Review of:  Smoldering Flame by Andrew Grey (audiobook)

TITLE: Smoldering Flame (audiobook)
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Rekindled Flame, book 3
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: Aug 28 2018

BLURB:

Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
Sometimes the strongest flames take the longest to ignite.
Firefighter Dean’s life revolves around his very ill son, Sammy. Caring for Sammy and working to make ends meet leave Dean time for little else, and romance isn’t something he can even consider—no matter how much he longs for someone special to join their family. Because money is tight, Dean couldn’t be more grateful to the photographer who does Sammy’s session free of charge.
After growing up in the foster care system, Marco knows how to rely on himself, and his hard work is about to pay off—he’s poised on the cusp of fame and success he could only have imagined as a lonely child. When Dean brings Sammy into Marco’s studio, Marco can see they’re struggling, and both the boy and his father stir Marco’s heart. The slow burn between the two men isn’t something either expected, but neither wants to lose the possibility of a loving future. With Dean’s dangerous and possibly life-threatening career and Marco’s demanding one, can romance and forever find a place to fit?


Narration: Michael Pauley has an amazing voice. I can tell the difference in Michaels’ reading from the first two books. He’s really starting to come into his narrating skills. I still think he has a very sexy voice and brings the story to life. His cadence has improved so much over the year between the books in this series…and looking up his other narrations, there are plenty more to listen to by him! YES!

Story: When I read the blurb, I was curious to see how Grey was going to have Dean become a dad without a spouse. Dean trying to be straight to make everyone happy was a good way to do that. In this love story, we have a firefighter dealing with a sick child, Sammy. He doesn’t meet his love interest at a fire like in the other two books. Instead, he brings his son in to meet the huge stuffed dalmatian that Marco uses as a photo prop. Marco offers a free photoshoot that melted my heart! The love parts were a little faster in this one, but it wasn’t insta-love. The title was perfect.

Marco was a foster kid, turned photographer that’s about to hit it big. He’s worked hard for everything he has. Marco not only lost his mother at a young age to cancer, but he also fought it himself, which helps with his interactions with Sammy. Both characters are deep and realized so the story moves at a good pace.

Some side stories are going on in this book that are worth a mention because they could have changed the direction of the story. Marco’s foster parents play a significant role when they explain some truths to him. They change his point of view on things in a good way.

Dean’s mother is wonderful and helps put his father in his place. But before that happens, he tries to cause issues for the couple.

This is another must-read series by Andrew Grey!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of:  Cleansing Flame by Andrew Grey (audiobook)

TITLE: Cleansing Flame (audiobook)
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Rekindled Flame, book 2
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: July 12 2018

BLURB:

Sequel to Rekindled Flame
Rekindled Flame: Book Two
Life has been grinding Dayne Mills down almost for as long as he can remember. First he lost the love of his life in an accident that also left him with a permanent injury, and then his mother passed away a year later. When his house burns to the ground, it’s the last straw. He can’t take any more, and if it wasn’t for kind and handsome firefighter Lawson Martin offering him a hand up and a place to stay, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Dayne would love for his relationship with Lawson to evolve into something beyond charity, but he knows going after a man so far out of his league will only lead to yet more heartache. It’s best to just keep his mind on his research.
It’s that research that leads Dayne to an old student journal that not only provides clues to the Native American heritage Lawson has been searching for, but chronicles a century-old love story. The tale that unfolds might be just what Dayne and Lawson need to remind them that no matter how dark life becomes, love can find a way to shine through.
Listening Time: 6 hrs, 11 mins


Narration: Michael Pauley has an amazing voice. I can tell the difference in Michaels’ reading from the first two books. He’s really starting to come into his narrating skills. I still think he has a very sexy voice and brings the story to life. His cadence has improved so much over the year between the books in this series…and looking up his other narrations, there are plenty more to listen to by him! YES!

Story: When I read the blurb, I was curious to see how Grey was going to have Dean become a dad without a spouse. Dean trying to be straight to make everyone happy was a good way to do that. In this love story, we have a firefighter dealing with a sick child, Sammy. He doesn’t meet his love interest at a fire like in the other two books. Instead, he brings his son in to meet the huge stuffed dalmatian that Marco uses as a photo prop. Marco offers a free photoshoot that melted my heart! The love parts were a little faster in this one, but it wasn’t insta-love. The title was perfect.

Marco was a foster kid, turned photographer that’s about to hit it big. He’s worked hard for everything he has. Marco not only lost his mother at a young age to cancer, but he also fought it himself, which helps with his interactions with Sammy. Both characters are deep and realized so the story moves at a good pace.

Some side stories are going on in this book that are worth a mention because they could have changed the direction of the story. Marco’s foster parents play a significant role when they explain some truths to him. They change his point of view on things in a good way.

Dean’s mother is wonderful and helps put his father in his place. But before that happens, he tries to cause issues for the couple.

This is another must-read series by Andrew Grey!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of:  Rekindled Flame by Andrew Grey (audiobook)

TITLE: Rekindled Flame (audiobook)
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Rekindled Flame, book 1
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: July 13 2017

BLURB:

Firefighter Morgan has worked hard to build a home for himself after a nomadic childhood. When Morgan is called to a fire, he finds the family out front, but their tenant still inside. He rescues Richard Smalley, who turns out to be an old friend he hasn’t seen in years and the one person he regretted leaving behind.
Richard has had a hard life. He served in the military, where he lost the use of his legs, and has been struggling to make his way since coming home. Now that he no longer has a place to live, Morgan takes him in, but when someone attempts to set fire to Morgan’s house, they both become suspicious and wonder what’s going on.
Years ago Morgan was gutted when he moved away, leaving Richard behind, so he’s happy to pick things up where they left off. But now that Richard seems to be the target of an arsonist, he may not be the safest person to be around.


Narration: Michael Pauley has an amazing voice. I thought he read a bit too fast and emphasized things a bit too much where it wasn’t called for, so I marked this down by 1 star for that. However, it didn’t ruin any of the listening for me. He brought the heat to the sex scenes and kept me pulled into the story. He also gave Angus a very good Scottish brogue (my favorite being married to a Scot! lol). I can’t wait for the rest!

Story: I’m a huge fan of Andrew Grey as a writer, but also a pretty nice guy. Yeah, I fangirled at EPC a couple of years ago! I’m always looking for more Carlisle stories! So this was a no-brainer for me. This book was the first in the series.

In this book, we meet firefighter, Morgan, and ex-military disabled vet, Richard. These two were friends as kids, but Morgan had to move away and they lost touch. Years later, and they’re both back where they started…kind of.

Morgan is now a firefighter. His character doesn’t come across as a danger junkie, but he’s the one that goes into a burning building to get the people out. He thinks he’s happy with just his job and friends, but figures out soon that he’s lonely. When he’s called out to a fire, the small family there says that there’s a guy still in the house. Morgan finds him in a wheelchair and carries him out. Later, off shift, he does his normal hospital visit to see anyone he’s rescued.

Richard was the man in the wheelchair. At first, Morgan doesn’t recognize him. But when he does, he offers Richard a place to live while he figures things out. Grey wrote Richard’s character very well in my opinion. He’s fighting his depression and the many losses he’s had over the last couple of years. He was military and paralyzed in an attack. He lost fellow soldiers, but he also lost his parents on the way home from seeing him. He really loses everything. He’s living with a family of a service member that died in his unit, but the house was attacked by an arsonist hell-bent on hurting military families.

The story grabbed me and didn’t let go, even at the end! I was cheering for these two from the moment Morgan realizes the guy in the hospital bed was his husband when they were thirteen. It has a great flow and the relationship builds at a good pace. There are some great hot scenes, but there’s also a good sub-plot going on with the arsonist. And I’m not wasting a minute before I start book 2!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: King’s Eyes by Ki Brightly and M.D. Gregory (audiobook)

TITLE: King’s Eyes (audiobook)
AUTHOR: Ki Brightly and M.D. Gregory
SERIES: The Kings of Men MC, book 2
PUBLISHER: Kiyle S. Brosius
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
RELEASE DATE: Dec 20 2019

BLURB:

A Second Chance Becomes Trouble
After leaving his cheating ex and New York City behind, Mackenzie Byrnes wants to celebrate his new life and new teaching position in New Gothenburg. Only he ends up at a club in need of rescuing from a jerk who won’t take no for an answer. After that embarrassing mess, Mackenzie swears he’s on a man ban. His resolve lasts until he runs into the handsome bouncer who saved him, and then he hands over his phone number, hoping for a date.
A Stalker Who Can’t Look Away
Travis “Eyes” Hughes has two jobs—spy for the president of the Kings of Men MC, and nightclub security. When Travis saves a sexy blond from getting groped against his will, he gets the urge to follow him home to make sure he arrives there safely. One night of watching turns into a habit Travis can’t shake, and an impulse he won’t deny.
Lies Exposed
The closer Travis gets to Mackenzie, the sloppier he becomes. When his half-truths begin to catch up with him, all hell breaks loose with the Kings of Men MC, and Mackenzie finds out Travis isn’t who he said he was. With Travis’s lies exposed, a cop hot on his trail, and his brother in jail—he’s sure he’ll lose Mackenzie as well—but he might be surprised by the strength a certain kindergarten teacher possesses.


