Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Goalie Interference (Hat Trick #2) by Avon Gale , Piper Vaughn narrated by Kirt Graves

Audible

https://www.audible.com/search?keywords=goalie+interference&ref=

Blurb

It’s goalie vs. goalie in this brand-new enemies-to-lovers hockey romance from Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn…

Ryu Mori has had a stellar season as goalie for the Atlanta Venom. So when he’s called into management’s office, he’s expecting to hear he’s the new starting goalie for the team, not that some new guy—an incredibly hot, annoyingly bratty rookie—is here to compete for his spot.

Not everyone gets to play in the best league in the world. Emmitt Armstrong knows that, and he’s not about to waste the opportunity after grinding his way from the bottom to the top. If the Venom is looking for a meek, mild-mannered pushover, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Ryu doesn’t want to admit the other goalie’s smart mouth turns him on. Beating Armstrong at practice feels good, sure, but there are other, more fun ways to shut his rival up.

In this league, it’s winner takes all. But there’s more to life than winning, and if Emmitt and Ryu can get past their egos and competitive natures, they might just discover they work better as partners than they ever imagined possible.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 72,000 words

Review

This is a fun series! If you’ve read and enjoyed book one you’ll absolutely love this one! We get to see the MCs from book one and the entire team again. Ryu is stoic and controlled he absolutely does NOT know what to do with the tempestuous Emmitt, aka Army.
The strike sparks off one another right away and that predominates their relationship. I was glad to see more humor in this and a fair bit of hockey to keep me satisfied until hockey season starts up again!

The emotions come, though they are a little overwhelmed by the smexy times and the angry sex. It was nice seeing the relationship between Tristan and Sebastian from a distance – it made them feel more complete than they had by the end of their story.

This is recommended to fans of hockey, angry sex, the authors and bratty goalies!

 

Audio

 

Kirt does a good job giving all the many characters a voice.  I wanted Ryu to have more of an accent than he did but Kirt handles the foreign words and his parents’ accents well.  Sometimes his narration is a bit stilted and the story always sounds a bit melodramatic.  However, this is a great way to enjoy this story and I recommend it!

 

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid Narrated by Tor Thom

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Heated-Rivalry-Audiobook/1541431634?qid=1572134542&sr=1-2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=7TJ5WG0S76CGPFKH47C1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2

Blurb

Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.

Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…

Review
This blew me away!

I loved this so much!

I gotta tell you – I was leery. This is a new author to me and though I’m a huge hockey fan – I’m wary of people who don’t know their stuff. I also don’t really love books where the romance has already started before you start reading. But…
First, the author knows her stuff! From World Juniors, to the Olympics, to the NHL and the major rivalries – she’s got it down! It took me a long time to figure out the nuances of the NHL system – it’s not a straightforward thing – and it’s definitely hard to explain – but she does it!

Second, as I said yesterday, the fact that she re-names our current NHL teams just lets us fall into the already understood world of team rivalries and playoff pictures and beards! Well done!

I will say that I’m not super in love with the fact that our MCs have off page sex with other people, but given the 8 year (?) time span, it’s rational and it’s not done in a way that is really all that bothersome to the romantic in me. But I do warn those of you who will hate that aspect.

Ilya is bi-sexual and Shane isn’t (I think he’s actually demisexual but he doesn’t label himself that way.). In any case the two of them are hysterical as rivals and it carries to the bedroom for some very hot smexy times.

I thought the way Shane handles his attraction to Ilya was one of the most “realistic” ways I’ve seen enemies to lovers handled. I’ve always thought that if a guy is struggling with his own sexuality to fall into bed with a guy (especially if he’s not drunk or has some other excuse) would be hard to do without some recriminations/shame etcetera.

Ilya, too, did a fantastic job with his own feelings and in the end I just melted at the way these guys found a way to be together.

I highly recommend this to fans of sports romance, hockey, enemies to lovers, Russian MCs (yum!), sweet HEAs and hot smexy times.

Audio

Tor Thom did such a great job with this! I loved how he depicted Ilya and his contrast with Shane was spot on!

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

 


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Spell Cat (The Aloysius Tales #1) by Tara Lain Narrated by KC Kelly

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/spell-cat-by-tara-lain-7676-b

Blurb

When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But Killian can’t pursue a physics professor—or a human. As the most powerful male witch in ten generations, Killian must bolster his dying race by reproducing—despite the fact that he’s gay.

Even a fling with Blaine is out of the question, because Killian has been told sex with humans drains his power. But if that’s true, why can young human Jimmy Janx dissolve spoons with the power of his mind? If Killian can sort through the lies he’s been fed, he’ll still face his biggest obstacle—convincing rational scientist Blaine to believe in magic.

With his ancient and powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all.

Review
This was not at all what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting a more “wiccan” witch and a more Alpha type? I dunno. What we have is a very powerful – with magic magic – witch – who really needs a spine.

Killian just blindly follows his mother’s dictates about marrying the right witch in order to strengthen his powers until he meets Blaine. Blaine forces him to reconsider his options, but it’s almost really more that the “bride” in this equation is adamant at not marrying Killian than Killian works at not having to follow through.

While I thought there was a lot to this story that brought a smile to my face: Jimmy, Lavendar, Al – the cat and the magic, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the main couple. They had a lot of chemistry and it was exciting when Killian finally found his depth of power, but before that I was kind of annoyed with his lack of questioning and his default “hide my head under the covers when things go bad” state of being.

The story itself was fun – evil family members, newly discovered magic, Matrix references and – again – Al being devious. I thought the dialog between Killian and Blaine got a little too syrupy a little too fast, but that could be forgiven given the over all “fairy tale” feel this story has.

It’s not my favorite Tara Lain story but it was still good. I’m compelled enough to be excited to read the other books in the series – the third looks really good – Al’s the main character! (Probably one of my favorite Tara Lain stories is any or all of the Harker Pack books: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/searchresults?q=harker+pack)

If you love a good “magic” story and want a smile and don’t mind some OTT moments, give this a try.

Audio

KC Kelly is a great narrator! He does an admiral job attempting the accents in this story – and if they aren’t quite spot on they are at least fun!
His style definitely matches Tara Lain’s light hearted and “dramatic” tale.
Recommended!

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Hexhunter (Hexworld #4) by Jordan L. Hawk Narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Hexhunter-Audiobook/B07VDMBP71?qid=1564959434&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=ZG720NFKW4X0EN0B2FPV&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

Detective Bill Quigley fell in love with the familiar Isaac the night they met. But after more than two years, it’s time to admit to himself that Isaac doesn’t return his feelings.

Isaac knows he’s too broken by his experiences for anyone to fall in love with. Especially someone like Bill, who deserves a partner unplagued by Isaac’s nightmares and doubts.

When children go missing from an orphanage, Bill and Isaac must work together to find them. And as years of yearning threaten to ignite into passion, they must decide once and for all whether to take a chance on love.

Review

Just as I’ve come to expect, Jordan Hawk brings us another amazing installment in her Hexworld series!

What I love about this series is how clearly she brings to life the flavor, sounds, colors of her world with her words. Having listened to Tristan James’ narration of her characters helps – of course – but honestly – she does such a terrific job of painting the picture that it’s like being in a painting or watching a movie as I read.

The mystery is exciting but doesn’t overshadow the romance and the new “twist” we see here between Bill and Isaac is lovely and just as rewarding as the previous MCs in the series.

Highly recommended and I can’t wait to listen to this as well!

Audio
Gah! I LOVE listening to Tristan James do accents! Mmmmm He did a tremendous job differentiating ALL the different characters and the British/Irish/Bronx… all of them were fantastic! It must be SO HARD to do but it comes off as effortless.

I still think my favorite is the cat- Cicero. He’s so catty! And snarky and funny and Tristan truly does him justice. He did a nice job with Bill and Isaac too – but Cicero holds a special place in my heart.

This is ABSOLUTELY the best way to enjoy these – you won’t regret it!

