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DPiazzi

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  • Secret in Houston

  • Lone Star Brothers, Book 3
  • By: Susi Hawke
  • Narrated by: John Solo
  • Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28

Cody was held captive by insurgents after his helicopter went down. When he finally gets home a year later, he’s battling a severe case of PTSD along with partial amnesia. He has no memory of being involved with his buddy’s sexy little brother with the cute-as-a-bug baby. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great addition to the series

  • By HockeyfanT on 01-11-19

all my favorite tropes

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

Reviewed: 01-10-19

From the blurb, this book checked off a lot of my favorite tropes. I love characters who have amnesia, brother's friend, second chances, and secret babies. The book definitely lived up to the promise of the blurb. I know that secret babies is usually a trope in m/f romance, and that's why I appreciate the mpreg genre. It's not for everyone but if you like two men who are both secure in who they are and love each other, and want to see them create a biological family then you just have to suspend reality and enjoy the ride. This omegaverse does have alpha and omega males, but there also females. There isn't a lot explained about why men can carry children in this world and I would have liked a little more world building but it is still an enjoyable story.

Houston is one of four brothers all named after the cities they were born or conceived in. I think that is a fun little fact, and two of his brothers have found love in the books before this one, and I'm sure the last one will in a future book. The brothers all play big parts in their siblings stories, so it does make me want to read or listen to the rest of the series. Houston's secret relationship with his older brother's friend, Cody, ends when Cody disappears and later returns with no memory of the relationship. Houston, who has a young child, has a secret that's obvious from the blurb. He doesn't know how to tell Cody about their past and Cody's PTSD and time passing only makes it harder.

The majority of the story takes place a few years later, and though secrets kept are revealed, I felt like the main characters show a unexpected level of maturity. There isn't a lot of drama but understanding. It was refreshing especially because Houston has the tendency to be dramatic at times. But the two men focus on what's important and work together in a bad situation. I don't really want to go into details in case I give a spoiler, but I definitely think this story is well worth reading and I enjoyed it a lot.

John Solo who narrated the book did a great job of narrating the two characters and using his voice to play up their individual characteristics. I definitely recommend listening to his narrations. He brought this book to life.

  • Bickering Birds

  • Cozy Corgi Mysteries
  • By: Mildred Abbott
  • Narrated by: Angie Hickman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

When Katie caters a meeting of the Feathered Friends Brigade and drags Fred along, they expect nothing more than loquacious chatter about birds as they endeavor to build a professional relationship with the owner of the wild bird shop. Fred and Katie are quickly roped into a moonlight snowshoeing hike in hopes of spotting a rare owl. While the endangered bird proves elusive...the murdered man in the snow is hard to miss. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A good read

  • By cosmitron on 10-24-18

Good mystery, I had no idea whodunnit.

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

Reviewed: 01-02-19

Angie Hickman, the narrator of this audio is good at bringing this series to life. I would definitely listen to her again.

The story is really good too. Since Winifred (Fred) Page moved to her small town, murders have been on the rise. It's a slightly unbelievable notion that happens in cozy mysteries. Of course, you have to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the books for what they are.

The most recent death is a member of the ornithology club. And for once the suspects are not friends or family of Fred. She takes a moment to decide not to get involved before a warning from the detective backfires and her own curiosity gets the best of her. Whether it is because her father was a police officer, or because Fred just loves mysteries, she really can't let things go and let the police department solve it on their own. Also like in a lot of mysteries, the police often overlook things or follow the easiest leads instead of really digging. Thank goodness for Fred Page and her corgi, Watson. Often I am able to guess who the guilty party is, but I was definitely surprised in this book.

I feel like in this book about bird lovers and birds, Watson got a little lost. He still helped a little; his sense of smell saved the day, but he felt less present. Fred's world is expanding, though, so it makes sense that there will be more characters getting attention. Besides her mother, stepfather, uncles, and her best friend Katie, she is juggling two men who could both become someone she cares about. Of course, I have a favorite of the two, but I have a feeling she will make her own decision that could be different from mine. And that's okay. The romance or possible romance is definitely in the background. The mysteries are what's important.

This is the only cozy mystery series that I read though I have read my share of LGBT mysteries. I am definitely enjoying the little community that the author created and look forward to reading or listening to more in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • M/M Romance Christmas Boxset

  • By: Isobel Starling
  • Narrated by: Gary Furlong
  • Length: 4 hrs and 18 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

This M/M romance bundle contains four seasonal romances from award-winning author Isobel Starling. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • For those who love short stories.

  • By DPiazzi on 11-21-18

For those who love short stories.

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

Reviewed: 11-21-18

I am a big fan of this author’s writing and a really big fan of the narrator. Gary Furlong’s accents are amazing, His Scottish and English accents sound authentic and curl around in my brain deliciously. I have to admit to an audio crush. I could listen to him all day.

There are four stories in this boxset, with some of the stories being better than others. By better, I mean more developed; the stories a little longer in which you come to know the characters better.

***

In ‘Fred and Ginger’, Chris had baked “dirty” cupcakes for a famous actor and was taking them out for delivery when a dog named Fred tripped him up and caused him to spill the cupcakes on the streets in front of the Christmas shoppers. It is a comical moment with edible penises laying all over the ground. The dog’s owner, Robin, feels bad though and offers to help him bake more cupcakes. Chris recognizes Robin from a past encounter and the two find themselves wanting to reconnect while they race to finish the order. It is a quick story but the characters are interesting. I like that the end of the story shows promise of something more between them.

***

‘The Christmas Bonus’ is probably the quickest story or at least it felt like it. It is a story of two co-workers who have watched each other from across the office but haven’t had too much interaction. The company Christmas party offers them the chance to finally talk or possibly do more… It is a good premise but there isn’t really a romantic connection and it doesn’t give me any idea if there is any potential for this couple. It offered the least for me as a romance lover.

***

‘Daddy Christmas’ is another of the shorter stories. It is more or less a Grindr hookup for the two main characters. There is a D/s theme to the story with one character looking for a “Daddy.” The hookup seems to leave a more lasting impression than a one night stand. There seemed to be affection building between the Daddy and sub. Even though the ending is a little open ended, I felt at least a spark of hope that they might see each other again. And again.

***

I think ‘Back Where He Belongs’ is the longest of the stories. There are parts of this story I connected with and some I didn’t. It is a second chance romance which I love. Kier left Scotland to explore the world and keep his attractions in the closet. He also left his boyfriend Douglas. He returns home for Christmas years later, and his vehicle breaks down stranding him on the side of the road. And in a predictable turn of events, guess who passes by and rescues him? Predictable or not, I love chance meetings between exes who never really stopped caring for the other. With the weather only getting worse Douglas takes Kier to his home. The tension and attraction between them is obvious, and I couldn’t help but feel for Keir as he worries that Douglas has moved on. I also worried how the two could work out if Keir was returning to Australia after the holiday.

Here is the part that I didn’t really connect with. Before Kier left his relationship with Douglas involved dominance and submission, and puppy play. Kier was the Master in the past. But in wanting to make amends to Douglas, the two switch positions in the present. Now, I recognize that puppy play is a legitimate kink, and I worry when I say that I don’t connect that I’m coming off judgy. I’m not. It just isn’t my kink. So I feel like I only half listened to their play. This part of the story doesn’t actually take up a significant amount of time, though. After they reconnect and Kier acknowledges his mistakes, they both decide to set things right. Kier brings Douglas to his parents to celebrate the holiday where he admits why he left. This story definitely had the most promising ending and I really enjoyed it.

***

Even with the longer stories, this audiobook was a quick listen at around four hours. I definitely recommend this author and narrator. If you like shorter stories this audiobook is definitely for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Haunting of Timber Manor

  • Memoirs of the Human Wraiths
  • By: F E Feeley Jr
  • Narrated by: Tony Stone
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

While recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly's estranged aunt turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Daniel's need for family compels him to visit. Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart. Sheriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds and vows to protect the young man who captured his heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delightful and Wonderful

  • By Jason Moses on 12-21-18

Spooky story, but poor production.

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

Reviewed: 10-26-18

I usually shy away from ghost/horror stories; I really don’t do scary books or movies. I couldn’t even watch more than a few episodes of Supernatural before I knew that my yellow belly couldn’t take it. 😉 Hearing others talk about the book, though, made me want to read it. I had the ebook for some time waiting to work myself up to it, and when we were offered an audio code, I decided to jump in. I will admit that I had to stop listening at times, especially in the evenings. Overall, the story wasn’t so scary that I couldn’t finish it so I count that as a win for me. The author also won, I feel, because the story definitely has significant chills and thrills.

I want to shelve this story in the Gay Fiction genre even though there is a romance blooming in this book. It has it’s sweet and sexy moments, but with the switching pov’s from Daniel to Hale to Daniel’s Aunt Carol to Francine, a spirit woman, to It, the voice of evil, there is a lot more going on and the romance is secondary. I have a little complaint about the way the chapters are announced in the book, noting who’s viewpoint it is, and assigning a number to the amount of times they have talked. If you like switching from the audio to ebook, this might be a problem. Also, the story told is the first version so if you have the newer edition it will be difficult to follow along with the audio.

This is minor, though, in comparison to the storytelling. For years, Daniel’s family has been living in fear. His dad left home and never brought his wife or Daniel back to where he grew up. A malevolent ancestor in life and death, had it out for Daniel’s dad and now that Daniel has come to visit, the darkness has reawakened. Add to that, a group of timber wolves (who the manor are named for) stand guard outside the house. Spirits cannot rest and the living are having a difficult time, too. After a few “unexplained” deaths (murders) in the house, Daniel and Hale find themselves having to fight off the evil presence with the help of Francine and some other surprise characters. If they manage to win, there is also the matter that Daniel is only visiting, so there are some decisions that he and Hale will have to make in regards to their relationship also.

I already feel like I gave too much away, but hopefully, I didn’t. The story is really best read without too much other information. As far as the story goes, I would definitely recommend it.

The narration – As for voicing the characters, I think the narrator did a great job. There isn’t a lot of difference in the “voices” for Daniel and Hale, to be honest. I had to rely on context to figure out whose part I was listening to if I didn’t pay attention to the chapter heading. The tones and accents he used for Carol, Francine, and It, were excellent, though. I definitely could see myself listening to the narrator again.

The production has some problems, though. Lines were repeated frequently. I went to the ebook to see if it was a repeated thought and not an error and that is when I realized that the audio reflected the first edition. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I keep wondering why they didn’t use the second edition to narrate the book since it shares the same cover. Chapter 52 of the audiobook is also a repeat of Chapter 41. I thought my audible app had skipped back on me or that I somehow rewound my audio. The Chapter 52 from the book is missing completely. I don’t know if this error is fixed or if it’s being fixed, but my audio copy hasn’t changed.

There were some frustrations in listening to the book, and I felt I had to mention them. However, I really did enjoy the story. I’m not sure what percentage I’d use to recommend the audiobook. If you’re willing to read the missing chapter from the book, and you happen to have the first version to find out what is actually missing, then I’d say it’s just a bit of a hiccup. If you only have the newer edition of the book then it might be better if you just read it, because I think the author is a really good storyteller.

  • Traitorous Toys

  • Cozy Corgi Mysteries
  • By: Mildred Abbott
  • Narrated by: Angie Hickman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

Fred’s dream bookshop is becoming a reality, and Christmas is only days away. The toy store beckons Fred and her friend Katie, who dash in out of the cold during a shopping spree to discover handmade toys, cuddly stuffed animals...and a dying man on the floor. When Katie’s desperate attempts to save the man end in her being taken in for his murder, Fred once again dons her detective hat. But as quickly as clues point to one person, new discoveries shift the spotlight to another.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • enjoying this series

  • By DPiazzi on 08-29-18

enjoying this series

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

Reviewed: 08-29-18

So this is the second book in the series and I've listened to both. The narrator has become the main character Winnifred "Fred" to me. She does a great job narrating the story. This book takes place around Christmas which is a holiday I love. The idea of another murder taking place in this sleepy little town is probably far fetched but it's fiction and it doesn't matter to me. There is a little bit of a pattern so far. A truly unlikable character is killed off and the person responsible isn't someone you would expect. Still, I didn't guess at the culprit. I had no clue until the last clue was revealed and our heroine figured it out as well.

Fred is a clever character who I like a lot. I feel like I can relate to her. She loves desserts, isn't a fan of running, she loves her family and she is a good friend. I am not so much of an animal lover but can understand her love for her corgi, Watson. There is a little bit of romance brewing even though Fred isn't looking for anyone to spend her life with. The genre isn't romance, I know. Even though this series is cozy mysteries, the romantic in me still can't help but wish Fred would find love.

Can't wait for more of this quirky mystery series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Snow Falling

  • By: Davidson King
  • Narrated by: Philip Alces, Joel Leslie
  • Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 183
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175

After running from a past destined to kill him, Snow has been hiding on the streets. Tell nobody your name. Tell nobody your secrets. Trust nobody! These are the rules of the streets. His entire life changes when he saves an eight-year-old boy from a violent end. Christopher Manos is one of the most powerful crime bosses in the country. Don't ask anyone to do something you aren't willing to do yourself. Secrets can get you killed. Trust nobody! These are the rules he lives by. When his eight-year-old nephew disappears, he never expects the boy's savior to end up being his own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You don’t want to miss out

  • By Amazon Customer on 08-06-18

great debut from a new author.

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

Reviewed: 08-28-18

The narrators - I have to be honest. I generally prefer one narrator over two. Both Philip Alces and Joel Leslie did such an excellent job, though, and I loved both of their narrations. In this book, the dual narration really worked for me.

The story - I didn't really know what to expect when I started listening to this book. Books about crime bosses or other members of the mob can be a hit or miss. They have to be likable enough to overlook their crimes for the reader to root for their happy ending. I thought Davidson King did a great job of that. I definitely felt for Christopher Manos. He seemed not to relish the dirtier parts of his job but it was a job he inherited and he was just what he had to do.

Snow was a very interesting character. He's homeless but very smart. It boggles the mind a little bit as to how he got there. When it was explained, I felt horrified on his behalf. He was someone who had been through a lot, but remained strong inside and more courageous than I would have been in his shoes.

This book is not exactly a short and sweet story. Both Christopher and Snow go through a lot. There is danger and intrigue. Seeing some of the violence did bother me, mostly because I saw those moments as senseless tragedy. But there are a few bright spots.  I am a fan of Christopher's nephew who brings the two of them together. He's sweet and entertaining. There are a few good supporting characters I am definitely looking forward to seeing them get their own story too. Seeing Christopher and Snow feature as side characters will be a bonus.

This was an easy listen for me despite the tougher subject matter. I was drawn into the story while listening, and time flew by. I didn't want to stop even though it was late. I was delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed the story and can't wait for more of this author's stories to release on audio.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Twisted and Tied

  • By: Mary Calmes
  • Narrated by: Tristan James
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 229
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 216
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 216

Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones finally has everything he ever wanted. He's head-over-heels in love and married to the man of his dreams, his partner Ian Doyle, he's doing well at work, and all his friends are in good places as well. Things are all tied up nicely, until they're not. Change has never been easy for Miro, and when situations at work force the team he's come to depend on to break apart, and worst of all, his and Ian's individual strengths put them on two separate paths, he's pretty certain everything just went up in smoke.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect Mary Calmes and Tristan James!

  • By Buscatlady on 07-19-18

Love the book, hate that it's the ending.

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

So many changes in this book for Miro and Ian. I loved every moment of this book. I felt like the author wrapped things up in a way that the reader can see that there is only a happy ever after in store for them. There were so many cameos and mentions of characters from the author's other books, and references to other authors series. I am glad that the author is creating other books in the Marshalls series because you don't just fall in love with the main characters but so many of the secondary ones as well. I will miss hearing Miro's pov because he is such a cool character. He's mellow but fun and sweet. I love Ian's boldness, and his craving to submit to Miro from time to time. He is the perfect protector. The two make a great pair. I almost feel like crying though I'm sure they will be secondary characters in the next books. A wonderful series that I will probably reread and relisten to again and again.

  • The Last Sun

  • By: K. D. Edwards
  • Narrated by: Josh Hurley
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164

Rune Saint John, the last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment's missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home. With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam's relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune's Court.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly different and chalk full of sass!

  • By Empress Kate on 08-31-18

Love the narration and world building

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

I actually picked up this audio book because of the narrator. I am a fan. I do enjoy when a fantasy story mixes with a bit of contemporary. The world of magicians and faeries has bled into regular modern day Earth. A creature has been summoned that no one thought existed and current events are ringing of a horrible memory for Rune. I liked Rune and his sarcasm. He worked for the common good, but he could be formidable. He has deep connections with his companion Brand and with Addam the man he searched for, and I'm greedy enough to want it to work for all three of them, but not sure what will be. Definitely do want to read or listen to book 2 when it comes out. Addam is found, but I think the mystery is far from over.

  • Made Marian Shorts

  • By: Lucy Lennox
  • Narrated by: Michael Pauley
  • Length: 4 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 131
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 119
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 118

The Marians aren’t the only ones finding their happy ever after! In this collection of four short stories, some of our beloved secondary characters from the Made Marian series steal the show and find a love of their own. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Secondary characters find their match!

  • By DPiazzi on 08-07-18

Secondary characters find their match!

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

I can’t say that I necessarily thought about the characters featured in this anthology after briefly meeting them in previous Maid Marian novels, but I sure am glad I listened to this audiobook. Each story offers a funny moment or surprise that makes reading or listening to them worth it. In a short story, there is no time for the characters to get to know each other well before developing feelings. I am one of those who finds quickly developed feelings between characters pretty believable. I think I just want to believe that anything is possible when it comes to love. So suspend your disbelief and enjoy the romance is my advice.

Brad is the guy (fake) dating Blue’s ex in Borrowing Blue.He forges a friendship with Blue’s Aunt Tilly and Tristan’s lesbian grandmothers in this short. I only wish I had seen him more involved with the Marian family because of it. Of course, with those three ladies around, this was definitely a humorous story. When Tilly tries matchmaking and nearly gets Brad arrested, he meets Miles, a Vegas homicide detective. It’s a sweet short story with plenty of craziness added in from the older ladies.

Beck is in Jude’s band. I don’t really remember him in the story but he is letting loose in his own short story. He meets Quinn dancing at an exclusive club. This story takes place in one night and is sexy as hell. There is a big surprise at the end when they let the other know why they wanted each other and who they are. I am still a little a little dumbstruck.

Keller works with Tristan at the Vineyard and meets Eli when he strips down for Aunt Tilly and the grannies painting class at the Vineyard. Both are attracted to each other, but miscommunications, overheard denials of attraction seem to hold them back from insta-love. And one case of mistaken identity nearly kills their possible relationship for good. I liked this story. Again with the crazy octogenarians in the picture there is a good amount of silliness.

I think the author saved the best for last. I didn’t remember Josh, who worked in Alaska with Jamie Marian. His crush on Jamie went unrequited, but I don’t think Josh really wanted Jamie anyway. A love that ended eight years prior has haunted him forever. When Cyrus’s grandmother dies and the duty that took him away from Josh is over, he rushes to the man he cruelly ended things with. Unfortunately, Josh is dating someone named Hayworth. Even though I don’t really know the characters of Josh or Cyrus, and even though they haven’t seen each other in eight years, their love for each other was very palpable. I was overjoyed as soon as they crashed into each others arms. I am a total sucker for same couple second chance stories. Hayworth kindly stepped out of the way, too, if that makes it anymore obvious about how meant to be Cyrus and Josh are. And now, I do want a story about Hayworth because he really seemed kind, and looking for a love of his own.

Not to fear, the author indicated that there will be more shorts. I think this audiobook of shorts could be listened to without having read the novels in the series. However, I think it is more enjoyable if you are familiar with the family. I definitely recommend this book for any fan of sweet love stories. P.S. Michael Pauley’s narrations are really great. He is an autobuy narrator for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Yanni's Story

  • Spencer Cohen Series, Book 4
  • By: N.R. Walker
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 15 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57

When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents' final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he's lured in by Lance - charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath - who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave. Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he's resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • one of the best books I've read

  • By Brigitmom on 06-06-18

Inspiring story of overcoming abuse and prejudice

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

Reviewed: 07-09-18

Trying to decide how to describe this book, the most appropriate phrase that came to mind is “slow and steady wins the race.” I use that to describe the pacing of the book, and for the main character, Yanni’s, life. After coming out to his parents, Yanni found himself first homeless, and then in an abusive relationship. He had lost all self worth before Spencer found him due to some suspicious circumstances. (Yes, you should read the previous books in the series to see how this came about.) This book doesn’t have frenzied passionate moments, no big highs. Fortunately, the lowest points of Yanni’s life are in the rear view. So this is the story of Yanni taking back his life and pasting the broken pieces back together.

To be clear, slow and steady doesn’t mean boring or uneventful. Yanni’s story overlaps some of the Spencer Cohen books, and it is told all at once instead of being broken up into three books. So it is significantly longer than the previous books, individually. It’s an inspiring story with likable characters and I really enjoyed reading it.

Yanni starts this book being brought to Andrew’s (Spencer’s boyfriend) parents. It is kismet. Helen and Allan Landon are in the acting business, which Yanni was studying. He enjoys their impromptu readings and found he has a lot more in common with Helen than just the love of acting. The Landons even have a foundation that helps abused and homeless LGBT+ youth restart their lives with housing and scholarship programs. That is only the beginning for Yanni, but it is the step up he desperately needed. He went from living in fear on the streets to living a semi normal life. He found a new and loving family in Andrew’s family and Spencer. But still there was some fear, because of the lover in his past who destroyed his value and fear of not being able to overcome it and find real love.

It is slow and steady. It is friends to lovers. Meeting Peter was unconventional and unexpected. Peter is older and was just dumped by his younger lover. He is a great guy but neither he nor Yanni are ready for more. As much as Peter’s friendship and companionship means to Yanni’s recovery this is mainly Yanni’s story because it is on him to move past his old habits and worries and grasp at what might be something wonderful. I felt very drawn into Yanni’s transformation. He not only tackles his demons but helps others at the group home he lives in. He helps a stranger who went through the very same thing Yanni did. He works with Helen for her foundation and he finds a reason to share his story to make the world better for others.

It is honestly inspiring. I have to applaud the authors who tell these fictional tales of LGBTQIA people comfortable or becoming comfortable with who they are, and finding love. The stories might be fictional but they are based on truths of gay, bi, lesbian, and trans people everywhere. For those who do identify as one of those, these stories might show them that it can get better and that they are worthy of love. For those who might be closed minded or prejudiced, they might learn to open their eyes, minds, and hearts.

And of course, this is a love story by an author who wants her characters to be happy so it is a great ending. There is a little bit of kink, but to me very mild. I stand by my slow and steady comment, but might add sweet and sexy, too. The narration is done by the very versatile and emotive Joel Leslie and his performance only adds to the listening experience. I highly recommend listening or reading to this book as well as the whole series.

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