Audioreview: Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Narrator: Callie Dalton

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Lingus by Mariana Zapata
Release Date: October 26, 2016
Format: Audiobook (10 hrs and 49 mins)
Genre: Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio

Blurb: Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn’t know.

“My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn.”

When 25-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she’s both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expects is to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.

four-stars

The blurb/synopsis doesn’t accurately describe the heart of this novel nor does it do the love story justice. The porn convention was a backdrop to a friends to lover trope.

Katherine Berger goes to a porn convention with her bestie and while she was attempting to discretely pick her panties out of her butt, a guy named Tristan saw her. Tristan began teasing her and it was a beginning of a friendship and later romance. If you have listened to a Mariana Zapata book, you know that the journey to love tends to be longer and slower than the norm. Usually I enjoy the ride but this book felt longer than the previous books by the author. I liked the friendship but it was always clear that Kat wanted more than his friendship and was waiting around for Tristan to want her back. I loved the humor, I also loved the friendship but I found Tristan underdeveloped. We never really got to know him as Robby Lingus and I didn’t believe people in law school or law firms wouldn’t find out his job. Tristan seemed a tad antisocial but I would have liked to get to know his layers more. I know an ex-girlfriend led him into porn, and he was using it to pay for school. He clearly didn’t care for it but he never really talked about it. Kat, her dad, and their bond was explored along with her loving relationship with her girlfriends showed with care and precision. Tristan was really the unknown in this equation.

With that said, I laughed listening to this audiobook.  Mariana Zapata has a gift in building realistic relationships. This story was special because the friendships were authentic. The friendship between Kat and her girlfriends as well as Kat and Tristan was so real to me. I felt elated and satisfied when Kat and Tristan finally took the leap together.  I will read any and everything this author releases. I enjoy her work that much and I always know the journey to the happy ending will be worth it.

Ezi

Resurrection (Redemption Harbor #1) by Katie Reus

Series:
Narrator: Sophie Eastlake
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Resurrection by Katie Reus
Series: Redemption Harbor #1
Release Date: July 7th 2017
Pages: 6 hrs and 24 mins
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published By: KR Press, LLC

Blurb: She faked her own death…

Skye Arévalo left the CIA and faked her death to protect Colt Stuart, the only man she ever loved. Months later, a brutal kidnapping draws her to quietly infiltrate a dangerous cartel. Just when she thinks she’s home free, things go horribly wrong and she escapes with bloodthirsty enemies on her heels…only to find herself face to face with a bewildered and angry Colt.

He’ll cross every line to save her…

When Colt, a former Marine, finds out the woman he loved betrayed him, he’s shocked and hurt, but it doesn’t stop him from breaking every law on the books to keep her alive. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to stop a powerful enemy who will do anything to see the world burn and Skye dead.

three-half-stars

I love Katie Reus because her writing style just evokes a range of emotion because her characters are so multi-faceted. The combination of good writing with one of my favorite narrators, Sophie Eastlake, was clearly a winning duo. The narrator shined at the task of bringing these characters to life and I finished this audiobook in one day.

In this series beginner, we have two couples intertwined as the two male leads are former marines, CIA operatives and friends for years. Off the bat, there was action, adventure and love on the table. Two men grieving for the loss of the lady loves. Colt Stuart is silently mourning the death of his partner and love Skye Arevalo who died in a warehouse explosion in the line of duty. Meanwhile one of his best friend Mercer was not handling the loss of his wife Mary Grace well at all. Even though he didn’t share his suspicious, Colt suspected that Mary Grace was still alive somewhere and he decide to mount a rescue off the books (unsanctioned by the CIA) before he said anything to Mercer.

During the course of mission, Colt found that Mary Grace was indeed alive and had been rescued by a rogue agent, his “dead” lover Skye. This revelation led to examination of two couples that loved each other desperately but operated very differently. I must admit that I gravitated more towards Mercer and Mary Grace than the actual lead Colt and Skye. They were more emotionally connected and sappy where Skye and Colt were more physically aggressive and passionate. They weren’t as verbal and open about their feelings, but it is clear their devotion was a strong as Mercer and Mary Grace’s.

The underlying story was a familiar theme and the villain was an obvious one, but I enjoyed the unfolding of the story nonetheless. This story was intriguing, suspenseful and romantic. Katie Reus is just one of best in this genre. I know that second book is going to be even better.

Ezi

About Katie Reus

Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Darkness series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.

Standalone Sunday (8/23/17): The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Narrator: Bahni Turpin, Orlagh Cassidy

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. I’m currently listening to this audiobook narrated by Bhani Turpin & Orlagh Cassidy. I chose this book because, well, my book club is reading it. So technically, it was chosen for me. However, it is a reminder that the once upon a time, people in this country owned other people and thought they were less than human.

Have you read or listened to this book? Did you enjoy it? Share your thoughts.

BLURB:
When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard a ship from Ireland to America, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles an opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk. The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.

ADD TO GOODREADS 

Standalone Sunday (8/6/17): Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Blurb
Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn't know. "My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn."

When twenty-five-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she's both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expected was to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship, and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.

ADD TO GOODREADS

I have enjoyed every book since trying The Wall of Winnipeg earlier this summer. This is the only remaining audiobook by Mariana Zapata that I haven't tried. I'm looking forward to beginning it shortly. What's your favorite book by this author?

Audio Review: Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shelter the Sea: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevelt #2
Release Date: June 12th, 2017
Pages: • Format: Audio
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon Audible

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

He only hopes there isn’t a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.

 

four-stars

 

This is the second book in the Roosevelt series and it catches us up with Emmet and Jeremey two years down the road. The two men are still a couple and are still living together in their assisted living.

As this book starts we find two things are going on. Jeremey is having a difficult time with his depression and anxiety. He’s going through a very rough patch which he is attempting to hide from Emmet. In addition, the Roosevelt is struggling with funding and all of the residents are concerned that it may close down.

I really loved how the author portrays these two men going through hard times together. I think there is a belief that two very with serious issues can not be there for their partner but I think this book shows how that’s not true. Both Emmet and Jeremey push through their comfort zones to be the help the other needed and I found some of these scenes very emotional.

The other part of the story was not as enjoyable for me but that is due to a personal reason. I’m a social worker and the current health care/mental health care crisis in our country is staggering and it’s something that I deal with every single day. I read for a break from real life stress and this didn’t do it for me. Just got me all angry and worked up. I’m glad the author went down this road though because I imagine the average reader knows nothing about the mental health care systems in our country and I hope it was eye opening for them.

This audiobook was narrated by Iggy Toma and I think he did just as great a job in this one as he did in the first book. The two main characters have very different voices, with Emmet’s being very distinct due to his Autism. There are also a bunch of side characters in this one and they were all done very well.

Although I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did book one, that was more on me than the actual quality of the writing/storytelling. I think this is a must read for fans of the series.

signature-fonts

About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Audio Review: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Carry the Ocean: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevelt
Release Date: May 29th, 2017
Pages: • Format: Audio
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon Audible

Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The young man with a double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he has autism.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When Jeremey’s untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility.

As Jeremey and Emmet find their feet at The Roosevelt, they begin to believe they can be loved for the men they are beyond their disabilities. But before they can trust enough to fall head over heels, they must trust their own convictions that friendship is a healing force and love can overcome any obstacle.

 

five-stars

I am in general a fan of this authors but I think this may be her best work. This was extremely well written. This is an unconventional love story about two young men who are a bit different and have a host of challenges to over come in their lives.

The story begins one summer when the two guys meet at a neighborhood block party. Jeremey is struggling with depression and anxiety and he gets no support from his parents. Due to his personal struggles he is oblivious to Emmet’s existence. Emmet on the other hand has been watching Jeremey across their yards for months. Emmet is on the Autism spectrum and he’s been practicing daily for what will happen when they finally meet. When Emmet approaches him, Jeremey is unsure of him at first. With gentle persistence from Emmet the two of them become friends and then they eventually fall in love.

Their story is not an easy one. The two of them have very different ways of perceiving things which makes them struggle to understand each other sometimes. They are also both different from what mainstream society says they should be and they have to deal with a bunch of outside pressure. Their lives are a roller coaster and things are very hard for them in a few places in the story.

I thought the author did a fantastic job writing this story and dealing with both boy’s conditions. It was obvious she did a lot of research and I think she really presented these characters as real people. She did not sugar coat anything or make it one of those “love heals all wounds” type of stories, but she also did not paint them as people who were less than or who were incapable of having a love story of their own. It may not have been traditional but I think that made it even more beautiful.

My favorite part of the story was Emmet and his parents. I loved all three of them. On the flip side I could barely contain my anger for Jeremey’s parents. Every mother instinct I had came out over his character and I swear I raged every time his parents were on page. My emotions were all over the page. One minute I was laughing and the next I was crying. That, too me, is a testament to a really well written story.

I did these on audio and they were narrated by Iggy Toma. I feel like he also did an excellent job. He does two very different voices for both Jeremey and Emmet. I think Emmet’s was probably a bit challenging as he is described as having a flatter affect and not being able to modify his tones like others do due to his inability to read emotions. The narrator really did a good job with this aspect. There were also multiple side characters and I think those were also all done really well.

I’m sure there a lot better written reviews out there that describe this beautiful story but I will end this is saying that I definitely recommend this audiobook. It is not only a great story but it is narrated extremely well and the narration adds another level of emotion to this story.

signature-fonts

About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Standalone Sunday (7/23/17): By Your Side by Kasie West

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list.

My Standalone Pick this week is: By Your Side by Kasie West. I have read three books by Kasie West and I enjoyed them. They aren't too heavy and I need something light, yet endearing.


BLURB: In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

ADD TO GOODREADS

Audioreview: Her Ruthless Russian (Karev Brothers #1) by Leslie North

Series:
Narrator: D.C. Cole
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Audiobookworm Promotions

Author: Leslie North

Narrator: D.C. Cole

Length: 3h 34m

Publisher: Relay Publishing

Series: Karev Brothers, Volume One

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Born into a Russian Mafia family, Vlad Karev is no stranger to violence…but this time it’s personal. Someone has murdered his father and Vlad can’t rest until he finds the killer. When the trail leads to an art gallery, Vlad wants to dig deeper, but he needs help from the owner’s daughter. The pretty redhead is far too innocent for a man like Vlad, but he’ll do what it takes to get the information he needs. His obligations are to the family, even if that means using the fiery woman.
Madison O’Connor works hard to keep her family’s gallery going, although secretly she has little interest in art. But when she discovers her father’s been laundering money for the Russian Mafia, she’ll do everything she can to keep him out of jail. She hates to lie, but she has a plan…seduce the Russian bad boy to learn the mob’s secrets. Never mind his dangerous exterior or icy blue eyes, Madison’s going to get her family free of the mob, even if she has to use Vlad Karev to do it.
As the killer gets closer, so do Vlad and Madison. But is their connection just the means to an end, or could their romance be real?

 


Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

D.C. Cole, originally an actor from California, has spent the last dozen years wandering the globe in search of…something. Self-awareness? Eternal truth? Magic, perhaps? (Cheap beer, probably.)

Once, on a Tibetan mountain top, he spent an entire month in silence to better understand the sound of a whisper. He spent a year in a small village in the Shandong Province of China, learning the ancient art of erotic mumbling. And one week out of every year, D.C. travels to Sanchi Stupa Temple in Madhya Pradesh, India, to perform one hundred thousand pushups, using only his tongue. (Actually, none of that’s true, but it sounds better than “He spent twelve years getting drunk in strange places with strange people while wearing a backpack.”)

D. C. has recently settled down in Brazil, where he enjoys collecting tattoos and drinking caipirinhas.

When not telling tall tales, D. C. locks himself inside his closet-sized studio and reads romantic and erotic stories into a microphone. Some people seem to enjoy his voice.


Music Playlist

[Put your playlist here]

 

Madison O’Connor discovered that her father was using their family art gallery to launder money for the mafia family Karev. Madison didn’t want to indebted to the Karev family and she decided to use her charms on Vlad Karev to attain information she could use to either bargain with or blackmail the Karev family to leave the O’Connor family alone. Vlad Karev decided to play along with Madison’s seduction because he was physically attracted to her and he was trying to figure out who murdered his father.

Their little game quickly turned into more and Madison discovered she cared for Vlad. While Vlad’s feeling was changing towards Madison, he suspected her family was involved in his father’s murder so he still guarded his heart. But soon, even he couldn’t deny that they were in love with each other. Would they choose love over solving the problem plaguing their respective families?

The story is short so there wasn’t a lot of character or plot building. But the attraction and banter between Madison and Vlad was delightful. Everything happened pretty fast but I found the story interesting. The narrator is new to me but I can’t say that the narration added or detracted from the story. His voice was just okay. I did like the author’s writing. I found it was quick and to the point, even though left a couple of the subplots unfinished so I look forward to getting more answers in book 2.

 I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Leslie North. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Her Ruthless Russian Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Jul. 19th:
CGB Blog Tours
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Jul. 20th:
The Book Junkie Reads
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Jul. 21st:
Book Reviews by Jasmine

Jul. 22nd:
The Book Addict’s Reviews
Between the Coverz

Jul. 23rd:
Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

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Haddie’s Haven

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Tales of the Ravenous Reader
Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm

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About Leslie North

Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

Menace (Scarlet Scars #1) by J.M. Darhower

Series:
Narrator: Iggy Toma, Kasha Kensington
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Title: Menace by J.M. Darhower
Series: Scarlet Scars #1
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 51 mins)
Genre: Dark Romance, Mafia Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio
Purchase Links: • Tantor Audio
 

three-stars

J.M. Darhower is my one of my favorite writers when it comes to Mob stories so I was so stoked when this audiobook was released. I may have had Sempre in the back of my mind, or something similar in plot. This was far from it and this one didn’t grip me like that story. J.M Darhower is a great storyteller so I knew if I hung in there, I would be rewarded.
The story starts with dancer/hooker Scarlet (Morgan Myer) selling herself for protection and information from powerful underworld bosses. I couldn’t figure out the significance of the information other than she was hiding from another boss. But it was clear most of her actions were motivated out of an extreme amount of fear.
The hero Lorenzo Gambino vacillated between being a sociopath to a moody/angry mobster. You can’t be unfeeling if you are in a constant state of rage. Just sayin’. Anyway, I am unclear of Scarlet really sought him out as a protector or just picked the pocket of the wrong dude. But that moment seemed to bind them and despite several attempts to pull away from each other, they always drawn back to the other. The sex scenes were definitely the best part of this book because they were steamy, fascinating and provocative.
I couldn’t decide if Lorenzo’s curiosity was based on the great sex or the Russian monster that scared Scarlet more than him. It was like a pissing contest because Lorenzo wanted to meet the Russian who thought he was thought his game was gangsta than Lorenzo’s.
Honestly, the author took her time in getting to the heart of the plot. I prefer faster paced stories or at least great character development to compensate for slower paced yet suspenseful accounts. I didn’t feel that the characters were fleshed out that well but the author did enough to get me to like them.
I was hoping the book would get better and the last two chapters were probably the best in the book and made everything make more sense. It made Scarlet make more sense to me and then I felt empathy for her plight. Lorenzo remains an enigma for me so the jury is out on his character. The writing and the narrators kept my attention and I really need book 2 to be released as this one ended on a cliff hanger.

Ezi

Crooked Tree Ranch (Montana #1) by R.J. Scott

Series:
Narrator: Sean Crisden
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Signal Boost Promotions

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Crooked Tree Ranch by R.J. Scott
Series: Montana, Book 1
Release Date: November 16th, 2015 (first published on December 13th 2013)
Format: Audiobook (6 hrs and 20 mins)
Genre:
Published By: Love Lane Books Ltd
Purchase Links: •  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible US | Audible UK

When a cowboy, meets the guy from the city, he can’t know how much things will change.

On the spur of the moment, with his life collapsing around him, Jay Sullivan answers an ad for a business manager with an expertise in marketing, on a dude ranch in Montana.

With his sister, Ashley, niece, Kirsten and nephew, Josh, in tow, he moves lock stock and barrel from New York to Montana to start a new life on Crooked Tree Ranch.

Foreman and part owner of the ranch, ex rodeo star Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Todd has been running the dude ranch, for five years ever since his mentor Marcus Allen became ill.

His brothers convince him that he needs to get an expert in to help the business grow. He knows things have to change and but when the new guy turns up, with a troubled family in tow – he just isn’t prepared for how much.

four-stars

This story was very sweet and satisfying. It wasn’t overly dramatic and angsty but it was emotionally engaging enough that I listened to the book in one day. I have to be honest, I am on the fence about Sean Crisden, but his narration of this story was spot on. The author told the story in a dual POV and the voices the narrator used for the characters fit my image of them. This one was one of Sean Crisden’s better performances.

Jay Sullivan worked for a marketing firm while taking care of his sister Ashley who has a history of falling in love with abusive guys. Currently, Jay was standing as a male figure for his 15 year old niece Kristen and 6 year old nephew Josh as Ashley’s husband was serving time in jail for abusing them. When Jay is laid off from his firm, coupled with Ashley’s husband was released from jail, Jay quickly accepted a job to be a business manager for a ranch in Montana and they quickly flee New York City.

Crooked Tree Ranch was hemorrhaging money so they agreed to trying marketing the Ranch differently to attract new customers. The Ranch is owned by three families, The Todds, The Allens and the Starachs. Nate, Gabe and Luke represent the Todd family and work on the Ranch. They were skeptical about the City boy Jay being in charge of creating a marketing plan, but they were low in funds and they were desperate.
Nate is the oldest and he used to work in the rodeo circuit so the city boy just rubbed him the wrong way. But Nate accepted that Jay’s expertise was necessary so he tried to tamper his irritation with Jay. What Nate couldn’t ignore was his attraction to Jay and vice versa. Soon, the two agreed to try a relationship. Nate and Jay were a delight because their attraction was clear but they were so supportive and accepting of each other and their respective families.

I though the author did a great job in building up the relationship so while it was short amount of time, it didn’t feel like insta-love. RJ Scott’s writing appeals to me because she focuses on the family, their interactions and their emotions more than the physical acts between the couples. I prefer a juicy story over copious amounts of sex so this audiobook was so good. There was a number of subplots, but the pace at which the author tackled them was comfortable so the reader never felt bogged down with angst or overly emotional scenes. I am looking forward to finding out more about the second family of the Ranch trifecta, The Allens.

Ezi

About R.J. Scott

My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!

I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)

With over 90 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.

I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.