Audiobook Review: Smitty's Sheriff (Hope #3) by Cardeno C.

Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they're perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.

Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.

It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.

When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?

Narrated by: Ezekiel Robison
Listening Length: 3 hrs 19 mins

Smitty's Sheriff is a simple opposites attract story that features former hookups to lovers. Smitty's Sheriff works well as a standalone (as I haven't read the previous books) for anyone interested. It's set in an Arizona town and features older hero, town sheriff, Richard Davis. Richard has been hooking up with his best friend's little brother for sometime but took a break when he wanted more...a steady relationship.

The little brother, Todd Smitty? He's in his early twenties and "flakey". Other than having a good time, Richard never thought to ask for more. So he cooled it off for a few months. But his feelings, as much as Richard would like to deny, were still there. And needing release.

An unexpected job (Todd's sister is still in the service) makes her have to leave her baby with responsible Richard and her youngest brother who doesn't have a full time job to occupy his time. [Don't worry the baby is just used as a plot device to bring the men together in a living space--she is not prominent at all. In fact, it was a little weird for me to see a book with a baby barely getting any mention other than in passing] It's all about these two men.

Hmm...former lovers who never quite got over each other having to care for one small child in a shared space?

I wonder what could happen?

Richard is a dominant without the title or formalities. He enjoys being in control. He's organized and prefers things under his thumb (it's the impression he gave me). Todd enjoys being "deferential". And Todd also craves Richard's body. So add sexual tension and miscommunication and you get the gist of the conflict for this novella.

I liked the simplicity of the story. It wasn't burdened with a lot of sex. Instead, we get two adults who are obviously made for each other thrown into a domestic situation. Do they get it right after day one? No.

Todd proves himself to be more mature by some of his actions. It seems to satisfy Richard's controlling nature. I wished they would have talked more openly from the start especially before Todd moving in to stay with the baby. The story itself was 3.5 Hearts. It used tropes I like: brother's best friend finally gets the protagonist, second chances, opposites attract, large age gap, miscommunication/non-communication. Nothing went too wild. Contemporary brain candy...

But...there was something that gave me pause. I want to preface that both main characters were happy with their roles. Richard was dominant and liked to control, Todd enjoyed being "deferential" to Richard's needs and moods. Listening and reading Smitty's Sheriff, their relationship read like domestic discipline or a 24/7 type of deal without BDSM. I like reading D/s. But Richard seemed just a tad too much in the controlling department. If Todd ended up calling Richard master or sir at any point, I wouldn't have thought twice.

There was nothing that Richard did that would make me think he'd turn abusive at any point. But he's one who was just at the border of being too much. He would fly off the handle when it came to other men just as so much as talking to Todd. It was unjustified and unnecessary...if he talked and explained himself, he wouldn't need to waste so much energy and inner angst.

You like boundaries, pal? Then set them up from the start. (Mind you, I like reading about possessive guys, so in a way Richard definitely checks off the possessive category)

This was my first time listening to Ezekiel Robison and I would definitely listen to books narrated by him again. He gave good emotion to the text, I liked the way he characterized each character. I'd rate the narration 4 Hearts. I haven't listened to a bad Cardeno C. contemporary yet. (*knocks on wood*) And I'm glad to have extended my list of narrators to try out.

Recommended for fans of age differences, some miscommunication, opposites attract and possessive heroes. If you enjoy that, you can't go wrong in the audio or eBook direction.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Expedition 63 :: Book 1 - Dusk by T.A. Creech

It's release day for Expedition 63 :: Book 1 - Dusk from JMS Books! Celebrate with author T.A. Creech and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more about the sci-fi romance today! Enter in the backlist eBook giveaway!

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Length: 42,700 words approx.

Publisher: JMS Books


When contact is lost with Mission Control, Commander John Dennington isn’t overly concerned. Such hiccups in communication are common. The first inkling of the larger problem occurs when he sees the very shape of the world change before his eyes.

John must ease his crew into a new mission and keep the Station together by any means necessary. The crew jeopardizes their chances by fighting his orders, but Jason Weiss, his mission specialist and the light of his life, makes John’s situation more bearable.

The smallest malfunction to Station or crew would spell the end for six astronauts trapped high above a ruined Earth. It’s their mission to carry on. Random chance of the universe hasn’t operated in their favor so far, but John is determined to see them all safely home.


"Nobody's going to be angry if you literally can't get a hold of them," John tried to placate him. The wrinkled nose on his cool bronze face didn't reassure him that Yakecen would let it go, but he had to try. His prickly friend was going to blow a gasket one day and John hated the thought.

Yakecen confirmed his fear with a shake of his head, simple crow black braid swishing against the interior panels like an agitated cat's tail. "I don't want to get dressed down again. The last time, the asshole on the other end of the line said she'd put a reprimand in my file if I couldn't stay on schedule."

That was news to him. "Who told you this?"

"Some drone in Control. I don't remember," he told John, the discomfort in his whole body clear as day. Yakecen wasn't a people person on his good days and when someone had a problem with his work, it just made him dig his heels in.

John sighed and ran his index finger down the bridge of his nose. It didn't help the headache that brewed right behind his eyes. "I'll get it straightened out. People can't expect everything to go perfectly all the time and they shouldn't take it out on you."

"Thanks, John." Yakecen meant it, John saw it in the earnest way he thanked him. John was happy to be the buffer for his crew, especially for Yakecen, but fuck, he hoped someone would take up the duty once they back on the ground. John had plans and he couldn't do that job full time.

John nodded and started to back out of the capsule. "So, yeah, comms are down. Just sit tight, okay?"

"Sure thing." Yakecen ducked out of sight between the seats. "And tell whoever has the camera to knock off with the flash. It's so bright, going off in here, that it almost gave me a headache."

John paused. A camera flash wasn't anywhere near that strong and the interior wasn't that dark. And someone would've made a lot of racket getting past the garbage container over his head. "You see who it was?"

"No," was the muffled answer, but his crewmember popped up again and gave John a strange look. "I didn't see anyone when I checked. Although, how any of our guys avoided me seeing them, I'll never know. Saito even has a problem getting in here."

Saito was the smallest of them all, barely five feet in his socks.

"Huh." That was peculiar. "You know, Turlach was saying the same thing. Maybe Saito knows something about it. He's been in Destiny for a few hours now."

"It was annoying as fuck." Yakecen popped back out of his spot and pointed a finger at John. He hated that finger, because Yakecen always managed to have a disapproving look that matched John's mother's so perfectly, he thought they were clones for a second. "I don't have a problem with the candid shots, but not while I'm working in here. It's too dark for it."

"Understood," John promised.

About the Author

I am a house-parent to a rambunctious small child and happily mated to an equally rambunctious military spouse. My adventures in writing began with fanfiction, and once I was hooked I never looked back.

While I've always tried to make my fanfiction unique, what I enjoy most about creating original work is the ability to delve into my stranger ideas without worrying about how I might apply them to someone else's world and characters. With my own creations, I take pride in twisting familiar tropes into something new and unexpected.

When I write, it is with the intention that my stories will leave a lasting impression. I hope you enjoy the characters and the worlds I create, and that they help you to find a place to exist, for a while, outside of your own.

--T.A. Creech

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Out of the Ocean by Lynn Michaels

Celebrate the release of Out of the Ocean with author Lynn Michaels and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more about the age difference romance and enter in the $10 Amazon gift card giveaway!

Length: 26,500 words approx.

Cover Design: Decorous Anarchy Studios


Cal Bigsby spent his life working the fishing boats and ignoring who he really is and what he needs to be happy.

Prescott ‘Scott’ Vandenburton is being primed to take over Daddy’s company, but he craves a life of his own. His only escape is sailing his yacht.

When a freak storm hits, both are forced to think about life from a whole new perspective.

Shipwrecked, fighting for their lives, and finding unexpected love.


“Well, we do have some food here,” Scott said, as Cal sorted the nets.


“I have some crackers and a can of smoked oysters. Want that for breakfast?”


“Aren’t you hungry, Cal?”

Cal grunted. “You need to ration that food. Who knows how long we’ll be out here.” There was no way Cal was going to take food from Scott. He couldn’t.

“Uh…you mean we.”

“Huh? No.”

“Don’t grunt at me. This is serious. You’re sharing this food with me. Now what do you want to eat?”

Cal ignored him. Scott meant well, but his own instincts wouldn’t let him compromise. No matter what happened, Cal had to do everything he could to protect Scott, make sure he survived. Nothing else mattered. “Have some crackers, Scott. I’m busy.”

Author Bio

Lynn Michaels lives and writes in Tampa, Florida where the sun is hot and the Sangria is cold. Lynn is the newest addition to Rubicon Fiction, and she loves reading and writing about hot men in love. She writes paranormal and contemporary MM Romance

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Review: And the Next Thing You Know . . . (Why You? #2) by Chase Taylor Hackett

Not the one you’re waiting for . . .

Jeffrey Bornic is getting over his ex. Really. So what if the rising-star attorney is angrily sleeping his way through most of Manhattan’s male population? When the time is right, the perfect partner will show up. And Jeffrey knows exactly what he’ll be like: an ambitious, polished professional who’ll make the ideal other half of a fabulous power couple.

Theo McPherson is definitely not that guy. He’s a short, fiery red-head who works in the arts and wears sneakers held together with duct tape. If it weren’t for the fact that Theo is his best friend’s little (literally) brother, Jeff would be crossing the street to avoid him. Theo, meanwhile, has nothing but contempt for guys in suits, and seems to have deliberately set out to make Jeff’s life miserable, all while grinning at him in that exasperating way that he has.

At least it’s hard for Jeff to keep moping over his ex when he’s butting heads with Theo—and suddenly wondering if the last guy he’d ever fall for might be exactly that . . .

Um, don’t mind me over here. In the corner. Hiding. In my box of shame.

I so wanted to love this. I really did.

Hackett wowed me with Where Do I Start in how he made fall for Fletch, and I was all ready to be bowled over to do the same with douchecanoe Jeffrey. In a way I did. The guy actually grows a heart, moves beyond his self involved inclinations, all because he falls for someone who he wants to be better for. Luckily, Jeffrey finds that in Theo.

Oh Theo. Overall, I can see and understand where this guy is coming from, but there were just too many instances where his thought processes made me cringe uncomfortably, and to me, bordered on pure spite and childishness. If one ever ran hot and cold in extreme, Theo is that epitome, and I actually felt sorry for Jeffrey despite the many instances where he deserved Theo’s wrath.

This goes above and beyond enemies to lovers, as Jeffrey and Theo go all out to push each other’s buttons again and again and again. Now, while highly entertaining, this just did not appeal to what I want and need in a romance. So I can see why all the readers out there loved this hard, but in comparison to the first book this lacked the sweet sweet charm that I reveled in and so wanted from this. I just couldn’t ever relax as I waited for the other shoe to drop on the next crazy drama that was going to come, and come it did. These two truly deserved each other.

Many many points to Hackett for great writing, humor, and eschewing typical romance tropes and expectations. This has all the smart snarky banter with the ultimate in one upmanship that any avid reader could want. I just needed a more solid reason to root for these two, wanting way more lovey dovey (not to mention some smexy smexy) and less hateful mean animosity. Perhaps bff-to-all Tommy, will find his HEA and be the icing on the cake!

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: Winter Cowboy (Whisper Ridge, Wyoming #1) by R.J. Scott

Micah Lennox left Whisper Ridge after promising the man he loved that he would never return. But as his sister begged for help when her life was in danger, the only way he knows to keep her and his nephew safe is to go home. Spending winter in Wyoming, when he'd promised never to return, opens too many old wounds, but he's on the run from justice which can't be far behind, and this is his last chance at redemption.

After a hostage situation leaves Doctor Daniel Sheridan struggling with PTSD, he returns to Whisper Ridge. Joining his dad in family practice is a balm to soothe his exhausted soul, and somehow, he finds a peace he can live with. That is until he meets Micah in a frozen graveyard, and the years of anger and feelings of betrayal boiling inside him, erupt.

Two broken men fight and scratch for their lives and that of their families, and somehow, in the middle of it all, they find each other.

Is it possible that love can be rekindled and become a forever to believe in?

Reviewer: Annika

While I enjoyed reading this book it missed the mark for me just a bit. The first part of the book had be engrossed, but by the second half I was a bit bored of it all. It never really went anywhere new, and then out of the blue there was an epilogue and I was left trying to catch up.

Christmas Eve nine years ago changed Micah’s life forever, it changed the whole town. But Micah lost everything and everyone he loved. Promising never to return he left – or more accurately was driven out of town. My heart broke for Micah and everything he’d gone through, for the loneliness and heartbreak, believing he didn’t deserve anything better.

Daniel had always had a plan. Go to medical school, find a job in a city for a few years and then return back home to work with his dad. Only life happened and he’s taken hostage at the hospital he worked. Suffering from PTSD he returns back home to lick his wounds in piece – or as much as a loving and meddling family will allow him. I will admit I never warmed to Daniel, I never felt for him as I did Micah. I mostly wanted to give him a kick in the butt and tell him to get his head out of his ass. (And I’m not talking about his PTSD, just everything else).

There was a lot of hurt and guilt going around, in truckloads in fact, and from so many angles and people. Some wounds more fresh than others, but bleeding nonetheless. Daniel and Micah dance around each other for most of the book and I don’t really feel any connection between them. There was just too much hurt, for that. Too many issues, issues that were never really resolved for my liking. Their getting together didn’t feel natural to me, it was more out of the blue and all the hurts and past swept under the rug, and miraculously forgotten. It didn’t sit right with me.

This book had an intense start, there were a lot going on and with many hints to people and past events. I will admit that it got confusing at times, but it got better as the story developed a bit more. I was invested in the story and wanted to know more. I’m a huge fan of building tension, getting to know characters and their pasts, so I have an aversion to books with huge info dumps in the beginning. I want to be left a bit in suspense, to wonder about the people and their pasts. That’s what Scott delivered in this book, only not as much as I would’ve liked. After finishing the book I’m still left with a lot of unanswered questions. And what’s even worse, after all the buildup and tension, the angst, it all just fizzled out, it was anticlimactic to say the least and I wanted something more. It felt unfinished and incomplete.

Winter Cowboy is not a light or fluffy read. It’s packed with angst and past hurts and slights. But it’s also a story of starting over, about forgiveness and moving forward. I am probably going to pick up the next book in the series, as I’m interested to see where the story takes us next, perhaps we’ll get more of a closure. One can only hope.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Dreams and Expectations (Before... and After, #4) by Susan Laine

At what point are differences irreparable?

Tom McAllister and Nick Corwin have always had a comfortable friendship, even though Nick is a Native American webcomic artist and Tom’s father is a rigid Christian. But they’re about to discover growing up means more challenges than choosing a college major. It might mean making decisions that change pivotal relationships—or sever them.

When a bully confronts Tom and Nick and a dark, unsettling aspect of Tom emerges, Nick is shaken enough to end their friendship. As both young men struggle to balance their own dreams with the expectations of their families—both in terms of career and faith—they recognize the emptiness that parting ways has left in their lives. But when reconciliation leads to confessions that might mean something more than friendship between them, will it make their path easier to navigate or more difficult?

This series certainly has its ups and downs. I love the idea of it, best friends going from friends before to lovers after. The trope of friends to lovers has always been a favorite of mine but this installment had something missing.

For me, I didn’t feel Nick and Tom as a couple. I liked how close they were as friends and really wish the whole Bill incident didn’t happen as it did. I think had Tom not been physical and used homophobic slurs and maybe just defended Nick and then came to realize his feelings were more than platonic, the story could have been believable.

The first two stories in this series were more on the exploratory side of bisexuality or ones sexuality being fluid and I liked that. I am not sure why the author decided to throw violence into these last two but it has been a disservice to the romance of these young men. Though the violence was not aimed at either main character, Nick has a visceral reaction to how Tom dealt with the situation and it made this reader take a step back.

The friendship Nick and Tom has was enough to build upon with an “OMG I am butt crazy in love with my best friend” sort of story. They’ve been friends so long and really affectionate that the next step to exploring how they feel would have been organic had the violence not been there. But as it was, the story felt rushed and I can’t downshift that fast to get my head around Tom suddenly realizing he is in love with Nick.

The sex was completely unbelievable for me. It was over the top and borderline cheesy where again, keeping it simple and sweet while still being sexy is doable with a story like this because the author has given it to us with the first two books.

I don’t know. I am just disappointed with the road this series is taking and that makes me sad. This story had such promise to be sticky sweet with a true friends to lovers story and instead, I am left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Ballerino and The Biker (The Hedonist #1) by Rebecca James

Celebrate The Ballerino and The Biker (The Hedonist #1) with author Rebecca James and Vibrant Promotions! Learn more about the opposites attract romance today! Enter in the eBook back list giveaway!

The Ballerino and The Biker RDB Banner

The Ballerino and The Biker
Rebecca James
M/M Romance
Release Date: 03.10.18
Cover Design: Reese Dante
Most of his young life, Morgan Wentworth has dreamed of becoming a principal dancer in a prestigious corps de ballet. After years studying the art in Milan, Morgan comes home to New York City to apprentice with the Manhattan Ballet Company only to be hit by the unexpected death of his older brother, Jake. The grieving dancer learns his life is threatened by a dangerous rival motorcycle gang and that pierced, tattooed, HOT biker Zeke Ivers has been assigned by Jake’s MC to guard him. Saddled with the constant presence of the infuriating man, Morgan juggles the demands of an exhausting dance schedule as well as his new responsibilities as CEO of his family’s multi-million-dollar company. He never expects to develop an attraction for the straight, obnoxious biker, but that’s exactly what happens.
Estranged from an abusive family, Zeke Ivers has lived at the Sentinel’s club house and worked on cars since he was a teen. When fellow club member Jake Wentworth and a rival club president’s girl are killed on Jake’s bike, the Sentinel’s president delegates the protection of Jake’s little brother, Morgan, to Zeke. Zeke would do anything for the club that pulled him off the streets, but Morgan’s a ballet dancer, for Christ’s sake, as well as annoying as hell. Still, Zeke finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young man. The more attracted Zeke becomes to Morgan, the more the biker is forced to examine his sexuality and decide whether two people from opposite sides of the tracks could possibly have a future together, or if Zeke should do what is fast becoming too painful to consider: let Morgan go.
The Ballerino and The Biker Teaser 2

The Ballerino and The Biker Teaser 3

For another week after the shooting, I continued escorting Morgan to his long-ass rehearsals where he didn’t rehearse, just watched intensely, and his classes where he danced until he was slick with sweat and breathing hard. And I continued studying him, memorizing every expression that crossed his face. His high cheekbones, full lips, and expressive eyes captivated me, and I’d quit asking myself why. Scared I was letting him distract me too much, I renewed my efforts to watch the exits. I’d learned the face of every person who was supposed to be around and kept a watch for those who weren’t.

The list of people wanting me to fix their cars was growing, but I never had any time. Several of the guys offered to take a day or two watching Morgan for me, but I didn’t trust the kid in anyone else's care, and besides, there was my cover to consider. I was supposed to be a reporter doing a story on Morgan. Why would someone else show up in my place? Anyway, I knew the layout of the building, knew the corps de ballet’s schedule, and I knew Morgan. I would take care of him.

Saturday came around, and I once again thanked God the fucking masochist ballet company let the dancers have Sunday off. I planned to spend mine sleeping, unless Morgan got other ideas. The kid looked exhausted, so I doubted it. Halfway through the day, the big guy, chief of the ballet or something, announced some chick named Katie had had to leave and called Morgan in to dance her part during rehearsal. My gut twisted. How was the kid supposed to dance a part he’d only watched a few times, and a female part, at that?

But Morgan did it. He filled in for the girl like he’d been dancing the part himself every day since he got there, and I was in awe. I could tell the chief guy was impressed, too, or at least satisfied. I got the feeling he’d been testing Morgan, otherwise why the fuck hadn’t he asked one of the female apprentices to fill in? At the end of the night, like a proud daddy, I tossed Morgan a candy bar from the machine in the hall.

Morgan looked at the Hershey bar like he didn’t know what to do with it.

“For doing so great at the spur of the moment,” I told him. A smile lit up his tired face that made the embarrassing moment worth it, and he unwrapped the candy bar. He broke it down the middle and handed half to me.

“For putting up with all this,” Morgan said. Our eyes met. The whole thing felt so goddamn cheesy, I grumbled and didn’t speak again until we were pulling out of the Arts Center.

I hated the scared look Morgan had every time we walked outside the building since the shooting. I wanted to rip Spoons’s face off for putting it there, and I would if I got a chance.

“If it makes you feel any better, he ain’t gonna try the same thing twice,” I said to Morgan as he inched closer to me on the walk to the car.

He looked at me. “You mean he’ll devise another way to kill me?”

“Well, yeah.” We climbed in, and I headed for the Midtown Tunnel. I’d been changing up our route, even if it took longer to get home going a different way.

Morgan sank down in the seat and fiddled with the edge of his sweatshirt. “I can’t go on like this. I’m so fucking stressed out.”

“The way I see it, you ain’t got much choice,” I said. “You wanna be a dancer, so you gotta go to school. You wanna stay alive, so you gotta have me with you. Thing is, you gotta trust I’ll take care of you and relax.”

Morgan brought up his knees to his chin. He was like a fucking bendable toy. I bet he could put both feet behind his head. His face was broody.

“It’s gonna be okay, kid,” I said. “I got you. Concentrate on spinning around and looking pretty.”

Morgan groaned. “Shut up.”

I laughed, feeling suddenly light.

Rebecca James Logo
I've always loved to write and have written since I was a child, usually to entertain my family. I enjoy writing m/m romance because there's nothing hotter than two men in a loving relationship. I write contemporary romance but am not limited to that. I enjoy writing alpha/omega and vampire stories, and I wouldn't rule other things out. I'm very prolific, so look for a lot of things to come!



Audiobook Review: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet

2nd Edition
One moment Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger shifter he would rather strangle. 

Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world where he belongs. On their journey they might discover why the priestess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.
First Edition published as The Soldati Prince in Charmed & Dangerous by JCP Books LLC, 2015.

Listening Length: 3 hours and 27 minutes
Narrator: Manuel Pombo

The Soldati Prince sounds like the solid start to a series, and the story delivered on that point, but overall it was a beginning that needs more stories to give it staying power. It’s a fully fleshed out setup and I would be interested to see where the characters go from here. I have so many questions and ideas about the direction the series could go and secondary characters that need their own stories!
I really liked Riley and his humor charmed me from the beginning, but unfortunately, it didn’t translate well in the audiobook for me. It didn’t flow, it read like it was being read not felt and I know I would have enjoyed the story more had I read it rather than listened to it. I liked the narrator’s voice, he’s very easy and pleasing to listen to, but I find humor doesn’t always translate well in audiobooks, it takes a special tone and timing to work and Riley’s snark was lost in translation.

Now, his Khalon worked well, but Khalon is a much more serious character with a deeper timbre that flowed with the narrator’s voice. Actually, all of his shifters sounded good, their more formal speech pattern was a good match for the narrator. The bummer is, the charm of the story lies with Riley and I felt like I was missing something from him throughout.

There’s a lot of backstory in this one, but it was never overwhelming and it all came together well and flowed as the characters learned more about their backgrounds and their fates. The story is definitely not done through and as I said, it’s a solid setup to a series and the story is far from over with the tale that is told here.

I’m ready to dive into Book 2, The Foxling Soldati, this is one of the secondary characters, I needed to know more about! I’ll be reading this next one though, I think that will be a better fit for me and I’ll appreciate the story more.

**a copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**

Audiobook Review: The Destiny of Dragons (Tales from Verania #2) by T.J. Klune

Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.

Life is good.

Until it’s not.

Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.

And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.

Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.

The first book in the DESTINY FUCK YEAH! Trilogy (because sometimes, having a destiny is the stupidest thing ever).

Narrator: Michael Lesley
Listening Length:16 hrs 40 mins

I honestly had some trouble starting this review.

What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said?

For some fangirling reference, check out our group review when the book was released.  I stand by it all and then some.

So, to at least keep this review from going stale, I’m going to focus on the sublime pairing of T.J. Klune’s words and Michael Lesley’s narration. Listening to A Destiny of Dragons is not a passive experience, it doesn’t run in the background while you’re driving, doing chores, blah, blah, blah. Listening to this book is an event that is all encompassing in the best possible way. Thank sweet baby jeebus for the 30 second rewind nubbin on the app; because I get to laughing at a Gary rant and miss a whole passage, or Sam will have an epiphany that is perfectly worded and then spoken in Sam’s “contemplative” tone that always gets my attention, or Ryan will just be Ryan and I want to hear him again.

I listen to a lot of audiobooks and am a huge fan of quite a few narrators. Some though, some can just make the words come alive and when the perfect match between book and narrator come together, the book gets elevated and as listeners we get to experience the story on a more intimate level. Michael Lesley is simply amazing. There are A LOT of characters and these aren’t just MC’s and secondary characters, these are KLUNE characters. They have completely unique personalities, rapid fire interactions and the entire gamut of emotions from start to finish. He nails every scene and every bit of banter and I’d love to sit down with him over beer and nachos just to listen to him tell me all his behind the scenes stories of creating a T.J. Klune audiobook.

I’ve gushed over the narration and now I just want to ramble a bit about the series as a whole and what it means to me. One of the best experiences in the world is loving something with your friends. It’s a quiet thing really, it doesn’t take a lot of expense or effort, but the sense of community it creates is priceless. It’s a strength in our little world that I know I take for granted too often and when I was thinking about what I could say about The Tales of Verania that wouldn’t be a repeat of what I’ve already said, words didn’t come to me, but feelings did.

I’m not a super mushy person by nature, but when I love something I’ll smother it hard with all my feelings and when I think of this series, outside of the specifics of the story, it just plain makes my happy. I love that the characters are not perfect, I love that they’re relatable and I love that I can respect them. I love that I can be a part of their epic adventures and that I’m not alone, my friends are with me for the ride. I’ve talked about this series with friends I’ve met in person and some whose real names I don’t even know. I bought the audiobook for another friend and he and I have listened together and texted back and forth throughout every chapter.

I know that this just one series that brings readers together, but this is the most meaningful one for me personally. It’s not just the words or the narration, it’s the sense of comaraderie with fellow readers and listeners both the author and the narrator created that I am truly thankful for. It’s a seemingly minor thing that is actually a pretty big deal.

I have to say a big thank you to both T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley for giving me something to love so hard with my fellow book (and audiobook) pals.

Thanks guys, see you in the next book!

**a copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Teacher's Pet Anthology by Various Authors

Celebrate the release of NineStar Press' Teacher's Pet Anthology with IndiGo Promotions! The QUILTBAG anthology features stories from authors: Kashmira Majumdar, S.A. James, Asta Idonea, Hudson Lin, Aila Alvina Boyd, Valentine Wheeler, Damian Serbu, Jack Harbon, and Arden Powell! Learn more today and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title:  Teacher's Pet
Author: Kashmira Majumdar, S.A. James, Asta Idonea, Hudson Lin, Aila Alvina Boyd, Valentine Wheeler, Damian Serbu, Jack Harbon, Arden Powell
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: March 12
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female
Length: 88500
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal. Sci-Fi/Fantasy, age gap, contemporary, Fantasy, paranormal, romance, teacher/student

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Nine Stories of Lessons Outside the Classroom

By Virtue Fall by Kashmira Majumdar – The rules have changed…and so have the consequences for breaking them.

Striking Gold by S.A. James – Sometimes when we think we have no choice, life brings something brighter.

Full Marks by Asta Idonea – When Jacob seeks out his favourite lecturer at a university reunion, will he get full marks?

Lessons for a Lifetime by Hudson Lin – A second language, a first chance at love.

Welcome to Ms Skinner’s Freshman Composition by Aila Alvina Boyd – After auditioning for a play, professor and student find themselves cast opposite each other as romantic leads.

Piece of Cake by Valentine Wheeler – All Richard wanted was a nice, quiet retirement. His kids aren’t going to let that happen.

Professor Ghost by Damian Serbu – An otherworldly mentor might be his way out.

Bare by Jack Harbon – When a passion for art turns into something more.

The Botanist’s Apprentice by Arden Powell – Don’t get too close to the flowers.


By Virtue Fall by Kashmira Majumdar
Jonah Shapiro is no model student, even by the lax standards of his preppy New England boarding school. His penchant for rule-breaking and leather makes him the bĂȘte noire of his teachers—except the earnest, tea-drinking, cardigan-wearing Mr. Donovan, who’s determined to not give up on Jonah. Life used to be simpler five years ago when Mr. Donovan was just Head Boy Nick and Jonah’s best friend. Easier, too, for Jonah to kiss him when it was dark and no one was watching. Now the rules of the game have changed, and so have the consequences for flouting them…

Striking Gold by S.A. James
The day Daniel met Silver shone brightly for a number of reasons. It was the last day of high school, but it was also the day he realized he could never leave home. Being the son of an alcoholic mom didn’t leave many choices for Daniel. He could only hope that life and love would treat him kindly.

Full Marks by Asta Idonea
Jacob Corby decides to attend his university reunion for one reason only: Professor Hobbs. Arthur Hobbs is surprised to see loner Jacob’s name on the attendance list, but it is enough to make him change his mind about going to the event. After all, he’s always harboured forbidden feelings for his favourite student.

Lessons for a Lifetime by Hudson Lin
When high school English teacher Patrick signs on to teach an adult ESL course on the weekends, he doesn’t know his life is about to change. Into the makeshift community center classroom walks Salim—tall, soulful, a refugee from Ethiopia with a heart for storytelling and a talent for music.

A midwinter offer to drive Salim home after class one week leads to the breakdown of the student-teacher boundary. As their relationship grows, the prospect of moving in together brings out both their insecurities about commitment and money. But working through differences makes them stronger and Patrick soon realizes that perhaps he had been the student all along.

Welcome to Ms Skinner’s Freshman Composition by Aila Alvina Boyd
After auditioning for a college production, a first year professor finds herself being cast as the romantic lead opposite her least favorite student. Just as it appears as though the production is going to be an utter failure, something clicks. From there on out, chemistry between the two of them no longer needs to be faked.

Piece of Cake by Valentine Wheeler
Richard’s daughters are worried about him, alone in his house after retirement, so they sign him up for a cooking class at the local community center. But what he ends up finding is more than just baked goods.

Professor Ghost by Damian Serbu
Antonio arrives on campus for his first day of college a little overwhelmed from the experience of moving from a rural area to the big city, not to mention that he firmly planted himself in the closet and intends to stay there. When a ghost appears before him on the first night, his terror gradually gives way to curiosity, as this hot specter promises to mentor him toward a better, and out, life at college.

Bare by Jack Harbon
Before his best friend went away for vacation, Levi Singh promised her that he would take life by the balls and live on the edge. So, when the nude model for his art class doesn’t show, Levi takes it upon himself to volunteer. To his surprise, no one seems to be staring too long at him. No one, that is, except for his professor.

When Noah Rose suggests working with him on an assignment after class, Levi suspects he might be looking for something else. Something Levi will happily give him.

The Botanist’s Apprentice by Arden Powell
Graduate student Eli Katz approaches the accomplished botanist, Robert Lord-Harding, to request access to his greenhouse of magical flora. Though Lord-Harding is reluctant to take on a new apprentice after the scandal of his last one, he is intrigued by Eli’s academic work, and agrees.

Eli is primarily interested in the violet man-eater, a carnivorous plant that preys on men by emitting a certain pheromone, luring them in close and then devouring them. Eli wants to return the man-eater to its classic status as a sexual performance enhancer, and spends his days studying the plant. But is it as safely secured in Lord-Harding’s greenhouse as they both believe, or will its pheromones wreak havoc with their new apprenticeship?


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