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    AUDIO REVIEW: The Night Of by Tal Bauer

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    The Night Of – Tal Bauer

    You’ve heard this story before: a guy supposedly kills himself, but his best friend can’t accept it. He calls in an investigator he knows to take a second look, certain there’s more going on.

    I’m the investigator. Secret Service Agent Sean Avery. The guy who called me? My ex, Vice President Jonathan Sharp. And the guy he doesn’t believe put a bullet in his brain?

    That was President Steven Baker.

    The deeper I dig, the more things fall apart. I’ve got a dead president inside a locked room. A hidden note. A secret gun. A missing CIA officer.

    And no one I can trust.

    Now Jonathan’s in the crosshairs, and if I don’t figure out what really happened that night at Camp David, the love of my life might be the next president to die.

    ***This M/M romantic suspense features smoldering forbidden love and a May/December second chance romance that ignites your pages.

    I’m not too keen on politicians as the love interest but the premise for The Night Of intrigued me right away. Secret Service Agent Sean Avery is doing night patrols at the G8 Summit. All while trying really hard not to think about that fateful night exactly one year ago. The night he spent with Jonathan Sharp, the VPOTUS.

    It was a drunken night he barely remembered, but Sean was convinced he fucked up so bad he really should be in jail. His angsting was interrupted by a gunshot and a dead president. The next thing he knew, he was called by the VPOTUS, now POTUS, to investigate if it was indeed suicide or murder.

    The case was a locked door mystery and a damn good one. Sean’s investigation had him involved in federal pissing contests and unearthed evidence that cast him and Jonathan in a suspicious light,

    The book had one heck of a twisty turny plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. Although I had my suspicions regarding a certain well-placed individual, it kept me guessing until the third act. This was when Sean’s spidey senses started tingling around this person as well.

    The WHO might be relatively easy to suss out but the WHY and the HOW was what made the mystery so clever. Things came to a head, in the Oval Office no less. It was such a super intense, super suspenseful climactic scene, I held my breath the entire time.

    The book deals with a lot of heightened emotions that jumped off the page. The grief was almost unbearable. The way the writing and narrator John Solo brilliantly portrayed it, I deeply felt how devastated Jonathan and the First Widow were.

    The aga-gap, second chance romance between Sean and Jonathan was beautiful and tender. I loved how the two men were both strong and vulnerable. Sean may smart-mouth his way around his colleagues, but it’s easy to see how badly shaken he was to have a president die under his watch. It was also easy to see how much he loves Jonathan.

    Jonathan making Sean coffee exactly the way he likes, even after That Night!, slayed Sean. Jonathan, stoic ex-military general and new POTUS, giving his trust, his heart, himself to Sean, slayed me! ♡✧。 (◍>◡<◍⋈)。✧♡

    My favorite part was Sean counting how many times he could make the famously unsmiling Jonathan smile.

    Almost no one could make him smile, but damn it, I had. I’d felt like the biggest man in the whole damn world the first time I’d teased a smile out of him. It was the first time my heart had stutter-stepped, too, the first time I’d realized I was fucked. But not as fucked as that night, when—

    This part had the reader guessing about that night a year ago. Why is Sean beating himself up over it? What exactly did he do that he feels guilty Jonathan was still so nice to him after all this time?

    For their confrontation scene alone, I highly recommend experiencing this story as an audiobook. John Solo is a narrator who takes you inside the story and his portrayal of this particular scene was sublime!

    The way he emoted Sean’s self-flagellation with such rawness, the way he voiced Jonathan’s response with such vulnerability, that scene felt so real. It was like I was there in the Oval Office with them. And the way he portrayed the love scenes, lowering his voice to a whisper, he gave them an intimacy most narrators don’t bother to do. I was struck with the odd feeling of wanting to give them privacy.

    The Night Of is Tal Bauer doing what he does best, gripping romantic suspense that breaks the heart into pieces and puts it back together again. The audiobook is the perfect marriage of writing and narration. All in all, an experience worthy of the Presidential Seal of Approval.

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Night
    Artist: Zola Jesus
    Album: Stridulum

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    US: Kindle Audiobook
    UK: Paperback | Audiobook

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Natural Twenty by Charlie Novak

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    Roll For Love: Natural Twenty – Charlie Novak

    Plants are easier than people—that’s Leo’s rule of thumb. After all, nobody really wants a man who looks like he belongs in a biker gang but would rather spend his time buried in books and flowers. It’s just easier to be single. Until he meets the owner of the new book shop.

    Jacob Morris knows two things: he’s really attracted to the man who runs the local flower shop, and he doesn’t date. Not when he’s still healing from a bad breakup, has a new business to run, game nights to organise, workshops to host, and a website to build.

    When friendship blooms into something more, Leo and Jay must decide whether to roll the dice and take a chance on love or keep forging ahead on their quests alone. Will their roll yield a one or a perfect, natural twenty?

    Natural Twenty is an 80,000-word contemporary MM romance featuring Dungeons & Dragons, secret flower language bouquets, a spoilt Staffy (or two), and a best friend who is basically a gothic prince. It is book one in the Roll for Love series and can be read as a standalone.

    When I picked this up, I had no idea what “natural twenty” meant. I learned later this refers to the roll of the twenty-sided dice in Dungeons and Dragons. If I understood it correctly, getting a natural twenty means maximum success.

    Natural Twenty is the first book of the geek-tastic series, Roll for Love. This is an insta-attraction, slow-burn, friends-to-lovers story of Leo, florist and Jay, bookseller. It’s packed full of all things geeky, from scifi and fantasy books, Dungeons and Dragons, cosplayers, steampunk conventions, superhero shows and pop culture references.

    Leo looks like a lion but is actually a kitten. His intimidating, taciturn exterior puts off a lot of people. They failed to notice underneath it all, there was a sweet, gentle giant who gives his heart too easily. His sole companion in life is his dog, Angie.

    Jay is an adorkable transplant from London, who left his old life after his ex cheated on him. He came to live with his friend, Edward, to mend his broken heart. Starting fresh, he bravely opened his own bookstore in Yorkshire. On his opening day, he received a welcome bouquet from Leo, who had decided to check out the new establishment in the neighborhood.

    The two struck a friendship but couldn’t deny the attraction between them. Friendship was slowly turning into an enjoyable, comfortable relationship when angst, internal conflict and struggling business got the better of Jay. He decided to put a temporary halt on things because he couldn’t handle all the pressure.

    This should actually be a more straightforward book. I couldn’t help but feel it should have been a lot shorter, perhaps a novella. Things could have been resolved a lot quicker.

    It showed Leo and Jay going about their day to day. This is fine, even enjoyable sometimes but there was too much internal dialogue. Mostly, I struggled with keeping my attention focused on the story. I felt the dreaded saggy middle. Happily, Joel Leslie’s fabulously on-point narration kept me going.

    And while I liked reading about the how-tos of running a small business, especially a bookstore, going through some business minutiae did feel a bit tedious at some points. Ditto with the Dungeons and Dragons part. Having never played the game, I couldn’t fully appreciate all the references.

    On the upside, the book had a lot of wonderful side-characters. Chief of whom is Edward, cosplayer and gothic prince, who basically stole the show. All the time I was reading, I kept thinking how much fun his book would be.

    My favorite part here was floriography, the language of flowers. Each chapter is marked with a flower and their meanings. I have zero interest in flowers but the way Leo put together his bouquets for Jay, carefully picking each flower and leaving pieces of his heart in each blossom, that was absolutely beautiful! Especially coming from a guy who struggles with words. It was such a deeply romantic and meaningful gesture. It made me appreciate flowers a little better.

    Things started picking up when Jay’s bookstore became viral. From then on, the story moved faster and I was able to enjoy it more. Despite my complaints about the draggy bits of the book, I still love the way Leo and Jay were brought together, first as friends, then as lovers and then later when they were reunited. It was a sweet, fluffy journey made more charming with some floral magic.

    All in all, Natural Twenty might not have rolled out maximum success but it’s still a good roll. Read if you love adorkable elven bards who sing Spice Girls offkey, gothic princes who drink in tea sets that match their wardrobe and most especially, gentle giants who speak in flowers.


    Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: Bloom
    Artist: RKCB

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Shot In The Dark by Riley Long

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    Shot In The Dark – Riley Long

    If you win the bet, we’ll let you disappear. If you lose, you’ll be trapped on stage forever.

    I’m definitely straight, but when rock god Eli Steele offers me the opportunity of a lifetime in exchange for being his fake husband for a year, I can’t say no. That’s how I find myself sharing a bed – and more than a few kisses – with the lead singer of Blood Money. All I have to do is stay focused on my work and pretend to be in love with him. Easy, right?

    I took a stupid fucking bet and now I have to convince Charlie to fall for me without using mind control. He’s straight, but the bigger problem is that he’s human and I’m not. Once he finds out I’m really a vampire, will he be able to look past my fangs and see what’s in my heart?

    Shot In The Dark grabbed my attention because of several things. We have a rock star who’s also a vampire who wrangled a fake husband in order to win a bet. If he wins, he gets to hang up his guitar and fade into oblivion a.k.a. retire. What he didn’t count on was falling in love with his fake husband who is straight.

    The rock star in question is Eli, 290 years old, the youngest in a band of vampires known as Blood Money. He’s tired of his current life and wants to leave it all behind. The band made a deal with him that they would end their life as a band if he falls in the love with the first person who walks in the bar.

    Eli is my favorite vampire here. He’s got that intense vampire charisma down pat. He’s also gentle, sweet, caring, and generous. He closed his heart, determined not to fall in love again, after his human lover was killed by a coven of vampires many, many years ago. That’s why the band came up with the bet.

    The other members were Drew, Rudy and Zach. The one who stood out the most was Drew, mostly for being an ass. He was right about a lot of things but did he have to be so goddamn obnoxious about it?

    Charlie was the lucky man who came in at the right place, at the right time. He’s an aspiring filmmaker who wanted to create a documentary about Blood Money. Meeting the great Eli Steele, he couldn’t help but feel things even if he was as straight as they come. And to his amazement, the rock star offered to let him secretly document the notoriously private band in exchange for pretending to be in love and becoming his husband. They had to convince the band their relationship was real.

    At this point, I was left wondering, how come nobody questioned that Eli was suddenly married despite knowing Charlie for only a couple of days? I would assume Drew was sharp enough to pick up on that suspicious timing.

    That little niggle aside, Eli and Charlie went about this fake husband thing in the most spectacular way. Right off the bat, the chemistry between the MCs was palpable and gave the story sparkle and zing. The way the romance was pulled off, in that delicious journey from uh-oh there’s only one bed to I can’t he’s straight to so very gay for you right now, was the best thing about the book.

    And alongside of the romance, the friendship that blossomed between Eli and Charlie was a beautiful thing too. It highlighted how good they are for each other. Charlie is lovely! I loved his open-minded approach to their relationship and how he just naturally fell into place in Eli’s life.

    I also liked many of the concepts presented in the story. However, they were as not fully explored as I would have liked. The world building was minimal, just enough to give paranormal color. We get only a small glimpse of the larger vampire world but that is already at the latter part. The secret documentary could have been an interesting issue, especially with vampire identities needed to be kept on the down low but that went nowhere. I also wished we get a more fleshed out backstory for Eli and his friends. Majority of the book was spent with the band on tour but I didn’t get a strong grasp of the other personalities apart from Eli, Charlie and Drew.

    Too bad we only hear about Eli’s fierce fighting skills after Charlie was captured by the bad vampires. That would have been one heck of a climactic scene had it been shown. Instead we get a ridiculous separation period that was totally unnecessary. Although, I get that the book was going for conflict but it could have been done differently.

    The audiobook is narrated by Andrew Morrison. He is a new-to-me narrator. He brought Eli, Charlie and their friends to life with distinct personalities, recognizable voices and accents. Although, there were a couple of dialogues where the accents bled a bit into another character, specifically Eli’s British accent and Charlie’s American accent. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed his performance. I was able to listen to the story in one sitting because he made it flow so easily.

    Shot In The Dark is a sweet, low-angst novella, focusing primarily on the romance with the paranormal elements mostly low key. If vampire-flavored fake husbands, gay for you tropes tick your boxes too, this one is definitely worth a shot.


    Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Audible for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: One Shot In The Darkness
    Artist: Joshua Hyslop
    Album: One Shot In The Darkness

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Secret Santa by Jay Northcote

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    Secret Santa – Jay Northcote

    Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship…

    Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.

    Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.

    Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other.

    Secret Santa reminded me of the things I hate about dating. Namely, the awkward getting to know you questions, the contrived atmosphere and most of all, the false advertisements. My approach is to exchange a list of worst attributes right off the bat, see if the other person can or can’t live with those and take it from there. That way, nobody wastes time on false hopes. Obviously, this is not how normal human interactions happen. Which is why my dealings with other people are usually stilted and awkward.

    Anyway, Luke and Theo went with the more conventional approach, that is, good ole Grindr.

    Luke is currently temping as the Santa for M&S since he is in between jobs. He’s kind of grumpy but has a nice sense of humor. He’s fed up with hookups. He only started chatting with Theo because he’s cute and doesn’t seem the like typical horny douche he usually sees on Grindr. They hit it off remarkably well on that first chat. And they continue to hit it off through out the whole story.

    Theo is geeky and sweet. He works at the Apple store as a technician. He’s a wonderful dad. He co-parents with his friend (sorry forget her name), who is the mother of his son, Archie. He’s completely devoted to Archie but having a kid in the equation puts off a lot of guys he tried to date. So when he found Luke, who he really liked, he kept that teeny tiny fact a secret.

