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


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time to Laugh: Somebody Killed His Editor Audiobook by Josh Lanyon Narrated by Kevin R. Free

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Somebody-Killed-His-Editor-Audiobook/B00B29YVJ4?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_11&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=TP4H6VXN8VT08ZQ7M5QD&

Blurb
For sixteen years reclusive mystery writer Christopher (Kit) Holmes enjoyed a very successful career, thanks to the popularity of elderly spinster sleuth, Miss Butterwith, and her ingenious cat, Mr. Pinkerton. But sales are down in everything but chick lit, and Christopher’s new editor doesn’t like geriatric gumshoes. It’s a pink, pink world for Mr. Holmes.

At the urging of his agent, Christopher reluctantly agrees to attend a mystery writers’ conference at a remote Northern California winery. But no sooner does he arrive than he discovers the pajama-clad body of a woman in the woods. If nearly two decades of mystery-writing are anything to go by, the woman doesn’t appear to have died a natural death.

With a storm in full force and a washed-out bridge making it impossible for law enforcement to come to the rescue, it’s practically like all those classic murder mysteries in isolated country manors that Christopher has been penning for sixteen years! If only Miss Butterwith was on hand. Or even Mr. Pinkerton

Review

There is a lot of situational humour in this story. We first meet Christopher stuck in a storm getting soaked in his new designer clothes to improve his image, on his way to meet an editor and stumbles across a body. For the length of the book, told from Christopher’s point of view, he is stuck on a literary retreat with a number of other crime/mystery writers. To make matters worse he doesn’t want to be there. The irony of his situation is very amusing. Not to mention Christopher’s droll sense of humour. I liked how his prickly relationship with J.X, they go so hot and cold and the miscommunications between them had me longing for some frank discussions but that would’ve spoiled the tension.
I liked Kevin R. Free’s narration. He gave me a great sense of sarcastic Christopher and exasperated but amused JX. The large cast of secondary characters were also handled really well. Each with their own unique characteristics coming through. I liked it so much I downloaded the second two books straight away.

5 of stars out of 5

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Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends to Lovers: Brokenhearted: Hope Cove Audiobook by Cate Ashwood; narrated by John Orr

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Brokenhearted-Audiobook/B00JUZSSDW?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_5&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=KC4S5EYY9VZR0TN45AYX&

Blurb:

Oliver Parrish has been alone in the world since he was born. So when Sheriff Owen “Mack” Macklin shows up on his doorstep to deliver the news that Oliver’s sister has died, he’s beyond surprised. Still, Oliver returns with Mack to Hope Cove, Maine, hoping to get to know the sister he never knew he had. As he tries to snap these new elements into his solitary life, he’s not sure how they might fit.
His life is shaken up further as he falls in love with the irresistible town of Hope Cove, and with Mack, its equally irresistible sheriff. But when he receives devastating news about his sister’s cause of death, Oliver doesn’t know whether to stay and fight for love and a good life, or cut his losses and run.

Review: When I started to read the book, I couldn’t get into it (personal things going on), it seemed interesting, so I decided to get the audiobook. I’m so glad I did!
The story is good – Oliver travels to meet the sister he never knew he had, only to find out that Maggie has died. He meets Mack, Maggie’s best friend, who helps him get to know what her life was like in the town. Oliver stays on to take over Maggie’s bakery, gets to know and fall in love with Mack. There are some ups and downs – Mack is not really out, Oliver finds out some devastating news and doesn’t handle it well.
John Orr was a pleasure to listen to – he really brought the characters to life, including the supporting characters (especially Hayden). His tone was even, with good, distinct characterisations. An enjoyable listen; I’m looking forward to listening to the other 2 books.

4 stars out of 5

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Friends to Lovers: Happily Ever Alfie by K. Sterling

 

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38214356-happily-ever-alfie?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Happily Ever After can seem so far away. Especially when life kicks you every time you’re down. Alfie Stanford was a master of fairytales and happy endings but his own story was one sad twist after another. He didn’t have time for true love and he was too tired to dance at midnight, he had four younger siblings to raise.

Happily Ever After doesn’t happen for everyone. Sometimes, you miss your chance while you’re serving your country. Jack Church gave more than thirty years of his life to the Army and believed it was too late for him to be some man’s Prince Charming.

Sometimes, a little girl and a very special quilt are all it takes for something very magical to happen… Sometimes, there’s robots.

Review: I wish I had a way to describe how much I really enjoyed this story! It’s funny, heartwarming with a few hot scenes! What makes this such good story is how well the different tropes/themes are blended together; the May to December trope, hurt/comfort trope, (a past tragedy leaves MC to raise siblings), precocious (but funny) kids, humour and steamy scenes.
I had a great time reading this – definitely in my re-read pile ☺

4.5 stars out of 5

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Copy purchased for honest review

 

Audiobook: The Runner by Parker Williams Narrated by Patrick Zeller

audiobookreview
Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/runner-by-parker-williams-9385-b

Blurb:
Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.

He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—

But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.

Review by Mary

(Book reviewed here previously)

When I reviewed the book I loved it, and I still do love the story. I felt for Matt in his self imposed isolation, his only way of dealing with the traumatic event that triggered OCD. He is a sensitive soul who retreated into isolation when he felt the world too hard to cope with. Charlie coming into his world gives Matt the impetus to change and question what he wants. My heart goes out to Matt and his brother Clay. Hearing the anguish read by Patrick Zeller made it so much more. At first I did think that Matt sounded too old but I soon got used to Patrick Zeller’s sound.

Patrick Zeller is a new narrator to me. I liked his smooth mellow voice but I found the timbre difficult to hear at times. I listen while traveling and I found myself increasing the volume higher than I usually do when I was walking near traffic. This may very well be my headphones. The narrator’s style is to read the book to you rather than performing each character. It still worked for me and I enjoyed listening to it. But it’s not on my top ten audiobooks which is a shame as I loved the book.

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

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Review by Dee

 

If there is ever a story made for first person POV, it’s this one. And the narrator, Patrick Zeller, captured the essence of the protagonist perfectly.

I’d read good things about the book but I’m not the hurt/comfort type, so wasn’t too keen to read this. However, I was given the opportunity to listen and I will say that I was blown away by this lovely story – all thanks to the narration.

To me, Mr. Zeller embraced Matt – it really felt as if I were listening to Matt directly telling me the story. I enjoyed the simple, but nuanced narration; it felt almost like a really good acoustic performance. I could feel Matt’s pain, anguish, fear, tentative happiness or irritation – all his emotions shone through the narration.

I wish could adequately describe well suited the narrator is for this story; I absolutely loved it!

BTW – the story is not as heavy or angsty as I thought it would be – I wish I had read it sooner!

 

5 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: Cocky By: Sean Ashcroft Narrated by: Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Cocky-Audiobook/B076B74FBH/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1510273469&sr=1-1
Blurb

“I’m having a little trouble coming up with the right words here, so I’ll be blunt. I want you to pretend to date me.” 

Faking a relationship with an injured hockey player had never been on Eliot’s to-do list, but when he’s sent by his editor to interview the newly-out hockey legend Danny Harper, he gets a little more than he bargained for. 

Eliot has been stuck writing a fashion and grooming column that no one reads since he started at Cocky—a men’s lifestyle magazine—a year ago. Desperate to prove himself, he takes the assignment to interview Harper, even though he couldn’t hold a hockey stick the right way up in an emergency. 

Danny turns out to be nothing like he expected—a lonely man who’s missed out on a lot by being in the closet, rather than the overconfident jock Eliot expects him to be. As much as he resists it, Eliot finds himself drawn to the other man. 

When Danny proposes they fake a relationship to improve his image, Eliot jumps at the chance—not only does he need the money, but his curiosity about Danny demands to be satisfied. 

With Danny struggling to get through the season on a busted knee and Eliot digging up the story that could make his own career, can the two of them bring themselves to admit their real feelings and find their happy ending? 

Cocky is a standalone gay romance with a HEA and no cliffhanger. It does, however, contain peppermint lip balm, platonic(ish) bed-sharing, explicit sex scenes, hockey-related injuries, and several five a.m. starts. 

Review

This was a very low angst, fairly high steam love story that followed a predictable story arc. Once you’ve given up the disbelief and accepted that the fake relationship is necessary, our two MCs fall in love over the span of the story in a reliable manner.

There wasn’t anything inspiring, but it was a nice story with some lovely feelz.
I don’t think I would have stuck with this book had it not been for the narration of Joel Leslie. He gave Elliot a fun accent and kept me giggling and wanting to see what he’d come up with next!

3 of 5 for the story

5 of 5 for the narration

4 of 5 overall

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Holidays: New Game, Start (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by CS Poe

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.
He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

Review
I just loved Edgar and Walter. Edgar is so insecure about himself that he can’t believe someone famous and wonderful like Walter would even know he existed. Sometimes you’ve just get to take a chance and go for what you want. And that’s what Edgar did and it won him the man of his dreams. They seem so suited to each other. Both of them paying attention to how the other one liked to be wooed. Part of me wants to know more and part of me is content with this little snapshot into their budding relationship. Lovely feel good story that fits any time of year not just Christmas.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Holidays: Ghostwriter of Christmas Past (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by T.A. Moore

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.
Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.
It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.

Review
When I finished reading this story my immediate thought was that this could make a good novel. Don’t get me wrong it is a solid short story with just enough background to keep me happy but it could easily be a lot more. I’m not certain if I felt any sympathy or empathy for Jason. I certainly did for his Niece Mallory. It’s very clear Jason is out of his depth caring for Mallory when both of them are still grieving. And that might be why he decided to take her back to where he and her dad grew up. I liked Tommy, he’s the strong dependable one, just what Jason and Mallory need to give them some stability. The only thing is that we as the reader get an idea of why Jason had to leave home at eighteen but I don’t think he ever really explained it to Tommy. I loved the ending, gave me a contented sigh. This is a good short story full of homecoming forgiveness and new starts. Personally I would like more.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Holiday: Needing A Little Christmas by Silvia Violet

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Needing-Little-Christmas-Silvia-Violet-ebook/dp/B00GZ0T3IY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510427866&sr=1-1&keywords=needing+a+little+christmas

Blurb

Discovering his boyfriend’s affair with a co-worker wrecks Eli’s holiday plans. With his parents on a cruise and his brother and sister out of town, he’s on his own. His mother insists he escape to her friend’s mountain cabin. Eli reluctantly agrees, but he takes off unprepared and ends up driving into the worst snowstorm the area has seen in years.
He survives the trip, but he’s stuck with no logs for the woodstove and little food. Fortunately, he gets the number for Mac’s Wood Delivery. Mac doesn’t mind riding to the rescue, and his deep, sultry voice has Eli eagerly anticipating the delivery. Is Mac the little bit of Christmas cheer Eli has been needing?

 

Review

Short, cute holiday story. Eli decides to escape to a rural cabin from well-meaning relatives after a break-up. He’s woefully ill-equipped for rustic cabin life, but help come in the form of Mac, a local who runs a wood delivery service. The attraction is immediate when they talk on the phone, at least for Eli, but is mutual when they meet.
Both men fall pretty quickly, but it felt comfortable, warm and believable. Both men are at a place where there is no need for games – and I liked that.
For a quick holiday read, this hits the spot.

3.5 stars out of 5

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Desperately Seeking Santa by Eli Easton

release day review

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36582719-desperately-seeking-santa?from_search=true

Blurb
Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering Santa’s identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into serious journalism.

Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.

As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack has secrets a guy famous for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, win the heart of a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas

Review
This Christmas story has something for everyone and like the perfect Christmas gift you do want to put it down. First we get to revisit Jordan and Owen from Superman. It’s lovely to find out how they are getting on four years later as seniors. I doesn’t matter if you haven’t read Superman, Desperately Seeking Santa stands on its own but do recommend it. Jordan takes his friend Gabe to see Owen in a wrestling match and there he sees (can’t miss) Mack ‘The Mountain’ McDonall. For someone who has no interest in sports Wrestling has just become very interesting.
Gabe is a journalism major looking for a great exposure story for a final paper and if he can get paid to do it win win. I really liked Gabe, he’s a fun character with a serious side but you’d have fun with him. He is disappointed his first assignment is a fluffy Christmas piece and looks for angles. When he finds out no one knows who the Santa is, well looks like he’s got his story! But what would be the cost of exposing Santa? The story is told from Gabe’s point of view and it’s great to see him realise how his own experiences colors his views.
Mack is reserved, the strong silent type of loveable guy. He knows what he wants and where his future is going. Family is important to him and he cares deeply about the important people in his life. I love both Mack and Gabe so different from each other but complimenting each other at the same time The part I adore the most is the tradition of toasting to wishes for the next year, they were ones of hope and happiness. It’s a lovely idea. All in all this is a perfect Christmas story for me.

As I said there is something for everyone in this wonderful Christmas story, the slow romance and building of trust between Gabe and Mack, the spirit of Christmas caring for others, selfless generosity, family, friends and pulling together to make a difference. All without the fluff. This is going to be one of my go to Christmas reads.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review