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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-14-18

Spectacular performances

Lauren Blakely has written a beautiful, raw, gut-wrenching and heartfelt story that will have you applauding and begging for more like it. This is so different from anything I’ve read from Lauren before and it’s amazing. She needs to do more!

I love a second chance romance, it’s my jam. This book hit the spot and then some. It’s angsty, which I loved. I swooned in parts. I laughed – the banter was funny and was definitely needed with the theme of this book, it lifted the spirits whilst still being sensitive to the subject. This isn’t just a story of lost and found love, it’s a story off loss, and grief, and moving on without the people you love most. It’s not an easy listen at all.

I loved that Holland was a strong woman that wanted to help Andrew through his grief but wasn’t prepared to be his crutch. She fought her own wants and desires so that if and when they were a couple it was going to be for the right reasons. Andrew is such a complex character, he is a slave to his grief and it was making him a person even he wasn’t fond of, his character development through this story was fantastic to experience. Seeing how he came to terms with things that happened and how he’d been. It was beautiful. I love when letters are included in stories and I thought these were a wonderful touch to an already brilliant story.

Joe Arden and Erin Mallon were absolutely amazing. The rawness of the performances in this book really makes it stand out. If this audiobook does not win an award, then nothing deserves to. Honest to goodness, if I could give it more than 5 stars I would.

Joe Arden has completely blown me away with his performance. It was gritty, it was raw, it was spectacular. I felt every bit of grief and emotion that he put into the performance. I don’t think I’ve EVER been so mesmerised while listening…and I listen to a heck of a lot. I have never heard Joe like this, saying he nailed the character of Andrew is an understatement, he WAS Andrew. I openly cried whilst I was listening, not just from the words, but the emotion that was conveyed. The heartache and grief shone through. It gave me all the feels. I think it’s safe to say Joe gave his all with this book and it shows.

Erin Mallon is always wonderful, this performance is no different, although she only narrates a handful of chapters – her tone, her way of conveying emotion is so spot on. It makes you feel it all. It makes my ears happy whenever I see her name attached to a project.

I adore that the audio had the messages performed in the voice of the sender, this is becoming a regular thing in Lauren’s audios and I love it. The production was great with no issues that I noted.

The Start of Us plays at the end of Unbreak My Heart and it’s performed by Joe and Erin and is a great little novella. Cute and sexy. It leads into The Thrill of Us which is available everywhere now.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-18

Sweet, Sexy, and Charming!

By now it’s no secret that I adore Layla Hagen’s writing. Whenever I’m in the mood for a sweet romance, she is my go-to author. Her books fill me with happiness. They have such a wonderful balance of humour, swoon-worthy romance, family, and a tiny bit of conflict. Everything a girl needs to get lost in the story. Layla writes so beautifully that you become invested in the characters’ lives and once you start you don’t want to stop reading…or listening, until it’s finished. But, once it’s finished you’re itching for more. Will Connor, gimme Will’s book. That protective big brother cop routine already has me swooning. He’s going to fall so hard and I’m ready. Please, Layla, don’t make me wait!

These characters are just everything. I adore them. If you’ve read the first Connors book, Anything for You, you’ll know Lori Connor is a single mother. Now, single parent stories are my kryptonite, (okay, okay, so I have lots of kryptonite issues, just go with it.) so I was really looking forward to Lori’s story and wondered how that would play out. Was she going to be resistant and against all men because she was wronged, or was she going to be open for anyone, etc? So many questions. I loved that she is a strong, independent woman. She’s so used to doing things herself – taking care of her son, Milo, and running a successful business. And that doesn’t change throughout the book, she’s still that same woman at the end – now she just has a partner in life too. I loved, loved, loved that. Graham Frazier, the big bad owner of the soccer (yeah, yeah, I’m British and I can still call it soccer – it’s okay!) team that Lori’s brother plays for. He’s rich, he’s jaded after a divorce, and he’s sweet and sexy – really, what is there not to like? No wonder Lori fell hard for him. I fell too, add in how he was with Milo and it was swoon-central. Is there anything more swoony than a sexy man spending time and caring for a child? I loved that he took Lori and Milo as a package deal, right from the get-go. He didn’t need time to adjust, he didn’t need countless dates to work up to it – he was all in. The way he couldn’t say no to him was the sweetest thing. Then add in the scenes with Jeff and BAM! I was a goner – gone for Graham. My heart melted in a puddle at my feet. Then we have sweet, charming, cheeky Milo – I wanted to wrap that kid in my arms and give him a big squeeze. So sweet. I had such an emotional connection to the characters and I loved that.

The chemistry between Lori and Graham was there from the first meeting and it was charming. It was almost palpable, and I loved that they didn’t really try to fight it. I think they were both ready for a relationship and they didn’t realise that until they met each other. They acknowledged that connection and did something about it. It was such a nice change of pace from other books. The heat level when these two got together was pretty steaming. Although the little drama that was in the book could have been dragged out – it wasn’t. It was understandably a part of their story, but it was never the focal point and both Lori and Graham worked to get it resolved quickly. The family aspect of this book… this series is always a big draw for me and that didn’t disappoint.

Andi Arndt and Sebastian York performed this book perfectly. I thought they were superb as Lori and Graham. And Milo – oh heck, ok, so Sebastian narrating as a seven-year-old child is the cutest thing – there! I said it! Don’t hold that against me. Andi has such a great range that it really is just such a pleasure to listen to her – every time. Nobody can deny the talent this duo has, and their voices complement each other really well. I thought the production was great, no real issues. The only thing and it was just something I noticed and it’s the first time I’ve had it happen (or the first time I’ve noticed it) - after the first two alternate PoV chapters for the remainder of the book each chapter doesn’t announce which PoV it is – it’s obvious due to who is narrating that chapter, but, it took a while for me to adjust to it. Especially in the two chapters that contained both PoV – at first, I thought they had switched to duet style narration. This isn’t me being negative, just pointing out something I noticed for those that might do a double-take as they listen.

TINY SPOILER AHEAD. KEEP SCROLLING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE IT. It’s only a spoiler if you’ve read my reviews of the Bennett Family series.

*Side-note: I was so freaking happy to see my favourite Bennett make an appearance. Swoon. I may have squee’d while walking down the street. What? I just love him so much. It was a small scene, but it just made my day. It was a super cute scene. I love that the Bennetts are mentioned and showing up, just like the Connors did in the Bennett series.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Sweet, sometimes emotional, and fun.

Lauren Blakely is one of my go-to authors. If I know a book is coming I make sure to carve some time out. They never fail to entertain. Her writing is so easy to enjoy, she has great pacing and her humour is spot on. The Real Deal is absolutely the real deal. I adored this book so much. It might be my favourite of Lauren’s, ok, I probably say that with each book I listen to, but, I think I mean it this time. It was just so sweet and funny and charming. Theo is swoon – so sweet. I loved him so much. The way he was with April was the sweetest. His relationship with his brother was a great addition and I loved how that all played out. April is lovely. I wanna go hang with her, we’d have a blast. She’s fun, and sweet. I really enjoyed the banter between them and the chemistry is smoking. I loved the way they did the little stories, it was perfect for them. This is one of the BEST fake relationship stories I’ve ever read…or listened to. I laughed out loud on a number of occasions. I swooned on even more, and I may have shed a tear…or two.

Erin Mallon is wonderful as April, she always brings so much to the characters and I love listening to her. Zachary Webber was perfection as Theo – I even asked Lauren if she wrote the book with him in mind, the answer was yes, in case you’re wondering. Not only was his performance fantastic – he always delivers, but, the range of accents he used was great, and they were believable. I loved the compatibility of their voices, they really complement each other. The production was great with no issues of note.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-18

If you like suspense, you will love this.

Elizabeth Dyer writes books I like to read. They’re well written, action-packed, and have a good dose of humour, sexy-times, and emotion. I like that they’re longer than your average romance book – at least the ones I’ve been listening to lately. She doesn’t skimp on the details – she builds the suspense and you can’t help but become invested in the story and the characters. I legit laughed, cried, swooned, and cursed during this book. I loved characters. I hated characters. I had theories and I had excuses. I love when a book can cause those types of reactions and Elizabeth’s writing is a joy to get lost in.
After listening to Defenseless and falling in love with the story and Elizabeth’s writing I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of Relentless and it did not disappoint. Although it is a continuation, as in, it has the same characters and team, and the underlining story arc threaded through it, it is also very much its own book. The premise is completely different. That being said, I wasn’t sure how I was going to react, I just loved Parker and Georgia so much, their dynamic was wonderful, and sometimes, you know, you love book one so much that any others can seem like a let-down, that doesn’t happen here. Ethan and Natalia are wonderful, but in a completely different way, and it worked so perfectly. Natalia is deadly, but she has heart. My heart broke for her on more than one occasion. She’s been through hell, and all for her sister - the love and loyalty she has for her is astounding, so why wouldn’t Ethan fall for her. Ethan, the big bad boss of Somerton Security is knocked off his feet by Natalia and it’s so awesome to see. He’s always been the strong one, shouldering all the responsibility and the blame, seeing him come to terms with the fact that he can’t save everyone was really endearing. I really liked them together, they’re both strong - in different ways and that shone through. Their HEA was hard fought and they deserved it, I loved how Elizabeth had it all come together, it was everything I hoped, and even some I hadn’t even imagined.

I have to say that I loved that we got to see Parker and Georgia. I had the biggest smile on my face when Parker first turned up. I was like, ‘here’s my guy!’ Swoon. I just love him. Getting a glimpse into their continued HEA was fabulous and really gave this book that extra appeal and a dose of sweetness.
I like that each book is a stand-alone that has a story arc that connects them. I am so invested in this series, I cannot wait to see what happens next. Bring on Fearless in November! I am excited to listen to it and see where this story arc takes us.

Aiden Snow is so perfectly cast for this series. His voice just fits the flow and the speed. It’s a pleasure to listen to. The way he uses inflection to alter the character he’s performing is brilliant and he never over does it. It’s always so spot on. He’s able to convey the sweet, with the urgency of the suspense and really pull the reader into the story. I just loved it. The production was great with no issues at all.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-04-18

A great book, with superb narration.

I have to say that when I first heard about this book I was over the moon excited. I love that this book was more about the relationship between the three characters and less about the sex, although, there is plenty of that too. It’s been described as MMF, however, personally I’d describe it as MFM with some MM scenes, as to my knowledge, and I’d remember if it had happened, there were no scenes that included MM with the female present and I would’ve loved that to be included to see how their dynamic changed in the bedroom. This isn’t a complaint merely an observation. Ok, honestly, I wanted some MMF in my life – I think Lola Leighton would do a marvelous job with it, she knows how to balance sexy and emotions. Chapter 27 is on FIRE, I’m sure some of it was used in a FB bedtime read post at one point…or, maybe I just wish it was. It definitely felt familiar…maybe I imagined them to life? Either way, it was the sexiest scene.

The dynamic of this relationship is really what this book is about and I love that it focuses on that. Although this book is super sexy, the sex scenes don’t drown out the story. It is emotional at times, humorous, and sweet. I loved the chemistry between the three of them and thought it was palpable from early on. I adored that it came across as more of a real-life relationship, rather than just fiction, you could imagine the issues they faced and how people would react and how they would deal with that.

The characters in this story are wonderful. I loved Will, Sullivan, and Adrienne (for the most part, more about that in a moment). Let’s talk about these characters. First, we have Will, who is more the strong and silent one. He’s so gentle with Adrienne that it’s the sweetest thing to observe. Add in his clear feelings for Sully and I was smitten. I wish we had more chapters from his PoV, as it felt more like Sullivan and Adrienne’s story with a few Will chapters thrown in for good measure. A lot of changes happened for him, I would have liked to spend more time in his head and seeing how he handled the transition. Then we have Sullivan, he’s more the laid-back, funny, and knows what he wants, guy. His attraction to Adrienne was instant and pairing that with his obvious attraction to Will just had me swooning. I loved that we got so much from his PoV. He’s such a sweetheart. Lastly, we have Adrienne. She’s sweet, sassy, and doesn’t take any crap. I loved her for the most part until chapter 25 – I hated the way she reacted to her family and the way she treated the men she claimed to love. I felt she needed to earn back their trust, instead of them winning her back. I even had to stop listening for a minute because I was so wound up about it, then, I loved her again, once things got sorted. I still say she should have groveled some.

I do wish the book was a little longer. I felt some parts needed to be extended, and some needed to be included. For example, when the guys are trying to win Adrienne back, they have a discussion with her family, I’d have liked for that to be included so we could see the change in her parents, know what actually won them over since they were so against it. Rather than just, we’ve spoken to them and they’re ok with it now. The only other thing was that I wasn’t always sure how much time had passed, it felt like it occasionally jumped from one scene to another rather than a smooth transition. With that being said, I really enjoyed the book and would definitely listen to it again, and listen to more from Lola.

The narrators were absolutely wonderful. The casting was great, I do feel like Jacob Morgan was more suited to the character of Will, and Jason Clarke to Sullivan, but, that’s just my thoughts. Nobody said I wasn’t a picky listener. They did a fantastic job regardless. Ava Erickson was pure perfection as Adrienne, her voice has the sweet quality that I felt was necessary for the character. Throughout the book she really killed it, she embodied the character so well. I thought chapter 27 was performed brilliantly by Jacob Morgan, he nailed the emotion, insecurity, and sexiness of the scene…and the book, really. And, Jason Clarke’s performance was captivating, even though it’s only a small portion of the book. All three of the narrators complemented each other. The production was great with no issues of note.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-28-18

Sweet, sexy, and flirty

Love Machine was such a cute, flirty, and sexy story. It really filled my heart with joy as I listened to it. The characters are so much fun to spend time with. Slate is charming and sexy, and oh so swoonable. Whereas Keaton is sassy, nerdy, and charming in her own right. I loved the dynamic between them, the chemistry was off the charts. Kendall always writes such fun books that touch your heart and fill you with joy.

Sebastian York and Andi Arndt were fabulous as always, although I’m not sure about that accent Sebastian used for Mira - left a little to be desired, but, that was something tiny and it doesn’t take away from the rest of his performance. They both delivered the emotional aspects of the story flawlessly as well as the humour. You can’t go wrong with a Arndt/York narration. The production was great with no issues for Love Machine. At the end of LM is a sneak peek at Finding Alexei - firstly, Erin Mallon and Jason Clarke are the bomb! I did not want it to end and I desperately want to know what happens next. I am already half in love with Alex. I feel, and this is just my personal view, that a longer pause should have been had been the end of LM and the beginning of FA - or at least an announcement that a sneak peek was going to play next. Just so people knew what they were listening to. Regardless, it was a nice inclusion for us audiophiles and I think it definitely whet our appetites for more.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-18

So Good!

Mister Tonight is such a wonderful story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of my favourite Kendall Ryan books. One of my favourite sub-genres in romance is the single parent, especially single fathers - so I was super excited to listen to this book. Hunter and Kate (And Maddie) are the best! So sweet. They’re relationship and interactions were wonderful. I loved that Hunter took his child into account, and his interactions were the sweetest - talk about a swoonfest, which was portrayed wonderfully by Sebastian York. (I'll just melt now). I loved that Maddie took time to warm up to Kate, and that Kate grew to love her. It wasn't instant and it really showcased the dynamics of a new family.

Maddie was a smart little cookie and with several nephew that were very similar at her age, it made me smile....a lot.

Andi Arndt and Sebastian York performed brilliantly as always. Their performances were flawless and made each character believable.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-05-18

Heart-achingly Beautiful

This is the first time I’ve read or listened to a Aly Martinez book, but it won’t be my last. I am so in love with this book. It was everything I hoped and more. When I was scrolling through Audible and spotted a book narrated by Aiden Snow and Teddy Hamilton I jumped at the chance to listen to it - dream team right there. Having spent the day listening to the book I have to say that I love Aly’s writing, I was doing so well until the last couple of chapters and then I shed a couple of tears - I couldn’t help it, dammit! My cold heart was cracked by this couple and how they had to try and overcome their hang ups to be together. I also had a number of laugh out loud moments - you know it’s bad when your dog starts giving you the side-eye like you’re crazy. I went in on book 2, seeing as it was a standalone, I don’t feel I missed out by not reading book 1 first, however, I hadn’t even finished this one before I was back on Audible buying book 1 - I wanted to spend more time with some of these characters.

Speaking of characters, I have so much love for them. Evan and Henry both had issues that they needed to overcome. They were frustrating at times, but lovable. I was rooting for them the whole time. The way their relationship progressed and how they grew as people was really beautiful to experience. The chemistry between them was jumping through the headphones...that is, when the sexual energy was melting them. The epilogue made my heart soar, it was the perfect ending for this couple, with a message that more people should understand. I thought the support characters were a fantastic addition. I’m looking forward to diving into Sam and Levee’s story. I hope we get stories for Scott, and Carter and Robin in the future.

Aiden Snow and Teddy Hamilton *insert all the heart eyes* were amazing. I do not use that word lightly, I was completely lost in this story and their performances. It was heart-achingly beautiful. They both have very distinct voices and it worked so well, I had just finished saying how dual was my least favourite style of narration, and then I listened to this book and I take all the words back. Aiden and Teddy proved me wrong, they captivated me and I was lost in their voices. I listened to this book in one go, once I started I just couldn’t pull myself away. Each character was unique and easily identifiable. The emotion, man, the emotion they put into their voices *swoon* I could not imagine this book having any other voice, they were perfect as Henry and Evan. The casting gods were smiling down on us. The production was wonderful with no issues that I noted.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-05-18

Duet for the Win!

Kendall Ryan just needs to take my money... all of it! Every book I read, or listen to, I think is my favourite, and every time I’m proved wrong. Her writing is so captivating that I end up lost in the story, whether I want to be or not. Bro Code was no different, I loved the idea of this story and thought I’d enjoy it, but, it was so much more than I thought it would be. The twists had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next to bring everything together.

These characters are so cute. I just adored Ava’s parents, they were so sweet and funny. I liked Nick, maybe he needs a story next.
Barrett Wilson is a charmer for sure. He was sweet, and sexy. He also drove me half insane with his bro code excuse - my god, man! I may have thought about slapping him upside the head on more than one occasion. Ava is just awesome. I loved her character so much. She was committed and determined no matter what others said, I loved that about her. The love she had for the factory and the workers was commendable and made her such a strong character and I loved that.

The relationship between Ava and Barrett was so cute. I loved their interactions. It was fun, since they’d known each other a long time, and lusted after each other for almost as long, seeing that finally come to fruition and them not be able to resist, it was the sweetest thing. The sex scenes were smoking hot and fit this couple and their story perfectly.

I usually love Ava Erickson and Jacob Morgan’s performances, they’re fantastic. And they’re both brilliant when performing a dual narration, however, as a duet performance? OMG! Just take my money and give me more! Amazing! Having already read the book I can safely say that they brought this story to life and gave it a whole new feel that I didn’t get from just reading it. They always seem to have the perfect tone for each character they perform that it captivates the listener and they get lost in the performance, this book is no different in that aspect, but having Ava perform the female and Jacob the male parts just worked so perfectly. Is it too soon to sign a petition for more duets?
The production was fine with no issues that I noted.

In true honest fashion, and I know I’ve gushed about this book, there was one line that I didn’t like, that frustrated me a bit, it’s nothing major, personal taste and all that. But, since I’m still thinking about it, I’m mentioning it. Because, you can absolutely love a book, and still not like every aspect of it. That’s the joy of reading, right?

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-02-18

Sweet and Sexy

It’s no secret that I adore Laurelin Paige’s writing and this book doesn’t disappoint. It is a sweet, feel-good story. I love a second chance romance, especially one like this, which is sweet and sexy. I really liked the movie aspect of this story, there is something about that trope that calls to me... maybe because it’s so different to the lives we lead. This book had me swooning, and laughing, it was so good. The cover is *insert heart eyes* I just adore it. It fits the story perfectly. And, of course, I love that it includes the names of the narrators.

I loved these characters so much. I adored Walter, I feel like we need to give him and Rodger a story - pretty please! Tanner was all the things. I loved his sexy movie star self, but also the way he was when it was just him and Jenna. The way he encouraged her, and put her first, even when she didn’t know in - swoon! Jenna was such a sweetheart, I so wanted to go hang out with her. She had her insecurities that made perfect sense to me, her relationship with Walter was such a delight.

I loved the relationship between Tanner (swoon) and Jenna. It was super sexy... melt your kindle sexy... I mean, it is an LP book, after all, so it’s to be expected. I loved that we got to see both of their PoVs and how they were dealing with seeing each other again after so long. Finding out that they’d never really gotten over one another and how that came to be. Both of them were pretty insecure but that made sense. Especially when the reason for the break-up is revealed. I loved that the love was always there and once they were together again they just couldn’t resist. The sex scenes were super hot, (see comment above about melting kindles) and fit well with the story and the timing of it.

Erin Mallon is always at the top of her game. I loved her performance. She nailed the different accents and I just love how she makes each character sound so unique. I’ve not heard anything by Rupert Channing and I have to admit it took a while for me to get used to his narration. The accents threw me. The Australian sounded rather British in parts and the American just didn’t sound right, but that’s just personal taste and nothing against the performer. The confrontation scene towards the end was probably my favourite, it felt like he put a lot of emotion into the performance. The production had no issues that I noted.

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