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  • The Guardian

  • A Gay Romance Novel
  • By: Mary Calmes
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • Length: 5 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 397
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 316
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 317

Jude Shea's life is turned upside down when he rescues a dog he names Joe. Even though Jude has enough trouble taking care of himself—he doesn't even have a job—he can't resist the animal that needs him. Then one night, a man shows up on his doorstep looking to claim Jude's new companion. As they run from a surprise attack, Jude finds out that "Joe" is not what he seems.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love story for the Ages

  • By sofaux on 09-28-10

A story I can’t help returning to again and again

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

Reviewed: 07-07-19

Let me premise this by saying that while I have listened to a few of Mary Calmes audiobooks, she’s not a favorite of mine. The supposed cluelessness of her main characters gets taxing after awhile and I have a strong dislike for stories that are carried through multiple books focusing on the same two characters. The cluelessness was definitely there in this one, but I also wonder if my strong love for this story is because it’s wrapped up in a tidy bow at the end...no sequels needed.

One thing I will praise about Calmes, however, is the ingenuity that surrounds her stories and this one is no different. It’s a unique storyline that I haven’t encountered anywhere and it’s done superbly. You have the cluelessness with the MC (Jude), but it doesn’t overwhelm the story and I didn’t find myself frustrated with his actions as much as others (His Consort, for example). Eoin was equally enthralling and the chemistry between the two was apparent (in both of the guardian’s forms—dog and man).

I’m actually a little surprised by the subpar reviews. It completely checks all of my boxes—loveable characters, unique storyline, lots of smexy times, low angst and GREAT narration. Sean Crisden does the full range of voices (including accents from “the veil” characters) extremely well and he was absolutely the best choice for it. I have no problems recommending this book time and time again as one of (what I feel, at least) Mary Calmes best stand-alone works.

  • His Consort

  • By: Mary Calmes
  • Narrated by: Scott Smith
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 259
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 247
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 246

A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: His quaint little store attracts a devoted staff, and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He's perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying and utterly mesmerizing. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By Robert Jackson on 12-23-18

UPDATED—Okay, here goes...

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

Reviewed: 06-16-19

**Update**
So I listened to this book again. Clearly this is going to be the start of a new series as many things were mentioned that were never followed through with. That aside, I still feel torn on how I really feel about this. I never really felt a connection to Varic. The more I listened, the more Jason annoyed me (such a weak character) and I had a hard time finding a true connection between him and Varic. There was just so much information given all throughout the book and it became apparent on the second listen that it wasn’t just the tedious first half but the entire length. I also had a hard time following the “mate/consort” subject. Parts of the story made it seem like a “true mate” trope with only one match for every person and other parts elude to the fact that it’s a choice. I wasn’t sure where Jason fell in that. My final rating—3.5 stars. It was not good enough to give a full 4 stars and not crappy enough to give 3. But the only thing that probably matters is that I have no interest in continuing the series if/when more books come out. It just wasn’t that alluring.

**Original Review**
This book was interesting. The premise sounded good enough that I pre-ordered the book when it came out, but never got around to reading it. I was desperate for a new audible and bought this one. Now, I’ve listened to a lot of Mary Calmes. She’s not a particular favorite of mine, but she’s not bad and I do find myself reaching for some of her audiobooks to listen to again and again (re: The Guardian, Marshalls series Book 1, Timing series Book 1). However, I have to be in a “mood” to be able to stomach her protagonists, as they are all written the same: completely unaware.

So, narration: Perhaps I’m used to listening to the Sean Crisden/Tristan James books and that’s why I struggled with Scott Smith’s narration. He is a great narrator and I would listen to him again in a different context, but I don’t feel he really captured “The Calmes Effect” as much as the two above would have. Maybe as I listen to this again (because I will), he will grow on me more, I just don’t know.

The story: This was...different. The first half of the book was all set-up and it was tedious to get through. The way that vampyr was revealed to Jason was very anti-climactic and downright boring. There were flashbacks during the first half that made it hard to follow where the storyline was going and I think that was in part due to the narration. My biggest gripe was the fact that the characters all had to start out their lines with “Jason.” Nobody talks like that (sorry) and it got old really quickly. There were a TON of characters with unusual names and that was hard to follow as well. There wasn’t a huge range of differences in voices, so that could be the reason. The whole book just didn’t flow right, in my opinion. I plan on listening to it again because there are just so many things that I feel I didn’t have a good understanding of that I’d like to. And I will try to not think the entire time that Tristan James would have done it better, ha.

  • Dear to My Hart

  • The Susilauma Wolves, Book 1
  • By: Whit Valentine
  • Narrated by: John York
  • Length: 6 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53

Living on his family's farm, Susilauma, the youngest of many brothers and sisters, 25-year-old Riley Jacobson has a predictable and comfortable-if slightly chaotic-life. His older sisters tend to mom him almost to death, and he finds his solace in working on cars, not really considering the future beyond the next project. He's happy enough with the status quo, and though a mate would be nice, he's not really looking. Enter a cutie with big brown eyes who keeps popping up wherever Riley goes, and Riley just might be in trouble.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dear to My Hart

  • By <Stacy> @SoCalBookReviews on 08-20-18

Love this story!

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

Reviewed: 06-04-19

I remember reading this book awhile ago and liking it, so I was excited to find it on Audible. It was a pretty standard shifter story with the true mate trope. How Quinten’s family tied into the story was unique and refreshing, as well. It was a pretty low angst, feel good story.

As far as the narration goes, this is the first I’ve heard from John York. He definitely has a good narration voice. I’d liken him to Tyler Stevens. He did the accents extremely well, but it almost seemed like maybe English isn’t his primary language? Some of the words were consistently pronounced wrong and some he put the accents on the wrong syllables. It was strange, but didn’t take away from the story and wasn’t enough for me to ding him a star. I’d happily listen to another book that he narrates, hands down.

  • The Bride's Brother

  • By: J.P. Oliver
  • Narrated by: Randi Johnson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

Is it wrong to be attracted to the groom in a wedding? Or, I thought he was the groom! No, this guy is open and single and...into me? Is he into me? He'd be the first for quite some time. I have to admit, seeing all these weddings come and go can be a bit much when you go home all by yourself. But is it ethical to date a client's brother?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome Listen

  • By Howard on 07-01-19

What a cute story!

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

Reviewed: 05-28-19

This was beyond adorable. It involves a romance between a wedding planner and the brother of the bride that hired said wedding planner. There was a delightful mix up in the beginning that was hilarious. Once the two started “dating,” the story seemed to progress quickly from there. I was super surprised by the ending, but loved it nonetheless. Overall, a cute story that wasn’t weighed down with the angst it did have. Both main characters made mistakes, but they worked through it and none were overly-frustrating like a lot of stories I’ve encountered. Just...adorable. Gah, such a cute story.

Another great performance by Randi Johnson. It was harder to discern the voices between both main characters, but not enough to ding him a star for. I was able to follow the story just fine either way.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • The Vampire's Club

  • An M/M Vampire Romance, Book 2
  • By: X. Aratare
  • Narrated by: Ethan Holtan
  • Length: 3 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

That is what vampire Count Konstantin “the Wolf” Volk declares to his Vampire House, and even to his Sire, the ancient, dangerous vampire known only as the Nomad. His Sire wants Lucas dead. His closest advisers want Lucas enslaved. Because Lucas is no ordinary human. Lucas finds himself eager to start work at Club Dyavol, even though his memories of his time there are hazy.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • That narration tho...

  • By MayBae on 05-28-19

That narration tho...

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

Reviewed: 05-28-19

Okay...wherever Ethan Holtan has been hiding, more authors need to get him to come out and play. Huge props to Raythe on a great narrator choice! There was a slight mess-up where Ethan was talking (not about the story) that didn’t get cut out and I’m telling you, if THAT is how deep his voice is regularly...I’m hot just thinking about it. I’m pretty sure he could read the Bible to me in that voice and I’d get turned on. I need to fan thyself just thinking about it. I kinda don’t want them to fix the audio just for that reason. Dead serious.

Amazing narration aside, this book is clearly doing it for me, too. I’ve held off on reading the books because I want to be surprised when the audios come out and I have yet to be disappointed. Cliffhangers aside, that is, but I knew what I was getting into in the first place.

Bring on Book 3!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Houston

  • Leashes & Lace, Book 1
  • By: Shaw Montgomery
  • Narrated by: Kenneth Obi
  • Length: 5 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53

Houston knows who he is...but most men don’t seem to understand. A Dom who likes wearing panties and lace isn’t what most submissives expect when they look at Houston. Broad, strong Doms are supposed to look intimidating in leather, not sexy in leather and lace. When long looks and a curious encounter with his new roommate make Houston think there might be some interest from Reece, he isn’t sure what to do. Reece is straight, isn’t he? Reece knows who he is...but most men don’t seem to understand.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A little lost at first, but impressed!

  • By MayBae on 05-28-19

A little lost at first, but impressed!

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

Reviewed: 05-28-19

I admit that when I first started listening to this, I thought I had jumped in in the middle of a series. There were so many characters right off the bat that made it seem like listeners should know who they were and what was going on instead of letting them organically develop into the story. It took me a few chapters to sort everything out, but by then I was hooked and it had my rapt attention. The story follows two men who meet as roommates and are inadvertently tied to the same BDSM world. Now, I freely admit that BDSM stories are not always my cuppa. Sometimes they’re written so sterile that I question how someone could find that a turn on. That was not the case with Shaw’s story. The sexual tension between Houston and Reece was what hooked me in the first place and I was anxious to see how it all played out. I was completely satisfied with how the relationship progressed and ooo boy, was it steaming! Overall, pretty low angst (just enough to make you want to keep listening) and the right amount of smexy times.

This is only my second experience with Kenneth Obi as a narrator. I thought he did well with the narration: the voices were distinct, the pacing was good as was the emotion conveyed. There were a lot of characters for him to voice and he did so admirably.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • As You Are

  • By: Ethan Day
  • Narrated by: Jason Frazier
  • Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 165
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 158

Danny owns a used textbook store just off campus, and while Julian has done his level best to make Danny fall for him, all his hard work appears to have been in vain. Danny doesn't seem to view Julian as anything other than that--a roommate and friend. So when new guy in town Andy Baker asks him out on a date, Julian can't think of a good reason to say no.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The narrator alone is worth buying this audiobook!

  • By Morgan A Skye on 02-17-15

Holy amazeballs (narration)!

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

Reviewed: 05-24-19

**Edited:
Alright, I officially finished this audiobook and decided to edit my original review. I stand by my five-full-freaking-stars for the narration, but wanted to revise my opinion of the story. The ending was...not great. IMO, Danny did not do enough for redemption. I’m not an emotionally-expressive person, it’s just not how I roll, but when Danny did “that thing,” I cried with Julian. My heart literally broke for a fictional character and the ending failed to knit the broken pieces back up. HEA? Doubtful. More like a HFN because we all know that relationship is gonna be dooooomed to fail. I wanted to like Danny. I wanted him to make a really, really great grand gesture (something totally swoon worthy that would have put me firmly on Team D), but he did not. I also think Julian should have made him sweat it out for awhile...even just telling D that he was going to move out would have been satisfactory. Maybe I’m just one of those “eye-for-an-eye” people who is overly-vindictive (quite possible), but “that thing” Danny did was pretty heartless and cruel and pretty much ruined it for me. Also, I decided I cannot knock Michael Lesley down a notch...we’ll call it a tie.

Original Review:
I listen to primarily M/M audiobooks (it’s been a phase) and how, HOW, have I never heard one narrated by Jason Frazier?! He is the ONLY male narrator I’ve heard that can make the women sound like literal women and not a man pretending to be a woman. I’m completely blown away. The voices, the accents...in awe, absolute awe. He took Michael Lesley down a notch on my favorites list, sad as that may be. The book was good—the side characters really made the story although Danny was frustrating.

  • The Right Match

  • Omega Dating Agency, Book 1
  • By: Aiden Bates, Austin Bates
  • Narrated by: Randi Johnson
  • Length: 4 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70

An older alpha with a taste for bad decisions. A kinky omega who’s up for anything. An app that brings them together. Ramiro Danner has been around the block more than once. He’s tired of playing around, but this alpha has a weakness for younger omegas who aren’t interested in anything more than a fling. Ram never expected that agreeing to be a guinea pig for a new dating app would be anything more than a disaster, but when he meets Erik, all of that changes.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyed it

  • By K. Ramjohn on 07-18-19

Wow!

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

Reviewed: 05-21-19

What a great book! I’m usually not a reader of Omegaverses and this one was pretty low on the scale...alphas and omegas and mpreg, but nothing outside of that. Plus, I love a good, unexpected pregnancy. Despite the short length, the characters were well-fleshed and I can see where the rest of the series will go. There was some angst and some questionable decisions by Erik, but nothing over the top and not enough to turn me off. The chemistry between Erik and Ram was definitely hot, though!

I’m also really digging on the narration by Randi Johnson. He really does have the best “guy” voice for M/M romance. Between the stellar narration and storyline, this book impressed me more than I was expecting and will definitely go into my “TBLTA” pile (“to be listened to again,” which I hope is an actual acronym and not just something I made up).

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Twice Bitten

  • By: Preston Walker
  • Narrated by: Randi Johnson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 57

When Alistair Hall lost his mate, he lost everything. To cope with the heartache, he’s thrown himself into supporting his pack. Finding strength in his work helps him forget, until he comes face-to-face with a complicated omega who could change his mind about everything. Matthew Norris sells fantasies - a jaded omega peddling shallow dreams at Hearts Connected. He doesn’t believe in love, but if it makes money, he can pretend. When a chance encounter puts him in the path of an irresistible alpha, Matthew begins to question his outlook on life...and on love.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • as good as the ebook

  • By Claudia CG Lezar on 06-20-19

Great book, but start with the first one in the series

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

Reviewed: 05-17-19

This story covers a couple who meet in semi-unusual circumstances. One is a divorcée who runs a dating service and the other is a transplant to the Wheaton area who is remodeling a grocery store. Considering the circumstances surrounding both men, they seemed to jump headfirst into a relationship with little regard to consequences. I haven’t read or listened to the first book in this series, so a few details were confusing at first. Despite reading that it was a shifter book, it seemed almost like an Omegaverse in the beginning. While there were mentions of a pack, I was 1/3 of the way through it before any shifting occurred. I was able to make it through the story with a basic understanding of what was going on, but it would definitely make more sense to listen to the first one in the series before starting this. While there were some angsty elements in the story, it wasn’t overly done and the secondary characters were well-fleshed out. Overall, an interesting storyline that was fairly well-written.

This is my second audiobook with Randi Johnson as narrator and my thoughts about his performance improved from the last one (it really does make a difference how the book is written). Considering the amount of male characters in this one, it was still easy to tell the difference between who was talking. Overall, great work to him and Preston Walker!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Unscripted Hearts

  • By: Peter Styles
  • Narrated by: Randi Johnson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 87
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 85

I never imagined I'd get this kind of news. Suddenly, I have a nephew that is an orphan. I can't understand what happened and I still half-expect my sister to walk through the door at any moment. He's never leaving my arms again. Yet here comes Mr. Big Shot, ready to steal the last bit of my sister that I have away from me. I'll do anything to keep him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • GREAT STORY!

  • By G C on 03-13-19

Great original storyline!

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

Reviewed: 05-15-19

This story follows along two guys who were thrown together under unusual circumstances. Considering the amount of M/M romances out there, this is definitely not a storyline I’ve encountered before. One is a Hollywood actor on the precipice of stardom and the other is the owner of a construction company in a small town. Just from reading the blurb, I was a little confused on how the kid tied in exactly with both, but it was clearer as I started listening. The story started out with Ben seeming to be the more responsible “parent” and Micah the flighty one, but over the course of it, they definitely switched places. Their relationship, however, was almost volatile for most of the book. Ben’s anger almost seemed more appropriate of someone in their late teens/early 20’s than that of a grown adult, but they seemed to settle down towards the end. I would have liked to know exactly how Micah ended up getting both his Hollywood career and the life with Ben and Ross. There really wasn’t any mention of him leaving to film episodes, only the meetings that surrounded his career. The secondary characters were good (loved Antoni, haha).

As far as narration goes, this was my first time listening to Randi Johnson and I was suitably impressed. He had a strong, clear voice and didn’t make one of the characters seem like a twink (twink or not, this is one of my biggest pet peeves about M/M romance on audiobook). I could definitely tell the difference between characters and Antoni’s accent was perfect and not overdone. I did think he was a little over-exuberant at times, but I also downloaded the Kindle edition and found that the story was written with LOTS of exclamation points, so I really can’t fault him on that.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request (via Audiobook Boom) and have voluntarily left this review.