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Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
Mar
31

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop Author: Anne Bishop Narrator: Alexandra Harris Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Others #4 Source: loan Marked in Flesh is the fourth title in Anne Bishop’s amazingly interesting and utterly unique fantasy/urban fantasy series know as The Others. For newcomer’s to the series: you cannot start here, in fact, if you’ve missed any titles, I strongly urge you to read all the books before cracking open Marked in Flesh. This book is the culmination of all that has come before, in the previous three books. The books are all interrelated and build upon one other, making it important to start with the first book in the series, Written in Red. Ms. Bishop has developed a world where creatures known as the terra indigene, or Others, are Mother Earth’s favored creations and the top predators on the food chain. The Others have the ability to shape shift into forms such as wolves, crows, bears, and even vampires, and those are the most tame of the Others. After befriending Meg Corbyn, a special human known as a cassandra sangue, the Others in the Lakeside Courtyard continue to adjust to having a “human pack” within their own, even learning to trust and care about these humans. Tension is at an all-time-high, as Nicholas Spark and his Humans First and Last (HFL) movement become irresponsibly aggressive in attempts to claim the land of the terra indigene. With events occurring simultaneously across the land, the story is shared from multiple points-of-view, with focuses in Lakeside (Meg, Vlad, Simon), Sweetwater (Jackson Wolfguard, Hope), and Prairie Gold (Joe Wolfguard, new Intuits). Additionally, there is follow up from Great Island and Talulah Falls, where there was much action and strife in the previous book. Marked in Flesh is my favorite book of the series by far. Finally, we see all the working parts of the story come together for what looks to be the final showdown between the humans and Others. Ms. Bishop is able to capture the fears of the human pack and Intuits as they process just what it means to face extinction. Conversely, I loved seeing the Others, most especially Simon, struggle with how much human to keep – whether it be human traits, human-run business, or actual humans. The time spent pondering these questions is both thought-provoking and utterly engrossing. Yet it is the characters, who I’ve come to...
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Mar
24

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Professor’s Student by Bronwyn Green

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Professor’s Student by Bronwyn Green Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Bound Series Title: The Professor’s Student Author: Bronwyn Green Narrator: Tatiana Sokolov Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Bound #3 Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, BDSM Audiobook Source: Author Once again, I’m excited to have the opportunity to listen to a book from one of my favorite series: Bound by Bronwyn Green and Jessica Jarman. This time around, I’m listening to the third book, The Professor’s Student by Ms. Green. The story centers around Professor Josie Green, an American archeology professor, who is on a six week summer dig in Ireland, at Professor Declan O’Shaughnessy’s site. The pair have instant chemistry and engaging in a monogamous D/s relationship for the duration of her stay. When I initially read and reviewed the book I wrote: The Professor’s Student falls well within the erotic romance genre, with a focus more in the bedroom and less out of it. I really like Declan and Josie, and their play is sexy, fun, and just plain hot. Ms. Green is a master at crafting sexy, sensual scenes. While I missed some of the more emotional moments that I enjoyed in [the previous Bound stories], I still found The Professor’s Student a wonderful read and a perfect low-conflict, “getaway” story. As for the storyline, my feelings haven’t changed. I really enjoyed the story, and I continued to feel like the book is more passion and eroticism than love. Josie and Declan spend much of their time apart or only in the bedroom, and I wanted to be shown not told that they bonded on a deeper level. With that said, Tatiana Sokolov’s performance added a lot of value to my overall enjoyment of the story. Ms. Sokolov’s narrative voice, which is close to, if not the same as, Josie’s voice, is easy and fitting. Her Irish accented male voice for Declan is superb. I was extremely impressed with constancy and tone of narration throughout the book. Ms. Sokolov brings a lot of emotion – Josie’s embarrassment and shy desire, as well as Declan’s dominating nature – into her performance. In the end, I enjoyed my “reread” of The Professor’s Student and found that I liked it a bit more the second time around. Ms. Sokolov adds much to the story with her performance. Story B+ Narration...
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Mar
17

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Mercy Thompson Series Title: Fire Touched Author: Patricia Briggs Narrator: Lorelei King Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Mercy Thompson #9 Genre: Urban Fantasy Audiobook Source: purchased With things between the Fae and the rest of the world straining to a dangerous point, Mercy and Adam find themselves defenders of the Tri-Cities after the Pack kills a nasty troll on national TV. Along with defeating the troll, the pair are reunited with their fae friends, Z and Tad, who bring with them a fire-touched human boy who has been locked in the fae realm for centuries. Now Mercy and Adam must find a way to keep those they love and those under their protection safe from the fae threats. BAM! Mercy is back! Fire Touched is another amazing story from the creative mind of Patricia Briggs. Chronologically, the book takes place sometime shortly after and briefly refers to the events of Dead Heat (Alpha and Omega #4), and is tied to the larger story arc of fae discontent that has spanned both the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series for the past few books. It also ties up some of the short-term and long-standing issues with which the pack and/or Mercy has been dealing. Warning – this book is NOT the place to start your journey with this amazing series! There is so much that I loved and enjoyed about Fire Touched, it’s hard to express exactly what made it so great. I like that Ms. Briggs has brought Mercy and Adam back to solving a mystery that threatens their well-being, while much of the pack drama is laid to rest almost immediately (note: it’s about damn time!). Adam and Mercy’s relationship grew exponentially during the course of the previous book, and their mutual trust is strengthened as a result, making their actions seamless throughout this book. I think I most appreciate how all the parts work together in this one. Each piece of the story supports the larger whole. Nothing is extraneous and superfluous. The storytelling is amazing, especially when shared by Lorelei King. Additionally, the book moves the entire series forward, while creating interesting changes that will significantly impact future stories. But it’s all done in a way that isn’t showy or brash, which is well-suited to Mercy’s persona. It wasn’t until the book was over that I realized how much was put to rest during the events of Fire...
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Mar
10

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Wicked Sexy Liar Author: Christina Lauren Narrators: Deacon Lee & Olivia Song Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Wild Seasons #4 Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Source: Simon & Schuster Audio London loves her carefree life, surfer by day and bartender by night. She knows how to flirt and smile, but never lets anyone close. She understands heartache after spending her college years with her sweetheart, only to find out he’d been cheating on her almost the entire time. She knows Luke is NOT the guy for her, but maybe one night of passionate sex will help scratch a certain itch. Luke is every girl’s fantasy and enjoys sharing himself with most every girl that asks. But when he meets London and takes her home for one night, something inside changes, and he realizes he wants more. Now he has to find a way to prove to London that he’s worth a second or third look. I picked up Wicked Sexy Liar, the fourth title in the Wild Seasons New Adult series, for review without having read or listened to the previous three titles, and it completely worked. Although Luke and London may have shown up in previous books, their story is very much standalone (and honestly doesn’t spoil any of the earlier books either). However, now that I’ve finished this book, I can’t wait to go back and read the other three stories! Luke and London’s romance is probably one of my all-time favorites. They share an instant lust and their sexual chemistry is off the charts. I found it both interesting and a bit of a let down (at first) that the initial two or three sexual experiences where shared solely from Luke’s POV. I liked his explicit attention to details and loved how much the experience of having sex with London moved him; how emotional he was. However, I wanted to know what she was thinking and experiencing. Then when we finally did have a sexy scene from London’s POV, I found it not as satisfactory because she worked at keeping distance between herself and Luke. The authors expertly convey each character’s emotions and moods with each encounter. Watching this couple fall in love was utterly enjoyable. Their path was not easy, yet the tale flowed so perfectly. Luke is amazingly romantic. They way he loves London. The way he romances her and is so worried she doesn’t love...
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Mar
3

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Brimstone Deception Author: Lisa Shearin Narrator: Johanna Parker Audio Speed: 1x + 1.25x Series: SPI #3 Source: Audible/purchased I originally read and reviewed The Brimstone Deception earlier this year. At that time I wrote of the book: Although I did enjoy reading The Brimstone Deception, I found that the story didn’t hold up to the previous two titles. The book felt smaller and simpler than the first two, which is something I appreciated, but I also found that I need more. The mystery had some twists, but everything was pretty much straight forward and spelled out for the reader. There was a lot less of SPI and more focus on just Mak and Ian solving the case. I really think I need to reread this one via my audiobook to get a better sense of where The Brimstone Deception fits in the big picture of the SPI Files, and I look forward to it! Since I had listened to and enjoyed the audiobook versions of the first two SPI Files, I wanted to re-read The Brimstone Deception via audiobook, and I’m very glad I did. I found myself much more engaged in the book and story when shared via Ms. Parker’s superb narration. I didn’t consider the story “smaller and simpler” as I wrote in my earlier review. Rather, it was on par with the first two mysteries. While, I still wanted to see more of the characters we met in the previous book, I found that I didn’t realize they weren’t present because I was more engaged in the “here and now” of the story. I credit my enjoyment of the story to the narration. Ms. Parker truly brings Mak to life for me, making her more three-dimensional and real. She breathes life into each character, effectively adding emotion into her performance, making me care what happens to the characters, especially Mak. And due to the added emotional factor, I found myself much more on board with the Mak-Rake romantic pairing than I was when reading the book. The only downside to listening to The Brimstone Deception is I found that the repetition returned. I must zone-out when I read, because I did not notice the constant use and reuse of certain phrases and terms. But when listening, I seem to pick up on every single word, and there is a lot of repetition, just as I found in the previous two books. After a...
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Feb
18

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death Masks 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 #5 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mystery Source: purchased Death Masks Death Masks is my favorite Dresden Files book to date. Bringing together a good mystery, freaky supernatural beings, and all my favorite characters, Death Masks brings home a solid story with heart. Ortega, Duke of the Red Vampire Court, comes to town to kill Dresden and stop the war between the Red Court and the White Wizard Counsel. He vows that if Dresden accepts a fair duel (to the death), and Dresden wins, Chicago will become a neutral territory, with his friends off limits (as long as they are in Chicago). Suspicious of his true intentions, Harry feels him must accept the terms Ortega offers. Meanwhile, the Vatican sent a priest to Chicago in hopes of retrieving a famous artifact that was stolen from Northern Italy and brought to Chicago. Against the direct recommendations of his friend Michael and fellow Knights of the Cross, Harry accepts the task of finding the missing shroud. Toss in the fact that Harry’s lover, Susan, has returned to town to say goodbye, and Harry finds himself in yet another crazy mess. Not only are the two stories equally compelling, but the overall book is full of heart. Dresden has cleaned up his act, and learn from his last adventure that friends do matter. Harry hasn’t changed significantly, but he’s no longer isolating himself. He has wonderful dialogue and scenes with other characters that add tremendous value to the stories. Additionally, more emotion in Dresden translates into more emotion in me, causing me to care deeply about what happens to the various characters. The other positive in Death Masks is that we see hidden sides and different aspects of several characters. The added depth makes me only want more and more. Plus, there were bits and pieces tossed out there, never really addressed, leaving openings for many potentially wondrous and horrible things to come. Once again, the narration by James Marsters is amazing. His performance of Harry alone is sublime, but his range of voices and depth of expressions only seems to be expanding. Mr. Marsters really nailed young children and various accents in this one. In the end I really, really enjoyed Death Masks! We got to see a more human and emotional Dresden. I was completely engaged both with both...
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Feb
11

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Summer Knight 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 #4 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mystery Source: purchased Summer Knight After taking some time off from the Dresden Files, I found myself happily re-engaged in the life of Harry Dresden, professional wizard and all around nice guy. Summer Knight starts about eight to nine months after the conclusion of the previous title, when Harry is forced to deal with the outfall from his actions against the Red Court of Vampires. His own kind, the White Council of Wizards, wants to hand him over the vampires to end the war and stop the violence between their kinds. Luckily, Harry has a few friends on the White Council who help him get himself cleaned up and functioning again (he’s pretty depressed over the loss of his girlfriend, Susan). Unfortunately, Harry must stop an impending war between he Summer and Winter Faery courts in order to save himself and the world. I found myself much more engrossed while listening to Summer Knight than the previous couple of titles. The story reaches a balance between dark and light; something that’s been missing for a while. Harry’s life is not an easy one, but he’s finally realizing has and is turning to friends. He starts the book in a bad place, but by the end, he has transformed himself into a happier person who is better equipped to deal with the pitfalls tossed in front of his every turn. I was pleased that the author didn’t lead Harry into a dark place and leave him there, but instead gave him insight and allowed him to grow without changing his core persona. There is a lot that occurs during the Summer Knight. Several new characters are introduced over the course of Harry’s investigation into the murder of the Summer Knight. Yet through it all, we welcome back key characters from the first three titles. His conversations with Police Detective Karen Murphy were among my favorites of the book, and I was glad to see the pair trusting one another again. The mythology of the Fae expanded tremendously, but it never felt overwhelming or confusing. My biggest complaint is that once again, fight scenes seemed to go on forever and overwhelmed the story. As with the previous titles, James Marsters provides an excellent performance which made listening to the book utterly enjoyable. I...
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Feb
4

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Claimed by Elle Kennedy

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Claimed by Elle Kennedy Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Claimed Author: Elle Kennedy Narrator: C S E Cooney Audio Speed: 1x and 1.25x Series: Outlaws #1 Genre: Futuristic Fantasy, Erotic Romance Source: Tantor media Forty years ago, the world went to war with itself, releasing bombs and destroying much of the planet. After the chaos, The Global Council took charge, creating mandatory communes, making everyone equal. Those who live outside the cities are outlaws, and are either assimilated or killed. Connor and his men are an outlaws, living day-to-day, enjoying what they can when they can. But Connor wants to find and destroy the head Global Council enforcer, Dominick, the man responsible for killing his family. Hudson escaped the city and Dominick to become an outlaw. When a group of bandits attack, she convinces Connor to give her protection. Although he says it will only be for one night, Hudson will do anything to convince him to let her stay longer. And using her sexuality to get into his bed is just one way she’ll convince Connor. I have very mixed feelings about Claimed. The futuristic world and concepts were interesting and engaging. I found that by the end, I wanted to know how the world will deal with the obvious problems within the World Council. But… I didn’t care much at all for the characters and their stories until the last quarter of the book. After listening through the end of Chapter 8 (49%), I had to stop the book, and I almost DNF’d it. The combination of the narrator’s soft-spoken, laid back voice for Connor and his asinine dialogue got to me. Connor is a strong, dominant man, and the voice selected just didn’t fit. Also, the entire plot for the first half revolved around constantly thinking about, having, or complaining that they aren’t having sex, and it was beyond annoying. I mean… they were on an important and dangerous mission, and Connor starts messing around with Hudson. It was ridiculous. Yet about Chapter 15 or so, the sex wasn’t as frequent, allowing the story to pick up and finally move forward. At this point, I actually began to care what was going on. The narration is a huge part of the problem I had with the story. I started listening to the book at 1x speed, but after the halfway point, I picked up the pace and listened at 1.25x speed. It didn’t help much. C S E Cooney’s...
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Jan
28

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

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Mistake Author: Elle Kennedy Narrator: Lorelei Avalon Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Off-Campus #2 Genre: NA Contemporary Romance Source: purchased After devouring the first Off-Campus title, I couldn’t wait to start The Mistake. This time around, the story focuses on Briar College junior, John Logan, aka Logan. Watching is best friend Garrett fall in love with the perfect woman (The Deal) has been difficult for Logan because he wants Hannah for himself. He can’t shake his desire for his best friend’s girl and tries to forgot about her by non-stop drinking and hook-ups. But one night, in his efforts to escape Hannah and Garrett, Logan ends up mistakenly at freshman Grace Iver’s dorm door. Grace is a successful freshman at Briar, but now that the school year is almost over, she realizes that she’s not really done much socially her first year at college. She’s still hanging out with her complete opposite high school BFF, letting Ramona dictate Grace’s social calendar. So when the hottest guy on campus, hockey stud John Logan, shows up at her door, Grace decides to throw caution to the wind and invite him inside. The Mistake is another wonderful first love/forever love NA story from Ms. Kennedy. While Logan and Grace appear to be complete opposites, their individuality and uniqueness fit together like two puzzle pieces. They share scorching chemistry, even though Grace is a virgin and Logan is a player. And this is the start of their initial issues. When Logan realizes that he’s “using” Grace to “forget about Hannah,” he tries to do the right thing, which just blows up in his face. Cue summer vacation and months apart. When school starts back up in the fall, Grace is a changed woman. She’s still the wonderful, quirky individual from the previous year, but she’s realized that she needs to branch out on her own and make new friends. However, Logan isn’t willing to give up on Grace, and let’s just say, the lengths he goes to get her to go on a date with him are laugh-out-loud funny. Logan is a bit confused at times, but he’s adorably sweet and genuine. It just takes him a while to figure things out. The story evolves slowly as the pair comes together without preconceived notions or past relationship baggage. I adored watching each push and pull, bringing out the best in the other. Although these are...
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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...
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