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Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
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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Jul
23

Listen Up! When is an #audiobook better?

Listen Up! When is an #audiobook better? Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Listening vs. Reading When do you decide to listen to an audiobook instead of reading the story? For me, I pretty much continue to read books in series that I’ve been reading, and I use audiobooks to catch up on books/series I’ve had on my wish list/TBR. But it’s not always that simple. Listening to a story gives the “reader” a completely different experience than reading it. Sometimes one way works better for a reader than another. Recently, I decided to listen to Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones, rather than read it. Here is a series in which I’ve read every book and had planned to read this one as well. However, I struggled reading the last two books in this series, with certain aspects of the characters’ actions and the overwhelming number of storylines making it difficult for me. Knowing that the narrator is one of my favorites, I opted to break the string of reading and listened to the story instead. In this particular case, I feel I made the right decision. I was able to let go of some of my issues and just enjoy the narrator share the story with me. On the other hand, I feel that I may have enjoyed Anne Bishop’s The Others series a bit more had I read the books. Part of the reason is the narrator, who is a bit slow. However, I think it’s also the writing style, which can be very drawn out and detailed. When listening to a book, I am not able to skim and selectively read pieces and parts, which may be may be better suited for this type of book. Finally, there are books where it doesn’t matter, like the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. These books are so engrossing and well narrated, that I can and do flip-flop mid-book between the audio and written word. These are the books I just can’t put down and can easily drift between the two different media. So what about you? Are there books, series, narrators, or authors you will only “read” in one format or another? Have you ever switched mid-book or mid-series?...
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Jul
16

Listen Up! Vlad gets his own book! (#Audiobook Review)

Listen Up! Vlad gets his own book! (#Audiobook Review) Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Once Burned Author: Jeaniene Frost Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Audio Speed: 1x Series: Night Prince #1 (Night Huntress Universe #9) Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: library loan NOTE: This review may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. Once Burned #Audiobook After a terrifying accident killed her mother and left Leila with bizarre electrical powers, she ran off to the circus and became Frankie the carnie worker. The electrical currents that run through her body make touching another human nearly impossible; however, if she does make connections, she will see a person’s worst sins and possibly even their future. When a dangerous vampire learns about Leila’s talents, he orders her kidnapped and forces her to help locate his enemy, Vlad Tepesh. Vlad is no stranger to dangerous enemies, but when an intriguing female finds a way into his head and sees into his soul, he takes a chance and believes her when she says that she is searching for him against her will. Once he saves Leila from his enemies, his interest transforms into sexual desire, and he is confident he will have Leila in every way. While she turns his world upside down, he finds a way to help her accept her powers and reshape her into a powerful woman in her own right. Once Burned is the first story in the Night Prince series, but falls as book 9 in the overall Night Huntress Universe. Although Cat and Bones and a few others make a brief appearance in the book, knowing the history of the Night Huntress world has little impact on this story. Once Burned can be enjoyed without having read any of the prior novels; however, I found it more enjoyable having witnessed Vlad in previous situations and adventures. Overall, I really enjoyed Once Burned, mostly for the in-depth character development of Leila and her relationship with Vlad. Since the book is shared from the first person point-of-view of Leila (which was surprising to me since the series is named for Vlad), we spend a lot of time “inside her head,” learning her past, her fears, and her interests. I like that she’s a survivor, and rarely listens to that dark inner voice of doubt. She’s already been at her lowest point and decided to live and persevere, which gives her the toughness I love in UF heroines. She’s extremely interesting and not the least bit whiny....
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Jul
9

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Night Broken

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Night Broken Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Night Broken Author: Patricia Briggs Narrator: Lorelei King Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Mercy Thompson #8 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: borrowed NOTE: This review may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. I started to listen to Night Broken almost eight months ago and quit after the opening scene. I realized that I needed a break from the Mercy Thompson series because I couldn’t take the pack’s treatment of Mercy any longer. The fact that after seven books and the countless times she’s helped them, the pack still treated Mercy with utter disregard and dislike completely ticked me off. This, coupled with the introduction of Adam’s ex-wife, told me a break was needed. So when I picked the book up again recently, I skipped the opening scene and jumped in where I’d left off all those months ago. And I’m glad I did. Night Broken is another well-developed, exciting tale in the Mercy Thompson world. The enemy is unique, aggressive, dangerous, and just plan bad. I enjoyed listening to Mercy, along with her mate, Adam, her friends, and even newcomers, figuring out the pieces of the puzzle and determining how best to take on a god-like entity. I also love that Coyote is back, and he even displays some affection for Mercy, in his own twisted way. Background storylines weave in and out, some which started several books back, and even one that originally came from Mercy’s sister series, the Alpha and Omega. All of this, plus the introduction of two new characters made this one of my favorite Mercy titles. While I didn’t forget what turned me off from the book all those months ago, time away from the series brought fresh air and a new perspective. Mercy had a couple great heart-to-hearts with some of the pack, conversations that warmed my heart and gave me hope for Mercy’s place among them. I know she’ll never be buddies with everyone, but Mercy knows this too, and is okay with it. I’m also hopeful that having the pack see Mercy in action and listening to her expose hurtful lies may help her cause among the pack. Additionally, Mercy and Adam have to deal with his ex-wife coming into the picture. We know from earlier titles that she’s not the best mother and can be a horrible manipulator. This was very evident during the book, and I did get ticked off...
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Jul
2

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Cat & Bones Get Good!

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Cat & Bones Get Good! Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook reviews: Night Huntress series Author: Jeaniene Frost Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Audio Speed: 1x Series: Night Huntress #5-#6 (Night Huntress Universe #7-#8) Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: purchased NOTE: These reviews may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. This Side of the Grave (NH #5 / NHU #7) After a two book hiatus from Cat and Bones’ adventures, the Night Huntress universe returns to its roots with a first person narrative told from heroine Cat’s POV. Chronologically, the book takes place after the two spin off stories, and having read them will fill in a lot of backstory that is assumed in This Side of the Grave. The story picks up with the ghoul uprising lead by Apollyon, a ghoul bent on killing Cat and attacking the vampire nation. Masterless vampires are being picked off by ghouls and our dynamic duo turn to the ghoul queen of New Orleans for some hints as to what is going on. Soon the pair are deep into the ghoul uprising, trying to predict where they will next strike. I absolutely enjoyed this story! This Side of the Grave is hands-down the best book in the series so far. The book genuinely embraces its urban fantasy roots and gives readers a smart adventure, full of action, romance, and humor, not to mention sexy good guys and dangerous bad guys. The story is well executed, with Cat having to use both brains and brawn to stop her enemies. The fight scenes are kick-ass, but there are so many tender moments as well. I love how Cat struggles with her growing powers, but gets through it because she’s tough and determined. Some of my biggest issues with the earlier stories have all been addressed in This Side of the Grave. Previously, the pair didn’t work together, letting jealousy, deception, and stubbornness get in the way of a healthy relationship. This time around, the pair is a team, sharing in the ups and downs, shouldering responsibilities, and genuinely loving one another. They are a tight-knit pair, considering the other and their relationship before decisions. They listen to one another and the book is so much better for it. Additionally, I am happy that Cat finally deals with once-friend Tate and his inexcusable behaviors. This is something that should have happened 4 books ago! I enjoyed seeing Cat back with her old team, and some of the changes going on are downright fun! I hope we see...
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Jun
25

Listen Up! #Audiobook Reviews: Kowalski Family Series 8-9

Listen Up! #Audiobook Reviews: Kowalski Family Series 8-9 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Kowalski Family Series Author: Shannon Stacey Narrator: Lauren Fortgang Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Kowalski Family #8-9 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: purchased Taken with You Although I wasn’t won over by the opening scenes, Taken with You is definitely one of the best in the Kowalski Family series. While still set in Whitford, Maine, the series shifts to a non-Kowalski pairing between town librarian Hailey Genest and new-comer Matt Barnett, the “hot game warden” assigned to Whitford. The story hits all the right notes for me, and I adore how Hailey and Matt learn to love despite their differences. Hailey has watched all of her friends fall in love while she remains single and alone. Feeling like she really doesn’t have time to fool around, Hailey is determined to find the “9-to-5” man who will sweep her off her feet and be the father of her children. And although she’s got chemistry with her new neighbor, with his love of the outdoors and unpredictable job, Hailey feels Matt is all wrong for her. Meanwhile, Matt has been burned in a previous relationship by a woman who didn’t appreciate his outdoorsy nature and wanted to change him into something he’s not. He carries that baggage with him into every new potential relationship, setting himself up for failure before there is any chance of being hurt. I completely adored Matt and Hailey’s romance as they try to convince themselves that they are only friends with benefits. The pair have amazing chemistry, even when they are pushing each other into potentially disastrous situations (like a 4:30 AM outdoor date or a dinner at a fancy bistro). What I love most is the genuine feel of the romance, which doesn’t tarnish the happy ending. Their love comes from sexual chemistry and true friendship, but they do have to compromise, and their path isn’t easy. I laughed and cried during the book, which I found emotionally fulfilling and ultimately rewarding. Narration by Lauren Fortgang is once again superb. However, I noticed that (to me) Hailey’s voice had changed from earlier books. It’s not a huge thing, but it sort of bugged me, especially in the beginning scene involving Tori and Hailey. Eventually as the story moved forward, I forgot about it. Overall, Taken with You is a sweet, fun, sincere romance that swept me off my feet. A must read! Rating: A Narration: A- Falling For Max Falling for Max is the final tale from...
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