Narration: Let me say that the lack of stars is for narration here. Kaeomakana Tiwanak has a cute, young, twink-sounding voice, and if he’d read just the parts for Mackenzie (maybe slowed down the cadence a little) and there had been another narrator with a deep voice working as a team for this reading Travis’ parts, I would have given the narration 5 stars (hopefully). But unfortunately, it didn’t, so it was distracting at best. It actually caused me to miss parts that were important. Like a description of the characters. I’m going back to the ebook and reading the series. But I’ll be poking my head in to see when the next comes out to see if the writers sort this.

Story: I started with this book and that seemed to be okay. It is a series and should probably be read as such, so I’ll be reading it in order sometime next month. I even picked up book 1.5, King’s Rogue, to read as well. I think any fan of Sons of Anarchy should probably read this. It’s like an MM version! I loved the duel POVs idea. Its always a plus in my book, but like I said before, I would have really loved a proper voice for Travis.

I liked both main characters, Mackenzie and Travis. Whoever thought a stalker could be endearing?! LOL Travis is a stalker, there’s no other way to say it. But lol it works with the story, and I actually liked him a lot. His motivations are clear and written well. But he’s a bit distracted and it costs his brother instead of himself.

Mackenzie had some twists to his character that I also really liked. Yeah, he had a cheating ex in New York, but he also has family history with an MC back in California. That brings Travis to lie, and trouble ensues from there. We meet a few of the characters from the MC and I’d like to get to know them a bit.

Let me just say, these are NOT the cuddly non-criminal bikers! Well, they maybe cuddly, but they aren’t law abiding. It seems like a great story line with great characters…so I’ll be pushing the series in my to-be-read list!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of listening this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Tainted Life by Mel Gough (audiobook)

TITLE: Tainted Life (audiobook)
AUTHOR: Mel Gough
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Self
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: Sep 6 2019

BLURB:

Metropolitan Police detective Pete Tucker’s world comes crashing down when his wife sues for divorce and sole custody of their only son.
Desperate to forget his sorrows for a while, Pete seeks refuge in a Soho bar where he is approached by a sexy, funny, and clearly interested stranger. Photographer Liam Jackson is just the ticket for one oblivious night of perfect passion.
However, their attraction proves too intense for a one-night-stand. To his surprise, Pete finds that he’s game for something more – but his baggage soon gets in the way. Then Liam’s own dangerous secrets claw their way to the surface, and threaten to derail the budding romance.
Is their growing bond strong enough to weather the violent storms ahead?
A sweet and angsty m/m romance novella.


Narration: This was my first narration by Brian Meslar, and as long as the story is based in the US, it won’t be my last. Let me explain. Brian has an amazing voice, his cadence is great, and he’s able to throw accents really well. But…that was the problem for me. The narration was in a US accent, the book is based in England, and the characters are English (and one Scottish guy). It was distracting for me. I’m an American, but I lived in Scotland for ten years, so I can say the accents were really, really good. But yeah, distracting for me. I’ll be on the look-out for more MM books narrated by him, but so far, it looks to be mostly MFM ménage.

Story: For the story, Mel Gough was another first for me. I liked the book. I had actually wished it was longer and fleshed out the backstories a bit more. The romance angle was there, which I know is the point. But the backstories of the attack and the divorce seemed rushed and just kinda hanging there. So I’ll break down the points by character.

Pete is a detective for the Metropolitan Police. He’s going through a divorce, lost his partner because of divorce, and he’s fighting to see his son. This part of the story was a good representation of the awful condition of the family courts in the UK. The guy finds out his wife wants a divorce because she’s been having an affair with his partner for six months, and he loses his shit for a minute and throws a plate. She uses that to twist things. But that was one of the things hanging there, sort of. It’s solved…she backs down. But we, as the reader, have no idea why. Then at work, there was mention of him helping with a human trafficking case, but then nothing. But the niggle was stuck in my head.

Liam is a budding photographer, but he has to turn tricks on the side to make ends meet. He has a drug addict brother, and that part of the story gets finished off and gives the reader some excitement. However, Liam has a client that he’s been with once and has a closet full of kinky stuff. In memory, we learn he agreed not to use it on Liam. Instead, he just wants to tie him up. Okay, so the next meeting happens in the book, and it’s an all-out attack as soon as he walks in the door. I’m intrigued at this point! Tell me more! I’m excited to know he gets away, but ha! He gets hit by a car trying to get to Pete. But there’s maybe a few sentences on the attacker a little further in the book, and that’s the end of it.

For the characters together, I liked them and was cheering them on. I liked the romance parts a lot, and I felt the connection even though other reviewers didn’t. I think that’s why I gave the story a 3.5 instead of more. I wanted more with everything that was going on. There wasn’t anything that could have been taken out to make it better, but I think it was too much for a short story, if that makes sense.

I’ll be checking her list for a longer book and see that goes. I think she has a lot of potential as a writer, so I’m not giving up on her yet!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of listening this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis