingly countless responsibilities changes him, and he becomes cold and driven—the kind of man who considers firing an employee days before Christmas. The kind of man who kicks a dog…. But Ned’s transgressions haven’t gone unseen. A Salvation Army Santa witnesses his misdeeds and decides Ned needs to be taught a lesson.

When Ned wakes up the next morning, he’s stunned to discover he’s been transformed into a dog.

In the past year, Jake Carrara has lost his mother, a lover… even his dog. His boss came close to firing him just before the holidays. He isn’t sure he’s ready for another pet when he’s asked to foster a dog, but Jake’s good heart won’t let him refuse. Little does he know, this isn’t just any dog.

Through a twist of fate, two people with little reason to be friends might teach each other to rediscover the good—and the love—in life

It was the Blurb that attracted me to this story, I really liked the sound of a twist on the redemption of a Scrooge type character. Ned is a very angry man and he takes his anger out on everyone he meets by snarling at them. But when Ned was turned into a dog the depth of his despair and Jake’s sadness made me quite tearful. Jake is so good with dog Ned. He cares for him a great deal. It gives Ned a chance to reflect on his life and panic that he might remain a dog. Whilst Jake can be open with dog Ned about his feelings and worries. This is very well written. I can’t think of a better way for a character to hear so candidly what other people thought about him and be in a situation that gives him no choice but to reflect. Ned had changed for the worse over the last few years. Consequently his husband was now filing for divorce. I did wonder though with the growing feeling Ned has for Jake that surely he should have been thinking of ways to make up with his husband. But this was eventually addressed satisfactorily for me. I suppose it’s a kind of paranormal friends to lovers story. Jake is Neds friend when he is a dog. He looks out for him and cares for him. Ned does the same for Jake. It’s when Ned changes back that their friendship develops into a romance. Dog Ned’s attempts at communicating are sweet and his predicament is amusing at times. The time Ned changes back to a man is handled excellently.
I think this is going to be a book you’ll either love or hate. For me I loved it. It has that Christmas miracle angle that makes me smile. The Christmas message I’m taking from this story is do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review









Holiday: ‘Tis the Season by Alex Jane Narrated by Michael Fell

Audible Link


Aaron has spent the past ten months alone. When he meets a sad, yet strangely familiar man on a cold Halloween night, he impulsively invites him home. But the intimate connection they share lasts only until morning. Aaron wakes up alone—wracked with guilt and devastated to have lost his chance.

Or so he thinks.

Thanksgiving brings Aaron another shot at happiness, but letting go of an old love and accepting a new one isn’t as easy as everyone keeps telling him. And by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, it becomes clear that Aaron’s not the only one struggling to let himself love again.

Christmas miracles are all well and good, but it’s going to take more than the Holiday Spirit for Aaron to get his happy ever after.

A story of grief, sadness, and letting it go; and finding love when you least expect it.

Review by Mary

There is a realism and fragility to Alex Jane’s stories that appeal to me. This story spans the three main holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The time when missing loved ones can be acute and there are feelings of melancholy rather than joy. I loved the setting for how Aaron and Dylan meet and homage paid to it’s a wonderful life. The attraction to each other is there from the star but both Dylan and Aaron have their own emotional issues to work through before the time is right for them. This is the Holiday story for everyone who doesn’t want the fluffy but still wants the holiday spirit.



4 of stars out of 5



(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

Wow, this is NOT what I was expecting!

I guess – the strangely familiar thing – sort of set my expectations for the story to go one way and it definitely went a totally different way. Not bad, just different.

I don’t want to necessarily give things away, but I was surprised by that “twist” if you will and it took some adjusting because I wasn’t as forgiving as “Clarence”.

I loved the direct way the two MCs communicated with each other that first night and the way “George” is just so open with his family and WOW did I love George’s family (I’d love to see Kevin’s story in a full book!).

The smexy times were very low key and sort of matched the tone of this – the feels are what are important here, though the two definitely have chemistry.

If you’re a person who loves “widower” stories – this hits all those buttons – man does it! – but I think it also really moves the couple along at a believable pace. What would have made this a 5 star read for me would have been a bit more exploration of “George’s” situation and a bit more discussion of how George and Clarence got from point A to HEA. It’s kind of over in a blink of an eye – very happily so! – but I wanted to see some of that on page.

It’s a sweet, very sentimental and touching holiday story and I do recommend it.

4 of 5 stars


Michael Fell does a FANTASTIC job of narrating this. He gives Dylan a great accent and makes all the characters easily distinguishable. He manages the female voices well and does a nice job with the emotional subject.

I think listening to this really drives home all the emotions and highlights the power of this story.

Highly recommended.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

release day review

Amazon Link


The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…


This was soooo much fun! I was a bit leery of this, I have to admit. Sometimes Santino Hassell’s writing is a bit dark and melancholy and I’m not always in the mood for that. I’m also really not a football fan, but I am a huge “geek/jock” fan and “opposites attract” fan so I figured I’d give it a go.  (I love that Noah absolutely HATES football at first!)

I’m very glad I did!

This was super funny at times, but also really tender. There’s a fair amount of very hot sex once we get past the sexual tension stage.

The football was kept to a minimum (in my opinion) yet was clearly part of the story in a meaningful way.

I loved that our guys TALKED to each other. There wasn’t any “big misunderstanding” beyond the figuring out who is interested stage and I appreciated that when the end “conflict” arose, it was done with eyes open and a decision mutually made.

The fairly predictable ending is still very heartwarming and though we aren’t given much to go by, the HEA felt pretty solid. I’m really hoping we’ll see their story “finalize” more in the coming books and I also hope Simon’s story is next!

Highly recommended for fans of sweet and sexy romance, football fans, geek fans, and those who like some laughs and dirty talk with their romance.

5 of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane Narrated by Nick J Russo

Audible Link


Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.


Before I read this book I had avoided Amy Lane, or at least most of her back list for years, due to the fact that she is known as the queen of angst. So I was hesitant picking up this book both because of that, but also because of the fact that the characters are very young. I do not normally read YA for two reasons:
1) I like my sex on page and plentiful (yes, yes, I know I am an old man-on-man loving pervert!) 2) I need a HEA like a junkie needs a fix, and HEA between such young characters are completely unbelievable to me!

In spite of this, I decided to pick it up anyway, because I love a good christmas story and some of the proceeds went to charity. And boy was I ever happy I did!

Because since then, this book has become a favorite re-read and when the audio came out I purchased that too and have re-listened so many times it’s almost embarrassing to admit!
This story is wonderful! It is emotional, but not too angsty, it is sweet and cuddly and tugs at the heartstrings. It made me laugh and get teary-eyed. It isn’t perfect no, but since I re-read and re-listen continually, there is no way around throwing all the stars in the world after this book.

Rusty is a jock in his senior year in high school, he is a privileged white boy, from a high end neighbourhood with well-to-do parents and a prosperous future to look forward to, including Berkley pre-law after graduation. Although he could fit into every stereotype of dumb jock, he is sweet, polite, wholesome and slightly naïve. He is not the smartest of people, but he tries so hard and he has the biggest heart.

When Oliver enters his class in senior year, he is smitten instantly. Fascinated with the exotic Oliver. Oliver is everything Rusty is not. He is small, brown, from a working class Hispanic background, very secure in who he is – out and proud – and so very smart, that Rusty can hardly keep up.

The two start an unlikely friendship which slowly melts into more, without Rusty being aware of this fact. After graduation Berkley looms, a future Rusty knows he is not ready for, not smart enough for and really not something he wants. But college is a privilege, as he has realized after meeting Oliver, and he knows there is no way around it. So off to Berkley he must go, leaving Oliver behind.

The summer leading up to college holds several revelations for Rusty. One being the months he spends working construction for Olivers father. He finds something he enjoys, loves even, and something he is good at! The other being that on the eve of him leaving, Oliver kisses him.

Both of these revelations needs time to settle in Rusty before he can realize who he is and who he wants to be. But they are his defining moments, even if he doesn’t realize it himself at the time.

There is a host of side characters in this book: Oliver’s big loving latino family, Rusty’s conservative upper class parents, his rebellious younger sister, the housekeeper, Rusty’s college roommate Rex, college professors and guidance counselors, Rusty’s ex-girlfriend and high school friends. And all of them, in some way, shape or form end up being instrumental to pushing Rusty into the place he is meant to be.

This is more of a coming of age story than it is a Christmas story, but it does revolve around Oliver and Rusty’s first Christmas together, so in a way the holiday tag is earned, but it is not a story I would only re-read at Christmas time by any means.

Oliver and Rusty are wonderful together, they both have issues and insecurities and push each other at times, but behind it all there is love and a sense of heart and home. This sense of home was so strong that I actually believed in the happy ending between these very young boys, even before the epilogue gave me a glimpse into the future.

I will warmly recommend this story to anyone wanting a warm and emotional feel good story. But beware that you will feel the urge to hug your e-reader close after finishing.
Overall Impression: 6 out of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review



Audiobook Month: A Second Harvest by Eli Easton Narrated by Will Tulin


Dreamspinner Presents


David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.

