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Upside Down Audiobook by N.R Walker, Narrated by Glen Lloyd.

audiobookreview

 

Blurb
Jordan O’Neill isn’t a fan of labels, considering he has a few. Gay, geek, a librarian, socially awkward, a nervous rambler, an introvert, an outsider. The last thing he needs is one more. But when he realizes adding the label ‘asexual’ might explain a lot, it turns his world upside down.

Hennessy Lang moved to Surry Hills after splitting with his boyfriend. His being asexual had seen the end of a lot of his romances, but he’s determined to stay true to himself. Leaving his North Shore support group behind, he starts his own in Surry Hills, where he meets first-time-attendee Jordan.

A little bewildered and scared, but completely adorable, Hennessy is struck by this guy who’s trying to find where he belongs. Maybe Hennessy can convince Jordan that his world hasn’t been turned upside down at all, but maybe it’s now—for the first time in his life—the right way up.

Review
This was my second time reading this story, in audio this time. I admit I didn’t like this narrator in another book, he was not bad, just had a sort of flat emotional range in my opinion. Yet, here I slowly grew to love him, he had a great comedic sense, and I felt like he enjoyed narrating this book. I loved hoe he interpreted the characters, he got Jordan’s wacky, quirky humor just right, and added this layer of softness to the relationship between he and Hennessy.
This book was incredibly sweet, with the humor I liked so much in Walker’s ‘The Weight of it All’ and dealing with the subject of Asexuality in a wonderful eye-opening way. Walker showed the struggle Asexuals face in our overly sexualized culture.
I think the thing that makes this story so good it how much you don’t really need sex to feel the romance, longing and passion Jordan and Hennessy feel for each other. Jordan is one of the funniest characters I’ve read in a long time, and he had me laughing more times than I can count. Angus and Merry were some of the most amazing side characters I have ever read and I wish we could get their story someday.
This book makes you feel so good, while still having emotional depth and dealing with serious themes. The ending leaves you smiling and a gooey happy pile of emotions. Just a wonderful read through and through.

Number of stars out of 5
5


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The Dichotomy of Angels by N.R. Walker; narrated by Nick J. Russo

audiobookreview

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49921241-the-dichotomy-of-angels?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=UGkNks73xm&rank=2

Blurb: Nathaniel and Chasan are no ordinary angels.

Destiny chose them to be twin flames, fated mates. But Nathaniel has avoided Chasan for nearly a thousand years.
When sent to Earth on a mission to live and work together, Nathaniel comes face-to-face with his destiny. Short-tempered, petulant, and grumpy, he hates the idea of being fated to anyone and has chosen an existence of isolation rather than spending time with the calm, kind, and serene Chasan. But now he has no choice.
One is fire, the other is air; a true dichotomy of angels. Together they will be ignited, or they will be extinguished. This assignment will seal their fate either way.

Review:
Story: This is such a fun story! Two angels – one grumpy (Nathan) and the other one, a ray of sunshine (Chasan) have been assigned to work together on a mission to save a child.
Both angels have to assume human identities – including being married to each other – and teach nursery school children. Oh, and they’re fated mates! Nathan has been avoiding his fate (heh!) for centuries, so he’s not pleased with this development – at all.
I really enjoyed seeing how they navigated through our world, especially Nathan. I especially enjoyed how both MCs navigate their emotions and the relationship that develops. There is a lot to love about the story, I recommend that you discover what you love about it too 

Narration: Nick J. Russo made this an excellent experience! He gave a great performance with the varying voices/accents for all characters. He also captured and conveyed the various emotions of the characters so well that I abandoned reading and just listened. Excellent way to enjoy the book!

Story: 4.5 stars
Narration: 5 stars


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Elements of Retrofit by N.R. Walker, narrated by Nick J. Russo

audiobookreview

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45187628-elements-of-retrofit

Blurb

Generation versus generation, traditional versus contemporary, these men are about to learn a lesson in architecture and love. Can they prove that the old and new can be the perfect design?

A successful New York architect, Thomas Elkin almost has it all. Coming out as gay and ending his marriage before his 40th birthday, he needed to start living his life. Now, four years later, with his relationship with his son back on track, and after a few short-lived romances, this esteemed traditional draftsman thinks he knows everything about architecture, about life.

Cooper Jones, 22 years old, is about to take the architect world by storm. Talented, professional, driven and completely infuriating, Cooper is the definition of Generation Y.

Starting an internship working with Thomas, Cooper is about to knock Tom’s world off its axis. Tom can teach Cooper about the architecture industry, but Cooper is about to teach Tom what it means to live.

Review

A captivating May/December romance with well-rounded MC’s. I loved the funny back-and-forth between Thomas and Cooper. Cooper is not intimidated by ‘Tom’ at all, even though he greatly admires his talent. I liked the mutual respect between the MC’s and how they are equals in their relationship, even though Thomas is Cooper’s boss (at least for some of the story) and is quite a bit older. There is some relationship drama, with Tom being a little presumptuous and not as communicative as he should be and Cooper showing his youth when they hit a certain bump in the road, but it serves the purpose of the story and heightens the emotional stakes in a good way.

Narration: Nick J. Russo was the perfect choice for this story. I loved his take on Thomas and Cooper, the way he captured both Tom’s more reserved nature and Cooper’s teasing banter. Loved it!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5



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Categories
adult - 18+

Next to Me by: Veronica Cochrane

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/next-to-me-by-veronica-cochrane-11803-b

Blurb
Can an awkward student and a closeted rock star make beautiful music together?

Music composition student Chase Collins has always worn his heart on his sleeve. That’s why it was so quick to break in high school when Chase lost Carter West, his best friend and first love, to an ill-fated kiss.

Imagine Chase’s surprise five years later when Carter, now a rising rock star, admits to the world that Chase inspired his band’s award-winning song—and that Carter was in love with him all along.

Frontman Carter West has been closeted his whole life. Now that he’s out in the most public way possible, he can finally indulge in the romantic impulses he’s always had to keep stifled. Reconnecting with Chase gives him the opportunity to explore a whole new side of himself.

But the next tour draws inevitably closer, and Chase is wary. Carter left Chase once before. Can two gifted musicians write themselves a love song that will last a lifetime?

Review
I found this to be a sweet second chance, friends to lovers romance. What I liked most was there wasn’t a lot of miscommunication and drama in this story. The time gap was only five years but in that time both Chase and Carter have had to do a lot of growing up. The fame angle was handled well without anyone becoming starstruck. I enjoyed the story. It was nice and light with a little friction to keep life interesting. When the story switched POV between the characters it took me a little while to settle into which character was speaking, nothing to detract from the story.

Number of stars 3 out of 5


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adult - 18+

Sixty Five Hours by N.R. Walker, narrated by Nick J. Russo

audiobookreview

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54870010-sixty-five-hours

Blurb

Cameron Fletcher and Lucas Hensley are advertising executives who have Sixty Five Hours to pull together the campaign of their careers.

Sixty Five Hours to get along. Sixty Five Hours to not kill each other. Sixty Five Hours to fall in love.

Review

Sixty Five Hours was one of the first m/m books I ever read, and returning to it with this audio version was utterly wonderful. The story effortlessly withstands the test of time in my eyes, and forced proximity has never been quite this sexy or this much fun! Cameron and Lucas’s romance is on a tight schedule, the same way they are for working out their new marketing proposal. As a reader, I was completely sold by how their relationship developed, the same way the Lurex CEO was. Things moved so quickly, but both MC’s are amazingly three-dimensional, and their connection progresses in a genuine, heartfelt way. Nothing feels rushed or cliché, a testament to N.R. Walker’s writing talent.

Narration: Nick J. Russo did a brilliant job with this engaging enemies-to-lovers romance, enhancing the story in a way I hadn’t expected. I was ridiculously charmed by his sexy drawl for Lucas and the more proper voice he gave Cameron, fitting their personalities to a T, and I was utterly captivated by the emotions and intensity he brought to his performance. Definitely worth another listen!

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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Secret Santa by Jay Northcote, narrated by Hamish Long

audiobookreview

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56332312-secret-santa

https://www.audible.com/pd/Secret-Santa-Audiobook/B08QM5PVF5?ref=a_library_t_c5_libItem_&pf_rd_p=85df3330-9dc4-4a45-ae69-93cc2fc25ca4&pf_rd_r=JC0N6CW947WKQVNCNC5C

Blurb
Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship.
Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son, there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly, and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days, and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.
Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon, and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognize Luke, and Luke realizes he’s not the only one with a secret.
Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches, their secrets pile up like colorful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all – each other.
Review
What a lovely holiday romance! Sweet and cute, giving you all the feels, but never crossing the line and becoming too mushy or overly sentimental. Perfect for finding some holiday cheer!

What truly made this story stand out for me is that it’s about two real, genuine people searching for and finding love in a realistic way while dealing with the hustle and bustle of everyday life and worries. No over the top drama or angst here!

I especially loved Archie, Theo’s little boy. He is an integral part of the story and incredibly adorable! Theo is a wonderful parent, putting his child first, and I found it really easy to relate to him because of that. I like that he has such a great relationship with Caroline and that there is no evil ex in the story.

I thought the references to Top Gear and The Great British Bake Off were a very nice touch in making the characters seem even more real and relatable. Luke, I’m with you, btw!
Narration: Utter bliss. Hamish Long is such a talented narrator! I always enjoy listening to his warm voice and was awestruck, once again, by his knack for capturing the characters’ personalities and emotions. I loved his performance of Secret Santa! He brought Theo and Luke to life in the best way.

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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adult - 18+

Demon’s Wish by Xenia Melzer

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56144105-demon-s-wish

Blurb: Finding love is hard—especially when you’re a demon and your potential mate is your sacrifice…

Sammy is content with running his bookshop and leading a book club consisting solely of paranormal creatures. Despite the persistence of his friends, he has resolved himself to a life without romance, since he doesn’t think anybody could find him and his tendency to spill useless knowledge whenever he gets nervous attractive.

Dresalantion is a demon prince and slightly—make that majorly—annoyed when somebody persistently tries to summon him. He finally decides to show up and put the fear of Dresalantion into his summoners but finds himself rescuing their sacrifice instead.

Sammy intrigues him from the get-go, and when Dre realizes that Sammy can get him the manga he’s been hunting for months—not to mention that he refuses a wish he offered him—the sexy demon decides to get to know this fascinating man better. Much better.

Review: I loved this story! Dre, a demon prince has been summoned, (via a potential human sacrifice), to do the bidding of some misguided kids – he soon sets them straight! The sacrifice, Sammy, is quick to realise that he’s in a bit of a predicament, what with facing off with a demon. However, Dre surprises both Sammy and himself by wanting to get to know Sammy better.
Sammy is a nerdy delight – he’s smart, unconsciously funny, full of trivia, which happens to be Dre’s favourite thing. I loved everything about the story – the banter, the friendship/dating thing both men had going on and some of the secondary characters, like the members of Sammy’s book club. I started to highlight some of my favourite lines, but I would have ended up highlighting the entire book!
Definitely one of my new favourite books!

5 stars out of 5

Copy generously provided by author

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Half a Cowboy by Andrew Grey

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/half-a-cowboy-by-andrew-grey-11801-b

Blurb

Ever since his discharge from the military, injured veteran Ashton Covert has been running his family ranch—and running himself into the ground to prove he still can. Ben Malton knows about running too. When he takes refuge in Ashton’s barn after an accident in a Wyoming blizzard, he’s thinking only of survival and escaping his abusive criminal ex, Dallas. Ashton has never met a responsibility he wouldn’t try to shoulder. When he finds Ben half-frozen, he takes it upon himself to help. But deadly trouble follows Ben wherever he goes. He needs to continue on, except it may already be too late. Something about Ben makes Ashton feel whole again. But before they can ride into the sunset together, they need to put an end to Dallas’s threats. Ben can make a stand, with Ashton’s help—only it turns out the real danger could be much closer to home.

Review

The story starts out promising with the strong cowboy with a protective streak who is immediately touched by the misfortune of a mysterious city boy on the run from his dangerous ex. Ashton is there to help Ben and is willing to keep him safe from the first, even when that means bringing danger upon himself and his friends. This felt a bit rushed for me. I’d have liked them to have had more time to form a connection to justify Ashton jumping in so quickly as Ben’s selfless hero. As they prepare to face Dallas, Ben’s crime boss ex, they grow closer and start to fall for each other. Ben’s background story was left too vague, and I never felt truly convinced of his dire situation over the years nor his supposed gullibility. And so I couldn’t really get behind the romantic plot between Ben and Ashton. They both also could have been drawn with a little more nuance and depth. These MC’s that have known pain and disappointment, which affords the author plenty of opportunity for character growth, but Ben and Ashton still seem too much like formulaic stereotypes, and their struggles sometimes veered dangerously close to self-absorbed ‘whiny’ territory. There are several secondary characters in the story to help create a world around our two MC’s, both to give that sense of finding family and to increase the suspense and dangerous vibes through Dallas and his goons. The first worked out well, but the latter fell a little flat, mostly because Dallas is a bit of a letdown as a villain. The author did have some surprises up his sleeve as the criminal aspect of the plot thickened, which was a nice plus.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3



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Categories
adult - 18+

A Christmas Break by Annabelle Jacobs

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55845390-a-christmas-break?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=7e0Q0Rl2uD&rank=1

Blurb

Christmas is a time for giving, not lusting after your brother’s best mate.

Finn has never had the Christmas of his dreams, and this year isn’t shaping up to be much better. Then he rents his spare room out to Jasper, and life begins to look up.

Laid-back Jasper is nothing like Finn expects. He’s hot, sweet, and easy to talk to. Finn could easily fall for him. But, he’s his brother’s best friend. He’s off limits, and Finn would never break that sacred rule…right?

Jasper has carried a torch for his best mate’s brother for years. Living with him sparks an old flame to light, and the more time they spend together, the brighter it burns. Finn is gorgeous and kind. He’s everything Jasper has ever wanted.

But he’s also scarred by old wounds and reluctant to let his guard down again. Friendship blooms, and for a short while, it’s enough. But the fire between them is undeniable. Finn can fight it as much as he likes.

He won’t win.

Review

This was a lovely, easy-to-read, feel-good love story with two adorable, well-rounded MCs. A part of the book’s plot focuses on (re-)connecting with family, which I love above all in a holiday romance. It gives this romance that extra heartwarming touch.
Jasper is Finn’s younger brother’s best friend, so they have known each other for a while; still, the author managed to write in a fun “meet-cutey” moment to start them off on the right track to new possibilities. They really shouldn’t go there, or should they? The story builds on some of my favorite tropes like forced proximity and the slightly forbidden brother’s best friend angle, and I liked what the author did with that. It never feels trite or too predictable when Finn and Jasper grow closer, and the emotional depth that sneaks in among the festive cheer is much appreciated. The writing is fluent and engaging, and I especially liked the humor interspersed among the book’s overall sweetness. The secondary characters, both human and animal, are great, the perfect cast to support our MCs. Finn’s mom is sweet but a little devious, and I loved how she “helps” Finn give a home to the most adorable rescue cats ever. I was absolutely charmed by A Christmas Break. Recommend.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Categories
adult - 18+

Title: Gifts for the Season: Winter and Christmas MM Charity Anthology by RJ Scott

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55844350-gifts-for-the-season?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=L2hifpndml&rank=1

Gifts for the Season: Winter and Christmas MM Charity Anthology by RJ Scott with Annabeth Albert, Joanna Chambers, Eli Easton, Suki Fleet, Lane Hayes, Annabelle Jacobs, Alex Jane, Amber Kell, Garrett Leigh, V.L. Locey, Clare London, Posy Roberts, Felice Stevens, A.E. Via

Blurb: A charity anthology from your favorite MM romance authors featuring fifteen brand new stories.

Review: A really good collection of Christmas-themed stories from a great group of authors. Let me start by saying I enjoyed most of the stories, they’re short in length, (all under 40 pages). Some stories are new romances, but many have established couples, so the stories were more of a glimpse into their lives.
I didn’t add individual ratings because I wouldn’t have been able to fairly rate the non-standalones.

The standalones
An Unworthy Gift (AE Via): 2 men who don’t have a reason to celebrate the season find each other and create a reason to. For a short story, it really felt like a novella. And more importantly, as an AE Via story it had a lot of steam 

Dressed in Holiday Style (V.L. Locey)
Fun story  Jakob, a diva-esque window dresser is a bit stressed due to being behind at work. He spots another window dresser at a rival shop, Chet and thinks that Chet is copying/stealing his ideas. This is a humourous story with a snowball fight and other incidents. Jakob and Chet are quite different but suit each other well.

Single Dad Christmas (RJ Scott): Short, sweet pining age gap story. Austin is the Dad pining for Paul. Paul, the manny looking after Austin’s triplets, plans to leave the household. Austin has to find the courage to ask him to stay. Really good story.

The First Snow of Winter (Joanna Chambers): A really good story. It’s a historical take on the trapped together trope. Sam and Jasper revisit their past, set the misconceptions straight and make a path for their future. Including Jasper accepting Sam as he is, disability be damned.

Driving Home for Christmas (Annabelle Jacobs)
Jared is stranded on the motorway and unable to get home for Christmas. He’s saved by his estranged friend, Tom. They end up stranded with one bed and time on their hands to resolve their issues. Enjoyable second chance story.

Homestead for the Holidays (Alex Jane)
CJ and Jace are college buddies who are at CJ’s family for the holidays. Jace is in love with CJ, while the latter is clueless. This is a sweet best friends to lovers story.

Twelve Days of UPS (Eli Easton)
Really good! A variation of secret santa – Dan is a UPS delivery guy who delivers packages to Paul, however, Paul doesn’t know who’s ending the gifts and he’s starting to fall for Dan. The feeling is mutual and things progress. It was nice to see the slow build between both men 

Five Gold Blings (Clare London)
A meeting between Gray (a delivery guy) and Alec, a vlogger in a bind results in a whirlwind of a relationship, from becoming business partners to moving in together in short space of time. Cute story.

Sojourn for Christmas (Posy Roberts)
Sawyer has been kicked out from home for being gay. Gregg, an older guy whose dog he walks, offers to let him stay at his place. Sawyer is attracted to the older man, but despite that, their relationship is that of friendship. Not sure if this is a prequel to another book, but seemed like there could be more. Wasn’t one of my favourites.

The non-standalones
Out for the Holidays (Lane Hayes)
Derek and Gabe are from Out in the Deep (which I have not read). Derek is planning to establish a bistro. Apparently his mum has not always been supportive so Gabe helps bridge the gap between them. A really lovely story of support, love and family.

Must Be Santa (Annabeth Albert)
Another established couple – Better Not Pout (which I loved) – but is great as a standalone. Nick and Teddy want to try fostering kids. This is their story of balancing being parents and partners. Sweet and heartwarming.

A Santa for Trin by Amber Kell
Apparently, this is about the Moon pack members, but it works well as a lovely holiday story. Incorporates the celebration of Christmas from both sides and kids 

Non standalones better if the previous story has been read.
Sometimes, Always (Suki Fleet)
This did not work as a standalone (for me), and since I haven’t read Sometimes There’s Stars, it didn’t resonate with me. For fans of the book (and Peri and Echo), you’ll be in for a treat.

No Place Like Home (Garrett Leigh)
Another story that’s better if one has read the prior story (in this case Circle; Roads series). Great for fans of Ash and Pete.

The Gift of Forever (Felice Stevens)
MCs Torre and Frisco (from Never Say Never) are spending their first Christmas together. A bit hard to follow unless you’ve read the book.

Overall 4 stars out of 5


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