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Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
Mar
23

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Others Series Etched In Bone Author: Anne Bishop Narrator: Alexandra Harris Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Others #5 Source: Penguin Random House Audio Etched in Bone is the fifth and final book in the utterly amazing, wholly original The Others series by Anne Bishop. The story picks up just after the conclusion of powerful events of the previous book, and is the culmination of everything learned since Meg arrived in the Lakeside Courtyard way back in the first book. Etched in Bone deals with the limited transportation and food shortages created when the Elders culled many humans and took back human-controlled towns. The new living situation brings out a different kind of human “predator,” and the Elders must determine how much human they want to keep in the world. Having two Elders observe the Lakeside Courtyard places Simon in a precarious situation; he must allow a dangerous human (Officer Montgomery’s shady brother, Jimmy) to stay in near the Courtyard so the Elders can figure out what makes him a bad type of human (and therefore they will be able to destroy those humans that are a threat). Simon, along with the other Terra Indigine and some of the more astute humans like Burke and Monty, recognize that the fate of all humankind depends on what happens in Lakeside. This sets up a number of situations that endanger the lives and wellbeing of many of the Lakeside Courtyard residents, weaving a sense of urgency around the moments of everyday living. Like all the previous books in the series, readers (listeners) are privy to an unpleasant series of events that unfold over the course of Etched in Bone and witness how the Terra Indigine react. Although is it evident where the story is headed, it’s still gripping. This time around, I liked how well the Others and humans worked together, but I also like that the Lakeside residents are now able to recognize a human predator. The introduction of Monty’s mother, Twyla, adds a missing human/pack grandmother component. She is able to understand the ways of the the Others and put her own way of handling a situation into their framework. Her presence is calming, knowing that she is able to handle the craziness with a firm but caring hand. Additionally, Etched in Bone progresses the unique relationship between Simon and Meg. By now, it is evident to all, expect...
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Mar
16

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Iron Druid Chronicles Book: Hammered Author: Kevin Hearne Narrator: Luke Daniels Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #3 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: purchased Hammered Making good on his promise to the powerful witch Latcha to obtain a fabled apple from a Norse god, Atticus finds a “backdoor” into Asgard, then weaves a ridiculous tale of the Roman pantheon aiming to hurt the Norse pantheon to lay blame for the tragedies he causes while on his task. But Atticus isn’t done! He follows up these acts by heading back into Asgard with friend Leif and a handful of scorned immortals, fulfilling his promise to assist the vampire in his quest to kill Thor. Hammered is an interesting and exciting adventure for Atticus. Honestly, I’m still a bit dumb-struck over the events that occurred. Let’s just say that Atticus makes some really, really awful decisions this time around. The story has a different feel as Atticus takes on the Norse pantheon. The author expands beyond the limited look at the Tempe area and tosses about all sorts of new-to-the-series mythology. I appreciate that the majority of the world-building is presented as fact, rather than trying to convince the reader through telling. The book has a bit of a transition feel to it as Atticus concedes it is finally time to move on. His reflection on his reasons for always moving and never loving again are profound. We find out that he was married and experienced deep, true love for two centuries and had 25 kids! It’s been over 500 years and he’s afraid to set roots and love again. But he does love Oberon. And now he has a friendship with the Widow MacDonagh and his obligations to Granuaile (his apprentice). And he feels obligated to repair the damage to the land that happened back in the first book. It’s actually a very moving self-reflection as he makes the decision to leave Arizona. Another reason Hammered comes off as transitional is that as Atticus says his farewells to companions and friends, everything from the previous two books makes an appearance. Things like the Hammers of God, the witch coven, his friends, the shop; they are each dealt with in a manner that is mostly permanent, yet leaving room for reemergence one day. However, it was his farewell to the Widow MacDonagh that had me in tears. It was well done...
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Mar
9

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Mercy Thompson Series Title: Silence Fallen Author: Patricia Briggs Narrators: Lorelei King & George Newbern Audio Speed: 1.25x & 1.5x Series: Mercy Thompson #10 Genre: Urban Fantasy Audiobook Source: Penguin Random House Audio Opening shortly after the game-changing previous title Fire Touched, we find Mercy, Adam, and the Columbia Basin pack happy and settled in way they haven’t been in a very long time. However their good times are short-lived when Mercy is brutally attacked and kidnapped by Iacopo (Jacob) Bonarata, Lord of Night, head of the vampires. Mercy is cut off from her pack and mate-bond, on the run, and fighting to survive in a foreign land, while Adam must play diplomat to save both Mercy and ensure the security of his territory. Silence Fallen is the tenth title in the amazing, richly developed Mercy Thompson series. Those readers/listeners who have followed the series since the start will probably notice the book has a different feel than previous titles in the series. First of all, Mercy and Adam spend almost the entire book separated from one another, similar to what happened in portions of the seventh title, Frost Burned. Additionally, due to the circumstances, the author has split the book into sections narrated in first person POV of Mercy (her normal method of storytelling), but also the book is shared in the third person POV of Adam (and very briefly another character). The book also goes back and forth a bit in time, with Mercy and Adam’s stories running parallel, but shifted slightly in timing. This all makes for a very different feeling book. The results are mixed in my opinion. Overall, I enjoyed the story behind Silence Fallen. Ms. Briggs deals with the fallout from Adam and Mercy’s actions in Fire Touched, and even some subsequent titles. I like that there are repercussions from their actions, and that we continue to see the world changing as it uncovers and attempts to adapt to the supernatural world. Mercy’s kidnapping is a direct result of the actions in Fire Touched, and the outcome makes for a stronger pack in the long run. I also like that we learn more about both Werewolf and Vampire global politics. Mercy’s world has always been very small geographically, with trouble coming to her. Seeing Mercy function outside of her comfort zone was rewarding. I also loved watching Adam play diplomatic games, and getting his POV...
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Mar
2

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Charley Davidson Series Title: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight Author: Darynda Jones Narrator: Lorelei King Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Charley Davidson #11 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: purchased Eleventh Grave in Moonlight continues the journey of the Grim Reaper, powerful god, human P.I., Charley Davidson as she tries to protect her daughter and save the world. Charley and husband (son of Satan and also a god) Reyes are fresh from their last adventure and ready to find the second malevolent god that is walking the earthly plane. Confused? That means you haven’t read this series and truly need to start at the beginning! This eleventh title builds directly upon the events from the previous books. Those who follow my reviews know I have a love-hate relationship with the Charley Davidson series. At its best, the books are full of amazing humor, witty banter, interesting stories, intelligent plots, and fun times. However, too often the books get bogged down by an over abundance of confusing storylines, contradictions and left turns from previously stated “facts,” and worst of all… an utter lack in character growth, most notably in the relationship and communications skills between Charley and Reyes. I am happy to report that by-in-large, many of my issues were minimal this time around; however there were still little annoyances here and there, which at this point in the series (book 11!!), added up and bothered me to no end! Let me start with the good… I absolutely LOVED the opening as Charley relays her current issues to a very confused psychiatrist. The scene is shared in true Charley fashion — full of her ADD thought process — and it genuinely had me laughing out loud. More importantly, the listener relearned the most important recent events from the previous book in a manner that was sharing rather than telling. As the book progresses, the author does a great job staying focused on a few related issues. The primary story revolves around Reyes’s adoptive parents, the Fosters, and we finally get the whole truth of why they kidnapped Reyes, only to turn him over to the malicious Earl Walker. This story has been a longtime coming and was completely satisfying. Additionally, the book spends time focusing on the larger story arc surrounding their daughter, Beep, and the prophesied end of the world. We learn more about Jehovah and Charley’s past. Again, this is a well-written storyline. What didn’t...
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Feb
23

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Any Time, Any Place by Jennifer Probst

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Any Time, Any Place by Jennifer Probst Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Any Time, Any Place Author: Jennifer Probst Narrators: Madeleine Maby and Sebastian York Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Billionaire Builders #2 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Simon & Schuster Audio When Raven’s only parent, her loving father, was killed with his mistress in a car accident as they fled to Paris, she was left confused and alone. While Diane Pierce died a martyr of sorts, Raven’s dad was cast as the villain, and Raven vowed revenge on the Pierce family for muddying her father’s good name. It wasn’t until eight months ago that Raven realized the handsome trio of brothers that came into her bar were those dreadful Pierce brothers. Dalton Pierce was devastated upon finding out that his mother was leaving the family when she died suddenly in a horrific car wreck. Years later, he still feels a huge emptiness in his life. He’s glad to be reunited with his brothers and helping to run Pierce Construction, but he feels like something of his own is missing. And the more time he spends with Raven, the more he thinks she may be what is missing. Any Time, Any Place picks up the story of the three Pierce brothers reuniting and taking over the family construction business after the death of their father. As the youngest, he was most impacted by the loss of their mother years ago. He rebelled in his own ways, swearing never to settle down, but now finds something he wants in Raven. He senses a deeper connection and he wants to explore it, but she keeps him at arm’s length because of the secret she holds. However, Raven has let go of her need for revenge, instead moving on with her life and looking for someone special to share it with. I love how she denies herself the pleasure of Dalton, not letting her guard down because she views it as a betrayal to her father. Both Dalton and Raven are fantastic characters. Each is strong and independent, yet sensitive and willing to anything for friends and family. Their strong wills make for excellent banter and even better sexual tension. I’ll admit that as much as I loved Dalton’s sly grin and mischievous flirting, I had a major girl-crush on Raven. She’s the owner of her own bar/restaurant, skilled boxer, talented mixologist, and she teaches the local women how to count cards so they can beat the guys in...
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Feb
16

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Vacation Hell by Eve Langlais

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Vacation Hell by Eve Langlais Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Princess of Hell Series Book: Vacation Hell Author: Eve Langlais Narrator: Rebecca Estrella Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Princess of Hell #4 Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance / Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio Vacation Hell Vacation Hell opens with Muriel and her family settling into their new lives as parents and lovers. Although everyone is extremely happy, Muriel is being called to the beach, someplace she does NOT like to visit, indicating larger forces at play. Yet with her precocious, meddlesome daughter, Lucinda, driving Muriel to emotional and mental exhaustion, the gang decides a family vacation to the beach is in order. Vacation Hell is the fourth addition to Ms. Langlais’s wild Princess of Hell series. Although the story is mostly standalone, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this one – too much of the world is developed over the course of the previous books. With the nature of Muriel’s sexually charged magic, jumping in here may be confusing, and not as emotionally satisfying. The story contained within Vacation Hell is light and short. Keeping in concert with the previous stories, Muriel must take on a new lover to feed a different aspect of her magic. This time she is practically shoved at Tristan, a merman and son of King Neptune, by someone in her own family. I like that Muriel is learning to be more at ease with her needs and the part other sexual partners play in her life. However, I am not happy with the fact that she was placed in the situation via manipulation. I also enjoyed that different than the past, Tristan is not ready to jump into the orgy as easily as her previous lovers. The author has made each male unique, with their own sexual needs, which keeps the stories fresh. After eliminating the “big bad” from the prior books in Hell’s Revenge, the author creates a new story arc that will clearly span into the next book, as there is a huge aspect of this story that remains unfinished by the end of Vacation Hell. Since the ending isn’t a true cliff-hanger, I don’t mind that the story arc continues forward; however, the book is very short, and I felt the plot line was weak. So I would have preferred the author continue the story, creating a longer, more fulfilling book. Ms. Estrella’s familiar performance creates a bit of comfort in this, the fourth title....
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Feb
9

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hell’s Revenge by Eve Langlais

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hell’s Revenge by Eve Langlais Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Princess of Hell Series Book: Hell’s Revenge Author: Eve Langlais Narrator: Rebecca Estrella Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Princess of Hell #3 Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio Hell’s Revenge Hell’s Revenge opens with an overlapping scene from the epilogue of the previous book, Snowballs in Hell in which Muriel discovers her mom is none other than Mother Nature, Gaia. Although she hasn’t visited Muriel since leaving her with her father as a small child, Gaia has returned to inform Muriel that she is pregnant, and both of her lovers at the fathers. Gaia intends to take the child from Muriel. There is so much for Muriel, her lovers, and her father to process, which takes them to Hell to get answers. Unfortunately, there is still the “big bad” after Muriel, and her life, along with her quickly growing unborn child, is in peril. Hell’s Revenge continues the overall story arc about a mysterious, powerful force who is after Lucifer’s kingdom, brining the issue to a head. While the entire story felt short, it was entertaining, and I liked how it wrapped up the storyline. However, in retrospect, the dangers and motives behind the entire three-book plot line weren’t as sinister as they came off in the first book. Some of the events from previous two books don’t every tie into the conclusion of the plot line. Regardless, the story was enjoyable. There weren’t nearly as many graphic sex scenes, and the book focused on the overall plot. One important event from Hell’s Revenge is that Muriel and her family learn more about her powers. Her magic is almost its own entity, and if it is depleted, it will seek out new sources of sex for facets of Muriel’s magic not being fed. For example, it sought out and connected with a vampire to feed the cold and dark part of her magic. Once the magic connects, it is permanent. What does this mean in the long run? More men in Muriel’s bedroom. Once again, Rebecca Estrella provides the narration for the story. One thing that changed in Hell’s Revenge, is that there are parts of the story shared from both David and Auric’s point-of-views. Ms. Estrella uses the same general narrator voice for each character, while continuing to provide a unique voice when each speaks. Overall, her performance is good – with unique and fitting voices for...
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Feb
2

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Snowballs in Hell by Eve Langlais

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Snowballs in Hell by Eve Langlais Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Princess of Hell Series Book: Snowballs in Hell Author: Eve Langlais Narrator: Rebecca Estrella Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Princess of Hell #2 Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio Snowballs in Hell One month has passed since Muriel’s encounter with the mysterious Hooded One; the night she nearly died. Her reoccurring, daily nightmares are making her feel weak and worse, shameful. She does not like being afraid of anything. The changes in Muriel are especially tough on her soulmate, fallen angel Auric. He will do anything to protect his love and help her get better. I’m going to say this right up front: Snowballs in Hell is FULL of graphic sex. So much so, that I actually started skimming and forwarding through the scenes. Additionally, due to issues with her sexually-charged powers, Muriel must add another male into her and Auric’s bedroom. While I have no issues with threesomes (also note: this is not a true menáge situation), the way that the threesome came about really irritated me. Honestly, I admired Muriel’s stance on adding another to her existing love life, especially after waiting years for Mr. Right to come along. However, her soulmate felt it necessary to manipulate Muriel into adding another to their bedroom. The fact that Auric blatantly tricks her into the situation made me furious! If the author had instead allowed Muriel to accept her body’s need for sex without the subterfuge, I would have enjoyed the storyline. But the over-the-top emphasis that Muriel would deny herself out of love, which lead to the secret sex plot, ruined it for me. The overall storyline of discovering who is behind the attack that nearly killed Muriel was interesting; however the climatic scene and unveiling of said bad guys left me wanting a bit more. I love how kickass Muriel is, and when she takes charge of her own situations, she’s a wonderful heroine. Add in a touch of humor and sarcasm, and Muriel is one of the best UF characters. However, when she gets wishy-washy, she can be annoying. There was a bit too much focus on whether or not Muriel should sleep with another, but it did tie into the plot. Rebecca Estrella provides a solid and consistent narration. Muriel’s voice is perfect. The array of male voices works for the story. Typically, I tend to enjoy a narrator more by the second or...
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Jan
26

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Last Dragon Standing by G.A. Aiken

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Last Dragon Standing by G.A. Aiken Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Dragon Kin Series Book: Last Dragon Standing  Author: G.A. Aiken Narrator: Hollie Jackson Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Dragon Kin #4 Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Source: Tantor Audio Beginning two years after the conclusion of the previous book, we learn that the dragon-human twins of Queen Annwyl and her mate Fearghus are in danger, and there is a possible coup to overthrow the Dragon Queen, Rhiannon the White. The Queen seeks assistance from her newest ally, Ragnar the Cunning, Dragonlord Chief of the Olgeirsson Horde, a Lightning Dragon. Of course, the Dragon Queen always has ulterior motives in her plans, and this time around, they involve getting Ragnar to “save” and return her youngest daughter, Keita the Viper, to her family. Last Dragon Standing narrates as an unfolding mystery with multiple subplots. The Dragon Queen is a master manipulator and strategist, and we follow Keita and Ragnar as they are forced to unravel the threads the Queen has knotted together. There are layers upon layers of subterfuge, making the plot utterly engrossing. However, the romance of Keita and Ragnar is more of a side story to the main plotlines, and if you want the same steamy, love stories found in the first three titles, you will be in for a disappointment. This story was more about both the human and Southland Dragon politics rather than a romance. And so much happens. We learn more about a pending war, as well as new enemies and allies. This book takes us into a new chapter in the lives of the characters, and with it comes a new maturity of sorts. It left me wanting for more – unfortunately, I don’t know when Tantor will be publishing more on audio! I loved learning more about Keita. She’s a complex dragoness, who is equal parts cunning spy and royal princess. She is BOTH roles – not “playing” one or the other. She’s a royal princess snob, but not because she’s stuck up. She honestly thinks she’s being nice or helpful. It’s not fake. She’s that, but also the dangerous spy and protector of the throne.  Ragnar of the Lightning Dragons is the only one who can see and appreciate both parts of Keita. While their relationship takes a LOT of time to develop, their interactions are always enjoyable. I loved watching Ragnar witness and come to realize who Keita truly is. And while Keita doesn’t change in...
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Jan
19

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Dresden Files Series Book: Ghost Stories Author: Jim Butcher Narrator: James Marsters Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Dresden Files #13 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mystery Source: purchased Ghost Stories Having been shot and killed at the end of the previous book, Changes, Dresden finds out he’s in the Between, not quite dead, but not alive. Discovering that the “bad guys” somehow cheated when they killed him, he cannot move on until he finds out who killed him and why. So Dresden heads back to Earth as a ghost to solve his own murder; however, he gets caught up trying to save his friends in the process. With his own soul and eternal rest on the line, Dresden must learn the rules of his new existence before his time runs out. After that somewhat scary ending to Changes, and the gap novella, Aftermath (found in the anthology, Side Jobs), I knew two things: Dresden was apparently dead, and Chicago was being overrun by some bad paranormals due to the power vacuum Dresden created in his battle with the Red Court. I was a bit leery to start this one out of fear I would get some lame ghost story (let’s face it, there have been some big letdowns in favorite series involving the death of a main character), but what I was treated to was a beautifully detailed, complex story that brought together many aspects of the series thus far. Mr. Butcher successful sold me on not only the mythology behind ghosts in this world, but that Dresden is able to remain a productive investigator and crimefighter. The author creates a whole new set of rules for Dresden that govern spirits, including their use of magic, ability to manifest, and how they interact with both mortals and paranormals. The fact that it was relayed to listeners through Dresden’s own experiences, trials, and errors, made the additional information feel natural, like it was a given all along. Ghost Story is emotionally difficult in a few ways. First, we witness what has happened to Dresden’s friends, family, and Chicago since his death six months prior. It’s not pretty, especially Karen and Molly. They are changed, and the state of the world is hard and dark. Things are messed up, and it hurts me as it hurts Dresden. Additionally, Harry must come to terms with the choices he made prior to his death. I really enjoyed...
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