Release Day Review: Long Black Cadillac by BA Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/long-black-cadillac-by-ba-tortuga-9892-b

Blurb: When cop-turned-vampire-hunter Vance is sent to eliminate a bloodsucker from the Louisiana swamps, he figures it’s just another day at the office.
But he has no idea what he’s getting into.

Clay is no ordinary vampire, and the spark he lights in battle-scarred Vance is anything but average. Clay should be the enemy, but Vance is powerless to fight something that feels so right… and so damn good. In Clay’s expert hands, Vance might realize he’s misjudged vampires and that donating a little blood can be sexy as hell.

Clay might even ride to the rescue and save his new love when Vance’s mission goes south and Vance becomes the hunted instead of the hunter. Along with his human familiar, a crazy Cajun named Remy, and the enigmatic older vampire Gryphon, Clay must get to Vance before it’s too late. Then they can find the man who betrayed Vance and take their revenge.

But faced with lies and motives darker than they ever imagined, they’ll have to wade through blood and fight their way to a happily ever after….

Review: I think I can officially say I am a fan of BA Tortuga. Her characters are fun, colourful, quirky and loveable. And just when I figured her stories are familiar and comfy, she dispels that notion with Long Black Cadillac ☺
This is a zany, fun, sometimes tender romance between vampires and a crazy Cajun while being hunted by a vengeful colonel-like character. There are a couple of brief ménage pairings, but they are part of a natural progression of the scene and are not repeated.
To be honest, I found the first few of chapters a bit confusing/chaotic – events told in the 3rd person, complete with their inner musings; but as I got to know the characters the story progression made more sense.
Vance is employed by the Colonel and is given an assignment to make a vampire, Clay, move out of an area. When they meet, it’s instant lust, even though Vance tries to fight Clay and the attraction. It was interesting how Clay knew that Vance could be dangerous to his health, but still felt compelled to seduce and keep Vance. There is a lot of fun banter between the 2 men which becomes funnier with the introduction of Remy, Clay’s man Friday (and sometimes lover). Remy has a wry sense of humour – the way he comes up with Boo as a nickname for Vance is funny.
While Clay and Vance are dealing with their feelings and trying not to exclude Remy – all the while working on why the Colonel wants Vance gone – another vampire lands on the scene with Remy in his sights. Gryph, the new vamp is drawn to Remy, much like Clay was to Vance. The posturing between the 2 vamps is another fun interaction.
There are twists to the story, but in the end we get a really good story of 2 couples who eventually ride off after the sunset ☺
This is definitely a book I would love to listen to as an audiobook, especially if voiced by Dorian Bane!

4 stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Blood and Eternity (Book 3) by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/blood-and-eternity-by-shira-anthony-9785-b

Blurb

Sequel to Blood and Ghosts
Blood: Book Three

Vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert never dreamed he’d fall for his prey or that his love, Nicolas Lambert, would give him the gift of immortality. But when a hunter bent on destroying the truce between vampires and hunters throws the gauntlet at Adrien’s feet, Adrien must travel through time to save Nicolas, and with him, the entire vampire race.
The time has come to make a choice—one they will live with for eternity.
In this final installment in the Blood Trilogy, Adrien and Nicolas must face their greatest enemy in a deadly last confrontation. But to prevail, they’ll need to master the enemies within.
When Adrien awakens to a future he doesn’t recognize, he faces an impossible decision: live a perfect life with Nicolas in a shattered world, or risk everything to repair a broken past. But before he can challenge vampire hunter Verel Pelletier, he must master the demon who lives in his own mind—and learn to control his ability to travel through time. With Nicolas by his side, he prepares for a final battle against a powerful adversary who likes to play games with the past and future.
But the price of ensuring a future for their loved ones may be an eternity spent alone.

Review

This is – at long last – the ending we’ve been waiting for.

Can I say it was worth it? I’m not sure. I love Shira’s world building, her characters and I usually love her plot devices as well as story lines but in this case there was so much WORK involved. I felt like book two put me through the wringer and though we get put back together again in book 3 it was maybe not quite as “rewarding” as I’d have wanted it to be.

So – in summary – I guess if you’re a lover of action and adventure – with some time travel and a lot of angst – very well written angst mind you – I’d give this a go.

If you want a lot of togetherness in a couple then this is not for you.

All in all I’d give this book a 3.5 and the whole series a 3 of 5 stars.


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Audiobook: BFF by KC Wells narrated by Michael Mola

audiobookreview

 

Dreamspinner Link

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bff-by-kc-wells-9646-b

Blurb
I’m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.

I met Matt in second grade, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what’s really amazing? After all these years, we’re still the best of friends.

Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I’m scared to death of what he’ll say. If I’ve got this all wrong, I’ll lose him—forever

Review
(Book reviewed here previously: https://openskyebookreviews.com/coming-soon-bff-by-k-c-wells/)
The basis of this story is a being written by one of the main characters, Matt, and is told from his point of view. He grows up with David as Best Friends and the book chronicles their journey. I can honestly say I’m not certain how I feel about this story. It’s cute, the story of young men understanding their feelings for each other. Navigating through puberty and all the pressures high school, college and first job brings. Each chapter is another stage in their life and relationship as best friends. I would say this is the ultimate slow burn story as it takes 90% before they realise their feelings are deeper than just close friendship. There is also no angst. Perfect for a light read. My mixed feelings are because I didn’t quite feel the connection between Matt and David, it felt like friends with benefits rather than lovers. This might have been the tone of the narrator and the level of emotions between Matt and David I took from it.
I have not listened to anything narrated by Michael Mola before. He has a young sounding voice appropriate for Matt and David’s age. They are the same age about mid 20’s. All the characters had a unique voice which made easy to distinguish between them. The one thing that I found annoying after a while was Matt’s ‘chuckle’, but don’t let that put you off.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration


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Audiobook: Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennett Narrated by Colin Darcy

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-to-the-bone-by-nicki-bennett-9442-b

Blurb

A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.
Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.
Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.
But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

While I don’t usually like “second chance” books, I really enjoyed this one.

This was very heart-felt, with a real-ish type setting but enough “fantasy” elements to make it feel a bit like Cinderella.

I loved the added touches of making Ricky Native American, as well as rich. The “bad guys” were super bad and I definitely felt like I was reading an old timey romance – with a gay twist!

I thought Alex and Ricky Lee had great chemistry and their story was mostly sweet and little hot. I loved Sam – especially the end scene!

Overall this was exactly what you’d expect for the genre, well-written and a quick sweet read.

 

Audiobook

I found the narrator, Colin Darcy, to be good but not great.  He definitely makes the attempt to give everyone a unique voice and does his best to “act” out the emotions.  However, there are times when his narration is rather sing-song and while I appreciate his attempts, he doesn’t always give a good match in terms of tone or tenor to the emotions that he is reading.

Those are definitely “icing of the cake” type issues and the main body of his narration is good and solid and easily a perfectly fine way to enjoy this story.

Overall 3.75 of 5 stars


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Audiobook: My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley narrated by Joseph Morton

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/my-fair-captain-by-jl-langley-9628-b

Blurb: When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Review:

Book reviewed previously: https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-my-fair-captain-by-j-l-langley/

Joseph Morton (new to me), had a nice voice. He didn’t attempt to ‘act’ out the different characters. Unfortunately, it also made the narration rather emotionless (to me); any emotion portrayed by the characters was delivered in the same (mono)tone.
Ovearll, the narration was okay – it was more reading, (which isn’t bad), than performance, but I liked it enough to get through the book. I will likely listen to the narrator again.

3 stars out of 5


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Coming Soon! Lone Wolf by Anna Martin


Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lone-wolf-by-anna-martin-9890-b

October 9!

Blurb

Jackson Lewis isn’t a typical werewolf. He isolates himself in a small town outside Spokane and dedicates himself to making his business—Lone Wolf Brewery—a success. If it leaves him little time for romance, he’s okay with that. His soul mate could be out there somewhere, but he isn’t actively looking.

So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.

But he’s human. And a man.

Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.

While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.

Review

Man. Where to start?

First, I think it’s pretty clear that I am a huge fan of shifter romance and that I’ll pretty much read anything in that vain. I have a huge tolerance for believing the unbelievable and for letting my imagination get carried away with me. I also don’t mind insta-love and I adore fated mates stories.

In addition, I’m not a huge Anna Martin fan but I’ve definitely admired her work in the past and thought – based on the blurb – that this would be a slam dunk.

However… it wasn’t.

It revolves around a straight guy – Jackson has never and will never like guys. He only grudgingly admits that Leo is his mate and fights it tooth and nail.

Most of the book is these guys living apart and hating life at their respective fates.

There are at least 2 or 3 different side stories: the anti werewolf people, the anti humans with werewolves people, Leo’s roommate who gets beat up and who also hates Jackson but who is a werewolf himself… There’s a lot going on and none of it really materializes as a cogent storyline and as a reader I was either scratching my head about where the plot was taking me, rubbing my neck due to whiplash as the story spun around to another topic, or yawning because the two MCs were fighting – again! The steam between these guys was practically non existent and that was the only thing they had going for their relationship.

Leo is a doormat. He is hard to like even though he has so many elements of likeability. He’s a music therapist and that is so interesting but we get one or two moments of that taking place and effecting his life and then he’s back to being ignored by Jackson. When Jackson calls he goes even when everyone – even his roomy the wolf – says stay away! Jackson never convinces me he deserves Leo… but the Leo kinda brings it on himself by not demanding good treatment either. So…

Jackson brews beer and is reclusive and that apparently excuses him from being kind, decent, supportive, interesting, reliable, or not a douche. In other words – he’s a jerk from page one and he really doesn’t redeem himself. He hates being mated to a human. Hates being mated to a guy. Hates everything! He pushes Leo away then pulls him back then pushes him away then needs him when he’s down then pushes him away… you get the idea…He ends up buying an apartment/condo/business thing in the end and then telling Leo – oh – it’s ok if you want to move in too. (This is after they’ve already hooked up and are in the process of cementing their bond – I’d tell him to stick it and find my own damn house!)

While I know I have a bias against werewolf stories where the general population knows about them, I have read many that are compelling. And this just wasn’t.

While I appreciated that Jackson shifted – once – I despise shifter stories where the wolf part of their being is merely a characteristic and not integral to their being – and that’s the case here.

I really wanted to love this. But I can’t.

I give it 2.5 stars … but maybe that’s being generous? I’m just so surprised that this is from the same author who wowed me with Tattoos and Teacups https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15719569-tattoos-teacups or Signs https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24991214-signs which I loved…


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Retro Review: Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/blood-and-ghosts-by-shira-anthony-3739-b

Blurb

Sequel to Blood and Rain

With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

Review

I’ll be honest. I’d be super mad if I didn’t already have book 3 in my hands. This was a really long, frustrating book 2 in a 3 book series.

Book one caught me up. I thought the world building was good, the characters unique and interesting and the romance epic.

In book 2 I wanted to throw my kindle across the room!

This felt like soap opera’ey type “now he’s here” “Now he isn’t” “now he doesn’t remember” “Now the demon is controlling him” “Now he remembers again”…
It made me crazy.

Now, I’ll admit I have a VERY LOW tolerance for this type of stuff so I was worried about it to begin with – but I’m a Shira Anthony fan and I trust her. I read the reviews and they all led me to believe this would be worth it in the end… I’m hoping so.

If it wasn’t for that third book I’d have stopped half way through this and declared it a DNF due to too much drama and back and forth BS. But… I persevered and while I was happy for the interim HFN we got…. I had to quickly put this down so I can start up book 3 and get this bad taste from my mouth.

This was definitely not for me.

