I am late to the game as far as Rhys Ford goes – for whatever reason I had not read anything by her – despite the fabulous reviews, etc. DAMMIT! Is all I can say – she is fantastic! I started with the Cole McGinnis series and I am so psyched that I have all the others ahead of me to read! If you are reading/listening to Dirty Laundry you are probably well versed in the world of Cole and Jae – an amazingly sweet love story between a reluctant Korean man and a kind of goofy PI/ex-cop set in LA. You could read each book as a stand alone, Rhys does a good job of catching you up on the basics of each of her characters, but the story is far more rich when read as part of the series in order.
There is so much good to say about this series and this author – it is hard to choose where to start. First Rhys is an amazing writer. She does an amazing job of describing LA, the characters, their emotions, the Korean/Japanese culture in America – everything. She is lyrical and poetic, touching and sweet. She is a joy to read because all that she writes is so rich and detailed without being overdone and excessive.
Second, the love story. Oh man… so wonderful. Jae and Cole are so sweet together and in this book we get to see their relationship really gelling and it is not only tender and romantic but the smexy scenes – HOT! Those two can really “get it on”, but the tenderness is what does it for me. I just want to love on Jae and tell him it will all work out, but Cole does a pretty good job of that.
Third, the mystery. Ok this is the hard part. Here the reading vs listening raises its head a bit. Without paying close attention to the mystery it can be easy to lose some of the threads. The unfamiliar words, the quirky characters, the variety of places… can be difficult while listening (for me – clearly a visual vs auditory person). It is easier when I’m reading to follow more closely – I just substitute my own name for the Korean and it somehow works. But – like the first 2 books the mystery is exciting and the people are hilarious and you don’t see it coming til the end. I LOVE how every other adventure has at least one moment when “and then the shooting started”. This makes me crack up. Cole is like this superhero who is impervious to bullets, and poor Jae has to keep patching him back together.
Fourth, the characters. Ichiro – Delicious! I know from sneaking a peek at the next book that Ichiro becomes more and more involved and I am so happy to see that! What a great new addition! I loved learning about Mad-dog and Mike, I wanted to kill Barbara and Cole’s dad, Tiffany is growing on me and Bobby – like always- is proving to be the best friend a guy could have. Oh, and don’t forget Claudia- so good Cole has someone to mother him.
Kim Jae-Min - so vulnerable and well performed by Greg Tremblay.
Greg Tremblay’s reading of the smexy scenes will make you absolutely melt. It almost feels a little … invasive. It’s like you’re listening at their door, he’s so convincing.
Scarlet - she's a hoot and Greg even does her singing voice - so sultry!
Greg Tremblay gets it.
He just gets it.
If you have the kindle version, you can read along and listen at the same time – don’t ask me why I did this, but I did. Maybe to help with some of the Korean words? Anyway. What I learned was that Greg will sometimes go off script – just a little. He clearly understands the dialog and the story so much he can extemporize a little – it’s as if he is these guys! And - somehow - he can do Cole AND Jae spot on, though they are such different people. Amazing! Like the radio stars of old, he is a true actor.
His reading of the smexy scenes will make you absolutely melt. It almost feels a little … invasive. It’s like you’re listening at their door, he’s so convincing. He does such a thorough job of adding in emotion and texture to his reading. He knows his vocabulary in English, French, Korean, Japanese, no easy feat. (Nothing annoys me more than a narrator who doesn’t know how to pronounce things, isn’t that their job?) He even has an amazing singing voice! (We saw this in Dirty Kiss with Scarlet). I just love his take on the story and am so glad he did all three books and I am hoping he will be doing book 4.
This is one of those books where I can honestly say I loved the audio version more than the written. Why? Greg Tremblay. He ACTS out this book for you, helps through the unusual words, and gives depth and timing to the emotion in the book. I absolutely recommend this book, this narrator and this author.
We start this book with Jeremy in the hospital after having been beaten up by the mob guy who was after Stanley. He’s in and out of surgery and in and out of consciousness, worrying about Aiden, Craw, the animals, Ariadne, and what his future holds now that he’s no longer “pretty”.
Aiden is struggling with his anger at Jeremy for putting himself in danger and his love for him and his desire to coddle and comfort him. He’s worried about what this means for their future.
Ariadne is struggling with her pregnancy and then later with her new baby. So the Granby crew has to deal with Jeremy’s, Ariadne’s and now the new baby’s medical bills.
They decide to throw a fund-raiser and we get to meet a few more of the men of Granby – I’m pretty sure there’s a book in there! – and the whole town shows its support.
Of course by this time you’ve read all the previous books, this won’t make too much sense as a stand-alone. We see a little bit of Ben and Craw, learn a whole lot more about Ariadne and Rory, but most of all this is about Jeremy and Aiden.
I love the analogy of Jeremy as the rabbit and Aiden as the wolf. Though Aiden is the younger man in this relationship he is clearly the growly, possessive and protective wolf watching over and “herding” Jeremy. Jeremy is settling in and learning to accept all the wonderful things in his life as “his” and as “real”. It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that we finally get rid of that damn safe!
The angst in this story (come on, it’s an Amy Lane story!) comes from “listening in” on Jeremy’s thoughts – his doubts and self-deprecation. Mostly, however, this is a book that shows the relationship cementing and the Granby family fighting for its own.
I hope there is more to this series (Aiden’s friend needs his own book!) but if there isn’t, this was a lovely wrap up.
Philip Alces is not my favorite narrator, but he does a nice job. I like him for Jeremy’s voice. I think the deeper, more growly voices are a little out of his range, but he has a great sense of timing and does a nice job overall.
Book 5 of 5 stars
Audio 3.5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
Bobby’s story! Woot!
Or should I say Ichi’s story? No, it was definitely Bobby’s story!
An important first point: let me say that you must have read the other books for this to really mean anything to you. There are snatches of moments taken from the previous books to give you a time line so that the view as seen from a different angle makes more sense, but Ford does not “backfill” too much. She assumes you are an informed reader. (Thank you!)
This is pretty straightforwardly Bobby and Ichi’s love story. There is no mystery (those were Cole’s to solve and we see them through Bobby and Ichi’s lenses only.) We learn what makes Bobby and Ichi tick (mostly Bobby) and then we learn how they can fit together.
It. Was. Wonderful!
I absolutely loved digging deep into Bobby’s psyche. He’s a unique character, with years of experience that Jae and Cole don’t have. His history (being a closeted gay cop) must mirror what so many men of his generation experienced and it serves as a reminder for how far we (as a culture) have come along (hopefully) in our acceptance of “other” in our society. There was even a story thrown in as told by an older man who had similar experiences with his mixed marriage, that is, he was subjected to questions and cruelty as well.
Without reading this book, you may be worried that Bobby couldn’t possibly be seen as someone to trust in a long-term relationship. What Ford did was show us, by slowly peeling back the layers, just why Bobby is EXACTLY the type of guy you should trust in a long-term relationship. It was very elegantly done and felt completely organic.
Ichi’s history surprised me a bit too. There are things we find out that explain some of his personality; information about his mother (Cole’s too) and father and step-mother… fascinating. He’s an old soul and perfectly matched for Bobby.
I found the lack of mystery refreshing, not that the mysteries in Cole’s books aren’t great, but we got a chance to really focus on the characters in this book. Ford spends a lot of time developing these complex, rich characters (main and secondary) and this book show-cases that effort.
The ending was absolutely THE BEST. First, the way Jamie finds out Bobby is gay and then, the last scene at the tattoo shop… (le sigh) grab some tissues, it’s just wonderful. It feels so complete, but is just open enough that it hints at more excitement that we could see in upcoming book(s). I hope that both Bobby and Ichi (and maybe even Jamie?) will continue to play big roles in any future book(s).
Well done Rhys Ford, well done!
I highly recommend this and give it 6 of 5 hearts!
Greg Tremblay has done this entire series, so we are familiar with his deliciously growly Bobby and the exquisite way he handles all the variety of Asian accents.
I think he does another outstanding job with Down and Dirty. The emotion Bobby shows and the tenderness from Ichi are breathtaking.
I absolutely loved this audiobook and highly recommend it along with the entire series.
6 out of 5 hearts
Julian has had a crush on his roommate, Danny, forever, and just when he’s given up on having him – ie moving on – Danny makes a play for him.
There is a lot of humor in this story. Julian is a hysterical gay man with a lot of fun quirks – clumsiness, sugar addiction, a flair for fashion. His mother is hysterical as well, and has a big heart. Gabby, the female best friend also provides comic relief.
Danny – well, I just never liked Danny. As the story progresses we see and finally “understand” more about Danny and his motivations, but it was really hard for me to forgive him… and that, ultimately influenced my opinion of the book.
I think that this is one of those books that will either hit it’s mark and make you a fan, or it will count as a miss. For me it was a miss (not enough to deter me from trying another Ethan Day book). The romantic in me was just so unsatisfied by the ending. I really needed Danny to do more to win Julian back and the lack of “making up” left a sour taste in my mouth. (It is a HEA, though.)
World Building/Characterizations 5
Humor 5 – it is really funny!
3.5 of 5 stars
Jason Frazier, hands down is one of THE BEST narrators of this genre. He is a PERFORMER. He gets inside the heads of all the characters and makes them all unique and outstanding.
I had read the book before and was not impressed by the story overly much (as you can tell by review) but when I saw that Jason Frazier narrated the book I had to have it anyway.
I’ve said it before and it still holds true, Jason’s narrations remind me of the old days of radio soap operas in that he can create this entire “movie” without pictures for us just by how much personality he puts into each one of his characters.
There are a few truly gifted performers in this genre who bring a story to life more than just tell a tale and Jason is one of them.
I adore his narrations and give this one a 6 out of 5 stars.
The blurb sets this up nicely. Evan and Matt are two lonely cop/ex cops who become friends. Then, very slowly, they become more. Neither has ever been with or thought about being with another man, so their feelings hit them from out of the blue.
They have their own doubts and insecurities and then they face the challenge of telling others about their partnership and that threatens what little peace they’ve managed to find.
Suddenly Evan is shot and Matt is in charge of the family. He’s doing great, but Evan’s inlaws want to take over. When Evan finally heals, he runs, scared, away from Matt and their relationship, back to familiar territory.
Both are miserable. It takes Miranda getting into trouble to show them what they were missing.
By the end, they’ve decided to officially “try” this relationship on for size… but there’s still a lot to overcome.
This was one of the first m/m books/series I’d read and it set a very high standard. Double GFY. Family drama. Slow, slow burn. Intense emotions. Two cops. Very hot, very sweet sex. Real emotions and real problems.
Fortunately the next book was already out when I had read this or I’d have been so impatient to see what happens next. The real nitty gritty of being a couple starts in book 2.
I was so psyched when this came out on audio! I love the series so much! However… I know from reading other reviews that JP Handler is a very polarizing narrator. Some people just adore his work, others hate it. For me, he’s too much. His voice sounds like he’s on the verge of tears the entire time. There are times I really appreciate the emotion he puts into his work, especially the dialog, but for the rest it is hard to listen to.
I ADORE this series and am disappointed by the narration.
To me it sounds like he's on the verge of tears all the time. It can be distracting.
(Though this is book 3, it follows right after book one and you don’t need to have read book 2 to read this.)
Matt and Evan are starting to get used to being a couple. Matt is more or less a house-husband and this is both wonderful and somewhat alarming for him to accept. It’d be easier if Evan wasn’t being so difficult – working all the time, jealous of that one time affair with Jim, unwilling to call himself “gay”.
The in-laws aren’t making things easier either. They are threatening to take the kids from Evan.
Luckily, Jim and Griffin give great advice to the couple. Evan finally figures out his priorities and Matt finds something else to do with his time.
I really loved this installment of the series. These are real problems these guys are facing – whether you are gay or straight – we all face similar issues.
I loved the intimacy and the closeness the couple now shares. It’s very satisfying to see how their emotional and physical relationship evolves.
Having this “sequel” really adds to the series and helps to cement these guys in the hall of fame of m/m MCs as far as I’m concerned. I really feel like I “know” them and am part of their familes.
JP Handler narrates this as well. I still feel that, for me, he’s not to my taste as far as narrators go. Where he excels, dialog, he does very well.
Amy Lane is known for her angst. This book has almost none! This is a very sweet and happy book about Will coming to grips with his sexuality and falling in love with Kenny. Until he met Kenny, Will just never thought of himself as a sexual being. He’s very naïve (he gets kicked out of a Christian school for teaching the kids Harry Potter) and he’s a big, bulky, but gentle, dork.
Kenny is an overachiever and workaholic, always dressed to the nines, who is working so hard he doesn’t realize his live-in boyfriend is cheating on him – a lot! When he figures it out he throws away everything they may have used together – which means an entire drawer full of shiny, gaudy, outrageous sex toys and puts them in a box on top of his garbage can.
Will bumps into this garbage can and is attracted to the shiny objects. Later, he’s shocked when Kenny explains what the objects are. This starts their improbable relationship. Kenny drops some hints and then later some porn and dildos into Will’s lap hoping to trap that mythical beast “the straight guy who doesn’t know he’s actually gay”! When the trap is laid, Will stumbles into it head first and WOW is he surprised at what he finds out!
The rest of the story is a mix of Will exploring his sexuality and the developing friendship and work relationship Will and Kenny have and then later their coming together as friends turned lovers. There are some doubts – is Will just with Kenny because he’s his first or is it real? Where will Will work? What about Kenny’s being on the rebound? However… For those of us who love a sappy ending – the ending of Shiny will knock your socks off!
The secondary characters in Shiny are also great – Aunt Cara- the lesbian bride, Will’s mom – trapped in the 1960s, Kenny’s ex – the big, dumb cheater and Kenny’s ultra liberal family - trying so hard not to judge Will.
In the audio format Tyler Stevens does another absolutely amazing job. He does swishy voices fantastically and I adore his female voices as well. Tyler “gets” what he’s reading, so he’s able to really give some good “performances” and add emotion to the dialog.
I am a huge Amy Lane fan, I also look for Tyler Stevens as a narrator, so together they make a dream team! This is one of those times where the narration adds to the story and makes it even better. I highly recommend this audiobook.
I have some mixed feelings about this story. First, I love John Inman’s writing style. He makes it so easy to just jump right in to the mix and feel like you are part of the scene. Second, I thought the two MCs were hilarious and sweet and so cute together it almost gave me a cavity! Third, I didn’t mind their insta-love one bit. I thought it suited their characters and fit in with their own desperate need to find someone to be an anchor in their lives. But…
I really, really, really didn’t like the way Stanley was handled. First, the fact that Jerry was with him and he was such an obvious dick made me question Tom’s judgment- especially since apparently their “marriage” was dismissed so easily and casually by Jerry. Why, why, why would Tom still be Jerry’s friend??? It sounds like he was an idiot who dumped a wonderful guy (Tom) for a psychopath! Second, Stanley went from your basic home-wrecker to deranged, druggy, greedy psycho pretty quickly. Even his own father thought he was a dick. I would have appreciated just a little bit of explanation how Joe (super awesome dad) and Frank (the nicest guy in the world) could be related to the psycho. Finally, the pig eating the brother. ICK! I did not like that part at all. I was sad for his death and even sadder that no one else was sad. Sure, he was a dick, but really – he’s dead! And he’s Frank’s brother and Frank is a sweetie. I think Frank would be torn up more.
So… most of me simply loved this and found the quirkiness of the characters (especially the judgmental Pedro) to be hilarious, but I was a bit shocked by how Stanley was portrayed and a little put off by his demise.
I thought the narrator, Tommy O’Brien, did a nice job with the narration. Nothing too crazy or over the top, good at the pacing and mostly letting the story tell itself.
Sean Crisden is a favorite narrator for this genre and has done many books for Cardeno. I absolutely loved his “Mitch”. It was low, sultry, a bit growly and …delicious. Sean differentiated Freddy from Mitch from Simon and managed to make Donia sound like I would expect in my head.
I really enjoy Sean’s narrations and I think this narration pushed Cardeno’s story to an even more enjoyable level. It was amazing! I would absolutely recommend listening to this one as it gave me shivers on more than one occasion.
maybe, some parts
Tony, of course. He had a little accent that added some depth to the narration.
There was very little emotion in this narration so it fell flat.
I loved the story, love Eli Easton, love this series.
Absolutely! I love Rhys Ford as an author and Tristan is one of my favorite narrators.
In the audio version it was Wolf - Tristan makes his voice very rumbly and seductive - very enjoyable to listen to.
As was said in a previous review - Tristan could read the phonebook and it would sound sexy! He is so easy to listen to - audio candy!
No - but only because I wanted to savor it.
I can't wait for Duck Duck Ghost to come out next - pretty please!
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