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Vallie

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First and First audiobook cover art

Santino strikes again!

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

Reviewed: 10-30-16

Any additional comments?


Oh ho! Remember Caleb from Sunset Park? Remember how he got dumped for essentially being frigid and disinterested in sex with David? Well then... You are in for a treat!

Thank you Santino Hassell for giving us Caleb and Oli’s story. I absolutely loved Caleb’s transformation. Sometimes people are just waiting to be inspired and then they come out of their shell and the world is blinded by them. This is Caleb. He is not a young thing but he deserved to find this and Oli was the perfect partner to bring it out in him. The sex scenes are some of the hottest Santino has written but there was nothing gratuitous about them. I love that Caleb’s sexual awakening came in this form –not about him discovering his sexual orientation or being a virgin, but embracing his kink through an emotional connection and accepting that he could and should expect this for himself.

Fantastic writing throughout, amazing character development, and of course the narration. Michael Ferraiuolo has mastered bringing these characters to life. His voices –because he has a tremendous talent at making each character different – were spot on in all aspects –the sex voices, the angry voices, the emotional, whisper-thin voice of heart-break.

Highly recommend!

Marriage of Inconvenience audiobook cover art

Fantastic!

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

Reviewed: 10-30-16

Any additional comments?


Well done, John Solo. I loved listening to this story as much as I loved reading it. Jericho’s southern drawl was done to perfection and encompassed everything from his initial assholery to his eventual loving tone. Kerry’s voice was spot on as well, as the kind, more quiet character, but he also came off strong when he needed to. The voices of the rest of the cast were not all that different, with Cole and Robby sounding a bit OTT as college frat boys, but I didn’t care much about them. All in all a total win in both plot and narration.

Another hit for the Dreamspun Desires Series! I loved this!

It was totally unexpected too. I like this author and the blurb sounded okay, if not entirely predictable, but man was I in for a treat, and so will you when you pick this up!

The story revolves around Jericho, an actor whose publicist has been pushing the play-boy persona in the tabloids for years. Jericho screwed up big time and the PR company is at its wit’s end trying to restore his image so he doesn’t lose a big role in a hit TV show. Enter Kerry.

Kerry works for the PR company but he’s only a grunt. He doesn’t handle publicity for a client directly but is in charge of tweeting and updating facebook. Fun times right? Until he meets the description of the guy that forced Jericho to publicly come out and bam!

Jericho and Kerry are engaged and forced to play the happy couple for the cameras.

This was fantastic! I don’t know if it was the voyer in me, you know, the little bug that makes us all check celebrity gossip or what, but I absolutely loved reading about the fake photo shoots, the events they had to do, and all the staged stuff. I especially liked how true romance-y they had to be for the cameras when they hated each other’s guts.

Jericho was a big jerk to Kerry in the beginning, thinking Kerry conveniently placed himself in that situation to get his 15 minutes. Kerry also hated Jericho’s guts because Jericho was unnecessarily cruel to him.

But. It all started to change. They both actually developed feelings for one another and the touches starting coming even off camera. Jericho acted like he was courting Kerry, with long make-out sessions that ended in first base –on multiple occasions! When they finally became intimate, they were freaking explosive together! The sex scenes were detailed and mostly of the lovey-dovey variety but Jericho and Kerry’s chemistry was unbelievable.

This was a sweet, very low-angst romance that will hit the spot folks: True romance between two otherwise unlikely to have met people who fell in love and stayed in love. Sure, there was a little somepin somepin to cause a bit of drama towards the end but it was very obvious that it wouldn’t last long and it didn’t.

I am still shocked by how much I adored this and I will be rereading soon!

Pick this up to read about a hot, broody actor and the twinkie that sets him in his place!

Recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Under a Sky of Ash audiobook cover art

Great story, meh narration

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

Reviewed: 08-14-16

Any additional comments?

Story: 5 stars
Audio narration: 2.5 stars
Final rating: 4 stars rounded up

Wow. Just wow. I am a pretty big angst junkie but this was something else, even for me. I don’t regret it for one second.

The story was woven in a spectacular way, told in alternating POV and with the use of flashbacks. Isaiah and Ben are tortured in their own way from having survived extremely traumatic events. We get to see those events in all their horrifying glory during the flashbacks but we also get to see the characters bring them to life when they get to know each other and share their experiences.

Honestly, I am overwhelmed by how sad this story was but also by how perfectly balanced the angst delivered was to the comic relief offered by none other than the likes of Mandonna, drag queen extraordinaire, and Hershel. Don’t even get me started on RJ. I see people like RJ as part of my job and my heart absolutely broke every single freaking time he was “on page”.

I just loved all of the characters and wanted to give them a big freaking cuddle not just for everything they went through but the way that they kept picking themselves up again and again, all the way to the HEA (HFN?) at the end. Brandon Witt’s brilliant writing shone through and through in the amazing plot he created for this story.

Now for the narration –*insert angry face*.

The narrator’s voice was pretty flat and monotone. He did not change his voice for the different characters but he also did not pause appropriately in dialogue scenes to signify who’s talking. I struggled to differentiate who was saying what in dialogue scenes for the majority. Also, there was a weird buzzing sound, like a microphone being amped up too much, which I got used to eventually but it was annoying. The recording quality was not the best in that regard. And last, the second half of the first chapter was a repeat of the prologue –I had to skim, what was that about?

For all these reasons, my rating for the audio quality was low but the story itself is spectacular, so do not hesitate. I would highly recommend the print version, but not the audio.

Out of Nowhere audiobook cover art

5 stars!

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

Reviewed: 08-07-16

Any additional comments?

Amazing narration for an amazing book.

Spencer Goss' voice is breathy and vulnerable and absolutely perfect for Colin. He makes these odd little stuttering pauses as he speaks that make the character even more real and human. It took a while to get used to because narrators tend to be more smooth but it had such a fantastic effect on tugging at my heart-strings, I wouldn't change it for the world. This is an angst-filled book, Colin is practically an anti-hero, broken, damaged, and self-destructive in so many ways, and Spencer Goss managed to make me love Colin even more than I did when I first read the book. The way certain phrases were whispered as Colin was breaking down or wallowing in misery made me almost cry at times. The audio quality commands attention and makes you completely focused on every single word spoken. Not to mention that the characters' voices are actually different, which is one of my favourite things. Rafe's voice is deeper in a way that is congruent to his larger than life persona and so well-matched to the character. Even Daniel's voice I thought was perfectly suited to his character.

This is by far, the most emotional narration I have ever come across. See book review below.

Colin was a character I despised from In the middle of somewhere. He was so mean to his brother, Daniel, and with what was revealed at the end of that book? I had no idea how the author would turn Colin into a sympathetic character. But she pulled it off in a magnificent way.

Colin is introduced as an anti-hero. He is depressed. He has panic attacks. He self-medicates with alcohol and uses exercise in an unhealthy way. He lies about who he is, mainly to himself but also to his dad and two other brothers who work with him at the family’s auto mechanic shop. Colin is a miserable person with anger issues who takes out his anger on people who remind him of all he feels like he is not allowed to have. He leads a very stagnant, lonely life, wasting hours away on a couch with his dad and brothers, drinking bear and watching football. Trying to be straight. Starving for affection and desperate for approval.

And then he meets Rafe. Rafe works with LGBT teens and gets Colin to volunteer at the youth centre. Their friendship comes with a lot of desire on both parts, which Colin struggles a lot to accept. They build a very solid friendship and as they become closer, Colin’s walls start crumbling down all around him. But all the denial and the self-hatred he’s experienced his entire life cannot go away with a few nights of sex and some sweet words. Rafe challenges Colin and that’s where Colin’s evil alter ego fucks everything up. Because Colin is not magically a good tortured soul in this book. He lashes out. He hurts Rafe repeatedly. But Rafe understands and he has had demons of his own to deal with, so he has more patience than any person could have when dealing with a Colin who’s out of control with the vitriol that comes out of his mouth.

The author truly did a fantastic job of bringing these two characters to light. Their journey came with a lot of obstacles on both sides and they managed to come out on top. I never once doubted that they would make it, no matter how angsty a situation they had to face –and it was a lot of angst, let me tell you! The sex scenes between them were wonderful, with a perfect combination of smut and feelz, and the dirty talk?!!!! Kudos, author, bravo!

Another thing I love about the writing style in this series is how real the dialogue is. It’s so convenient for people to say what they want, in the order that needs to be said, and in a coherent, logical way, all while listening to another person and addressing their points. Ha! Like that happens in real life. And in this book, the characters, not just the main ones, often try to talk to each other and fail to bring the point home. And it feels so authentic, the way they fumble around their words, while we get a running commentary of their inner monologue at the same time, like a snapshot of everything that comes through that character’s head at that moment, synapses misfiring in the characters’ fight to express themselves, and only a small proportion of that whole production that is the human mind at work actually making it out their mouth. It’s fascinating and it’s what made me absolutely adore book one of the series. I love introspective characters and getting into the deepest recesses of their mind, digging through layers and layers of life experience, stereotyping, fears, and hopes, and to see how that is presented to the world, only a glimpse of it really.

I highly recommend this gem of a sequel, especially to fans of hurt/comfort mm, because this is one book that will gut you. But it hurts so good! It’ all worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Law of Attraction audiobook cover art

Great story, horrible narration.

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

Reviewed: 08-07-16

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If the narrator did not sound so posh and nasally, I would have enjoyed the story more.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Law of Attraction?

Date night in Edinburgh.

What didn’t you like about Matthew Lloyd Davies’s performance?

His voice was nasally and he made the characters sound old and unsexy.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

The story was lovely, the narration was very frustrating.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful