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jeffrey

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  • 6
  • helpful votes
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  • Gummy Bears & Grenades

  • A THIRDS Novella, Book 9.5
  • By: Charlie Cochet
  • Narrated by: Mark Westfield
  • Length: 3 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 131
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125

THIRDS Agent Dexter J. Daley can’t wait to marry his fiancé, Team Leader Sloane Brodie, but first he’s looking forward to celebrating his bachelor party - which he intends to be a shenanigans-free evening of getting his groove on with family and friends. Of course, events don’t work out as planned, but for Dex that’s nothing new. One thing is for sure, dodging drug dealers and hired thugs amid booze, dancing, and even a bear costume will guarantee it’s a night Dex will never forget.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A very fun story.

  • By HandTool on 11-15-18

Good times!

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

Reviewed: 04-19-18

Charlie Cochet’s audiobook, Gummy Bears & Grenades has it all: The great narration of Mark Westfield, who brings this awesome series to life, Cochet’s amazing cast of characters and bachelor party fun!



Dex and Sloane are counting down the days until they say “I do”. Dex and friends are headed to Dekatria to celebrate Dex’s bachelor party while Sloane spends some memorable time with his soon to be father-in-law, Tony. What could possibly go wrong? Well, we are talking about Dex so there’s no question something crazy will happen.



As always Mark Westfield injects lots of humor in his narration and I couldn’t help but laugh. The bachelor party is all kinds of fun and it’s great to see Dex having a ball and hanging out with his crew. Everyone is dressed to the nines and enjoying themselves.

With her THIRDS series author Charlie Cochet has created a world filled with humor, mystery and suspense and most important of all, romance.

Quite a few interesting things transpire throughout the night. After all, trouble seems to be Dex’s middle name. There are gummy bears in abundance as usual and chaos ensues. There’s even a surprise party crasher who at once manages to help and get under Dex’s skin.



With her THIRDS series author Charlie Cochet has created a world filled with humor, mystery and suspense and most important of all, romance. I have really enjoyed going on this journey and falling in love with not only amazing characters but the world in which they live in. And in this installment I was really happy to see Sloane and Tony spending time together. These two have come a long way throughout the series and it’s great to see the progression of their relationship.



In Gummy Bears & Grenades all of my favorite characters are here and I enjoyed getting to see them hanging out and having a good time. Listening to this novella only leaves me wanting more. I’m anxious to listen to Tried & True to see what’s next in Dex and Sloane’s lives and I cannot wait for the wedding and to see how things play out.

  • A Destiny of Dragons

  • Tales from Verania, Book 2
  • By: TJ Klune
  • Narrated by: Michael Lesley
  • Length: 16 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 748
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 715
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 711

Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice, Sam of Wilds, got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. Until they're not.... Because Vadoma, the leader of the gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic book with awesome narration

  • By J. John on 12-03-17

Amazing

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

Reviewed: 12-02-17

What an absolutely amazing performance
Michael Lesley is fantastic! He has a tremendous talent bringing this story to life
I have so many favorite characters!
What a ride!
Eagerly awaiting the next!!

  • Darkest Hour Before Dawn

  • THIRDS
  • By: Charlie Cochet
  • Narrated by: Mark Westfield
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 215
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 201

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great for the series fans

  • By Morgan A Skye on 10-26-17

5 star narration

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

Reviewed: 11-25-17

Time after time Charlie Cochet creates such amazing stories filled with non-stop action, intrigue and romance, while narrator Mark Westfield makes that world all the more richer; Darkest Hour Before Dawn, the ninth book in the THIRDS series is no exception. You definitely do not want to read this without having read all the other books in this awesome series.

Mark Westfield delivers us back into the world of the THIRDS agents, namely Sebastian Hobbs and Dr. Hudson Colburn.

While the story is filled with tons of action and suspense the author really gives readers a more intimate view of one of my favorite couples, Seb and Hudson.

These two men belong to each other. Hudson is marked and truly mated to Seb. A tragedy in their past breaks them apart and throughout the series we see them dance around each other. In this installment we get an inside view into the how’s and why’s of their relationship.

I really enjoy Seb and Hudson interacting. Seeing the push and pull between the two and how these guys truly ‘pine’ for each other. I love seeing how close Hudson still is with the Hobbs family, especially his relationship with Seb’s Mom and Dad. With Westfield’s narration I could feel how important and emotional being connected to them is for Hudson. Hudson also frustrates me with his back and forth because it’s so plain to see how much Seb really cares for him. But it’s nice to see them circle around each other and slowly realize the depth of their love for one another.

Darkest Hour Before Dawn is not all romance, there is definitely plenty of action and intrigue going on throughout the story. The timing is perfect and the action scenes fleshed out.

Mark Westfield is definitely at his best when narrating fight scenes and confrontations and with the many revelations in this installment his narration kept me listening and wanting more.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for our favorite fellow agents.

  • Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus

  • Baal's Heart Book 3.5
  • By: Bey Deckard
  • Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
  • Length: 1 hr and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

Plagued by terrible dreams, Jon begins to distance himself from Baltsaros and Tom. Perhaps a little holiday cheer is just the thing to help the three of them find common ground again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Baal's Heart Crew Celebrate the Holidays!

  • By Trio on 11-16-17

Happy Corestmas

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

Reviewed: 11-16-17

Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus is the perfect treat for fans of Bey Deckard’s Baal’s Heart series. I remember being pretty excited when I learned that Mr. Deckard was releasing a short holiday story of my three favorite guys! And even more excited when I learned of the audio edition. I’ve been a fan of the very talented Michael Ferraiuolo throughout this series and in his other works. He truly delivers a flawless narration of the complete Baal’s Heart series.

Careened picks up right after the events of book three Fated: Blood and Redemption, making it imperative for readers to have followed the entire series for full enjoyment.

Jon can’t seem to make heads nor tails of his emotions after his and Tom’s kidnapping. He is slowly withdrawing from both Tom and the Captain. He spends his days and nights in turmoil and buries his pain with alcohol.

Tom is beside himself as he watches Jon pull away. He loves Jon so much and doesn’t know how to “fix” the young man. The Captain is equally pained by Jon’s withdrawal especially because Jon seems almost afraid of him. Tom and Baltsaros are both at a loss.

Michael Ferraiuolo captures Jon’s pain and anger captivating his audience and keeping them enraptured in the story.

His voice conveys Jon’s anguish and hurt so beautifully you can’t help but feel it. I could also hear the frustration and love in both Tom and the Captain’s voices.

The holidays have come to the island of Madierus and Captain Baltsaros tells his boys the story of Winter Solstice, or Corestmas as he calls it. He even goes so far as to put on a little red hat! The story inspires all of them in different ways. Jon wants to do something nice for Tom who didn’t have much of a childhood. And Tom wants to buy Jon something special to show how much he cares for him.

But our scheming Captain has the best surprise and it will most definitely pull at your heartstrings...and some other places!!

I really enjoyed seeing these guys scramble around in an effort to do something special for each other. Maya and Kat even put in an appearance and help out with some holiday decorations. The two women, especially Kat, have become very close to Jon and maintain a mostly lukewarm relationship with Tom. Everyone seems caught up in some good holiday cheer.

And oh Lord let me not forget to mention the sexy times. There are quite a few good times and the scene where Baltsaros gives Tom his present had my ears burning. These men have such amazing chemistry and their scenes together are always electrically charged.

Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus is a definite must if you’re a fan of the series. Bey Deckard gives us all the feels in this short and Michael Ferraiuolo delivers yet again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Fated: Blood and Redemption

  • Baal's Heart, Book 3
  • By: Bey Deckard
  • Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

With the captain's mind in shambles, Jon and Tom set out to find the passage home through the black mountain range, hoping to find a cure for Baltsaros's madness. However, when the men are forced to part ways, darkness takes root in the schism created; fate, lust, and vengeance become obsessions threatening to tear apart the fragile bonds holding the three together.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic Story, Ferraiuolo is Perfect!

  • By Trio on 09-13-17

More please!

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

Reviewed: 09-02-17

Any additional comments?

I am so happy to be back with three of my favorite guys! Fated: Blood & Redemption, by Bey Deckard, is book three in his Baal’s Heart trilogy. These little gems are best read in order and I assure you if you do you will not be disappointed.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews of Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas and Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires, the first two books in the series, these stories are simply brilliant and author Bey Deckard does it yet again. He manages to hold you hostage with his words and the widely talented Michael Ferraiuolo expertly translates that brilliance with his voice.

Fated: Blood & Redemption begins with a memory from young Tom’s days as a slave. He has killed yet another master and he’s been sorely punished for it. If you have read the first two books I dare you to say a bad word about my “Tomcat”. Tom is such a resilient young man and has overcome so many hardships. I have thoroughly enjoyed his evolution throughout this series. He’s become someone the Captain and Jon can count on and has truly matured.

Tom will always remain my favorite character in this series. He is rough and gruff and he’s got that cocksure attitude that makes you either want to smack him or kiss him. Tom has really come a long way in terms of the way he thinks and acts. His relationship with Jon has flourished and he now can readily say the words “‘I love you’”. He is also fiercely protective of the Captain, whom he calls “‘Da’”. He is Baltsaros’ champion even when he’s mad at him. I love Tom’s loyalty. It wasn’t always easy for Tom to submit and the many flashbacks and scenes in Fated really drive home how deeply scarred Tom was while under the hand of slavery. Rest assured this is not a case of ‘magic penis’ and the reader/listener really sees the progression of Tom and the Captain’s relationship.

Jon has grown as well throughout the series, maturing and coming into his own. He’s still the same Jon in that he over thinks and analyzes things, qualities Tom just chuckles about, and he still has powerful dreams of trying to piece together a fortune he was told of by an old lady.

Captain Baltsaros is slowly trying to piece his mind back together and throughout the tale we see flashbacks from his point of view. The memories provide the audience with a view into his mind and possible origins of his bloodlust. He recounts a story from his childhood that left me breathless.

One of the things I enjoy most about the Baal’s Heart series is the evolution of all the men within the triad and outside of it. Each man truly compliments the other and it is a thing of beauty to see how they all come together. Although that’s not to say the men have an easy time of it but Bey Deckard expertly navigates all of their strengths and weaknesses.

The inner workings of their triad has come under some strain: There are misunderstandings and hurt feelings but underneath it all there is the love that each man feels for the other.

In this third book we see young Jon take the role as Captain of Baal’s Heart. Captain Baltsaros is still recovering from the various tortures at the hand of the evil Emperor in book two. His mind is still in shambles and he alternates between quiet and madness. Their plan is to head home to Madierus and have Abetha help “cure” their Captain.

Unfortunately the return home for the men isn’t the smoothest of sailings and problems and situations arise. Jon is stressed with the role of Captain on his head and Tom is right by his side to help while Baltsaros is “safely” ensconced in the cage in their bedroom. The Captain’s mental state is a cause for concern for both Tom and Jon and they deal with the stress in different ways.

Fated focuses on the here and now but we also get glimpses into the Captain’s past as well as Tom’s and even young Jon. We see how Baltsaros and Tom first met and we get to see how their relationship came to be.

What I love about Bey Deckard’s writing is that he firmly places the reader/listener right in the thick of the action, and of course the more quiet times as well. Throughout the narration I felt as if I were a passenger into all of their inner thoughts and dreams.

Michael Ferraiuolo is just simply amazing. I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, with just his voice he truly brings this story to life. He breathes life into each character and simply nails all of the accents and tones. I think the most important thing in being a narrator is emotion and Michael Ferraiuolo’s voice is magic as he portrays the emotions of each character magnificently.

As usual the supporting characters are amazing and Mr. Ferraiuolo does each one so brilliantly. Again Michael is each character but truly shines with the way he tells the story. Mr.Deckard writes an amazing tale and Michael is along for the ride brilliantly bringing these men and their tale to life.

In the famous words of Oliver Twist, “‘Please Sir, I want some more!’”, this is how I feel about a Bey Deckard story. And if Michael Ferraiuolo is narrating, sign me up!! Fated: Blood & Redemption definitely ends on a HFN and I just know there’s much more to this tale. In fact, I believe the ex-slave from the Emperor’s palace, Saban, has a story to tell, especially because of his ‘friendship’ with Tom. Hint, hint!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Thick & Thin

  • Thirds, Book 8
  • By: Charlie Cochet
  • Narrated by: Mark Westfield
  • Length: 3 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 218
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207

In a matter of days, Dex has been kidnapped, tortured, killed, revived, become half Therian, offered the chance to become a spy, and accepted a proposal to marry his jaguar Therian boyfriend, Sloane Brodie. It's been a lot to take in, and although Dex is still trying to wrap his head around everything that's happened, he knows he has to move forward. After the events of Smoke & Mirrors, Dex and Sloane find themselves in one of the most frightening situations of all: revealing the truth to their Destructive Delta family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Audible version too expensive

  • By T. Wood on 06-04-17

Ready for more!

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

Reviewed: 08-26-17

Any additional comments?

Thick & Thin, the eighth book in the THIRDS series by author Charlie Cochet, is a novella that packs quite a punch. There’s so much going on in this little gem.

The THIRDS series has been a favorite of mine from book one and is best read/listened to in order. I think I read the first two books in the series and then switched exclusively to the audio version.

Mark Westfield is simply amazing with his narration of the series and the characters are literally brought to life.

Thick & Thin begins where Smoke & Mirrors left off. Tony is in the hospital recovering. Dex comes clean to Tony and Cael about being half-Therian and his recent engagement to Sloane.

Sloane also tells his best friend, Ash, about his engagement to Dex and they both discuss their relationships with the Daley brothers. I love the easy banter between the long time friends. They bring a lightness to the story with their humor and friendship.

Dex and Sloane also come clean to their teammates about Dex’s recent transformation and their being recruited to TIN and what that means for their team, Destructive Delta.

The THIRDS series is rich with action, drama and suspense and the author expertly ties the romance into the story lines.

Charlie Cochet has given us a fascinating mix of shifters amidst a backdrop of gritty police work. There’s a familiarity with the characters and you can’t help but become attached to their stories.

Mark Westfield has such a distinct voice for each character and keeps the pace of the story moving along, breathing life into each book with his narration. He captures the reader/listener with his voice during the action scenes, the dramatic scenes and of course the romantic scenes. His tone for the characters is spot on and has enabled me to become familiar with, and love, each persona for their unique qualities. In fact I’ve become very attached to some of them as a result of listening to Westfield. He brings such a level of enthusiasm to the story with his voices that you can’t help but fall into their lives.

Thick & Thin certainly answers some questions but raises some as well. Questions that I’m sure will be addressed in book nine. And as a true fan I will be not so patiently waiting to find out what they are.

  • You Are the Reason

  • By: Renae Kaye
  • Narrated by: Dave Gillies
  • Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103

Davo's a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he's gay, but doesn't want to be one of those gays who are girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme - including relationships that last beyond 15 minutes. Then Davo's friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Humorous & Fun Listen

  • By Belen on 03-07-17

So good!

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

Reviewed: 06-11-17

Any additional comments?

Being a favorite author of mine I first read You Are the Reason by Renae Kaye when it was published in 2015. I was immediately enamored by the main characters, Dave and Lee. This is book two in Ms. Kaye’s The Tav series and honestly this installment can easily be read as a standalone. Although Jake and Patrick, from book one The Blinding Light are featured, in my opinion, you can enjoy this one even if you haven’t read the first.

It is only made better by the fact that Dave Gillies is also one of my favorite narrator’s and he truly shines in his delivery of You Are the Reason. He has the perfect accent and his character voices are very distinct.

The story begins with Dave recounting an experience when he was younger and in school. It seems as if his Coach really did a number on him. While Dave was just figuring out that he is gay the Coach had it ingrained in his head that he has to be “tough” and “masculine”. To the point that under the Coach’s watchful eye a few of his classmates beat him up in order to “toughen him up”.

So for most of his teenage and adult life Dave has this idea in his head that being gay is okay but he doesn’t want to be seen as “one of those gays”.

You know, the ones who like pink, wear makeup and are typically seen as “girly gays”. Dave doesn’t believe in relationships and has always been into one night stands and bar hook ups.

These beliefs are truly shaken when he meets Lee one night at a local bar. Dave is there looking for a quick hook up and can’t understand why he’s attracted straight away by Lee’s bright red hair and full pouty lips when Lee is a “woman”. They chat for hours and have a grand time hitting on men together and end up drunk messing around in Dave’s van.

This leaves Dave freaking out because Lee is the first “woman” he’s ever been attracted to and he even starts to question his sexuality.

When Dave learns that Lee is actually a man he’s completely thrown for a loop. He never thought he could be attracted to that type of gay man (meaning a man who likes to dress in women’s clothes) - but he truly is.

Lee has the patience of a saint and is with Dave every step of the way as Dave’s idea of what being gay really is begins to change. He has him help out at a youth center where Lee is a counselor and Dave meets all types of young men. Including some who like to wear make-up and he even meets Lee’s friend who is transgender. Lee likes to dress in women’s clothes and wear makeup occasionally.

As Lee breaks down all of those stereotypes that Dave has clung to throughout the years Dave slowly but surely comes to realize that he shouldn’t, and doesn’t, give a damn what anyone else thinks of him or Lee.

It was awesome to see Dave “wake-up” and realize there are all types of “gay” men out there and he doesn’t have to be “tough” or overly masculine all the time.

I love how the author shows the reader Dave’s growth throughout the story by encompassing humor and clever wording. Like Dave relying on his magic eight ball to answer all of life’s tough questions; truly laugh out loud moments. And when Dave and Lee attend a performance of Grease, Dave puts on a brave face when seeing Lee wear eyeliner. His hang ups about “girly guys” are in full force but he ends up enjoying himself and (gasp) even holds Lee’s hand.

I really adore this book and especially enjoy the narration by the fantastic Dave Gillies.

I’ve listened to a few of his audiobooks before and really love how he tells a story and truly “gets” into character. Renae Kaye adds a lot of humor in this tale and Gillies shines during the funny scenes.

When there’s mention of Dave’s best mate, Jake, who is now with Patrick (from The Blinding Light), and in the process of trying to adopt a baby, Gillies magic comes out full force when narrating about baby Maxine being dressed head to toe in pink and having to change dirty nappies. Dave enlists Lee’s help at this point and what ensues is hilarious.

You Are the Reason is chalk full of romance and the full on chemistry between Dave and Lee is scorching. Even when Lee wears a dress Dave can’t help but be attracted to the man underneath.

One of my favorite quotes is by Lee, he says:

“Didn’t you just know? Didn’t you feel how we were meant for each other? Didn’t all the pieces of your life just click into place when we’re together? Doesn’t it feel strange when we’re apart?”

Sigh! And delivered in that perfect “Lee” voice had me melting.

Dave Gillies is simply amazing!

You Are the Reason by Renae Kaye is truly a great and funny story because we the reader get to see how Dave progresses and transforms. It’s all told from Dave’s point of view so it’s like you’ve got a front row seat into his most intimate thoughts and insecurities. And of course the brilliant narration by Dave Gillies truly makes it a favorite of mine.

  • Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires

  • Baal's Heart, Book 2
  • By: Bey Deckard
  • Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
  • Length: 14 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Reunited once more, the crew of Baal's Heart must make the long and treacherous journey south to the towering spires of the Devil's Isles. The path through the mountain range is fraught with peril; mayhem and tragedy plague the pirate ship, but what the men find beyond the spires is the most shocking of all. In this sequel to the acclaimed Caged, the pirates are dragged into a dangerous new world by Captain Baltsaros's all-consuming obsession. In the midst of terror and chaos, Jon learns that the captain and first mate have been keeping secrets from him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pirates are back!!

  • By jeffrey on 05-25-17

Pirates are back!!

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

Reviewed: 05-25-17

Any additional comments?

Wow, my favorite pirates are back! Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires by author Bey Deckard is a beautiful tale of love and adventure that takes us through dangerous waters and new lands. To fully appreciate this story readers definitely need to have read, or listened to, Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas, the first book in the amazing Baal’s Heart series. Narrator Michael Ferraiuolo propels us yet again on this latest fantastic journey with his very impressive and sincere delivery of this historical fiction romance.

Author Bey Deckard has written quite a tale. I can say with much confidence that it is just as good as Caged, and quite possibly my favorite so far in the Baal’s Heart series.

The story begins with flashbacks of what’s happening now and over the past six weeks since we’ve last seen Captain Baltsaros and his crew. Baal’s Heart is set to sail to the Devil’s Isles and the crew quickly obey and gets things ready. Tom and the Captain’s relationship is still strained while Tom and Jon seem to grow closer.

The author gives us a world with so many intriguing characters that the audience is privy to all of their thoughts and emotions as the story flows around them.

Each complex and compelling in their own way, Bey has such a way with words that you can’t help but be pulled into their world. Told from Jon, Tom and the Captain’s points of view the reader/listener gets the thrill of reacting and feeling right along with them.

Captain Baltsaros has a reason for wanting to sail to the Devil’s Isles, one that isn’t revealed until they are deeply entrenched in a dangerous land. The Captain has many layers and many secrets and in this installment the audience is privy to the feelings and emotions going on in his head. He’s frustrated over Tom’s numerous refusals, he’s jealous of the closeness developing between his first mate and Jon, and he’s frightened of his feelings for Jon. He also has to deal with the darkness that lives within him. The author gives us glimpses of these feelings throughout the tale, and with Mr. Ferraiuolo’s narration the story simply flows.

I’ve always been fascinated by Captain Baltsaros and the way the Bey has written him. He’s a captivating man with many personalities, some of them good and some of them very questionable. I believe it’s a testament to an author’s talent when they can create a character and somehow make the reader feel for them even though they may not be such a good person. I must say, readers are in for a real treat when they get to the chapter titled The Menagerie.

Bey Deckard has written some all-time creepy characters that you can’t help but be intrigued with and the Emperor in The Menagerie is definitely one of them. This chapter is chilling in the way Captain Baltsaros and the Emperor both talk about human life. This is the darkness that is inside the Captain and he eats it up.

Tom’s character has always been special to me. He’s brash, sexy and has an air of danger about him. And underneath all of that is a big man who loves fiercely.

In Caged Jon is all timid shyness but in this edition we see another side of him. Being around pirates, and his two lovers, has changed Jon. He’s stronger, more confident, and more comfortable in his skin. Although it still bothers him that the crew think of him as a “cabin boy” to both Tom and the Captain, Jon’s character grows so much in this story and he really comes into his own.

Right from the start Jon displays a level of dominance over Tom that is all kinds of sexy.

I personally love the progression of Jon’s feelings for Tom and Tom’s growing feelings for Jon. It’s a very sweet romance between these two and Deckard writes such excellent dialogue for his leading men that their interactions are always stimulating…in “every way”.

Michael Ferraiuolo’s portrayals of Jon and Tom are spot on in my opinion. Bey Deckard pens an erotically charged sex scene with amazing chemistry and Ferraiuolo channels every bit of that energy, becoming each man so expertly. He captures their nuances so perfectly: Making Jon’s timid and dominant personalities so delicious - Jon, who can at once be very sweet and in the next breath is tying Tom up and pouring hot wax on his chest; while Tom is stunningly portrayed as playful, confident, rude, and brash.

Between the way Mr. Deckard has written Tom, and Ferraiuolo’s narration, I fell in love with Tom all over again.

There is a scene in the story that I had to rewind a time or two. Tom is speaking to Jon and he says, “’You once said you’d kiss me better after a beatin. Can I hold that to ya luv?’” Oh my God! My heart was beating so fast. Good Lord that accent! I absolutely love Tom, and the way the narrator delivers that line had me literally melting!

Mr. Ferraiuolo is perfect for this series and it is attestation of his talent that he can give each character a voice and personality by his narration.

The accents alone fit each man so perfectly, as well as all of the secondary characters; he truly captures the essence of them, making it seem so effortless. From his chilling translation of the Emperor in The Menagerie chapter to the silky smooth and then frighteningly distant voice of the Captain, Ferraiuolo takes Bey’s story and makes it come alive!

One of the many things I love about this tale is all of the action, new faces and the inner workings of a ménage. Bey Deckard has written a lush tale of love, sex, and adventure. It’s a hard book to put down and I was tempted time and time again to keep listening and forget real life tasks for a while.

It is such an engrossing, heart stopping narrative of epic proportions, with danger around every corner and secrets exposed that cause a devastating fallout.

Jon, Tom and the Captain go through different feelings and emotions during Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires, on their own and in their triad, while dealing with outside forces and many other challenges. Ferraiuolo brings all of them to life in a way that captivates you from beginning to end. Same can be said for Bey Deckard with his talent for giving us another adventurously wild ride into the lives of three beautifully complicated men.

Great writing and great storytelling translates into magic!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Winter Ball

  • By: Amy Lane
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90

Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work - and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins. One brisk night in late October, a post-practice convo in Richie's car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected - nor want to forget.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderfully Sweet low angst love story.

  • By Scott Butterfield on 03-09-17

Amy Lane at her finest!

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

Reviewed: 05-16-17

Any additional comments?

Winter Ball, in my opinion, is Amy Lane at her finest.

She expertly blends humor, friendship and the beginnings of a romance into a truly lovely story in this, the first book in her Winter Ball series. Ms. Lane has a way with words that completely enraptures me and I literally lose time because her books are so hard to put down.

This is Skipper and Richie’s story. Friends for about six years they also went to tech school together and play on a rec soccer team.

One night while talking after practice the two men surprisingly find themselves kissing and touching. Although they’ve each only dated women in the past, they soon find themselves “living for the weekends” when they get to hang out, play soccer and just be together.

Skip and Richie are two wonderful characters. Skip has had a tough childhood with a mother who didn’t care enough. He’s such a caretaker and needs to feel like he’s part of a family. Holidays are really important to him and I found it so sweet that he went all out when decorating for Halloween and Thanksgiving, since his mother was always more concerned with getting her next drink and holidays always took a backseat in their family.

Richie’s family cares a little too much barely letting him breathe. His father and step-mother take advantage of Richie constantly and he feels like he’s suffocating under their scrutiny.

It’s not just the two men who move this story along, the author really does an amazing job with all of the secondary characters.

Skip and Richie’s teammates are all kinds of awesome and Skip’s co-worker, Carpenter, is the best. There are some moments in the story that get a little heavy but it’s not gut busting, trust me, and Ms.Lane incorporates all kinds of humor throughout the tale making it impossible not to laugh along.

Nick J Russo does a tremendous job with the narration. He literally becomes the characters and it’s just an amazing listen.

Each voice is distinctive, each character’s emotions are well done, yet I must admit Richie is the character I fell in love with the most. I read Winter Ball when it was first released and I remember how it was Skipper I fell in love with, but this second time around it was all Richie and I have the narrator to thank for that. Russo became Richie! I could hear it in his voice. I could hear the nervousness, the hesitation in his narration, making me adore every moment of his interpretation of Richie.

I love stories when the two MC’s are best friends. And when that friendship turns to romance it’s better than sliced bread. These two men move seamlessly from friends to lovers, although not without a few hiccups along the way. They are not shy about exploring each other and trying new things and believe me it is all kinds of sexy. Nick J Russo perfectly emphasizes this with his narration. He starts off strong and when he gets to those breathy exclamations I was truly fanning myself. Having been a fangirl for a while now I am always amazed by his talent.

Amy Lane and Nick J Russo made me laugh, made me hot, made me tear up and made me believe in love through Winter Ball.

Lane knows how to write the sexy, tender scenes and Russo’s narration only magnifies that. They make the men’s emotions ring true for long-time friends and I wondered why they hadn’t gotten together before. I was caught up in their romance as much as they were. I love how Skip and Richie realize how much it is the two of them that belong together. They were what they were missing. That "spark" was between them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lord of a Thousand Steps

  • By: Tara Lain
  • Narrated by: K.C. Kelly
  • Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112

To architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at 18 for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boyfriend, Rico. But Rico's in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn't had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is looking better and better.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly are amazing!

  • By jeffrey on 02-03-17

Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly are amazing!

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

Reviewed: 02-03-17

Any additional comments?

Tara Lain has always been one of my favorite authors. I completely adore book one, Knight of Ocean Avenue, in her Love in Laguna series and have been a follower of the collection since my first taste. So, I was extremely excited to hear Ian was getting his own story in this fourth installment, Lord of a Thousand Steps.

I’m also pretty vocal in my appreciation for K.C. Kelly’s fine voice and truly amazing narrations. He has done a brilliant job with the entire Love in Laguna series and his narrative of Lord of a Thousand Steps does not disappoint.

There are so many things to love about this story, but I do think it’s important to have read the previous books in the collection first as characters such as Jim and Ken feature quite prominently in this installment. Plus we get glimpses of Billy and Shaz (my personal favorite couple of the series) and even Ru and Grey.

Young Ian Carney is in love with his boyfriend of three years. He’s living with his brother Jim, and his fiance Ken, with his lovable sidekick cat aptly named Anderson, after Anderson Cooper (because of his white fur).

In his last year of architecture school, he has the dream internship of the century with the prestigious Lord and Kendrick architecture firm. One of the firm’s clients has taken a personal interest in him, due to his talent in design, and this puts Ian in close contact with his boss, Braden Lord.

Braden’s personal life is a mess. He’s in the process of a messy divorce with a wife who is trying to do everything in her power to take their two kids away from him. On top of this he’s finally taking the steps to be an out man and is venturing into the “dating pool”. He’s also taken an interest in Ian and can’t seem to take his eyes off the young man.

A chance encounter at the beach between Ian, Braden and his kids sparks an instant familiarity between the two men. Braden’s young son Jo-Jo especially takes to Ian. And young Mirelle is completely fascinated that Anderson - a cat - is at the beach.

Braden suddenly realizes that he’s attracted to Ian but the eight year age difference is daunting. As well as the fact that he’s Ian’s boss.

Ian soon comes to realize that the boyfriend he thought he loved, and planned a future with, has been lying to him all along. Poor Ian goes through some serious heartache in this story. I felt so bad for him but in the same respect it was really nice to see him grow from the young boy he was in book two to a mature young man dealing with heartache - and life. The support he has from Jim and Ken is tremendous and K.C. Kelly truly shines in his performance, bringing Ian to life.

Tara Lain has such a great sense of humor in her writing and Kelly does an amazing job transferring this story to reality, delivering Ian and Braden’s interactions with warmth and emotion.

What I really love about this book is the chemistry between Ian and Braden, the progression of their relationship and how they evolve as friends to lovers. Ian meshes so well with Braden’s children and the story is told with humor and a pacing which just flows really well. The men do encounter some rough patches but the angst is pretty low and issues are resolved pretty quickly.

Lord of a Thousand Steps really is a fun and sweet story with lots of sexy and romantic times; and as usual K.C. Kelly truly shines with his narration!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful