Author: Stacy Kestwick
Narrators: Stephen Dexter, Tracy Marks
Length: 9 hours 5 minutes
Publisher: Stacy Kestwick
Released: Dec. 4, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Traditions are important. Especially in the South. College football. Rivalries. Tailgating. Halftime shows. Some things just don’t change.
Until Reese Holland shows up with her long legs and no-bullshit attitude to audition for the prestigious all-male Rodner University snare line.
It doesn’t matter how much hazing she has to endure from Laird Bronson, with his narrowed green eyes and arrogant smirk. She wants that damn spot, and she’s more than good enough to earn it.
She expects there to be tension. Even friction.
But not sparks hot enough to burn the entire campus down.
USA Today bestseller Stacy Kestwick is a Southern girl who firmly believes mornings should be outlawed. Her perfect day would include puppies, carbohydrates, and lounging on a hammock with a good book. No adulting, cleaning, or bacon allowed.
Tracy Marks has been acting onstage and onscreen since she was 12, and has been narrating audiobooks for 4 years. She lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and adorable dog, and considers herself very lucky to have an excuse to stay indoors in her toasty little booth during the cold winter months. Bringing heart, heat, vulnerability, and humor to her work, she has a passion for bringing love stories to life.
Stephen always wanted to be an audiobook narrator. As someone who never liked the whole "reading silently" thing, and has had a lifelong penchant for performing and flair for the dramatic, it was inevitable that he would be doing this for a living. With dozens of titles to his credit, a majority of them steamy romance novels, he has had the pleasure of voicing characters from the Great Plains of Texas, the bayous of Louisiana, the streets of South Boston, the dungeons of a vampire's castle, the deserts of Mars, and everything in between. It has been an honor to bring such amazing stories by Penny Reid (Marriage Of Inconvenience), Krista and Becca Ritchie (Hothouse Flower), Lex Martin (Shameless), Mia Sheridan (Kyland), and so many more incredibly talented authors, to life. Be sure to check him out on social media, Audible.com, ACX.com, and at www.stephendexter.com. SAG-AFTRA/AEA. Happy listening!
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Stacy Kestwick. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
My Rating: 5 stars
So, I've been following the author on Facebook for awhile. And I have to say that this was the perfect book for me to read first. Why? Because there is a dachshund in it! If you know me, you know how much I love dachshunds, I mean look at my header here on the blog! And the dachshund is a piebald, like my Dora is. His name is Oscar, which was the name of the first dachshund my family had when I was a kid. Not only does the book have a dachshund, but the characters make wiener jokes like all dachshund owners make. I mean my favorite line of the book just has to be that "You know there's nothing worse than a sad wiener."
Anyway, let's talk about the actual story. Oscar is not the only wiener in the story, there is his owner, Laird. I fell in love with Laird, not just for his wiener dog, but also because he was all about pleasing his lady. And then he was such an all around renaissance man. He was a drummer, and he designed video games, had in fact already sold apps and made money off of them. He volunteered at the hospital with kids in the cancer ward.
Then we have Reese. She's a freshman, trying out for a position on the traditionally all male drumline. And she's good, better than most of the other guys trying out, and maybe even better than some of the guys already on the team. She has to endure all the hazing, but it's not just the normal ordeals, she also has to put up with a hateful misogynistic co-leader of the drumline, Marcos. She definitely feels the attraction to Laird, but she doesn't want to get her spot on the team by dating the captain. Even if she earns the position, she knows any hint of them dating could lead to having to deal with people inferring that's why she made it, and not treating her with respect. When she runs into him at the hospital where she has also stopped by to volunteer, it almost seems as if they really are made for each other.
There's so much more to the story that I loved, but I don't want to give a lot away. I had a lot of jaw dropped moments listening to this, and I love when a story can keep me on my toes. Along with the wiener jokes, there was Reese's new bestfriend and sidekick, Smith. I loved Smith to death, even if he did have kind of bad taste in guys for a bit. Towards the end when he comes to Reese's rescue, and then refuses to keep her secret quiet when it needs to come out, I just loved him even more.
The sexy scenes were as steamy as I liked, and Laird was totally a sweet Southern gentleman. He did irritate me a bit in how he wanted to constantly baby Reese in some ways, and so I felt with her about that. But then there were times it irritated me that she would let someone egg her into doing something that she really knew wasn't fair and she shouldn't have to do, just to prove the point that she could do it, or to prove that they couldn't get to her. There were moments, in fact between probably two chapters when I was saying how much I loved Laird, and then the next one I was so mad at him! I love when characters get you to feel so much, or should I say when an author can write characters that you fall in love with.
I liked the narrators on the audiobook, although the female narrator did this thing where she got all breathless at the end of each sentence. It was kind of annoying and distracting. Other than that, I liked both of the narrators and enjoyed listening to this.
Q and A with Author Stacy Kestwick
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
- I have to admit, I was a complete newbie to the audiobook process. I knew nothing. I learned some of the basics from my author buddies who were seasoned pros, and then trusted my narrators to steer me along the right path. They were both beyond patient as they guided me through the steps. I think Tracy even went so far as to send me screen shots with step by step instructions at times.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- While creating an audiobook for Drumline was one of my goals with this project, it wasn’t something I really thought about as I wrote. The characters were telling their story and I was simply making sure I did it justice. I was more concerned with word choice, pacing, sexual tension, side plots, vivid descriptions, and all the various ingredients that go into the recipe for a great New Adult romance.
- How did you select your narrator?
- Tracy had actually reached out to me after reading my debut novel, Wet, but at the time, I was in graduate school and the thought of exploring audiobooks was too overwhelming. But once I finished Drumline, and started exploring the various narrators out there, I stumbled upon her again by chance and loved a sample of hers I found, then remembered we’d already talked once and it was clearly meant to be a match. To find my male narrator, I searched my author friends books on audible and listened to their samples to see who jumped out at me. I heard Stephen Dexter on a sample of one of Krista and Becca Ritchie’s books, then realized my critique partner Lex Martin had used him too. She gave him a glowing recommendation, and that sealed the deal for wanting to use him.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- Well, for Drumline, I was in the marching band both in high school and for two years at the college level. I played cymbals my first year, then switched over to colorguard the rest of the time. Hazing did play a role in my college experiences, although nothing so bad as to make the nightly news, and it seemed like a relevant topic to explore -- without going too dark with it.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- I go to book signings. Nothing is more uplifting than the enthusiasm of readers getting to meet their favorite authors. And getting some face-to-face time with your author colleagues in what is often a lonely job is priceless, solidifying those relationships that had only existed on a screen in the past.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
- Oh, the sexy scenes for sure. Especially the first time Laird and Reese have sex. I blushed so hard listening to that chapter, and had my eyes half covered. It’s so much more deliciously dirty in audio than it will ever be in black-and-white.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- I’d love to see Blake Lively as Reese and Colton Haynes as Laird. :-)
- What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
- Talking to other authors and readers gets me out of a writing slump. Authors understand the feeling and the pressure of the looming deadline, and I’m lucky enough to have a really fantastic network of author friends to lean on when I need it, who are great at peptalks and ass-kicking, depending which I need more. And my readers group - Stacy Kestwick’s The Wreck on Facebook - is my safe place. It’s a super active bunch of the readers who buoy me up every day. I always want to make them proud and they help keep me going.Honestly, I haven’t been in a reading slump in ages. There are so many good books out there in every conceivable trope just waiting to be devoured. But certainly, a reread of a perennial favorite is a good way to beat a slump. I reread Jay Crownover’s Rule and Sierra Simone’s historical Ivy Leavold series this year.
- What’s next for you?
- I’m starting a cowriting project with the amazing Hazel James that we’ll release under the pen name Rory Hale. And I’m starting a new trilogy that I’m still in the midst of the background research for, but I’m so freaking excited about it. It’s going to be hotter than my previous stuff, with some voyeurism and exhibitionism coming into play.
Stacy Kestwick's Top 10 Perks of Being An Author
- Being utterly in control of the product you put out there.
- You can work on your own schedule at your own pace wherever you want.
- No need for pants or a bra.
- Author friends are the best friends to have.
- Getting to explore new worlds and take readers on an adventure of your choosing.
- It’s totally appropriate to use the word fuck as a noun, verb, and adjective.
- Reading books is basically a required part of the job.
- Hot guy pics are definitely a required part of the job.
- Naming characters after people you love… or hate.
- Seeing your name on the cover of a book you wrote and hearing people talk about how much they loved it.
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