    Normally I don’t pay attention to children characters but Archie is great. He felt like a real kid. He’s only 4 years old and quite well-spoken but not in an overly mature, smarter than the adults way that is so often the case in fiction. He loves dinosaurs and Luke’s Santa presents.

    I didn’t enjoy Luke’s and Theo’s avoidances, omissions and blatant lies. Hell, Luke even gave Theo major openings to fess up multiple times but nooo, the man stuck to his story. I’m also dinging Luke for not telling Theo he knew about Archie. Seriously, they could have just talked!

    However, the blurb was definitely not lying about their chemistry. It was indeed amazing! This really shone through everything and I enjoyed it so much that I kept reading. It was like, the way I felt about the book mirrored the way these two characters felt about each other and their situation. Yes, there were niggles but I knew deep down, Luke and Theo were worth sticking around for.

    Patience paid off big time because when everything came out in the open, the story became more rewarding. Luke and Theo’s relationship felt fresher and stronger now that they were 100% honest with each other. I loved how Archie effortlessly included Luke in their little family. And Luke won major points for coming up with a brilliant idea to have Santa visit their house.

    This novella is narrated by Hamish Long. I haven’t listened to a lot of his audiobooks but now that has to change because I really liked his Theo voice. My favorite part was his portrayal of Archie because he really sounded like an articulate small child. Luke sounded good too. Overall, his narration was another factor that made the book more fun. His style is a great match to Jay Northcote‘s writing. If I remember correctly, he was also the one who performed Harper Fox‘s Brothers of the Wild North Sea and he did exceptionally well there too.

    Even with the major lack of communication, Secret Santa is a warm, cozy, low-angst and very sweet story. It’s full of holiday cheers and feel-good vibes. It’s short but felt complete. All in all, it’s 3 hours 44 minutes well spent and a good book to keep you company while waiting for Santa.


    Thank you to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Secret Santa
    Artist: Gwen Stefani
    Album: You Make It Feel Like Christmas

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    SECRET SANTA (Italian edition)

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Out On The Serve by Lane Hayes

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    Out in College: Out On The Serve – Lane Hayes

    Roommates to friends to lovers…


    I need a roommate fast. Even a temporary one. Beggars can’t be choosers. Going pro after graduation has been intense, and time is precious. Thankfully, Braden seems cool. He’s a little quirky…and very sexy. Of course, I would never get involved with a roommate. That’s a bad idea. Isn’t it?


    Moving to Long Beach seems like a no brainer. It’ll be a perfect chance to wind down before grad school and a nice respite from my folks. Plus, my new roommate is a great guy. A little messy, but sweet. Gotta admit, I like him more than I should. And we’re off to a strange start when a mutual friend hooks me up with his ex. Elliot’s the one I want, but going from friends to lovers is a risk. We could end up out on the serve…or we could win it all.

    Out on the Serve is a low-angst MM, bisexual romance starring two roommates, one neat, one messy, beach volleyball, a lot of sand, and a little summer fun. This story is part of the Out in College series but can be read as a stand-alone. 

    Lane Hayes spun the well-loved roommates-to-lovers trope into a fun and sweet story with two MCs that were opposites but synced so well with each other.

    New roommates Elliot and Braden get to know each other’s quirks as they deal with their mutual attraction, difficult teammates, theater dreams, meddling friends and last hurrahs before September comes and put an end to everything.

    Elliot is the goofy, messy one who leaves sand all over their floor while Braden is a neat freak who alphabetizes their pasta. Both men were out as bi and while Elliot’s hippie mom was more than okay with that, Braden’s conservative Catholic mom was in denial.

    The evolution from roommates to friends to lovers was fantastic! I really liked how the two men worked around their differences and just came together naturally even if at first, they had to fight their insane attraction to each other. For the sake of being roommates and friends. But even they couldn’t deny their sizzling chemistry!

    Conflict came in the form of a misguided attempt to boost popularity, a fiasco brought about by Elliot’s volleyball partner, Gus and their annoying friend Sophie. Braden also had things to say to his mom.

    Thankfully, the book avoided the usual pitfalls. There were no unnecessary dramas and the pacing was smooth and fast. It also it resolved things in a sensible manner, something many of us highly appreciated. It might not have the grandest grand gesture moment but it definitely hits you right in the kokoro!

    From start to finish, the story had me rooting for Elliot and Braden. And though it began as a summer hook-up, there were no doubts that theirs was a forever thing.

    This is my first book from the Out in College series. Many characters from the other books make appearances and my interest was piqued. I loved meeting Elliot’s friend, Colby and his boyfriend Sky, and Braden’s ex, Phoenix. Max, Phoenix’s boyfriend gets a mention. Many of the characters were likable except Sophie and Gus.

    The audiobook was narrated by Michael Dean. I’ve always liked his narration. Although here, I felt his voices for younger 20-somethings were a bit too mature for their age. Dean makes great voices for the age range of 30s and older. Other than this niggle, I think he made the book even more enjoyable with his energetic reading style and well-acted dialogues.

    Overall, Lane Hayes served up another win in this delightful story of sports, sand and summer romance. If the beach is your happy place, this book will definitely take you there.


    Thank you to IndiGo and Audible for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Review of Lane Hayes books here.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Wait For Me
    Artist: Kings of Leon
    Album: Mechanical Bull

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Long Shadow by Elle Keaton

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    Hamarsson & Dempsey: Long Shadow – Elle Keaton

    Niall’s known nothing but betrayal. All Mat wants is Niall’s heart; what will it take for him to coax Niall in from the cold?

    Mat’s connection with Niall is tenuous. One step forward, two steps back. Since that night on the beach Niall’s been avoiding Mat like a bad case of the flu–which, ironically, most of his deputies have come down with. What will it take for Niall to believe Mat wants him for who he is?

    Mat’s overworked, Niall’s unnerved, and then things really go sideways.

    Will a killer destroy everything before Niall realizes they are stronger together than apart?

    Long Shadow is a dual POV about a broody introvert and a somewhat patient Sheriff. Mat will have to prove to Niall he’s the man for him. The Hamarsson and Dempsey series follows the same couple as they find their way to their happily ever after.

    I was very much looking forward to this sequel. The first book, Conspiracy Theory, left us with an open ending that badly needed a resolution and this second book certainly made up for it!

    Long Shadow picked up from where we last saw Niall, living in a hotel when his cottage was burned to the ground. Another case of fire soon appeared and Mat suspected a serial arsonist.

    I very much appreciated the fact that this is not another murder case. No one was burned. The only casualties were the building structures. Although Mat had a close call when somebody planted a bomb in his cruiser. I liked how this part allowed Niall to step up as the significant person in Mat’s life.

    I also liked that Mat and Niall were not partners as is usually the case with police procedural. Mat is the sheriff and Niall is a retired cop wondering what to do with his life.

    The Hamarsson & Dempsey stories have a cozy feel to them. This is probably due to the small town setting and the way the gruesome details of the crimes were toned down, in addition to warm, friendly secondary characters and as well as other ‘distinguished’ minor characters.

    The author was able to build an interesting small town community and establish recurring characters that made me wish they had books of their own. One of them, Marshall Sopper (?), the doctor who loves taking in strays. The good doctor took in an army medic and his son and there’s a big story there waiting to be told.

    Another character I’d love to read about is Shay Delacombe, a lawyer who had surprising connections to Niall. He had a take-charge personality and would probably annoy Niall just for the heck of it.

    Admittedly, the first parts of the story meandered a bit the way Niall was meandering through town, suspecting unsuspecting RVs and taking his own sweet time deciding what to do with his relationship with Mat. ‘Glacial’ was how Mat described it.

    Luckily, the sheriff had infinite patience. Shouldering on, the story picked up when things started exploding and from then on it went on a quicker pace. Niall finally pulled his head out of his ass and took action. Then the story hurtled to an HEA. It may have been fast, it was still done nicely and with a few laughs especially with Shay butting in their business.

    Now I’m not sure if we will get another book. I hope we’ll get more. There’s something about this series that appeals to me. It does not go over the top with the action and suspense, the cases aren’t the type that would involved huge media coverage. Yet somehow, it’s very engaging.

    The audiobook was narrated by Michael Dean. He’s one of the more enjoyable narrators out there. He delivered suspense with just the right amount of tension. He also created distinct voices for each characters, even the female ones. I especially liked how his Niall voice suited the character to a T.

    The books are written in dual POVs and I liked Niall’s and Mat’s narrative voices.

    Niall is the last of the Hamarssons. He tends to overthink and is afraid of trusting anybody due to a rather traumatic childhood where he was abandoned by his mother. He says little and loves his alone time very much. As tactiturn as he is with humans, he talks a lot to his dog, Fenrir. His arc wasn’t fully resolved but I guess that leaves it open for more books.

    Meanwhile, Mat tends to be easy-going and open. He takes his numerous responsibilities seriously. He lives with his mother, sister and niece. I liked how he saw through Niall’s walls to the good person behind it. Then he proceeded to leap over those walls and love that person too.

    These books are not standalones. There were many events from the past that were directly referred to with not much explanation. I highly recommend meeting Niall when he first landed in Piedras Island. He was so alone and grumpy.

    Witness him as he slooowly open up to Mat and his endearing family. Niall had come a long way. He still has ways to go. At least now, he had friends, family and a loyal dog with him. That’s all he needs really.


    Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Review of book 1, Conspiracy Theory, here.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Headlights On Dark Roads
    Artist: Snow Patrol
    Album: Eyes Open

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Gideon by Lily Morton

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    Finding Home: Gideon – Lily Morton

    Gideon Ramsay is so far in the closet he should be a talking faun.

    A talented, mercurial, and often selfish man, Gideon has everything he should want in life. Fame, money, acting awards – he has it all. Everything but honesty. At the advice of his agent, Gideon has concealed his sexuality for years. But it’s starting to get harder to hide, and his increasingly wild behaviour is threatening to destroy his career.

    Then he’s laid low by a serious illness and into his life comes Eli Jones. Eli is everything that Gideon can’t understand. He’s sunny tempered, friendly, and optimistic. Even worse, he’s unaffected by grumpiness and sarcasm, which forms ninety percent of Gideon’s body weight. And now Gideon is trapped with him without any recourse to the drugs and alcohol that have previously eased his way through awkward situations.

    However, as Gideon gets to know the other man, he finds himself wildly attracted to his lazy smiles and warm, scruffy charm that seem to fill a hole inside Gideon that’s been empty for a long time. Will he give in to this incomprehensible attraction when it could mean the end of everything that he’s worked for?

    From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to realise that being true to yourself is really just a form of finding home.

    This is the third book in the Finding Home series but it can be read as a standalone.

    Lily Morton is a much-raved about author among MM readers. With Gideon, I could definitely see why.

    This is my first book from the author and the third book of the Finding Home series. I highly recommend starting from the beginning because Gideon and his friends are a hilariously snarky, close-knit bunch you’d wish you’re a part of.

    Gideon Ramsey is a successful actor more recently known for bad behavior. He is a certifiable asshole by all accounts. He’s also very closeted. He has long been brainwashed by his manager that coming out is career suicide. He suddenly came down with a case of pneumonia and had to be looked after by a nurse.

    In comes a ray of Welsh sunshine in the form of Eli Jones. Eli is a nurse whose competent skills and perennial happy nature charmed everyone. His backchat charmed Gideon who would rather eat his designer shoes than admit he loves it. Hah! As if Eli doesn’t know.

    It doesn’t take long for Eli to suss out that his grumpy patient is hurting, not just from his illness, but from being abandoned by his parents at 7 and years of hiding his true self. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the book.

    Eli is a person who likes to be needed and Gid is a man who felt he never belonged. It was delightful to witness how Eli brought out the real Gideon Ramsey one cheeky remark, one kind act at a time.

    I loved how Eli got Gideon just like that. He never pressured him to do anything. He let Gideon decide when he was ready. He said things should be taken at their own time. And he was right. Everything came together at exactly the right time.

    Blessedly, there were no contrived relationship drama. There is internal conflict within Gideon but he and Eli remained a solid pair throughout

    The real Gideon Ramsey? He was a pleasure to met. Still a grump but also a loyal friend, a caring brother, a giving lover and more. Certainly more as the author gifted us with the most thorough (and a tad repetitive) epilogue ever, neatly tying all loose ends in a definite HEA.

    This is a fantastic story brought to life by a fantastic narrator. I have always been a fan of Joel Leslie since I started listening to audiobooks. The man can make a scene with multiple characters sound like a radio play. And the accents! Days after I finished the book, I kept hearing Eli’s Welsh lilt in my head. He’s that good!

    Gideon is the book to read if you’re up for some stories where TLCs come with sass and snark, where separations end with midnight visits and Welsh endearments, and movie stars thank god for pneumonia and dissolute living.


    Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Audible for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Babe, You Turn Me on
    Artist: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    Album: Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Just Like Heaven by T.L. Bradford

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    The Young Americans: Just Like Heaven – T.L. Bradford

    Noah Sinclair
    Noah Sinclair is best described as an egotistical, pompous, anal retentive, asshat. And those are his better qualities. Lately, Noah has lost touch with his playboy character “Jace” on the show Americana and can’t quite put his finger on why. The studio decides it is time to shake up his character by making him an offer he can’t refuse, literally. They will introduce a new love interest for his character “Jace.” Only this time, there’s a twist.

    Josh Hill
    Josh Hill is up a creek and sinking fast. He’s got no job, no money, no credit and is about to be kicked out of his apartment. Opportunity comes in the form of a job offer from the show Americana. Everything should be perfect; only there is one hitch. He will be the new love interest for Noah Sinclair’s character on the beloved show.

