Dana reviews Johnnie (Siphon series Book 1) by Cardeno C. (Published by The Romance Authors March 11, 2015, 224 pages; Audio version released July 6, 2015, 5 hours and 50 minutes) To read Tracy’s ebook review, click here. An audio copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
- Narrated by:
- Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release Date:07-06-15
- Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
A Premier lion shifter, Hugh Landry dedicates his life to leading the Berk pride with strength and confidence. Hundreds of people depend on Hugh for safety, success, and happiness. And at over a century old, with more power than can be contained in one body, Hugh relies on a Siphon lion shifter to carry his excess force.
When the Siphon endangers himself and therefore the pride, Hugh must pay attention to the man who has been his silent shadow for a decade. What he learns surprises him, but what he feels astounds him even more.
Two lions, each born to serve, rely on one another to survive. After years by each other’s side, they’ll finally realize the depth of their potential, the joy in their passion, and a connection their kind has never known.
10 bits of random trivia, with Greg.
- I actually studied acting in college, along with opera; but got a degree in Computer Science.
- My recording booth itself is only 3’ x 5’ x 6’ . . . so when I read MM romance, I go INTO the closet. Ironic, no?
- It takes between 5 and 7 hours of total production time with the finished manuscript to create 1 hour of final audio. Fiction Audio reads at about 9800 words per hour.
- In addition to voice acting, I have been a Whale Watching guide, a Paramedic, and a Farrier (shoeing horses)
- I rarely, if ever, listen to a complete book again once the production is finished. By the time I am done, I’ve read the book to myself, read it aloud, and listened to it for editing… and I’m on to the next story.
- Anguish is the easiest emotion for me to portray, because a well-written script pulls you in, and it’s a completely one-person emotion – but it’s draining. I have cried in the booth more than a few times. Comic passages are the trickiest, because the proper timing and reaction between characters are essential.
- I drink an average of 1.5 liters of water per hour, while recording. Average recording sessions are 2-4 hours long between breaks.
- As a kid, I lived with my family on a sailboat for a year.
- My personal record for most distinct voices in a single book is 73
- Coffee, Dairy and Alcohol are all bad for the voice. . . which means I have to moderate some of life’s greatest pleasures. (not eliminate tho, I’m not crazy)
The Cover: I wouldn’t say this is my favorite cover. The image is consistent with the story, Hugh is a black lion and his human form is dark skinned, dark haired and has dark eyes too. But somehow his image on the cover lacks life, while Johnnie has his eyes open and there is a gleam as he looks at him. Hugh comes off almost as a statue in the image, and I don’t think I would have bought the book on image alone.
The Narrator: Greg Tremblay is an excellent narrator. He offers lots of emotion and variation in the voices so that you can differentiate the characters he speaks for. He emotes very well, too.
The Story: Johnnie is a shifter story with a very unique spin. It involves lion shifters who live away from humans in prides. It is unclear where they live, or even when, but it keeps the story timeless so I thought it worked just fine. Their extreme lack of human contact floored me though. Concepts that I thought were common knowledge are foreign to them. Like being in love and monogamous relationships. The pride has households but the households tend to group together and have orgy like sex sessions, meant just for physical release. Hugh has a lot of power and joins his people often, having sex with men and women. It is completely acceptable in the ideas of physical pleasure. The lions don’t see gay or straight, they see release. Though there weren’t any female/female pairings that I could tell.
In Hugh’s shadow is his Siphon. A lion shifter without even a name. He is meant to hold the excess power for the premier, Hugh. He is okay with his ability, but from birth he was only treated as a commodity, something to be used to attract a premier to the pride, and then as a vessel. His lack of a name shows just how ignored he was. It broke my heart that his existence became too lonely to contemplate any longer. However, his actions finally gain him the attention of the premier and from there magic happens.
It starts with friendship, a bonding based on the fact that Hugh needs the siphon to survive and yay, the siphon gets a name, Johnnie. Soon the two enjoy their time together, especially away from the other members of their pride. Eventually the two begin a tentative sexual relationship that leads to discoveries down the line, and in the end love. I hesitantly tagged the story as interracial because of the cover and physical descriptions of the characters. It was a completely human thing to do in terms of labeling, but just as the lions see no gender in physical interactions, they do not see color either. They are just lions, black or white or golden fleeced doesn’t matter.
There is a lot of mystery about the lion shifters, the existence of premieres and siphons, and I am curious if this will be explored more in the next book. The bond between Hugh and Johnnie becomes so strong that I wonder if the siphon-premier relationship is fated, but no one was ever aware, or if their bond is unique to only them. It was a good mix of mythology and romance. Add in a little danger in the form of a visiting lion, and the story was very well rounded, and provided a multitude of feelings. I can’t wait for the next book.
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.
Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”
Win an audio copy of Johnnie by Cardeno C.