2.5 of 5 stars


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Release Day: Three Bears By A. Nybo

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/three-bears-by-a-nybo-9881-b

Blurb

At Three Bears surf break, the attraction between a group of friends is anything but “Luke warm….”
Dan goes to stay with his best friend Josh in Margaret River, the surfing capital of Western Australia, to sort out his sexual confusion. But his best friend is the source of that confusion. Having never been attracted to a man other than Josh, Dan fears risking their friendship just to discover men aren’t his thing.
Within the first few days, Dan meets Luke, a local barista who offers him surf lessons. Dan soon finds himself emotionally coveting not one, but two men. When they go to Three Bears, his hidden desires begin to emerge. As the ambiguity of Dan’s mixed signals clears, it becomes apparent both of his surfing companions want him—badly.
It is only when Luke and Josh hook up that they formulate “Operation Three Bears,” an adventurous plan that might lead to a satisfying outcome for all of them.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Review by Aerielle

Three Bears is a surf spot with 3 different grades of waves, a Papa, a Mama and a Baby, so don’t let the title full you into thinking its about three burly, hairy guys. This is a story about three men coming together in a beautiful story about self-discovery and self-acceptance.

Dan meets Luke at a coffee shop and strikes up a conversation which leads to Luke offering to teach Dan how to surf. Dan is in town visiting his best friend Josh. Dan has always felt an attraction towards Josh and wants to spend this time to try and sort out his feelings. After hearing Dan talk about Luke, Josh eventually goes to the coffee shop to meet him too. This leads up to all three going to Three Bears to surf. All three guys feel an attraction towards each other, but no one voices this. Luke becomes aware of Dan’s attraction towards Josh and Josh sees Dan checking out Luke. Luke and Josh eventually start a relationship and try to figure out how to include Dan. When all three finally come together the chemistry is off the charts!!

My only real issue with this book was the authors writing style. I have never read anything by A. Nybo before. I found that some scenes tended to end too abruptly. I do enjoy MMM as long as it is done right. This book was borderline for me, with Josh and Luke plotting ways to get Dan to join them but in the end they both had real strong feelings for him and they felt incomplete without him. Three Bears is apart of Dreamspinner Press’s World of Love series but it is a standalone novella.

4 stars

 


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Review by Karen

This is a quick and at times amusing read, but I didn’t really feel very invested in this throuple’s road to bliss. 

It just didn’t click for me. The author takes the time to set the stage, so to speak, introducing the three MC’s to the reader and each other, but as far as the actual relationship between the three men is concerned, everything feels very rushed to me.

Once they’re on the same page, they all jump into the physical side of things very quickly, especially considering Dan is still in the closet for nearly half the book. This bothered me, I’m more of a slow-burn kind of girl. I’m also not a fan of fade-outs, so that ruined the more sensual scenes for me. 
A missed opportunity to explore the connection between the three men some more and raise the emotional stakes. 

The connection between the MC’s feels lacking in intensity for me and I just don’t see where or how they actually fell in love with each other. Josh and Dan have a shared history and years of friendship between them to build on, but Luke is a recent addition and they don’t really know him all that well. 

In an mmm romance good communication and a solid emotional connection between all the MC’s is crucial, and I just didn’t feel like that was the case here.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5

 

 


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Review by Truus

Short sweet read. It’s all about three guys with their friendship and love.
Dan is confused about his sexuality… to figure out all his feelings he goes to his best friend Josh… even though his feelings for Josh are the reason why he is confused.
On his way to Josh he meets Luke… Luke will teach Dan how to surf.
Dan is more confused because now he is attracted to two guys.

He doesn’t know those same guys have strong feelings for Dan.

I found it an amusing read, not strong developed but that didn’t bother me. It was a sexy entertaining read, it had a lot of tension… it was funny, light and fresh. All three had nice friendly caring personalities. A threesome can be tricky in a story, the dynamic can be awkward but in this short one it was convincing and they fit perfect.

Number of stars 3,5


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Audiobook: His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane Narrator: Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-leading-man-by-ashlyn-kane-9598-

Blurb

He wrote a comedy. Fate directed a romance.