    So, opposites are supposed to attract, right? Not so fast. No one said life was that easy. Both actors find themselves in untested waters. Will they be able to play a same-sex couple with no prior experience authentically? Well, they say practice makes perfect.

    Carefree, fun-loving Josh and uptight, overbearing Noah, realize they need to make the best of their bad situation and are forced to find common ground. Over time, their roles in each other’s lives become blurred. Is their attraction fake, or is it real? To top it off, Noah has a dark skeleton in his closet that can prevent them from ever moving forward.

    Can they get on the same page and save both of their careers and their relationship?

    Or will they end up yesterday’s tabloid fodder?

    (Just Like Heaven is a full-length, slow-burn love story. It can be read as a standalone. It contains a cast of fully-developed characters that encounter romance, heartache, laughter, and life lessons. The book has darker themes that may act as triggers to some readers. It contains adult language, mature themes, and is best enjoyed by those over the age of 18.)

    Just Like Heaven is a case of life imitating soap. It’s just as long, just as melodramatic.

    I think the author was trying to cram every popular trope possible. Noah and Josh started out as enemies, then friends then lovers. There was a slow-burn gay for you thrown in with both claiming to be straight. Then coming out issues with Noah refusing to even admit to himself he was gay because he was so traumatized by his abusive father.

    Sometime later, we get Josh admitting he had a crush on his football teammate back in high school and revealing he was bisexual. There’s even the big breakup and a second chance romance of sorts.

    All of these would have been one hell of an epic saga. However the book had an unfortunate tendency to tell rather than show. There were chunks and chunk of paragraphs of just telling.

    The book could benefit from taking out some passages. For instance, there was Noah looking back to the time he was caught kissing a boy. The same scenario was later described in dialogue by the actor to Josh in almost the same way.

    I wasn’t particularly drawn to the two MCs. Noah was as difficult as advertised. Josh was the more likable one, the type who’s friends with a person within 5 minutes of meeting them.

    Their honeymoon phase was indeed sweet but on the whole they weren’t exactly the healthiest couple out there. There were petty jealousies and possessiveness. They don’t talk properly. They had better relationships with the other people they hooked up with. So their relationship wasn’t something I could root for.

    On the upside, the other cast members were great supporting characters. I could see how their real life chemistry would translate well on screen. They were like the millennial version of the Brat Pack.

    The Hill family Christmas was the most fun part of the book. Everyone had a blast at their Christmas Olympics. This was where Noah and Josh synced perfectly together. We get a glimpse of what they could be if they were simply regular guys named Noah Sinclair and Joshua Hill instead of Primetime Emmys’ Best Couple.

    It wouldn’t be your favorite daytime soap without scandals and messy breakups. The big fight was ugly, the separation painful. But it wasn’t long before they started hooking up with other castmates. At this point, my interest petered out.

    Narrator Corey H. Bennson was a major reason why I stuck around for as long as I could. He’s one of those narrators who acts rather than just reads. I really enjoyed his style.

    I wish Noah and Josh well. I know they would eventually find their way back to each other. And stay there, hopefully.


    Sorry, this was supposed to be posted yesterday but my blog’s I.P. address had some technical issues.

    Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like

    Soundtrack: The Magic Position
    Artist: Patrick Wolf
    Album: The Magic Position

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh


    Rented Heart – Garrett Leigh

    Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

    Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

    Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

    Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

    I am the type of romance reader who would all but demand exclusivity between the intended couple the moment they started noticing each other. I have no patience for love triangles unless its heading towards poly which is the only acceptable conclusion for me.

    However, if your MC’s a rentboy, it could get pretty… tricky.

    Fortunately, Rented Heart made the process almost painless. I don’t know what sorcery Garrett Leigh did but I somehow didn’t mind Zac hustling and even sleeping with his friend, Jamie while already having feels for Liam. So yes, trigger warning here, Zac had sex with other people.

    This is a short book clocking in at around 5 hours plus. Dan Calley is the narrator as usual. I’m becoming a fan of how he’s bringing the author’s books to life. Realistic dialogues are one of the things I enjoyed the most about her books and Calley always delivered them in such a way that felt like you’re listening in on actual conversations.

    The story did a good depicting the grim realities of of Zac’s world without diminishing the blossoming romance between him and Liam. Their meetings were bright spots that stood in contrast with the struggle to keep roof over head and help a friend in dire need. Although, it did feel too insta given that they didn’t even spend that much time with each other in the first parts of the story.

    Still, it was quite an emotional rollercoaster. There’s fear that it would be over soon and the very real possibility of losing a best friend to addiction. There’s grief and hurt aplenty and comfort wholeheartedly given. There’s roadtrips, doggy cuddles and more cuddles.

    There is also, trouble you could see coming from a mile away the moment Jamie came in the apartment with his stash. Wished it went another way.

    Happily, Jamie redeemed himself. Zac and Liam acknowledged the rom-comness of their situation, shipped Jamie to California and lived the Pretty Woman dream.

    Vivian Ward would be proud.


    Thank you to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    For angsty stories with lots of heart, Garrett Leigh is your girl. Read reviews of her books here.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Ghosts That We Knew
    Artist: Mumford & Sons
    Album: Babel

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Promise by R.J. Scott

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    Single Dads: Promise – R.J. Scott

    Leo Byrne is a cop, Jason Banks is an ex-con. Even after one stolen kiss, something has to give before Leo can convince Jason that falling in love is even an option.

    Adopted at a young age, Leo is part of the sprawling Byrnes family. With his dog Cap, three siblings and a whole mess of nieces and nephews, he is never lonely, and his life is full. Love is the last item on his to-do list, but seeing his best friends Sean and Eric happy and making new families makes him want things he doesn’t think is possible. Kissing Jason at an event to honor his bravery was one thing, but anything other than that is off limits. Until Jason has no one left to turn to, and it’s Leo who helps him at his lowest. Taking Jason and his daughter into his home is one thing, but falling for the ex-con is something else altogether.

    Jason made a deal to keep his daughter safe and spent years behind bars as a result. Volunteering as a convict firefighter was as much about helping the community as saving his sanity, but now that he’s out, he doesn’t even have that. He’s lost his future, his self-respect, and has no friends or a place to call home. Worst of all, even after rescuing his daughter he still can’t keep her safe from the man who wants to use her as a bargaining chip for money. Meeting Leo might give Jason a way to keep Daisy safe, but falling for the stubborn cop means the truth has to be revealed, and he could lose everything all over again.

    Prepare for a chockful of ex-con+cop tension and sweet father-daughter moments in this moving contemporary romance by R.J. Scott.

    Promise is the third book of Single Dads, a series featuring three best friends who work as emergency responders and the men who came into their lives. I started this series with Today, the second book about Brady and Eric, the firefighter and one of Leo’s bestfriends.

    Jason was introduced as the convict working alongside the firefighters in a big forest fire incident where he saved Eric’s life. Eric and his friends promised they would do everything to help shorten his sentence.

    Jason immediately piqued my interest. My gut told me he was a good guy who was dealt a bad hand. I knew there’s some big story behind his imprisonment that’s worth checking out.

    Fast forward to the present time, Jason is out of prison and on the run with his 3 year old daughter, Daisy, in tow. Daisy’s mother, who came from a rich but shady family, was involved with an abusive boyfriend who was demanding money and threatening their lives. The man is wanted by the FBI. Jason and Daisy aren’t safe until he was caught.

    Leo found Jason and Daisy outside his doorstep. His protective cop mode immediately kicked into high gear. He didn’t hesitate to take them in.

    Jason’s backstory was indeed interesting. There were mob connections, drug overdoses, stint in bands, hacking and so on. However, most of these were told rather than shown. I wanted to see more of Jason’s life before he showed up at Leo’s house.

    Leo and Jason had a history of sharing a kiss neither of them forgot. When they saw each other again, the attraction was still there. I liked that the story took time to build the trust and connection between the characters before things got physical. For sure, there were a lot of internal angstyings and things left unsaid. It would have saved them the agony if only they talked. But it took a while to gain Jason’s trust.

    The book focused primarily in developing the romance, establishing the bonds between Jason, Leo and Daisy, and helping Jason and Daisy heal from their ordeal. There were plenty hurt/comfort to warm the heart.

    And we also have Daisy lighting up the story by being her adorable self. Also lovable doggie antics courtesy of Cap, Leo’s black Labrador.

    Narrator Sean Crisden hit the right emotional notes and I generally enjoyed his narrations. My only niggle with his speaking style is that when he reads, the words kind of run together, like he’s reading them a notch too fast. They’re not as enunciated as other narrators. I mentioned this too in my review of his other audiobooks. This could be a me problem since I’m not a native English speaker.

    IMHO, pure contemporary romance of the heartwarming variety could get pretty sappy sometimes. Promise has a good balance between the emotional elements of the story. It’s the book to read for tales of angsty men with trouble on their heels, conflicted cops falling for ex-cons and precocious toddlers ready to save their dads.


    Thank You to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Read about how Jason saved Eric’s life in Single Dads Book 2, Today, review here.
    R.J. Scott books here.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Lifted
    Artist: Birdy
    Album: Beautiful Lies