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Carra at Making it Happen blog

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  • Slow Heat

  • By: Leta Blake
  • Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
  • Length: 14 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118

Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-30s, he's long since given up hope that he'll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He's fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends. When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can't be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • First time reading Omegavers and I am in LOVE!!!!!

  • By Neta_BER on 05-14-18

Intriguing story, even better narration!

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

Reviewed: 10-03-18

Since discovering mpreg stories, I’ve been intrigued and when I saw that Slow Heat was also a May/December age gap romance, my interest was thoroughly piqued. While at times the book felt a bit long, it was the characters who kept my interest from wandering—and not just Jason and Vale, but the entire cast of characters.

I have to say, given his young age I found Jason to be an incredibly compassionate, intelligent young man. He truly cares for those people who are close to him, and though you might think at his age his brain would be focused on the more physical aspects of finding his destined mate he actually shows greater depth to his character by wishing to delve into Vale’s wants, needs, hopes, and likes so Jason can find out more about the man—not just treat him as someone with whom to mate. Jason shows great maturity, something that can be credited to his parents and their upbringing of him.

Vale, already in his thirties, is thrown for a giant loop when Jason imprints on him. It throws the independent life he’s carved for himself into question, and with his past he doesn’t know how Jason will react…which could turn his happy, comfortable life upside down. Vale does push back, thinking Jason would be better off with a surrogate in Vale’s place, but the pull of their bond steadily grows and that does lead Vale to flip-flop a bit on what he will do.

Their unique situation with the large gap in their ages, along with issues from Vale’s past that could complicate their relationship, and Jason’s father’s insistence on certain parts of the contract between them all contribute to a lot of tension and angst. There’s also plenty of sexual tension to add to it as Jason and Vale’s bond evolves, as it defines the meaning of slow-burn romance. There’s also the matter of Jason’s best friend Xan, as the two of them have an…interesting arrangement…and I wound up feeling so bad for Xan here (I’m SO glad to know he has his own story coming!). Vale also has his close group of friends, and they are a tremendous support to him and have been for a long time.

The world in which the story takes place is a dystopian version of our own, and there are extremely strong parallels drawn between the story’s alphas/omegas and our world’s males/females. To me, the Heat of Love series universe seems to line up to our world as it was in the 1940s or 1950s, with omegas being treated much like women were before the rights movements began, and alpha/alpha relationships like gay relationships here (can you say “blatant homophobia”?). I would like to have gotten a more thorough background of how their world became as it was, since before their “Great Death” there were females in that world.

With no shortage of drama, and with emotions running high for most of the book, Slow Heat was an engaging read and a solid 4-star read for me. Fans of mpreg M/M romance will definitely want to check this one out! This story is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

The narration: Michael Ferraiuolo did a fantastic job narrating this story. With unique voices that easily captured the personalities of the characters combined with intoning just the right emotions to match the story, I found that the audio version didn’t feel as long as the ebook version did—because I was that caught up in the story while listening. I’ve already listened to it twice, and am giving the narration 5 stars!

  • Lover

  • Survivor, Book 2
  • By: T.M. Smith
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23

Life has not always been kind to Shannon Dupree. On the outside, he's carefree and fun loving, but when it comes to his past, he's evasive and secretive. Running away from emotionally bereft parents at just 15, Shannon escapes life with them but steps into the waiting arms of the devil. Rory Landers is a rising star at the Bureau. His personal life, however, is nothing to write home about. He hopes to take his limited relationship with Frank Moore to the next level when they finally solve the Langford murder case, but that doesn't turn out as planned.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lover

  • By Stacy Thompson on 09-23-18

A great M/M/M story, excellent narration!

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

So first things first…Lover is the second book in this series, and I would strongly recommend you read the first book, Survivor before starting this one. While Survivor does focus on Taylor and Frank’s story, the events that occur and the characters that are introduced in that book directly shape Lover and you may find yourself lost at some points during the story if you haven’t read Survivor beforehand.

Lover centers on three of the men we met in Survivor: Shannon, Rory, and Rand. Shannon’s past was beyond rough, and the way he fought back from his darkest point shows just how strong and determined this young man is. I love how he and Taylor went from hookup in book one to best friends with an unbreakable bond here in book two. Shannon is the definition of a survivor, and he is by far my favorite character in this story.

When we met Rory in Survivor, he was undercover watching Frank…though much more closely than what the FBI intended. I felt bad for him in that story, and I was glad he would be getting his story told here in Lover. He and Shannon are a natural, easy fit from the start, and are crazy hot together as their relationship develops. At first, Rand feels like the odd man out…but the more time he interacts with both Shannon and Rory, the more you can see the chemistry developing between him and each of the other two men.

What eventually develops between the three men comes slowly, and it isn’t until very late in the story that they finally come together as a threesome (and even then don’t expect hot and steamy from them together right away). There’s a lot of buildup before then, and much of the focus of the story is on the case Rory and Rand are working that winds up encompassing Shannon’s past as well.

Lover is filled with drama and emotion, and while I actually preferred this author’s other threesome stories more (from the All Cocks series), this story was still a very solid 4-star read for me, and fits very well in this series. This story also plants the seed for the next book, and I can’t wait to read more about Blair (another FBI agent) and Mannie (someone from the case Rory and Rand worked in this book). Lover is meant for readers 18+ for adult language, descriptions of assault, and sexual content.

The narration: Once again Nick J. Russo does a fantastic job with both characters from the first story of the series, along with new ones introduced here in Lover. He easily communicates the characters’ emotions, and brings the story to life so that you feel like you’re right there in the scenes with them. The pacing was perfect, making for a very easy listening experience. 5 stars for the narration!

  • Changing Lines

  • Harrisburg Railers Hockey, Book 1
  • By: RJ Scott, V.L. Locey
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58

As the youngest of the three Rowe brothers, Tennant has always had to play against his brothers’ reputations. To get out of their shadows, he accepts a trade to the Harrisburg Railers. Jared Madsen is Tennant’s new coach and the sexiest thing on which he’s ever laid eyes. Jared Madsen’s hockey career was cut short by a fault in his heart, but coaching keeps him close to the game. Nine years his junior and his best friend’s brother, he knows Ten is strictly off-limits, but as soon as he sees Ten’s moves, on and off the ice, he knows his heart could get him into trouble again.

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

  • By Kirst on 07-31-18

Low angst, great age gap romance!

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

Reviewed: 08-22-18

I’m already a huge fan of RJ Scott’s books, but this is my first time being exposed to VL Locey. Changing Lines has a few different elements that I love—age gap, coming out, brother’s best friend, and hockey romance…all rolled up into one. For the age gap, the difference is only nine years, but that’s enough to show a distinct difference in the two main characters. As to the coming out, there’s not just coming out to family, but also to a professional sports team—something that can cause a huge stir-up even in today’s world. Honestly, given the multitude of topics featured in the story, I found it to be relatively angst-free which I thought was a bit surprising.

Tennant Rowe is an adult, though still young—and his age does show with his Pokemon playing and his more impatient attitude towards his relationship with Mads. He’s supremely talented out on the ice, and is very sure of himself…not cocky, but definitely quite confident. Jared Madsen is no longer playing hockey—though not by choice thanks to his heart—instead he’s coaching the same team that Ten ends up on, although not coaching Ten directly. Mads clearly shows his maturity in relation to both the game as well as his and Ten’s relationship. He’s a good balance to Ten, and keeps things from going too fast.

When it comes to their relationship, I found that there wasn’t a lot of on-page development—it was more implied and glossed over in favor of the scenes of Ten coming out to his different family members. I would have liked to have seen more of their evolving relationship and how Ten’s coming out affects his team, though I’m wondering if it may be touched on in future books in the series even if his and Mads’ relationship is not the focus of those books.

With the very low angst level and the overly easy way Ten and Mads’ relationship seemed to blossom, Changing Lines originally fell between a 3.5 and 4 star rating for me—until I listened to the audiobook, which fully cemented the story as 4 stars. It has piqued my interest for the rest of the series, so I’ll definitely be hanging around to see where these authors take me. If you’re a fan of hockey romance you’ll find this to be a good story to add to your collection, just don’t expect a lot of drama while you read it. This story is for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

The narration: Have you ever read a book and given it one rating, then listened to the audiobook of it and it elevated the story to the point where you upped your rating? I’ve had that happen a few times, because let’s face it—a great narrator takes a story and makes it MORE. This is what I found happening with Sean Crisden’s narration of Changing Lines. His smooth voice, consistent character voices, and the intonations and emotions he put behind those voices made me enjoy this story more in audio format than I did when reading the e-book. I felt that his interpretation of the story through the narration made it come across as more balanced overall, drawing my attention more to the relationship development in this format. 5 stars for the narration, and it pulled my overall story rating up to a solid 4 stars.

  • With a Kick: Collection No. 1

  • By: Clare London
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

This collection includes the charming London-based novellas of the With a Kick series - A Twist and Two Balls and Slap and Tickle. Also included are two short stories featuring the characters in these titles.   

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great stories, amazing narration!

  • By Carra at Making it Happen blog on 07-13-18

Great stories, amazing narration!

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

Reviewed: 07-13-18

With A Kick Collection #1 gives us four stories from the series—A Twist and Two Balls, Slap and Tickle, plus two short stories (one each for the couples of each of the two other stories), Nice and Snow, and Smack Happy. These stories have some supporting characters in common, in particular Patrick (the owner of the With A Kick ice cream shop) and Lee (Patrick’s employee), both adding some good depth to the each story.

A Twist and Two Balls

Eddy (aka Eduardo Mancini) is a bit over the top sometime actor who can be a bit camp at times and can also pour on the dramatic edge when needed…or even when not. Nuri is a Turkish cab driver with a big, loving family—including some brothers who can be as annoying as siblings can get…much to the amusement of readers.

You’d never expect these two to be the ones getting together after the way their first meeting goes, but they seem to fall into an easy relationship with not much angst. The little bit of conflict comes when family is involved, though it can easily be chalked up to a misunderstanding due to a lack of communication…which considering how early in the relationship it is, is completely understandable.

This is a relatively light story with a touch of heat, and I’d give this one 3.5 stars.

Slap and Tickle

So, I absolutely adored Phiz and his chaotic personality, clumsiness, and the absolute beauty of how he submits when Bryan takes charge. Bryan lives a very ordered life and likes taking control of things. When you think of perfect complements, Bryan and Phiz are exactly what you should be thinking of…Bryan’s order to Phiz’s chaos creates a perfect balance; they truly are the epitome of the idea of one person completing the other.

I saw parts of myself in both characters, so it was really easy for me to identify with both of them, and I found myself drawn to them almost immediately. Their story was easily my favorite of this collection, from the opposites attract to the touch of BDSM elements, from Phiz’s exuberant and hyper personality to Bryan’s staid and calming one. Everything about them led to an overall equilibrium in their relationship.

Phiz may come across as overwhelming for some readers, but I just loved him and was so glad he and Bryan worked so well together—and lets not forget to mention they were also incredibly hot on the physical side! Slap and Tickle was 5 stars for me!

Nice and Snow

In Nice and Snow we get to revisit with Eddy and Nuri during the Christmas holidays. This is a relatively quick short story, and not a lot goes on other than Eddy’s fretting about all of the Santa-dressed people in the city…until they pick up one particular Santa who turns things a bit upside down for them.

This story is a fun read with a touch of some Christmas magic, though there wasn’t much to it leaving me to give it 3 stars.

Smack Happy

I was really glad to see that Smack Happy let us jump back in with Bryan and Phiz again, this time for Valentine’s Day. It’s another short story, this time with more oomph and a nice touch of spice once Phiz presents Bryan with his present…after Phiz spouts off a round of his hyper-chaos craziness first of course. I know some people might find him annoying, but I still think he’s adorable and a bit child-like (at least until his naughty side comes out).

This was a nice bit of spice—thanks in part to Phiz’s present—and made for another fun read that might leave you needing to cool yourself off for a bit. 4.5 stars!

