I have listened to several good audiobooks recently. Two from Renae Kaye and one each from Max Vos, Christine Danse, Amy Lane, Josh Lanyon and Kim Fielding. Most are contemporary, one has a bit of a steampunk quality to it, one is a mystery, one has a bit of sports and one is distinctly Australian. Several of the books made me laugh and one in particular was heart wrenching but filled with hope and humorous moments.
The Blinding Light
Author: Renae Kaye
Narrator: Jonathan Young
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Audible.com release date: March 26, 2015
Listening length: 6 hours and 55 minutes
Series: The Tav. Book #1
Blurb: Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it’s prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.
Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.
Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.
Review: Sweet story with likable main characters (most of the time). Jake’s smart mouth and sense if humor were fun and fit well with Patrick’s more stuffy personality. Jake is a bit too good and I knew where the ending would go, but it was still a sweet romance that I enjoyed. The narrator had some moments where the accents varied but over all it was enjoyable listen.
Author: Max Vos
Narrated by Jared Bradford
Length: 6 hours and 3 minutes
Release Date: 08-21-2015
Publisher: Max Vos, Inc.
Blurb: When he was sixteen years old, Rich Miller saved a young man from drowning at his local pool. Little did he know that years later, as a senior in college and Olympic diving hopeful, Rich would meet up once again with Johnny Milloway, now a big football player – and when Rich says big, he really means ‘bear’. The shy jock remembers his savior, and the two men become friends.
Johnny isn’t put off by the fact that Rich is gay. In fact, the more time he spends with Rich, the more curious he becomes. Johnny wants to know all kinds of things – what it’s like to kiss a guy, for instance. Only it doesn’t stop there…
Rich finds it difficult to believe that this relationship can go anywhere. Johnny is straight, and Rich isn’t prepared to deal with the heartache he knows will come his way in the future. He has enough on his plate as it is – the Worlds are just around the corner, his father would rather watch a football game than spend time watching his son dive…. What he doesn’t count on is Johnny, who can be very determined. And having Johnny in his life proves to be a catalyst for some pretty earth-shattering changes.
Review: I loved the characters, it is humorous and touching and sexy. I really like Rich and Johnny. At times I wanted to thunk Johnny on the head but I understood why the character was doing what he did even if I did not like it. Johnny has a bit of a temper, his nickname is Dragon. Of course I liked him. *grin* This was my first Max Vos book and I loved it. Definitely a feel good story.
I am always a little apprehensive when listening to a book that I have already read and enjoyed. Jared Bradford does a wonderful job with the narration. It was fun and engaging.
** Great news. The author has the second book written and out to his beta readers. The title is My Hero: The Olympian. Can’t wait! **
Island of Icarus
Author: Christine Danse
Narrated by: Jack LeFleur
Length: 3 hours and 22 minutes
Release Date: 12-09-10
Publisher: Carina Press
Blurb: Field Journal of Jonathan Orms, 1893
En route to polite exile in the Galapagos Islands (field work, to quote the dean of my university), I have found myself marooned on a deserted tropical paradise. Deserted, that is, except for my savior, a mysterious American called Marcus. He is an inventor—and the proof of his greatness is the marvelous new clockwork arm he has created to replace the unsightly one that was ruined in my shipboard mishap.
Marcus has a truly brilliant mind and the gentlest hands, which cause me to quiver in an unfamiliar but rather pleasant way. Surely it is only my craving for human companionship that draws me to this man, nothing more? He says a ship will pass this way in a few months, but I am welcome to stay as long as I like. The thought of leaving Marcus becomes more untenable with each passing day, though staying would be fatal to my career…
Review: Interesting historical m/m romance with a bit of steampunk. Sweet romance,tropical islands and clever inventions. Overall an enjoyable story. I enjoyed the narration too.
Turkey in the Snow
Written by: Amy Lane
Narrated by: Gomez Pugh
Length: 2 hours and 32 minutes
Release Date: 09-15-14
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Blurb: Since Hank Calder’s four-year-old niece, Josie, came to live with him, his life has been plenty dramatic, thank you, and the last thing he needs is a swishy, flaming twinkie to complicate things. But when Justin, the daycare worker at his gym, offers to do something incredibly nice for Hank—and for Josie—Hank is forced to reconsider. Justin may be flamboyant in his speech and gestures, but his heart and kindness are as rock steady and dependable as anyone, even Hank, could ask for. Can Hank trust in his dramatic “turkey in the snow” to offer his heart the joy he and Josie have never known?
Review: Ohmygah! This is a fun lighthearted holiday story centering around two very different main characters. Hank has recently taken responsibility for his niece Josie. He is trying his best to maintain his routine and make a home for Josie to feel safe and secure and loved in, something that he and his sister (Josie’s mom) did not have.
When he works out at his gym, the day care they have is monitored by a young man named Justin. Justin is bubbly, happy and loves kids. The exuberant personality to Hanks more reserved demeanor. Hanks just sees Justin as someone with the potential for a lot of drama.
Through events that happen with Josie their lives become more entwined and what follows is a sweet holiday story that left me smiling.
Listening to the story was fun and captured the excitement that seemed to always seemed to radiate from Justin. This was a great short listen.
Written by: Josh Lanyon
Narrated by: Sawyer Allerde
Length: 6 hours and 49 minutes
Series: All’s Fair, Book 1
Release date: 11-10-10
Publisher: Carina Press
Blurb: A crippling knee injury forced Elliot Mills to trade in his FBI badge for dusty chalkboards and bored college students. Now a history professor at Puget Sound university, the former agent has put his old life behind him—but it seems his old life isn’t finished with him.
A young man has gone missing from campus—and as a favor to a family friend, Elliot agrees to do a little sniffing around. His investigations bring him face-to-face with his former lover, Tucker Lance, the special agent handling the case.
Things ended badly with Tucker, and neither man is ready to back down on the fight that drove them apart. But they have to figure out a way to move beyond their past and work together as more men go missing and Elliot becomes the target in a killer’s obsessive game…
Review: I read this book a while ago and when I discovered audiobooks, I added it to my list. I finished listening to the audio version on September 01, 2015.
I think I enjoyed it even more in audio than I did when I read it the first time. The narrator, Sawyer Allerde, does a wonderful job of portraying the characters and I enjoyed the voices he gave them.
The characters are intriguing and the story is filled with mystery and suspense. The romance between the main characters flowed perfectly and I found myself liking Tucker even more than Elliot by the time the book came to an end. If you read the book you may be as surprised by this as I was.
Recommended for both ebook and Audiobook
The Tin Box
Written by: Kim Fielding
Narrated by: K.C. Kelly
Length: 7 hours and 26 minutes
Release Date: 06-18-2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Blurb: William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.
William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.
Review: I went into this book with no idea of what it was about. I had read one other book by this author and had gone in search for more. This one was highly recommended and now that I have finished it,I can see why. Beautiful, haunting, heart wrenching, lovely, sweet and heartwarming. It is one that will stay with me for a very long time.
The narration by K.C. Kelly is amazing! This story was one that touched my heart so much when I read it. I cannot express how listening to it impacted me. He captures the humor and emotion and the heartbreaking scenes equally well. Highly recommended.
The Shearing Gun
Written by: Renae Kaye
Narrated by: Dave Gillies
Length: 7 hours and 39 minutes
Release Date: 08-10-2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Blurb: At twenty-five, Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia’s rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.
Elliot is the newbie doctor in town—city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kickstarts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it’s hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn’t enough, Elliot’s contract runs out after only a year.
Review: This one came highly recommended to me. I love books set in Australia so I was excited to read it before I ever opened the cover. (Love the cover too) I was not disappointed. This is a wonderful romance with a wealth of information about the life and work involved in raising and shearing sheep and living in a rural Australian village. It is rather detailed regarding the shearing and instead of it being tedious, I was completely intrigued. The author made me feel like I was experiencing it right alongside of Hank and Elliot.
Hank is a great character, humorous, hardworking, and very likeable. His fear of coming out is completely understandable after the reaction he gets from his father when he came out to him and what his uncle endured because he is gay. His Uncle and his partner are lovely characters and I enjoyed the role they play in the story.
Hank makes sure he fits in Dumbleyung. No dating, no local hook ups – No fishing in one’s backyard – (I love the fishing analogies he uses, several good chuckles there) He also plays football, which brings him to the local clinic after an injury, and under the care of Elliot, the new doctor in Dumbleyung. When Elliot gets caught checking Hank out during his exam, Elliot goes to Hank’s farm to apologize, Hank assures him that it is no problem, he won’t let on to anyone and that he is ok with Elliot being gay.
Elliot is a wonderful character; he is from the city and was out and proud until he came to Dumbleyung. He is a brilliant doctor and a sweet man who enjoys the small things in life even though he comes from a wealthy family. Thinking he was going to have to be in the closet and have no close friends or companions until his contract is up, the unexpected friendship with Hank changes all of that. Even more so as they get to know one another and he learns Hank is more like him than he was led to believe. Oh, this scene is priceless.
The story has many humorous moments, wonderful secondary characters and some beautiful, tender moments between Hank and Elliot. This has to be one of my favorite books that I have read this year. Don’t be intimidated but the Australian vernacular, there is a glossary in the front of the book, but the author does a great job giving enough information to be able to figure out the words or phrases from context.
After reading this book, I can see why it was highly recommended and I completely agree.
The narration was great! The narrator had a great accent for the story. I find I enjoy a book more if the accent fits the locale or characters. The Australian slang in the book would not have sounded right with an American accent. A really fun listen.