Sunday, December 20, 2015

Audiobook Review: Where You Lead by Mary Calmes


Title: Where You Lead

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Length: 1 hr + 41 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release: 15th September 2015

Genre: M/M (Christmas)


ATF agent Peter Lomax isn't a hearts and flowers kind of guy, but he can be possessive, and it caused problems - until Carver Fleming. Carver may be part of the art world, but he gets Peter, loves belonging to the man, and Peter treasures the way Carver understands them together.

Carver loves Peter, but he's fully aware that six months doth not a commitment make. Carver wants to make the relationship last forever, but he'll have to leave their life in Chicago to take care of the family he loves. He wants to do it with Peter by his side, but going from the city of Chicago to tiny Colt, Kentucky is a big change.

Carver has only one Christmas wish: Please, oh please, let Peter fall enough in love with Carver's family to follow Carver home.


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Mark’s Review

For a story that is a little under two hours then it is a real art to get a complete story into so few pages. Mary Calmes with this story has definitely mastered the are of short stories. A Christmas novella, as compact as it is complete. A story that can be read within an extended lunch break from work or in one evening relaxing in front of a log fire with a cup of hot chocolate. Personally I prefer the second option – lol!

The thing for me and short stories is that the characters have to jump off the page for me from the word go. They have to come alive and take up residence in my heart and imagination. Mary achieves this wonderfully. We first meet Peter Lomax at an art exhibition with his ATF colleague and his wife. Seriously, I loved these two from the word go. Looking at some modern sculpture that both had decided was a cockroach crawling out of a pile of poo – LOL! The conversation was great, just like two big kids bouncing off each other but who also understand each other completely. Loved it, I had belly laughs and could imagine the whole scenario, just liked kids they were a source of embarrassment for Peter’s colleagues wife who saw the only way to get them to behave was to split them up. Still smiling when  think about the whole thing.

We learn the Carver the gallery owner and manager is Peter’s boyfriend of six months and they’re crazy in love. What I liked about this was that for a short story you get just enough background information on the characters to know where they are coming from but also not so much that it makes the story longer than necessary. Again a brilliant piece of writing and plotting from Mary.

Carver is going to his family for Christmas and taking Peter with him. Peter will be meeting Carver’s family for the first time and he is a little nervous to say the least. This is also compounded by the fact that Carver needs to stay home to help his parents since his mum’s stroke. Big elephant in room and the first real test of their relationship. They don’t want to split up but if the are going to stay together and not have a long distance relationship then Peter has to bend and give. I loved this aspect as it’s one any relationship faces where the one has to bend for the good of the other but never making it one sided. It’s obvious that Carver’s parents now need him and as it is a close family then you are there for each other. Peter’s family background is completely different, scattered to the wind with no contact it means that he is entering unfamiliar territory.

However, when they arrive at Carver’s family home the warmth of the greeting and love that exudes from Carter’s mum is infectious and heart warming. A very hard weapon to fight when you are facing giving up your career in the big city. Carver’s family wins Peter over and after a wonderful conversation at the kitchen table with Carver’s mum there is no saying no anymore. She opens up to him about her brother and there I must admit I did get watery eyes and a lump in my throat. Peter wins over Carver’s father not that he is a difficult man but Peter breaks his stereotype of what it is to be gay. Peter likes hunting, can talk about sport,  has a respected but “manly” job and through this wins over Carver’s father too. Peter is in love with Carver’s family just as much too. This whole scenario gave me a warm, cuddly, Christmassy feeling and I felt Peter had also found his family.

Mary packs a lot of mileage into an extremely short story but that is the art of good writing. A story that is rounded and whole and doesn’t leave you wanting more. A story that gave me the Christmas feelz and left me glowing and reaching for my next hot chocolate with a soppy sigh. Lovely!


I first heard Greg Tremblay when he narrated Mary’s other book Just Desserts and this got me thinking as to whether the style of a narrator can match the style and voice of an author. Well, I must say based on the two books I’ve now heard from Mary and Greg I can say in all honesty it probably does. He seems to have exactly the right voice to bring Mary’s writing style to it’s full glory. I’m sure he is just as good at narrating other books but for me Greg is now the narrative voice of Mary Calmes. Bringing her characters to full vivid life.


Audio Excerpt


Meet Mary Calmes

iconMary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor's degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.

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Sinfully Santa’s Question: How will you be spending Christmas? At home or away? With family or friends? Let us know some of the traditions you have where you come from?

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  1. I'll be spending Christmas Eve at my house hosting a family gathering and Christmas day at my Mom's for lunch. :)

  2. I'll be spending Christmas with family, breakfast at my sister's and dinner at my brother's. It's the only holiday that my entire immediate family has together so it's a big deal for us :)

  3. As always, Christmas will be at my parents's house, with my brother's family. Although this year we're doing Christmas Eve on the 23rd and Christmas Day will be the 24th, before my brother leaves us to spend some equal time with the in-laws... And we'll do Christmas all over again without him because my mother won't do nothing on the 24th and 25th ;-)
    Our only unmissable tradition is ending the meals with some homemade orange salad (cut in slices and lightly marinating in some sugar and rhum), the same as my maternal grandmother's!

  4. At home, with all my family... that's the best way to spend Christmas. We sing Christmas carols and bitch at each other...

  5. I no longer live in my home state so my immediate family travels every year to spend time with the rest of our families. It's not always a calm experience but at least we get to be with loved ones.

  6. Christmas Eve with my boyfriend, then Christmas lunch with my parents and Christmas dinner with my boyfriend maybe, or with some friend of ours.

    Well, when I was a child I used to go to the church at midnight with all my family but when I found out that both church and my parents were homophobes I stopped this sort of tradition. We were so close but they preferred church instead of me.
    Well, today I barely talk with them.

    So, I guess I do not ave any tradition to share

  7. My parents, uncle, brother in law always come to us - and this year my nephew is travelling to us too.

    My adition is that each hear I buy a bauble for the kids so by the time they leave home they'll have a start on history!

  8. We're having a quiet Christmas, fortunately. Just close family for a few hours and lots of good food.

  9. I'll be spending Christmas at home with my family. We generally don't do anything that day, since in Guatemala we celebrate Christmas Eve.

  10. Gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve and it's a small family thing. Christmas Day is spent eating, lounging, and visiting. My parents are firm believers in the-more-the-merrier and pretty much invite the whole world to stop by for a bowl of gumbo. Very casual, very fun. I wouldn't change a thing.

  11. This year it will be a quiet Christmas at home with my parents.

  12. My brother and his family live out of state, so it will be a quiet, peaceful (definitely not lonely) Christmas this year reading and listening to Christmas music. Friend have family obligations and we'll get together after the holidays.
    --Judy S
    j dot stonewright at gmail dot com


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