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Nov
5

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Brighter Than the Sun by Darynda Jones

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Brighter Than the Sun by Darynda Jones Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Brighter Than the Sun Author: Darynda Jones Narrator: Lorelei King Listening Speed: 1.25x Audiobook Source: purchased What I’m Talking About: Brighter Than the Sun is a story for fans and readers of the Charlie Davidson series by Darynda Jones. Told in the first person, present tense voice of Reyes, the novella recounts his life from Charlie’s birth to a point sometime within the first book of the series. I don’t recommend this story for those who have not read the series because, although it is a prequel of sorts, knowledge of the two main characters, Charlie and Reyes, is what makes the story interesting and why it worked for me. The narrative voice is very odd, in that it is told in present tense, but it is a history of Reyes’ life. It mostly worked, but I felt like I was being taught a history lesson rather than experiencing an actual story with a plot. With that said, some of Charlie’s humor still works its way into the tale, even though it is generally a much darker story. Reyes doesn’t have share Charlie’s ADD tendencies nor her sarcastic outlook on life, which makes the story is very straight forward, and I really liked seeing certain events from Reyes’ POV. My biggest complaint, which really irritated me, is that Reyes makes an off-the-cuff comment about the impending horrible future of one of the major characters in the series. WTH?! Why toss something that big out there as a small footnote in a side novella? This is the second story in the Charley Davidson series that I’ve listened to rather than read, and I find that I’m enjoying the stories more this way. The narration by Lorelei King is good, although I still hear Mercy and Adam from the Mercy Thompson series because I have listened to several more of those titles. But Ms. Lorelei is a master at her craft, and she truly helps bring to life these stories. Overall, Brighter Than the Sun is an interesting tale but not a genuine story. It’s a history lesson told in present tense. I liked it, but it’s not a standalone story in that knowledge of Charlie and Reyes is needed to really embrace this tale. And since I fall into that category, I enjoyed this short journey into the mind of Reyes. Story: B- Narration: B+   About the Book:...
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Oct
29

Listen Up! Guest Post: Renea Mason

Listen Up! Guest Post: Renea Mason Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… This week, author Renea Mason, visits That’s What I’m Talking About. Renea is here to share what it was like to turn her book, Curing Doctor Vincent, into her first #audiobook. Please help me welcome Renea to the blog. Guest Post: Renea Mason Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jen. As an author I’m fairly new to audiobooks, but as a reader I once devoured one to two per week.  Consuming more than two hundred over the course of a few years. Paranormal romance was my go to genre, so it only seemed fitting that when I sat down for the first time, placed my fingers on the keyboard and typed the first sentence of what would become the award-winning Symphony of Light and Winter, that the supernatural filled the pages.  Never in my wildest imagination did I think that it would be published, let alone win awards, but more unbelievable was that one day those words would come to life in an audiobook—a dream come true. When I embarked on the audiobook journey I knew absolutely nothing about the process.  I happened upon a site called ACX that allows authors to request auditions from narrators, but I never envisioned the journey it would become.  I had lofty ideals about what I wanted in a performance and even though I never expected to have my wish fulfilled, I requested it anyway.  A popular paranormal series based on the Fae, used two actors to read the story. Not chapters by chapter based on point of view, but more like a play—the woman reading the female parts, and the male reading the male lines. I loved that narration and it far surpassed anything I had ever heard, so I put out the request for my own book and hoped for the best. I received dozens of auditions, many superb but initially only received one dual-narration that just didn’t fit my vision.  I was about to give up and select a solo narrator when I received an audition from Noah Michael Levine and Erin deWard.  I was blown away! That audition paved a way for a tremendous working relationship that has surpassed my expectations. Since narrating my award-winning contemporary erotic romance, Curing Doctor Vincent, which released in June, Noah and Erin have gone on to narrate Symphony of Light and Winter, Impostors’ Kiss and Tasting Paris—all releasing in...
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Oct
22

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Rock Redemption Author: Nalini Singh Narrator: Justine O. Keef Listening Speed: 1.0x Reviewer: Una Overall Rating: A- Audiobook Source: Tantor Media/publisher What I’m Talking About: The Rock Kiss series has become a guilty pleasure for me.  I’m not much for contemporary romance, but this series by Nalini Singh has just captivated me.  I love the characters and the inner struggles they need to overcome, as well as the external circumstances.  It is just a compelling series and no matter how hopeless it seems, ultimately love wins in the end. Since Noah and Kit were first introduced, I’ve been waiting for their story.  I’ve wondered what demons Noah fights and how he could ever mend what he willfully destroyed so brutally. Noah is truly traumatized.  I do appreciate that his wounds are not trivialized.  There is a lot of time taken and, though we have our happily ever after, Noah still has a long road ahead of him. Thankfully, he isn’t alone on that road, not with Kit supporting him along the way. This isn’t just a story of redemption for Noah; Kit undergoes some staggering self-examination and growth as well.  She makes the choice, and not lightly, to forgive Noah and learn to trust him again. Considering how many people have failed her in the past, her choosing Noah is not done lightly, and it is painfully agonizing as she tries to heal and move forward. The on-going issue of Kit’s stalker is finally explained and resolved in Rock Redemption even though it was a bit on the backburner, with the story of Kit and Noah taking center stage.  However, I found it interesting and a great twist at the end regarding the stalker storyline.  I was surprised by how long it took for it to be figured out, even though the identity of the person is surprising and something I was unable to figure out.  Though this storyline supports and aids in the Kit and Noah storyline, it was the weaker part of the novel. This was my first time listening to Justine O’Keef’s narration.  I enjoyed her performance, though some of the male voices seemed to blend together.  Her voice was fresh and I liked how she portrayed the voices of the women in the series.  However there were several spots where it appeared sections were rerecorded.  In a couple, it seemed that the recording...
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Oct
15

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Martian by Andy Weir Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: The Martian Author: Andy Weir Narrator: R.C. Bray Audio Speed: 1x Series: Standalone Genre: Science Fiction Source: purchased Okay friends… here is the scoop. We’ve all been hearing RAVES about The Martian, particularly in audiobook format, for months, and to be honest, when people rave that much, I tend to get disappointed. So I waited and then cautiously started listening a couple weeks ago. What did I think? THE BOOK IS WORTHY OF THE HYPE!! I was immediately engrossed and emotionally invested in the tale of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars. While he’s not the first person to step foot on Mars (he’s the 17th), he’s the first to survive by himself and live on the planet for more than a month. I’m going to warn readers right up front that the story is uber-scientific. If you don’t like science speak, I strong urge you to see the movie instead (I haven’t seen it, but I hear it’s a pretty good one). I don’t know that I have ever recommended a movie over a book, but The Martian is really full of details. A large percentage of the book shares the intricate details of how Mark solves the problems presented, thus allowing him to survive. As a wanna be chemistry major turned engineer, I found the science utterly fascinating. I loved listening to how he figures everything out – even his failures are profoundly interesting. But what makes The Martian so great is that Mark’s journey is gripping. I wasn’t this nervous reading a book since Jurassic Park, which is still one of my all time favorites. The story is so realistic and heart-poundingly engaging. And Mark is the perfect character to be stuck on Mars, in fact, NASA even mentions that a couple of times. Yet no matter how clever Mark is, it’s his humor that steals the show over and over (and beware, his language is definitely for mature readers). While Mark Watney is the star of the title, each of the characters are three-dimensional and relatable on some level. I highly urge you to avoid spoilers, leaving you desperate to know if Mark and the crew survive, because it’s anybody’s guess right up until he very end of the book. One thing that is different about how The Martian plays out is that the author uses multiple perspectives and varying methods to share the story. The first several...
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Oct
8

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Vlad brings on the heat

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Vlad brings on the heat Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Bound by Flames Author: Jeaniene Frost Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Audio Speed: 1x Series: Night Prince #3 (Night Huntress Universe #12) Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: library loan NOTE: This review may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. It’s been a few books since I last listened to the Night Prince series, and I have to say the time away seems to have changed my feelings towards the series and narrator. I’m not sure if it’s this book in particular, or if it’s due to what I’ve listened to in the interim, but I’m not enjoying the story and narrator nearly as much as I did a couple months ago. The story opens with Leila using her electrical talents to try to find which of Vlad’s associates are working with his mortal enemy. Unfortunately, she places herself in danger, and being the controlling, overprotective vampire he is, Vlad puts a semi-permanent stop to her efforts. This puts the pair at odds as neither can find a way to a happy middle-ground where Leila helps. However, as the danger intensifies, Vlad must turn to another enemy for assistance. The focus of the entire book is finding Szilagyi, the vampire who has pretty much ruined Vlad’s life lately. And while I was temporary irritated at the wall put up between Vlad and Leila, the communication and compromises came much sooner than I expected. Although, I was annoyed at the constant references to Leila’s dreaded “inner voice” and the “he’ll leave you when he finds out what you did” scenes. However, Vlad and Leila’s relationship strengthened even more during the course of the book, and for that I’m grateful. They had a couple of emotionally intense scenes, which reminded me of the reasons why I enjoy this series. With that said, I have to ask… how many times will Leila be captured and tortured? Enough already. It’s old news and I really hope that it won’t happen again in future titles. And there will be future titles. While Bound by Flames may put a wrap on some of the outstanding, over-arching storylines, the ending provides insight to an even more dangerous threat to Vlad and his family. Finally, the narration really annoyed me at times when listening to the story. Where as in the past I enjoyed Ms. Gilbert’s  non-speaking vocal additions and the way she’d infuse emotion into the voices, this time...
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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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