Audiobook: Crocus by Amy Lane narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Blurb
Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
(Previously reviewed by Mary on site.)
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

From Morgan: I absolutely agree with Mary. Even though the HEA for our guys happens in book 1, we don’t really see them interacting a whole lot together because – in typical Amy fashion – they are BOMBARDED with drama. Though the drama is still in heavy doses in book 2 – our guys handle it TOGETHER and that makes all the difference.

I was glad to see Amy confront the depression issues head on and not shy away from the less than perfect side of pregnancy, etc.

Highly recommended and can’t wait for book 3!

Audio

I just love Nick J Russo. I can’t say that enough. He makes every listening experience a joy and I always know I can depend on him to provide a quality character choice and interpretation. I love how he manages to give Aaron the laid back and stolid voice while in the next breath giving us the hyper and sometimes frenetic Larx.

Well done and highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars for both


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Time to get paranormal: Slow Heat Audiobook by Leta Blake, Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

Audible link

https://www.audible.com/search?keywords=slow+heat+leta+blake&ref=a_pd_Love-Y_t1_header_search

Blurb:

Professor Vale Aman is an unbonded omega in his mid-30s who lost the hope of contracting with an Alpha. He’s content with his career, his poetry, his cat, and his small group of friends. When Jason Sabel imprints on Vale strong emotions and a deep sexual need to be together threatens to bring both men to ruin if they do not contract legally before consummating their bonding. Jason being such a young Alpha, with a much older Omega might just tear them apart.

Contracting with Jason also means Vale has to give up his independence trusting a young inexperienced alpha, not to mention facing the physical and emotional scars of his past. While Vale is not sure if giving up his comfortable life is worth it, Jason will not give up is fated mate and the future he knows they could share together.

Review

I have always avoided Omegeverse books, and MPREG has never been my thing, I felt like it’s never explained properly in many of them. But, as a Leta Blake book and the number of good reviews and recommendations this book gets I knew I had to read it. Leta has an amazing talent to write fantastic stories, heartbreaking, beautiful and gut twisting. This book was all these and more, and I am so happy to have read it at last. First, I want to say what an incredible world Leta created, the dynamic between characters, classes and Alpha-Omega-Beta is interesting and even though this is such an over explored genre, this book feels unique. It did take me a bit to get into the story, at first I was getting my bearings, but as soon as I did I was hooked and could not put it down! This book twisted me up and was so emotional, I felt deeply for each character.

The narration was superb, done with a sensitive touch and expert emotional timing, Michael Ferraiuolo lead me through the story like a sheep after its shepherd. He put the right emphasis on every note, tone and breath and brought life to the wonder that is this book. I have listened to another book narrated by him (Annabeth Albert’s On Point) and his narration was as moving and thrilling there as it was here. He has a wonderful way of capturing you and really delivering the atmosphere of the story. Knowing this book is as good as it is I would still not skip the pleasure of listening to the audio version.

Leta created amazing relationships between all the characters, and set them into a complex situation both dangerous and exhilarating. Jason and Xander have an amazing bond that is just wonderful to read, despite and painful decisions they had to make and endure. Discovering Vale Is Jason’s Erosgape is a shocking twist of fate and they both need to learn how to live this new, unexpected turn in their future. Jason is staggering to understand and adapt to the new role he now needs to fill as an Alpha to an Erosgape’, and it’s not a smooth transition.

I admired the way Leta wrote Jason’s transitioning from careless young man to bonded Alpha. This book embodies the struggle between the instinctual, animalistic, biological side of a person and the human, civilized side. And, unlike many shifter and Omegaverse stories there is not clean black and white, before and after split. Jason has all these new overwhelming instincts and urges, but he cannot turn off the person he was up to the point he met vale. That part with Xander, moved me to tears, it was intense, and so very realistically emotional. Xander is the one character that touched me the most. He is, without a doubt, the most miserable, sweet, twisted character I had the pleasure of reading and his part in this story was one of the best in my opinion.
I also loved Jason’s parents, and his Pater in particular, his story was so heartbreaking and really emphasized the difficult reality of their lives. Vale, too is such an interesting character, struggling to be independent in a culture that does everything to deprive him of said independence.

I enjoyed the laws and proceedings Leta created in this world when dealing with a possibility of bonding, both contracted and Erosgape’. It made the world real and gave it a cruel edge that I find so engaging in Leta’s writing. In this very fantastical setting, a make-believe reality that seems so far from our own there is an unmistakable thread of humanity and real, painful struggles. This is the undeniable reason for my complete infatuation with this book, these wonderful characters, this world that is both beautiful as it is ugly.

Number of stars out of 5
6 stars

 

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Recent Review: Never Let Me Go by Elaine White

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40966513-never-let-me-go?from_search=true

Fashion photo of young model man on white background. Boy posing. Studio photo. Black and white

Blurb
We were everything to each other, once. Now we’re basically strangers. The most I get from Bradley, as we pass in the hall, is a glare or a shove against the lockers.
The problem is that I don’t mind.
I’d do anything, be anything and give anything, to be with him. Even if he is arrogant, crass, and the sexiest man in school. He’s also dominant. Over me. Only me. And I love it.
I was waiting for graduation. Until we’d left school and the constant rules, the judgments and gossip. I was waiting until I had the guts to ask Bradley to be my Dom for real. Forever.
I just never expected him to make the first move.

Warning: be prepared for no explicit content, teen drama, snark galore, and a whole lot of tension between strong Dom/sub personalities. These boys know who they are and they aren’t about to hide it.

Review by Aerielle
I had a really hard time getting into this book. Bradley (one of the MCs) was pretty unlikable and I had an issue with the way he treated Rory throughout the story. Bradley seems to have a lot of self loathing issues regarding his sexuality which ends up with him treating Rory abysmally. Rory on the other hand comes off as a complete doormat. He pretty much takes whatever Bradley dishes out. This is supposed to be about two young men’s journey into a D/s relationship but this book goes about it in the wrong way. The only part of this book I like was the epilogue. It was a sweet ending to a “meh” book.

Number 2.5 stars

 

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Rebecca
This book has a great D/s dynamic without going into the S&M kink. The few time jumps in the book was initially confusing, but it got better. Bradley was a very complex but adorable character. You feel bad for him, but yet in other ways you don’t. Rory was adorable and reminded me of how I was a little in high school. Both are strong willed. The couple had ups and downs and I definitely rooted for them. Very well written book. I enjoyed reading it.

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/when-everything-is-blue-by-laura-lascarso-9991-b

Blurb:

Theo Wooten and Chris Mitcham have been friends for years, despite Theo’s nerdiness and Chris’s golden boy charm. Theo lives next door to Chris with his twin sister and his mother after his parents divorced. His relationship with his father is rocky, his social status a mess and his sister is much cooler than he is. For the last year Theo has been attracted to Chris, and he feels bad about not telling him but is afraid of losing their friendship. When Theo’s sexuality is revealed will he be able to keep all the people he cares about?

Review:

overall:
I rather enjoyed this book both for the quality narration and the interesting Coming Of Age story. It is both poignant and funny, and written in a lyrical descriptive way I love! This book is a great YA Coming Of Age that is sexy and achingly heart waring. If you like YA with lots of sexy times this just might be the book for you! This story is full of emotion and realness, it’s a beautiful tale of self-discovery and knowing one’s worth.

Story:
This is a classic Friends To Lovers with Theo and Chris sharing this incredible bond that goes beyond social status and ethnicity. I say this because throughout the book that issue comes up, both as racist slurs, jokes and material value VS love and caring. The best example is Theo’s parents, a white dentist and a Hispanic immigrant. Theo’s father keeps measuring his value in money, and despite the fact his mother is not financially sound you can clearly tell she is much more supportive and caring than his cold, selfish, alcoholic father. These important themes are incorporated well into the story and give it more depth. Another notable element is Theo’s namesake, his great uncle, who has dementia. Captain Wooten is a wonderful side character that is a mirror image for Theo, showing him what happens when you let fear and familial expectations dictate your life choices. Theo is very much struggling with his identity and how he wants to live, and his visitations to his Uncle show him a side of his family he did not know about.

I love how this book shows a true teenage struggle, the exploration of sexuality and questionable decisions fueled by hormones and confusion. Theo is sucked into a relationship with a boy he probably shouldn’t, despite being in love with his best friend Chris. I know many reads shy from books where an MC has a relationship with another character, and here it is described in detail. I personally do not like these kinds of things in stories but here it was fitting, it felt very human to me, and VERY teen like. Chris, his best friend and supporter is such a mature young man, I loved how he steered Theo through the turbulence of his coming out and his relationship with his father. He is the rock that Theo leans on, and he has a very optimistic attitude. The way they get together and explore their connection was wonderful, frantic and gentle at the same time. Also, their relationship is much more HFN then HEA, and that also is fitting these characters and where they are in their life, this is just the beginning of their story.

Narration:
Michael Mola did an amazing job narrating this book, I especially liked how he used breath and added a lot of effects in his narration. He truly preformed this book, and it added a whole new dimension to it. He had a distinct voice for every character, juggling many personalities with ease. The only thing I would change is the accent he did for Theo’s voice. Theo is described as coming from a home were his mother spoke Spanish to him growing up. His twin sister is said to understand but not speak it and it implies that she is trying to “pass” as white American rather than Ethnic. However I do not understand why the narrator chose a Spanish accent for Theo, especially when he did not pull it off so well. It sounded weirdly French and awkward, and in no part of the story does it say he had an accent, nor does it make sense if his twin does not. It was such a shame as everything else from his tone to his pitch was so good and I really enjoyed and admired his skill in performing this book. It’s not a deal breaker for me but was a constant let down and the reason I gave this book 4 Stars and not 5.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Jupiter (States of Love) by Rhett Heath

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/jupiter-by-rhett-heath-9708-b

Blurb

For fourteen-year-old Jacob Thomas, a Christian and the smartest kid in class, Bobby Versailles is completely out of reach. Jacob wishes a girl named Allie loved him because he still doesn’t get that he’s gay, but he always keeps his eyes peeled at school, hoping to catch a glimpse of Bobby.

It’s Bobby Versailles’s senior year. Captain of his high school football team, he’s bound to win Homecoming King and hopefully a state championship, but he’s been miserable for years. His fear of somebody finding out he’s gay has brought isolation and loneliness. He has hidden that he’s gay by going on dates with girls now and then, and also by working out and excelling at football—which has also helped teachers look past his learning difficulties. When he first eyes Jacob, it’s possibly love at first sight. Bobby becomes a little obsessed. Jacob has got to be gay, and when Bobby makes a move, both of their worlds turn upside down!

It’s 1982, and while the Nebraska Cornhuskers are barreling toward a possible NCAA National Football Championship, everyone in a small town two hours away hopes Bobby can lead them to a state championship. Can two teens with vastly different lives find love amidst the fervor of Nebraska football?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Review

This is going to sound bad – but – in general I’m not a big fan of football, YA or “historicals” so… but I was really intrigued by this blurb and was looking forward to seeing how it developed.
Well …. This is a YA story and I think that maybe Juvenile lit is more appropriate given that they don’t act terribly Adult. Not to say that they’re kids… well. They are.

This felt like a book for kids. I liked it well enough and I appreciated the fact that this was based on real events so that must have shaped some of the authors writing decisions but – for me – it just felt a little young.

Not my taste in general. But overall good for fans of: YA, football and recent history.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review