6 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Falling Down by Eli Easton Narrator: Michael Stellman

audiobookreview

Audible:

https://www.audible.com/search?keywords=falling+down+easton&ref=a_typ_t1_header_search

Blurb
Josh finds himself homeless at 18, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

Review
Oh boy the emotions this book pulled out of me. I had not read falling down before listening to it so it was completely new to me. The empty sorrow Josh is feeling is so well conveyed that I felt for him. It’s a bit disconcerting starting to cry whilst listening on train. I wanted to console Josh and encourage him not to give up. This to me Illustrates the power of Eli Easton’s writing. As soon as Mark saw Josh I was keen for them to meet and get together. They both have things they have to come to terms with and the story is about how they do this together without realising that they are actually helping each other. Just working and being with each other They start to see things differently. This comes hurtling to a head towards the end when circumstances make Mark understand how much Josh means to him.
I liked Michael Stellman’s narration he connected me to the emotions of both Mark and Josh. Making them feel real. The only problem I had was with the production. There are gaps between chapters I kept checking the to see why it had stopped but it hadn’t it was the long gap. This pulled me away from the story. But on the whole I enjoyed it, despite the heartbreak.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: The Dragon Boss by Anna Wineheart ; Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Blurb

What happens when you send an accidental dick pic with your resume?
On the run from dark-web criminals, Lucian Bolt has given up on a permanent safe place – all he needs is a temporary one, so he can earn some quick cash and run again. Better to flee than linger in the truth: Because of his electronic whispering abilities, his family has been murdered. A person like him doesn’t deserve happiness.
Then Lucian meets Knox, and things change.
As the boss of Whole Fish Seafoods, Knox has everything – except a family. Fifty years ago, wolf-shifters murdered his mate and child. Believing himself a failure, Knox has sworn off taking another mate…until he meets the job applicant that stumbles into his office.
Lucian smells like wolves. Suspicious, Knox frisks him and plants his seed in Lucian. Only to find out a week later that Lucian’s not the non-magic human he claimed to be. And that Lucian is now pregnant… with a dragon child.
With Knox, Lucian glimpses what a happy future could be like. And with Lucian, Knox has someone to protect again. As the sparks between them grow, and as the dark tendrils of their pasts coil ever closer, can Lucian and Knox find their way to a future together?
The Dragon Boss is a stand-alone dragon-shifter novel with sentient shopping carts, a kraken, and a dragon who will not fail his mate. No cheating, no cliff-hangers, but there definitely is a happily ever after.

Review

On one hand this was really creative with a sort of “normalized” magic in society setting but there are still plenty of secrets.  I really thought the computer whisperer idea was fantastic and the “alive” shopping carts interesting.

On the other hand there some pretty big plot holes that kept me from loving this more.  The computer whisperer can’t figure out a way to get his dick pic back and he sent it in the first place.  Then the Dragon Boss doesn’t take precautions even though he knows the guy is magic.  And they sleep together right away and often despite not really liking one another and being in constant danger.  Then there is the kidnapping… that plot line made me crazy.

So… I did read all of it and was happy for the HEA – but I was bothered by these plot issues that kept this from being unique and well crafted.  I’d definitely take a look at the next book in the series.  Dragons are awesome and Lucian’s magic was cool.

Audio

John Solo is just not my favorite. He’s fine. He’s acceptable but I don’t enjoy him like I do some of the others. It might be just a personal thing.  He does a fair job of telling the story and it’s a nice way to enjoy this if you can’t read it.

Overall for both the story and the audio 3 of 5 stars.

 


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Duke’s Baby Deal By: Ann-Katrin Byrde; Narrated by: Nick J. Russo

audiobookreview

Audible link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Dukes-Baby-Deal-Audiobook/B07JG7CT1J?qid=1541104612&sr=sr_1_30&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_2_10&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=X77Y4GSGWXRWW9BP2DAG&

Blurb

All his life, Bram’s been told what he would be and what he would do. No one ever gave a thought to what Bram might think he wanted. There was only one career option for an omega – a mating, pups, and looking after the household.
But Bram wants more. He wants adventure, excitement, romance, and something different than looking after pups for the rest of his life. He flirts and teases with all the alphas, but the one he wants, he can’t figure out how to get. Until one of his more dangerous suitors goes too far and Bram finds himself in a situation that could ruin him for life.
Duke steps in with an offer of a respectable mating, and everything Bram wanted is somehow now within reach. But all gifts come with trials, and both Duke and Bram have difficult paths to tread on the way to happiness.
This audiobook can be listened to on its own, but it contains numerous references to characters and events in the first two audiobooks. It would be best listened to in order.

Review

This is a great installment in this series. It is LONG and very involved and you must read all the books in order to really appreciate the story but I bet if you skipped one or two you’d still get the basic gist – but you’d be remiss! This is a fantastic “dystopian” shifter series wherein the shifters are forced into enclaves. Usually I despise these scenarios but it works here. There is just enough joy and magic to make up for the awful way the humans act.

I love Nick J Russo and his narration is wonderful as usual. There are literally a metric ton of characters and he does a terrific job keeping them all straight.

Highly recommended!

4 of 5 for the story
5 of 5 for the narration
4.5 of 5 stars overall

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook Review: P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon Narrated by Noah Michael Levin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ps-i-spook-you-by-se-harmon-8565-b

Blurb
SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him.

Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex.

It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales

Review
I reviewed the book when it came out and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad that I didn’t remember the story at all. Good in the sense that I was able to come to it fresh, but bad that it obviously was not memorable in the least. Having said all that I completely enjoyed this story which was mixture of ghost and reluctant medium with a good dose of second chance romance. Paranormal stories have always intrigued me. This one was about Rain both coming home and coming to terms with his powers. The ghosts, particularly one called Ethan, are hounding him to help them find peace and cross over. However returning home means meeting with his ex Danny. Rain never got over Danny despite being the one to break up with him. Rain and Danny do get their happy ever after but for me it felt like the medium side of his story was just beginning. I would love a second book, or even a short story about how they are getting on. Especially as Rain’s family are wonderfully quirky characters and would certainly make the story very interesting. But at this stage I doubt a sequel will be forthcoming. I mustn’t forget the mystery side of the story which turns out to be a murder. This kept me guessing until near the end when it all fell into place.
I’ve not listened to anything by Noah Michael Levine before. He has a smooth voice very easy to listen to and absorb into the story. He acts out the story line well ensuring all the characters stand out with their own voices and personalities. Overall a good listen but I’m not sure if it’s going to stick in my mind.

Number of stars out of 5
4 out of 5 for both the story and narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/volley-balls-by-tara-lain-8014-b

Blurb

2nd Edition

A Balls to the Wall Romance

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

A “pumped up” version of the Volley Balls story, twice as long as the original.

First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2011.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

I read the original edition and though this says it’s twice as long as the original, I can’t say that I noticed a heck of a lot of difference.

I love this series and though this wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, it’s still a lot of fun!
(I’m not sure if she’s redoing the entire series, but I see that there’s at least a new cover for book two so…) In any case, FAST Balls is my favorite of the series, reviewed here https://openskyebookreviews.com/fast-balls-balls-to-the-wall-5-by-tara-lain/) and I think that, though it’s not necessary, reading them in order helps to introduce the characters in a really nice way.

David is the owner of an art gallery who’s recently left an ex who abused him. He’s not really looking to date, but open minded when opportunity comes along. Edge and Gareth are Australian Volleyball players who are in town during a tournament. Gareth knows he’s gay but he’s deeply in the closet, Edge has some secrets of his own and some self-examination in his future.

To me, you have to just accept a lot on faith with this story. Don’t try to look at it too deeply- there are a lot of plot holes and amazing insta-love moments that aren’t terribly realistic. We don’t get a lot of relationship building here, as Gareth sees David once and is pretty smitten and makes some important life decisions with only a little bit of encouragement from David to go on.

The relationship between Edge and Gareth actually makes the most sense – given their history – and I guess the triad kinda makes sense – given that David is the only one with any real relationship experience at all. (This was the hardest for me to swallow. I could buy David and Gareth, Gareth and Edge and even David and Edge, but the three of them, coming together, and agreeing that this would work for them? I had a hard time seeing this given the brevity of their time together and the situation with Edge and… Well, it was a hard sell. The other thing that bothered me was the dialog – sometimes David and Gareth spoke in ways that didn’t always feel authentic. “Shall I …” etc. I just reminded myself this is fiction and kept reading. )

The sexy times are plentiful. Gareth’s mom is awesome. The art sounds fun. Seeing Edge switch gears and share with Gareth and David – super, scorching, hot and at times sweet, too. I didn’t really buy the triad, but found the guys fun to read about anyway, and I really enjoyed the other books in the series so…

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick is one of my favorites. Is his Australian accent good? Not the best. Is it good enough. You bet! I still loved this even though it wasn’t my favorite by this narrator. He’s still easy to listen to and fun. He’s great with the comedic timing and the smexy times and that makes this worth the money!

4.5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review