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Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
May
29

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: All Spell is Breaking Loose by ReGina Welling & Erin Lynn

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: All Spell is Breaking Loose by ReGina Welling & Erin Lynn Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: All Spell is Breaking Loose Authors: ReGina Welling & Erin Lynn Narrator: C.S.E. Cooney Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Lexi Balefire Matchmaking Witch Mystery/Fate Weaver #2 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery Source: Tantor Audio All Spell is Breaking Loose: A Lexi Balefire Matchmaking Witch Mystery is a satisfying sequel to the first novel in the Fate Weaver series.  Lexi continues to try to learn more about her past, her abilities and if she is lucky, continue to put soulmates together, strengthening love in the world. Lexi always thought her mother was dead, killed by her grandmother.  However, Lexi discovers that not only is her mother alive, she was the mysterious shop owner that helped her to come into her powers.  Now Sylvana is back, supposedly to reconnect with her daughter and help her develop fully into her fate weaver abilities.  Her fairy godmothers, Salem and even Kin are not so sure, nor are they convinced that Sylvana has Lexi’s best interests at heart.  Especially when Lexi finds out that the famed Bow of Destiny, Cupid’s bow, is lost.  Sylvana is happy to help Lexi find it before someone else does, but is she doing it for Lexi or just using her? I continue to enjoy this quirky, fun, and light-hearted series.  Lexi can be a complete flake and incredibly dense, but she is endearing and cares deeply for her friends, her family, and her beau Kin.  Though spunky and crafty, Lexi is easily fooled by the reappearance of her mother, Sylvana.  As any girl raised without her mother, she dreamed they would be reunited one day and is over the moon when it happens.  However, I am sure she never dreamed their reunion would be like this with Sylvana asking Lexi to sneak into other witch’s homes or keep secrets from her adoptive family.   Ms. Cooney continues to capture Lexi’s personality and quirks perfectly.  I enjoy her vocal interpretation of Lexi.  She also does a good job with the varied assortment of other character voices.  It is easy to keep track of the distinct characters by their voices.  I look forward to listening to Ms. Cooney continue to capture the voice of this series. The Fate Weaver continues to be a light-hearted and fun series.  I enjoy how Lexi continues to be a force of good in the world while also maintain a unique family and history. ...
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May
25

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death in an English Cottage by Sara Rosett

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death in an English Cottage by Sara Rosett Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Death in an English Cottage Author: Sara Rosett Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Murder on Location #2 Genre: Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Death in an English Cottage is a delightful and intriguing sequel to Death in the English Countryside.  The burgeoning romance between Alex and Kate along with the mystery of the murdered woman woven was fascinating. I am a huge fan of slow burn romances and I love how Alex and Kate’s romance is slowly smoldering and working up to a flame.  At this early stage, they are still getting to know each other as well as work together.  However, when a dead body is discovered in a neighboring cottage from Kate’s, more than just finding the culprit is at stake for Kate.  As she gets closer to the truth, she becomes a target, and the documentary crew does not want any negative publicity.  Without a paying job, Kate would have to return to the States, if she cannot find something else – which would put an end to the something brewing between her and Alex.  Though Kate is getting a feeling that Alex may be hiding something, casting a shadow on this crazy decision she made to stay in England. The murder mystery was fascinating.  However, the identity of the murderer is easy to figure out, the motive behind his actions as well the means were much more difficult to puzzle out.  I enjoyed how different nefarious actions of others were woven into how the murderer is able to cast suspicion on others.  It was really interesting how everything fell into the place at the end.  Kate is truly gifted.  Her ability to slowly unravel the clues, seeing things that the Detective Inspector did not was interesting.  The suspense was chilling as Kate finally figured it all out, almost too late. Ms. Mollo-Christensen performs the role of Kate perfectly.  She is able to convey Kate’s personality as well as her individual nuances well.  I also like the range of accents and voices she is able to convey, making it easy to follow along with the various characters. Her narration greatly enhanced my enjoyment of this audiobook.  If you enjoy cozy murder mysteries that harken back to the classic British mysteries, you may just want to start on the Murder on Location series.  I enjoy the amateur detective adventures of Kate, the location...
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May
24

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Hooked on Ewe Author: Hannah Reed Narrator:  Angela Dawe Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Scottish Highlands Mystery #2 Genre: Contemporary, Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Hooked on Ewe is the standalone, follow up mystery to Off Kilter. Eden Elliot has been in Glenkillen for about 3 months. She’s working and living on Vicky’s farm. She’s made friends and finished the first draft of her book. Christine still isn’t very warm and fuzzy but it’s all okay. Until, the farm hosts a large charity event and Eden discovers the corpse of one of the town’s volunteers. Inspector Jameson has his hands full and asks Eden to be a Special Constable to help him on the case.  Overall, I enjoyed my return to the quaint town of Glenkillen. Seeing the tapestry of land, the food, and the people of the Highlands through the eyes of Eden is wonderful. From her descriptive looks at the scenery, the tastes of the foods and drink, and even the yarn produced and sold at Sheepish Expressions; it’s all brought to vivid life though her observations.  The mystery was engrossing. I liked Eden’s larger roll in the investigation. However, there were a couple small things that made it not as great as the first book – first, as Eden’s character development progresses in this second book there were aspects that came to light that I didn’t care for.  I didn’t like how pushy and judgmental Eden became as she pursued the investigation. Maybe she was like this before, but I don’t remember. However, I will say she was put in her place by the inspector, and she tried to tamper her attitude subsequently. So, while it was annoying in the start, it seemed to settle down after a while.  Second, I was put off by how the first book left us thinking Vicky and Kirsten had worked things out, but then this one opened with Kirsten being a total b*tch again. This continued for quite a while, and it bothered me – been there, done that. She did make amends about halfway in (+/-) so I really hope we don’t get a repeat in book 3, or I’ll be so tired of it.  Lastly, I applauded the fact that the author put the inspector out of dating potential in the beginning and then focused on Eden’s attraction to Leif. I like their very slow burn attraction as...
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May
23

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman Welcome to my feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Nothing Serious Author: Jessica Jarman Narrator: Greg Boudreaux Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Bound #3 Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ m/m Audiobook Source: Purchased Listening to Nothing Serious is a revisit to one of my all-time favorite stories. The narration by Greg Boudreaux added emotional depth to this passionate tale. From my original review: The story unfolds organically and beautifully, giving both Jack and Aaron time to figure out what each wants from the other and for his own life. While the couple has a history of amazing sexual chemistry, the two men are in different places in their lives, creating a tension that causes the story to hum and vibrate rather that sit stagnant. It is evident right from the get go that Jack is deeply emotionally attached to Aaron, while Aaron hasn’t really taken the time to realize what Jack means to him. Jack has always accepted this, enjoying their passionate, yet infrequent rendezvous with everything he has. He is fun and gentle, unwilling to push Aaron into something he’s not ready for, endearing him to me so very much. Their dynamic captured me completely, and I was thoroughly engrossed in their romance. At first, the narration by Mr. Boudreaux threw me because his “neutral” narrator voice is an unaccented English accent, sounding very much like Aaron. So when it was Jack’s point of view, I wanted the narrator to have a similar English accent that Jack had. But I got used to the back and forth after a couple chapters. His accents are convincing to this untrained ear. His female voices are higher-pitched and decisively feminine, many strong and matching the characters’ personas.  In the end, I absolutely love Nothing Serious and the timeless romance between Aaron and Jack. The narrator does wonderful job with intensity and non-verbal sounds and cues, bringing the entire experience up a notch.  My Ratings: Story: A+ Narration: A- About the Book: Aaron Stevens likes his life the way it is. As a surgical resident, he is perfectly content with the fact that the precious hours he has outside the hospital revolve around taking care of his mother and sister. He doesn’t have the time or inclination for a serious relationship. So the fact his lover lives halfway around the world and is fine with jetting off to exotic locales a couple times a year for a few weeks of hot sex is as close...
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May
21

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Embracing Magick by Debbie Cassidy

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Embracing Magick by Debbie Cassidy Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: The Witch Blood Chronicles Embracing Magick Author: Debbie Cassidy Narrator: Zehra Jane Naqvi Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series:The Witch Blood Chronicles #3 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio Embracing Magick is the thrilling third novel in The Witch Blood Chronicles.  I continue to be enthralled by the over-arching nemesis plot lines along with Carmella’s own personal journey. This series just seems to get more and more fascinating.  As the novel beings, Carmella is still trying to figure out her own family issues (the identity of her mother and father).  However, knowledge comes with a price.  With her asura side fully released, her inner dragon is now a partner within her and she is discovering what the fine print says.  One of the biggest issues that Carmella needs to work out is that female dragon asuras go through a needing period.  Unlike a normal mating issue, this needing requires the female dragon to find a permanent mate.  Due to the delay in Carmella accessing this side of her nature, her dragon is giving her little time (or options) to find and mate.  Not that she doesn’t have her hands full trying to find out what is happening to the disappearing people – or the foreboding feeling that she hasn’t seen the last of Banner or his evil plot.  However, Carmella is still nursing a broken heart.  She is reluctant to accept the first male her dragon approves of.  I truly respect Carmella as she does some soul-searching before she makes that life-long commitment.  Especially as she is trying to puzzle out if her affection for Paimon is real or a lingering side effect of the binding. The continuing Hindu inspired mythology mixed with the British environment is fascinating to me.  Though I am unfamiliar with this mythology, I find myself absolutely engrossed in this world’s amalgamation of it.  I enjoyed learning more about it as Carmella learned more about her asura nature, training with Vitra.  The different and varied supernatural beings were interesting.  I liked how it seems that Carmella has a knack for being able to not only work with but also assist in getting different supernatural entities to work together.  Nevertheless even with the assistance of Carmella’s friends and the IEUPE, it may not be enough to stop the evil that is coming. Ms. Naqvi continues bring this world and the characters to vivid and perfect life. ...
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May
18

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: 3 Wishes by Peggy Jaeger

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: 3 Wishes by Peggy Jaeger Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: 3 Wishes Author: Peggy Jaeger Narrator:  Nicole Blessing Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Candy Hearts Romance universe Genre: Contemporary Romance, novella Source: Author 3 Wishes is a cute, short story about dreams coming true. Chloe has always believed in wishes ever since a young age when she had an Aladdin-themed birthday. Every year she makes three wishes, hoping for the man of her dreams to come into her life. Suddenly on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, her wishes may come true. Overall, I enjoyed this quick story about falling in love at (near) first sight. It’s cute and cozy like a Hallmark movie, leaving me all warm inside. Chloe is a likable lead, she’s secure on her own, but nostalgic for the wishes and the dream that never came to pass. The side story of her mother and father’s marital issues is a good parallel to Chloe’s own worries about getting involved with Dr. Dreamy, although I felt it also burdened the romance and story, especially since the book is so short. I would have preferred a bit more time spent with the main couple. The story is short and a little over-the-top for me to absolutely love it.  Ms. Blessing has a pleasing, calm narrator voice. It’s confident and energetic, fitting for the self-starter Chloe. However… this story takes place in or near New York City and the author uses stereotype-NY/Italian accents for her dialogue. While it may be authentic (I can’t say since I’m not from the area), it rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like the Godfather should be coming to Chloe’s shop to do some business. The accents are strong and grating. While the attempt to be more authentic is admirable, sometimes it just isn’t necessary. Additionally, several of the narrators dialogue voices for characters were too similar.  My Ratings: Story: B- Narration: C Review copy provided by the author. About the Book: Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t...
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May
17

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Defying Magick by Debbie Cassidy

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Defying Magick by Debbie Cassidy Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: The Witch Blood Chronicles Defying Magick Author: Debbie Cassidy Narrator: Zehra Jane Naqvi Audio Listening Speed: 1.25x Series:The Witch Blood Chronicles #2 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio Defying Magick is a wonderful sequel to Binding Magick in the Witch Blood Chronicles series.  I enjoyed the continuing saga of Carmella and the unknown threat to humanity. Defying Magick takes place shortly after the conclusion of Binding Magick.  Carmella’s asura power has been unlocked and is surging forward.  As Carmella attends a yaksha gathering with her new friend, Honey, the unthinkable happens.  Beings appear from nowhere and begin to slaughter friends and family.  Carmella tries to help, but there is nothing to be done, most of the yaksha are eliminated.  This leaves Honey as the new Alpha of the pack.  When Carmella tries to offer support as Honey meets with the other pack Alphas, her asura power comes out in a vengeance; in the shape of a dragon.  With her new position with the IEPEU, Carmella is determined to track down the culprit and bring surcease to Honey. Unfortunately it puts Carmella in the culprit’s cross-fire. I continue to really love Carmella; she’s loyal, determined, compassionate, fierce and yet kind. Though the novel is compact, it is not lacking in character development or action.  I really enjoyed following Carmella as she tracks down the person responsible for the attacks while trying to acclimate to the new asura powers and its detractions.  Between her and her friends, the camaraderie is enthralling and endearing.  Though there is a bit of a love triangle, Carmella is smart.  She takes her time to grieve what can never be and take the time to heal before jumping into something too quickly.  It’s tough to not be able to not only relate to Carmella but root for her. It was completely surprising to find out who the ultimate nemesis was.  That being said, the cliffhanger ending was nail-bitingly fascinating and irritating.  Though it appeared that the threat is over, I agree with Carmella that more is to come.  Between the mysterious ending, the surprising appearance of Mira and her surging asura needs, I look forward to knowing what happens next in this series. Ms. Naqiv continues to be the voice of Carmella.  I love her portrayal of not only Carmella’s personality, but he voices and characterization of the other characters. Though I admit the British...
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May
17

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Witch Slapped by Danielle Garrett

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Witch Slapped by Danielle Garrett Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Witch Slapped Author: Danielle Garrett Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries #3 Genre: Paranormal Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Witch Slapped takes listeners back to the coastal town of Beechwood Harbor and the adventures of resident witch, Holly Boldt. The holidays are approaching and Holly’s shifter boyfriend Adam shares the news that his parents are coming to town. And if that isn’t stressful enough, Holly’s SPA agent moves into the manor, working on a secret investigation. Unfortunately, Holly’s thriving potions business isn’t entirely legal, and she is worried he’ll discover the truth and send her to prison for good. Toss in a cheating spouse, gruesome murder, and a mafia vampire family, and things are pretty much normal for Holly. I’m really enjoying the cozy mystery with a paranormal twist stories of the Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries series. When we last saw Holly, she was finally opening up to Adam and making a home in Beechwood Harbor. However, apparently Holly didn’t really change in the months following the previous book. Once again, she stumbles into trouble while on an investigation with Nick. And while she shares some of what is going on with the out-of-town Adam, she continues to go behind his back and take matters into her own hands. Additionally, being around Nick causes Holly to question her future and where things are heading with Adam. This frustrated me to no end when listening to Witch Slapped. And honestly, at this point, if it becomes a reoccurring theme in each title, I may have to back away. Either put Holly and Adam together and allow their relationship to bloom, or break them up and have Holly move on with life. OR, just drop the romantic entanglements altogether, and focus solely on the engrossing mysteries.  Outside of the romance, I enjoyed the continuing development of camaraderie and friendship between Holly and several of the supporting characters. Here is one place the overall character development is progressing. Additionally, the mystery itself is exciting. I enjoy listening to Holly pull the pieces together or work them over with Nick. I just wish Nick and best friend Cassie could be in the know (about supernaturals).  Although I enjoyed the storyline in Witch Slapped, the conclusion of the mystery went down very quickly and fell a bit flat for me. Holly made big plans on how to bring down the bad...
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May
15

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Full Moon Howl by Orlando A. Sanchez

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Full Moon Howl by Orlando A. Sanchez Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Full Moon Howl Author:  Orlando A. Sanchez Narrator:  Kevin T. Collins Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Montague & Strong Case Files #2 Genre: Urban Fantasy/Detective Source: Tantor Audio This second installment in the Montague and Strong Detective Agency series was just as nail-bitingly exciting and humorous as the previous novel.  Though we learn a bit more about Monty, we still do not have the whole story behind Simon.   Full Moon Howl begins as a simple case of a sick werewolf but quickly morphs into something far more sinister; revenge against Monty and all those deemed unnatural.  Monty and Simon must race against the clock to stop the annihilation of paranormal creatures while also keeping Monty from succumbing to the dark side of magic.  While Simon and Monty are tracking down the culprit behind this plot, we meet a few people from Monty’s background. Much to Roxanne’s chagrin, an ex from Monty’s past appears and inserts herself into Monty’s recovery.   With Monty’s love life being in a bit of upheaval, Simon’s on-going romance with Chi is still odd.  Maybe there was a novella or I am just not remembering everything that occurred in the previous novel, but it seems they finally went on a date.  But with everything that happens with Monty, the enraged werewolves, renegade mages and a vengeful dragon, Simon’s plate is pretty full and there was little time in it for him and Chi – except for everyone mentioning “the date” and being suspicious of seeing Simon with Monty’s ex.  Especially since the mage behind the enraged werewolves seems to be hell-bent on not only making Monty look like the guilty party, but also annihilate in him the process.   As in the previous novel, Simon and Monty’s adventure was gripping and thrilling, punctuated with humor and cultural references. I continue to enjoy Mr. Collin’s narration.  He seems to not only capture the personalities of the characters, but convey the urgency and desperation of the situations.  I eagerly look forward to the next novel in this series. My Ratings: Story: B+ Narrator: A Overall: A- Review copy provided by Tantor Audio. About the Book: Mystery. Malice. Revenge. Broken bodies and bloody messages are appearing in the darkest corners of New York City. Infected werewolves are roaming the streets attacking innocents. The Dark Council demands answers. They summon Simon and Tristan to investigate. The...
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May
10

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Off Kilter by Hannah Reed

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Off Kilter by Hannah Reed Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Off Kilter Author: Hannah Reed Narrator:  Angela Dawe Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Scottish Highlands Mystery #1 Genre: Contemporary, Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Eden Elliot has had a crappy year. Her husband divorced her and her mom died. So best friend, best-selling romance author, Ami Pederson, sent Eden on a 6-month vacation to a small town in the Scottish Highlands, and won’t take no for an answer. Eden not only needs the relaxation, but she’s under contract to write her own romance novel, which happens to be set in the Highlands.  On the plane, Eden befriends Vicki MacBride who is on her way to the same small town for her father’s funeral and to take over her large inheritance, much to the dismay of her half-siblings. Treated as an outsider, Vicki finds little comfort in her new home, and once she discovers the murdered body of the local sheep shearer, she’s considered a prime suspect. Unfortunately for Eden, she’s caught in the middle of the mess, and won’t leave her new friend out to hang. Off Kilter is an exciting cozy mystery set in the picturesque town of Glenkillen. Although the murder mystery is serious and Eden faces true danger, the story is light, as a good cozy mystery should be. I like that Eden isn’t really a sleuth, but has an inquisitive mind, and is only trying to help her friend. She isn’t out to prove she’s more knowledgable than the police, and the local law enforcement is top notch. Even though the murder is the focal point of the plot, the story provides slower moments which are the times we learn more about Eden and her surroundings. She takes time to appreciate the local scenery and befriend the residents, most specifically the hunky stranger who rescues her on the way into town. She and Leif spend a bit of time together, and I hope to see more of the pair in the next title.  One of the reasons I picked up Off Kilter was because of Angela Dawe. While I’ve never listened to a book narrated by her before, I’ve heard a lot of positive things. Since the story is shared from Eden’s point of view, her pleasant voice is used for most of the book, only changing for dialogue. I was very impressed with Ms. Dawe’s work, most especially all of the accents – each a...
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