Audiobook: The Veranda (Lavender Shores book 3) by Rosalind Abel Narrated by Kirt Graves

audiobookreview

Audible link

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Veranda-Audiobook/B07DF63QG3?qid=1538205381&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PF0JDWDYB4VN30TVVP2C&

Blurb
Donovan Carlisle helps countless people in Lavender Shores with his skills as a therapist. It seems, however, that his ability to enable others to live their happiest life only works outside of himself. Donovan truly loves his life, but isn’t able to find a relationship that satisfies his heart’s craving. Maybe the problem is that the only man he wants is off-limits.
Spencer Epstein came to Lavender Shores to find himself. Instead, he married one of the local town beauties. He’d thought his prayers had finally been answered. Then, he met his pregnant fiancée’s brother. It turned out those answered prayers were just cruel twists of fate.
A decade later, after a divorce and the crumbling of all Spencer thought was set in stone, he sees his brother-in-law at a masquerade sex party. He takes full advantage of the anonymity and acts on the desires he’s held at bay all those years. The problem is, those silent and frenzied moments didn’t satiate anything. The fire and heat between the two men only grows as secrets are uncovered and they must determine if the cost of their passion is too high…

Review

Story:
Donovan and Spencer are both at a point in their lives where I think they’ve stopped hoping for a grand romance or happily-ever-after.
They know who their heart belongs to, but they do not believe their feelings are reciprocated or that a relationship is even possible. One of the drawbacks of falling for your (ex-)brother-in-law.

They are both such caring and kind men. It’s such sweet relief when they finally find some much-deserved happiness with each other. The yearning and love they feel for each other is off the charts.

There’s a little bit of angst when they first cross that line from “mere” brothers-in-law into something more personal, with Spencer being somewhat sneaky in how he goes about it.
But it does the trick in getting the ball rolling. Donovan’s reaction when he finds out that Spencer knew full well what he was doing and with who at the masquerade party was great! Surprising, and wonderful. I would have hated recriminations or emotional drama at that point.
Donovan the therapist sometimes hinders Donovan the man with the doom and gloom of everything he has seen and heard in his years of counseling others. On the other hand, it also helps him to understand Spencer better and be there for him the way he needs.

Spencer was brought up to believe being gay was wrong and sinful, and that a “cure” was possible if he only tried hard enough. My heart ached for all he went through because of that, and the far-reaching impact it had on him, even at a time when you think he’s finally reached a happy and safe place in his life.
I hate that his parents didn’t react better or more feelingly, not at any point in the story. As a mother, I can’t fathom how anyone could treat their children so. How horrible and sad that such things are not confined to the world of fiction.

Donovan and Spencer aren’t in their twenties anymore and they are fully aware that no man is an island. There is Erica to consider, Donovan’s sister and Spencer’s ex-wife, and more importantly still, Spencer’s and Erica’s children, Emma and Ethan.

The scene where Erica finds out that her brother and ex-husband are together is very intense and emotional. This is the scene that made me cry. Her anger is understandable, though how she goes about expressing it is less so, but her sincere remorse at how she lashed out and Spencer’s reaction to everything, make this into a very powerful moment. Very raw. Very real.

One of the many things I adored about this story, is that the three adults always keep in mind what is best for the children and that the children never have any reason to doubt how loved they are. Erica’s occasional mean-spiritedness never touches her children, and when the moment comes to explain to Emma and Ethan that daddy and uncle Donovan are in love, Donovan especially rises to the occasion. Though all three of the adults handle the revelation with care and sensitivity.

I was completely blown away by this story.

Narration:
Kirt Graves again did an excellent job! He has a warm and soothing voice that made listening to this story an absolute pleasure. Donovan and Spencer come across very distinctly and I really liked the timbre he choose for each of their voices, which I felt matched their personality very well.

Number of stars: 6


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Get Paranormal: Seen: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free Book 2) by A.M. Arthur

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36281352-seen

Blurb

Hell is a six-by-six jail cell and no hope for the future.
Kell Iverson has never raised his hand against another person in his entire life—and yet somehow he’s been arrested and charged with the murder of his alpha mate Krause. Sure, Krause brutalized him on a daily basis, and Kell hated his mate, but he never wanted the man dead. Not fighting the charge and accepting his fate is the easiest path—except Kell doesn’t think he’ll survive a week in prison, and he doesn’t want to disappoint his younger brother Braun by giving up. He also doesn’t expect to recognize the lawyer who shows up to defend him.
Ronin Cross was barely eighteen when he felt the mating bond with then-fourteen-year-old Kell, but his family moved away before Ronin could decide what to do. For the last ten years, he hasn’t forgotten teenage Kell, hasn’t mated, and now he’s in Sansbury Province to defend adult Kell from a capital murder charge. The mating bond is still there, but now isn’t the time to pursue anything with his fragile, battered, emotionally-damaged client.
For Kell, the term “kind alpha” is a contradiction, because he’s never known one. He went from abusive father to abusive mate, and for twenty-four years, he’s simply done what he’s told. But Ronin asks Kell what he wants. What he likes. Ronin sees him, and it’s both confusing and delightful. But Kell is facing prison time at best, execution at worst, and as his trial date looms, he can’t indulge in a fantasy that will never come true…or can he?
NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

Review
Kell is a beaten down omega, in jail for allegedly killing his alpha. He seems almost hopeless but in walks the first alpha who was ever kind to him. Ronin felt the mating pull toward Kell when he was 18 but Kell was only 14 at the time. His family moved away to another province shortly after but he never forgot about Kell. An old friend contact Ronin to help with a defense case and once he found out that it was Kell he dropped everything thing to go to him. Kell of course is leery of any alpha but gradually he accepts that Ronin will never hurt him.
I think reads definitely need to read Saved before Seen in order to fully understand what all is going on in this story. A lot of abuse is in this story, mostly what was done to Kell in the past but In the end this story is about strength and love, it will break your heart but also lift you up!

5 stars

Purchased for Review

Audiobook: Full Plate by Kim Fielding Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-full-plate-by-kim-fielding-9767-b

Blurb

Opposites come together for a spicy surprise.
Bradford “Tully” Tolliver has everything—money, a great car, a beautiful condo, and a promising career as one of Portland’s hottest young lawyers. Sure, he puts in long hours and has no social life to speak of, but who needs romance when corporations pay top dollar for his expertise? He hesitates when a colleague asks if her cousin can live with him, but the arrangement will last less than a year, and then the cousin—Sage Filling—will return to his tiny hometown.
But Sage is handsome and intriguing, and his cooking makes Tully swoon. Sage has obligations back home, though, and Tully has offers he might not refuse from a persistent—and very wealthy—ex. Since Tully and Sage each have a full plate, can they make room for a side of love?

Review

I’m not a big chef nor a big lawyer fan, but I’m totally a big Kim Fielding fan!

I’m also a Portlander so I absolutely loved all the trivia and locale references of PDX!

This was a low heat, slow burn romance. A Misunderstanding for these pair of Opposites was at it’s center and it was generally sweet and an easy listen.

While I was a bit underwhelmed by the beginning I thought the ending made up for it!

I’m not blown away by the narrator. He does a solid job but didn’t “wow” me, though he’s easy enough to listen to that he’s not distracting and it’s a good way to experience this – especially if you want to go hands free.

3.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: The Music of Love by Sandine Tomas

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-music-of-love-by-sandine-tomas-9674-b

Blurb
Sometimes the music of love skips a beat….
Paralegal by day, musician by night, Julian has an expiration date stamped on his forehead when it comes to love. No relationship has made it past a year, so Julian avoids romance like the plague and concentrates on his music instead.
Which works fine until gorgeous, smart, and funny Zachary joins Julian’s firm. One look at the man and Julian knows he’s dangerous. No matter what, he can’t fall for Zachary. He has to spare Zachary the pain of dumping Julian at the one-year mark. His brilliant plan? Ask a straight friend to pose as his significant other to keep Zachary away. Not surprisingly, his scheme does little to dampen the attraction—on either side.
When Zachary gives Julian a second chance despite his deception, Julian thinks his curse might be broken. But then he’s faced with the impossible choice between a life with Zachary and living his dream of touring with the band….

Review

This just wasn’t my cup of tea.  I was really attracted to the blurb.  I love books about music and throw in some hidden identity and fake boyfriend… YES!  

But that really isn’t the main thrust of this and most of this is a lot of drama and angst which I just didn’t get too wrapped up in.

I’ve definitely read some reviews of folks who loved this, and the writing and character development were really good, but it just didn’t appeal to me.  I recommend looking at other reviews if the blurb strikes your fancy – because it just might appeal to you.  🙂

3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: Finley by Ella Frank, narrated by J.F Harding

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Long-Way-Home-Audiobook/B01MQGGZ71?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4GVDMJXBB991JR8MT96Z&

Blurb:

It’s time to come home, Finn.

It’s been seven years since Daniel Finley left his hometown in Florida for the hustle and bustle of Chicago’s city life.
Since then, he’s worked hard for his position at the prestigious law firm Leighton & Associates, even when it’s caused distance and isolation from his family and friends. But that’s all about to change.

On his 30th birthday, he receives the one thing he never dared hope for. Something that was promised to him years earlier – a note. One simple sentence from the man he’s never been able to forget.

Six words will forever change the course of their lives.

Brantley Hayes has it all. Or so he thinks. When he first made the decision to take a job down in Florida, his family thought he was crazy. But, after years of living in the quiet beach town, he finally feels a sense of community. He’s surrounded himself with friends who are like family, has a job he loves, and owns a spectacular beachfront property that is his sanctuary.
Yet he still feels unfulfilled, as if a piece of the puzzle is missing, and he knows exactly which piece it is. On an impulse, he follows through with a promise he made years earlier. A promise to call home the one he sent away.

Nothing is as simple as it seems.

After years of separation, the former lovers are reunited, but Brantley wasn’t expecting to encounter the high walls now guarding Daniel’s heart.
Daniel may not be the same person he was when he left, but he knows that the first step to healing is the note in his hand..

Review:

I loved the story and its link to the Temptation series (one of my all-time faves to listen to).
Daniel Finley (Fin) is the cocky lawyer who helps Tate get a big settlement after an accident case. But before he became a cocky lawyer, he was a cocky law student who had his eye of one of his professors – Brantley Hayes. The story goes back and forth between the past and present, starting with Daniel coming home to face the man who sent him away. It was fun to see how the relationship between Fin and Brantley developed and grew over time while he (Fin) was still a student.
Note: The teacher/student aspect is quite well done – I didn’t once think that the relationship may not have been appropriate.
When Brantley decides that Fin would be better off finishing his degree at a better university, Fin doesn’t take the advice well, but leaves anyway. Fast forward to the present – he’s grown up and is prepared to ‘love’ Brantley and leave him. Happily their past chemistry makes it hard for them to walk away from each other. Like I said, I loved the story.

5 of 5 stars

Audio 
Charlie David narrates and while he is quite good, I wasn’t overly fond of his performance here. One of my issues is that there was very little distinction between the 2 MCs. There was slightly more of a difference with the 2 secondary characters- Derek and Jordan. Overall, it wasn’t a bad performance, just not one of my favourites, (it didn’t stop me from buying the audio for Derek and Jordan’s story).

Narration 3.75 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Hell and Back by Dirk Greyson
Narrated by Dorian Bane

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hell-and-back-by-dirk-greyson-8979-

Blurb

Seventeen years ago, Forge Reynolds fell in love… and had his heart broken. When Staff Sergeant Gage Livingston was brought into Forge’s Army field hospital, temporarily paralyzed, Forge sat with him, read his letters, answered his mail, and formed a connection he thought would last. But Gage was sent home, Forge transferred to a new post, and his letters to Gage went unanswered.

Now in the middle of a bitter divorce, Forge is sick and tired of his husband’s manipulation. He’s almost ready to make any sacrifice to get closure—then he finds Granger murdered execution-style in their home. Forge had no idea about Granger’s illicit activities, but the killers don’t believe that. They think Forge has something they want, and they’re coming after him.

When Forge’s lawyer arranges for professional protection, the last face Forge expects to see is Gage’s. Can he even contemplate a second chance for them after almost two decades, or will hoping only lead to more heartache? Before they can explore the possibilities, they must figure out what information Granger had—that others are willing to kill for—or that possible heartache could become a certainty

Review
Dirk Greyson always provides a well paced story and this mystery was no different. I loved the reconnection between Forge and Granger. It didn’t feel contrived and developed as naturally as it could considering the circumstances under which they meet again. The mystery of what Gage was involved in that led to his murder kept me guessing. I had my suspicions but I liked how the story led to so many possibilities. That along with the romance made it for a very enjoyable story.
Wow Dorian Bane has given Forge such a ruff smokey voice that felt a bit too harsh for me at times. I have listened to a few books narrated by Dorian before but the voice he has given to Forge sounded quite harsh on his vocal cords. Granger’s voice was more mellow and the tone I’ve heard in his other work. There we good characterisations of the other characters, particularly Harvey. One measure I use for Male narrators is how well they portray females. In this case it was extremely well done with both female characters having their own distinct voices.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Time to Laugh: Stay with Me (The PI Guys, #1) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stay-with-me-by-se-harmon-2808-b

Blurb:

The PI Guys: Book One
Private investigator Mackenzie Williams’s newest client is everything he’s looking for in a guy—charming, beautiful, intelligent, and successful. There’s only one itty bitty problem—the guy’s not exactly gay. In fact, Jordan Channing is looking for a PI to follow his fiancée. The smart thing would be to thank Jordan for his time, turn Mr. Perfect away (don’t let the door hit you on the rump, thank you very much), and forget he exists.
Of course, Mackenzie has never been accused of doing the smart thing. Being a smart aleck is more his MO. Relationships aren’t up his alley, never have been. So why’s he so inexplicably drawn to his new client?

Jordan has always been the high achiever, a man who lives in a focused, controlled, and carefully constructed manner. But for the first time in his life, he has to admit the impossible—another man is getting his engine running on all cylinders. Despite Jordan’s denial, it’s not long before he can no longer resist the strong undercurrents pulling them together. Now Jordan must decide if he can go against everything he’s ever known to have the only love he’s ever wanted.

Review:

I loved the overall story – GFY done right, but I didn’t like Mac much until half way in. He just seemed a bit childish … but I did like his snark. Mac eventually grew on me, (I ended up really liking him when he popped up in ‘So into You’).
Mac is a PI who is still hurting from being dumped from a long-term relationship. To make matters worse, his ex decided to be with a woman AND the he took the dog. (This creates a funny secondary storyline as Mac schemes to get the dog back.)
Jordan hires Mac to watch his girlfriend for signs of cheating. Mac is immediately attracted to the straight man but knows nothing can come of it. Yet, as they spend time together, Jordan becomes attracted to Mac (and conflicted about his feelings for another man). Mac doesn’t make it easy either and is not without faults – he tends to push people away, he doesn’t believe love is for him and he hides behind his sarcasm. However, they manage to start a relationship but it’s not plain sailing. They have a big fight (both men are to blame), but in the end, they get it together and work it out.
It’s a really good story, once it gets going and by the end, I had a good sized smile on my face ☺

4 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for Review

 

Signs of Life (Resilient Love Book 2) by Melanie Hansen

SignsofLifeLGBlurb

A Resilient Love Story

Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all—a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that’s about to become reality. He’s learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leave Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He’s able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.

High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids—he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he’s built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.

An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he’s unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he’s managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.

Review

I loved this book – see my review here:

http://kimichanexperience.com/signs-of-life-reilient-love-book-2-by-melanie-hansen/