Drew Beaumont is bored of the same old roles: action hero, supervillain, romantic lead. He’s not going to let a fresh gay buddy comedy languish just because they can’t find him the right costar. No, Drew bats his eyelashes and convinces everyone that the movie’s writer should play Drew’s not-so-straight man.

Aspiring writer Steve Sopol has never had a screenplay optioned. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest properties wants to be in a movie Steve hasn’t finished writing—and he wants Steve as his costar. Turns out the chemistry between them is undeniable—on and offscreen.

Drew swore off dating in the biz, but Steve is the whole package: sharp, funny, humble, and cute. For Steve, though, giving in to the movie magic means the end of the privacy he cherishes. Will the credits roll before their ride into the sunset

Review
This is a sweet and fluffy feel good story. Perfect light listening when you want the romance without any angst. The majority of the story takes place on a film set where friends become lovers. Naturally our two leading men gradually become more than co-workers. Drew came across as a bit of a diva. I’m sure that Ashlyn Kane totally intended him to, but he has a lot of redeeming qualities as well. I loved the way they ended working together. It was one of those possible disastrous scenarios which comes good. I found the whole film set setting quite interesting. The whole premise for the film they are making is a great story in its own right. Wonderful secondary characters, Drew’s agent and Steve’s mother, and the Director.
As always Kenneth Obi provides great narration. He gives distinct voices to all the characters I was never in any doubt which character was speaking. The only thing was I didn’t feel the connection between Drew and Steve. I’m not sure if that was the writing or the depth of character. Nevertheless it is an enjoyable audiobook. It’s light enough to fill an afternoon or accompany you when you are on a journey.

4 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration.


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Audiobook: At Your Service by Ariel Tachna Narrated by Jeff Gelder

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/at-your-service-by-ariel-tachna-3471-b

Blurb
When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet–and sleep with–Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.
Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them–Paul wants sex, not a relationship–Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.

Review
I have been a big fan of Ariel Tachna since I read her Langs Down series, but I wasn’t sure if I would like this one since I am not a big fan of long-distance love affairs. I ended up enjoying this one for the most part.

Anthony is an American in Paris for a week for work and ends up having a week-long affair with sexy French waiter Paul. He keeps reiterating that this affair will end once he leaves and goes back home which is fine with Paul who has been scorned by love in the past. When the last night rolls around Paul, especially seems reluctant for their time to end, which was surprising to me since he comes off as a bit of a man ho, but that gets addressed later in the story. They part ways but continue to communicate first via email then later through Skype. Both men go on with their lives while encouraging each other to see other people.

Paul gets jealous when Anthony starts seeing another man and ends up having many one-night stands. Anthony ends up getting an opportunity to start up a branch of his work in Paris and Paul invites him to stay with him until he finds a new place to live. They both tell their loved ones that their friendship is more important than jumping back into bed with each other. They have one slip up, but both agree that they should remain platonic friends. Paul really struggles with his feelings for Anthony until he finally bears all and tells him that he wants to try a relationship with Anthony. Anthony, who is afraid of getting hurt again agrees to think about it if Paul can provide that he is really ready for a monogamous relationship.

Paul is determined to prove that he’s trustworthy but eventually Anthony’s rules start to run him ragged and neither men really see it until Paul’s brother brings it to light. Paul uses sex as a way to combat loneliness and Anthony tries to find ways for him to cope when he can’t be there. Eventually they get their acts together and some really good scenes happen from there. The story ends rather abruptly. I really wish that there was an epilogue showing how the guys are doing 6 month or so down the line.

Narration:
I have listened to quite a few books that Jeff Gelder has narrated and while he isn’t a favorite of mine his does an adequate job. My issue with him is he doesn’t tend to change the tone of his voice much to inflect certain emotions. During certain sexy scenes it almost sounds like a character is laughing. I do have to say that I loved his voice for Paul. Super sexy French accent!

4 stars for story and 3.5 stars for narration

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 


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