Audiobook: His Consort by Mary Calmes Narrated by Scott Smith

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-consort-by-mary-calmes-9995-b

Blurb
A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He’s perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying… and utterly mesmerizing.

The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he’s never wanted a mate before… but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.

Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human’s soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic’s dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.

Review by Karen (book reviewed here previously)

I don’t think anyone can bring the soulmate/fated mate vibe to a story as well as Mary Calmes can. There’s no doubting the all-encompassing, blissful feelings that well up between Jason and Varic. I loved that they are so drawn to each other from the first, but even more that it’s not just about chemistry or power, but true love and appreciation of the other person that makes them so strong together.

I’m impressed by the amount of detail that went into the world-building and the setting of this story, bringing into it such history and a great cast of secondary characters. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in a follow-up story! We get to know Jason really well from the first, whereas our prince remains far more enigmatic. It takes a while for him to make an appearance “on page”. The author sure understands how to build up anticipation!

Jason is an incredibly endearing hero, strong and capable, but with a soft heart underneath. Varic, he who has it all and has had it for what seems like an eternity, needs to swiftly adjust to what it means to have a modern-day man for a mate, and how vulnerable that makes him feel. It’s not as easy as he might have expected, but his devotion to Jason never wavers.

The story is excellently paced with various vampyr political intrigues to muddy the waters for our heroes. Danger lurks in unexpected places and it’s hard to know who to trust. I didn’t see the threat coming at all! It was brilliant! Though less so for our MC’s, of course…

This was such an enjoyable read, I was totally swept away by it. It was all so intense! Loved it!

Number of stars out of 5: 5

Audiobook Review by Morgan

Well- let’s just say that I wasn’t as enthralled by the story as Karen was. I’ve been a big fan of Mary’s in the past and have really enjoyed her paranormal stories as well as some of her contemporary romances. Lately I’ve been re-visiting them and I think that while I still quite enjoy them – I maybe don’t love them like I used to.

This story kind of exemplifies the good and the bad in a Calmes story. She’s amazing at world building and not afraid to use terms and words that are unique. These can totally make the reader feel like they’re reading about something real or historical or otherworldly because it’s so complex and thorough and well-documented. However, the odd names sometimes feel bulky and as a reader I sometimes faltered over them. As a listener it was certainly made more easy but it still brought me out of the story and that isn’t a good thing.

Another Calmes trait is her clueless “aww shucks, who me?” MC that everyone adores and yet never knows his own worth. On one hand I really love that guy, on the other the repetitive nature of this guy has grown a bit tired. His counterpart – the more aggressive/kinetic/powerful MC is also a familiar face and in this case I never warmed to Varic at all. He wasn’t nearly as much of the story as Jason and I never got to see the two fall in love or really to understand why they did (unless it was a vague paranormal mate/consort thing that they couldn’t control – it was confusing.)

The secondary characters in Calme’s stories are always fun and well developed and they were here as well. I was just not that enthralled by them as I had been in some of her other books – probably because they were expected.

Just as I felt with her Change of Heart series – I think the world building was too much and the violence was OTT and the relationship rushed and non-romantic.

I’m afraid I’d give this a 2 of 3 stars and I can’t really recommend it.

As for the Audio –

Well – Scott Smith is one of those guys – I can’t say I like him but I tolerate him and he’s easy enough to listen to. He definitely tries with the accents and he tries to say all those new words well – but he’s still not great at pacing or emphasis or non-dialog passages.

I’d give him a 3 of 5 stars.

Overall 2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Chance at the Impossible (The Men of Canter’s Handyman #2) by J.M. Dabney

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43329992-chance-at-the-impossible

Blurb
Brent Canter lived forty-seven years content with his life to have it all disappear with one life-threatening diagnosis. Cancer without hope of survival, yet he’d beat the odds. He had a successful business and a family he loved, yet he was missing something. That something was an adorable, younger man, and he didn’t know what to do.

Miller Andrews loves the silver fox, Brent Canter. The older man is everything he’d wanted in a partner. Brent was smart, caring, affectionate, and sexy. He is damn near perfect. When he needed a favor, Brent was the only person he thought to ask.

Can one pretend kiss turn into the love of a lifetime for a man who thinks he only screws up and the other who questions if he can have a second chance at love with a younger man?

Review

This is a daddy kink book and I just wasn’t into it.

There was a lot of potential – sweet older guy who is befriended by his son’s friend while recovering from cancer – but it doesn’t always feel good and sometimes feels a little too much like a real father and son – to me.

I didn’t like how delicate Miller was and the chemistry just didn’t feel right.

Normally I’m a big fan but this was a miss for me.

2.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Miracle on Three Kings Day by Beth Laycock

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Levi’s family knows he needs to find a way out of his funk and be a part of the world again. His brother, Jesse, invites Levi to join him in sunny Spain for the holidays, but a delay at the airport finds Levi at Jesse’s home while his brother is stranded in Scotland. Luckily Alejandro—Alex—is on hand with a key, a friendly smile, and a willingness to keep Levi company. He might even manage to draw Levi out of his shell for some mutual flirting.
Levi surprises himself when he accepts an invitation to spend New Year’s Eve with Alex at Alex’s café, but is he ready for more when it means jumping back into life feetfirst? Besides, with an ocean between them and Alex hiding a part of his life that Levi isn’t sure he can handle, they’ll need their own Three Kings’ Day miracle to stay together.

Review
Levi seems a likeable chap, who has suffered from the death of his father, which has subsequently caused him to have problems with his writing career and close himself off from life.
He arrives in Spain to find his brother is still stuck in Scotland and so heads to the café to collect a spare key from the brothers best friend, Alex.
From that meeting friendship and flirting follow all gearing towards Three Kings Day, a traditional Spanish holiday.
This story was okay, but nothing really happened. Even the ending came upon me suddenly, with nothing definite set for the future of these characters. Both Alex and Levi are quite bland, no highs or lows expressed, although each has a backstory that was lightly touched on and could have made them more interesting. Maybe if this was expanded to more than a short story it would have been more engaging.

2.5 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf audiobook by B.G. Thomas narrated by Donald Tursman

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/grumble-monkey-and-the-department-store-elf-by-bg-thomas-1071-

Blurb
Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George.

Nick is a very unhappy man—he’s achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won’t deter him. That’s when he found Kit.

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit’s personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle

Review
The story was part of the 2013 Dreampinner Press “Heartwarming” Advent Calendar.
Nick is such a grump, love him. He is trying to get to San Francisco before Christmas Day when he meets Kit at a rest stop. He is so dismissive and judgmental of Kit. Nick is so angry at the world and takes it out on Kit. Kit seems to be everything Nick despises about being gay. Kit and his positive attitude gets through to Nick. Although I had my suspicions Where the story was heading to it was still bit of a surprise. On seeing the cover picture I thought the story would be humorous but I don’t think it gets there. Nick and Kit’s story has a happy for now ending and overall left me feeling thoughtful rather than buoyed up in Christmas spirit.
The narrator gives some attempt to voice the characters but it does sound more like Donald Tursman is just reading the story. If you don’t listen closely it’s hared to distinguish which character was speaking. Initially there was a hollow sound to the recording but either that got better or I got used to it.

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

Reviewer Name: MaryD

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is By Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Jared’s been all over the world as a traveling manny with Holiday Helpers, and the itch to put down roots is is starting to eclipse his wanderlust—especially since his current family is a handful.
After culinary school, Wes did some wandering of his own, exploring Central America before settling as a resort chef in his mother’s homeland of Costa Rica, a place he loves and plans to stay. If he’s learned one thing, it’s to be wary of flings with vacationers. Still, he can’t stand to watch two little Swiss kids lose their belief in Saint Nicholas, so he’ll lend a hand to the manny assisting the family. It won’t be easy to recreate a traditional European Christmas in a tropical paradise.
Between a snowball fight on a sunny beach and sledding down an active volcano, Jared and Wes discover some renewed holiday magic of their own. Can they make it last a lifetime?

Review

This was a story that just didn’t have enough length to work. We got an idea of where this was going to go and just about when it seems like it gets it’s legs, it’s over.

While I appreciated the need for brevity and technically the story is all there, what it felt like was a lovely lead in and a brief exploration of the meet cute, then pow – it’s over and a maybe HFN.

I’m not sure how much longer it needed to be but I really just didn’t feel our MCs connecting much and I learned way more about the family/kids than the new boyfriend.

In any case – there were some cute moments but I wasn’t satisfied in the end.

2.75 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time to Comfort: Designs of Desire by Tempeste O’Riley Narrated by Max Lehnen

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18139107-designs-of-desire?from_search=tru

Blurb

Artist James Bryant has forearm crutches in every color from rainbow for fun to sleek black for business. He even has a pair with more paint splatters than metal. After his family’s rejection and abuse from a man he thought loved him, James only just gets through the day by painting. He lives in constant fear that he’s not worthy of anything, let alone love.

As CEO of his company, Carrington Enterprises, Seth Burns is a take-charge kind of guy, and he is instantly smitten by the artist helping with his newest project. When he witnesses James suffer a panic attack, a protective instinct he never knew he had kicks in. He truly believes nothing is unobtainable—including James—if he’s willing to put in the time and effort.

James is shy and confused by Seth’s interest in him as a person. With Seth’s support, can he work through his fears to finally find the true love he deserves, or will someone finally land the crushing blow he won’t survive?

Review
It seems like this is one of those stories you either enjoy or don’t. It’s an insta love kind of story. James was born with a genetic condition which affects his joints. James’s past relationships have been a disaster, with his last partner abusing him. It has taken him a long time to consider another relationship. Then along comes Seth. Not a person to take no for an answer. He is determined to show James BDSM is not abuse.
Whilst I liked the story James does seem to suffer or attract bad luck more than the average person. His fortunes turn when he meets Seth. The right man makes it all better! maybe it’s more the case that Seth builds James’s self belief and confidence back up so that he can show the world what a fantastic artist he is. This is the first book in a series, each one focuses on a different pair of characters, and can be read alone.
I’ve read this story and when you have a good narrator it can bring different aspects to the story and make it almost feel like the first time. Unfortunately not in this case. I couldn’t quite match the voices to either Seth or James, there isn’t any distinction between characters. Although not unpleasant to listen to. The story just felt like I was being read to by someone who wasn’t that interested. It was the story itself that kept me tuned in otherwise I might’ve zoned out. The narrator changes for the rest of the series series, not necessarily for the better.

3 of stars out of 5 for the story
2 of stars out of 5 for the narrator
overall 2.5 of 5 stars

Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

Recently Released: Fae on a Roll (Kontra’s Menagerie #25) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42092323-fae-on-a-roll?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

On the Road: When a serious fae warrior stumbles across his soul-mate in a fun-loving, paralyzed human, he discovers the hardest task in his life is learning how to connect.

Prudhoe Rison is a specially trained fae enforcer and had been sent to the human realm to search for a missing prince. After completing that task, he should have returned home, but feeling a pull to stay, he’s remained for several weeks. Wandering the town to discover the source of the sensation has proven fruitless…until he drives past the library. The pull he’s been feeling intensifies, and he follows it into the building. There he meets Korvyn Peruke—his paramour—the other half of his soul. Prudhoe is drawn to Korvyn’s friendly disposition and outgoing personality. Even though the human is wheelchair-bound, it doesn’t stop Korvyn from enjoying life.

At first, Korvyn doesn’t understand why the serious and handsome Prudhoe is taking an interest in him—until he puts two and two together. A visit from a fae enforcer alerts Prudhoe that people in his own realm are talking about him. It also tells Korvyn—who already knows about paranormals—that Prudhoe is something other. Can Prudhoe keep Korvyn safe when trouble from the fae realm comes calling, or will he have to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep Korvyn safe?

Review

While helping rescue a fae prince, enforcer Prudhoe senses his paramour (mate) in the area. After completing his mission he stays in the area searching for him. He eventually finds Korvyn working in the local library. Korvyn can tell that there is something different about Prudhoe and having grown up knowing about shifters and paranormals he is more open to the concept of fated mates.

Sadly, this story didn’t have much of a storyline. There was promise of a good action or confrontation scene when Prudhoe’s brother shows up to make trouble, but it ended up being a pretty lackluster scene. The ending was very abrupt and unsatisfying. I’ve been a big fan of this whole series therefore I am used to the quick ending stories Charlie usually writes but sadly this one falls really short.

2.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review