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Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
Oct
1

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 4

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 4 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… What I’m Listening To: Title: Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Jane Jameson #4 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Chick-Lit Source: purchased/Audible Audiobook Review: Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors is the final book of the Jane Jameson vampire series. This time around, Jane’s life is finally coming together. She’s living happily with Gabriel, has made up with her estranged sister, Jenny, and her book shop is successful. But this is Jane, and something is bound to go wrong. When an errant car strikes and kills Jamie, the dairy delivery teen, he asks Jane to turn him into a vampire. Now Jane is a sire, and has to deal with the fallout of changing a beloved hometown high school student. Oh, and it looks like maybe someone is out to kill Gabriel in an act of revenge. Overall, I really enjoyed this final book in the series. Although at first, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t like it. The book starts light and happy, but turns dark very fast. Jane’s horrible grandmother sets out to ruin Jane’s life and frankly, it’s a bit much for me. It hurt to know how awful her own grandmother is to Jane. Additionally, Jamie’s parents and friends don’t take his turning into a vampire well at all, causing me additional sadness. Luckily, the issues are both dealt with head-on, and I found myself really enjoying the talk between Jamie’s mom and Jane. It was realistic and a little bit hopeful. I was also a bit put off by the circumstances surrounding Jamie’s death, which are revealed at the end of the book. I know this is just fiction, but it was a little too over-the-top and manipulative in a way. However, I love how Jane dealt with the news. She’s a great sire/mom. The overall story of Jane’s life preparing for her wedding and being a new “mom” to Jamie were both highly enjoyable. I also liked the mystery of who is trying to kill Gabriel. The story is filled with Jane’s wonderful sarcasm and wit, making me laugh out loud more than once. The supporting cast just gets better with each story. By now, this the fourth title, I find comfort in Amanda Ronconi’s performance. I love each voice she gives all of the characters. She’s pretty consistent from title to...
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Sep
24

Listen Up! Audiobook Challenge: 3rd Quarter Update

Listen Up! Audiobook Challenge: 3rd Quarter Update Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Now that I am firmly part of TEAM AUDIOBOOK and an avid listener, I signed up for the annual Audiobook Challenge hosted by The Book Nympho and Hot Listens. My personal goal is to meet the My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) level 30-50 audiobooks during 2015. For more information about the 2015 Audiobook Challenge, click the image below. Audiobook Challenge Third Quarter Update Well here it is, three-quarters of the way through the challenge and technically I’ve made my goal of My Precious. I’ve now listened to 39 books, but honestly, my year goal is 50 books, so I still have a bit to go. My rate of listening slowed a little this quarter (from 14 books down to 11), but I’m still going strong. Here is a list of the audiobooks I completed this quarter: Book 29: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert (6/21) Book 30: Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert (6/27) Book 31: Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert (7/16) Book 32: Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper, Narrated by Amanda Ronconi (7/25) Book 33: Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men by Molly Harper, Narrated by Amanda Ronconi (7/31) Book 34: Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever by Molly Harper, Narrated by Amanda Ronconi (8/6) Book 35: Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors by Molly Harper, Narrated by Amanda Ronconi (8/12) Book 36: Storm Front by Jim Butcher, Narrated by James Marsters (8/20) Book 37: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, Narrated by James Marsters (8/28) Book 38: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher, Narrated by James Marsters (9/10) Book 39: Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, Narrated by Alexander Cendese and Lorelei King (9/21) My favorite story I listened the third quarter of 2015 is Storm Front by James Butcher; however, many of the books I listened to rated an B+ or better. Finally breaking down and starting The Dresden Files by James Butcher was a real treat. I was blown away by the first story, but found myself a bit worn out after listening to the third book, so I’m taking a little break before starting the next title in the series. My favorite narrative performance this quarter is James Marsters in The Dresden Files by James Butcher. Best known for his role as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, long gone is his cockney accent. Instead, listeners enjoy a deep, rich, soothing voice that embodies...
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Sep
17

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 3

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 3 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… What I’m Listening To: Title: Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Jane Jameson #3 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Chick-Lit Source: purchased/Audible Audiobook Review: Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever After suffering much of the downside of being turned into a vampire in the previous two books, I feared that Jane Jameson was going to be one of those characters who never learns, doesn’t really change, and is the unfortunate recipient of lots of bad luck. So, I’m happy to report that things turn around for Jane in her third adventure, Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever. While there are still several less desirable things that happen in Jane’s life, overall, this book marked a significant turning point for Jane. The book begins with Jane determined to make the most of her relationship with Gabriel as they tour Europe; however, Gabriel has grown distant, while acting extremely suspicious. I frankly did not like the man he’d become and cheered Jane on as she walked out on him, although my heart also broke for her. Moving on without Gabriel, Jane successfully opens her bookshop, but her life takes several bumps along the way, and now Jane doesn’t have Gabriel to help her through. Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever follows Jane as she navigates her romantic relationship, meddling family, friendships, running her own business, and protecting herself from a stalker. Like the previous two titles, the story bounces all over the place, reflecting Jane’s own thoughts and actions. She’s a bit spastic and neurotic, making her enduring, but a bit hard to follow at times. There are scenes, which initially felt a bit random, only to have Jane come back around to that issue/topic down the road. Sometimes it felt a little overwhelming, but overall the story flowed well, especially with Amanda Ronconi narrating the tale. And Jane’s sarcastic wit stoled the show, allowing me to laugh away any little irritations. I will admit, I was initially a bit frustrated with Jane and all the crap tossed her way. But then Jane started standing up for herself and making better decisions. I cheered as she was able to find herself, while continuing to stick her foot in her mouth from time-to-time. I especially enjoyed watching as Jane grew closer to her own family, despite the obstacles that were in the way. By the end of the book, I felt that Jane reached a...
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Sep
10

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Archangel’s Enigma Author: Nalini Singh Narrator: Justine Eyre Listening Speed: 1.0x Reviewer: Una Overall Rating: A Audiobook Source: Tantor Media/publisher What I’m Talking About: This was my first time listening to a Guild Hunter series book rather than reading it.  I truly enjoyed the experience and may do it again.  This series continues to be one of my absolute top series to follow. I loved Naasir and Andi’s story in Archangel’s Enigma.  At first I was apprehensive about Naasir, the glimpses we got from other characters’ perspectives made him seem far more juvenile than he is.  I wasn’t sure I wanted such a youthful story of love.  However, I need to have more faith in Ms. Singh and her ability to craft a story.  Through this novel, we truly see him as he is – all of his uniqueness, intelligence and mirth.  Nassir possesses a childlike core of truth and honesty, even with his mischievousness.  I now truly understand why he is a part of the Seven and he certainly belongs there. Andi was the right mate for him and I absolutely loved the honesty between them, their communication, their playfulness and the honor that they both hold so dear.  They truly are a wonderful couple.  Andi was far braver and stronger than I gave her credit for in the beginning.  Her will is of iron and her loyalty absolute.  I loved her strength of character, and her ability to abide by what she knows is right.  The contrast between her and her family is staggering, but the glimpse of the true character of her mother at the end was bittersweet.  I really loved the journey Andi takes. So much happens in this installment of the Guild Hunters series:  the awakening of another ancient, the thickening of Lijuan’s plot to rule the world, and the evolution taking place due to the Cascade (and the continuing effects it is causing).  It was completely gripping.  Though we are given no clues to who will be the focus of the next book, I look to the complexity of Illium and the effects of the Cascade on him, the continued healing of Aodhan and the possibility of Venom, or perhaps a book that focuses back on Raphael and Elena.  No matter what I eagerly look forward to more in the series, it is truly one of my favorites. It would be...
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Sep
3

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Masters of Seduction, Volume 2

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Masters of Seduction, Volume 2 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Masters of Seduction, Volume 2 Author: Lara Adrian, Donna Grant, Alexandra Ivy, Laura Wright Narrator: Arika Rapson Listening Speed: 1.0x Reviewer: Una Overall Rating: A- Audiobook Source: Tantor Media/publisher What I’m Talking About: Although I did not read the first volume of Masters of Seduction, I enjoyed Masters of Seduction, Volume 2.  To make this review a little bit easier to follow, I separated thoughts on each of the four stories below, followed by my thoughts on the performance of the narrator, Arika Rapson.  Overall I enjoyed this novel.  I really liked how, even though each story can stand alone, they are linked in an overarching plot line.  The world was fascinating and rich and the passion burns your fingers (or ears). The novel begins with Priceless: House of Ebarron, which is the story of Sorin and Ashayla.  I enjoyed their story, even though it starts strangely in a casino over a bet.  Ashayla’s determined need to get her family’s lost necklace pitted against Soren’s need to possess her was captivating.  The story moves quickly, but it is understandable as this is a collection of novellas.  The premise of the mating need of a Nephilim and an Incubus master gave the speed of the plot believability.  It was satisfying, and I enjoyed their chemistry and passion.  I really enjoyed how this story was linked to the subsequent ones, being the start of an overarching plot line for the novel as a whole. The next story, Boundless: House of Drohas, is the story of Javan and Naomi.  I enjoyed their story as well, especially as it added more to the overarching plot of the novel.  My curiosity was piqued by the background politics of the incubi.  I liked that we get glimpses of the overall world as we experience the journey between the main characters.  Javan and Naomi were an interesting couple and I enjoyed their unique story.  Though the mystery of Naomi’s sister’s murder was quickly resolved (mostly in the background), it did work as a way to introduce the pair and give them a purpose to be together.  Their chemistry and passion were palpable and I enjoyed their communication. The third story is Dauntless: House of Trevanion which tells the story of Cass and Lia.  Sadly, this was my least favorite story in the collection.  It was a bit clichéd with it being a retelling of...
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Aug
27

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 2

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 2 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… What I’m Listening To: Title: Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Jane Jameson #2 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Chick-Lit Source: purchased/Audible Audiobook Review: Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men picks up the story of Jane Jameson’s newly turned vampire life shortly after the conclusion of the previous book. Listeners discover that Jane’s BFF, Zeb, and his beloved, Joelene, are getting married, and Jane is the maid of honor. We also discover that Jane and her mom have found some sort of peace, but that her sister is suing her. The book generally follows the day-to-day going-ons of Jane’s crazy life, tossing in Jane’s familiar humor and quirky observations. Overall, I enjoyed the second offering in the Jane Jameson series. I love Jane’s snark and the general humorous mood of the story. Jane’s life is one crazy event after another, and generally, she handles everything with a sense of humor and a few tears. However, both Jane’s and Zeb’s family are overly cruel, making some of the story difficult to digest with the lightness intended in the story. Jane’s grandmother and sister are outrageous and mean. The same goes with Zeb’s mom, Ginger, who does everything and more to get Zeb and Jane together. It got to the point where I could no longer listen to her manipulations; they went beyond outrageous and straight into despicable. Although Jane handles herself with her typical sarcasm, it got to the point of annoying, and I was frustrated at how much Jane put up with. Don’t get me wrong, I really did like the book, and fortunately, those scenes weren’t as numerous as the good ones. I did like seeing Jane learn how to maneuver in the vampire world and learn to stand up more for herself. I also liked seeing her somewhat odd romance with her sire Gabriel evolve and grow. My favorite parts of the book were those interactions between Jane and her boss/surrogate-grandfather, Mr. Wainwright. Additionally, I found Dick Cheney to be my favorite character as he matures just enough to be lovable but retains his core personally. Amanda Ronconi turns in another excellent portrayal as Jane, along with the host of other southern characters. She nails both the charm of a southern lady, as well as the guilt of the southern mama. And the few things that slightly bothered...
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Aug
20

Listen Up! What is Podiocast?

Listen Up! What is Podiocast? Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… This week I’m super excited to welcome Melissa Hayden to That’s What I’m Talking About. Mel is here to tell us about a great FREE audiobook listening experience… Books in Podcasts We are all here because we love books. So why don’t we take that three dimensional book and make it four dimensional? How do we do that, you ask. My answer to that is Podcast Books. What are Podcast books? Well, I find these are the best way to listen to books. For me, it’s a step up from audiobooks (which have come a long way in recent years). The story is broken into episodes, or chapters, and can be found at Podiobooks.com. Also, bonus detail for us book lovers… The stories are FREE! (I’ll explain more in a minute.) I’m one who struggled something fierce with audio books. But I LOVE Podcasted books. Sounds crazy, I know. What’s the difference? Well, the podcasted stories I pick have different voice actors for each character and have sound effects! This makes the podcasted book feel like I’m watching a tv show. It keeps my interest and makes it easy to know who’s who by the amazing voice talents speaking. Not all stories are with different voices for each character or with background sounds. I’ll warn you now. There are many that are very similar to audiobooks you pick up on Audible. I found my way into Podcasts by following Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine down the rabbit hole. They started a short story series set in their Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. This sandbox was, and still is, open to many authors to play in. Tee and Pip have done an OUTSTANDING job of adding in sound effects to keep me on my toes and the voices when they act the stories. They even have talented authors voice their own stories or higher another to do so for them, but Tee and Pip always add in background sound drops. By following Tee and Pip on their shared adventures in Tales from the Archives, I found numerous authors that I fell in love with after listening to their short stories and enjoying their writing. I followed their links and names to find more stories in their pen and voice. And boy did I find them! This all lead me to one site that I’m loving, Podiobooks.com. This little adventure has...
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Aug
13

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 1

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 1 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Jane Jameson #1 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Chick-Lit Source: purchased/Audible What I’m Listening To: Jane Jameson lives a pretty low-key life in her hometown, Half Moon Hollow. She loves her job as the juvenile librarian at the local library, so when she’s let go due to budget constraints, Jane has one too many drinks at the local bar. Although a mysterious stranger helps her sober up, on the way home, Jane is mistaken for a deer and shot dead by another local. Luckily, Gabriel, the stranger, was following Jane to make sure she made it home, and he offers her the choice of eternal life as a vampire. Rather than die, Jane accepts his offer and begins her life as one of the undead. Having already read and/or listened to the Molly Harper’s spin-off Half Moon Hollow series, I’ve already met Jane, Gabriel, her BFF Zeb, and most of the other characters who appear in Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs. So it was a bit odd at first, listening to Jane talk about becoming a vampire and having so many awful things happen to her. And she does run into a lot of bad luck within the first few months of being changed over to a vampire. Someone is out to get Jane, but who? and why? It took listening for a few hours to feel comfortable with Jane’s persona and how she tells her tale, and I think that’s partly because I’ve read/listened to books that chronologically come later in the world, but it’s also Ms. Harper’s narrative style. It’s as if Jane as ADD and jumps from one subject to another while telling her story. At first I didn’t like when Jane would suddenly jump into a recollection or, worse, telling us something that was yet to come, but by the midway point, this jumpy story-telling didn’t happen as often and/or didn’t seem to bother me at all. Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs is the story of Jane’s life after being changed into one of the undead. There is romance involving her sire, Gabriel, but it’s not the primary storyline. Gabriel finds himself fascinated by Jane and doesn’t always understand her crazy ways, but he’s completely head-over-heels for her. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t know how to let Jane know this in a way she understands....
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Aug
6

Listen Up! Saying Goodbye to Kat & Bones #Audiobook Review

Listen Up! Saying Goodbye to Kat & Bones #Audiobook Review Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Up From the Grave Author: Jeaniene Frost Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Audio Speed: 1x Series: Night Huntress #7 (Night Huntress Universe #11) Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: library loan NOTE: This review may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. Up From the Grave #Audiobook Review I have to say that I went in to Up From the Grave with a bit of apprehension. When initially starting the series, I had mixed feelings, reaching a low back with the fourth title; however, the last two books in the Night Huntress series have been fabulous. When a fellow reader mentioned the reasons why she didn’t care for the final book as much as earlier titles, I was worried because her issues were the biggest reasons I had problems with the earlier titles. However, even with those concerns going into the final book of the Cat and Bones series, I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed Up From the Grave. The book opens shortly after the conclusion of the sixth Cat and Bones book, and overlaps a bit in time with the second Night Prince book (the Vlad-centric spinoff series). Cat discovers that her former teammates and good friends are missing. When she tries to uncover the truth from her current nemesis, Jason Madigan, she finds out that they are listed as killed in the line of duty, but Cat knows something isn’t quite right. As Cat and Bones dig deeper, they begin to uncover a horrible plot that could spell the end of vampires and ghouls alike. Up From the Grave is the final story of the primary Night Huntress series, which focuses on Cat and Bones. Overall, I enjoyed both the one-book story and the conclusion of the series. Ms. Frost does a great job balancing the need for a solitary plot line with the desire for an all-encompassing wrap up of the series. All of the major characters make appearances, and the outstanding storylines come together for a solid finish. But that doesn’t mean we don’t meet new players with the possibility of future titles. However, Ms. Frost makes it pretty clear that she’s closed the doors on Cat and Bones, for now. The book focuses on Cat’s need to bring down the nefarious Jason Madigan, who took over the secret government agency in charge of paranormal disruptions. We discover that Madigan is up to some really nasty stuff...
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Jul
30

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Twice Tempted

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Twice Tempted Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Twice Tempted Author: Jeaniene Frost Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Audio Speed: 1x Series: Night Prince #2 (Night Huntress Universe #10) Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: library loan NOTE: This review may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. Twice Tempted #Audiobook Review The second Night Prince book starts with an emotional rollercoaster and ends on a bit of a jaw drop reveal, leaving me ready for the next book. Twice Tempted opens about six weeks after the conclusion of the Once Burned, and Lelia’s electrical powers and psychic telemetry are still blocked due to Vlad putting his fireproofing essence on her. She’s not happy because of the distance Vlad has placed between them, and after realizing she’s fallen in love with him, she decides to leave him to protect what’s left of her broken heart. Unfortunately, someone is after Lelia, and she finds herself on the run from an unknown foe. Overall, I really enjoyed Twice Tempted. The highlight of the story is the continuing romance between Vlad and Lelia. I admire her emotional fortitude, making the decision to leave the man she loves because he refuses to entertain the possibility he will ever love her. Their goodbye scene wrecked me inside, making their eventual reconciliation all the more rewarding. I found myself completely engaged on an emotional level. My only issue with the romance is the similarities of the sorta-love-triangle to Cat, Bones, and Tate from the original Night Huntress series. I understand the need to create tension and drama in the story, but having it come in the form of another suitor, Vlad’s second Maximum, was not the direction I would have liked. It just felt too similar to the original series, and although there are distinct differences, it irritated me. The mystery of who is after Leila was fairly entertaining, even although I had pretty much figured it out well before the end of the book. The reveal in the concluding moments of the book was exciting, regardless of my correct suspicions. Once again, I enjoyed Tavia Gilbert’s narration (see earlier reviews for more on my thoughts of Ms. Gilbert’s performance). Story Rating: B+ Narration: A- Reviews in the...
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