(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

David is a Mennonite (a conservative Christian religion) farmer in rural Pennsylvania who has recently lost his wife of almost 2 decades to cancer. He has 2 grown children in college and a farm to run. He’s lonely. He’s lonely and worried about how he’s going to convince himself that life is worth living.

Christie is an again party-boy in Manhattan. When he nearly loses his BFF to an overdose he decides to take a good hard look at his life and re-evaluate things. When his aunt leaves him a house in rural Pennsylvania in her will, he decides to live there for 6 months to clear his head while he clears out the house.

On the surface, David and Christie are as opposite as you can imagine. But something in the two of them are attracted to one another like magnets.

Once Christie begins the cooking/sharing meal process, the two find any excuse to spend time together. The only thing that keeps this from being a “relationship” is David’s denial, and Christie’s belief that David doesn’t see him that way.

When David’s will finally collapses and allows Christie in – the passion is beautiful – but can it last?


As you know Eli is one of my “Hall of Fame Writers”. If she writes it I will automatically buy it and I’m NEVER disappointed. Sure, some I like more than others, but she ALWAYS delivers a love story that warms your heart. Every. Time.

This story is particularly satisfying. It’s longer than some of her other stories and as such we are given more time with our characters and that makes the bonding more special.

Because this is a very, very, slow burn – most of the story is the two becoming friends. It felt very authentic and plausible. When David finally does give in to his passions, it makes sense, and the readers understand just why he’s able to do so.

Christie is authentic and proud and “FIERCE” all the way through the story. His character stays true to form from start to finish and I really appreciated his lack of wavering.

The other thing I really appreciated was Eli’s consistency with David’s children. They too didn’t waver and behaved as I think they would have/could have in this situation.

I thought the level of steam was appropriate for the story – enough to entice but not so much as to over take the storyline. I don’t think anyone with religious issues (either fears or passions) will be upset by this – she handles the religious aspect with a delicate hand.

My only niggling complaint with the story is the ending. We got a very long and drawn out courtship, and then the ending was POW right there and the story was over. This is one of the issues I’ve had with a few of the author’s stories. I feel like giving us a bit more – especially given that Epilogue!!! – would have felt more balanced. I do appreciate the epilogue but I would have wanted to see a bit more of what decisions drew the couple to that ending.

In any case, it’s a truly wonderful story that kept me reading into late in the night and I couldn’t put it down.

Highly Recommended!


Will Tulin is a new to me narrator. He does a fine job with this, he’s easy to listen to and definitely has a great grasp of timing and emotion. He doesn’t do much with accents or making the characters unique, which was a little disappointing given the potential, but this is a good way to experience this story regardless. Each character was easy to distinguish as they were speaking and the females were voiced well, too.


4.5 of 5 stars overall

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: Training Season Audiobook by Leta Blake Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

Audible Link


Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.

When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.

But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?


This book is the perfect example of the importance of a good narrator. I had tried to read this book when it first came out a couple of years back. But I just couldn’t get into it. I thought Matty was too whiny, too vain, too shallow, too annoying… and the book was too long and rambling. So I put it aside on the “everybody-but-me-loved-this-hate-it-when-that-happens”-shelf and forgot about it. Then the audio cam out and at first it wasn’t on my radar, until I saw who had narrated it! Michael Ferraiuolo is one of my all time favourite narrators, so I thought if anyone could turn this book around for me, it would be him! And I was so right! He brings it!

Matty is still whiny, vain, shallow and annoying, but he is also kind and generous and insecure. And his forever boyfriend – ice skating – takes that insecurity and punishes him with it over and over again.
After an injury and some disappointing results in the last Olympic games, Matty finds himself in Montana house-sitting and getting back into shape for the upcoming season. Here he meets his hunky neighbor, Rob and his 12 year old son, Ben. Rob is everything Matty isn’t, he is Montana personified. He is ruggedness and slow cooking, he is wide open fields and the north star in the sky and he is, it turns out, an amazing boyfriend too.

This story is long, it takes place over several years, and I can still see why I gave up the first time I tried reading it. It is long and in places it may feel a bit of a drag, especially because it is all so hurtful! Ice skating continues to kick Matty over and over again, and yet, he keeps going back to his abusive first love, whilst everyone he loves just have to watch him go. It hurts!

But however much it hurts, however much you want to shake Matty until his teeth rattles, you still understand his choices and the reasoning behind making them. There is some truly great characterization going on here, because I understood, I really did. I wanted to disagree, but I did understand. And don’t worry, at the end of it all, at the end of 12 exhausting hours of hurt we get our happy ending after all.


4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review