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Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
Jul
28

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Then Came You by Jill Shalvis

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Then Came You by Jill Shalvis Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Then Came You Author: Jill Shalvis Narrator: Karen White Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Animal Magnetism #5 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Purchased Doctors Emily and Wyatt had a one-night stand three months ago at a vet conference in Reno. Never expecting to see each other again, it was a bit of a shock when Emily discovers her new supervisor is that sexy man with whom she had an uncharacteristic affair. The revelation that Emily is Belle Haven’s newest intern is equally shocking to Wyatt, who refuses to let his heart be broken by someone with one foot out the door, again. With each return to Sunshine, Idaho, I find myself more in love with the characters and stories of the Animal Magnetism series by Jill Shalvis. This delightful contemporary romance series follows the lives and loves of those who live and work in and around the town’s sizable animal hospital. In Then Came You, we witness two new characters who both work as vets for the Belle Haven clinic. Although both are (mostly) new to the series, the characters fit with ease into Sunshine’s close-knit group. The story is almost the reverse of Kate and Grif’s story (Rumor Has It), with Emily having one foot out the door and ready to head back to sunny LA to work, live, and help care for her father. She’s got a plan, but it’s one that she thinks she should follow to find happiness. It takes Wyatt’s firm but tender romancing, as well as her sister’s blunt heart-to-hearts, to help her see that she needs to make room for her own happiness rather than do what she thinks is best for everyone else. Meanwhile Wyatt thinks he’s open and honest with Emily, but he’s holding back a piece of himself, unwilling to tell Emily just how much he cares for her. Wyatt didn’t have a say in being dragged all over the world by his jet-setting parents growing up, so Wyatt refuses to influence anyone’s decision on where to life. His misguided behavior was frustrating for me at times, but he and Emily were so good together, it didn’t bother me like it may have in other books. In addition to the romance, the book had a semi-mystery that surfaced from time to time, giving the story added tension. Although I pretty much figured out the plot right from the get-go, I appreciated how the author worked...
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Jul
21

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Love So True by Marquita Valentine

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Love So True by Marquita Valentine Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Book: Love So True Author: Marquita Valentine Narrator: Piper Goodeve Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Lawson Brothers #2 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: purchased What I’m Talking About Love So True is the second story in the small town contemporary romance series based on the good-looking and hard-working Lawson brothers. This time around, the story focuses on Prodigal Son, Lucas Lawson, who served five years in prison for his participation in an investment scandal that emptied the pockets of several of Jessamine’s residents. The one thing that kept him going was the memory of Bailey Yates’s smile. Bailey, a single mom who has had her own share of bad choices and sideways looks from the town’s residents, sees how Lucas has changed and gives him a chance. While Lucas doesn’t feel deserving, he is humble and accepts her help. And although both agree hooking up would be a bad idea, they can’t help themselves. I really enjoyed Love So True. I loved how vulnerable both Bailey and Lucas are, but each is ready to take life by the reins and do what they want. And while I was so worried that this book, like its predecessor, would focus on the many external issues that could tear them apart, my fears were for naught. Ms. Valentine does a marvelous job keeping the focus of the book on the developing romance between Bailey and Lucas, and as pair, how they deal with the hurdles and obstacles in their way. And unlike the first book in this series, the issues between Bailey and Lucas didn’t feel contrived and were dealt with in a mature and timely manner. The narration by Piper Goodeve is good, but still not great for me. I enjoy Ms. Goodeve’s narrative voice, as well as her female characters, bringing in a mix of the sweet south combined with thoughtfulness. But her male characters are too soft and gentle for my liking. The male voices just don’t seem to fit the characters as well, especially when being romantic or trying to take charge. Overall, Love So True is a delightful romance that is full of heart. My rating: B+ Narration: B-...
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Jul
14

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Dresden Files Series Book: Proven Guilty Author: Jim Butcher Narrator: James Marsters Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Dresden Files #8 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mystery Source: purchased Proven Guilty After taking a break from the Dresden Files for a few months, listening to Proven Guilty was just what I wanted and needed from this dark urban fantasy series. The war between the Red Court and White Council isn’t going well, meanwhile the Merlin wants to find a way to remove Harry from the Council, permanently. Harry’s mentor, Ebenezer, tips off Harry that the Winter Court (fae) have not joined the war after the Red Court used their lands without permission and that there is a traitor in the Council. So Harry embarks on a secret, multi-faceted mission, where not only is his own life in danger, but that of his dear friend Michael’s daughter, Molly. While Proven Guilty continues the somber storytelling that dominates this series, I found it had a much better balance of light and dark with respect to Dreden’s mental and emotional wellbeing. There is no denying he lives in a dangerous world with the cards stacked against him, but he does have many friends, and Dresden is finally turning to them. I’ll admit that I held my breath while reading most of the first half, waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop right on top of Dresden’s head, Mr. Butcher was able to keep things from going too far, and brought Dresden back from the depths before he hit bottom. But with that said, there were a couple spots I was ready to give up, only to be drawn back in by the excellent storytelling. At the core of Proven Guilty, there is a mystery, and Dresden is back doing what he does best: piecing clues together to uncover the truth. As he does so, he discovers that the overall picture is much bigger than he initially expected, with an unknown threat that could be the ultimate foe. This journey allows Dresden to expunge some of the guilty he’s been carrying around for the past year or so, as well as strengthen friendships and alliances he’ll need to stay on “right” side of that fine line between dark and light. While we see Dresden work through his relationships with a few key characters, it is his heart-to-hearts with longtime colleague and friend, Karen, that gave me all the...
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Jul
7

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Big Vamp on Campus by Molly Harper

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Big Vamp on Campus by Molly Harper Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Big Vamp on Campus Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Half-Moon Hollow #5.5 Genre: Paranormal Romance Source: Purchased Big Vamp on Campus is a fun “slice of life” with a side of growing pains. We get to see how vampire baddie Ophelia Lambert is dealing with being cut off from her precious Council. It’s definitely not the best place to start the series, although I think it can be enjoyed by a newbie as a standalone short. However, to understand the full impact of Ophelia’s banishment, one really needs to see her when she was at her prime, welding power for the Council. I didn’t think I’d ever really like Ophelia; she certainly has never been a sympathetic character. And after what she did to Gigi back in The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire, I honestly wasn’t looking forward to getting a story from her POV. However, leave it to Ms. Harper to pull this off. Not only do we see some of the brilliant crazed 400-year old vamp she used to be, but we witness Ophelia learn to adjust to life outside her comfort zone, growing and developing into a relatable, likable character. As I mentioned before, the book reads more like a slice of life or a few chapters from a larger story. New characters are introduced, and some strange and mysterious things are afoot – basically par for the course for the residents of Half-Moon Hollow. It’s pretty apparent that this novella is setting the stage for a larger story; however, it’s not the next book, Where the Wild Things Bite. It looks like Big Vamp on Campus actually comes after the next book. The narration by Amanda Ronconi is highly entertaining. In the past, I’ve struggled with keeping characters straight from book to book based on voice alone because each is a different first person POV narrative. However, because it’s been a while since I’ve listened to another book in the series, I didn’t experience any of that confusion, and found the narration to fit Ophelia’s personality. With just a touch of sarcasm and a whole lot of charm, Ms. Ronconi brings the denizens of Half-Moon Hollow to life (even when they are actually students at the University of Kentucky!) All-in-all, an enjoyable listen, entertaining story, and a must for fans of the Half-Moon Hollow series. Story Rating: B+ Narration:...
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Jun
30

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Everywhere and Every Way Author: Jennifer Probst Narrators: Madeleine Maby and Sebastian York Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Billionaire Builders #1 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Caleb Pierce has lived under his father’s thumb, working for the family construction company, biding time until it is his turn to take over Pierce Brothers Construction. So when his father dies suddenly, Cal must convince his two estranged brothers to come home and help him with the business or face losing everything. Morgan Reins is a self-made interior designer for the stars. She has what it takes and does whatever needed to get the job done. Now that her A-list clients want a custom home in Caleb’s little town, she knows that Pierce Brothers is the only company for the job. Convincing Cal to take on her project will test her limits. Everywhere and Every Way is the first in a new series and my first experience reading a Jennifer Probst title. I enjoyed the light-hearted, small town feel of the story and got wrapped up in Morgan and Cal’s relationship. Generally, I liked both Cal and Morgan and found their romance, once it kicked into gear, sexy and fun. Their individual struggles were realistic and intriguing. I especially liked watching each deal with his/her demons and troubles, and finally coming through on top in the end. My biggest complaint about the title is that it just took way too long for Cal and Morgan to finally connect. At well past the halfway mark in the book, I found that while I liked the story, I was having trouble getting into the relationship because Morgan was working so hard not to have one. There were no sparks or steam. They had shared one kiss, and I was annoyed with the lack of progression, as well as some silly, unnecessary side stories. Yet once the connection was made, sparks flew, and I was completely engrossed in both the romance, as well as the efforts the Pierce brothers were making towards reconciliation. Everywhere and Every Way is mutually narrated by Madeleine Maby and Sebastian York, with Ms. Maby covering the sections told from Morgan’s POV and Mr. York performing the sections shared from Cal’s POV. Overall, the narration as okay. I liked Mr. York’s performance slightly more than Ms. Maby’s. I felt his heat and warmth suited Cal perfectly, while Mr. York’s voice for Morgan had...
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Jun
23

Listen Up! 2016 #Audiobook Challenge Update: January – June

Listen Up! 2016 #Audiobook Challenge Update: January – June Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Once again this year, I signed up for the annual Audiobook Challenge hosted by The Book Nympho and Hot Listens. My personal goal is to listen to 50 audiobooks, meeting the My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) level (30-50 audiobooks) during 2016. For more information about the 2016 Audiobook Challenge, click the image below. 2016 Audiobook Challenge Update: January – June While I’ve had some ups and downs in my listening habits so far this year, I’m right on track to meet my goal of 50 books. Here is a list of the books I’ve listened to so far this year. Book 01: Love So Hot by Marquita Valentine, Narrated by Piper Goodie (1/1) Book 02: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy, Narrated by Lorelei Avalon (1/4) Book 03: The Dirt on the Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones, Narrated by Lorelei King (1/9) Book 04: Claimed by Elle Kennedy, Narrated by C S E Cooney (1/13) Book 05: On the Edge by Ilona Andrews, Narrated by Renée Reedman (1/19) Book 06: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews, Narrated by Renée Reedman (1/27) Book 07: Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews, Narrated by Renée Reedman (2/10) Book 08: The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin, Narrated by Johanna Parker (2/28) Book 09: Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren, Narrated by Deacon Lee & Olivia Song (3/3) Book 10: The Professor’s Student by Bronwyn Green, Narrated by Tatiana Sokolov (3/8) Book 11: Sweet Filthy Morning After by Christina Lauren, Narrated by Jason Carpenter (3/8) Book 12: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs, Narrated by Lorelei King (3/15) Book 13: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop, Narrated by Alexandra Harris (3/24) Book 14: Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews, Narrated by Renée Raudman (4/1) Book 15: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews, Narrated by Renée Raudman (4/6) Book 16: Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews, Narrated by Renée Raudman (4/15) Book 17: Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis, Narrated by Karen White (4/21) Book 18: Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis, Narrated by Karen White (4/28) Book 19: Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep, Narrated by Brittany Presley (5/5) Book 20: Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis, Narrated by Karen White (5/12) Book 21: Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake, Narrated by Romy Nordlinger (5/18) Book 22: Love So True by Marquita Valentine, Narrated by Piper Goodeve (5/21) Book 23: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews, Narrated by Renée Raudman (5/28)...
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Jun
16

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Steel’s Edge Author: Ilona Andrews Narrator: Renée Raudman Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Edge #4 Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance Source: Purchased Steel’s Edge centers around Richard Mar (introduced in book two), brother of Kaldar. Richard has been around the block, and his life hasn’t been very easy. He doesn’t necessary fit in with his family, so he’s found meaning in tracking down and destroying the illegal slave industry, which was responsible for the torture of his younger cousin Sophie. Stumbling into the Edge after being fatally wounded, he’s fortunate that Charlotte de Ney, a powerful healer, finds and saves him. Charlotte is a noble blue blood from Adrianglia who moved to the Edge after a devastating betrayal left her worried about the dark magic within her. Luckily, Charlotte was taken in by Eleonore Drayton: Rose, George, and Jack’s grandmother. After three years, Charlotte has been accepted by the Edgers and lives a quiet life. But when Richard Mar crashes into her life, everything changes. Now Charlotte is compelled to join Richard on his dangerous quest. As the final book in Ilona Andrew’s wonderful Edge series, Steel’s Edge takes readers on an exciting journey and gives closure to some long running storylines without losing site of the book’s central storyline. Richard and Charlotte’s crusade against the slavers is action-packed, edgy, and thrilling. The execution of the ultimate plan kept me glued to the proverbial pages of the book. The entire plot was well-thought out and masterfully executed. My heart was racing at times. But wait… there’s more! I adored Charlotte and Richard’s romance. They are two damaged individuals that don’t have to hide their true natures from one another. Their attraction is strong, but their love for and acceptance of the other is what makes their romance so engaging. I loved where their story ended; it was fitting for their journey. Steel’s Edge also tackles a couple storylines that have run throughout the series. The first is that of John Drayton, father of Rose, George, and Jack. He abandoned his children to find fortune and treasure after their mother died. The second is that of Spider and The Hand, the longtime nemesis of the Mar family. While neither storyline takes up much page space, the authors do great justice to both. Once again Renee Raudman works her magic with the story, bringing to life these characters. She adds just the right...
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Jun
9

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Fate’s Edge Author: Ilona Andrews Narrator: Renée Raudman Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Edge #3 Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance Source: Purchased The third Edge story, Fate’s Edge, features Kaldar Mar, the swindling, grifting cousin of Cerise, the previous book’s heroine. The story is set two years after the second book, with Kaldar working for the Adrianglian spy network, the Mirror, hoping to exact revenge on Spider and the Hand for killing his family. He’s been recruited to recover a valuable stolen artifact, which should give him the opportunity for which he’s been waiting. Audrey Callahan wants to live a normal life, working for a PI firm in the Broken and maintaining a small home in the Edge. After living a life filled with heists and disappointments, she’s left her family behind, for good. However, when her dad shows up and requests her help in “one more big job” she gives him a choice: he can either walk away and keep her as a daughter or she’ll do the job and he will no longer have a daughter, killing him if he returns. Her dad picks the heist over his daughter. Now the Hand is after her to recover the artifact, and she doesn’t know who she can trust. I am throughly enjoying my time in Ilona Andrews’ Edge. The mythology is unique and interesting, and with each passing book, the plot expands and deepens. While each story is a standalone romance with its own adventure, there is an overall urban fantasy arc. Although new characters are introduced in each title, previous characters are brought forward and sometimes play key roles. Kaldar and Audrey’s story is genuinely fun, although at times confusing and complex. The pair are con artists, working both the enemy to gain back possession of the stolen artifact, but also with each other. They play games, hiding their true feelings in an effort not to get conned and hurt. While on the surface, the plot of retrieving the items Audrey helped steal seems simple, the overall story is anything but. At one point, the pair had to steal money from a pirate to get in good with the preacher, so that they could rob him and exchange that item for an invitation to the bad guy’s auction, in order to get back the item stolen in the first place. *phew* I became tired of all of the layers of...
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Jun
2

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Bayou Moon Author: Ilona Andrews Narrator: Renée Raudman Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Edge #2 Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance Source: Purchased Bayou Moon opens two years after the conclusion of the previous book, On the Edge, where we find William living a solitary life in the Edge. He is soon recruited by the Mirror, a spy network for the country of Adrianglia in the Weird, and finds himself off to the Mire in the Edge. Cerise Mar lives in the Edge in the swamps called the Mire. The Mars are in a family feud with the Sheeriles, and her parents have been kidnapped by evil agents of the Hand. Lucky for Cerise, she crosses paths with William, and they team up to stop the Hand. The second book started as a bit of a shocker to me. I thought that the Edge series was an urban fantasy series that would follow Rose and Declan through four books. But it’s not… It’s more of a UF romance, with a different couple featured in each book. After my initial disappointment, I learned to love both William and Cerise. Overall, I enjoyed Bayou Moon. Once again, the storytelling is phenomenal, with an engrossing plot filled with some twists and turns. It is, however, a long book, and I felt that it would have benefitted from some editing. The ending dragged on a bit too long and started to frustrate me. Additionally, the authors left open some doors that I would have preferred closed. I guess I’ll have to wait to see if they are resolved in future titles. I did enjoy the reintroduction of the main characters from the first title. I hope that the next two books will continue to involve some of these familiar players. Renée Raudman’s performance is utterly amazing. She captures every moment perfectly – reconstructing emotions that allow a listener to experience what the character feels. She also introduces appropriate sighs, breaths, and more to express the attitudes and physical exhaustion (for example) of the characters. In the end, another wonderful addition to the Edge series. My Rating: B Narration:...
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May
26

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: On the Edge by Ilona Andrews Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: On the Edge Author: Ilona Andrews Narrator: Renée Raudman Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Edge #1 Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance Source: Purchased On the Edge is the first story in Ilona Andrews’ unique urban fantasy romance series. The Edge is the place between the Broken (human, non-magical world) and the Weird (mirror world with alternate history and magic-filled). Rose and her two young brothers, Georgie and Jack, live in the Edge, while Rose holds a below minimum wage job in the Broken to try and make ends meet. Everything changes when a Blue Blood from the Weird, Declan, shows up on Rose’s land, while mysterious, evil hounds pick off Edgers one by one. The writing team of Ilona Andrews is one of the best around. Their attention to detail, while weaving a unique and exciting, action-packed tale, results in one engrossing story after another. On the Edge reads mostly like an urban fantasy, but has multiple third-person POVs and features a romance. Declan and Rose are like Curran and Kate (Kate Daniels series) or Rogan and Nevada (Hidden Legacy series). They are oil and water. Noble, calm, alpha male and feisty witty hard-on-her-luck female. Female in trouble and could protect herself, but the male wants and needs to protect. I love the dialogue and banter. Renée Raudman, who narrates all of the Andrews’ titles, works her charm, giving each character a unique, age-appropriate voice. She works in accents, attitude, and emotion to keep the listener engaged. Overall, On the Edge is exciting and full of twists. The authors have created an incredibly fascinating world, filled with complex and engaging characters, coupled with strong storytelling. I look forward to more from The Edge. Story: A Narration:...
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