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  • reviews
  • 20
  • helpful votes
  • 805
  • ratings
  • Switched

  • By: N.R. Walker
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98

Israel Ingham's life has never been easy. He grew up in a house devoid of love and warmth. Nothing he ever did was good enough. The fact that Israel is gay just added to the long list of his father's disappointments. Then a letter from Eastport Children's Hospital changes everything. A discovery is made, one of gross human error. Twenty-six years ago, two baby boys were switched at birth and sent home with the wrong families.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding Tearjerker from the Land of Oz

  • By Alex on 10-27-17

A story to fall in love with.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-15-18

It took me a while to pick up this book by N.R. Walker. For the life of me, I don't know why. I love the author's writing and always fall in love with her characters. I'm a fan of the switched at birth trope, not that there are a lot of books featuring that. I also love the narrator, Joel Leslie. He is great at creating voices. So despite owning the ebook and having Switched on my audio wishlist, I didn't pick it up until I was offered a copy to review.

There is something subtly amazing about the author's writing. It probably sounds strange but every time I read a book by this author I find myself surprised at how much I love it. Like I never expect them to be as good as they are. Maybe because there isn't really a lot of other things going on outside of the characters relationship and their semi-normal lives. For the most part, there aren't secondary plots with action or danger. Her books are just very sweet romances with so much heart that you can't help but be drawn in and fall in love with the characters.

Israel has a close knit set of friends. I have to mention that I love their nickname for him because his initials, I.I. sound like aye, aye. He is called captain. It is brought up so often in the book and I thought it was cute, especially their singing of the Spongebob theme song. His good-natured acceptance of it doesn't make the joke get old as the story goes on. Israel's very best friend is Sam. And while he plays a big part in Israel's life this book is mostly about Israel.

Israel has never quite felt like he fit in his life. Raised by distant parents and nannies he hasn't felt welcome in his family especially after he came out as gay. It feels real easy to dislike his parents throughout most of this book. There is so much lack of communication between them, that it takes learning about a mistake the hospital made in switching babies for them to ever really talk. Even then, they skirt around real feelings until Israel can't take it anymore and forces the issues of how they treated him his whole life. Family secrets are revealed and hearts are opened but there is much healing for them. Oh, the feelings!

Isreael's friendship with Sam is tested throughout this book, also. He wants so much to lean on his friend but worries about becoming a nuisance. And has fears of rejection or losing his friendship. The truth is that he has had more than friend feelings. So does Sam. I usually feel frustrated when two friends keep pushing back their feelings instead of admitting things to each other. I do understand the worry about wrecking the friendship but still I am usually frustrated. Usually. I wasn't in this book at all. There was so much that Israel needed to go through and work out, I felt, before he could really be ready for it. And when they finally do get together, my heart sighed and sang. The author is really good at bringing out the emotions of the characters and allowing the reader to feel them.

I mentioned that the story is really about Israel and a lot about his parents treatment of him. I do need to mention how great the other characters are. First, Sam. He is a great character. He was raised with wealth but he is humble. He is a very likable guy whose family just happens to have money. Sam's family is just like him and are more like a family to Israel than his own in the beginning. Israel's birth mom and the (now) man he was switched with are great. Donna is the reason that Israel explored the feelings he had for Sam and Nick becomes a brother figure. There are other brothers and sisters from that family too that become Israel's family.

The end of this story was great with all these important people really coming together around Israel and Sam. There is a lot of healing for Sam and for the parents that raised him, the family he lost, and the family he made. My heart was extremely warmed by all the different types of love. I must remind myself in the future not to hold off on reading or listening to this author's books. I love being surprised over and over again by the depth of emotion in her writing.

  • Cruel Candy

  • Cozy Corgi Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: Mildred Abbott
  • Narrated by: Angie Hickman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Winifred Page and her corgi, Watson, move to Estes Park to hit the Reset button on life. Fred is about to open her dream bookshop, and the only challenges she anticipates are adjusting to small-town life, tourists, and living close to her lovable mother, Phyllis, and hippie stepfather, Barry. When Fred steps into her soon-to-be-bookshop for the first time, she expects dust bunnies and spiders...not the dead body in the upstairs kitchen.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun listen

  • By Cassi on 06-13-18

Cute mystery

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-12-18

I have only become a mystery fan in the last three years but I am a fan of this author's books under a different name. So I definitely wanted to check out Mildred's cozy mysteries. This is the first time I've listened to this narrator and I thought she did very well. She is good at providing different voices for the characters and has a pleasant voice.

I really like the character of Fred. First I love her name, I always thought girls with boys names (shortened from Winifred) were cool. She is your average woman. She has been through some tough times as well as good. She doesn't bemoan her life though. She just chalks it up to experience and moves on. Her description makes her sound like she's not particularly skinny while not being really overweight. She seems comfortable in her own skin and I like that. She is definitely someone I felt like I could relate to.

The secondary characters are great and well written too. Fred just moved to the town that her mother and stepfather live in. They are a little eccentric and absent minded but are supportive and loving, too. I thought they were likable as well as her two gay uncles who own a shop in town, too. There is a baker who seems like she might become friends with Fred, a police officer that hates her and another that seems a little interested in her. It is an interesting little town for sure.

Fred's dog, Watson, is also an important character in the series. The bookshop is going to be called The Cozy Corgi and the book series has the same name. I have never had a pet so I'm not a real big animal person. (I feel like I should be embarrassed about that.) I don't always think to mention pets in book reviews but in this series Watson is relevant. Fred talks to him and probably considers him a partner of sorts. Most people can't help but love the dog and if you have a treat in your hand, he might just like you back. I think as the story goes on he will remain pivotal.

The mystery in this book was interesting. After just about a day in her new home and business, Fred finds her shop neighbor murdered in the upper level of her own store. Immediately I had my suspicions of who did it, even though I had just met these characters, myself. Fred's late dad was a detective and with her stepfather being a suspect, she begins to investigate. There was a time or two where my original suspicion faltered and I wondered about what was happening especially when another murder takes place in a nearby town. And though, my original guess of whodunnit was correct, I liked seeing Fred work through the investigating and finding out the motive/reason for the murder. There seems to be a few persons of interest in terms of Fred's love life and I look forward to seeing her caring and quirky family again. It was an enjoyable story and a great beginning to the series. I can't wait to read or listen to more of them.

  • Sweet Thing

  • Pretty Boy
  • By: Isobel Starling
  • Narrated by: Gary Furlong
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

French male model Simeon Duchamp has a lot of explaining to do. Two years after a breakdown, Simeon is off drugs and booze and wants to stay that way. On his road to reclaiming his life and modeling career, Sim first needs to apologize to the man he hurt the most - his ex-best friend and object of his unrequited affection Pieter Bayer. Pieter now has a long-term partner, artist Emily Raven, with whom he shares a baby son. Sim is amazed when Pieter accepts his apology, and invites him into his family.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Oh the feels

  • By Kate M on 04-27-18

Great narration really adds to the story.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-02-18

The narration: If you haven't listened to this narrator yet, you definitely should. He performs so many accents in a way that seems flawless to me. I am always impressed by his variation and his ability to emote. Listening to a book narrated by him only enhances the enjoyment of the story.

The story:  Sweet Thing is book 2 of a series and can definitely be read as a standalone. The first book is an m/f book, some of Simeon's backstory seems to take place in it. The author catches us up enough that it doesn't have to be read first, but I did find myself adding it to my to-read list.

Simeon is kind of a broken character. He is on the mend after rehab and counseling for drug and alcohol addictions. His addictive personality disorder isn't something that will go away so it's a constant struggle to stay away from his former vices. And not to form new ones. He finds himself having to apologize to his very best friend Pieter, who he hurt in book one. There is such a history that is glossed over in this book, but you can feel their bond. Hence my wanting to read book one. Through Pieter and his wife, Simeon meets Bastien.

Bastien is broken also. Pieter and Emily encourage the relationship between Simeon and Bastien, thinking that two broken men can help each other. It's debatable if that is a good idea, but their intentions are good. Bastien's problems are with intimacy and while Simeon is able to help, Bastien is also dealing with loss and a lack of closure from his last relationship. He cares for Simeon, no doubt, but he has a lot of issues that don't allow him to put Simeon first, and things between them hit some rough spots.

There is some angst in this book, but it's not overly emotional. I felt disappointed at times in both characters. Which means they aren't too perfect to be real. It's a love story between broken and flawed men. I enjoyed the story and really liked Pieter and Emily's place in the book. I'd say they are the most prominent secondary characters and they add to the story. Overall, I would definitely recommend the book, especially the audio version.

  • The Ghost Slept Over

  • By: Marshall Thornton
  • Narrated by: Jason Frazier
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35

When failed actor Cal Parsons travels to rural New York to claim the estate of his famous and estranged ex-partner, he discovers something he wasn't expecting - the ghost of his ex! And, worse, his ex invites Cal to join him for all eternity. Now. As Cal attempts to rid himself of the ghost by any means, he begins to fall for the attractive attorney representing the estate. Will Cal be able to begin a new relationship, or will he be seduced into the ever after?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Funny Love Story

  • By Jessica on 02-07-18

Good narration. Fun story.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-13-18

The narration: It’s been a while since I listened to this narrator. What I remembered was that Jason Frazier could produce some very delicious tones in his voice that could make me melt. And at times I think he could sound too sexual at times when it wasn’t quite right. I didn’t experience that in The Ghost Slept Over, though. I remembered how very talented he is at female voices. It is so different from his regular voice that I almost can’t believe it’s the same person. Overall, I was pretty pleased with his narration. I hope to hear some others from him soon.

The story: I have to explain that most of my experience reading Marshall Thorton is with his Nick Nowak Mysteries. I have read nine books in that series and I am used to that narrative. I always worry about checking out other books by an author who I associate with a certain series or set of characters. I shouldn’t have worried about this book though.

At first, the book did seem a bit slow for me. Cal isn’t really a likeable character. He is homeless but still trying to achieve his dream of acting. Usually that is the type of character I’m rooting for. Cal is just a bit full of himself though. Since I listened to the book and didn’t read it, it’s hard to say that that is the way the author wanted him to be or if that is more narrator portrayal. But I didn’t really care for him. As soon as the action started, though, I was jumping aboard this kooky ghost story.

Most ghost stories are a little more on the spooky side and I am a chicken. This story is more of a comedy. It brought back memories of watching Blackbeard’s Ghost when I was younger. Crazy ghost hijinks. I love that kind of story. The ghost of Mac is pretty egocentric and that narration is just right for him. Mac isn’t ready to get rid of his house or his ex, Cal. His attempts to stop the sale made me laugh. I didn’t really like him but enjoyed his character. His attempts to help Cal into the afterlife with him are a little bit menacing but overall, I think he just didn’t want to spend eternity alone.

There is a bit of romance in this book when Cal meets Mac’s lawyer, Dewey. I guess I like Dewey. He is pretty straight forward and wants to help others. He doesn’t seem to be your typical lawyer shark, but he is lacking a little bit of depth. His family moved out of the country and even though he is involved with the local drama group, he doesn’t seem to have any close friends. I guess since Cal is kind of a loner, too, that they make a pretty good pair. There isn’t anyone to keep them from each other and maybe they can fill the emptiness in their lives. The part that feels undeveloped is that neither of them really acknowledge being lonely. Maybe it doesn’t bother them, but I just wished for just a little bit more emotion in the story.

I am definitely glad I got this audio copy for review. There were parts that I found so funny and sweet. The narration was really good, too. I definitely think this is a good rec when you want something fun and less complicated.

  • Mahu

  • By: Neil Plakcy
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 11 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Mahu -- a generally negative Hawaiian term for homosexuals -- introduces a unique character to detective fiction. Kimo Kanapa'aka is a handsome, mixed-race surfer living in Honolulu, a police detective confronting his homosexuality in an atmosphere of macho bravado within the police force. A man of intelligence, strength, honesty, resourcefulness, and intense dedication to the people of Hawaii, Kimo is a hard-boiled hero you will never forget.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Example of the Coming Out Experinence

  • By Jim Lee on 09-09-17

Good mystery,

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-15-17

The narration: I am a big fan of Joel Leslie. I have listened to thirty-three books narrated by him and though I’m sure that is no record or anything, I have enjoyed all of those books. He has provided dozens of accents for the characters in previous books and is great at modulating voices within the same accent so that each character has his or her own sound. In Mahu, over half of the characters in the book speak with an Asian accent, since it takes place in Hawaii. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy some of the narrator’s accents in this book. The Asian accents sound too strong and just a little too broken for me. It did make the experience a little less enjoyable, but that doesn’t reflect on Joel’s ability to pull me into a story with his voice acting. He emotes so well. And though I have some critique for the narration in Mahu, I know that will not effect my purchasing audiobooks narrated by Joel Leslie in the future. I am still a big fan.

The story: I looked up the word Mahu before I started listening to the book and discovered it is a Hawaiian term for people who embody both the male and female spirit. It’s also known as a third gender. The Hawaiian culture was ahead of time when it came to gender identity. From reading this book, it seems like it is used as an insulting name for gay and lesbian women at the time the story was written. The original publication of this story was in 2005, I believe, and I think the story takes place around that time as well. Kimo running to find a pay phone makes me believe that this story takes place before everyone carried cell phones, but after the AIDS epidemic in the 80’s and 90’s.

The main character of this story is Kimo Kanapa’aka. At the beginning of the story he is very closeted and a bit in denial of his sexuality. He is an undercover detective who has only had relationships with women. He and his team go out for a drink after a bust goes bad, but what happens after that changes Kimo’s whole life. Kimo stumbles across a body outside a gay bar and he starts to compromise himself in order to protect his secret. Only he can’t continue to keep silent about that either. Not completely. And now, Kimo is wanting more from his life than a lie.

There is a small part of this story that features Kimo discovering his own wants and needs. There is a longing for someone to share his life with. The story is also about Kimo trying to find out where he stands within the police department and his family. The biggest part of the story is the mystery of who killed the mystery man Kimo found and why. There are a lot of twists and turns as Kimo tries to solve this case. The culprit wasn’t entirely unexpected for me, however the reason that it happened was not what I expected.

There is a hot button topic in this book, I think. The use of the “F” word. Over the course of the book the word faggot or fag is used many times. It is thrown around when they find the murdered body outside a gay club. Kimo uses it to describe men he considers effeminate or swishy. As if the word doesn’t really apply to him, because he is masculine. He is also called faggot by others who see all gay men as the same. It isn’t ever used lightly to remove the negative effect, but only as an insult. It might seem I have no reason to object because I am a heterosexual female. I do feel the sting of those words, though. I hate how the word is used to hurt others. Unfortunately, I can’t pretend that this isn’t representative to real life. People do use this word to be cruel and to show disrespect to those in the LGBT community. I’m not asking the author to water down the story to please me, but at times I felt uncomfortable. That might have been intentional. Still, I thought it was a talking point in regards to this story and wanted to share my thoughts.

Moving on and wrapping up! Mahu definitely isn’t a romance but there are a few elements and I have hopes that Kimo will meet someone over the course of the series. Outside of a few bad judgments on Kimo’s part in the beginning of the story, he really seems like one of the good guys. I want to see what life has in store for him in the future. If you enjoy a good mystery, I’d definitely recommend this book.

  • Cronin's Key II

  • By: N. R. Walker
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 306
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 289
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 288

With the battle of Egypt behind them, Alec and Cronin are enjoying the thrill of new love. Though fate doesn't wait long before throwing them back into the world of weird. They know Alec's blood is special, though its true purpose still eludes them. And given Alec's inability to be changed into a vampire, Cronin is free to drink from him at will. But the ramifications of drinking such powerful blood starts a ripple effect. With the help of Jorge, a disturbing vampire-child with the gift of foresight, Alec and Cronin face a new kind of war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic listening

  • By Jackie Thorogood on 08-22-17

Out of this world narration, Great story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-08-17

The narration: As always Joel Leslie did a wonderful job narrating. I have always praised his multitude of accents but in Cronin’s Key II he really pushed the limits by having a conversation between several characters at one time with over five different accents among them. It was quite impressive how well he kept it all together. Joel is a great voice actor whose narrations should not be missed.

The story: I read the Cronin’s Key series two years ago when it was released and recently listened to the audio of book one. I was excited to be offered book 2 for reviewing purposes. I love books that fall under the paranormal umbrella and always loved vampires in particular. I read them in YA series when I was younger and not so younger, I read them in m/f romance novels, and now I read about them in m/m romance books. Vampires can be scary creatures but often they have this mystique and romantic quality about them (in most books) that they can fit into any genre.

One of the things I like best is when a vampire can bit for pleasure, as well as sustenance, without killing. In N.R.’s word building a vampire’s bite is deadly and I admit I was disappointed just a little. Biting to me is sexy and I wanted it to happen during their intimate moments, but in book one Cronin could not do that to Alec until he used his human blood to save the world first. (If you haven’t read book one it is a series that must be read in order.) When Cronin’s bite didn’t take and Alec remained human it was a surprise and a mystery to the two men and their close friends, Jodis and Eiji. For me it meant that my wish came true though and I loved that biting became part of Cronin and Alec’s sex life. For those who don’t really like their main characters to be killers, the vampires have compromised by only taking out the most nasty offenders on the streets. It does make it more bearable for me and Alec comes to accept it as a necessity for his lover’s survival.

The plot in this story reminds me of Indiana Jones meets Twilight meets m/m romance. It is not just paranormal but there is a lot of action/adventure as Cronin, Alec, Jodis, Eiji, and many other vampires band together and fight against an ancient evil trying to destroy them using a resurrected vampire, Ghengis Khan, and the Teracotta Army. Discovering the why of the attacks and Alec’s purpose to remain human also adds an element of mystery. N.R. created such a well rounded story that amazed me. When you read a lot of books, it’s easy to forget how enjoyable a story is when you haven’t read it in a few years. The audio brought back how much I loved this book and series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • McFarland's Farm

  • Hope, Book 1
  • By: Cardeno C.
  • Narrated by: Paul Morey
  • Length: 2 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 218
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 209

Wealthy, attractive Lucas Reika treats life like a party, moving from bar to bar and man to man. Thumbing his nose at his restaurateur father's demand that he earn his keep, Lucas instead seduces a valued employee in the kitchen of their flagship restaurant, earning himself an ultimatum: lose access to his father's money or stay in the middle of nowhere with a man he has secretly lusted over from afar.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Rich boy from the city and his big,solid Farmer

  • By mel on 11-13-14

Sweet romances are Cardeno C's specialty.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-01-17

Narration – I’ve listened to many books narrated by Paul Morey and find him to be a good narrator. He creates different vocal tones and accents for most of the characters. I can’t say that I know an Arizona accent, but I thought his drawl for Jared might have been a little too strong. Still it was well narrated without mistakes and a good amount of variety.

The story – For Lucas and Jared this story is a case of Beauty and the Beast with a twist. Lucas is a large man, physically scarred by an accident that happened in his teenage years. Jared is a beautiful, trim man, flawless in his looks. But Jared is also a man who didn’t receive a lot of attention during his formative years, his father much too busy with his business to actually raise him. It made him bristly, attention seeking, and somewhat selfish with money as his closest companion. Jared whose father was never in the picture and mother died in the same accident that disfigured him, was taken in by the town of hope and given work, a place to stay, and food. Though his situation growing up was dire, he was a beautiful man inside, due to his realization of human goodness. Both Lucas and Jared are attracted to each other, but have no expectation of acting on those feelings. until a moment where they see the physical evidence of each other’s desire.

For me this was a sweet romance, which is a specialty of Cardeno C. Outside of Jared’s need to find his own self worth, there is not a lot of angst. There were no questions left unanswered and as the attraction grew to love for the two men, Jared managed to make up with his father who sent him to Jared as punishment. His attitude after was improved and became even better when the two men gave in to their feelings. Another plus in the story was the character of Susan. As Jared’s sister and Lucas’s ex-wife, she is the tie between them and the reason for Jared’s banishment to Lucas’s farm. Even though things didn’t work out between her and Lucas, you could see the strong friendship between them that had to be the basis for their marriage in the first place. There was no bitterness from discovering Lucas was gay and that their relationship was not one that could last. She saw the best in both Lucas and Jared and ultimately played matchmaker for them along with her father.

It was a great story with a decent narration that I definitely recommend to any Cardeno C. fan, and any fan of m/m romance.

  • Femme

  • By: Marshall Thornton
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 135
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 132
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132

Queeny cocktail waiter Lionel wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player, and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Heels, Better Romance...

  • By HB on 07-02-17

Funny and thought provoking

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-29-17

I’ll start with the narration of Femme. I was excited when I first found out Femme was going to be narrated by Joel Leslie. I felt like he would do the characters justice, especially the effeminate Lionel who can really play up the drama. Joel didn’t disappoint. I thought it was excellent as an audiobook and I thought he brought life to the story.

Before Femme, I had read Marshall Thornton’s Nick Nowak series and loved the mystery and historical aspects. This book was very different from what I knew of this author’s writing. To start off, the story is contemporary. Unlike the gay fiction series, this one would be considered a romance between the effeminate Lionel and jock Doug who is mostly referred to as Dog in the story. But I would say it is much more than that.

Though Lionel was a server at the bar that sponsors Dog’s gay softball league and they had seen each other before, they hadn’t ever really spoken to each other. Their first encounter turns into a drunken one night stand that Dog can’t remember. Dog isn’t thrilled to wake up in the bed of a femme guy but it doesn’t really stop him from being attracted to him. For me, this book was a lot about breaking through labels and the expectations people have for themselves or expectations others have of them. It is also a lot about self acceptance.

Dog is out mostly. Everyone knows he’s gay… except his family. He worries if they will accept him if they know he’s gay. His mom wants him to settle down and give her grandchildren. His dad, well his dad proves his fears true when he does tell him he’s gay. He tells him he’s not a man. And for masculine Dog that is what he fears most about being gay, that he won’t be seen as manly. I feel that Dog is basically a good guy. He doesn’t like bullying or oppression. He loves his family. But there are a few times I would like to have slapped him in this story for the way he treats Lionel.

Lionel, though, knows how to take care of himself and he lets Dog have it when he leaves him stranded on several dates all because he doesn’t want to be seen with a guy especially not one who likes red high heels and tight clothes. Lionel is definitely out and proud, but when he needs to look for a job he suddenly he starts to question everything about himself. He wonders if he is too femme to get hired. He questions why he is that way. He even tries to hide his true self under khakis and loose t-shirts.

This story is about Dog and Lionel fumbling their way into a relationship and accepting each other, but both men have to learn to accept themselves in the process. To be happy, despite the people around them who tell them what and who they should be.

  • Illuminate the Shadows

  • Shatterproof Bond, Book 2
  • By: Isobel Starling
  • Narrated by: Gary Furlong
  • Length: 4 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43

A Scotsman and an Englishman fall in love...after the most amazing week of his life. The charming, mysterious Samuel Aiken has turned Declan Ramsay's life upside down. Declan has experienced a remarkable change. He has come to terms with the fact he is bisexual, and he has fallen head-over-heels in love with his boss's son Sam. The lovers cannot hide from the looming presence of Sir James Aiken for long! Soon enough James makes his move, and Declan finds out what he will have to endure to stay with Sam.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just as good, if not better then the 1st!

  • By TinkerMel on 09-03-17

An addicting series.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-29-17

The narration: Again, Gary Furlong did a wonderful job narrating. I love his multitude of accents. I definitely will listen to him again.

The story: After the ending of the first book, I immediately bought the audio for Illuminate the Shadows. I was intrigued by the twist regarding Sam’s career. This is book 2 and the series really should be read in order. There will be a spoiler or two if you haven’t read book one. So in order to make their relationship work, Declan needs to join the secret association that Sam and Sam’s father belong to. But first, they are trying to get in a few days of romance after Sam came back from a mission.

Their plans are ruined as Declan is kidnapped and “extreme vetted” by Sir James. The story sort of head hops but I had no problem keeping up. At one point we get the point of view of Sam’s dad and I cannot express my dislike for him enough. He has an intense dislike for his son’s sexuality and he is ruthless and hard. Declan is just beginning his career with this secret group but I am crossing my fingers that he and Sam get out soon.

As Sir James lays out several dubious situations that Declan has been involved in without being aware that there were shady things going on, I began to feel very suspicious of this story. Like there are more secrets yet to be revealed that no one knows about. Unfortunately if there are secrets like that, they weren’t revealed in this book. Instead, I have a lot more questions. Was Declan ever a part of something he can’t remember or is my imagination on high alert? Who is the mysterious he that Sam believes is dead? And is he really dead? Luckily, I know there are two more books in the series and I will be either reading them or listening to them when they make it to audio.

I am very intrigued by the story. I don’t feel like this book was as cutesy as the first one, though there is still some Wesley/Buttercup role playing. There is some progress in Sam and Declan’s relationship as they see how dating is while working together on covert operations. Declan also has to come out to his brother and disclose his relationship with the brother of his brother’s wife. It’s not as confusing at it sounds. 😉 I did enjoy listening to this book, but part of me wanted some answers to my questions. I am looking forward to the next book. In the meantime, I definitely recommend this book and the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Crooked Tree Ranch

  • Montana, Book 1
  • By: RJ Scott
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 295
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 278
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 278

When a cowboy meets the guy from the city, he can't know how much things will change. On the spur of the moment, with his life collapsing around him, Jay Sullivan answers an ad for a business manager with an expertise in marketing, on a dude ranch in Montana.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Cowboys, horses and abusive ex-husbands, oh my!

  • By Tams (TTC Books and more) on 05-09-17

Interesting start to a series, can't wait for more

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-15-17

I really enjoyed the narration. Sean Crisden really brings the characters to life with his different voices for the characters and he emotes very well. I would listen to him anytime.

I really like the set up to the series. The ranch seems like a nice place to live and I love the three Todd brothers that partly own and help run the ranch. I worry about the aging rancher that is also a part owner, he seemed so nice, though there were a few moments that a certain attitude bled through and I began to question the nice guy. There is no real conclusion to that so I don't know if we'll get more insight in book two.

In this book, the ranch is having financial troubles and they bring in a marketing consultant to help bring in more visitors. The new hire, Jay, brings his family, a sister and her two children. Jay's family really meshes well with the brothers. Though Jay doesn't exactly get along with Nate Todd right away. It's a battle of wills between them. They both find out the other is gay and though attraction is there, Nate fights against it until jealousy makes it impossible.

It's a sweet story between them. Once Nate decided to let go and engage in a love affair with an employee, there was not a lot of tension in the book. Most of the conflict in the book takes place between other characters and trying to save the ranch. A crusty, set in his ways ranch hand isn't real keen on political correctness but I have a little sympathy at his loneliness. My favorite part though, is when he joins with Jay to stop a bullying abuser.

I really did like the book, but it lacked a little bit of excitement for me. I'm really looking forward to reading book 2 of this series which seems to hold a bit more mystery and I hope we will get to revisit the ranch and the characters from Crooked Tree Ranch.