At 10 years old, Noah Jameson and Cooper Bradshaw collided midair when they dove for the same football. For three years they were inseparable...until one day when Noah and his parents disappeared in the middle of the night. Noah and Cooper never knew what happened to each other. Now, 17 years later, after finding his boyfriend in bed with another man, Noah returns to Blackcreek looking for a fresh start. And damned if he doesn't find his old friend grew up to be as sexy as sin.
Okay, mixed feelings, alert!
Collide is such a classic, old-school GFY story that it's a wonder I've never read it before. I'm hit or miss with Riley Hart, but lately I've been enjoying her work and this one was no different.
Honestly, you can tell that this is a rougher, older story. I listened in audio, but the book struggles with awkward phrasing, too many flashbacks (a pet-peeve of mine), and a dude-bro, VERY fantasy-level GFY (one of those where the guy insists he would *never, ever* be attracted to another guy except his love). As I'm matured in my reading tastes, I've come to prefer my sexuality discovery stories to be more of a... discovery, a transition into a more fluid sexuality or at least more of a realistic one. I think more of a passing acknowledgement of bisexuality would have been warranted.
Still... I can't deny that I found this book to be hot as hell. It really ticked a lot of my boxes, and though the story had some iffy moments, if a jaded romance reader like myself can find something scorching hot, well, that's saying something.
Listening to the story in audio certainly helped because Luke Itzvic was a very good narrator, and that way I'm sure I missed many of the grammatical errors that plague early Riley Hart books. I'd listen to another book by this narrator any day of the week.
No, this book doesn't rank high on the believably scale, but I'm glad I finally took a chance on this older M/M book. It brought the heat and it left me feeling happy, which is all I could have asked for.
Most omega werewolves want a mate and pups, but Lee Aung prefers an unconventional party-boy lifestyle. Yet at 42, he’s stopped going into heat, which means he’s expired goods - no longer a fertile, young omega that alpha wolves drool over. So Lee scams free samples of Wet Heat, a synthetic pheromone, by pretending to be a happily mated test subject at Wet Heat headquarters. There, Lee spends two years being interviewed by the reserved alpha scientist, Cain.
Wet Heat was an odd little book that wasn't bad but wasn't quite good either.
I haven't read many alpha/beta/omega books, so I've been looking to expand my repertoire. I also ADORE Nick J. Russo, who always does a good job with his audios. However, I just never really gelled with the story.
The MC, Lee, is a weird guy and I never got why Cain was into him at all. Lee honestly seemed like a drug addict, scamming everyone around him for some of his "fix" of Wet Heat. He was rude and snappy and just didn't work for me.
The story was also mostly focused on sex but it also lacked heat, which was an unusual combo. The majority of the story was Lee and his nephew trying to get laid, and, yes, there was some weird incestuous tension going on there. The romance isn't there at all, and even at the end, we barely got the sense that Lee was into Cain. I'm still not sure if he was just using him.
While the world of the story was fun in a grrr, alpha! kind of way, I just didn't feel like the story or romance were developed enough.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds that the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression. And it only gets worse when Shane’s rough good looks give Troy inappropriate thoughts about a member of his team, even if Shane’s set to retire at the end of the season. Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon and with a team that doesn’t trust him, the coach, or each other. Despite his determination to not get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.
I've LOVED the entire Scoring Chances series, and Coach's Challenge was no different! Hot, sarcastic, bossy, mature MEN (not boys!) who took their relationship from flirting to sexual to more, and a great audiobook narration to boot.
I've had a bad streak with Avon Gale's work recently, so I was actually nervous about starting Coach's Challenge. However, it didn't let me down at all, and I was thrilled that the audio reading was as good as I had remembered. I didn't want to stop listening, which is the best feeling, let me tell you.
Okay, if I'm being honest, this isn't the most romantic of the series. There isn't a lot of affection and lovey-dovey feelings. However, I really liked the easy, comfortable relationship between the two MCs. Their interactions were... fun. Easy. Other than a little twist thrown in at the end, it's a low drama book with the focus on the characters themselves, which is how I like it.
Scott R. Smith again did a great job with the narration. I can always tell his voices apart, and though his peppy, high energy narration and pauses take a little getting used to, I adore him narrating this series.
If you've enjoyed the other books in the Scoring Chances series, this one will be a no-brainer. It's snarky banter and sex in semi-public places and two men that know who they are and what they want. It's a good one.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident. Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the king's wizard, Morgan of Shadows.
My previous rating of the ebook: 3.5 stars
Audiobook re-read rating: 3.5 stars for the story, 5+++ stars for the narration = 4.5 stars overall
*I'm going to focus the majority of this review on the audio portion.*
Now, I've said this before and I'll say it again- I'm a HUUUUUUGE T.J. Klune fan. HUGE. I've read nearly everything he has written (I might have missed one book), and I've never given him less than 3.5 stars. He is one of my favorite authors of all time, but this series... yeah, it didn't quite work for me the first time around.
Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but I found the characters too similar to those from Tell Me It's Real and Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and the plot to be too long with too much meandering. Of course, I adored the humor (as all die-hard TJ fans would), but I felt exasperated by the end by how long it took the MCs to get together.
I was ready to put this whole series aside with a shrug, but all of my friends have NOT STOPPED TALKING about the audiobook narration of The Lightning-Struck Heart.
When the audiobook first came out, I was not familiar with Michael Lesley so I wasn't willing to take the chance. I hate giving bad ratings to authors that I personally like, so I didn't want to hate the narration and give the book less than 3-stars. However, I decided to take a chance with the audiobook of Tell Me It's Real (also by Michael Lesley), which is a comfort-read of mine, and see how it went. And it was awesome. So, I figured, what the hell.
I've listened to a LOT of audiobooks (over 250), and I can safely say that Michael Lesley's narration of this book is among the best I've listened to. He was just outstanding, like he OWNED this book, and I am truly stunned as to the quality of the work. Michael mastered no less than 20 separate and unique voices (there are a LOT of side characters!), and put his ALL into the narration.
It also helps that Michael has just the right cadence, the right delivery, and the right vibe for this story. He sounds young enough to pull off the younger characters but can pitch his voice just so for the older ones. He can do sexy voices, creepy voices, and funny voices. His voice for Tiggy was GOLD (<---my favorite of any of the voices in the book)!
When I met Michael Lesley in person, he told me that he likes to do accents. I was a little dubious, because a bad accent can be... sad... but his accents were so perfectly done. Sure, it helps that this book is a fantasy so the people don't actually have to be from anywhere in particular, but he made those accents feel natural.
TJ Klune hit the jackpot with him, and he should be thanking his lucky stars that such a perfect-fitting narrator came his way.
My final rating is a full star higher because I really enjoyed the book in audio and Michael Lesley deserves heaps of praise for his work. Still, narration aside, the book is funny, charming, and romantic, even if it won't rank up there in my favorites from TJ. I'm hoping A Destiny of Dragons wins me over even more.
*Copy provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review*
Do you believe in love at first sight? Paul Auster doesn't. Paul doesn't believe in much at all. He's thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother's homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
I loved this book the first time I read it almost five years ago.
I loved it the second time I read it in 2016.
I LOVED the audio version that I just finished.
I LOVE THIS BOOK.
This book is my comfort read.
It's funny, it's ridiculous, it's charming: it's just a feel-good book for me. As my tastes have changed over the years, I haven't seemed to move on from this story and these characters.
The narration was simply spot on. I can't imagine anyone else other than Michael Lesley reading this story.
I think I'm going to have to shell out for more audios in this series because when I need a pick me up, this series is here to comfort me, and the audio is just one more way to get my fix.
Thanks to an elderly spinster sleuth and her ingenious cat, Christopher Holmes has enjoyed a celebrated career as a bestselling mystery writer. Until now. Sales are down and his new editor is allergic to geriatric gumshoes. On the advice of his agent, he reinvents his fortyish, frumpy, recently dumped self into the sleek, sexy image of a literary lion, and heads for a Northern California writers conference to try and resurrect his career.
I have an odd relationship with Josh Lanyon and her books. For the most part, I don't really connect with them. I've used my own money and bought over 10+ Lanyon books, and while some of the books work for me, it's true that the vast majority don't. I struggle with the lack of relationship development in every single Lanyon book.
However, that being said, I also have a love/hate relationship with the Adrien English series. While the books made me pretty mad at times, they are also some of the most memorable audiobooks I've ever listened to, and the series holds a special place in my heart.
When I saw the Holmes and Moriarity books on sale at Audible, I snatched up the first two, hoping this series would win me over.
Honestly, I really hated the beginning of Somebody Killed His Editor. The narrator for this series isn't nearly as talented as with the Adrien English books, and Kit sounded like a whiny old lady. However, as the book progressed I found myself drawn in more and more, and I ended the book on a positive note, excited to listen to the next one.
One big issue that I had, which many other readers don't seem to have, is how oddly misogynistic this book is, especially because Josh Lanyon is a female author. The female authors in the story are all wearing pink all the time and acting ridiculous, prancing around and writing about things that Kit deems frivolous. It really irked me, and it made me almost put down the book 1/3 of the way through.
I'm curious to see where this series takes me. I hope I see some true relationship development between the two MCs and not just relying on past chemistry. We'll see...
A murderous fall down icy stairs is nearly the death of Anna Hitchcock, the much-beloved "American Agatha Christie" and Christopher Holmes' former mentor. Anna's plea for him to host her annual winter writing retreat touches all Kit's sore spots - traveling, teaching writing classes, and separation from his new lover, J.X. Moriarity. For J.X., Kit's cancellation of yet another romantic weekend is the death knell of a relationship that has been limping along for months. But that's just as well, right?
Okay, it's Josh Lanyon, so for me 3-stars is about where I fall with all her books.
I *liked* this one... sort of. It grew on me over time, as did the first in the series. I'm not a big fan of mysteries, but I liked it. It kept me on my toes.
I know I keep reading Lanyon though I'm not particularly a fan, but I spend my own money on them and I keep hoping for more 4 and 5 star reads. This one wasn't quite there, but I think it was still money well spent.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Sanford Stewart sure doesn't. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy's perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind. Or so he tells himself.
I'm obsessed with the At First Sight series, and The Queen & the Homo Jock King is one of my comfort reads. It is pure FUN; just outlandish, ridiculous, yet insanely heartfelt FUN. It strikes the perfect balance for me, and this book and Tell Me It's Real are my go-tos when I'm feeling down.
I won't fully recap the book because I've reviewed it before, but I will say that it is a story for lovers of the style of Tell Me It's Real. If you like a slow-burn love story that is full one one-liners, characters exploding with personality, and sexual tension like WOAH, then you MUST read this series.
However, because this series is so near and dear to me, I avoided the audiobooks for a long time.
I am a huge audio lover, but sometimes an imperfect narrator will ruin a favorite book of mine, and the book is never the same again for me. And I actually get MAD about that, and I kick myself for spoiling something that I loved.
However, there was a TON of buzz around this series in audio, and I decided to dip my toe in with Tell Me It's Real. And, truthfully, Michael Lesley simply crushed it, just absolutely owned that narration, and so I decided to take a chance and move on with the series.
Between listening to TMiR and TQatHJK, I met Michael Lesley in person, and I was a teeny, tiny bit worried that meeting him would ruin my ability to get into the story. I was concerned that I would picture Michael Lesley talking instead of, say, Helena, which would be a bummer. Honestly, I shouldn't have worried because Michael Lesley so thoroughly throws himself into each character that it is hard to picture anyone but the characters themselves talking. His voices were DIVINE! Simply inspired, and I don't say that lightly. I can't picture anyone else reading those voices, and the fact that T.J. Klune picked him was pure fate.
The audio is long and insane in the best way (I knew it would be). Don't read this book if you don't want to experience a fabulous queen who is more than just a diva, BFFs who will dress in disguise for their friends, Nanas with floggers, old people exploring their sexual preferences, and some very interesting sex in some very interesting locations.
However, if you love T.J. Klune, and I know you do, then you MUST check this audiobook out. You'll thank me later.
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Six years ago, Noah Wheeler went to meet his boyfriend, Dante Cerreto, at the airport, and his world ended. Dante was kissing someone else and claimed to be in love. So Noah took his heartbreak and closed the door on the big picture of what he thought his life would be, focusing instead on the piece of the dream he got to keep, being a father. Six years later, Dante wants to make up for lost time, but he's going to have to take a crash course in communication and seduction. Noah's not going to fall in love just to be broken again.
The narration of this audiobook was fab and the sex was hot, but the plot... just crazy town.
There is just no way that you would divorce your husband over a phone call or letter without confronting them. No way. I wouldn't even breakup with my high school boyfriend over the word from someone else instead of them. The plot was just ridiculous, so much so that I found myself huffing and snorting as I was listening.
I actually made me mad, and I got even madder that Noah just took Dante back! I like my wronged men to make the significant other SUFFER. It was all too easy, too doormat-ish, too... unsatisfying.
Despite my simmering anger, I also found myself liking parts of the story. Some of the alpha dialogue was sexy even as it enraged me. Is it possible to like and hate a story all at the same time?
Maybe this is just for die-hard Mary Calmes fans? Either way, it wasn't a hit with me.
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Mob enforcer Ceaton Mercer has killed a lot of people in a lot of different ways - he stashed the last two bodies in a toolshed belonging to a sweetheart marine researcher in an idyllic island community - but he's really not such a bad guy. Over time he's found a home of sorts, and he even learns he's found a place in the hearts of the people he works with...at least enough so that they won't put a bullet in his head because he's outlived his usefulness to the boss.
Ridiculous, but I sort of loved it!
I'm the first to admit that I'm not typically a Mary Calmes fan. I have to be in the mood for a very particular kind of story, and I guess I was in the mood for that kind of story today because this one just worked for me.
It's Mary Calmes to the max, baby!!
Sure, the plot is... interesting. An "unapologetic mobster with the heart of gold"-kinda plot. I had NO idea where it was going or when we were FINALLY going to meet the love interest. The romance, when we get there after eons, was rushed to the point of incredulity. However, it all came together for me, somehow, in the end.
One big factor is that I love Greg Tremblay, and I thought he did an awesome job narrating this one. He really brought the characters to life, and I thought he elevated a 3.5 star story to a solid 4 stars. I loved all of his accents (no idea if they are realistic, though), and I loved his vocal differentiation between the characters.
Okay, just accept that this book is cracktastic and don't try to analyze it. You'll thank me later.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
3 of 3 people found this review helpful