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Second Chance is first rate!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-2020

Natalie and Jack were best friends during school but lost touch. At 45, Jack has had problems with alcohol and depression and he returns to live with his parents where finds Nat has transitioned to Nate. Can they take advantage of this second chance? I thoroughly enjoy the more melancholy of Jay Northcote’s books, there’s a gentle grace to his characters who have been battered by life and still dare to hope and find mutual trust. Nate’s trans issues are sensitively and carefully explained throughout and this gives the story extra depth. 🎧 Hamish Long provides his always flawless narration. He has a very down-to-earth manner which suits Jay’s naturalistic writing style.

Mac is always the joker!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-2020

Mackenzie August, wisecracking PI and self-professed hunk, gives and takes more beatings as he investigates a fatal shooting where the killer has confessed. He also wants to help the glamorous Veronica Summers extricate herself from her fiancé - not for personal reasons, of course! These really are fun books, I love Mac’s enlightened approach, his use of big words to annoy the baddies, his conversations with his toddler, and his care and concern for those around him. 🎧 Scott Ellis deftly manages the humour and thesaurus required to narrate these novels - he multiplies the fun factor.

Can sleeping with the boss ever end well?

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-07-2020

Dylan is breaking the rules. He is the only person in the office who doesn’t fear his boss, Gabe, giving just as many snarky comments as he gets. Despite the fact that I hate the unprofessionalism of office romance tropes, the exchanges are entertaining and each chapter opens with a fun email salvo. I liked that Dylan was well-grounded and unswayed by Gabe’s wealth or power. I thought the inevitable relationship breakdown was well-written. But. I felt the second half of the book was at first overly melodramatic and then overly sentimental - it was hard to recognise the original smart and snarky characters in the latter chapters. Gabe, the once wild stallion, felt tame and gelded by the end - I would have liked him to have retained more snarkiness. I guess the problem with redeeming a flawed character is knowing when to stop. 🎧 Being set in the UK, American narrator Joel Leslie effectively used a range of British accents for the characters, but I would have preferred a British narrator for total authenticity.

The courage to come out of the closet!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-07-2020

Happy Place features George’s journey to overcome his fear and shame about being gay. Divorced and in his 40s, George, has never acted on his feelings until he meets Quentin. I’ve really enjoyed this series. Ostensibly the Rainbow Place books are romances but their consistent message is about self-acceptance and the courage it takes to live openly and visibly, as exemplified by those who work at, or frequent, the Rainbow Place Café. I liked that George and Quentin’s relationship has ongoing teething problems and that it’s only through open communication that they start to get in sync. It felt realistic. 🎧 Hamish Long’s narrations are always understated, so the emotions and dialogue flow naturally and effortlessly.

Boys bond over butterflies!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-07-2020

Lepidopterist and nerdy academic, Lawson, teams up with National Parks ranger, Jack, to find a new species of butterfly purported to exist in the northeastern Tasmanian wilderness. I liked a lot of things about this - the small town friendliness of Scottsdale, the easy companionship of Jack and Lawson, the dates they went on. I am never a fan of instalove and I felt the relationship and achievements would have felt more realistic and hard-won if they’d occurred over months rather an a single week - it was all a little too neat. 🎧 Antony Ferguson’s narration was well-paced. He narrated in his own British accent and switched to an Australian accent for the dialogue - this will sound a little formal and slightly stilted to Australians, but it wasn’t jarring.

More hitman hilarity!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-07-2020

Reformed but unrepentant hitman, Leland, hasn’t quite got the hang of Jackson’s routine private investigator work, preferring to scare confessions out of suspects rather than waste time collecting evidence! When Leland’s past threatens to endanger not only them, but also friends and family, he and Jackson need all of Leland’s 200+ guns to save the day. This second book in the Hitman Guide series is as fun and enjoyable as the first, largely thanks to Leland’s irrepressible and intentionally embarrassing chatter and antics. 🎧 The always hilarious Michael Ferraiuolo delivers the zany lines and scenes with his usual panache!

Best friends find love and lingerie!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-06-2020

Ty and Declan have been best friends forever. While Ty is openly gay, he has never been open about his feelings for his best friend, Declan. Declan, who is in the Navy and ostensibly straight, has never admitted his feelings for Ty. This was a sweet, low-angst and enjoyable romance with few road bumps. Each book in this Finding Home series explores a more unusual sexual relationship, in this case demisexuality and wearing lingerie. 🎧 Bolton Hill has a deep and soothing voice, which he varies for the main characters. He also has a good emotional range.

Moving story of a single dad and daughter finding love

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-06-2020

When the mother of Joel’s child dies, the loss of his best friend and single parenthood put too much pressure on Joel’s relationship. Meeting Liam seems like a new lease on life, but Joel must work out his priorities and master the panic he feels about losing other loved ones. Jay Northcote relaxed and straightforward writing style makes this a beautiful story - in some ways it was less romance and more literary novel, moving yet positive and uplifting. The story is told from Joel’s POV so we are privy to his swirling emotions and thoughts, without it being melodramatic. Three main characters, Joel, his daughter, Evie, and Liam were all lovely, in fact, all the characters are good people, even the soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, Dan. I loved the people, the mood, and the plot. 🎧 Matthew Lloyd Davies gives an exceptional performance, drawing out the emotion without making it mawkish or saccharine. He deftly uses different British accents to differentiate characters, I loved Liam’s lilt.

cover art

Mac meets a streetful of flawed players in this entertaining mystery!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-06-2020

‘Flawed Players’ is right. When anaesthesiologist, Dr Everett Owens is accused of theft, he hires Mac to clear his name, introducing Mac to a very sordid set of neighbours. Being the wise-cracking paragon of virtue he is, temptation has never been tougher to avoid! These really are fun books, Mac’s sarcasm and one-liners work their usual irritating magic on suspects, while amusing us. I hadn’t really noticed the overarching story arc that links the books together until this book, making it all the more satisfying as long-standing secrets come out. 🎧 Every now and then you get an author / narrator match made in heaven. Scott Ellis delivers Mac’s thoughts and lines so perfectly that it’s an incredible pleasure to listen to. Too good!

cover art

Mac annoys the Mob in another great mystery!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-06-2020

Gosh I love these books! Wise-cracking provate investigator and tall drink of water, Mackenzie August is back following in Phillip Marlowe’s footsteps. Mac is asked by a nasty mob boss to find the leak in his organisation - will Mac turn the informant over or congratulate him? These are incredibly fun novels, Lee gives Mac a continual stream of irreverent one-liners and as well as a strong moral compass. Mac’s investigative method is similar to Marlowe’s: basically annoy people until the truth comes out. 🎧 Scott Ellis embodies Mac, delivering the one-liners with panache and comedic timing, you can tell me he enjoys narrating these as much as we enjoy listening to them.