logo
Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
Jan
21

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Deal Author: Elle Kennedy Narrator: Lorelei Avalon Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Off-Campus #1 Genre: NA Contemporary Romance Source: author The Off-Campus series focuses on undergrad students of the fictional Briar college, located outside Boston, MA. In The Deal, the first book of the series, music major, Hannah Wells successfully passed her ethics midterm, where as most of the class failed, including hockey captain Garrett Graham who needs to pass the makeup exam to remain eligible to play. When Garrett realizes he could pass with Hannah as his tutor, he stops at nothing to secure her help, and in the process, the pair become friends. However, as Garrett helps Hannah catch the eye of another, he realizes he wants to keep her for himself. Starting as a classic opposites attract trope, The Deal blends sharp wit with thoughtful plot development to create a wonderful romance. Hannah and Garett have amazing chemistry, but their story doesn’t follow the strict “I hate you therefore I love you” theme. Rather, the pair slowly lets down their guards around the other and become honest friends. I adore witnessing the progression from acquaintances to friends to more. The pair slowly grew closer until they didn’t realize how deep they were into it. As they shared their most inner-most secrets, I found the story utterly touching and gripping. I couldn’t stop listening. As great as the romance is, the story is successful because of the well-developed characters. Hannah and Garrett both have pasts that lend them to bond and become the perfect couple. Hannah was raped five years ago. Garrett lived with an abusive father. Both have done what was necessary to move forward. While in general, the couple is mature beyond their years, it fits because both Garrett and Hannah have had to endure awful experiences, and they have had time to heal and move past it. This gives their level of maturity credibility. Garrett and Hannah are really too perfect to be true, but they are sooooo good together that I just want more and more of the couple. Their love is intense and beautiful, but it didn’t come easy. They worked at it and came by love after getting to know one another and growing into a relationship. I would love a story about the pair down the road 5 years to see how they adjust to life outside college. The Deal is...
Read More
Jan
14

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave Author: Darynda Jones Narrator: Lorelei King Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Charley Davidson #9 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: Macmillan Audio/publisher It’s been a month since Janey (aka Charley) showed up in Sleepy Hollow, New York, without any memories of her past. Taken in by the owner of a local restaurant, she is making friends and learning that she’s a bit unique – like the fact that she can see dead people and their parallel dimension. With each day that goes by, Janey gets more and more frustrated, especially when she thinks that those around her may hold the keys to her past. If you have followed my reviews of the Charley Davidson series, you will know that I have a bit of a love-hate affair with the series. While I was pleased with most of the previous book, the ending, leaving Charley with amnesia in a far away town, set up The Dirt on Ninth Grave as a bit of a make or break book for me. Well, I am very happy to report that this book won back my love for all things Charley. Seriously… it’s that good. If you have been on the fence, I strong urge you to pick up the book and give it a chance. I was worried about the whole amnesia aspect, but Ms. Jones uses it as a positive tool, rather than allowing it to further isolate Charley. Although she doesn’t know it, Charley is surrounded by everyone that loves her. Cookie is once again her best friend, and she has the hots for Reyes, knowing she loves him. But since she’s not weighed down by all of the revelations uncovered in the past few books, Charley is able to just be that carefree, funny woman we first met. She has all of the good traits that caused me to fall for her, leaving out the ones I couldn’t stand. And I fell in love with Reyes all over again. Seriously. I swooned. He has to act like he doesn’t know Janey – the love of his life. It pained me to see his struggles, along with all of Charley’s family, as they deal with Charley’s memory loss. And the humor is out of this world funny. I cannot tell you how many times I literally laughed out loud. Some of the humor is trademark Charley Davidson/Darydna Jones, while some of...
Read More
Jan
7

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Bound Series

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Bound Series Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Bound Series Titles: London Bound (#1) & Drawn That Way (#2) Authors: Jessica Jarman (#1) & Bronwyn Green (#2) Narrator: Tatiana Sokolov Audio Speed: 1x Series: Bound #1 & #2 Genre: Contemporary Romance Audiobook Source: Authors When I discovered that the authors of one of my favorite series, Bound by Jessica Jarman and Bronwyn Green, published the first two books in audiobook format, I think I squealed out loud for a bit. Would I like the opportunity to review them? Hell yes! Before I get into the audio/narration part of the review, I want to state that I strongly enjoyed both books the first time around. Much of what I wrote in my original reviews of both London Bound and Drawn That Way still holds true, and I’ll summarize my thoughts on both stories as taken from my original reviews. London Bound: Overall, I found London Bound an entertaining, steamy erotic romance. While Nathan is a bit perfect, Meg is wonderfully real, creating a beautiful equilibrium. They share some intense and beautiful moments, carrying me away in their mutual affections. I needed things to work out for the couple because they make such a good match. I liked that they didn’t have a completely easy road, and it took some time to make it work. The D/s relationship and love affair are nearly perfect, and sometimes enjoying an ideal romance is just what a tired soul needs to getaway for a while. Drawn That Way: I absolutely adored Drawn That Way! Rory and Tristan make a wonderful pair, and their chemistry is palpable. I was emotionally connected to each character right from the get go; able to relate in some way or another to both. Watching each let go of their hangups and worries as they give into their mutual lust is satisfying. I also appreciated that the author addresses the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, which is a serious issue in today’s society. Overall, I totally loved Drawn That Way. While the story isn’t overly complex, it is emotionally satisfying. The characters are completely likable and grow enough to make the book fulfilling. The eroticism is equally emotional as it is sexual. As for specifics to the audiobook versions: One thing I noticed about listening to the books – I didn’t realize how much sex was in both books until listening! The first book in the series, London...
Read More
Dec
31

Listen Up! A Year in Review – 2015

Listen Up! A Year in Review – 2015 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… A Year of Listening! Here we are on the last day of 2015, and I’m celebrating one year of Listen Up! and audiobooks! I’ve really enjoyed my weekly check-ins, reviews, guest posts, and all things audiobooks. I listened to 52 audiobooks during 2015, ranging from new releases and old favorites, spanning contemporary romance, urban fantasy, young adult, new adult, paranormal romance, and science fiction. I’ve listened to new-to-me authors and “re-read” some of my favorite titles. I find that I can’t enjoy a solo walk or car ride without my audiobooks! Without further ado… here is my year in review: Total Books listened to: 52 Total Books receiving an A or better: 9 Favorite Audiobook overall: The Martian by Andy Weir & Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey Favorite Story in Audiobook format: The Martian by Andy Weir Favorite Narrator: Lorelei King (Mercy Thompson books) & James Marsters (Dresden Files) Honorable Mention: Lauren Fortgang (Kowalski Family series) Best Narrated Series: Dresden Files, narrated by James Marsters Favorite overall Series: Kowalski Family series Favorite “reread”: London Bound by Jessica Jarman Most promising start to a new series: The Deal by Elle Kennedy Breakdown of all books: Book 01. Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews, Narrated by Renee Raudman (1/3) Book 02. The Death Cure by James Dashner, Narrated by Mark Deakins (1/7) Book 03: If the Shoe Fits by Sarah Mlynowski, Narrated by Emily Eiden (1/10) Book 04: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert (1/13) Book 05: One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert (1/16) Book 06: At Grave’s End by Jeaniene Frost, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert (1/26) Book 07: Sink or Swim by Sarah Mlynowski, Narrated by Emily Eiden (1/29) Book 08: Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert (2/2) Book 09: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey, Narrated by Lauren Fortgang (2/4) Book 10: Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey, Narrated by Lauren Fortgang (2/12) Book 11: Visions in Silver by Anne Bishop, Narrated by Alexandra Harris (3/2) Book 12: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs, Narrated by Holter Graham (3/9) Book 13: The Dragon Conspiracy by Lisa Shearin, Narrated by Johanna Parker (3/18) Book 14: Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey, Narrated by Lauren Fortgang (3/19) Book 15: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy, Narrated by Cris Dukehart (3/31) Book 16: All He...
Read More
Dec
24

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Animal Magnetism Author: Jill Shalvis Narrator: Karen White Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Animal Magnetism #1 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Purchased Having burned out on listing to urban fantasy titles, I decided to go with a contemporary, small town romance to brighten my mood. Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis fit the bill perfectly. Sunshine, Idaho, is a small town where everyone knows each other AND all their business. Lilah Young has lived most of her life in Sunshine, keeping everyone close in her heart, including the rescue animals she cares for so lovingly. But Lilah is lonely, and when you live in a small town, prospects are slim. So when Brady Miller comes to town, Lilah decides to take charge of her attraction and invites Brady to a short, no-strings-attached fling for the month he’s in town. Overall, Animal Magnetism hits all the right notes. It’s a sweet, slow-burning love story between two people who must come to terms with the fact that their feelings are more than lust and desire. The slower tempo allows for the pair to develop a great friendship, making their eventual declaration of love all the more meaningful. Although in the beginning, I felt the pace dragged a little too slowly, once the author developed the world and introduced the characters, the pace moved more quickly. And don’t let the slow-burning part fool you – Lilah and Brady have incredible chemistry that they explore frequently. The performance by Karen White is good. She nails Lilah’s sweet, strong voice, accentuating Lilah’s sensitive and caring nature, but giving her a backbone at the same time. I did find the narration a bit slow even at 1.25x speed, but it did grow on me as the story progressed. I wasn’t as keen on her permanence of the male voices, which seemed slightly too feminine to me. In the end, I enjoyed my trip to Sunshine, Idaho, and will most certainly make a return trip in the future. My Rating: B, I liked it Narration: B-, I liked it, but I had a few small issues...
Read More
Dec
17

Listen Up! Audiobook Challenge: 4th Quarter Update

Listen Up! Audiobook Challenge: 4th 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 Fourth Quarter Update It’s time to wrap up a wonderful year of listening to #audiobooks! Although the year isn’t quite over (I *should* be able to get in one or two more books before December 31st), I am happy to report that I completed my personal goal of listening to 50 audiobooks this year. I actually surpassed my goal of meeting the My Precious Level. Here is a list of the audiobooks I completed so far this quarter: Book 40: Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert (9/29) Book 41: The Martian by Andy Weir, Narrated by R.C. Bray (10/7) Book 42: Brighter Than the Sun by Darynda Jones, Narrated by Lorelei King (10/10) Book 43: Summer Knight by Jim Butcher, Narrated by James Marsters (10/19) Book 44: Death Masks by Jim Butcher, Narrated by James Marsters (10/27) Book 45: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher, Narrated by James Marsters (11/5) Book 46: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep, Narrated by Brittany Presley (11/16) Book 47: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep, Narrated by Brittany Presley (11/23) Book 48: Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis, Narrated by Karen White (11/27) Book 49: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, Narrated by James Marsters (12/8) Book 50: London Bound by Jessica Jarman, Narrated by Tatiana Sokolov (12/12) Book 51: Drawn That Way by Bronwyn Green, Narrated by Tatiana Sokolov (12/16) My favorite story that I listened to during the fourth quarter of 2015 is The Martian by Andy Weir; hands down – no contest. After hearing so much hype, I thought for sure it would be a let down. But I am here to tell you that the book will be in my top reads/listens of 2015! The Martian in audiobook format is near perfection when it comes to storytelling and narration. Additionally, I continued my love affair with the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I adored Death Masks (book #5) most of all, giving it an A. I like that we got to see a more human and emotional Dresden than in prior stories. My favorite narrative...
Read More
Dec
10

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Black Blade Series Author: Jennifer Estep Narrator: Brittany Presley Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Black Blade #2 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Source: author Dark Heart of Magic Dark Heart of Magic, the second book in the exciting Black Blade trilogy, opens with narrator Lila Merriweather and good friends Devon and Felix (all of the Sinclair Family) discovering that something has the tree trolls agitated. Although this is an intriguing mystery, it must be put aside because of the annual Tournament of Blades, a competition that pits the best youth fighters from each Family against one another in a 3-day event. Lila and Devon are two of the many selected to represent the Sinclair family, just as the usual suspects (along with some new ones) are also selected to represent each of his/her Family. Unfortunately, things start to go wrong at the tournament, resulting in injured and dead competitors, and it’s up to Lila to figure out who’s behind the attacks. Unlike its predecessor, Dark Heart of Magic has no need for extensive world-building; therefore, the story takes off right from the get go. I was completely engrossed as the story unfolded, and I found that the additional characters framed the tale perfectly. We learned so much more about not only Lila’s heritage, but what brought the current warring situation to a head. I appreciated that each character is multi-faceted, although the antagonist, Victor Draconi, is just downright evil. As much as I love her, I was a bit frustrated with Lila this time around. It took her way too long to put together all of the pieces of the puzzle and make connections that were pretty obvious. Lila’s constant “it’s on the edge of my memory” bit was annoying, as was the fact that one of the bad guys basically had to spell out to Lila what was happening and why. But maybe I’m just a super-sleuth. haha. Once again, narrator Brittany Presley does an excellent job of capturing each character’s persona within the context of their voices. I can tell the personalities and corresponding moods of each just by listening to her performance. She continues to capture both the youth and life experiences of the each of the primary characters. Overall, I enjoyed this Dark Heart of Magic. I liked the standalone story of the Tournament of Blades and how it brought out each character’s personalities, strengths, and weaknesses....
Read More
Dec
3

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Black Blade Series Author: Jennifer Estep Narrator: Brittany Presley Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Black Blade #1 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Source: purchased Cold Burn of Magic Cold Burn of Magic is the first book in the new young adult urban fantasy Black Blade trilogy by Jennifer Estep. Even though I very rarely read YA, I decided to give this series a chance, since I absolutely love Ms. Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. Overall, I enjoyed listening to Cold Burn of Magic and found this new world both exciting and engrossing. I will admit that at first I struggled with the book. Being a new series, the author took time to build her world and introduce the characters, which I found strikingly similar to the Elemental Assassins world. Our main character, Lila, is a younger version of Gin. Her world is filled of warring mobster Families, and Gin’s world has fighting mob bosses. Other similarities include some folks having magical Talents/powers, a rare metal used to make weapons, runes/images that represent the different alliances, and, by the way, Lila is an orphan like Gin. At first, I found the resemblances a little disconcerting, but I was willing to wait patiently for the book to take on its own life. And once that story started, it was an amazing ride right up to the very end! The story centers around attacks on Devon Sinclair, the second in command of one of the powerful Families. Lila is forced into protecting Devon and partnering with the Sinclairs to help figure out who the Mystery Man is behind the attacks. I enjoyed watching Lila piece together the puzzle successfully (even though I figured it out before she did!) While the story itself is entertaining, it’s the wonderful characters that bring the book to life. Lila may be a loner thief at the start of the story, but over the course of the book, we are introduced to an amazing cast of characters that I guarantee will become Lila’s closest friends and family before the end of the trilogy. Of course, there are sparks between Lila and Devon, a dangerous attraction given she’s his bodyguard and all. I admire how this is handled by both characters – well, mostly Lila since we share her POV and understand why she does what she does. Oscar is one of my favorites – a house pixie assigned to help...
Read More
Nov
19

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Dresden Files Series Author: Jim Butcher Narrator: James Marsters Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Dresden Files #3 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mystery Source: purchased Grave Peril The third title in the Dresden Files, Grave Peril, marks a noticeable shift in the world of Harry Dresden; so much so that the author, Jim Butcher, voices a forward at the beginning of the audiobook suggesting something to that effect. It’s not that everything is completely different, but it’s definitely not the same series that I fell in love with when listening to the first title. The story opens with Dresden recalling the recent uprising of spirits in the Chicago area, and how he and his friend, Michael, a Knight Templar, have been working tirelessly to keep the peace. This is the first evident change – who is this Michael? In the previous books, Dresden didn’t have other supernatural-fighting buddies. He worked solo and brought in help reluctantly, yet in Grave Peril, we are told they’ve been working together for a while. When Michael and Dresden take on a particularly nasty ghost who is trying to kill a bunch of newborns in the hospital, the pair have to follow her over into the never-never, the place where the supernatural reside. Once there, we learn that Harry is fearful of seeing his Godmother, a beautiful and deadly female fae who owns Harry’s sole. *raises eyebrow* Say what?! Where did this Leah come from? The story is told as if everyone knows about Leah (who is anything but motherly as she tries to seduce and capture Dresden), yet in the first two titles there is NOTHING mentioned about her. I understand that we will learn bits and pieces about Harry as the series unfolds; however, this feels like a contradiction to the background of Harry presented in the first two titles. In book 2, Fool Moon, Harry learns a small hint that his mother *may* have been a practicing witch and *possibly* was into the dark side; but this time around, Harry talks as if he knows more and that his mother assigned Leah as his Godmother. It felt like such a left turn from the direction the story was taking after two books, that it rubbed me the wrong way. While the story itself was good; albeit a bit gruesome at times, it had a very different feel than in previous books. In the first two...
Read More
Nov
12

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dresden Files Part 1

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dresden Files Part 1 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Dresden Files Series Author: Jim Butcher Narrator: James Marsters Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Dresden Files #1-2 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mystery Source: purchased Storm Front (#1) Wow! Just… wow! I was pleasantly surprised and extremely impressed with the audiobook of Storm Front, the first story from the Dresden Files series by James Butcher. I really didn’t know much about the series, never watched the show, and had no idea what to expect, other than I’d heard the books are good. Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire – think private investigator with a bit of a twist. No one really believes him, but there are the few who either heard rumors or are desperate enough to seek his help. Most people don’t believe in magic or the supernatural, and those that do, don’t know the full extent of its reaches. Harry works in and around both kinds of people, helping where he can. He even helps out the police special investigations unit from time to time, and their current case is one that leaves even Harry a bit disturbed. Storm Front is, at its core, a paranormal whodunit, and a complex and engrossing one at that. Told from Harry’s perspective, the listener is privy to supernatural details the average person wouldn’t pick up on. I loved how Harry’s brain works as he puts the pieces together. What I enjoyed even more were the compromises Harry must make with himself in order to do what is right in the grand scheme of things. Harry has a dark past and is subject to close scrutiny by the White Council, a sort of policing agency for wizards. Harry struggles with the best way to save those who need help, without endangering his own well-being. Unfortunately, the decisions he makes, while probably best in the long run, sometimes alienate those closest to him and even put him in the line of suspicion. What makes this book even better is the sublime narration by James Marsters. 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 all that is Dresden: his worries, triumphs, fears, and celebrations. His cadence is extremely fitting, full of sighs, lip smacks, and pauses, creating the illusion that I’m actually inside Dresden’s mind as he works his way through the case and life. While he...
Read More
Page 10 of 15« First...89101112...Last »
logo
Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes