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Mari Cardenas

Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala
  • 54
  • reviews
  • 30
  • helpful votes
  • 55
  • ratings
  • Alpha Deceived

  • Waking the Dragons Series, Book 3
  • By: Piper Scott, Susi Hawke
  • Narrated by: Colin Darcy
  • Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23

Proud dragon warrior and healer Sana has a secret…one that may forever turn his friends against him, and one that he’ll do anything to keep. He’s worked too hard to keep who he truly is from the world, and he refuses to let the charade drop, even after waking up thousands of years in the future. But when Peter walks into his life and wakes his heartsong, he knows it’s a secret he won’t be able to hide much longer. With his muscular body and incredible strength, Sana is decidedly alpha in appearance, but Peter is no omega, and that means…    

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best one yet!

  • By Mari Cardenas on 10-21-18

Best one yet!

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

Reviewed: 10-21-18

Alpha Deceived is book 3 in the Waking the Dragons series and it needs to be read in order as it follows a continuing storyline. Trust me, you don't want to miss a second of this fantastic series.

So, I had an idea of who the evil guy was, but I had no clue of the extent of his betrayal. I can only hope he'll get what's coming to him in the last installment because the guy deserves everything these two authors can come up with.

I adored Peter, he was easygoing and laidback, taking most of what was happening to him in stride, but at the same time, he was supportive and protective of Sana. I liked Sana a lot, but he frustrated me a bit, with his fear of letting his fellow dragon warriors know what he really was and jumping into doing things his way, putting Peter and himself in harm's way. Of course, there's the fact that if he hadn't he wouldn't have learned of the bad guy's deception, so there's that.

This series just keeps getting better and better with each passing book, the authors have done an outstanding job with world-building and the heart song's theme. I think Alpha Deceived is my favorite so far, not only because of the main couple, but because of how much the plot moved along with the reveal of the big bad. I'm eager to find out how it'll play out in the last book.

Colin Darcy did a great job narrating the book, he gave each character (main and secondary) a distinctive voice that made them easily recognizable and the inflections to his tone made for a fantastic experience listening to this audiobook. I said before that this was my favorite of the three I've listened to so far in this series and that is, at least in part, due to Mr. Darcy's voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Daddy Wanted

  • Rent-a-Dom, Book 1
  • By: Susi Hawke, Piper Scott
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 4 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43

Toby Andrews is a busy, forgetful, scatterbrained musician with ADHD, a precocious dog named Ruffles, and a bad rep for partying too hard. When Toby’s actions put an all-important contract with a large label in jeopardy, his manager sarcastically suggests the omega needs a keeper who'll redden his bottom if he steps out of line. Toby is intrigued, so when he sees an ad for a discreet company called Rent-a-Dom while scrolling his social media page, he impulsively sends a request for a Daddy Dom to help him stay on track.  

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

  • By Mari Cardenas on 10-17-18

Great start to the series!

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Overall: 4.5 Stars!
Story: 4 Stars!
Narration: 5 Stars!

Susi Hawke and Piper Scott are quickly becoming one of my favorite collaborative teams! I had only listened to their shifter mpreg series before, but I jumped at the chance of reviewing this omegaverse series as well, and I'm so happy I did!

While I wasn't too sure I was going to like Toby at first, he quickly won me over. He was a unique brand of adorable and sassy. I loved how he cared for Ruffles, his chihuahua, who I loved to bits, and how spacey he could be about everything else until Thorne got into his life. And of course, who wouldn't swoon at having a daddy such as Thorne? He was just perfect. Protective and supportive and all the things a good Daddy should be. Their chemistry was off the roof, and the progression of their relationship was great. I just loved how well they meshed up together, especially after they discovered Toby was pregnant.

The narration was amazing, just as Nick J. Russo has me used to. He not only had distinctive voices for the main characters, but for all the other players in the story. His tone is pleasant and very easy to follow, and damn, if he hasn't a special talent to narrate sexy times!

Overall, definitely an audiobook you shouldn't miss out on!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 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 29
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

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

Fantastic narration!

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

Story: 4 Stars
Narration: 5 Stars
Overall: 4.5 Stars!

First of all, I can't stress enough that you need to read Survivor before reading Lover. Not only are there recurring characters that we met in book 1, but the series follows a certain line and you'll be lost otherwise.

Lover is told from Rory, Shannon and Rand's perspectives, and spans over several years, showing us some of the experiences that made them who they are in the present. The book focuses mostly on the case both Rand and Rory are working on and that ends up being connected with Shannon, so the MMM portion isn't explored until the last 30% of the story. That doesn't mean there aren't some very sexy scenes between Rory and Shannon, who are in a relationship, or that we aren't privy of the sparks flying between Rory and Rand, or the attraction blooming between Shannon and Rand. It was good seeing it come to fruition, I just would've liked it to be a bit more developed. Still, I think the three of them fit well together and each brought something the others needed into their relationship.

