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Publisher's Summary

The last thing Jack Spencer wants to be is a fishing guide for rich tourists. But with a sister in need of help and nothing but a rusty fishing boat to his name, he takes a job at the Wild Eagle Lodge, Alaska’s newest luxury resort.

When a scandal rocks his career, movie star Damian Marshall feels like the whole world is watching his every move. That is, until he meets a gruff fishing guide who doesn’t seem to know who he is. Desperate for escape, Damian grabs at the chance for anonymity with both hands.

Away from the pressure of studios and the media, Damian and Jack grow closer. But as sparks fly and scandal follows Damian north, Jack will need to decide if he can love a man he hardly knows, or if this brush with fame is too hot to handle.

Up North is a 77k contemporary MM romance novel. It features a movie star on the run, a fishing guide who has never been anywhere, and bears of all sorts. Happily ever after guaranteed.

©2021 Allison Temple (P)2021 Allison Temple

What listeners say about Up North

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great love story in a great setting

It's not often a book makes me homesick for the state I once called home, but this one did. I loved the gentle Alaskan fisherman who works hard at a job he doesn't really want to help his family. And I loved the conflicted North Dakota boy-cum-Hollywood star who was so thankful to find someone who treated him as a normal person that he pretended to be someone he wasn't anymore. The writing is wonderful, the setting on-point, and the gay best friend is definitely a keeper. The narrator did a fantastic job differentiating the main characters and hit all the emotional notes.

Disclaimer: I received a copy for free and am voluntarily leaving a review. All opinions are my own.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great Setting & Nice Story But Narration Fell Flat

Closeted movie star Damian seeks refuge from the scandal spotlight in an Alaskan resort, where rugged fishing guide Jack catches his eye. Getting to know the man as David, Jack is unaware of his fame, and they strike up a friendship that turns low-heat romantic until the paparazzi come calling and scandal erupts again.

Damian/David and Jack make a nice couple (other than, you know, having a relationship built on deception), and Damian's personal growth journey to ultimately navigate his career and fame on his own terms is notable. I especially enjoyed the wilderness setting, as it factors heavily into the story.

Narrator Toby James has a youthful and pleasant voice, but I found his narration here pretty flat and monotone, without much differentiation between characters voice. To my ears, it sounded more like a straightforward reading of the book than an engaged performance, which was disappointing. I received this free review copy audio book by request and have left this honest review voluntarily.

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Narration Gave It a Whole New Layer of Greatness

I read the eBook when it first came out and fell in love with David and Jack. Thanks to Toby James ' narration, I fell in love with them all over again. This is the second time I've listened to him narrate one of Allison Temple's books, and he has done an excellent job with both books. I'm quickly becoming quite the fan. Not only do I hope these two continue to pair up. I hope to hear many more books from this narrator. He makes you feel the emotions with his narration. He easily switches characters, staying in that character until he changes back. I highly recommend giving him a listen. I don't think you will be disappointed.

This story is easy to get lost in. It's both simple and has incredible depth. Temple is outstanding at developing characters and their storylines. I've been reading her work for a while, and I always jump at the chance to read her new books. They flow easily, make me smile, swoon, keep my attention, and root for our heroes to reach their happily ever after. I've had so many book hangovers from reading her stories. You won't go wrong with her books. When you pick one up, you'll know you are going to be wooed and entertained. Happy reading/listening!

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Labored Listen

I'm not sure if it was the narrator or the story was just slow. Pretty sure it was the narrator. I don't think he did the story justice. His voice didn't match what I perceived the MC's to be and the read was monotone. I bought the book through Kindle about two hours in and thought I'd be better off reading it but then I thought " I'm already this far into it...." yeah...no. It just dragged on and on and on. Which is sad because I really had high hopes. Ms. Temple I'm going to look for another book from you but please take this to heart, a narrator can make or break a good book.
Great narrator's: JF Harding, Troy Duran, Aaron Shedlock , Christian Fox, Teddy Hamilton, Jacob Morgan, Kirt Graves. Any of these gentleman would do your work justice.

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  • AT
  • 01-24-22

I fell in love with this story a second time...

I absolutely loved Up North when I read the e-book, so I was eager to get a chance to revisit the wonderful characters and setting with the audiobook release. Unfortunately, I think I let my presumptions get a bit in the way initially.

The problem with listening to books you’ve read and loved is you often have a predetermined voice in your head for each character. That was my case when I began listening to Up North, and when the narrator’s voice didn’t fit what I had envisioned, it took me a little time to settle in with this one.

My love for Jack and Damian won out and set me right. Once again, I felt swept away to Alaska, enjoying thing quiet, easy romance that grows between these men. I love Jack’s grumpy bear routine as much as I enjoy seeing Damian explore what he wants and needs from his career. And of course, I love that the couple’s emotional connection and chemistry is matched by their physical chemistry. Really, there is a lot to love about this sweet story and I so enjoyed getting lost in it again.

Additionally, I found myself appreciating the narrator’s performance more and more as the book progressed and I let my preconceptions go to the wayside. While his voice may not have been as gruff as I originally pictured it, the delivery, tone, and emotion he put into each scene was on point and made for a pleasant listen. I have to admit my first impressions were definitely wrong with this narrator. He did a fantastic job bringing a book I loved reading to life, and I can soundly say I also loved listening to Up North. Undoubtedly I will never second guess listening to this narrator’s work again.

If you like stories with unique settings and an easy but wonderful romance with relatively low angst, I’d definitely recommend Up North.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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loved it!!

Damian is a movie star and must lay low. He ends up in Alaska. Jack is working fishing guide for tourist. They meet and have a strong, immediate attraction for each other. Damian doesn’t tell Jack who he is. When the media shows up, things kind of end between them. I loved the story. I would definitely recommend. Toby James is somewhat new to me as a narrator. It took me a bit to warm up to him but I ended up really liking his narration.

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Fame comes at a price

I adored this book. It has two absolutely beautiful main characters in Jack and Damian. Jack is a lovely gentle soul, he works as a fishing guide in the wilds of Alaska, and has absolutely no interest in pop culture. Damian meanwhile is an international movie star. Almost his every moment is managed for him, and the media follow his every move. Really Damian is a brand more than his own person. So when he meets Jack and realises he has no idea at all who he is, Damian can finally be himself - David. I loved seeing David relax into being himself again - you could almost hear his sigh of relief. But at some stage his movie life had to come crashing out into the open and it was a sort of exquisite agony waiting for it to happen. Absolutely beautiful slow burn.

Toby James did an amazing job as narrator and really brought both characters to life. I particularly loved his voice for Damian’s friend Vin, it really made me laugh.

I received an arc of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving an honest and unbiased review

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Love in Alaska!

This was a charming and entertaining listen! Toby did a fantastic narration job of changing up his voice so you could distinguish all of the different characters. His David was perfect, and his narration of David's friend Vin and all of his drama and sarcasm was hilarious! He really brought him so Alive I am hoping that Vin gets a story!!! All of the exaggerated Gossip Headlines David kept reading about what might possibly be going on with Damien (AKA David) were fantastic. The Romance between Jack our local fisherman and David who Jack does not realize is a very popular celebrity is a very subtle slow burn. They balanced each other out even though Jack did not even realize how different David's life was. I could not stop listening because I needed to see how Jack found out who David was and how he would react!!! I will leave that for you to find out for yourselves though! I felt like I actually took a trip to Alaska!

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Very Enjoyable

Up North is Book 1 in the Compass Stars series. This is a book about Damian, a movie star who heads to Alaska to lay low after a very public fight, and Jack, who finds himself working as a fishing guide for a resort to help support his sister and nephew. Jack has no idea who Damian is, and honestly really doesn't care. He's there to do a job. Damian finds this comforting and even introduces himself as David, his given name and not Damian his stage name. I really enjoyed this book and the casual fishing Damian seemed to want to do every day so he could spend time alone with Jack. I liked Damian and Jack together and thought it was great what Damian decided to do with his career at the end. This is an enjoyable book and I recommend it. 
Narrator Toby James does a fabulous job. I loved his nonchalant voice for Jack.

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  • C M Silver
  • 04-17-22

Terrible Wooden narration

Narration: wooden and so obviously read, it was difficult to continue, it was so off putting. Come back Christian Fox, all is forgiven! Toby James has joined my list of Maxine Mitchell and Michael Dean as narrators I avoid. DISAPPOINTING

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  • choccygrl
  • 02-08-22

Gorgeous romance

Movie star in hiding and a fisherman who lives under a rock (not literally) leads to a super sweet romance. It's a (sort of) mistaken identity story. And I figured where it was going from the start but I didn't care because I just wanted to be taken on the ride.
For some reason I love stories set in Alaska. The wilderness. Men of the strong silent type. Sun. Snow. Sea.
The narration was great and the story flowed.
Can't wait for Vin's story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Belinda Zamora
  • 01-25-22

Sweet, slow burn, mistaken/hidden identity

I love this author's work.
She has a knack for creating rich, vibrant and in depth characters that seem to linger long after the story has been read.
I absolutely loved Damien and Jack.
Both hiding for their own reasons but Damien's, which he kept secret from Jack is revealed and very nearly has devastating effects.
Their road to a HEA was hard but so well deserved.
Toby James did an amazing job narrating and bringing these characters to life.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amelia
  • 01-17-22

A sweet, if a little predictable story

Damian and Jack's story was a sweet hidden identity/celebrity romance with a pretty standard plot. I knew exactly what the big drama was going to be from the start, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the nicely executed storyline. There was something really peaceful about the way Jack and David quietly got to know each other over long fishing trips, and though David certainly should have handled things better with Jack, I appreciate that he wanted space from his famous lifestyle. I don't know why all these book characters think keeping secrets is a good idea, but thankfully the aftermath of the big reveal felt realistic instead of being glossed over for the happy ending. Each man took some time and space to evaluate what they wanted before coming back together, and that made their reunion much more genuine. Overall, the steam level was pretty low--only a few hot kisses and more, but I didn't mind it in this story because I could focus more on the emotional connection between the main characters. I thought the narrator did a nice job bringing the story to life, even if he's not one of my go-tos in MM romance.

**I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this book. This review expresses my honest thoughts and opinions.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anne M
  • 01-17-22

OK story and really good performance

The narrator had an alright sounding reading voice. He was perhaps a little younger sounding than what I thought the characters would sound like in my head but he did a really good job at expressing the emotions and differentiating the characters voices and it was a pretty good listening experience.

For me this was just ok. I didn’t hate it and I was able to listen to it all without being at all bored but the plot was pretty uneventful and didn’t stand out at all in my mind. I didn’t really like Damien due to what he did to Jack and I didn’t feel much of a connection between them either. I also wasn’t fond of how it ended and how it felt incomplete to me.

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  • Edga
  • 01-16-22

Slow burn Romance.

Allison Temple is a very talented writer, I've read the majority of her books and enjoyed them all. I like how she manages to capture you from the word go, entertaining you til the end. This is a slow burn story, with some excellent character development, and an interesting pair of MCs, in David and Jack. There's some pretty great secondary characters too. It's just great all around story telling. This is the first of her books that I've listened to, and thought that Toby James did a really decent job.

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  • L.D.
  • 01-14-22

Not So Secret Identities

Up North is the first book in the Compass Stars series (which I'm excited about because I really hope more books are written in this setting), and it was instantly an enjoyable read. Jack Spencer is an Alaskan fisherman who cares very little about pop culture and celebrity news. In fact, he cares so little that he doesn't even recognize one of the most popular actors: Damian Marshall. When Damian and Jack meet, it's everything I have ever wanted in a secret identity romance. It's sweet, adorable, and so, so hot with enough drama and angst to give the plot a good conflict to overcome. I really enjoyed Damian/David's redemption and how he finally took control of his own life and happiness. It was such a satisfying ending with a wonderfully romantic scene.

Toby James narrates the audiobook, and he does a nice job. After a few minutes I was so engrossed in the story I forgot I was even listening to it--the book felt like it was being performed in front of me. I could see all the characters so clearly in mind.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RACHEL REED
  • 01-14-22

Amazing!

I absolutely loved this adorable romance.

Such a great book with a solid storyline and great characters.

I eagerly look forward to reading more from this author.

A definite recommend

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeanette A L
  • 01-10-22

Amazing book

I liked this book. It was easy to read with a great story. I really liked Jack! The ending of the book was really good.

Now I have listen to this book also and I loved it! Toby James dose an amazing work on this book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RjS
  • 01-09-22

Excellent story

I absolutely loved this story when I read it.
It’s really well-written with engaging characters and is an interesting look at the other side of fame. The characters stayed with me so I was delighted to be able to listen to an audio version whilst doing chores. I enjoyed Toby James’ narration.