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Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
Apr
20

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Man Card by Tanya Eby + Sarina Bowen

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Man Card by Tanya Eby + Sarina Bowen Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Man Card Authors:  Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby Narrators:  Luke Daniels and Erin Mallon Audio Listening Speed: 1.25x and 1.5x Series: Man Hands #2 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Blunder Woman Productions Ash and Braht, frenemy coworkers competing for sales, have been partnered to sell their friend, Tom’s huge home. This sets off a series of pranks and sabotages to give one the upper hand over the other. Yet what it really does is put the pair in a position to spend more time together, something Braht wants and Ash avoids. Man Card is the delightfully entertaining follow up to Man Hands. The story features the romance of Ash and Braht, the two best friends of book one’s couple, Brynn and Tom. We witnessed their sparks and clashing chemistry in Man Hands, and it only gets more explosive in Man Card. Ash and Braht are perfect for one another. After first getting to see the prickly pair in Man Hands, I wondered how the authors would pull off the enemies-to-lovers story. It works because Braht has had a thing for Ash from the moment the pair met, even though Ash doesn’t have a clue. I love how adoring and attentive Braht is. He’s smart and recognizes the need to play his cards right to make Ash his. He plies pressure when it’s called for, is just a friend when she needs it, and teases her to bring about her sass. He gets that she’s been hurt and knows time is what is needed to win her over. He knows Ash and worships her. His constant presence ends up being just what Ash needs. “On most people you should check their pulse, but with Ash, I check for sass. If she can’t tell me to f-off, then it’s time to call the paramedics.” Ash is a work in progress. She’s mostly got her act together, but with the news of her ex’s parole, she flips a little. She’s confident to the core, but starts second guessing herself at times. Braht gives her the boost she needs to keep her head up, even if she doesn’t recognize it at first. While Braht knows his path, Ash has to find her way. She has to learn to trust her judgement again, and in doing so, we see her grow and develop.  While the book is foremost a romance, I also love...
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Apr
19

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: To Seize a Wayward Spirit by R.L. Naquin

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: To Seize a Wayward Spirit by R.L. Naquin Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Djinn Haven series To Catch a Stolen Soul  Author: R.L. Naquin Narrator: Chandra Skyye Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Djinn Haven #2 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio Though a touch less silly, To Seize a Wayward Spirit was another humors urban fantasy novel in the world of Djinn Haven.  I enjoyed the continuing adventures of Kam, her trusty sidekick/intern Ash and Kam’s complicated new trainee, Tahm.   At the conclusion of the previous novel, To Catch a Stolen Soul, Kam is reunited with her family-arranged betrothed, Tahm.  Now trained as not only soul chasers but soul reapers as well, Kam is directed to find all seventeen souls she inadvertently released in the previous novel.  Only her new partner/trainee is Tahm and poor Ash is relegated to intern.  It is obvious that they could have used a bit more training in how to work as a team.  Though they stumble at the beginning, they slowly are learning to listen and trust each other and work as a coordinated team. As they are going to try to capture one escaped soul, they come across another in the same town. As they accidentally lose that one as well, they try to track down what is going on.  It is funny how Kam and the team discover an AWOL hidden police squad, a serial killer and a fun cosplay convention produced by hidden.  Not to mention a slowly evolving but shy eyeball that seems to follow Kam around.  Like I said, it was a bit less silly, not that the humor was gone!  Though I did like the more somber-at-times Kam – leader of the pack as it contrast with the lovable wacky Kam.  It was a big adjustment for her to go from a fly-by-night soul chaser, working contract to contract with only herself to worry about to a full-time employed Team Leader of a Chaser/Reaper squad.  The noticeable difference shows how much she cares about her job and those under her protection.  I liked how even though she does take this responsibility seriously, she still hasn’t lost what makes her Kam. I liked how Tahm wanted to get to know Kam as it has been over 100 years since they last saw each other.  However, Kam is stuck in feeling that her love for Tahm is unrequited since she is the little sister of Tahm’s best friend.  It also...
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Apr
16

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Uninvited Corpse by Debra Sennefelder

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Uninvited Corpse by Debra Sennefelder Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: The Uninvited Corpse Author: Debra Sennefelder Narrator: Callie Beaulieu Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Food Blogger Mysteries #1 Genre: Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio I enjoyed this first book in the Food Blogger Mystery series.  Hope was a fascinating character and I can’t wait to see what happens next. This cozy mystery reminds me of several different shows.  It’s like Ms. Sennefelder took a piece of Hope Floats, Murder She Wrote, Julie and Julia, and mixed it with a fresh, beautiful New England town and modernized it.  But though it pays homage to these other stories, it is truly its own series.   I really loved Hope.  We start with her months into rebuilding her life and herself.   Hope is complicated but thoughtful.  She has returned home to start a new life as a lifestyle entrepreneur.  Working on an old house, volunteering in the community and reconnection with her sister and her friends, Hope is starting to settle in, when a garden tour goes deathly wrong. This cozy murder mystery is very well crafted.  I felt like I was going in circles without being able to really concentrate on a culprit.  The murderer was clever and though I could tell who wasn’t guilty, the reveal took me by surprise.  As an amateur sleuth, Hope’s clumsy attempts at non-obvious investigative tactics were a bit comical and sad.  Her inner conflict over possibly hurting friends and proving her sister’s innocence was palpable.  I also enjoyed the side plot of Hope’s love life.  It seems she harbors feelings for her long-time friend, the chief of police.  The way they dance around their obviously intensifying affections for each other is adorable.  Though Hope is a little dense (and a lot afraid) of risking not just her heart but a treasured friendship.  When the novel concludes it seems there might be a love triangle brewing (but I am keeping my fingers crossed it won’t be).   I absolutely adored Ms. Beaulieu’s narration.  She captured the personality of Hope perfectly; her inner turmoil over getting involved in the investigation, worrying over those she had inadvertently wronged, and her love life – not to mention her still healing heart from her failures.  Hope’s tenacity and vulnerability is compelling and beautifully conveyed by the narration.   The Uninvited Corpse is a great start to this Food Blogger Mystery series.  I enjoyed Hope’s amateur...
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Apr
13

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Scourged by Kevin Hearne

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Scourged by Kevin Hearne Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Scourged Author: Kevin Hearne Narrator: Luke Daniels Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #9 (Final book in series) Source: Penguin Random House Audio I have so many feelings. I’s overwhelming. Saying goodbye to a favorite series is like saying goodbye to a beloved friend when they move across the globe; you hope you’ll see them again, but you are pretty certain you won’t – and if you do, it won’t be the same. Yes, Hearne is writing more Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries (THANK GOD!!), but those are standalone, amazingly entertaining stories, and not the Iron Druid Chronicles.  Scourged is the story it needed to be, and it was everything a series-ending book should be… we visit all of the characters, both big and small, and readers are subtly brought up to speed on where everyone is and what they are doing. Storylines from as early as the first book are mentioned, and readers are left knowing the end results. The story has such a sense of full circle and closure throughout the entire book. However, that doesn’t mean I loved everything about Scourged. It’s the tale that had to be told, and the one I didn’t necessarily want to hear. Ragnarök has arrived early all because of the decisions made and actions taken by Atticus, starting way back at the beginning of the series. Luckily, he now has two other Druids (his apprentice/lover Granuaile, and his arc-Druid/teacher Owen) to help defend the earth. And yes, there are entire pantheons of gods and goddess along with a slew of other supernatural beings who are also fighting Loki and Hel. But in the end, it’s all on Atticus to stop Loki and save Gaya.  Along the way to the final battle, the book follows all three Druids as each embarks on separate journeys. Owen is tasked to save Gaya where she needs the most help – where other creatures are taking advantage of the choas of Ragnarök. He is reawakened to the beauty of Gaya, and his mission to raise a grove of new Druids is reaffirmed. He befriends a sloth in the Amazon and takes her for adventures. I loved watching Owen reconnect to the Earth in ways he hasn’t in centuries. I also adored Slo-mo the sloth, although I was a bit bothered by how easily he could communicate with her, especially after learning from Atticus how difficult it is to...
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Apr
12

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death in the English Countryside by Sara Rosett

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death in the English Countryside by Sara Rosett Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Death in the English Countryside Author: Sara Rosett Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Murder on Location #1 Genre: Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Death in the English Countryside is a delightful cozy murder mystery.  Though the culprit was a bit obvious, the motive was slyly hidden amongst plenty of red herring leads.  This new series, Murder on Location seems to revolve around Kate, a location scout.  I was able to relate easily to her professional type ‘A’ personality.  She is intelligent but also compassionate, as well as an avid Jane Austin fan.  When her boss doesn’t return from a location scouting trip in England for a massive Jane Austin movie project, she becomes concerned.  In order to be discreet, Kate heads over to England to quietly find and bring Kevin back quickly so they don’t lose this huge potential project.  Only instead of finding him passed out somewhere, she finds him dead in the country.  With the assistance of Alex, the local location scout working with Kevin, Kate retraces Kevin’s steps in order to find out what happened to him.  The murder was fairly obvious, though with the planting of several red herrings, it was difficult for me to be certain who the culprit was.  What I found the most fascinating was the eventual discovery of the motive behind the murder.  It was very straight-forward, once all the pieces of the puzzle were assembled.  The instant attraction between Kate and Alex was a delightful elephant in the room during the story.  I really enjoyed the slow-burn romance that was beginning in this novel.  Though at times Kate thought Alex could have been the guilty party – it was fun to watch her discover his innocence (and his observation of his alleged guilt).   This was a short and sweet mystery and very relaxing to listen to while bumming around the house.  Ms. Mollo-Christensen’s narration felt very subdued, but after a couple chapters, it truly suited Kate’s personality.  Though her voices did not vary as well between characters, I did enjoy her performance without too many confusing moments.   I liked this new novel and enjoyed the premise of this new cozy mystery series.  Hopefully I can listen to the next installment with the same narrator and find myself lost in another beautiful location.  If you enjoy a picturesque setting within a cozy murder mystery, you...
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Apr
12

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Shadow of Doubt by Linda Poitevin

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Shadow of Doubt by Linda Poitevin Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Shadow of Doubt Author: Linda Poitevin Narrator: Desiree Fultz Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Standalone Genre: Romantic Suspense Source: Author Shadow of Doubt is a captivating romantic suspense novel.  Ms. Poitevin gives a nail-biting race for two closed-off officers to find freedom in not only a conspiracy but from their own walled-in hearts. I really enjoyed this slow-burn romantic suspense story.  Kate, a Canadian police officer is one tough cookie though not without compassion.  Her cop senses urge her that maybe this wanted U.S. ATF agent is not guilty of the crimes laid on his name.  Still recovering from an injury received on duty, Kate is able to keep up with and protect Jonas, though he does not make it easy for her. If Kate is tough, Jonas is granite.  Raised in one foster home after another, he has learned to never depend on anyone.  Trust is not something he gives, and rarely allows if earned, and it shows in the way he was so perfectly framed for a crime(s) he did not commit.  The chemistry he feels with Kate is not something he has experienced before and is definitely not something he wants.  But no matter how diligently he fights and pushes, Kate continues to burrow under his skin – getting close to digging into his hardened heart.   The way that Kate and Jonas slowly (and quite reluctantly on Jonas’s part) come together was a perfect slow-burn romance.  I enjoyed Kate’s tenacity and her honesty (with herself).  As they finally get close to getting the evidence they need, we learn (along with Jonas) that his walls and judgement mean nothing when you’re wrong.  His self-actualization was heartbreaking but also freeing.  The epilogue was the perfect sweet ending, full of the hope and happiness they both deserved. Ms. Fultz narration perfectly captured Kate’s personality.  I also feel she did an excellent job in giving voice to Jonas as well as differentiating the other characters.  Her performance truly enhanced my enjoyment of this story. Suffice to say that I really enjoyed this story of two officers on different sides of the “line” breaking their own rules and walls to find a happily ever after.  If you enjoy a thrilling suspense story woven with a slow-burn romance, this is a title you should definitely pick up. My Ratings: Story: A Narrator: A Overall: A Review copy provided by...
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Apr
5

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Hot and Badgered Author: Shelly Laurenston Narrator: Traci Odom Audio Speed: 1.25x + 1.5x Series: Honey Badgers Chronicles #1 Source: Tantor Audio Hot and Badgered, the first book in Ms. Laurenston’s new Honey Badgers Chronicles is a crazy ride full of over-the-top shifters with a thirst for blood… and honey. While it is a new series, I learned from others after I started listening, that it is set in the same world as and features characters from her Pride series. Perhaps I would have enjoyed Hot and Badgered more had I read the earlier series, because one of my issues was the sheer volume of characters and side stories. It was confusing and difficult to follow at times. The story is shared from multiple POVs and can make your head spin a bit. Hot and Badgered is billed as the romance between Honey Badger/Wolf shifter, Charlie MacKilligan, and Bear shifter Berg Dunn; however, there is very little romance in the book. The story follows Charlie and her half sisters, Max (full Honey Badger) and Frankie (Honey Badger/Tiger), as the run for the lives from an array of dangerous threats. Their father is a major lowlife, who is constantly putting his own kids’ lives in danger, and the Irish MacKilligans are a crime family. So… there is a lot to run from. Good thing Charlie and her sisters know how to fight and take care of themselves. Their adventures are outlandish and there is never a moment’s rest. Eventually, there is a bit of courting between Charlie and Berg – who are adorable together – but the romance is a very small part of the overall story. While the tale itself was somewhat interesting, definitely exciting, and mostly entertaining, the characters could be mildly annoying. They are always fighting, and they are all completely over-the-top. Everything is outlandish and dramatic. I will admit that after a LONG while, the Mackilligan sisters and Dunn triplets grew on me, but the story went on way too long and had too many side characters and subplots. The narration from Ms. Odom was solid. She used distinct voices for each character, easily recognizable whenever I picked up the book and started listening. Some of the voices felt cartoonish or exaggerated at first, but as the book went on, I realized that those voices fit the nature of the characters. She pulls of several accents, some better than...
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Apr
5

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: A Match Made in Spell by ReGina Welling and Erin Lynn

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: A Match Made in Spell by ReGina Welling and Erin Lynn Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: A Match Made in Spell Authors: ReGina Welling & Erin Lynn Narrator: C.S.E. Cooney Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Lexi Balefire Matchmaking Witch Mystery/Fate Weaver #1 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery Source: Tantor Audio I overall liked A Match Made in Spell.  This is definitely a lighthearted and cozy mystery. If you are a mystery fan, as I am, you might be pleasantly surprised by this one.  I’m used to reading murder mysteries.  However, this mystery does not involve a body.  It was actually quite refreshing for the mystery to not involve death.  Lexi is a matchmaker – a very successful one since she has her own “cupids” power.  She is able to sense a perfect match for someone.  What is difficult is making it not seem random or a miracle happenstance that she places two complete strangers together.  One Lexi finds your match, that’s it.  True love and the happily ever after, except for Lemon and her fiancé that seem to have fallen out of love.  Lexi needs to figure out why they seem to be falling apart along with a few other trivial things like awakening her power before it is too late, balancing her four crazy fairy godmothers at home and doing something about her own lackluster love life and keeping her business afloat. One thing I enjoyed about Lexi is she is not a quitter.  Though awakening her magic has eluded her for years, she keeps trying.  I liked her sense of confidence though her ability to be completely distracted was a bit annoying.  The way she would put off looking into Lemon’s situation was odd.  The fairy godmothers were quite entertaining, and I can’t imagine how she has kept their magic hidden considering how crazy they are.  But again, this is more a light-hearted and fun novel.  The animosity between her and her nemesis was fascinating – true friends to enemies.  I wonder if that will be a thread continued through the series.  The romance between Lexi and Kin is interesting and I wonder where it is going to lead.  There are quite a few surprises and twists making this an easy and fun read. I truly enjoyed C.S.E. Cooney’s narration.  She did an excellent job of captivating the personality of Lexi along with providing enough varied voices for the other characters.  It was easy to follow conversations involving multiple characters without getting...
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Mar
29

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Wraith by Helen Harper

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Wraith by Helen Harper Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Wraith Author: Helen Harper Narrator: Ruth Urquhart Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Standalone Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio Wraith is a compelling urban fantasy story.  A fascinating mix of Fae mythology and an almost post-apocalyptic world woven with an underdog overthrowing the all-powerful evil army poised at world domination (or at least Scotland domination). The novel is centered on Saiya, a lone woman who is trying to stay alive.  In this city under siege, she scraps by day-to-day by trading in secrets.  Though the biggest secret she keeps to herself is the fact that she is a wraith.  Her kind are despised by the world as evil assassins with loyalty to none.  Their innate ability to split their shadow self from their corporal body allows them to move unnoticed in shadows.  However, they still can use power to move things, or kill, while in this shadow form.  However, Saiya is an orphan.  She grew up amongst a population that would kill her if they knew what she was, never meeting another like herself. She learned how to harness and use her wraith abilities on her own.  Never knowing some of the more sinister things wraiths are capable of. Living in Stirling was not so terrible, until a few years ago when the goblin armies went to war and the mostly human city became besieged by the goblins.  The people living there became captives if they were lucky, otherwise tormented, abused, and executed by the goblins.  Except for the most wealthy (most of who fled the city), the people left are scraping by on meager rations.  The setting is grim with Saiya and the rest of her neighbors doing their best to get by.  When one of her more trusted neighbors is taken prisoner by the goblins, she helps the young daughter left behind to escape capture.  Saiya is going to try to rescue her mother and hopefully get them both safely out of the city. What Saiya doesn’t quite count on in this mission is Gabriel de Florinville.  This Dark Elf is powerful and well connected to the government of Scotland.  He enters the city to check-in on the resident population and ensure they are being treated well.  We witness through Saiya the tricks and ploys the goblins use to hide the poor treatment from Gabriel.  For example, taking down the gallows and turning it into...
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Mar
28

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery Partners in Crime Author:  Agatha Christie Narrator:  Hugh Fraser Audio Listening Speed: 1.25x Series: Tommy and Tuppence Mystery #2 Genre: Mystery Source: Library I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this second novel in the Tommy & Tuppence series. However, I should have never feared.  Though the time had jumped forward a bit, I enjoyed the eclectic nature of the series of mini-mysteries. Partners in Crime is an apt title as Tommy and Tuppence go under cover as… detectives.  Yes, after their success in the previous novel, her Majesty’s secret service request they take over the Blunt’s International Detective Agency to squirrel out more secrets and plots.  After being young newlyweds for a while, they feel they are ready to take on this exciting challenge, especially as Tuppence is feeling restless and a bit bored with life.  While they wait for the villains to make their move, Tommy and Tuppence fill their days with taking on real cases and solving them.  It was really delightful how the story progresses.  I enjoyed watching Tommy and Tuppence work together and at times at odds – trying to outdo the other. Hugh Fraser does an excellent job of bringing these characters to life; Tuppence’s effervescent personality and Tommy’s cautious nature.  He easily varies his voice as well as consistently making it easy to discern different characters.  His performance enhanced my enjoyment of this novel. For fans of Agatha Christie, I recommend this novel and the Tommy & Tuppence series.  It’s a more lighthearted mystery/detective genre.  I especially enjoy listening to this series as Hugh Fraser narrates it.  Considering the bit of a hint for the next chapter in their lives, I look forward to the next novel. My Ratings: Story: A Narrator: A Overall: A About the Book: Tommy and Tuppence Beresford were restless for adventure, so when they were asked to take over Blunt’s International Detective Agency, they leapt at the chance. After their triumphant recovery of a pink pearl, intriguing cases kept on coming their way: a stabbing on Sunningdale golf course; cryptic messages in the personal columns of newspapers; and even a box of poisoned...
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