Audiobook: The Foxling Soldati (Soldati Hearts, Book 2) By: Charlie Cochet Narrated by: Manuel Pombo

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Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-foxling-soldati-by-charlie-cochet-8753-b

Blurb

Sequel to The Soldati Prince – Soldati Hearts: Book Two.
Foxling Toka has served the Soldati king for centuries, and now he attends to the kingdom’s cherished Soldati prince. It’s a position of honor, and as Toka helps the once-human prince adapt to their magical realm, he finds joy in their friendship. He also grows bolder in his encounters with Rayner, a Soldati warrior and the king’s second. But the laws are clear: servants and Soldati are not permitted to mate. It doesn’t matter that Toka lost his heart to the dashing cad long ago.
Rayner never imagined he would fall in love with a servant, but the clever and beautiful foxling has ensnared him, and he resents the regulations keeping them apart. When an arrogant and spiteful king visits from a neighboring realm, Rayner is in danger of losing everything. But Soldati warriors don’t surrender, and he intends to fight all the harder to keep Toka where he belongs – in Rayner’s arms.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

Charlie should write these types of “fairytales” FOREVER!

While I’m a big fan of her THIRDS stories, I think she is truly EXCEPTIONAL when it comes to her fairy tale type stories. This, her Christmas series (https://www.goodreads.com/series/117423-north-pole-city-tales) and her Intrepid series (https://www.goodreads.com/series/103030-a-little-bite-of-love) just absolutely GLOW with her creativity!

THIRDS is funny and sexy and witty, but these series are super creative and whimsical as well as deeply romantic and touching.

First, let’s address that cover – GORGEOUS and so spot on!

Second, OMG Toka and Rayner are so sweet together! I loved how they both were willing to go to extremes for the other and their love. So romantic!!

It was great seeing Riley keep Khalon in control – heh heh. Riley is a great character and I was glad to see him so often throughout this story.

The shifting and the fact that our MCs mannerisms are so like their animal halves is fantastic! So often shifting is just something they do rather than who the character is. Right down to his human coloring, Toka is a fox!

The magic, the mystery, the romance, the action and the sacrifices and the HEA – all superlative.

I can’t recommend this enough and I hope you read book one first because it’s important and awesome.

Hopefully someone amazing will do these in audio format and SOON!

Audio

Manuel Pombo does another amazing job with this. He is absolutely worth listening to and adds to the ambiance and character of this tale. I wish I had more superlatives to describe how lovely his narration is, but it just… fits. Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair Narrated by Greg Boudreax

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Quarterback-Audiobook/B07C7MYH7X

Blurb

Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

Well, ‘tis the season for sports minded romance! This is one of three or four GFY or supposedly straight guys finding their gay side that I’ve read in the last month. Honestly, they’ve all been really good, so I haven’t minded one bit!

What I liked about this was that Trevor speaks up for himself and isn’t willing to be shut up in a closet. Trevor is also pretty unique and funny and as a character, was a lot of fun.

Matt is pretty typical, as far as jock characters go – though I found his willingness to try things at the happy ending massage place pretty funny.

There is quite a bit of exploratory/virgin sex , some pretty unrealistic team mates and some super awesome family members. The dialog was witty and fun and there wasn’t a lot of football to get in the way of the romance – which I appreciated!

I really enjoyed this and recommend it to fans of GFY/OFY jock/nerd romances.

4.5 of 5 stars

 

Audio

This might be the first time I’ve ever said this… but while Greg did his usual great job, I’m not sure he added as much to this as I was expecting.  I didn’t see a big difference between Matt and Trevor and I figured there’d be at least something what with all the potential for accents based on location, heritage, etc.

I thought he did great with some of the other guys on the team but I was looking for something a bit different for the two MCs.

It was still wonderful and amazing and a great way to enjoy this story.

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Recent Release: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39711956-robby-riverton?from_search=true

Blurb

Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.

The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.

Damn, what a kerfuffle. If only Trace can get rid of the fugitive while hanging on to his own stupid heart.

Review

First, let me tell you how psyched I was for this. So psyched! Because Eli is one of my favs, this looks hysterical and one of my fav f/m tropes is the “mail order bride/forced marriage” scenarios.

Second, this surpassed my expectations by also being ridiculously touching – more on this in a bit.

I was wondering how the heck Eli could pull this off. Who would be fooled for long enough for this to work out and what would the long term game be. Well – she came up with a great plot and it totally made sense and kept me rooting for Robby. (If I have any complaints is that there is maybe too much lead in to the story and not enough post time with our couple as a couple… however that is a lot on taste.)

Trace is also another perfect MC for his role and plays it well. His family and their “secret” kept me laughing out loud! I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that Robby likes to control things and has no problem brining Pa to hand – and it was one of my favorite parts of this story!

(All in all this was a wonderful “period” story from the old west that felt authentic and plausible in what should have been totally implausible. While I am eternally grateful for not living during those times, I believe she portrayed them accurately.)

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Release Day Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-little-library

Blurb

Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.

Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.

In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.

Review

Kim Fielding is a terrific writer, you can trust that any of her stories are always going to be an amazing journey with well-developed characters and a well-planned plot.   This is a very gentle love story about two men who’ve had some struggles in their romantic pasts but are still willing to try.

I love the imagery of the little town bonding over books and the idea of book sharing as a community. (I wish things like that would happen!) While e-books are fantastic that is one major down side to the technology – fewer paper books to share. L

There wasn’t anything earth shaking in this, but the love between these guys and their personal growth was sweet and easily captivating.

This is the perfect book for people in the mood for something light, sweet and easy.

Highly recommended!

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Release Day Review: Heart of Glass by Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/heart-of-glass-by-ari-mckay-9422-b

Blurb: Lawyers In Love

Fear of being like his unfaithful father has put high walls around senior litigator Asher Caldwell’s heart. Can former district attorney Zach Richardson knock them down to reveal the passionate man beneath the commitment-phobic workaholic, or will Zach’s own jealousy destroy what they’re trying to build?

A new life and a new love—that’s what Zach’s hoping for when he leaves the DA’s office and lets his friends give him a makeover. But the jury’s still out on whether the experiment was a success. His new look gets the attention of his boss and secret crush, Asher Caldwell, and leads to a seduction. Unfortunately, to Zach’s horror he learns that Asher assumed he was a paid escort. Asher is equally mortified to discover he had sex with an employee. Even so, the encounter meant a lot to both men, and they want to give dating a shot. Their romance born out of mistaken identity might work if Zack can trust Asher to be satisfied with the love of only one man… and if Asher can trust himself.

Review: What a sweet story, just what I needed after a horrid week!
The romance between Asher and Zach is straightforward, sweet but peppered with a little self-doubt (Zach) and ‘closed-offness’ (Asher).
The blurb says it all, but the gem of the story is the simplicity of their romance, it just is (a romance with dates, meeting the family, etc.). In fact, the story is more than 75% of the way in before ‘the misunderstanding’ occurs, and even then the separation is not protracted, (although Zach should have known better…).
I loved the gift exchange at the end ☺

This story gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, definitely enjoyed it!

3.5 stars out of 5

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Release Day Review: Rome and Jules by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rome-and-jules-by-tara-lain-9339-b

Blurb

Two werewolf households, both alike in dignity….
Rome Siracusa, youngest son of the alpha of the nouveau-riche Siracusa pack, wants to be a faithful son and pack member, but he’s got two big secrets. One, he’s blessed with enhanced hearing, vision, strength, and the ability to shift at will. Second, he’s gay, a fact he can’t admit to his deadly homophobic father.
Rome crashes a party at the mansion of his pack’s greatest enemy, the ancient, pure-blooded Havillands. Jules, the gay son of the drunkard alpha, is being married off to a rich entrepreneur. Smitten and moved by the beautiful male’s plight, Rome tries to find a way to save Jules—while digging himself deeper into pack politics and navigating his own arranged marriage. Secrets climb out of the caves as the werewolf gods speak through the mouths of their children, and the two great families clash, suffocating the hopes of star-crossed lovers.

Review

It took a little bit of reading to get into this book for me. But once I got into the second chapter I felt I was getting a better understanding of the flow of the story. We are presented more with shifter society and hierarchy, than shifters, shifting. Although we see more of that as things heat up between Rome and Jules.

The story seems more like 2 gangs trying to control the majority instead of 2 packs. Needless to say one alpha and most of his pack is homophobic, the other pack is strong but broke and is being lead by an alcoholic. Both are looking for a way to take control over all and using their sons as pawns.

I had a hard time believing that just a kiss would alter perceptions of the 2 MC’s. The Story eludes to fated mates, yet never comes out and says it. Also the ending of the major conflict was confusing to me.

I got caught up in the story as the story progresses but in the end it just didn’t work for me

2.5 stars of 5

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Audiobook: Pins and Needles by A.J. Thomas Narrated by Jason Riley

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Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/pins-and-needles-by-aj-thomas-8786-b

Blurb

The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

This reminded me of a gay, romantic, John Grisham novel – I loved it!

We get a little bit of everything. Some corporate intrigue and danger, some hurt/comfort, a little bit of client/lawyer romance, an interesting/heart-warming bit with Sean’s father, and some tattooing!

The romance between Sean and Nate sometimes frustrated me because it felt like a conversation about clients and lawyers and relationships would have fixed a lot of the angst – but once that gets settled it was good.

The action might have overshadowed the relationship stuff a bit, but all of it really blended well.

All in all I enjoyed this and would recommend it to fans of legal drama and hurt/comfort romance.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

I wasn’t that impressed with this narrator. Jason Riley is a new to me narrator, he’s easy enough to understand, but he speaks pretty quickly, which normally wouldn’t bother me, but sometimes I was waiting for him to breathe! He has a nice voice quality, but didn’t do much in terms of accents or differentiating the characters. The sound quality was good, but there wasn’t a lot of depth to his “performance”. I wouldn’t avoid him in the future, but I wouldn’t seek him out either.

3 of 5 stars

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

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Release Day! Teaching Ben by Shae Connor

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/teaching-ben-by-shae-connor-9302-b

Blurb

Learning to love means a study in patience.
Fresh out of the military, Ben Cooper is ready for a new start. He’s away from his domineering father, making his own choices… and out of the closet. On his first day of college, he meets David Powell, who’s just the kind of gorgeous man Ben’s dreamed of. Too bad he’s the teaching assistant—which makes him off-limits in Ben’s eyes.
David is Ben’s age, but his life has taken a different path. He’s close with his family, who helped him deal with personal struggles after he came out. And while he’s staying away from any hint of scandal, Ben’s a kind of temptation he hasn’t faced in years. If only they’d met on more equal footing.
As the semester progresses and their lives become more entwined, keeping their relationship platonic becomes more difficult. They just have to hold out until the end of the semester….

Review

I just couldn’t get into this book.

I wasn’t every really captured by the “romance” though the set up seemed “ripe” for a perfect hidden romance or slow burn. I guess I didn’t want everyone to make such “good choices” and “do the right thing”. (I admit this could totally be influenced by current mood – so be warned.)

In any case, it’s not a bad story and the writing is good, it just wasn’t something that pinged on my radar. Maybe too tame? Anyhow…

3 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: The Fireman’s Pole by Sue Brown Narrated by Finn Sterling

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-firemans-pole-by-sue-brown-8862-b

Blurb
The flames of passion rise for the lord of the manor.

It’s springtime in Calminster village, but things are already heating up. Sexy firefighter Dale Maloney is new to the local station. When Dale backs the company fire engine into the village maypole, he attracts the ire—and attention—of Benedict Raleigh, the Baron Calminster.

Soon after meeting Dale, Ben breaks off his relationship with his girlfriend, and the sparks between Ben and Dale are quickly fanned into flames.

Unfortunately the passion between the two men isn’t the only blaze in the village. An arsonist’s crimes are escalating, and it’s up to Dale and his crew to stop them. Meanwhile, as they investigate, an unscrupulous business partner attempts to coerce Ben into marrying his daughter. The May Day parade is around the corner, but they have plenty of fires to put out before Ben can finally slide down the fireman’s pole

Review
I found this to be a sweet and at times amusing story. I love the Englishness of it and the double entendres, my kind of humour (yep I’m a Brit). I loved the fairy tale aspect of working class boy falling for a member of the aristocracy. Their relationship develops naturally following a couple of incidents that makes Ben notice Dale. In amongst the budding romance is the mystery of an arsonist in the village and the matter of Ben’s girlfriend along with Dale’s ex. Sabrina, sort of Ben’s girlfriend. She is wonderfully strong and devious character. There is a lot going on in this story and it is the skill of Sue Brown’s writing that it all feels natural and suited to the flow, never to much or contrived.

The narrator, Finn Sterling has a pleasant reading voice, husky and deepens for the voice of Ben (Lord Calminster) however Dale’s voice is a little too high in tone for me it sounded squeaky at times. Not at all what I was expecting for a romantic hunky Fireman’s voice. I think there was a sort of south London accent but I couldn’t be sure. Also I found the female voices are a bit grating. They all sounded wobbly. The majority of the time the narration was fine. Just small personal irritations.

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

3.5 of 5 overall

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Audiobook: Point of No Return by NR Walker Narrated by Sean Crisden

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Point-of-No-Return-Audiobook/B0792L8YZG?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=GZ1XXQ7Y4Y0W3YG0FZ8A&

Blurb

Book one in the Turning Point series.
Matthew Elliot is one of LA’s best detectives. He’s been labeled the golden boy of the Fab Four: a team of four detectives who’ve closed down drug-rings all over the city. He’s smart, tough and exceptionally good at his job. He’s also a closeted gay man.
Enter Kira Takeo Franco, the new boxing coach at the gym. Matthew can’t deny his immediate attraction to the man his fellow cops know as Frankie. But in allowing himself to fall in love with a man known to his colleagues, Matthew risks outing them both.
Matt and Kira work to keep their relationship and private lives hidden from Matt’s very public life, fearing it would be detrimental to their careers. But it’s not the other cops who Matthew should be worried about finding out his deepest, darkest secret…. It’s the bad guys.
Third edition – has new cover and has been re-edited, though no new content has been added.

Review

I was so glad to see this FINALLY come to audiobook. This was my first exposure to this wonderful author and it hooked me in right from the start!

 

What I love about this is the classic story line: two people who shouldn’t be attracted to one another but can’t escape it. A slow burn dance of a romance as things gradually become physical. A deepening of the relationship over time capped with a dangerous situation which eventually pushes their hands and makes them really evaluate their priorities.

 

This is also an amazing story about coming out and finding your true self. It has some cultural notes in it as well as some disabilities. And we also get to learn something about fighting!

 

NR Walker isn’t afraid to make her guys really, really work for their HEA and even after things “look” happy we still see the “real life” struggles.

 

The chemistry between Kira and Matt is electric and the danger had me on the edge of my seat!

 

I loved Sean’s narration and thought he was a perfect choice for this. He does an amazing job narrating this and handling the various accents. He is a joy to listen to and I can highly recommend this!

5 of 5 stars

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