Saturday, September 9, 2017

AotM: Walk with Me & Not a Game by Cardeno C. (Reviews+Giveaway)

Walk With Me

Written by: Cardeno C.
Series: Home, Book 7
Word Count: 68,252

Audiobook narrated by: Alexander Collins
Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

When Eli Block steps into his parents’ living room and sees his childhood crush sitting on the couch, he starts a shameless campaign to seduce the young rabbi. Unfortunately, Seth Cohen barely remembers Eli and he resolutely shuts down all his advances. As a tenuous and then binding friendship forms between the two men, Eli must find a way to move past his unrequited love while still keeping his best friend in his life. Not an easy feat when the same person occupies both roles.
Professional, proper Seth is shocked by Eli’s brashness, overt sexuality, and easy defiance of societal norms. But he’s also drawn to the happy, funny, light-filled man. As their friendship deepens over the years, Seth watches Eli mature into a man he admires and respects. When Seth finds himself longing for what Eli had so easily offered, he has to decide whether he’s willing to veer from his safe life-plan to build a future with Eli.
*Walk With Me is set in the Home series where the books are linked by theme or world. They are independent and can be read in any order.

***Audiobook provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***

Eli has had a crush on Seth Cohen since he was eleven years old, before he even knew what having a crush meant. Once he realizes Seth is his father's new apprentice rabbi he tries to insert himself into the straight rabbi's life, but he's too young for Seth, so Eli has to settle on being his friend.

Seth has never imagined he could be interested in men, but he's attracted to Eli and once he gets to know him and their friendship grows, he can't stop himself from falling for his best friend. Eli's nine years younger than him, though, and Seth has to discover if he really likes men, so it makes for some interesting times. In the meantime, he's saddled performing themed weddings that put his patience and his work ethic to the test at each step of the way.

This was one of my favorite stories in the Home Series. It's fun as hell, sweet and all-around amazing and Alexander Collins managed to make it even better! I have to admit that I preferred his Eli's voice to Seth's, but that might be because Eli is more vibrant and bubbly than Seth. Still, the chemistry and the love between them comes across quite nicely in this audiobook. I loved all the different voices, all the inflections, and the character the narrator gave the story. It made an already awesome story into an outstanding audiobook.

Rating: 5+ Stars!!! 

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Not a Game: A Contemporary Gay Romance Novel

Written by: Cardeno C.
Series: Friends Collection
Word Count: 55,872

Audiobook narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

    A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second's hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.
    Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn't lacking friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there's an emptiness in Jaime's heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.
    When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little understanding.
    ©2016 Cardeno C. (P)2016 Cardeno C.

    *** Audible code provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my listening pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.***

    I'm a huge Cardeno C. fan, but I hadn't had time to read this book since it came out, so when we were given the chance to review the audiobook, I jumped at the opportunity. 

    Oliver is a chubby nerd, with low self-esteem issues that he hopes to get over to find the man of his life. Mistaking Jaime for the man he was supposed to meet at a bar, provides him with the chance to make some of the changes he'd planned on doing in his life. The more time they spend together the more he likes Jaime, but he's not sure Jaime could really be attracted to him, considering Jaime could have any man he wants.

    Oliver and Jaime were adorable together and individually. Oliver is shy, sweet and funny and Jaime is oh so very dreamy and treats Oliver with all the gentle passion that the situation requires. They're so hot together and I just adored listening to their interactions, they definitely fit together in more things than just in the bedroom, but the explosive sex definitely was a huge plus! 

    The story is as amazing as Cardeno C. has me used to. Flawlessly written, with a very organic progression in regards to Oliver and Jaime's relationship and very light on the angst, which was just what I needed. 

    The narration was awesome as well. Michael Ferraiuolo has a very pleasant voice and really brought the story to life for me. He did an outstanding job with all the different voices he came with for the different characters and of course, it doesn't hurt that he was really good at reading the hotter than hot sex scenes, either. 

    All in all, either by reading or listening Not a Game, you definitely can't go wrong! Highly recommendable!

    Rating: Story: 5 Stars!!!
    Narration: 5 Stars!!!
    Overall: 5 Stars!!!

    Everyone has their "Go-to" authors, ones you just one-click as soon as you see they've released another book.  Cardeno C. is one of those authors for me, I love her books.  From the stories of friendships that develop into love to enemies who find they fit perfectly with one another, destined mates and second chance love, I always feel good after reading one of Cardeno C's books.  So, of course, I had to read Not A Game and while it felt just a bit different to me I definitely enjoyed it. 

    Oliver Barnaby has just moved to Seattle from Oklahoma after getting a great position at Snow Storm Ltd., a gaming development company.  Never having much experience putting himself out there, he steps out of his comfort zone to meet a man in hopes to learn how to become better in bed. It's the first step in his new process to getting the life he's always wanted desperately to have.  If he can figure out how to please men in bed, work on joining a gym to get in better shape and lose some weight as well as make some new friends, he's destined to finally find a boyfriend. 

    Jaime is attracted to Oliver the moment he lays eyes on him.  He jumps at the opportunity to teach Oliver all about sex even if he really doesn't think Oliver needs any lessons.  Jaime loves the fact that Oliver isn't an overly muscled gym addict or some skinny twink. He thinks Oliver is sexy just the way he is, however, he realizes he'll need to prove that to Oliver. Of course, it's not just a physical attraction he feels with Oliver, they just seem to fit.  If he could only convince Oliver that what he feels is real.  

    If you want to read a story with just a tad bit of angst and a whole lot of sweet, great down to earth characters, romance and fun, Not A Game is a great choice.  I fell in love with Jaime from almost the beginning. He's so sweet and patient with Oliver even when I personally wanted to shake some sense into Oliver. You get a good idea of what a good person Jaime truly is and it's definitely what Oliver needs. 

    Oliver is smart and a bit quirky and when he lets himself relax, quite funny. His insecurities seem to almost always come up though and after a while, it can be frustrating. However, I have my own insecurities, so I tried to not let those annoyances bother me too much.  When Oliver starts to come out of his shell, though, he is very funny and the chemistry between him and Jaime is great. 

    I'm definitely anxious to see more of these two in the future and see where life has taken them.  I am also very excited at hopefully seeing Jack get his own book.  His character intrigued me and I really want to see him get his happily ever after too. This is a great start to what I imagine will be a sweet and fun series. 

    4.5 Stars!

    ***A copy of this book was provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***

    **Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review**

    Oliver Barnaby is a shy, chubby, introvert gamer and game designer who received a dream job offer. He moves to Seattle and starts trying to make changes to his life and leave his boring existence behind. He has only had one boyfriend and it didn't end well so he's determined to get a boyfriend. As he works towards this goal, a case of mistaken identity leads him to meet Jaime. 

    Jaime goes along with the mistaken identity because he was immediately attracted to Oliver and knew it was the only way he'd get to spend time with him. But he has to work to turn their one-night stand into a real relationship like he wants. 

    I seriously loved this book, I would bet I had a smile through most of this book. Oliver is not the perfect model figure. He's awkward, shy, chubby and has low self-esteem. But this all works to make him endearing. Once he gains self-esteem, he has a great sense of humor that had me laughing out loud several times while reading. 

    Jaime is really too good to be true. He's good looking, fit, a good friend, a good person, wealthy and loves someone that others would pay no attention to. He is great at building Oliver's self-esteem and letting Oliver know that he loves him regardless of a number on a scale. 

    This is a book that I will reread. It's sweet, loving, funny and made my heart sigh. I hope there's a second book for Jack, another too good to be true guy. 

    Rating: 5 Stars!

    Meet CC

    Cardeno C.—CC to friends—is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few awwws into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    1. I've never been to a themed wedding, but most of the weddings that I have attended were strangers' weddings in the '80's when I assisted my dad with videotaping them.
      jlshannon74 at

    2. I have never been to a themed wedding.

    3. i went to a wedding on new years eve 1999 and rung in was a lot of fun

    4. Congrats, CC, on AotM. I actually haven't been to many weddings, what with marriage equality being fairly new. I've been to some nice ones, but not of them nor commitment ceremonies were themed. - Purple Reader,
      TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

    5. I've never been to a theme wedding. It sounds a bit stressful but also fun though.

    6. no I've never been to a themed wedding

    7. I have not ever been to a themed wedding.