The case was interesting and I loved all the detail in the investigation. I kind of figured who the other bad guy was almost from the start, but it was still nice to have it confirmed.

I liked most of the characters, both main and secondary, some of which we already met in book 1 like Taylor and Frank, who I loved catching up with. I adored Connie and I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing more of her and Rory, Shannon and Rand in Blair and Manny's book.

The narration was amazing, just about as good as Mr. Nick J. Russo has me used to. Each character had its own distinctive voice and they were all great! He managed to imprint the different scenes with the right amount of emotion, without going overboard and his tone is pleasant and easy to listen to.

All in all, definitely an audiobook (and series) you don't want to miss!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Leaning into Forever

  • Leaning into Series, Book 7
  • By: Lane Hayes
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

Geordie De La Rosa is a legend among wine lovers in Napa Valley. His ultra-fabulous style paired with a penchant for leading impromptu sing-a-longs has made him a star attraction at Conrad Winery. Co-owning a well-respected winery was never Geordie’s aspiration but he likes the niche he’s made for himself. He won’t deny that his job and his friends have helped ease his heartache and grief after the death of his longtime partner. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Moving On is never Easy

  • By Nadine Bookaholic on 09-08-18

All the stars for Geordie and Levi!

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

Reviewed: 09-08-18

5+++ Stars!!!

I loved when I first read this book, I knew going in that this was going to be an emotional read for me, I loved Geordie from the moment I met him and especially so once I learned of his backstory. Reading how deep his grief went after losing his lover, Mike, was heartbreaking. His pain was so raw and poignant, despite him turning up his flamboyance to try to hide it from others that I just wanted to make it better and see him thrive. I adored Levi from the first moment, he was so swoon-worthy and perfect for Geordie. He was patient and understanding and supportive. Really, the man deserved a medal, LOL. And I just adored him and Geordie together, the progression of their relationship was so natural and organic that when Geordie came to realize what was happening, he was deep into it. Their chemistry was scorching and despite being opposites in several senses, they complemented each other.

Nick J. Russo did a fantastic job with the narration, especially with Geordie. He managed to bring forth the wealth of emotion that a character like him needs and deserves. And he also did great with the rest of the characters. He took Lane's words and somehow elevated them and made them even better.

Overall, this book was an emotional rollercoaster for me and be it on e-book or audio, you just can't miss it. (FYI, you'll probably need tissues for this one, so stock on those beforehand. 😉 )

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Alpha Ablaze

  • Waking the Dragons, Book 2
  • By: Susi Hawke, Piper Scott
  • Narrated by: Colin Darcy
  • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46

Paranoid inventor and draconian expert Sam is a conspiracy theorist who lives on the fringes, preferring to keep a low profile while he does what he knows best: study the ancient draconian culture he knows isn't a fairy tale. Aided by his intuitive ability to create gadgets and harness sound waves, Sam changes identities and addresses as often as he changes his clothes...all in a lifelong quest to evade The Man. When he accidentally wakes a "sleeping" dragon who insists they are mates, Sam's carefully structured world shifts sideways.

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

  • By Mari Cardenas on 09-05-18

Great addition to the series!

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

Reviewed: 09-05-18

4.5 Stars Overall!

Alpha Ablaze is the second book in the Waking the Dragons series and it needs to be read/listened to in order, since not only does it follow the storyline that started in book 1, but there are a lot of recurring characters and you'll be thoroughly lost otherwise and truly, it's so good, that you don't want to miss out.

We met Sam in the previous book and truly, I wasn't too sure what to expect. He grated on my nerves then a bit, and he still did so here, but I warmed up to him after learning of his backstory and seeing why he's as high strung as he is. Blaze, though, I adored! I think he's my favorite character so far! He's so much fun and so patient with Sam, I loved how loving and protective he was.

I'm loving the ongoing plotline and I'm eager to find out about the missing dragon shifter. And of course, I'm just adoring the dynamics between all the shifters and their mates and friends. I'm quite eager to reading more about Peter, perhaps with Sana?

Colin Darcy did a fantastic job with the narration, he brought Sam's paranoid personality and Blaze's Alpha/carefree/easygoing attitude perfectly to life and I loved all the different voices he used for the different characters.

Be it on audiobook or ebook, I think this is a must in any paranormal Alpha/Omega lover's library!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Not so Vanilla

  • By: Morgan Noel
  • Narrated by: Piers Ryman
  • Length: 4 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27

Bartholomew's life is perfect. He's got a job he loves; he's in a committed relationship with his loving boyfriend who appreciates his neurotic tendencies, social anxiety, and general awkwardness. It's not "white picket fence and Golden Retriever" perfect, but their nice little apartment in the city and the cat they rescued from the shelter come pretty close. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Donut

  • By JEYCEE on 07-20-18

So much fun to listen to!

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

Reviewed: 08-28-18

I've had this book pretty much since it came out, but one thing or the other had prevented me from reading it, so when given the chance to listening to it instead, I jumped at it and I wasn't disappointed!

Not So Vanilla is fun, very hot (*fans self*) and enjoyable. Mew was adorkable and definitely my favorite part of the book. Kyle and Adam were okay, although I found it a bit odd that Kyle would bring an ex-con into the house he shared with Mew, especially with as awkward as he is in social situations. And well, Adam, while nice to Mew, had no real concept of personal space.

Even if it all felt a bit too convenient for Kyle and Adam, I have to admit they were all really sexy together and OMG, I'll never look at a donut in quite the same way ever again! LOL

Regarding the narration, Piers did a fantastic job! I wasn't expecting a British accent, but it totally worked and gave a certain something extra to the story. His Mew, especially, was the right blend of awkward and endearing.

This is definitely one audiobook that I'll have to listen again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • My Hero

  • By: Max Vos
  • Narrated by: Jared Bradford
  • Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124

When he was 16 years old, Rich Miller saved a young man from drowning at his local pool. Little did he know that years later, as a senior in college and Olympic diving hopeful, Rich would meet up once again with Johnny Milloway, now a big football player...The shy jock remembers his saviour, and the two men become friends. Johnny isn't put off by the fact that Rich is gay. In fact, the more time he spends with Rich, the more curious he becomes.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Jared Bradford delivers a wonderful performance.

  • By Belen on 09-08-15

Fantastic narration!

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

This book is one of the first MM novels I read and I’ve read it several times already, so of course, I jumped at the chance of listening to the Audiobook and I wasn’t disappointed!

Rich saved Johnny’s life when he was 16 and Johnny was 12 years old. They hadn’t seen each other until they ran into each other, quite literally, when Johnny starts up at Rich’s college. They become best friends and when Johnny becomes curious, they start having sex. Johnny is straight, though, no matter how much he enjoys what he and Rich do in bed, and Rich slowly falls for his friend, which can only lead to heartbreak. Add the pressure of preparing for the Worlds and Rich’s estranged relationship with his father and it’s a recipe for disaster, or is it just what Rich needs to finally put everything in perspective?

Jared Bradford did a great job at bringing to life this fantastic story. He has a great voice and I loved that he showed us all the different emotions through it, laughter, love, sadness. I would’ve liked it more if anger had been as easily portrayed as those others, but that is just me being picky.

Definitely a recommendable book/audiobook I'd love to read/listen to again!

Rating: 5 Stars!!!

  • Quiet Strength

  • M/M Age Play Romance
  • By: M.A. Innes
  • Narrated by: Kenneth Obi
  • Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27

Eric's grown more confident. He has to admit that. With Marcus's love and support, he's stronger than ever, but it's not enough. His daddy's given him the ability to go after what he wants, but there's so much more that feels just out of reach. Eric doesn't want part of the lifestyle or some of the submission...he wants everything. When it comes to their relationship, Eric is ready to jump in headfirst. But how does Eric show his daddy that everything doesn't have to be planned out to be perfect?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great follow up

  • By Aerielle on 06-22-18

Very enjoyable!

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

Reviewed: 07-18-18

Quiet Strength is book 2 in this MM Age Play series by MA Innes and it needs to be read/listened to in order.

While I enjoyed Quiet Strength, I think the first book is my favorite. Still, I really liked to see Eric feel more confident in his relationship with Marcus and with others, and have it bleed into other aspects of his life like his work, in this new book. And Marcus was just the perfect blend of Daddy/Dom/partner, always there for Eric for anything he needed.

I loved the sweetness of Marcus and Eric's Daddy/little boy dynamics. I just had no clue that it could be like that, which is why I was wary before starting Silent Strength, and it was even better this time around since Eric found it easier to open himself to Marcus. I also liked that we saw Marcus and Eric as more than just D/lb, but also D/s and as a couple, to the point that Eric offered his support to Marcus as his partner and not just took what he needed as his submissive/little boy.

I adored Nathan, who is such a sweet, funny guy. His interactions with Eric were hilarious!

Kenneth Obi did a great job with the narration, especially with Eric, his voice is perfect for him and just made me feel more connected to his character. I liked his voice for Marcus, too, but I think in the end, when there were other Doms in the scene, their voices tended to be too similar and difficult to identify, which didn't happen with Eric, Nathan or even Zander. His tone is very pleasant and even if the narration wasn't as even as in the first book, it was still very enjoyable.

Overall, though, this was a great addition to the series and I'm sure this isn't the last time I'll listen to it.

  • 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 27
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 26

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

Great addition to the series!!!

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

Reviewed: 07-09-18

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Story: 4.5 Stars!

Narration: 4.5 Stars!



Leaning into the Look is book 6 in the Leaning Into Stories, I guess it could technically be read/listened to as a standalone, however, I wouldn't recommend it. The books follow the lives of a group of friends and there are a lot of recurring appearances, plus the series is amazing and trust me, you don't want to miss out on it.

Grant is stressed-out over a multi-million dollar deal his real estate company could land. His father is determined to be a part of it, even if Grant is supposedly the head of the San Francisco branch and while it took them some time, his parents now accept that he's gay but want him to date a Greek man. He's always been slightly intimidated by Miles, Eric's secretary, but once he starts to know him better, he quickly changes his mind about him.

Miles has been crushing on Grant for years, but he's not exactly in the best state of mind after ending a 7-year relationship. However, he can't say no when Grant offers him the chance to be roommates and even less when they become friends-with-benefits.

While they fit well together, the two of them are going through several things that might end up straining their blossoming relationship if they don't let go of their fear and learn to trust in each other.

I loved Miles, he was fabulous and fun, but at the same time, had a depth to him that I wasn't quite expecting. I only wish we'd seen a bit more of what makes him, well, him, which was difficult considering the book is written from Grant's POV. I really liked Grant, he was nice and self-deprecating and I adored seeing the progression of his relationship with Miles. It felt realistic and inevitable. Even with as different as they were, they were able to complement each other and offer the support the other sorely needed to work on their respective issues. Nevermind that they were uber hot together. *fans self* I was just a bit frustrated by their inability to talk clearly about their feelings, but all's well that ends well, so there's that.

While I adore Nick J. Russo and his narrations are usually golden, I had a bit of a problem with his Miles's voice, it was just not what I expected. However, even if took me some time to get used to Miles's voice, I loved Grant's and I loved listening to this fabulous story. Mr. Russo did a fantastic job giving that extra-special something that just elevated Lane Hayes's words, especially near the end when he had me sobbing my eyes out at 1am this morning. LOL

Be it on audio or e-book, you simply can't go wrong with Leaning Into the Look, which was another fabulous addition to the series, so just pick it up, you'll love it.

  • Alpha Awakened

  • Waking the Dragons Series, Book 1
  • By: Piper Scott, Susi Hawke
  • Narrated by: Colin Darcy
  • Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 67

Awkward outcast omega Emery Jones isn't expecting to find anything more than adventure when he leaves his favorite hiking path and follows a strange series of markers through the woods...and he's certainly not expecting to come face to face with the most gorgeous man he's ever seen. He's instantly smitten, but there's one problem - his dream guy insists that he's a dragon prince from another time, and Emery is his fated mate! After thousands of years in stasis, Coryphaeus of Novis, the draconian Crown Prince, has been awakened by a kiss from his fated mate.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • wow

  • By Starwarslover on 07-03-18

Really good Mpreg audio!

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

Okay, so I'm fairly new to reading MPreg in any of the different subcategories there are, but truly this book was more about the connection between Cory, the Dragon Prince of Novis, who is awakened from stasis by Emery, an Omega, who turns out to have dragon blood, than really about Emery's pregnancy.

It has a fairly strong plot, and while there were some OTT issues and there were some things that I suppose will be dealt with in the next books, it was entertaining, fast-paced and kept my interest throughout the audiobook. I think both authors did a great job with the story and the characters and even if this is my first book by any of them, I can assure you it won't be the last.

Now, about the narration. I think Colin Darcy did very well with it, his voice is very pleasant for the most part (Sam's tone was a bit grating, and while it fit his personality to a T, listening to it during a longer scene was annoying) and he managed to give each character, be it male or female, a distinct voice that differentiated them from the others. My favorite was Emery, I think Colin Darcy really nailed him, he was probably the one that didn't sound forced at all. I liked Cory's, too, even if I felt he sounded a bit weird at first, as the narrator hit his stride, it sounded more Alpha-ish.

Overall, I wouldn't mind recommending this audiobook. It was fun, with some light angst and it left me wanting to listen to the next book in the series.