logo
Currently Browsing: Rating A
Jan
18

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hickory Dickory Dock by Lee Strauss

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hickory Dickory Dock by Lee Strauss Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Nursery Rhyme Suspense series Hickory Dickory Dock Author:  Lee Strauss Narrators:  Reba Buhr & Roger Wayne Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Nursery Rhyme Suspense #3 Genre: Mystery with sci-fi elements, New Adult Source: Tantor Audio Hickory Dickory Dock is another gripping thriller in the Nursery Rhyme Suspense series.  I continue to truly enjoy this sci-fi mystery series. After the events of the previous book, Life is But a Dream, I wasn’t sure what to expect next.  Following Sage and Marlow on their summer break wasn’t it.  However, geeks will be geeks and as Sage continued to work on her mathematical theory she finally breaks through.  In trying to consult Marlow about this latest amazing discovery, she inserts herself between Marlow and his burgeoning romance with Dakota.  Though Marlow tries to keep his distance from Sage out of respect for Dakota, all bets are off once he witnesses a murder through Sage’s “window”. I enjoyed that we learned more about Sage and her family as well as Marlow’s.  There were quite a few discoveries, and I liked how it’s obvious their families have had an effect on them (good and not-so-good).  Marlow’s relationship with his mom is bittersweet and the discoveries made in this novel help him to heal.  With Sage’s interference, I’m not sure how Dakota and Marlow will be able to move on, but there is hope.  However, it is sad to note that Sage is feeling a bit of regret in not pursuing something with Marlow, but I liked how she is willing to let it go and work at being friends with Dakota. The future murder mystery Marlow and Sage fall into is utterly gripping.  It was fascinating how far our world had fallen and how plausible the downfall of the United States was.  I was utterly gripped by the dystopian world that Marlow and Sage found themselves in – though how the mathematical equation could equate to a window into the future still baffles me.  However, I can easily ignore it as I was consumed by trying to figure out who the murder was as well as how they were going to get back to their own time.  It truly felt like a race against the clock. I continue to enjoy the dual narrators and can’t imagine listening to this story without them.  They are becoming the true voices of Marlow and Sage. ...
Read More
Jan
17

Review: Trick Roller by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Review: Trick Roller by Cordelia Kingsbridge Trick Roller Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Three months after the Seven of Spades went to ground, Levi Abrams and Dominic Russo have made a lot of progress—professionally as well as personally. Dominic is training to be a private investigator, while Levi has his own apartment and is ready to put his last long-term relationship behind him for good. Best of all, though it’s still early, both men have begun thinking about a future together. But, with shadows from the past starting to gather, and a serial killer biding their time, Dominic and Levi discover that the real test is just beginning. After having enjoyed Kill Game, the first novel in the Seven of Spades series, as much as I did, I was really excited to jump into the second so soon. While there are some significant differences between the two stories, I found Trick Roller to be just as intriguing. This time, the Seven of Spades is a dormant factor for a good bit of the narrative—although we’re reminded throughout that they’re still out there waiting to pull the strings again—allowing us to get to know Levi and Dominic more comprehensively, including their triggers and tipping points, as well as some of the things that haunt them. Dominic and Levi’s journey from “enemies to lovers” has evolved into something much deeper by this point, as well. Though the heat between the two was evident before, it was tempered by their respective situations and a mutual agreement to “take things slow” in the wake of the abrupt demise of Levi’s last relationship. In Trick Roller, they not only dive headlong into the sexual attraction that’s been tempting them, but each has begun turning to the other for help and comfort above anyone else. I especially liked that they know which tells to look for before things go really wrong and are willing to intercede—even physically, if necessary—to keep one another from self-destructing. Compatibility between the two main characters aside, Trick Roller still has lots of suspense and crime-solving to maintain the story’s balance. Between a truly loathsome murder victim, blackmail, infidelity, robberies, false accusations, etc. there’s plenty of badness to keep Levi and Dominic busy at their day jobs. Add in the “independent investigation” they’re both doing on the Seven of Spades, and the plot advances at a pace that kept me reading well past when I’d planned to stop for a break....
Read More
Jan
15

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Man Hands by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Man Hands by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby Today we have a special #audiobook review. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Man Hands series Author:  Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby Narrator:  Luke Daniels and Erin Mallon Audio Listening Speed: 1.25x and 1.5x Series: Man Hands #1 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Blunder Woman Productions Brynn’s life sucks. Recently divorced, she left her husband and loveless marriage. The moment the papers where signed, she lost her job as a writing professor, where her former father-in-law was her boss. Stuck in a rut, her BFFs tell her she needs to go for a man that is the complete opposite of her normal type for a single night of fun. And after a couple drinks… she does. Tom is working hard to keep a low profile after his very public break up six months ago. Star of his own home repair show, he’s working on renovating his place in Michigan while the network decides if he’ll get another season. However, he tosses his plans for a year of celibacy out the window when a beautiful stranger throws herself at him at a party. Now he can’t stop thinking about her, hoping for a repeat experience. Man Hands is an absolute joy to experience! Not only is a sweet and sexy romance, but the humor is laugh-out-loud funny. Brynn and Tom are adorable together. Stemming from bad breakups, each has lost confidence in love and relationships. Yet in order to move forward, they must pretend to be in one – which isn’t a hardship for either since they are extremely attracted to one another. It also helps that both are genuinely good people who don’t want to hurt the other. And of course, they have friends pushing them together, which makes for some fun times. The supporting cast is equally as intriguing as the main couple, and I look forward to their stories with anticipation. The authors do a fabulous job of breaking convention and typical romance conflicts with their storytelling. I admire and appreciate the direction they took the story as I listened to it. More than once I was thinking I knew what would happen next – how a character would react to a situation, but the authors pleasantly surprised me each time. What could have been typical is instead sublime! The story is brought to life by the narrators. I enjoyed both tremendously. Ms. Mallon brings just the right amount of perkiness to Brynn. She is able to convey a wide...
Read More
Jan
10

Review: Blood Fury by J.R. Ward

Review: Blood Fury by J.R. Ward Blood Fury Author: J.R. Ward Reviewer: Una Rating: A What I’m Talking About: The latest offering in the Black Dagger Legacy series, Blood Fury is, suffice to say, awesome.  The twin love stories combined with the on-going background original story lines is gripping, especially as the romantic journey of the couples is the stronger focal point. Originally the Black Dagger Brotherhood was one of my most favorite dark urban fantasy romance series.  However, as the series has progressed, the romance portion/drive has diminished.  Thankfully J.R. Ward has given us the Black Dagger Legacy series that truly is a spin-off that is back to the “old school.”  This series works as a way to revisit the original characters as well as introducing new characters to the series.  Though it is called a spin-off, this series is truly a companion to the main series.  I cannot see reading either series as a solely… they do need to be read together as characters and plots overlap between them.  Case in point, in Blood Fury, we are finally given Saxton’s happily-ever-after. What I loved about this book is the fact that Saxton, Blay’s ex-lover finally finds his happiness.  Though the book blurb focuses on Petyon and Novo…the novel gives equal page time to both Saxton and Ruhn’s romance as it does to Petyon and Novo’s.  I really enjoyed each of their journeys as well as seeing previous characters make cameos.  Each couple has their own romantic challenges to overcome.  This focus is what makes this series feel more akin to what I loved when the original Black Dagger Brotherhood series started. Though Peyton had quite of bit of maturing to do, he truly ends the story on the road to responsibility.  This was greatly lacking in his character in the previous novels.  However, just as Peyton was lost, Novo was equally lost.  She had found her solace in fighting and training while Peyton found his in recreational drug and alcohol consumption.  But through each of their own soul searching (and facing of their growing attraction and attachment) they help each other heal and find a new path. Similarly, Saxton and Ruhr have their own growth and soul searching to do.  Saxton, the King’s lawyer and advisor, begins the novel as an empty shell.  Since Blay, his former lover, chose to be with Qhuinn, Saxton has not been able to move on with his life.  It is slowly suffocating him.  He seems stuck in...
Read More
Jan
9

Review: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell

Review: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell Down By Contact Author: Santino Hassell Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Down by Contact has been on my personal “long-awaited” list since it was first announced that it would be Simeon’s book. Flirty and charming, with a huge personality, Simeon was an instant favorite in Illegal Contact, the introductory story in The Barons series, and I had high expectations for the outcome this title. While this story had a significantly different feel to it than its predecessor—which I viewed as a strength—I believe it holds its own just fine. Simeon’s situation seemed to be improving by the end of Illegal Contact, with both he and Gavin Brawley coming out on their own terms in order to thwart an imminent blackmailing and involuntary outing. There’s much more to what he’s going through, however, and, although it’s not easy or “fun” to see, I appreciated the significance of the more painful reality that he was still living everyday. I started Down by Contact firmly on Simeon’s side, and that feeling was reinforced over and over as the story progressed. New to The Barons series is Simeon’s arch enemy, and former friend on rival team, the Predators, Adrián Bravo. While I didn’t love him as much as I did Simeon, he had an extremely powerful effect on the story in other ways. At the beginning, Adrián has no idea that he’s even closeted, just that he’s never been able to forgive Simeon for joining the Barons. That denial costs them both quite a lot as they strive to work together, falling hard for one another in the process. One thing I discovered about Down by Contact is that there’s so much to pay attention to, I couldn’t distill it to a few easy-to-dismiss notions in a review. This story has a lot of important themes, such as, trust is both dangerous and necessary. Or, until you live through something, you can’t really know what it’s like. Pretending a truth doesn’t exist isn’t the same as real acceptance. And, wanting someone to experience the same hurts you have so they’ll understand won’t work if you care about them so deeply you’d do anything to keep them from feeling that pain at all. Another consistency in nearly every one of Santino Hassell’s stories I’ve read has been his ability to create stunning secondary characters. Down by Contact is no exception, with the return of Jasmine and Marcus, Gavin and Noah, agent...
Read More
Jan
4

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Insight by Santino Hassell

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Insight by Santino Hassell Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Insight Author:  Santino Hassell Narrator: Greg Boudreaux Audio Speed: 1.0x Series: Barons #1 Genre: Paranormal suspense, LBGTQ, m/m romance Source: Tantor Audio Being part of the Black Family has always been its own punishment for Nate. As the only openly gay guy in his tiny Texas high school, in addition to his family’s sketchy reputation, he was always an outcast among outcasts. After the presumed death of their mother, Nate and his brother, Theo, ought to have been as inseparable as identical twins are supposed to be, but that didn’t work out, either. But when Nate’s world is turned inside out by visions of Theo’s murder, he heads to New York for answers and discovers a secret society of fellow psychics, conspiracy theories, and more murders. Meeting Trent, a gorgeous, compassionate, protective Engineer along the way—who’s also the one person who’s ever given Nate a sense of peace—must be fate. If only he can find enough faith in himself to believe it. Having enjoyed the entire The Community series by Santino Hassell, I admit to being a little worried about how the audiobook would turn out. Much to my delight, I really liked this version of Insight, and found that everything that initially drew me in was not only undiminished by the performance, but that even more details revealed themselves through listening. Based on a fascinating premise—an attempt at world domination with a psychic twist—there’s an awful lot to keep track of in Insight, but the narration made doing so a pleasure, and I was able to happily surrender myself to the story the author originally created. Although he’s appearing under a different name here, I already own several titles read by Greg Boudreaux. As was the case with the others, I found his performance to be extremely enjoyable. Nate’s Texas twang wasn’t too overdone, and tended to deepen believably when he was upset or excited. The other characters were treated similarly, with Mr. Boudreaux’s inflections and tones shifting and softening almost delicately sometimes, making each character sound unmistakable and distinct. I absolutely recommend the audiobook version of Insight for any fan of paranormal suspense, m/m romance, or if you simply like Mr. Hassell’s stories. Mr. Boudreaux treats the material very well, and I can’t fault his handling of so many different characters as they cross paths and advance the narrative. I’m excited to see if the same will...
Read More
Jan
2

Review: Paper Stars by Devon Monk

Review: Paper Stars by Devon Monk Paper Stars Author: Devon Monk Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: A- What We’re Talking About: We absolutely love the world of the Ordinary Magic series.  Gods, monsters, and legends all exist and vacation in Ordinary, Oregon. In this novella, we catch up with Delaney and her boyfriend Ryder. Although we have not been fans of Ryder, in this story he truly redeems himself. In the first three books in the series, we thought that Ryder lost the right to call Delaney his. She repeatedly forgave him and gave him chance after chance.  He wouldn’t heed her advice and he didn’t appreciate her.  By the end of the third book, Gods and Ends, we accepted their relationship, but still thought that Delaney could do a bit better.  Ryder finally proved to us in this novella how much Delaney means to him and that he does love and value her. Although the plots of the missing penguin, demon deals, and an unusual gift are woven into the story, it’s the plight of Ryder lost in the storm that is the focus. We loved the humor that is characteristic of this series and will never forget the oinking dragon.  If you are intrigued, you should read the series. All in all, this was a delightful slice of life from the world of Ordinary Magic.  We are happily satisfied with Delaney and Ryder’s story and eagerly look forward to the next novel in this witty and compelling world. Our Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: One magical holiday. Some assembly required…  Police Chief Delaney Reed loves the holidays in Ordinary, Oregon, the beach town where gods vacation and monsters reside. But this year, she has a lot on her plate. It isn’t just the creature who follows her home, or the terrible storm barreling toward town. It isn’t that Mrs. Yates’s penguin has been stolen. Again.  It’s that her boyfriend, Ryder Bailey, has been gone for two months and is growing more distant. She’s beginning to think she knows why.  But when a demon, a dragon, and a god bearing unusual gifts get thrown on top of her to-do list, Delaney decides to roll up her sleeves and make this holiday unforgettable. One disaster at a time. Release Date: December 3, 2017 Publisher: self-published Series: Ordinary Magic #3.6 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): e-book Book Source: Purchased with our own funds Purchase Info: Amazon Reviews in the Series: Death and Relaxation by...
Read More
Jan
2

Review + Excerpt: Fake Wife by Stacey Lynn

Review + Excerpt: Fake Wife by Stacey Lynn Fake Wife Author: Stacey Lynn Reviewer: Jen Rating: A What I’m Talking About: NOTE: I found out after my review was posted that the name of the hero was changed from Sterling to Corbin after the ARCs went out for review. Sorry for any confusion. For seven years, Teagan has followed her boyfriend around the country while he finished medical school and worked on his internship. She gave up college and her own dreams to follow their dreams. Except… she was the only one all in. After losing her job due to budget cuts, she comes home to find her boyfriend in the middle of sexing up another woman. Knowing things were over well before this moment, Teagan doesn’t even want apologizes or excuses and just leaves. Sterling comes from money and has been named Most Eligible Bachelor three years running. He just laid to rest his grandmother Eleanor, the one family member he loved and trusted. However, at the reading of her will, Sterling finds out his grandmother set him up – placing a significant condition on inheriting the land and home he loves (and subsequently saving it from his father who will tear it down in the name of progress). He must fall in love and get married within six months… and stay married for two years. Fake Wife is a wonderful story about two lonely souls finding a perfect match. I absolutely love the fake-relationship genre. There is just something about playing love that always leads to finding true happiness, warming my heart in the process. Sterling needs a wife and while he isn’t looking for a someone to share his life with, he knows he can’t rely on the women in his social circle who will want more from him than two years wearing his last name. Meanwhile, Teagan is at the lowest point in her life, having nowhere to go and no one to help her. Fate truly does bring them together, and Sterling recognizes the win-win situation. I like how Teagan is weary, but also just this side of desperate to listen to Sterling’s proposal to marry him for two years, providing for her and giving her $250,000. But she also recognizes right away that it’s going to be very hard to put her life on hold for two more years to stay in a love-less, sex-less relationship. And what’s not to adore about Sterling? He’s hot and cold, but he’s a kind...
Read More
Dec
28

Review: The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

Review: The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant The Christmas Cowboy Hero Author: Donna Grant Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Yes, please! A new series from Donna Grant! Combining military with cowboys? Yummy! The Heart of Texas series is going to be my new military/cowboy go-to. In The Christmas Cowboy Hero, Clayton is our tortured hero. You’d think that having been a Navy SEAL would harden him against all the touchy-feely stuff. Totally not so, and poor Clayton has more to deal with than the average SEAL. I really liked Clayton’s characterization because it seemed like there were real issues he was taking care of and he buried some things from his past super deep so he could move on with his life. Funny how that doesn’t work out, huh? With all the things going on at the family ranch, seems like Clayton needs someone by his side. Enter Abby Harper. I’m pretty sure that Abby should be named Ms. Selfless Heroine 2017. When her brother gets in over his head, Abby is there for him—which brings us to how Abby and Clayton meet. As an overprotective mom, I had to suspend belief for a few beats until I got back into the story when Abby made some of her choices. But, honestly? It wasn’t a big deal. I’m the mom who has daily contact with her college junior. LOL. Watching the relationship between Abby and Clayton develop was wonderful—the slow-burn between them drew me in and kept me reading as their characters grew and blossomed. The changes between the characters at the end compared to the beginning? Absolutely lovely. As secondary characters, Abby’s brothers as well as Clayton’s parents and a particular ranch hand were prominent. Even with a larger cast of characters, Ms. Grant made each unique and fully developed—which I appreciate. I almost thought we were going to get a surprise pregnancy, but I’m happy with the outcome—I think the characters wouldn’t have handled the alternative. I’m excited to read the next installment of the Heart of Texas series! My Rating: A, Loved It About the Book: ’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays―even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything. Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped...
Read More
Dec
28

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Life is But a Dream by Lee Strauss

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Life is But a Dream by Lee Strauss Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Nursery Rhyme Suspense series Life is But a Dream Author:  Lee Strauss Narrators:  Reba Buhr & Roger Wayne Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Nursery Rhyme Suspense #2 Genre: Mystery with sci-fi elements, New Adult Source: Tantor Audio I was eagerly waiting to see what happened next with Marlow and Sage.  Life is But a Dream was just as fascinating, gripping, and alluring as The Gingerbread Man.  This Nursery Rhyme Suspense series is one I’m glad to have picked up. The novel begins four months after the previous book.  Sage is still not coping well to the death of Tegan.  However, in an effort to assuage her brother’s concerns, she attends a support group for those suffering from depression.  But that is not the only thing she is struggling with: she has started having strange dreams that include Marlow – the geeky boy she barely met one night after Tegan died.  The worst though is when the drowning nightmares start and begin to come true in reality. I am enjoying these science fiction bending mysteries. After the alternate universes in the previous novel, I was interested in seeing what would happen in this novel.  Ms. Strauss does an excellent job of misdirection while leading us to who, the why, and the how.  Still it is a bit “out-there” but this X-Files-esque mystery is gripping and entertaining.  The dream connection between Marlow and Sage is fascinating.  Though we never truly understand why, it is interesting to wonder how it started and by whom.  I secretly suspect that more than just reality jumping occurred for Marlow, he had to be touched and altered in some way by his experiences in the previous novel.  Maybe this ability to connect in the dreamscape is one of them? Another aspect I enjoy is the romantic tension between Marlow and Sage.  There is no denying the attraction between them, though like many young adults/new adults, the timing isn’t right.  Not to mention that Marlow is the nice guy…and nice guys do not finish well when the lady in question is young and idealistic.  Over the course of the story, I enjoyed how close Marlow and Sage become and yet the distance that is created.  I’m curious as to see what happens next in their burgeoning relationship. The dual narrators continue to strengthen and enhance the novel.  Though we have more than just Marlow and...
Read More
Page 1 of 10212345...102030...Last »
logo
Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes