LISTENER

JC

  • 64
  • reviews
  • 177
  • helpful votes
  • 105
  • ratings
  • Lonely Hearts

  • Love Lessons, Book 3
  • By: Heidi Cullinan
  • Narrated by: Iggy Toma
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 204
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian "Baz" Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends - his buffer zone - are preparing to move on while his own life is at a crippling standstill. With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up - then opens up - with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz's carefully constructed armor.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tough couple to tackle but still an excellent book

  • By katelyn on 11-15-15

Excellent narration, but disappointed with story

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

Reviewed: 09-28-15

What made the experience of listening to Lonely Hearts the most enjoyable?

Definitely Iggy Toma. He's one of the best narrators I've listened to so far since joining Audible. His narration is easy to understand and follow, I never feel like I have to read the book to understand what's going on. And while he does inject some acting when it comes to character voices, it's never over the top of annoying. Just enough to give the characters a distinct voice.

Would you recommend Lonely Hearts to your friends? Why or why not?

I'd recommend it for those who read/listened to the first two books in the series since the characters from those books all have cameos in this one.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scenes which dealt with Lejla/Lewis. I'm assuming there's going to be a book about her...

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

'It' doesn't get better. 'We' get better.

Any additional comments?

Okay, while this wasn't bad, I didn't enjoy the story as much as I did Love Lessons and even Fever Pitch. Elijah and Baz's penchant for drugs and other intoxicating substances just wasn't my cup of tea and made me feel really detached from the characters. Plus, this got heavy handed in the drama Llahma department a few times.

While I do know of and actually loved the anime series Black Butler, I didn't like how it was injected into the story, practically giving a synopsis of that series. It made parts of Lknely Hearts drag for me, and the role play as Ciel and Sebastian just felt like overkill. The constant references to Studio Ghibli movies also kind of killed things for me in a way the Disney stuff in Love Lessons didn't manage to do. It was just... Too much. I'd rather focus on the characters of THIS story, not characters from some other stories.

And the epilogue, kind of went too far in the sugary direction for what I felt would be appropriate given what I know of Elijah and Baz's personalities. The constant presence of the Ambassadors and Salvo members got a bit grating at times for me, too.

Anyway, not my favorite installment in this series, but it wasn't terrible, either. And Iggy Toma did an excellent job so it was still worth it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Blood Moon

  • Insolita Luna
  • By: M. J. O'Shea
  • Narrated by: Michael Stellman
  • Length: 5 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 45

Zack met his best friend, Noah, at Harper Lake when they were five years old. Summer after summer, his feelings grew, but he assumed Noah didn't feel the same. But one night when they were 17, Zack kissed Noah...and Noah kissed him back. Zack was sure he did. But the next morning, Noah put an end to their friendship and walked away, leaving Zack with a broken heart.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A bit juvenile, but enjoyable

  • By Belen on 11-14-15

Kind of like an M/M Twilight, only better

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

Reviewed: 08-12-15

What other book might you compare Blood Moon to and why?

Well, Twilight, I guess... In that both stories are in the YA category with vampires, werewolves (sorry, Lycans) and teen love. Except Noah is actually a teen vampire and not a creepy, pedophile, stalker... and Zack, his (initially) human love interest isn't too-stupid-to-live. Oh, and no love triangles. And while there's angst, not the kind that made me DNF book 2 of Twilight because I couldn't stand the characters.

Which scene was your favorite?

The confrontation with Noah's grandfather.

If you could rename Blood Moon, what would you call it?

Well, Michael Stellman is one of my favorite narrators, and I've liked every other book I've read by M.J. O'Shea, so this is somewhere in the middle.

Any additional comments?

This is part of a series of three books, but only the first one has been released on audio so far :(

It's a complete story, though. So if you're worried about a cliffhanger ending, don't be. The ending is within what I would consider a happily ever after.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Tales From Foster High

  • By: John Goode
  • Narrated by: Michael Stellman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 170
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160

Kyle Stilleno is the invisible student, toiling through high school in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Brad Greymark is the baseball star of Foster High. When they bond over their mutual damage during a night of history tutoring, Kyle thinks maybe his life has changed for good. But the promise of fairy-tale love is a lie when you're gay and falling for the most popular boy in school. A coming of age story in the same vein of John Hughes, Tales from Foster High shows an unflinching vision of the ups and downs of teenage love and what it is like to grow up gay.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nice surprise

  • By Riva on 02-06-14

An all boy The Breakfast Club meets Pretty in Pink

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

Reviewed: 08-11-15

If you could sum up Tales From Foster High in three words, what would they be?

Angsty teen love.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Brad. When the story starts it's told from Kyle's POV, and Brad was the stereotypical, perfect, popular jock. But when the story switches to Brad's POV, you see all the cracks and how broken he really is.

Which scene was your favorite?

When they kissed for the first time. The fact that Brad's nose was bleeding at the time was a bit gross, but it's definitely a scene that sticks with you.

Any additional comments?

I love Michael Stellman's narration, but there are definitely sound quality issues with this one. The echo and background noise in some parts were quite noticeable depending on the kind of headphones you use. It sounds better on speakers. And there was one part that was repeated twice in the recording (Kyle and Kelly's second fight where Kyle notices other students taking pictures). It made me do a double take because I thought I was imagining it, like déjà vu. But no, that part was just duplicated. It was just one small part of the chapter, though.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Blinding Light

  • By: Renae Kaye
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Young
  • Length: 6 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 376
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 358
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 357

Jake Manning's smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it he can't hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it's prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake's so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude...and blind man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I guess my only question is...

  • By JC on 07-30-15

I guess my only question is...

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

Reviewed: 07-30-15

Any additional comments?

Why doesn't Jonathan Young have more audiobooks on here?

This was my first story by Renae Kaye and first audiobook narrated by Jonathan Young, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Both of the male protagonists were likable. I laughed quite a bit at when they were bantering through notes before ever meeting each other. It almost felt like the modern, gay version of the letters going back and forth in Pride and Prejudice. Actually, Jake and Patrick did have certain similarities to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. At least, I thought so. It was just the way they had misconceptions about each other, and didn't realize their attraction was mutual.

This also had a Maid in Manhattan-ish feeling (though it's been years since I saw that movie... Maybe that's a poor example since I barely remember it), with the poor housekeeper and rich employer falling for each other. That would have been enough in itself, but... What prevented this from being absolutely perfect for me was the addition of Jake's alcoholic mother. And the ending just seemed... A tad overkill. Kind of like it was way longer than it needed to be? Overall though, I liked the writing and humor enough to get more from this author.

Now for the narrator. This story is set in Australia, and while I'm not the best judge of what constitutes an authentic Aussie accent having only been to Australia once and having spoken to just a handful of Aussies, I thought Jonathan Young sounded pretty genuine. At least he didn't sound like the stereotypical Aussie accents you hear in SNL or you know... Crocodile Dundee or Steve Irwin. The accent he used was more subtle and very easy to understand. Definitely top notch narration, and more than worth the credit (or purchase).

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • How to Howl at the Moon

  • Howl at the Moon, Book 1
  • By: Eli Easton
  • Narrated by: Matthew Shaw
  • Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 563
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 530
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 530

Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of "quickened" - dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cute, warm and a little bit silly at times

  • By Ryuhi on 04-16-15

Equal parts sweet, romantic & hilarious

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

Reviewed: 07-26-15

This was the perfect blend of comedy and sweet romance. I was laughing out loud at a lot of what the characters were saying, thinking, and doing. Especially Lily, Lance's mom. God, I loved her.

And a town filled with dog shifters... Gah. I want to move there. Small town hijinks and lovely townspeople. What's not to love? And if that isn't enough, the Sheriff's a bisexual Border Collie shifter with black fur and blue eyes. And having gay-for-you thrown in was just icing on top of the puppy pile.

Lance and Tim were really cute with their awkwardness. I was worried over the potential drama Lance's deception could cause, but while there was angst when it finally came to a head, it didn't suffocate the story.

Matthew Shaw was a pleasant surprise, as well. Pleasant voice and he did well with the comedic parts. There was noticeable breathing, though, and some fluctuations in volume. It didn't really bother me because I was enjoying the story so much.

Looks like this is part of a series, but it's a complete story and the next book is about a different character. Can't wait for the next one. This was so much fun.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Enlightenment of Daniel

  • Sex in Seattle, Book 2
  • By: Eli Easton
  • Narrated by: Tommy O'Brien
  • Length: 5 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108

Business tycoon Daniel Derenzo lives for his work until his dying father reminds him life is short. When Daniel starts to reevaluate his world, he experiences a startling revelation: He's attracted to his business partner and best friend, Nick, even though Daniel always believed himself to be straight.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Realizing you're gay at 34 is never easy...

  • By JC on 07-26-15

Realizing you're gay at 34 is never easy...

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

Reviewed: 07-26-15

Any additional comments?

I’ve read the ebook version before but decided to get the audiobook to complete the set since I bought ‘The Mating of Michael’ (it was narrated by Michael Stallman… I had to) and I did enjoy how Tommy O’Brien narrated ‘The Trouble with Tony’.

This story involves Daniel, a workaholic, somewhat ruthless, businessman who believed his entire life that he was straight, who suddenly realizes he’s attracted to his old college roommate and current business partner, Nick.

Nick is a bisexual man trapped in a loveless marriage, with two kids, and hasn’t had sex with his wife in more than three years. He’s always been attracted to Daniel but never thought anything would come of it since Daniel was straight.

Some people might be bothered by the fact that Daniel and Nick get together before Nick is completely free of his wife, but it’s not written as a sordid affair, and the guys don’t actually sneak around. They get discovered fairly quickly, too, so it’s not like it was a long running deception which is why it didn’t bother me even though I hate cheating spouses (plus, the wife has her own ‘secrets’).It was also nice that the wife wasn’t completely vilified, unlike a lot of m/m romances where the women are evil with no redeeming qualities. Although she does start off pretty horrible, she becomes one of the more sympathetic characters. It helps that the story is told from multiple character POVs (though the majority of the narrative is Daniel and Nick, so don’t worry if you don’t like headhopping. It’s not like the first Cut & Run book which was… terrible when it came to switching POVs) so you have an idea of what’s really going on in her head. I even felt sorry for her when Daniel uses, what will be to some, quite a ruthless tactic to get her to release Nick, but everyone gets their HEA in the end and it was almost necessary because she was being completely unreasonable with denying Nick a divorce.

I know the premise of this story has all the elements of heavy drama-Llama, but it actually remains fairly light and never got too heavy. This is not never-ending angst. It helps that the characters are likeable and relatable even when you want to slap them, and there are splashes of humor here and there. It's what I like best about Eli Easton's books.If you liked Jack and Tony from the first book, they do make an appearance here, too.

Tommy O’Brien wasn’t bad, but he did have issues with pronouncing certain words which threw me off at times. The most memorable being his mispronunciations of ‘hackneyed’ and ‘belied’. There were others but can’t recall them. Overall, slightly distracting if you’re easily bothered by that kind of thing, but wasn’t prevalent enough to be a negative experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Stealing the Wind

  • Mermen of Ea, Book 1
  • By: Shira Anthony
  • Narrated by: Michael Stellman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 114
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 113

Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Started out as if it would be M/M/M PWP...

  • By JC on 07-25-15

Started out as if it would be M/M/M PWP...

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

Reviewed: 07-25-15

Any additional comments?

Started out as if it would be M/M/M PWP, then morphed into what I was expecting from the (very pretty) cover art as the story progressed.

When I bought this, I was expecting an epic fantasy romance with Mermen (just look at that cover!). I’d never read anything by Shira Anthony, and I was a bit thrown when, during the early chapters, it seemed like the story was heading into slave-fic, menage, territory. Hang on, I thought, wasn't this supposed to be more fantasy and less... erotica? I actually started getting discouraged, but the story changed direction once Taren is separated from Rider and Bastian, and meets Ian. From there it was more what I hoped it would be. Fantasy, romance, and some action.

So, if you were actually looking for M/M/M PWP involving the ship’s captain, quartermaster and their newly acquired slave, then you’ll be disappointed because the  the story doesn’t revolve around that relationship even though you do get a few explicit scenes in the beginning.

Overall I liked the characters, their dynamic, and how mermen were portrayed.

This isn’t my first experience with Michael Stellman’s narration, and as expected, I enjoyed the way he read the story. He’s not the kind of narrator who uses a wide range of character voices and lots of flashy stuff, but I totally have a voice-crush on him (is that a thing? Should be a thing). His voice just sounds so pleasant to me. No issues with pace and enunciation, either.

I’ve already gotten the next book in the series.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Trouble With Tony

  • Sex in Seattle, Book 1
  • By: Eli Easton
  • Narrated by: Tommy O'Brien
  • Length: 3 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 142
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 135
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 136

Dr. Halloran has his own issues, including a damaged right arm sustained in the line of duty as a combat surgeon in Iraq and the PTSD that followed. He’s confused to find himself attracted to a new patient, the big, funny Italian with the puppy-dog eyes, and Tony’s humor slips right past Jack’s defenses, making him feel things he thought long buried. But can the doctor and the P.I. find a path to romance despite the secrets between them?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An ex-Cop and an ex-Combat Surgeon RomCom

  • By JC on 07-18-15

An ex-Cop and an ex-Combat Surgeon RomCom

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

Reviewed: 07-18-15

Would you listen to The Trouble With Tony again? Why?

Yes. It's short, sweet, light, funny and has likeable characters. Just the kind of thing to listen to after a stressful day (or week).

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tony. I like how awkward he is even though he's this big, tough, hot Italian guy who used to be a Cop. The way he was so flustered around Jack was cute, and I liked his conversations with his mother.

What does Tommy O'Brien bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

This was my first experience with Tommy O'Brien and I was surprised at how good he was. He gave Tony and Jack the right kind of voices which made them sound close to what I imagined they'd sound like in real life so that was a bonus. I'd actually read the ebook version several months ago and enjoyed it, so it was a real treat to revisit these characters without having to actually read it again (and give my poor, tired, strained eyes a rest).

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

A bit. I mean, it's only slightly over 3 hours, so it wouldn't be that hard to accomplish.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Mating of Michael

  • By: Eli Easton
  • Narrated by: Michael Stellman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 322
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 321

Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it's cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Equal parts sweet, funny, sexy, and touching.

  • By JC on 07-18-15

Equal parts sweet, funny, sexy, and touching.

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

Reviewed: 07-18-15

Would you consider the audio edition of The Mating of Michael to be better than the print version?

I read the ebook several months ago, and while I loved it even back then, the audio version just made it even better.

Even the parts which I thought made the ebook drag in places (namely the excerpts from James' novel between chapters) didn't bother me in the audio version and actually made me interested in reading the full version of that story.

What other book might you compare The Mating of Michael to and why?

It's hard to say since I haven't read a lot of romance stories where one of the characters has a disability. But I guess, "The Rebuilding Year" by Kaje Harper, "Dance With Me" by Heidi Cullinan, "Never a Hero" by Marie Sexton and "Puzzle Me This" by Eli Easton have similar themes, but they weren't as sweet as The Mating of Michael and had different conflicts.

What about Michael Stellman’s performance did you like?

Michael Stellman just has the kind of voice I enjoy listening to. It's nice, deep, slightly husky and he reads at just the right pace.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I listened to it for several hours and would have kept going till the end if it weren't for the fact that my ears needed a rest from being squashed by my headphones. Pain was the only thing that kept me from listening to it in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

If you're looking for some hurt/comfort with lovely, likeable characters who also happen to be SciFi geeks with a dash of snark and great chemistry, with a good narrator, you'll love this. When I first read the blurb for the ebook, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it since I'd never read a romance where one of the main characters has a major disability or where the other character is a sex surrogate (which was something I'd seen in a TLC documentary before, so I knew what the profession entailed). It was a new dynamic that made me pause for a bit, but since I'd already bought all of Eli Easton's other stories and enjoyed them, I decided to trust her and read it. There were times I felt Michael (the character, not the narrator :D) was too good to be true, but he does have some flaws that keep him from being completely perfect.

Definitely worth the credit.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Fighting Instinct

  • L'Ange, Book 2
  • By: Mary Calmes
  • Narrated by: Tristan James
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 314
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 314

Only a privileged few know L'Ange's head of security, Arman de Soto, is a shifter, and even fewer know he's been systematically killing off a pack of werewolves. The reason for this vengeance is a secret Arman trusts with no one, quite the opposite of his obvious longtime pursuit of the chateau's overseer, Linus Hobbes. Despite Arman's reputation as a loner, the only thing he needs to complete his life is Linus. Predator and prey just don't mix, but Arman won't give him up.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gotta Love Mary Calmes and Tristan James together

  • By Morgan A Skye on 03-16-15

Good premise but bogged down by info dumps...

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

Reviewed: 07-02-15

So this has an interesting premise.
A prey shifter falling in love with a predator, and the main character is basically a vigilante serial killer... though when you find out why, it's mostly justified. This is probably the 'grayest' you'll get in a Mary Calmes MC, morality-wise. At least the main POV character wasn't another Jory clone.

I would have preferred if this had more of Linus and Arman's earlier interactions in the seven years they've been working together. Because the way it was done, there was very little buildup to them becoming mates. The action was also bogged down with long info dumps and exposition.

With regard to narration, this isn't Tristan James' best. He seemed a bit stiffer reading the narrative and dialogue in this one compared with other titles he's narrated. I don't know if it was because of how the story was written or if he just didn't have a lot of time to do a read through and just did a cold narration. This just wasn't as good as his performance in Parting Shot. Still, Tristan at his worst is still better than a lot of other narrators I've listened to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful