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Angela S. Goodrich

Key West, FL United States
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  • Femme

  • By: Marshall Thornton
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 202

Queeny cocktail waiter Lionel wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player, and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Heels, Better Romance...

  • By HZ on 07-02-17

Why did I wait so long to listen to Femme?!?!?

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

Reviewed: 03-18-19

I'm so sorry that it took Joel Leslie narrating the audiobook for me to give Femme a chance because I was seriously missing out on a delightful story. Lionel and Dog are an entertaining, opposites-attract couple who I adored... when I wasn't wanting to throttle Dog, that is. GAH! But as frustrating as Dog was at times, his epiphany as to why he'd avoided femmes was pretty monumental and went a long way in making me able to forgive him his trespasses, especially when coupled with his perfectly over-the-top gesture towards the end. As for Lionel, I loved him from the beginning and my adoration of him never waned. After all, he's a smart-mouthed, sarcastic beeyotch after my own heart. We'd be great friends. Never one to disappoint, Leslie did a wonderful job bringing Marshall Thornton's story to life and I can only hope that plans are in the works release Masc on audio as well. Until then, I may have to grab the ebook to see what's next for Lionel and Dog.

  • Out in the End Zone

  • Out in College, Book 2
  • By: Lane Hayes
  • Narrated by: Michael Pauley
  • Length: 4 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

Evan di Angelo is an upbeat, good-natured goofball who loves his friends and family…and football. A traumatic accident may have ended his hopes of playing professionally, but he’s made the most of his four years on the field at a small Southern California college. He’s learned the hard way to embrace change, take chances and try things outside of his comfort zone…like agreeing to play fake boyfriends for someone else’s senior project.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Out in College #2

  • By Belen on 02-05-19

Even better than book one!

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

Reviewed: 01-28-19

I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

There are few things more exciting for an audiobook lover than getting an email telling you that there is not one release, but two releases from an author you love and even better, the release blitz you signed up for has been turned into a doubleheader. Weekend plans SET!

I have to say that I liked that Evan and Mitch’s story in Out in the End Zone played out concurrently with Derek and Gabe’s from Out in the Deep, even starting at the same party hosted by Chelsea. It doesn’t always work, but Hayes does a great job of presenting a handful of scenes and events from a different character’s perspective so that series fans can place events in that overlap without feeling as though they’ve read that scene before. And considering that Mitch’s project is all about perception, those overlapping scenes are a subtle way to show readers just how perception plays into how interactions are interpreted, such as Amanda’s interaction with Evan at the party. But I digress. As much as I enjoyed the first book, there is something about this one that made me love it even more. Perhaps it was the opposites attract chemistry between Evan and Mitch. Perhaps it was Mitch’s social media experiment and how it gave Evan the excuse and push he needed to get to know Mitch. Perhaps it was the fact that despite his open-mindedness, Evan still struggled with coming out as bisexual to his friends, teammates, and family. And it may have had a little to do with Evan’s cluelessness when it came to Nicole’s attention. While all of that contributed to my enjoyment of the story, ultimately it was Mitch and Evan who made me love it – specifically the gradual way they fell for each other even as they tried to protect their hearts because of events in their pasts. I fell in love with these guys as they fell in love with one another.

One of the things I enjoy about Hayes’ series is that she tends to use the same narrator for the entirety of a series, so I was excited to see that Michael Pauley was back at the mic for Out in the End Zone. As in the first book, Pauley doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the emotional scenes. However, what I appreciated most is that the voices for Evan and Mitch were not the same as those for Derek and Gabe. Some narrators have a distinct main character one and main character two voice they use, even when working on the same series. However, Pauley is not one of those narrators. In my opinion, he created great voices for Evan and Mitch, voices that conveyed who the young men were without being the stereotypical over-the-top football jock or campy male cheerleader voices. The voices Pauley created for Evan and Mitch made it easy to tell who was talking, even when Derek and Gabe popped into scenes, and not once was I confused as to who was speaking, which considering I listened to the two audiobooks back to back, was a delight. I’m already chomping at the bit for Out in the Offense to be released as an audiobook. I can’t wait!

  • Out in the Deep

  • Out in College, Book 1
  • By: Lane Hayes
  • Narrated by: Michael Pauley
  • Length: 4 hrs and 34 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

Derek Vaughn is a little too serious. He’s a type-A controlling personality with a penchant for order and a love of water polo. But he’s determined to enjoy his last year of college. The real world with a serious job and big expectations can wait for a few months. He’s going soak up every minute on campus with his friends and teammates before he moves on. The only possible kink in his plan is the new guy on the team...also known as his nemesis.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect Balance

  • By SHARON on 01-25-19

Pauley brings Hayes’ characters to life!

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

Reviewed: 01-28-19

I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

As a huge fan of Lane Hayes’ Leaning Into series, I was excited to learn that her Out in College series was being released as audiobooks, especially as more than one of my co-reviewers enjoyed the ebooks. That Michael Pauley was the narrator was icing on the cake. Double yum!

Never having watched water polo, I found the opening scene of Out in the Deep quite entertaining. I’m not sure I would have considered it to be that violent of a sport, but as competitive as Derek and Gabe were, I wasn’t surprised when one was thrown out of the game – but I was surprised to learn how convincing the other was at playing the victim. Yeah, I definitely had a snicker over that one. As hot as their first tryst was, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for both guys. Derek for being unable to admit his feelings to himself and Gabe for feeling used. Fortunately, Hayes moves the story along in such a way that the shift in their interactions from cautious-bordering-on-hostile to cautious and curious lovers to boyfriends felt natural. I appreciated that the decision to keep their relationship a secret was mutually agreed upon and mutually beneficial to both – neither was made to feel like a dirty little secret. I hated that events unfolded in such a way that Derek felt forced to come out before he was ready, even if doing so meant being true to himself and protecting Gabe. Fortunately, Hayes doesn’t shy away from emotions and even though she has no problem putting her characters through the wringer, she makes sure they get the happy ending they (and I) deserve.

There are several emotional scenes in Out in the Deep that had me on the edge of tears, including Derek’s coming out speech to his team. But the most poignant scene for me was when Derek discusses his fears about coming out with Evan. While Hayes does a great job explaining why coming out is a scary prospect, it was Michael Pauley’s performance that made this scene for me. Pauley pours so much emotion into Derek that as he confesses his fears to Evan, I could hear his voice breaking and feel the tears he was choking back – which was all it took to break the fragile hold I had on my own. Pauley did a wonderful job of bringing Hayes’ characters to life and I am beside myself with glee that I get to continue to enjoy both the author’s and the narrator’s talents with book two, Out in the End Zone, right now. Oh, the joys of near simultaneous releases.

  • Alpha Heat

  • Heat of Love, Book 2
  • By: Leta Blake
  • Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
  • Length: 15 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77

Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked, and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart - and so does he. But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful omegaverse romance! Great narrator!!

  • By Karen on 10-31-18

Even better than book one, I'm surprised to say.

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

Reviewed: 11-23-18


I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

SPOILER WARNING (sorta): If you have not read or listened to Slow Heat, this review contains information that is a spoiler of sorts for book one. As I'd advise against reading or listening to Alpha Heat before Slow Heat, I would recommend against reading this review prior to reading book one as well.

Poor, poor Urho. As much as I felt for the emotional turmoil and character growth that Xan experienced throughout Alpha Heat, especially compared to the young man we met in Slow Heat four years earlier, it was the frustration and overwhelming hopelessness at not being able to be in two places at once that Urho experienced during the birthing and heat scene that tore my heart out. Urho's stoicism and steadfastness in the face of calamity made a scene that could have come off as over-the-top play out in such a realistic manner that I was holding my breath and wringing my hands for him. At one point, I wondered if Blake went too far with the scene in that it nearly eclipsed the romance between Urho and Xan, but then I realized that the scene was so powerful because of the love Urho felt for Xan, as well as his love for Caleb, Vale, and Jason. And such a scene was needed to balance out the back-to-back encounters Xan had with his father and his abuser -- the day that Xan Heelies accepted who and what he was, embraced himself, and refused to allow his status as an unmanned alpha taint his love for Urho any longer. Alpha Heat is one heck of an emotional rollercoaster ride with all of the soul searching, epiphanies, and acceptance -- both of self and of others -- that takes place. The beauty of this installment is Blake's talent in making it all play out in the messiness of life so that the scenes felt natural and realistic instead of contrived and forced. And she delivered up the Xan sandwich I kept telling the guys they had to make happen, and it was every bit as delicious as I'd hoped for.

Just in case the story isn't entertaining enough, Michael Ferraiuolo is back as narrator. I would imagine it's difficult to one-up your own performance when you're as talented as Ferraiuolo is... and yet, he did. Xan wears his heart on his sleeve, while Urho is reserved and quite aloof, and Ferraiuolo not only nailed each man's identity through the voices he crafted, but he excelled at conveying each man's strong emotions during their pivotal scenes while staying true to their voices. I loved how Xan's emotions welled up and he came slightly unhinged when faced with what could have been his breaking point. Just as impressive was how Urho's outer calm remained intact as he struggled internally with the decisions he had to make while prioritizing others' health and safety and the potential emotional fallout from those decisions. Because of how well Ferraiuolo brought Blake's world and characters to life, I enjoyed Alpha Heat far more than I expected to and perhaps even more than Slow Heat, something I did not expect to happen. I do not know if Blake has more books planned for the Heat of Love series as the main characters we've met have their happily ever afters, but I sincerely hope so as I do enjoy this world and I'm sure there are more omegas who deserve to find their perfect alpha -- Carey perhaps.

  • The Master Will Appear

  • By: L.A. Witt
  • Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
  • Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58

Dr. Mikhail “Misha” Budnikov takes one look at fellow fencer Ryan O’Connor and instantly knows his type. The undisciplined hothead is all ego with no finesse and even less control. In short, Misha’s pet peeves personified. To put the arrogant kid in check, Misha challenges him to a sparring match, which he predictably wins. Not so predictably, Ryan asks him to be a mentor and show him how to fence. Startled by the moment of humility, Misha agrees. What begins as fencing lessons becomes something much hotter, and before they know it, Misha is giving Ryan an entirely different kind of education. Dominance, submission, pain, pleasure—at the hands of an older, experienced man, a whole new world is opening up for Ryan.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narration peeve

  • By SassiKassi on 08-01-18

Ferraiuolo’s narrative performance was spectacular

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

I received a free audiobook copy of this book to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

I cannot do The Master Will Appear justice in a review. This is probably going to become one of my top re-listens because I’ve already listened to in four times this week. Witt did an amazing job with this story – I hated the characters I was supposed to hate, loved the ones I was supposed to love, and felt an unexpected level of sympathy for Ryan, just as I suspect the author intended. Ryan is the poor little rich boy you’re supposed to feel bad for, but many authors fail at making that character sympathetic. Ryan’s self-awareness of how he appears to the world as "the boy who has it all" is refreshing. He knows that no one on the outside looking in is going to see any more than they expect and rather than whining about how no one understands him, he sallies forth, doing the best he can with what he has, including trying to protect himself from the viper’s nest that is his dysfunctional family.

As much as I love Ryan, Misha is who makes the story for me. Witt managed to create a character who is a mentor and a teacher, without him feeling the least bit paternal toward Ryan. I’ve really got to start a “Seductive Character” shelf on my Goodreads account because I’ve found a handful of characters who are so well written that they seduce me into their story and Misha is one of them. There is such a perfect balance between Misha and Ryan that I had no problem believing in their relationship. Neither man is perfect, but they are perfect for one another. And the BDSM scenes are not only hot, they’re beautiful. The way the two complement one another, despite their age difference, despite their financial difference, and despite what should be a power imbalance but isn’t, is absolutely beautiful. The angst surrounding the conflict was, for me, just the right amount. I knew what was going to happen and the author made her characters suffer just enough emotionally and then allowed them to resolve the issue so that they could get back to suffering the right way physically. The epilogue was everything I needed it to be. I was so glad to learn how things worked out for Ryan and his family and for Ryan and Misha. Even though I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters (which explains the repeated listens), it was the ending I wanted for them.

Michael Ferraiuolo’s narrative performance was spectacular. When reading a book, I find it quite jarring when the author writes a character’s inner thoughts in a different voice than their speaking voice. Although Witt does not do that here, Ferraiuolo utilized a non-accented voice for Misha’s inner thoughts versus the Russian accented voice for his speech. Had I been warned about it ahead of time, I would have been skeptical at its success, but as Misha has much to contemplate when dealing with Ryan, it proves to be quite vital in conveying to the listener what is said versus what is thought. This became even more obvious when I stumbled through a couple of scenes when Ryan’s thoughts differed from what he said, and it took me a moment to parse out we were going back and forth because as the American student, Ryan’s inner voice and speech voice didn’t differ as much as Misha’s did. The voices for the entire cast of characters were great, but I love, love, love that Ferraiuolo crafted a voice for Misha that was as seductive as the words the author penned. Absolutely fabulous performance. Witt has a talent for choosing the perfect narrators for her stories and The Master Will Appear is no exception.

  • 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 38
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 37

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

5 stars = I freaking LOVED this audiobook!!!

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

Since getting to know Grant a little better in Josh’s book, Leaning into Touch, I was excited to cue up Leaning into the Look. Being as I didn’t read the blurb beyond learning it was Grant’s book, my excitement ratcheted up when I realized Miles was being positioned as his love interest. Normally, I would have carried on and enjoyed the ride, catching up with the other couples while watching Grant find his Mr. Right, but I HAD to run over to Audible to skim the blurb to make sure Miles had indeed been tapped for the role. I’ll admit to engaging in “goody, goody” hand claps and a massive grin before resuming the audiobook. I’ll also admit to having my exuberance dashed just a bit when Eric revealed why Miles was back on the market, even more so when he revealed he’d discarded his signature fashion accessories. Poor Miles. Yet I sallied forth, knowing that Lane Hayes would make it all work out in the end. And I was not disappointed, not one bit.

While it becomes apparent as the story moves forward that Grant’s friends know him very well, with most of their circle having had front row seats to more than one of his low points, Hayes has managed to keep Grant even more of a mystery than I ever expected. For the most part, Grant appears to be a dutiful Greek son whose life choices have been guided by and for his family and the family business – with Steroid Steve from Leaning into Touch being the break in that public persona. But as Leaning into the Look is told from Grant’s point of view, giving us access to his inner thoughts and demons, it becomes obvious rather quickly that how he presents himself to those outside of his family and inner circle of friends is one heck of an act. To put it simply, the boy is a mess. And that turns out to be something he has in common with Miles – the disparity between the public persona and the inner turmoil is tremendous and unexpected. Few people would suspect a former underwear model would have self-esteem issues, but Grant’s head is a minefield of self-doubt. That Grant sees a kindred soul in Miles, someone who is by no means perfect, yet is perfect for him, is what made their love story so believable for me. Listening to these two navigate a relationship they agree not to have yet can’t seem to avoid was a delight.

Also unexpected was the level of heat that Hayes unleashed this time around. I’ve found each of the couples’ bedroom gymnastics to be steamy, but Grant and Miles seemed to raise the bar… a lot. Maybe it was the naughty nature of their first hookup or the secret nature of their continued liaisons, but the sexual chemistry between these two was just so much hotter than the previous couples – and that heat was ratcheted up by Nick J. Russo’s performance. Russo always does a wonderful job at the mic, but he shined at capturing both men’s vulnerabilities, strengths, and sensuality. I actually had to stop the audiobook while listening to it at work because it got steamier than I expected… and I listen via earbuds, so it’s not like anyone was going to overhear. Cold drink and a fan, anyone? I was particularly impressed with how well Russo conveyed Grant’s frustration and desperation the night Tom showed up for dinner. Hayes penned one heck of a come-to-Jesus scene and Russo proved he was up to that challenge. Seriously, that scene wouldn’t have played out half as exciting in my head had I read the book instead of listening to the audiobook. It was so well done, I wanted to give Grant a standing ovation after he lost it. I’m already looking forward to listening to Leaning into the Look again… and again… and again. This entire series is on my re-listen list as I love spending time with the guys and watching them find their other half and right now, Grant and Miles are my favorite couple.

  • 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

I absolutely adored the stories in With a Kick #1!

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

Reviewed: 07-19-18

I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

I absolutely adored the stories in Clare London’s With a Kick Collection #1. Listeners are treated to two novellas and two short stories, one of each for two different couples, all performed by the extremely talented Joel Leslie. With the ice cream shop, With a Kick, being the common denominator between the couples’ stories, listeners are also treated to glimpses into Patrick and Lee’s business woes and a professional relationship that seems to be getting a bit more personal.

First up are Eddy and Nuri in A Twist and Two Balls. An aspiring actor frantic to make it to a rare audition, Eddy underestimates the cab fare and overestimates just how much money is in his wallet. Realizing that he’s not close to his destination and had already exceeded his dwindling funds, he guiltily attempts to stiff the cab driver so that he can make the rest of the trip on foot and maybe make it on time as the London traffic isn’t allowing the cab to move. Unbeknownst to Eddy, he’s caught the eye of the cab driver and rather than detaining Eddy, Nuri follows him on foot as Eddy attempts to bluster his way out of the situation he’s created and still make it to his audition on time. It doesn’t work. But the day turns out so much better, even with the missed audition because Eddy now has himself a suitor. In a case of opposites attract, the high-strung Londoner, Eddy, finds his perfect match in the calm and collected Turkish cab driver, Nuri, who not only balances Eddy out in temperament, but also comes with a large and extended family – something Eddy has longed for for years as an only child of parents who travel extensively for their acting careers. While I suspect some readers and listeners will wonder how the laid back Nuri is able to put up with Eddy’s melodramatics, I’ve been Nuri before. I know that as stressful as it can be to deal with such a partner’s often unconscious need to be the center of attention, the Eddys of the world are at their best when they turn their spotlight on their partner, who is their anchor and the center of their world, and those are the moments the outside world often doesn’t see and are why we love our high-strung, drama queen partners so much. Obviously, Eddy and Nuri’s romance struck a personal chord with me, which increased my enjoyment, but I would have loved it either way, especially as Joel Leslie does such a wonderful job of capturing Eddy’s moods – of which there are many – as well as Nuri’s loving patience.

Whereas the first story was sweet, Slap and Tickle, is a lot steamier, but just as enjoyable. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I realized that the second couple were shaping up to be a May-December romance, but I certainly wasn’t expecting their blossoming relationship to have D/s component at all. But wowzer! When Bryan’s natural inclination to be a bit bossy rears its head during a casual interaction with Phiz, whose nervousness and anxiety make him appear high-strung, it becomes apparent that we’ve got another opposites-attract romance unfolding and it’s going to be a HOT one. Again, Leslie’s vocal talents come into play perfectly as he conveys Bryan’s quiet command and Phiz’s relieved acquiescence when Bryan takes charge – both in and out of the bedroom. I loved how Bryan’s need for order made him a natural match for Phiz and that the domination and submission aspect of their relationship was not a formal arrangement, but rather a personal exploration of their individual needs. Argh! I don’t think I’m explaining it right. At the beginning of the story, Bryan is ashamed of his desires, but as his needs and wants enable him to give Phiz what he needs and wants, Bryan learns to accept and embrace who he is and what he needs. And because of that personal acceptance, Bryan’s character grows a bit over the course of the novella, manifesting in a way that spells good news for With a Kick.

The bonus short stories were an absolute delight. I won’t go into either of them as I don’t want to ruin the surprise for others, but I will share that Eddy and Nuri’s is a magical Christmas tale and London brings the heat once again to Bryan and Phiz’s Valentine’s Day activities. Much like their respective novellas, the shorts for each couple are sweet (Eddy and Nuri) and steamy (Bryan and Phiz) and do a lovely job of rounding out the collection. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories that London has penned and Leslie’s performances for all four. I really hope that With a Kick Collection #2 will be available on audio soon, with Leslie at the mic again, as I cannot wait to see who’s up next to find love and ice cream.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Redesigning Max

  • Foothills Pride Stories, Book 2
  • By: Pat Henshaw
  • Narrated by: David Ross
  • Length: 2 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35

Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene's Outdoors, hires Fredi to revamp his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out-and-proud metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes he remodels, and Max is just too hunky for words.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Much better than book 1 & I really enjoyed it.

  • By Angela S. Goodrich on 07-02-18

Much better than book 1 & I really enjoyed it.

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

Reviewed: 07-02-18

I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

I enjoyed Redesigning Max a lot more than What’s in a Name? While I could have used a few more scenes focusing on Fredi and Max’s developing relationship, I found both men to be more interesting characters, especially Fredi. He introduces himself as a successful architect and interior designer who’s more than willing to turn up his twink dial – adding a bit more swish and exaggerating his lisp – to seal the deal on a new contract. As if that weren’t enough for me to adore him, his refusal to back down from bullies and his ability to have his own back were the icing on the cake and the cherry on top. Add in Max, who is not what he appears and is everything Fredi didn’t know he needed, and I was far more entertained during this visit to the Sierra Foothills – even if the homophobia was more blatant and more dangerous than in book one.

One of the things that made Redesigning Max fun was that the differences between Fredi and Max that are so obvious at the start of the book are soon outweighed by the unexpected commonalities the two have. Fredi makes it clear that he is not an outdoorsman, yet he and Max share a love of birdwatching and it’s that shared love which elevates his designs for Max’s redecoration. Even though there is an immediate attraction, Max’s inexperience and Fredi’s “No Dating Clients” rule means the guys take some time getting to know one another instead of jumping straight into bed. In spite of this, the reader (or listener) is still only provided a few scenes that are deep enough to connect with the characters fully. Ugh! I’m not saying this right. I really liked both Fredi and Max, and I was invested in their relationship and them building a future together, but it’s as if Henshaw planned a bigger story than the novella format allowed for, so we didn’t get to delve as deep into the relationship as I would have liked. In addition to the romance, there is a romantic suspense element that heightens then tension a bit. The romantic suspense thread was well-telegraphed, but considering this is a novella, it would have been difficult for the author to build much mystery into it, so Henshaw relies on the crime itself and the characters’ confusion over who could have done such a thing as the means of building the tension – and it worked out very nicely.

For me, David Ross’ narrative performance got better from book one to book two. Perhaps the characters posed more of a challenge or maybe Ross was more comfortable with the tone of the series, but I LOVED the sassy vulnerability he infused in Fredi and the scared excitement of Max. Both men felt more realistic and like people I’d enjoying spending time with. I’m not sure what else to say except that I’m hoping to have a chance to listen to book three, Behr Facts, as I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the Sierra Foothills.

  • Dim Sum Asylum

  • By: Rhys Ford
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290

Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage - snarling dragons guarding C-Town's multiple gates and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can't trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn't want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Haunting and delicious...can't wait for more!

  • By danielle on 08-02-17

One of my favorite audiobooks!

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

Reviewed: 07-02-18

I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

Dim Sum Asylum is one of my favorite audiobooks, especially when I’m in the mood for fantasy. I have long been fascinated by the fae, so Rhys Ford had my complete attention with Roku’s human-faerie heritage. The cherry on top was that the audiobook was narrated by my favorite narrator, Greg Tremblay. How could I resist? I couldn’t. My mistake was in not writing up my review as soon as I finished listening to the book the first time. Yeah, you read that right, the first time. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to Dim Sum Asylum over the past several months, hence its five-star rating.

“I hated running first thing in the morning.” Not only does Ford insure that I’ll love Roku right off the bat with this thought, but we’re dropped right into the middle of the action as the book begins with Roku chasing down a suspect who’s stolen a clutch of dragon eggs. A very valuable clutch of dragon eggs. And the thief is his partner on the force. The chase is exciting until Arnett demonstrates just how dirty of a cop he is and murders an innocent bystander in an attempt to escape. While the murder is tragic, Ford uses it as a way to show just how good of a man Roku is and why he works so hard to right the world’s wrongs instead of embracing his father’s Yakuza ties and stepping into the role his grandfather would like to groom him for. But that’s merely the tip of the iceberg in this novel as Roku has to train Trent, his new partner, keep his ghosts at bay, track down a magical serial killer, avoid his grandfather’s continued overtures to join the family’s criminal enterprises, resist the temptation of his new partner, and still get home in time to feed his cat, Bob – who I absolutely freaking adored, especially at the very end. Fortunately for me, Roku succeeds at the right tasks, fails at the tasks he needed to, and averages 50/50 on the cat (lol). One of the things I enjoy most about Dim Sum Asylum is that even after repeated listens, I realized that Ford doesn’t telegraph who the serial killer is. The reader or listener isn’t meant to “solve” the case before Roku and Trent do, they’re meant to enjoy the ride – and I do every single time I cue it up.

For me, this is possibly one of my favorite performances by Greg Tremblay. Between the Asian accents, the Scottish accents, and the American accents – both male and female – Ford certainly kept him busy and Tremblay demonstrates that he was up for the challenge. Roku is such an emotive character and the narration clearly conveys his frustration, irritation, sadness, grief, happiness, attraction, and most importantly, his determination. There’s a scene in the book where Roku is talking things out with the morgue tech and I felt like I could actually hear the gears grinding in his head and see him pacing the room as he reasons through what they know, attempting to connect the dots back to the killer. Once again, Tremblay has impressed me with his ability to breathe life into an author’s words, bringing Ford’s world and characters to life in such a way that I get lost in the story, forgetting for several hours that dragons and faeries and magic aren’t real – at least, not in my world. Thank goodness for re-listens, so I can return to Dim Sum Asylum anytime I want.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Kairos

  • By: Mary Calmes
  • Narrated by: Michael Fell
  • Length: 5 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together. Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not Much Suspense but Still Good

  • By Jovan on 07-09-18

It felt like 2 separate stories. I still loved it!

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

Reviewed: 07-02-18

I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

This was an odd one. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Kairos, because I did. A lot. I just didn’t expect the story to move from a romantic suspense storyline to a traditional romance complete with a family reunification, an unofficial adoption, and a marriage proposal (of sorts). It’s almost as if Mary Calmes intended to write two short novellas featuring Joe and Kade and, in the end, opted to write a short novel to give a more complete story for the pair. For me, it works because I enjoy Calmes’ writing, but for some readers, the change in tone might prove jarring.

Readers (or in my case, listeners) are dropped into Joe’s life right before shots are fired that will turn both his and his best friend Kade’s life upside down. Joe harbors an unrequited love for Kade, but it’s the kind of love that means Joe keeps Kade in his life, being the best friend he can be while tamping down on his romantic feelings so those feelings don’t negatively impact their personal or business relationship. This is why Joe finds himself protecting their target from Kade’s fury when Declan reveals who wants him dead. Luckily for all three men, Kade’s temper doesn’t prevent him from thinking clearly about the danger they’re in and they get the heck out of the Dodge before everything explodes around them. After a rather intense scene in which Joe proves he’s not Kade’s doormat – something that wasn’t entirely clear before – the three men hopscotch their way out of town, leaving incriminating evidence in the hands of someone who had the power to bring down the bad guys, thereby protecting young Declan. It’s when they land in California that part two of the story begins and Kade forces Joe to face his demons. And now that I’ve typed that, the two different tones of Kairos make more sense. Both Kade and Joe had demons they had to deal with before their life together could begin, but Kade’s demons were far darker and more dangerous than Joe’s were, hence the move from romantic suspense to a more traditional feel-good romance. While I don’t want to give too much away regarding Joe’s reconciliation with his family, I will say that they’re a hoot, particularly his mother. As usual, I would have loved for the story to continue on, so I could see where their new beginning would take them. I can only hope that Joe and Kade eventually make an appearance in another of Calmes’ books.

Kairos marks the second audiobook narrated by Michael Fell I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. I enjoyed the contrast in voices he performed for Joe and Kade. While the gruffness of Kade’s voice was perfect for the character Calmes has created, I did wonder more than once if it hurt Fell to perform because of its harshness. Kade’s gruffness was balanced out by the calm and steadiness of Joe’s voice, making it easy to see why Joe was Kade’s shelter from the storm. Declan’s voice was also perfect, conveying the young man’s vulnerability and fear so clearly that it was even easier to hear when he began to feel safe as he spent more time in Joe and Kade’s presence. Fell did a great job of creating voices for the entire cast of characters, but I really, really liked what he did with the main three characters’ voices. I suspect that I enjoyed Kairos more as an audiobook than I would have as an ebook and that’s because of how well Fell’s performance signaled the change in the story’s tone. This is definitely one for my ever expanding re-listen shelf. It’s also got me wondering which characters other than Sutter may have popped up in Calmes’ other books – my to-be-listened-to list is getting longer and longer each time I cue up one of the author’s audiobooks.