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  • Love and Payne

  • By: Charlie Cochet
  • Narrated by: Mark Westfield
  • Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68

Austen Payne, THIRDS Squadron Specialist Agent (SSA) for Destructive Delta and TIN operative, has seen the worst the world has to offer, faced lethal killers, and helped bring down dangerous organizations. But nothing terrifies him more than falling in love. After years of undercover work, Austen is a master at defending himself and protecting his heart, until he meets Osmond Zachary.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I love this series

  • By Diane on 12-18-18

THIRDS Universe

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

Reviewed: 01-14-19

An amazing job by Mark Westfield, he makes this series so much fun to listen to! All of his character voices, the special audio effects, the way he paces the dialogue and the narration all make up a terrific listen.

I've been a little in love with Austen Payne, undercover TIN operative, since his introduction to the THIRDS series, and I'm particularly glad he gets his own story - and happy ending - with Zach, the bear Therian that's kept Austen fighting his feelings for a very long time.

When Zach is injured in the line of duty, and then attacked shortly after, Austen drops everything to keep him safe. Filled with action, Charlie Cochet doesn't stint on the romance side. Love and Payne has dual POV, the introduction of some new characters, action, some humor, sexy times, and a happy ending.

I feel like fans of the series will be thrilled, and maybe the series will even get some new fans since Love and Payne absolutely works as a standalone. But this series on audio is so great to listen to - I don't think you'll want to stop at just one.

4.5 Stars

  • Be Still My Heart

  • Four Kings Security, Book Two
  • By: Charlie Cochet
  • Narrated by: Greg Boudreaux
  • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 171
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169

When an attempt is made on Laz’s life, Red is determined to keep him safe. Laz may not be a client, and Red is still off duty, but Laz is one of their own, and nothing means more to the Kings than family. While an investigation is underway, Red and Laz are growing closer, but can they find a way to help each other heal and take a chance on love, or will their fears and insecurities cost them more than their future together?  

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Next card up - Red of Hearts!

  • By Dee Slate on 11-29-18

Four Kings Security #2

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

Reviewed: 01-03-19

Love in Spades introduced readers to Four Kings Security, a security company that specializes in everything from armed transport and investigations, to cyber intelligence, and executive protection. Owned by men who served together in Special Forces until they lost half their unit, the "Four Kings" are Ward "King" Kingston, Eduardo "Lucky" Morales, Anston "Ace" Sharpe, and Russell "Red" McKinley.

When professional photographer Laz finds himself needing Four Kings protection after someone tries to kill him during a photo shoot, it's Red, once again, who makes sure nothing bad happens to him. The chemistry between Red and Laz that began in Love in Spades becomes even more palpable, and HOT, in Be Still My Heart! Laz and Red are perfect for one another, but they both have some baggage; Red's PTSD and Laz's trust issues definitely come into play.

Be Still My Heart is told in a dual POV, has a great banter, plenty of action, steam, and suspense all wonderfully narrated by Greg Tremblay, under his sexier Boudreaux brand, to keep you entertained for hours.

This is a really fun series to listen to with Greg giving a great performance with an easy pace, interesting characters voices that are easy to recognize, great accents...it's a treat to listen to!

Be Still My Heart is low angst, sexy, with some action and suspense, has a happy ending, and has terrific narration.

I'm really looking forward to Lucky and Mason's story coming soon to audio.

  • Ravensong

  • Green Creek, Book 2
  • By: TJ Klune
  • Narrated by: Kurt Graves
  • Length: 20 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 148

Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them. But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within. Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As good as it gets

  • By N Florida on 12-07-18

SPLENDID (and FYI - not a standalone)

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

Reviewed: 12-28-18

NOTE: If you haven't read Wolfsong - STOP - go back and read it. Ravensong is not a standalone.

I thought I knew this story. I read it, you see, when it first came out. But it's taken Kirt Graves' performance for me to see so many new nuances to Gordo's story, and his pain.

Ravensong is the second story in the Green Creek series and told in a nonlinear narrative from the single POV of Gordo Livingstone, the witch of the Bennett wolf pack. Like Ox, from Wolfsong, who was told by his father that he was gonna get sh*t his whole life, Gordo's father imparted to him a lesson as well.

"Pain is a lesson. It teaches you the ways of the world."

We are given insight into Gordo's past; how he grew up, the importance of the garage and his friends, and what the pack means to him. We also get a better perspective on what is driving the other wolves, outside the Bennett pack, and their motivations and how that plays into the larger picture.

Wolfsong was Kirt Graves' first audio narration. He now has over fifteen other audiobooks under his belt and with each, including Ravensong, listeners can tell how much Graves has grown and matured as a voice actor. His performance here is absolutely wonderful. From his character voices, to his timing, pacing, and emotion...it all works to give an unforgettable presentation.

Ravensong takes you on a roller coaster of emotion. Thankfully, there is some humor to mitigate the pain (mostly from the humans of the pack), and love is threaded through the story so tightly you can feel it pour off the pages. Ravensong broke my heart, shattered it into a thousand pieces, and finally patched me up, but it's a brittle hold as it ends with a cliffhanger bombshell that will rock you to the core and requires us to wait to find out what will happen next.

I am so invested in this family, in this town, and everyone's future that I can hardly wait until Heartsong and Brothersong are released.

"But one day I hope you’ll forgive me for all that I have done to you. For all my faults. I did what I thought was right. I did what I thought would keep you safe. You are pack and pack and packpackpack—"

  • A Wish Upon the Stars

  • Tales from Verania
  • By: TJ Klune
  • Narrated by: Michael Lesley
  • Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 234
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 230
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 230

Nearly a year ago, blinded by grief and betrayal, Sam of Wilds made a desperate decision to follow the Great White into the Dark Woods. Now, he emerges to a world changed. The City of Lockes is a prison. The King has been locked away in the dungeons. The Kingdom of Verania has fallen, and the Dark wizard Myrin sits on the throne. But soon after his return, Sam learns of a resistance fighting in his name, led by a courageous knight, a defiant prince, a pissed-off unicorn, and a half-giant who wants to smash everything in sight. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best series ever. Seriously.

  • By Jen on 11-29-18

BUY THIS SERIES

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

Reviewed: 12-16-18

I’m not going to lie, the end of The Consumption of Magic wrecked me. A Wish Upon the Stars put me back together again.

There are many, many reasons why I think you should get this series – the writing is great, there is so much hilarity, the drama is so well integrated so the humor is always balanced by angst, the wonderfully crazy characters…but there are three specific reasons why I think you should run, not walk, to buy this audiobook:

Gary’s reenactment of the day he lost his horn
Zal the Magnificent’s “Dark Wizards Can Kiss Our Asses” with musical accompaniment
The ending – that fabulous, fantastic ending

Michael Leslie’s performance is brilliant, funny, poignant, and mesmerizing.

“Still not disappointed!” that first voice called out again. “In fact, I am so far from disappointed, it’s ridiculous!”

Told mainly from Sam’s point of view, the reader is given glimpses of other points of view through Morgan, Myrin, and Randall’s grimoires, and even Gary. There’s no down time in A Wish Upon the Stars as it takes place over a very short period of time, so there’s a lot packed into it including some shocking news (Gary’s horn is where?!), some sad news (what the what?!), and the return of (almost sobs) all our favorite characters and even some new characters.

Sure, there were things I wish had been a little different (like the comeuppance for one Lady Tina DeSilva), but overwhelmingly this was a fun, funny, absorbing story that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next and had plenty of surprises and warm, emotional moments as well.

Note, A Wish Upon the Stars is NOT a standalone the entire series should be read in order. If you really want to elevate your experience in this world, definitely buy the series on audio as Michael Lesley’s performances are phenomenal, and the audiobooks elevate the series to a completely different (and better) level. Every single audiobook from the Tales from Verania series is brilliantly narrated and absolutely worth a listen…or four.

For the sticklers: Yes, there are some editing issues, in particular duplicated sentences or words, but both Dreamspinner and Michael Lesley are aware and working with Audible to fix the issues as soon as possible.

RECOMMENDED.

  • A Light in the Darkness

  • In Darkness, Book 2
  • By: Alice Winters
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 73

Felix and Lane are trying out their new normal. No more car chases, no more drug lords, and no more kidnapping bad guys. But when Felix's brother wants to repair their relationship, he brings with him a secret that could cost all of them their lives. Lane isn't complaining because the thrills of life-threatening situations are right up his alley. They may think they have a handle on the situation, but what they do not know is that someone has been working them from the shadows. Forcing them to do exactly what he wants as he drives them closer to his sick game of life and death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This series only gets more hilariously amazing!

  • By danielle on 11-14-18

Humor, Suspense, Great Narration

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

I loved three-quarters of this story. The humor, how wonderful a couple Felix and Lane are...I just love how perfect they are for each other where their strengths and weaknesses are completely complementary and their snark is unmatched.

Joel Leslie does a fantastic job narrating with great character voices, plenty of emotion, and a way of bringing the humor out and polishing it up brilliantly like a diamond for our listening pleasure.

Now, have I mentioned how much of a wuss I am? I am a big old scaredy cat. I don't like horror, I don't like to be scared or frightened or panicked or terrorized…I think you're getting the picture.

Unfortunately, I pretty much hated the last 6 chapters (not including the terrific epilogue), but that's because of the aforementioned dislike of being scared. And Felix is put through some pretty scary situations at that point. I hate any kind of "let's play a game" torture porn movies/books. It creeps me out in a totally anxious way that isn't even slightly pleasurable. I think if you enjoy that sort of thing, you'll probably absolutely love all of this.

Single POV, plenty of wonderful, snarky, sarcastic humor, and lots of suspense with a Jigsaw-level creepy bad guy, some action, and a happy ending. The awesome narration for this series by Joel Leslie makes these stories such a pleasure to listen to. I absolutely recommend you definitely check it out in audio for the best experience.

I certainly hope Alice Winters continues to pen adventures for Felix and Lane, but hopefully it'll be less scary (for us wimpy wimps) next time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Leaning into a Wish

  • Leaning Into Series, Book 5
  • By: Lane Hayes
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 3 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

Ryan Haskell loves everything about the wine business. He's fortunate to work at one of the most prestigious wineries in Napa Valley doing something he enjoys with the people who are like family to him. But he could do without the good-natured intern slash former jock with the wicked grin who always seems to be in the way. Ryan isn’t sure why the new guy is under his skin when everyone else loves him. Thankfully he'll be gone after the holidays. Danny Meyers can’t believe his luck when he lands an internship at Conrad Winery.   

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Terrific narration!

  • By Belen on 12-01-18

Terrific narration!

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

Reviewed: 12-01-18

Dual POV with plenty of sexy heat, a happy ending, and terrific narration!

There is a bit too much time jumping for my personal taste, but overall I enjoyed this – especially the narration by Russo.

I don’t know how I’ve missed this series, but even though I haven’t read the rest of the series, this worked as a standalone even though it has a large cast of characters. Mostly because Hayes makes sure to give just enough backstory on everyone and Nick J. Russo provides clear, distinctive character voices for everyone.

Definitely a fun listen, and I’m going to make sure the rest of the series moves up on my TBR list!

  • P.S. I Spook You

  • By: S.E. Harmon
  • Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 83

SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency's golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one tiny paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden, he's the agency's embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself - go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him. Cold-case Detective Daniel McKenna's latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Loved, loved, loved! Please just give me more!

  • By Annika on 11-13-18

Love the banter!

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

Reviewed: 11-24-18

Interesting and humorous with a good mystery and excellent banter, P.S. I Spook You was a fun read and a good listen.

New-to-me narrator Noah Michael Levine does a good job overall. His voice and cadence are easy to listen to, he has a good range of voices, inflections and accents, and creates individual character voices for all the characters.

P.S. I Spook You is told from Rain's single POV, and oh, how I loved his internal snark and musings. I loved the way S.E. Harmon made parts of Florida almost like a secondary character, and while I could have stood a little more "romance" in the "second chance romance" side, the banter between Rain and Danny was awesome and made this such a pleasure to listen to.

All in all it was entertaining and I hope it's the beginning of a new series!

  • Fire Balls

  • Balls to the Wall Series, Book 2
  • By: Tara Lain
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 3 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28

Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands 5-foot-6, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate - and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter. As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe - humiliating Hunter in front of his dad! Hunter lives a dream life - his father’s dream. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • contrast to content

  • By Joey Xavier on 01-04-19

Balls to the Wall #2

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

Reviewed: 11-23-18

Nick J. Russo delivers a good performance with individual character voices and plenty of emotion, but not good enough to get me over the issues I had with the story itself.

The dialogue felt forced, the main characters, Hunter and Rod, date other men through more than half of the book, and Rod and Hunter have sex with each other when Hunter is still dating/having sex with Rod's friend.

So..not my jam, but the narration was fun.

  • Hidden in Darkness

  • In Darkness Series, Book 1
  • By: Alice Winters
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 137
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 137

When Felix lands a job taking care of a man recovering from severe injuries, he thinks his life may have just turned around. Anything has to be better than the place he's leaving. There's something about Lane that draws Felix to him and makes him question if this place could finally become a home for him. But when someone begins stalking Felix, he is left to question who Lane is and what actually happened to him. Together, Felix and Lane will be forced to see just how far they will go to protect each other. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'm going to keep this one in the Favorite pile

  • By Mo on 10-10-18

Such terrific narration!

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

Reviewed: 11-19-18

I honestly don't know if I would have kept going if I'd tried only visually reading the book. The humor in this is brought out so much more (and better) in Joel Leslie's delivery of the lines than I think in the actual written word. It's all in the delivery.

The two main characters, Felix and Lane, have the sort of "I hate that I kind of like you" attitude in the beginning with one another and Leslie not only pulls off their banter beautifully, but made me believe these two snarky lovers were perfect for each other. 

Notice I don't say they're perfect. They aren't. They're a**h*les that are individually so far from perfect they couldn't find it on a map, but together they make sense. I can see those two crazy kids really making a go of it, if Felix doesn't get them both killed with his shenanigans.

I loved listening to this and will absolutely be checking out book 2, A Light in the Darkness, pronto.

Though Lane does have a POV chapter, Hidden in Darkness is mostly told from Felix's POV. There's plenty of action, humor, heat, and a HFN ending. Definitely check it out in audio for the best experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Wolf and the Holly

  • Rowan Harbor Cycle Series, Book 2
  • By: Sam Burns
  • Narrated by: Chris Chambers
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27

Five years ago, Jesse dropped out of college and came home to Rowan Harbor to find safety with his pack. A broken man, he's been living as though the world is ending - allergic to responsibility and spending most of his nights at the local bar. But he can't avoid growing up forever. On the night of his 30th birthday party, he finds his childhood friend Isla unconscious, attacked in the middle of their peaceful hometown. The wolf inside him wants to protect its people from the slick-haired, smooth-talking vampire who's brought trouble to town.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Second in this series

  • By N Florida on 01-12-19

3.5 Stars

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

A little slow to get going in the beginning, it's worth it when it gets up to steam. It does leave the reader with more questions than answers and the romance takes a backseat to the mystery element in this installment, but listeners are left with a HFN ending, and it's interesting world-building (how far do Devon's powers extend...I must find out!).

I feel like Chris Chambers has grown between his performance in Blackbird in the Reeds and Wolf and the Holly. He's less stiff in his delivery, and though his pacing is still quite structured, he does infuse some emotion into the text particularly during conversation. He also does a good job of creating and using distinct character voices for each of the large cast.

Single POV, paranormal with romantic elements, some action, good world- building, and continues to build the base for this trilogy of trilogies.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed listening to the audio, the world building is interesting, and I'm looking forward to Fletcher's story next in Fox and Birch.

Story = 3.5 Stars, Narration = 3.5 Stars; Total: 3.5 Stars

Note: The Rowan Harbor Cycle is a series of 9 books - a trilogy of trilogies. The main characters (Devon and Wade, Jesse and Sean, Fletcher and Conner) will have their own book in each trilogy with a happy for now ending and later their (hopefully) happily ever afters.