The Narration

I’ve found that Joel Leslie has a true gift for voices, especially when it comes to Brits and other non-American accents. In addition, he was dead-on with Eddy’s over-the-top personality and Phiz’s hyperactive, chaotic self, easily balancing them in the same breath with Nuri and Bryan’s more sedate, even natures. He effortlessly switched back and forth between the very opposite characters (or at least he made it seem effortless), showing great range in his voice characterizations. A solid 5 stars for the narration!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Leaning Into the Look

  • Leaning Into Series, Book 6
  • By: Lane Hayes
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 25

Grant Kostas may not love his job, but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. His parents accept he’s gay; they just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, Miles Harrison is nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect!

  • By Renate on 07-10-18

Love the story, excellent narration!

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

Reviewed: 07-09-18

I always like returning to this group of characters in the Leaning Into stories, they’re such a wonderful group of friends who are there for each other and support one another even when at times they might not think what you’re doing is a good idea.

This author is really good at crafting characters with depth and who are very easy to care about. With Miles, at first glance you might just think he’s just one of those guys who is a bit over the top—campy when he’s in the mood for it, snarky when it’s needed (or when it’s not). But often that’s really a protective mechanism for him…particularly when what he’s protecting is his heart. He’s happy with his chaos, which is quite the opposite of Grant who is someone who needs his calm. With his stereotypical big Greek family (if you’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you’ve got the idea), and the pressure he feels to succeed and make his father proud—he’s really putting stress on himself, and at times he’ll just go along with his family just to keep the peace.

Miles and Grant clearly have chemistry together. Not just physical either (though holy wow are they insanely hot in that arena!)…they also click as friends, easily becoming each other’s rock and support. They slip into the roles of lovers and more like those roles were made for them—and they for each other.

There were some points that my attention did drift a little, and I really wish we could have had some of the story from Miles’ point of view. I think having insight to his mind and feelings on a deeper level than what Grant saw would have helped me become more immersed in their story.

Even given that, Leaning Into the Look was still a 4.5-star read for me, and I know fans of the series will really enjoy Miles and Grant together like I did. You could read this as a standalone, but I strongly feel you’ll enjoy their story a lot more if you read the other books in the series first since they both do appear in the other stories, but you’ll also get the background for the other couples that appear in this book. This story is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

The narration: Nick J. Russo does another excellent job with the narration, continuing to give the characters of this series distinct voices that are consistent and make it easy to tell who’s who. I particularly enjoyed his voice for Miles, and the emotion he expressed with Miles’ exuberant personality. Steady pacing and great voices along with the consistency within the entire series for all of the characters made the narration 5 stars for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Solstice Prince

  • Realms of Love series, Book 1
  • By: SJ Himes
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 148
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143

Rescued from slavers, healer novice Jaime Buchanan finds himself alone and free in Pyrderi, a kingdom of magic, mythical creatures, and a culture as open and kind as his homeland was cruel and close-minded. Despite his rescue, Jaime is not left without scars, both mental and physical. Traumatized by his experience and hiding his gift, Jaime struggles to earn his place in the kitchens of Angharad Palace, the heart of Taliesin City. His former life as a student of the healing arts leaves him at a disadvantage in the kitchens, and his damaged state is becoming more apparent by the day.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pure Fluff

  • By DKauffman on 05-07-18

Incredible performance-5 stars and more!

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

Reviewed: 05-18-18

SJ Himes once again puts her incredible writing talent on display here in The Solstice Prince. In this story that takes place in Himes’ carefully crafted fantasy world, I found a slow-burn romance between two young men who are in some ways at opposite ends of the spectrum—one being royal and the other a commoner—and it others quite alike…namely in that they both have very special skills that they are both tremendously talented at wielding.

One of the things i loved about this story is how open, accepting, and just the kingdom of Pyrderi is—a stark contrast to its neighboring countries, a situation that in many ways parallels our own world. Though this is the first story in this new series, readers are not inundated with pages and pages of world building, instead it is presented throughout the book in the necessary portions of the story, with some aspects still left open to discover in subsequent installments (which I am excitedly looking forward to reading!).

Though it is obvious Prince Maxim is entirely smitten with Jaime from the start, things between them move slowly growing from friendship to courting to a deeply intense relationship without rushing, even if the time period covered in the story might indicate otherwise. It didn’t feel fast at all to me, with the story concentrating equally on Jaime’s situation as he returns to a more normal life after being enslaved and resumes his training, the ailing King and the affect of his poor condition on his family, and the developing connection forming between Jaime and Maxim.

I read this book in one sitting, as I was fully entranced and didn’t want to put it down. While it does contain a complete story in itself, there is the promise of much more to come; my curiosity is definitely piqued for more of Jaime and Maxim, but also to see what other stories come out of this world with either the characters already introduced or others to come. Jaime and Maxim are very strong main characters, but they are also surround by a well-rounded cast of supporting characters, and I found myself invested in all of them and can’t wait to read more.

Jaime and Maxim’s tale leans much more to the sweet side, with a gradual building toward much more near the end once their intimacy finally spills over. This perfectly fits the two of them, and their story wound up being a 5-star read for me…with special bonus points for the wonderful illustrations by Sarah Jo Chreene that can be found in special scenes of the book. I highly recommend this story to all M/M romance fans, and M/M fantasy romance fans in particular. I can’t wait to read more in this series, and especially to get back to Jaime and Maxim to see where they go from here. While the majority of this book is relatively tame in regards to intimate scenes, there does come a point where it moves into more and therefore it is meant for readers 18+ for some sexual content.

The narration: There are a lot of reasons Joel Leslie is one of my favorite audiobook narrators, and his performance of The Solstice Prince is a stunning example of so many of those reasons. First, there’s the reliably steady pacing; next, there’s the amazing accents—oh, so many beautiful, trilling accents…and each one individual to a specific character making it easy to know who is speaking; then there’s the way he injected such emotion into the characters’ dialogue, allowing the listener to really feel how the characters do throughout the story; and finally, his overall performance just really pulled me into the story even more so than when I was reading the ebook. But it really was all of those truly remarkable voices that did it for me. 5 stars for the narration, and where the ebook got bonus points for the fantastic illustrations, Joel’s voices get a whole bunch of bonus points from me as well—definitely one of those times where I wish there were more than 5 stars to award…I’ll just award them anyway here in my review :-)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Leaning Into Touch

  • Leaning Into, Book 4
  • By: Lane Hayes
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28

Josh Sheehan is unlucky in love and now...newly unemployed. He's not sure what to do next, but he's sure he should give up on romance. Especially after last time. His friends warned him that falling for the hunky Irishman was a bad idea. Josh can't help feeling torn even though he knows it's best to move on. But when an unexpected dose of family drama blindsides him, Josh finds himself leaning on the one man he's supposed to forget. Finn Gallagher is driven by success. He makes no secret that building a name for his tech company is his number one goal. Finn left home a decade ago.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 stars = I freaking LOVED this audiobook!!!

  • By Angela S Goodrich on 06-06-18

4 solid stars for Leaning Into Touch!

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

Reviewed: 04-27-18

I love second chance romance stories. There’s just something about having a chance at “the one that got away” that is just really appealing to me, and Leaning Into Touch is a great example of this trope.

I love the characters not just in this particular book, but in this series as a whole, and how they all fit together as a group. I did get a little frustrated with the others when they kept having a negative outlook towards Finn and his intentions with Josh, because just like Josh I wanted to believe in Finn too. Finn just checked off all sorts of boxes for me, including the hot Irish accent box ;-)

The additional plot point of Josh’s father’s new relationship adds a nice twist of tension to things, and I got a kick out of Josh’s mother’s baking issues. I really enjoyed getting to see Zane, Eric, Nick and Wes again…even if Josh kept getting warned off of Finn when the group was around.

Leaning Into Touch fits really well into the series, and while you don’t have to read the other books before starting this one, I personally would recommend that you do just to have the background on the other characters and get the taste of Josh and Finn that you’ll find in those books. This story was a very solid 4-star read for me…leaning towards a 4.5 (no pun intended). Fans of the series will be very happy with this book, and like the others it is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

The narration: Nick J. Russo again does a great job with the narration, capturing the emotions of the characters quite well while delivering a perfectly paced story. My only issue is with Finn’s accent—as i mentioned in my review for one of the previous books in this series, it was inconsistent and didn’t come across as Irish to me. Since Finn was one of the main characters, that led me to knock off a star on the narration making it 4 stars.

  • Changing Plans

  • By: L.A. Witt
  • Narrated by: Charlie David
  • Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

After being stood up at the altar, compulsive over-planner Elliott Chandler decides to turn his honeymoon on Oahu into a vacation for one. Fate puts a hitch in his plans, however, when the airport is snowed in and his flight is delayed. In the terminal, the jilted groom catches the eye of another stranded traveler: the laid back and very sexy Derek Windsor. Derek breaks the ice and strikes up a conversation, and as the temperature drops outside, the heat between them rises.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Oldie but goodie

  • By L. Antoine on 03-24-17

5 stars, my favorite Charlie David audiobook!

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

Reviewed: 04-25-18

Originally released as three novellas—Getting Off the Ground, Infinity Pools, and On the List—this collection brings those all together and I’m actually very glad I was able to read and listen to this as one complete story. Given where the first two novellas ended, it would have driven me nuts to have to wait to read the next one each time as I loved this story of starting over and finding “the one”.

I found it easy to identify with Elliott—not from the left-at-the-altar aspect, but from the point of having to start over, and learning to take a chance. As for Derek, I always love a “player finds ‘the one’” trope, and boy was it tremendously satisfying to watch as Derek fell for Elliott. The circumstances that bring them together, and the way Elliott decides to go off his carefully scripted life made for such a good read, and I did not want to put this book down…or take off my headphones.

It’s become almost cliché to say a couple has chemistry that’s off the charts, or scorching hot, or any one of a number of similar phrases. Elliott and Derek? You can take all those phrases and just obliterate them with what they have together. And their wanting of each other is so persistent the also overused phrase of ****ing like bunnies would be quite appropriate…though even as intensely passionate and physical as they are, I only found that borderline gratuitous as opposed to over the top. Why? Because those scenes demonstrated how much they wanted each other and led to a deeper emotional connection, and even when they would purposely try to do things apart they were still drawn back to each other. The fact that the author can write these scenes so well doesn’t hurt either (and oh the kissing…*sigh*).

The first two novellas take place in Hawaii, and even with all of the physical scenes there is still plenty of story time devoted to enticing descriptions of the islands—so well done that I find myself wanting to rearrange my budget for a trip. It was easy for me to picture those scenes and see in my mind the beauty of the locations, especially since the first two parts are told from Elliott’s point of view, and it’s his first trip there.

The third novella is told from Derek’s point of view, and I was so glad to finally be able to hear his thoughts. With the conflict that arises with his family in this final part of the story, hearing his side of things helped to give the story another injection of emotion and introduce just that one bit of worry to keep things fresh and my attention fully attuned.

This collection is one of my favorite reads from this author, and easily gets a 5-star rating from me. The only thing that bugged me was the sudden change with Derek’s family at the very end as given the time frame it didn’t really ring true for me. But even that was not enough for me to waver in my rating…that’s how much I truly enjoyed the overall collection. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, this one’s for readers/listeners 18+ for adult language and copious amounts of explicit, holy-hell-that’s-hot sexual content.

The narration: I’m already a fan of Charlie David’s deep, soothing voice and have enjoyed the other audiobooks he’s done. But I can honestly say that of all the ones I’ve listened to that he’s narrated, this one is my favorite. He has a smooth, even pace, and so accurately voices the character’s emotions that you feel like you’re right in the middle of the story yourself, particularly when it comes to those physically intimate scenes. This is definitely one story collection where I will always go for the audio version before the ebook version when it comes to future re-reads (well, re-listens). 5 stars for the narration!

  • #The Best Ever

  • 1Night Stand Series, Book 183
  • By: Deanna Wadsworth
  • Narrated by: Terrence Leonardo
  • Length: 2 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Jason Lewis is a self-proclaimed nerdy guy. Bullied most of his life, at 22 social situations still make him awkward. On a trip to the World Video Game Expo in Las Vegas, Jason decides to enlist the help of Madame Eve. While at the con, he runs into sexy, professional baseball pitcher Blake Huntington, the guy he tutored in high school. Blake invites him to a party and after hanging out with his high school crush, Jason begins to regret booking his "encounter" later that night. But Madame Eve may have planned the best night ever. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A great second chance story.

  • By ButtonsMom2003 on 07-19-18

Sweet second chance for former crushes

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

Reviewed: 04-19-18

This is a novella in the 1NightStand series, and mixes a little sweet with a touch of second chance romance and a heavy dose of nerd/jock matchup, and what you get is another great addition to this series.

Jason is the nerdy math kid in high school, subject to bullying at the hands of the jock and popular crowd, at least until the star baseball player he’s tutoring—Blake—gets wind of it. There’s a touching moment between the two during a comfort scene at the beginning of the story, but then they wind up going their separate ways until they meet up again seven years later.

While you can probably predict who Madame Eve has set up for Jason, how it all comes about and plays out afterward makes for a sweet, then sensual story…as well as a culmination of more than one high school crush.

This is a quick read/listen, yet it still gave me a satisfying story and characters with depth that I really did enjoy. The story was a 4-star read for me, and fits very well with the series. If you’re looking for something shorter that will still result in a thorough story, you’ll definitely find it here with #The Best Ever.

The narration: This is the first audiobook I’ve listened to with this narrator. He has a pleasant voice, and paced the story well, though sometimes the consistency of the voices was lacking. The sound quality seemed to change often throughout the story, which was a bit annoying at times. And while reading “#” (“hashtag”) over and over doesn’t bother me, hearing it said over and over actually did—though this is not due to the narrator, it’s just having that same word said out loud so many times in one story was distracting for me. Overall though, I was satisfied with this audiobook and will be listening to it again in the future.

  • Under the Boardwalk

  • By: Felice Stevens
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 3 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

Beneath the famous Brooklyn landmark, love is hidden but not denied: All his life, Alexi Kharpov has dreamed of traveling to exciting places instead of working at his family’s frozen custard stand on the famous Coney Island boardwalk. Every year is the same until a gorgeous man picks a spot in front of his stand to sing, captivating him with his beautiful voice. After two summers of listening, it might finally be time for him to cross that boardwalk and take a chance.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heart-melting romance

  • By Momma Becky on 03-15-18

A solid 4 stars for this sweet & hot story

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

Reviewed: 03-19-18

One of the main reasons I like this author’s books is the characters. I know I can count on them to carry the story, and make me feel invested in their lives and relationships. This does happen again here in Under the Boardwalk, with both Alexi and Cam quickly getting under my skin as I read.

The fact that they’ve both noticed each other from afar—and not just in the present time frame—comes across as sweet with a bit of longing, and when the first move is finally made it was one of those *happy sigh* moments. The fact that this is novella length though means that things progress pretty quickly between them. They each have issues to deal with…Alexi not having come out to his family, and Cam with his voice issues…so for me I think a longer story would have given more time to fully explore these while allowing for more relationship development.

Story length aside, there’s still plenty to get readers sweating with Cam and Alexi’s hot intimate scenes. And there’s enough drama provided by their individual issues to cause a good amount of angst. The different backgrounds from which Cam and Alexi come from also give the story some great contrast.

For a good, relatively quick read with a nice dose of heat to add to the sweet, Under the Boardwalk will definitely fit the bill. For me, it’s falling somewhere between a 3.5 and 4 star rating, mostly because I felt like it could use a bit more length to really give Cam and Alexi’s relationship time to grow more. This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

The narration: As I often find it does when the narration is really good, Nick J Russo’s narration of Under the Boardwalk has me more solidly sliding this title into a 4 star rating. He voices the characters quite well, accents and all, particularly when it came to Alexi in the more emotional and more passionate scenes. Nick’s narration made me appreciate this story more, making repeated listens at a future date highly likely since I truly enjoyed the way he brought Cam and Alexi to life.