Starting from Scratch (Lily G’s Audio Review)

Title: Starting From Scratch (Starting From Series, Book 2)
Author: Lane Hayes  Narrator: Michael Pauley
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: November 6, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hours and 22 mins
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Charlie Rourke is an ultra-fabulous human whirlwind on a mission to launch the next biggest band in the world. However, he might have taken on more than he could handle when he signed on to manage Zero. Promoting a rock band and finding gigs shouldn’t be hard. They’re a talented group with a ton of star power. If Charlie can find the right record label, he’s sure he can help them get to the next level. The only problem is the skater boy slash bassist with a quirky sense of humor. He’s annoying and silly, and he’s exactly Charlie’s type. Except, he’s straight.

Ky Baldwin isn’t afraid to switch things up. He loves a challenge as much as anyone, but Charlie doesn’t make things easy. Zero’s manager is a force of nature with a razor-sharp tongue, a quick wit, and a no-nonsense attitude. Ky can’t stop thinking about him. Winning over Charlie becomes Ky’s pet project.

But, when the ice between them thaws, neither is prepared for the intensity of going from enemies to lovers. They’ll have to decide if they’re willing to start from scratch and take a chance on the unexpected.


Gah! This one gave me whiplash and raised lots of questions as I listened.

I liked Charlie’s OTT personality in book 1. He was outgoing yet quite sweet and made for an interesting secondary character. I wanted to hear more about him.

In the first couple of chapters of Starting From Scratch I thought Charlie was quite nasty to Ky at times for no apparent reason other than to fulfil the enemies to lovers criteria. Sometimes it was meant to be taken as a joke but didn’t come across as such. It felt rather forced for the sake of dissent, but Charlie thought Ky wouldn’t be sticking around so wanted to nudge him out of the band sooner rather than later. Having said that, you could feel the attraction burning between these two guys. Ky had found his home and family and wasn’t going anywhere.

Ky… Mmm… I liked this skateboarding musician and sympathised with him because of his backstory. I’m still a little confused by his father’s character and motives.

I enjoyed the story more once the guys became connected and more civil towards each other. Even then, there was some friction between them. On the whole, I liked how Ky dealt with Charlie, especially during his various rants. Although bi, Ky hadn’t even looked at a man for five years. He sure made up for lost time! The steamy scenes between them were hot and Michael Pauley did a great job of narrating them.

For much of the story, I couldn’t understand why or how Charlie had become the band’s manager. He was relatively young and had little experience apart from being a successful ‘social media influencer’. He seemed to be out of his depth at times, although his main task in the story was trying to sort out which record label they should sign with. He’s sassy and cute, but his mouth runs away with itself many times and he conveniently lets slip several ‘secrets’ when he’s under pressure or intimidated. I’m not sure how he knew the rival band was going to be any good as they had only just got together.

Oliver, Charlie’s brother, helped bring them together and showed a positive side to Ky and Charlie’s characters. I did wonder where the boy’s ‘home’ was as he didn’t spend much time with his father, Sebastian. Another issue I pondered (and perhaps missed the explanation) was if Charlie had been dumped on Sebastian’s doorstep as an infant by his mother, she presumably was no longer around and couldn’t be the mother of Oliver—so were Charlie and Oliver half/step-brothers? Not entirely crucial to the plot but still…

The plot came across as disjointed a couple of times, almost as if the author started writing a scene and when she came back to it later took it in another direction. Certain things start to happen then they stop and something else happens instead.

Despite these rather negative points I’ve mentioned, I did actually enjoy the overall story. I always like Lane’s writing and the chemistry she builds between her main characters. The obligatory ‘break up’ scene was lovely as was their reunion. The guys are left in a good place and can certainly start to build their relationship from scratch…

Lovely narration throughout by Michael Pauley. I like how he varies the volume and speed of his voice to match the emotions of a scene. His voices for Charlie and Oliver were distinctive. Ky, Sebastian and Gray sounded similar to me but that didn’t cause an issue.

Starting From Series

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Audio copy of Starting From Scratch provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.


Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men's feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page. There never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing! Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories via Amazon and later published short stories with Torquere Press, Wayward Ink Publishing, and Pride Publishing.
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