Friday, 26 June 2015

Fiction Friday

Last week I promised to reveal my five star reads/audios for the last three weeks.

Here we go then.

The Rebuilding Year (The Rebuilding Year #1) by Kaje Harper

Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.

A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple. 

Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.

John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters. 

It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke. 

I honestly have no idea why it took me so long to pick up this book. I've owned it forever. It was so good. Double GFY (although I'd prefer a #loveislove tag). Slow burn attraction. No ridiculous or outrageous declarations of love. When the L word came up it felt completely natural and not forced for affect. And the children, oh the children. I generally hate books with kids in them. Precocious bundles of sassy sweetness unlike any child I would want to meet IRL and with the speech pattern and vocabulary of an adult. Not these kids. They were real kids, talked like real kids, and acted like them too. And I loved them more because of it.
The suspicious deaths and subsequent investigation wasn't overdone but there was just a hint of a threat in the background that had me on low level concern all through the book. And when that threat came to fruition it came from a completely different angle than I had expected.

Loved it.

Snowball in Hell - Josh Lanyon (audio)
Narrated by: Alexander Masters

Los Angeles, 1943

Reporter Nathan Doyle had his reasons to want Phil Arlen dead, but when he sees the man's body pulled from the La Brea tar pit, he knows he'll be the prime suspect. He also knows that his life won't stand up to intense police scrutiny, so he sets out to crack the case himself.

Lieutenant Matthew Spain's official inquiries soon lead him to believe that Nathan knows more than he's saying. But that's not the only reason Matt takes notice of the handsome journalist. Matt's been drawn to men before, but he must hide his true feelings--or risk his entire career.

As Nathan digs deeper, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay one step ahead of Matt Spain--and to deny his intense attraction to him. Nathan's secrets may not include murder, but has his hunt put him right in the path of the real killer?

This book was the first Josh Lanyon I ever read. In fact it was the first gay romance I ever read. I love this book. My heart ached for Nathan in a way that I don't think it has for any other character. Right up to the final page. But there is hope there too.

I have to admit that listening to the sample on audible I wasn't sure about the narrator but I bought the audio anyway. Two chapters in and I still wasn't certain. I voiced my opinion on Facebook and Josh himself reassured me that Alexander was perfect for the reading. Reassured, I relaxed and let myself get lost in the story (a dangerous thing to do when you're driving).

Josh was right. Alexander Master's read the story perfectly. His gruff vocal was ideal for the gritty noir feel of the story. Voices were distinctly different and fitted the characters. My favourite book lost none of its impact or heartbreaking quality in the reading.

Do you like audio books? Has the audio version ever ruined a book for you?  Or made it better?


  1. They both sound really good. The first one probably more than the second.

    I don't listen to audiobooks - I find myself drifting off and not concentrating and then not even knowing what's happening in the story. But I'm THRILLED that they are out there for people who enjoy them :D (I even have my own...Fixing the Hole) :D

    1. I swear I already replied to this :) Maybe I'm dream replying. In my 'dream' I even included a link to Fixing the Hole on Audible :/

      Let's try and recreate my comment. Snowball in Hell...seriously BB you need to read this book, it has all kinds of feels and the era is so amazingly depicted. And the audio is amazing.
      Here's the trick with audiobooks, because I completely get your point about drifting off. Generally I only listen to the audio once I've read the book. That way I know, more or less, where the story is going and it allows for some drifting. I can form my own opinions about the characters/events without being swayed by the narrator. They allow for a quick and easy reread when the next book in a series is due out, or if you just need a fix of your favourite characters.

      As one of your crit partners on the original manuscript I'm excited to see what the narrator has done on Fixing the Hole. For anyone that needs a link. Fixing the Hole.