Audiobook: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane Narrated by Gomez Pugh

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/familiar-angel-by-amy-lane-8950-b

Blurb

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.
Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven him to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.
In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and he didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I’m having a tough time reviewing this.

On the one hand, I enjoyed it – as I do nearly every Amy book I’ve ever read, and like those of hers I’ve read a million times.

Amy is very good at giving us clear, crisp writing with just the right amount of show versus tell. The back story for our boys is delivered in a bits and pieces with only small amounts of flash backs to fill in the gaps.

We’re shown the budding relationships between all 3 boys with telling glimpses rather than overt smacks to the face. Sometimes, however, the subtlety got a bit too murky.

It’s obvious that Suriel and Harry are falling/have fallen for one another, but I really missed that moment when it happened … and the reasons why they have to be apart are a little vague and I wasn’t always sure why the things that happened … did.

I loved the cat-ness in this story! The back and forth and the human manifestations of the feline persona were priceless!

The chemistry between Harry and Suriel isn’t as “warm” as some of her other couples, and – in fact – if we get to see the other brother’s stories – I’m sensing a lot more heat between them and their partners already than I did between Suriel and Harry. Instead, theirs felt more like a blanket than a fire – if you know what I mean. They wanted one another, and the passion was talked about – but I don’t know that I felt it much.

I absolutely loved the world building and the “moral of the story” with big Cass and all the “powers” and magic.

I’m really looking forward to the next books in the series!

4 of 5 stars

Audio

I Loved Gomez’ interpretation of this!  He was easy to listen to and made me love the story even more than I had when reading it.  I definitely think our mood influence our opinions of things and I must have been feeling better this time around because I loved this – full stop!  Highly recommended with no reservations!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Lover (Survivor #2) by T.M. Smith

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36491235-lover

Blurb

Lover – A Survivor story

Life has not always been kind to Shannon Dupree. On the outside he’s carefree and fun loving, but when it comes to his past he’s evasive and secretive. Running away from emotionally bereft parents at just fifteen, Shannon escapes life with them but steps into the waiting arms of the devil.

Rory Landers is a rising star at the Bureau. His personal life, however, is nothing to write home about. He hopes to take his limited relationship with Frank Moore to the next level when they finally solve the Langford murder case, but that doesn’t turn out as planned. On the plus side, he meets free-spirited college senior Shannon Dupree.

Rand Davis finds himself fortysomething and single when his partner of more than a decade is unfaithful. Taking over the Cold Case Squad frees up some of his time, and Rand welcomes newfound friendships within the Langford-Moore family circle. He thinks relationships are not in the cards for him until he meets an agent with an attitude and a vivacious blond that make him want so much more.

Past, present, pain, and suffering collide, ushering in the possibility of a life and love worth fighting for. Although their personalities couldn’t be more different, their three hearts beat the same. Shannon, Rory, and Rand learn the definition of love, commitment, and strength and if they allow themselves, the trio will find all that and more—in each other.

Review

I definitely enjoy this series. I thought book 1 was amazing and really heart wrenching at times. This had some of that same emotional pull but didn’t feel as tightly presented as book 1.

I’m not always a big fan of ménage and it has to be done right for me to enjoy it versus think it’s ok as far as the romance goes. For me – the chemistry and the hurt/comfort was right on target for this throuple – however, I didn’t always feel they were equal partners and that Rand sort of felt like a addition rather than integral to the overall success.

Perhaps if the story had gone on longer or the throuple had developed sooner I might feel differently – but we get to see these guys acting as a unit for only a very short time and while it has huge potential – I can’t say it’s more than HFN for me.

The writing/editing/pacing seemed up to the author’s usual standards and I think fans of her work will be pleased.

Recommended.

4 of 5 stars

 

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audioboook Month: Breaking Point (Turning Point Series, Book 2) by N.R. Walker Narrated by Sean Crisden

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Breaking-Point-Audiobook/B07CMKBM25?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=FC1HTDMZ5BCRNNTMXB40&

Blurb

Book two in the Turning Point Series.
A fight for what’s right becomes a fight for his life.
As guilt plagues him, Matthew Elliott’s world begins to spiral out of control. The harder he holds on, the more it slips through his fingers, and he’s helpless to stop it.
Entering into the underground cage-fighting scene, he starts out fighting for what’s right. The deeper he gets, the more guilt consumes him – the more pain he takes for his penance – and he’s soon fighting for more than justice.
He’s fighting for love.
He’s fighting for his life.
The third edition has a new cover and has been re-edited, though no new content has been added.

Review

 

I had forgotten the emotional toll this book takes. This is not a standalone, and takes place right where book 1 leaves off.

 

NR Walker is great at giving us these complex and somewhat broken but not completely broken characters. Matt is losing it but can’t tell Kira and it’s killing them both.

 

Luckily – we find out that love can conquer all – but… and here’s where NR Walker does something amazing – Kira and Matt agree that their relationship needs WORK and that it’s not just enough to say “I love you” and everything is sunshine and roses.

 

I really appreciated that nod to reality with this story.

 

The sexual chemistry is still there, but it is tempered by the emotions and does not preclude real discussions.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Audio

 

As usual Sean Crisden manages to continue to impress the hell out of me with his ability to show emotions and keep all the myriad characters separate and the action from dragging and …. Well everything! He absolutely adds to the overall experience and this is highly recommended!

 

5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to go Dark: Dax’s Desire (Avanti Chronicles Book 5) by Hannah Walker

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29873466-dax-s-desire?from_search=true

Blurb
The Avanti have made their way to Berinias, the capital and heart of Landran society. Not only is it King Kastain’s home ground, but it’s the seat of the Conclave’s power.
Dax finally gets to see Kastain in all his glory— regal, confident, powerful and downright sexy. As events unfold, Dax and Kastain realize everything happening with the Derin, with Martellon, Nestor and Teriva, is linked. Their enemies draw closer and the plots and machinations of the Conclave deepen. They just need to work out who is behind it all and what they hope to gain.
Kastain finds himself turning to Dax, the one person he seems to be able to count on more than anything. The bond between the two leaders is stronger than they expected, and they long for rare times alone so they can explore it. Instead their time is taken up trying to work out which Chieftains they can count on and who is attempting to undermine them at every turn.
When plots and betrayals run deep within the heart of the capital, who will succeed and who will pay the ultimate price?

Review
And the storyline continues!

With each of the previous books we have seen the political posturing of all the groups and in this story it all centers around the King , the Capital and the Avanti. Some questions are answered and more are asked. And while all of this is going on another of the Avanti finds the love of his life.

King Kastain and Avanti leader Dax are both strong personalities yet when they get the chance to be alone they really are both soft and caring men. With all the political intrigue weaved through the story there is also comic relief and also truly hot sex scenes.

Many questions are answered but nothing is truly solved. The story does end in a HEA for the couple, but those of us who are following series are waiting impatiently for the next book and the next set of clues to the ongoing storyline.

5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor Narrated by Kenneth Obi

Audiobook: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

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

(Book reviewed here previously)

I just couldn’t get into this book. (The narrator didn’t do much to change this opinion, unfortunately.  Sometimes a great narrator can really pull you into a book… but not this time.)

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…

Audio

Kenneth Obi does a nice enough job with this. He’s easy to listen to and does a fair job with the timing and emotions. He’s not great at giving unique voices and he didn’t do much to elevate this for me.

Overall still 3 of 5 stars

3-stars-small

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to go Dark: Rebel Audiobook By: Rhys Ford Narrated by: Tristan James

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rebel-by-rhys-ford-9200-b

 

Blurb

The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something – it’s standing up for himself.

Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After Gus spends years running from his past, present, and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, karma delivers the one thing Gus could never – would never – turn his back on: a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating breakup a few years ago.

Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together…until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.

For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold on to. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt, but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.

When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.

Review by Dee

(Book reviewed here previously by Dee)

I am a big Rhys Ford fan; she has a way with words and she can make a murder scene seem like a work of art. However, I initially struggled with this book because it started off somewhat dark. As the brothers are introduced in the story, one gets a sense of the horrible childhood they all suffered through. This is a story about forging a brotherhood, giving/taking second chances and making a family, no matter how one is (or not) related.
After 3 years, Gus has returned to his brothers, after finding out that he is the father of a 3 year old boy. There are flashbacks to events happened to Gus as a child, while with his mum and in foster care; not for the faint of heart. The horrid childhood Gus suffered through is partly the reason that he couldn’t commit to his then boyfriend, Rey. As Gus and Rey dance around their strained relationship, (realising they never stopped loving each other), they have to navigate past histories, custody hearings for the child, a vengeful child protective service officer and family, to get their HEA.

I thoroughly enjoyed their journey.

It took me 2 tries to read this. I had been expecting something along the lines of the Dirty series – tongue-in-cheek humour, a bit of drama, some hurt/comfort. Instead, I got a story that took me apart emotionally, but put me back together in a cocoon of family, warmth and love. As an added bonus, there are little gems in the form of references to characters from other books, (hers and others).
Now to patiently wait for the next brother’s story.

 

4.5 stars out of 5

Review by Morgan

On the one hand I absolutely agree with Dee.  Rhys is so gifted at description and bringing emotion to her words – in my mind she paints a story for us more than almost anyone else I read on a regular basis.  The downside of that is the rhythm of the story is sometimes bogged down by these luscious descriptions.  Since she likes to write action/crime/mysteries the pacing is an important piece and I think it suffers sometimes for that.

That being said, she’s also so talented at giving us intriguing and big hearted characters that some of the above can certainly be forgiven.

I agree with Dee that I was expecting more of Cole’s humor or Damie’s irreverence and we don’t really get that here.  Honestly, I missed the release from tension that the humor offered.

As is the case with many great authors, though I try not to, I do compare one piece to their other works, and this isn’t my favorite by the author.  It’s amazing on it’s own, but I’ve enjoyed others by her better.

With that said, if an emotional journey is what you’re looking for this is the story for you!

 

4 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Tristan James and Rhys Ford are a terrific match.  Tristan knows just how to stretch out the drama and it really matches Rhys’ tone to perfection.  His voice is like candy to me and I’d pretty much listen to anything he narrates – so I’m a bit biased 🙂

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Banded Together by K.C. Burn Narrated by Darcy Stark

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/banded-together-by-kc-burn-9193-b

Blurb

Punk’s not dead, but it’s time to redefine life.

Devlin Waters thought he’d have music forever. But the tragic death of his best friend ended the twenty-year run of his punk band, Negative Impression. Unable to process the loss, Devlin distances himself from everyone and everything that reminds him of the band. But forty-one is too young to curl up and wait for the end. In a search for a second career, he finds himself at university with a bunch of kids young enough to be… his kids. His sexy archeology professor, however, makes Devlin think about life beyond his grief….

Dr. Jack Johnson does not appreciate Devlin’s lack of respect, his inability to be serious, or his chronic lateness. Worse, he hates that he’s attracted to a student. When he realizes Devlin is the rock star he crushed on in his youth, he drops his guard—against his better judgment.

Before they can move forward together, Jack must admit to Devlin that he’s not only an admirer, but he also sings in a cover band. How will Devlin react to his ultimate fanboy when his own music has died?

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

There was a lot of potential in this story. I loved the idea of an old rocker going back to school. The fact that his professor is a fan is awesome. The juxtaposition of rocker and professor – also awesome.

What didn’t work for me was the fact that I never liked Devlin. He was a bit too whiny and though he had a lot to be upset about, I just never warmed to him. As a result I found it hard to care about his relationship.

There was a bit too much drama and the ending didn’t nearly satisfy.

Though the writing was nice and the story idea intriguing, I wasn’t bowled over by this story.

3.25 (rounded to 3.5) of 5 stars

Audio

I’ve enjoyed Darcy Stark narrating other series and he did a nice job with this as well. He matches the tone of this – a bit angsty – a bit dramatic- a bit emotional.

I’d listen to the sample if you’re not familiar with him – but I think he’s very easy to listen to and adds to the overall enjoyment of the story.

4 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony Narrated by Peter B Brooke

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/swanns-revenge-by-shira-anthony-9268-b

Blurb

Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past?
Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten—until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work.
Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.
Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is—and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after….

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

We have a big case of “if these two guys would talk to each other all their problems could be fixed”. This is one of my huge pet peeves as a writing tool and it made me kinda crazy here.

I loved the components – geeky guy goes chic, boss/employee dynamics, fighting for the underdogs in the real world, single fatherhood, sizzling chemistry… but the main drive for the story was a Big Misunderstanding and those aren’t my favorite. At all.

Shira Anthony is a great writer, so her characters are well-developed, the style is fluid and easily engaging and the sexy times are really hot. But… why wouldn’t the two just talk?!

So… if you don’t mind that hurdle, you’ll love this!

Audio

Peter B Brooke does a nice job with his narration. He attempts to give everyone a unique voice and does a fair job with the non-dialog parts.

4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to go Dark: Acrobat Audiobook by Mary Calmes Narrated by Sean Crisden

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/acrobat-by-mary-calmes-1725-b

 

Blurb:

Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been looking for. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.

Review:

Acrobat is not technically (according to Goodreads) part of the Matter of Time series, but it has characters that will show up in the series, so I included it there. Nathan Qells dates Duncan Stiel in Acrobat who later marries Aaron Sutter in Parting Shot and Aaron Sutter dated Jory in Matter of Time. We also meet Dr. Sean Cooper in Acrobat, who along with Duncan Stiel show up in All Kinds of Tied Down. (Later – we see Dreo playing a MAJOR role in the issues that our guys deal with in the Marshall’s series as well as the Vault series – so it’s definitely important…Six Degrees of Mary ; ) .)

I absolutely loved this book. We get some amazing characters and a sticky-sweet romance with big heart, a fantastic family story to go along with it and some exciting action and adventure.
First there is Nathan Qells. He is the Mary character that can do no wrong. He got his high school BFF pregnant, married her, had an amazing son, and now divorced, they are still BFFs. He teaches at a university where all the hot young things want him, but he doesn’t even know it! Though he is always involved in a relationship he is never really involved in the relationship. Until Andreo.

Andreo Fiore. Mmmm. Delicious. He is a sweet, sexy mobster – going straight (legit is maybe a better word ) so that he can have a full life and family. He’s our “maybe not quite a good guy” who is turning into the good guy.  Dreo is the guardian for his dead sister’s son, Michael, and it is through Michael that Nathan and Dreo connect.

Between the family and the love there is the mob. Mobsters don’t like gay men apparently and it causes some pretty big problems. Like a stab to the gut problems. But, in the end, true love wins and happy is ever after.

Audio:

Just two words on the audio version of Acrobat – BUY IT! It’s great. Sean Crisden does an amazing job with the narration, giving Dreo such a sultry voice and making Nate all the more “cute and clueless but wonderful”.

Overall: both the book and the audiobook were Amazing! 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Stand by Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stand-by-your-manny-by-amy-lane-9516-b

Blurb
Learning to trust and falling in love.

Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!

An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy.

Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?

Review

I absolutely loved these guys! The hurt/comfort between these two was off the charts in the sweet factor and I fell in love with them and their little extended family/ies.

I kinda wanted their “de-virgininzing” to be hotter – but I guess that’s more the Dreamspun thing than anything else. Book 2 was a bit steamier and so this was a bit of a let down.

The glimpses of previous MCs was appreciated and I’m looking forward to the next in the series very much.

I really hope Nick Russo gets to do the narration…. Just my hopeful hint!

For fans of the author and the series this is a must, if you’re new to the series this isn’t my favorite of the bunch but it’s Amy so it’s great!

4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review