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Canning the Center

Long Pass Chronicles
By: Tara Lain
Narrated by: John-Paul Barrel
Series: Long Pass Chronicles, Book 2
Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

A novel in the Long Pass Chronicles

Six-foot, seven-inch, 300-pound Jamal Jones loves football, so when he finds out the ultra-conservative owner of his new pro football team fired their current center because he's gay, Jamal, who's bisexual, decides to stay in the closet and hang with the females. Then, at a small drag show, he comes face-to-face with his sexual fantasy in the form of Trixie LaRue, a drag queen so exquisitely convincing she scrambles Jamal's hormones - and his resolve to nurse his straight side.

Trixie LaRue, also known as Trevor Landry, hides more than his genitals. A mathematician so brilliant he can't be measured, Trevor disguises his astronomical IQ and his quirk for women's clothes behind his act as a gay activist undergrad at Southern California University.

To Trevor, Jamal is the answer to a dream - a man who can love and accept both his personas. When he discovers Jamal's future is threatened if he's seen with a guy, Trevor becomes Trixie to let Jamal pass as straight. But Trevor risks his position every time he puts on a dress. Is there a closet big enough to hold a football pro and a drag queen?

©2014 Tara Lain (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press

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Profile Image for Belen
  • Belen
  • 20-09-15

Solid Performance

Any additional comments?

A story about a hot football star falling for a gorgeous cross-dressing genius? Oh, hell yeah. I. Am. Riveted.

Add tons of humor and sexiness with the delightful narration of John-Paul Barrel...and you have one happy girl here.

I really enjoyed John-Paul's narration. There were a couple of breathy points and some editing drops, but they go by quickly and don't make a great many appearances, certainly not enough to diminish the enjoyment of the story.

Unfortunately my Big Pet Peeve "Miscommunication" makes an unwanted appearance.

Thankfully, the miscommunication is corrected in a timely manner and was handled well enough my head didn't explode. Other that that there weren't any over-the-top unnecessary drama moments, which I was grateful for, because the narration really is all the entertainment you need.

John-Paul Barrel made me laugh, get a little teary-eyed, and gave enough heat to the sexy times to have me glancing around to see if anyone was looking at me...you know what I mean? *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* And can I just take one more moment to drool some more over that FANTASTIC cover by Cover Artist Anna Sikorska?

Bottom line: I was thoroughly entertained with only minor bumps in my happiness highway. Recommended!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Heather K (Dentist in my Spare Time)
  • Heather K (Dentist in my Spare Time)
  • 20-10-15

Some highs and lows


So much to say about this one! I have to just start spewing things out before I forget!

I want to talk about the narration of the audiobook first because I think that that was key to my overall feeling/rating for the book. This was a very difficult book to narrate, both because of the range of voices required and how much they needed to differ in tone. John-Paul Barrel did a very nice job differentiating between voices. In fact, I was really impressed how he managed to go from the super deep voice of six foot seven inch, 300 pound Jamal Jones to the higher register of Trixie LaRue. This narrator tried soooo hard to get it right! I want to really applaud him on his effort.

However, though his range of voices was really good, I didn't really like his cadence. The narration was very choppy feelings with lots of pauses and hesitations. It didn't sound like normal conversation, more like someone trying to read a book, if that makes sense. I like when my audiobooks sound more fluid and less forced. I think I would listen to this narrator again, if only to see if the way he narrated was due to the difficulty of this particular book or if that is his style.

In terms of content, I partly loved the story, partly hated it. I love the theme of closeted jock and more femme guy, so based on that alone I was biased towards it. I liked how Jamal fell for Trixie and Trevor, and how supportive Jamal's family was. It was a sweet story, and I was rooting for all the MCs. I also didn't mind Jamal being in the closet because I really understood his POV.

But some of the parts of the story just irked me. I HATED the character of Lavinda, who was the typical EVIL (with horns!) female character. It was sooooo not what would happen in real life. Girl was legit insane, and I had no idea why anyone humored her.

I also HATE when author's use a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING as a plot point. Just NO. It is one of those things that makes me want to bash my head on a wall. That coupled with the "I'm breaking up with you because I know what's best for you/I don't want to communicate" is just the worst.

This book also had a lot of plot points that sort of trail off into nowhere's land. Some peter out, but others feel like ideas that the author just threw in there but didn't fully flesh out. Things like Trevor's family and Jamal's teammates could have used more depth.

Overall, I enjoyed this book but recognized its flaws.

But that cover tho... me likey.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Morgan A Skye
  • 08-10-15

Tara does an amazing job, narrator not so much

For me who is not usually a big fan of very “fem” characters, I was very pleasantly surprised by Trixie/Trevor (minus the double snaps ☺ ). To me it made a lot of sense that a bi-sexual guy would easily be attracted to both “sides” of Trevor and I thought it was great that this wasn’t even really much of an issue. And I thought it was equally wonderful for Trixie that she got to be loved for herself, too.

The other thing that stood out for me was the imagery of Ferdinand the bull – I just thought it was so appropriate for our guy Jamal!

Kudos to making both men versatile – anytime you can wipe out a stereotype like that I think it adds to the story.

For me, book two surpassed book one in it’s awesomeness and I am excited to watch the series to continue!

Audio

I wanted to give John-Paul Barrel a second chance. He can be hit or miss for me. I wasn’t that impressed with his narration of Outing the Quarterback, but I know that different books, more time and experience can lead to improved narrations. In this case – I think the narration skill remained at about the same level. He tries different voices that work a bit for the different characters (especially Jamal’s family – I loved his mom!) and that’s a nice quality. However, his reading voice is so stilted and awkward and hard to listen to that I really can’t recommend this narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Annika
  • Annika
  • 05-08-19

Entertaining

Canning the Center was a fun listen. It is the second book in the Long Pass Chronicles, but you don’t need to have read the first book to be able to enjoy this one (I haven’t). The first couple does make an appearance, but you are never left feeling like you’ve missed something vital.

Jamal Jones is the new center for a football team with a new owner that does not know what the word acceptance means, neither when it comes to skin colour and even less when it comes to being gay, or bisexual as is the case for Jamal. So in order to stay on the team he needs to stay in the closet. But a night out and a drag show staring Trixie LaRue has him re-thinking his choices.

Trevor a.k.a. Trixie is instantly drawn to Jamal – just as much as Jamal is drawn to them. They had some amazing chemistry right from the start, but it also went deeper than just the physical attraction for both of them. They were genuinely interested in the other for something long term and lasting. Sure there were some misunderstanding and miscommunication, but quickly resolved with not too much drama or angst attached to it. I adored Trevor’s nickname for Jamal chocolate Bunny / Bunny – it was so cute. Some pet names I’m not fond of and can even put me off, but this one fit with the light-heartedness of the book, the characters, the playfulness.

You might know that I'm not one that particularly enjoy on page sex scenes, and really don't mind if it was all fade to black. I also very rarely comment on it - other than if there was way too much of it. Now that being said I did like that this book went against the grain so to speak. Where Trevor, the slender nerdy guy topped Jamal, the huge athlete. Sure they both switched, but I still liked that there were no fixed roles, no stereotyping.

I liked John-Paul Barrel's narration. While Barel had distinct voices for the characters, there were only a few of them so he used the same voice for many of the minor characters. I think that he used the same voice for all the women (not Trixie) throughout. Not that it was a problem as there were few women in the story, it was just something that I noticed while listening. Another huge plus from me is that he also added feelings to the words, it makes the story come alive in a way that it otherwise wouldn't for me.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.