Sunday, February 28, 2016

Audiobook Review: Shelter by Ashely John


Title: Shelter

Author: Ashley John

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Publisher: Audible

Release: 2nd February 2016

Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins

Genre: M/M (Contemporary)


Fresh from his fourth stint in rehab, Elias James doesn’t have much to live for. His relationship with his family has never been so strained and with no real life of his own, he has nothing to live for. His overachieving twin sister and his ruthless mother's political success as Mayor of Havenmoore has left him empty. Getting high started as an act of rebellion but the addiction soon controlled his every waking moment.

Aspiring writer, Caden Walker, thought he had the perfect life until he discovered his boyfriend in bed with his best friend. Leaving everything behind in New York, he returns to Havenmoore to re-evaluate his life from his parent’s guest bedroom. When his mom offers him a job working for the charity she runs, helping people struggling with addiction, he’s not in a position to turn it down.

Caden never expected to find what he did, but when he is assigned to work with Elias, a reluctant attraction quickly blossoms into something deeper. Can Elias find in Caden the one thing he’s always searched for or will his addiction drag him under once again? Is Caden ready to let go of his New York dream to take a chance on something unexpected? Both men are faced with difficult times of change, but can they make it through the storm to find the shelter?


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Mark’s Review

Oh my, if there was ever a story that takes someone from rock bottom, leads them to a new start with a whole load of bumps in the road on the way, to a future to hope for then it’s definitely Elias in Ashley John’s book Shelter. This is truly a heartfelt story about Elias’s struggle to beat the habit of drugs and make a future for himself. There’s nothing more I like in a character than someone who is prepared to fight and overcome all their difficulties. Who comes back from being

We first meet Elias coming out of rehab as he landed up there due to an overdose. the clinic has got him clean so far but now the hard work starts and that is staying clean. Is he weak? Is he a lost cause? Why did he even start using in the first place? Well, when we start to learn about his family background, how is was brought up and what he experienced at the hands of his mother, yes I could perfectly see why he got himself in such a state. His mother is mayor of the town he lives in. Publicly she all smiles and kissing babies. Privately, she a bitch! And when I say bitch, I mean B.I.T.C.H. Ooohhh, it’s not very often I really feel intense hate for a character but I so did with this one. Elias has a twin sister but as his sister was always the star child, academic achiever, gets some attention from her mother but Elias is totally shoved off to the sidelines and ignored to the extent the town isn’t even aware the mayor has a son, only a daughter.

What will it take for Elias to overcome his addiction? To give him hope of a future? To get him back on his feet? Well this hope arrives in the form of Caden. Caden has moved back home and with his parents after catching his ex-fiancĂ© in flagrante with a mutual friend. Yes, he’s hurting and but obviously once trust has been broken in such a way then there is really no repairing it. Caden starts to work for his mum’s charity which is an outreach programme to provide support for drug addicts out of rehab and try to keep them on the straight and narrow. Caden is assigned to Elias and something starts that neither of them had bargained for.

I loved how this relationship developed. At first Elias is still hurting, cynical, only has drugs on his mind, still suffering somewhat from withdrawal, over the worst but still a long way to go.Caden is trying to put his past behind him, forget what happened in NY and move on as best he can. Although he’s approaching 30 starts to ask all the usual questions about what he has achieved in his life so far. So in many respects both characters are in need of some form of healing. However, when things become a little too close for comfort Caden breaks of his support as counsellor and swaps with his mum. I know there is always a professional distance to keep but then when you have taken that step isn’t it too late? Especially when you know that what you are doing is going to make the difference between keeping someone on the right path or not. Elias feels let down and his mistrust and lack of faith in human nature is once again proved right. However, this time he fights and confronts Caden. After Caden caves in no longer able to deny what is happening he finds himself involved in a whole lot of shit and scandal caused not by Elias but of Elias’s mum’s doing to protect her precious reputation. Did I say what a BITCH this woman is? I did? OK, then you see how much I hated this woman.

The fight is now for their love, against the evil machinations of Elias’s mother but at least the relationship with his twin sister starts to become better and they find a way to each other. In the end even his sister can see what an evil person their mother is, even if she did turn out to be a bit of a clone of their mother. There were times that I just couldn’t believe what was happening. A moment where Elias almost went back to using and me talking to myself saying, “Please, don’t do it! No. No. No!” It was a close call but I huge sigh of relief when it all worked out OK.

And it was this that kept me totally invested in the story. Elias’s struggle and fight on all fronts, the drugs, his family, keeping Caden. I was sooooo proud of him by the end I was overjoyed that he came through strong, turned his life around and became a better person for it. YES! As for the bitch? Well, she kinds of get her just rewards but it wasn’t nearly as hard as she deserved in my books. A great story from Ashley John which will give any reader something to get their teeth into and shows us that where there’s a will, and most importantly love, there is most definitely a way!


For once I really don’t have a lot to say – lol! Only because the narration is wonderfully done, the voice characterisations are great and makes for a super listening experience. The only very small, personal, micro-point is I felt certain scenes could have just had a little more emotion in them. Elias at the beginning is one angry young man. When Rigsy tries to attack Elias and attempts to get him back on drugs or when Elias confronts his mother, for some reason I was just missing a little more emotion or  anger behind the voice. But after all is said and done it was a great narration and I enjoyed it very much.


Audio Excerpt


Meet Ashley John

Ashley John lives in the North of England with his fiancé Reece, and his cat Jeremy. Ashley is a lover of love and a lover of life, and that's why he writes Romance novels. He's a sucker for gripping love story. His characters are fighters, strong and complex, and they'll do anything to get the happy endings they deserve (and there are usually a lot of tears and heartache along the way!). Ashley is best known for his best selling George & Harvey series and The Surf Bay Series. When Ashley isn't writing, he uses his creativity to paint and draw, and when he's not being creative, he's usually taking a nap.




Meet Derrick McClain

13845656Ever since my voice dropped, people have been telling me I “should go into radio”…

What people don’t realize is that you don’t go into radio just because people like the sound of your voice. You go into radio because you have a passion for what’s on the radio – for music, or for news, or sports. While I can appreciate these things, I don’t have a passion for them.

Now, books on the other hand…books I can get behind.

After eight years of professional and competitive public speaking and (live) oral interpretation of literature, Derrick has turned his powerful voice to the world of audiobooks.

While he enjoys reading, listening to, and narrating a wide variety of genres, he has a particular affinity and passion for romance novels of all types.

Derrick records in a professional quality studio at his home in Tallahassee, FL, where he enjoys the quiet North Florida lifestyle along with his fiance and insanely hyper dog. He has previously lived in rural Pennsylvania as well as Orange County California, and has extensively traveled the United States, becoming familiar with a wide range of American accents and sub-cultures.



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