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  • 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 15
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

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

Highly entertaining multi-story collection

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

Reviewed: 07-11-18

This collection includes Clare London’s first two 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 books—Nice and Snow and Smack Happy.

With a Kick is a new ice cream shop, featuring ice cream for adults, i.e., ice cream made with liquor in a variety of flavors, one of which is named for the shop’s accountant, Bryan, and his new boyfriend, Phiz—Slap and Tickle. Patrick and Lee are the struggling owners who hope to be successful in the little shop located in the heart of London.

Each story is a self-contained romance, but Patrick and Lee are featured in each story that shows the progress of both their relationship and the business.

A Twist and Two Balls— Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage. Unfortunately, his alter ego, Eddy March, hasn't got further than a bit part in a TV series. One day, when he’s late for an audition, he can’t pay his taxi fare, so he runs off and is chased by the irate driver, Nuri.

This is a sweet romance that starts off with antagonism and moves to love between an awkward, self-proclaimed actor and a cab driver, who has a secret profession. I enjoyed the pace of this story and both characters were terrific. Eddie is hysterically funny as he discovers he doesn’t have enough money to pay Nuri. Nuri, on the other hand, comes off as gruff at first, but it turns out he’s got a sweet marshmallow center.

The two have their ups and downs as does Eddie with his career, but in the long run, it’s family that’s important, and family who help both of them, and the two men get to do what they love best and stay with the person they love best—each other.

Slap and Tickle— This short starts right off with a great scene between Brian, the staid accountant for With a Kick, and Phiz, whose name should have been Spaz. Phiz is a fast-talking, can’t-control-his-mouth klutz, who can’t hold a job because of said klutziness. He also suffers from social anxiety, yet he keeps choosing jobs that require socialization. Joel Leslie kicked it out of the ball park with the voice he gives Phiz. Good heavens, it was perfect! I was hooked immediately, so I was along for the ride as he and Brian got to know each other and began to share their most intimate desires.

This story has a mild BDSM theme and when Brian’s dominant side comes out, Phiz calms and quiets as he finally met a man who can give him what he needs.

Nice and Snow is the first short story—which is actually quite long—and features Nuri and Eddie during their first Christmas season. Nuri is now brushing up on law studies so he can pass the bar exam, and Eddie is working as an actor in a comedy show. Right up his alley, his natural sense of humor has made him very popular.

The story centers on their individual memories of holiday seasons and their plans for this first one. Of course, Nuri’s family wants them to share with them, but Eddie insists they start their own memories because his memories of Santa, Saint Nick, Baba Noel, or whatever name is used are not good ones.

A surprise cab fare and a short ride across town brings both men their Christmas wishes come true. It also leaves them realizing they may have to rethink their beliefs in the jolly old elf. A great story, it provides a nice closure to Nuri and Eddie’s story.

Smack Happy

A delightful short, short story about my favorite character, Phiz, and his Dom, Brian. Phiz is patiently—or impatiently—waiting for Brian to finish his work so he can give Brian a Valentine’s Day gift. Brian finally gives up trying to get anything done when Phiz’s antsy movements and constant interruptions make it clear Bryan had better pay attention to his boy. When Phiz presents him with his gift, the two try it out and find that a good smack on the rear was exactly what Phiz needed to make him happy and peaceful. Add in a taste of Slap and Tickle, the ice cream treat the guys at With a Kick created in their honor, and it’s a perfect Valentine’s Day for these sweethearts. Very cute and a perfect ending for this very nice audio.

Joel Leslie was, as usual, outstanding, and the stories were intriguing and fun. This audiobook sped by and I’m looking forward to the next edition in the series that should be released soon.
Highly recommended.

A copy of the audiobook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Carry the Ocean

  • The Roosevelt, Book 1
  • By: Heidi Cullinan
  • Narrated by: Iggy Toma
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 211
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 203
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 204

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it's time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The young man with a double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey - and he has autism. When Jeremey's untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him to The Roosevelt.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heidi Cullinan + Iggy Toma = Excellence !!!

  • By HZ on 05-31-17

One of the Very Best Ever

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

Reviewed: 06-26-17

Would you consider the audio edition of Carry the Ocean to be better than the print version?

I find this difficult to answer other than to say that both the story and the audio were outstanding. However, the performance by Iggy Toma breathed life into the characters so I can't imagine liking the book more than the audio. One of the best I've ever heard and I listen to audiobooks constantly.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Carry the Ocean?

I laughed so hard I couldn't catch my breath when Emmet was explaining his research on sex to his mother. In fact, I felt I was there as she valiantly attempted to maintain her dignity and not chuckle at his very earnest reasoning. Emmet does not have the conversation filters many people have and that made him even more endearing.

What about Iggy Toma’s performance did you like?

His vocalization of Emmet's personality. I enjoyed the diversity of voices he provided and often forgot that the female voices were being performed by a male. Both MCs and the secondary characters were distinctive and clear.

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

Definitely!

Any additional comments?

It's a MM romance so if you like that, or think you might, this might be one of the best audiobooks you'll ever hear.

  • Guarded

  • By: Kim Fielding
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 3 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 217
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 205

A brutal war left Volos Perun with physical and emotional scars and with a reputation as a hero. Now he's a soldier stationed at the palace, desiring Prince Berhanu while receiving only loathing in return. But when Berhanu foolishly refuses the king's request to let Volos accompany him on a peace mission to the neighboring country, Berhanu is kidnapped and brutalized. Now Volos must risk his life as he works to save Berhanu and help his country avoid another devastating war.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not for the faint of heart

  • By Tom(C) on 09-13-16

Outstanding Story and Superb Vocal Performance

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

Reviewed: 09-06-16

Where does Guarded rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Guarded is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to so far, and more than worthy of the highest possible praise.

What other book might you compare Guarded to and why?

I would compare this to The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton and Romanus by Mary Calmes. All are historical romances, some with fantasy themes, and all are very well-written with outstanding voice actors performing the narration.

What about Greg Tremblay’s performance did you like?

Mr. Tremblay's portrayal of the main characters brought them to life with such vivid detail it evoked deep emotion in me as I listened to the painful journey these two men undertook toward what I kept hoping would be their HEA.

If you could take any character from Guarded out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would take Volos to dinner to speak to him of his worthiness, courage, and strength in the face of insurmountable obstacles, both before and after the rescue he undertakes in this story. I'd also want to help him feel light-hearted for one evening and maybe even see a smile on his face.

Any additional comments?

Thankfully, there is a happy future for these characters to look forward to, but it's a painful journey to get there. Every moment was attention-getting and memorable. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful