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Currently Browsing: Rating B
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
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

Review: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Review: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope Song of Blood & Stone Author: L. Penelope Reviewer: Jen Rating: B What I’m Talking About: In the days of old, a Lord and Lady arrived from a distant, dying world. Upon their arrival, they used their Earthsong magic to bring life to the withered land. The Lord and Lady and their nine children lived among the native cave dwellers and eventually, the children mated with the original inhabitants. Their offspring were either Earthsingers, or Silents (those without magic). Many centuries later, the two lands are at constant war, with only a magical wall helping keep the peace.  Jasminda lives in Elsira and is the daughter of an Elsiran (Silent) mother and a refugee Lagrmarian father, who was a POW of the Fifth Breach. She shares her father’s dark skin and magical abilities, making her an outcast in her mother’s homeland. On her own after losing her entire family, Jasminda is being forced off her land by her estranged grandfather.  As a member of the Elsiran Army, Jack is on a return trip from his spy mission into Lagrmari when his pursuers wound him. Jasminda saves the stranger with her Earthsong, and the pair works together to escape their rough Lagrmari captors. Jack knows he must make it back to the capital to share the horrible plans of the True Father and his designs to take down the Mantle, starting another Breach War. Song of Blood and Stone shares with readers a unique and interesting new world. I found myself engrossed in the intricacies of the mythology, which is grounded in a solid, familiar story, yet wholly different from what I’ve read before. Like many first books in a series, Song of Blood and Stone spends much of the book building its world and solidifying the background and lore. The flow is smooth, although the first half of the book is much slower due to the development of the world and characters.  From the start, I found myself fascinated with Jasminda. She’s a stranger of her people (the Lagrmari), having grown up in Elsira. Her father rarely talked about his homeland, and didn’t teach Jasminda about her Earthsong or the customs of the Earthsingers. Unfortunately, at times Jasminda’s naivety and isolation made her seem too young and out of sync with her physical self. While it worked for her as she learned more of her people, I felt it worked against her in the romantic aspect of the story. ...
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May
22

Review + Blog Tour: Wash Out L.A. Witt

Review + Blog Tour: Wash Out L.A. Witt Wash Out Author: L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Having lost far too much to his memories and resulting addiction, Logan Carter is finally turning his life around, finding help in the most unlikely of places. After watching too many of his fellow Marines die on the battlefield, he’d used alcohol to quiet the past, nearly destroying any chance at a decent future. Now, six months sober, he’s getting a fresh start as a civilian contractor at NAS Adams, rebuilding a friendship with his ex, and going to regular therapy sessions. The only thing that would be better—or worse—would be falling for the handsome Gunner’s Mate in the next cubicle.  GM2 Casey Olsen has had one goal his entire life: to be a Navy SEAL. He’d never questioned his ability to fight on the front lines, until a horribly broken leg yanks that destiny out from under him, leaving him angry and unsure about his own future. Unable to chase his dreams, but too fit to be medically discharged, he’s in limbo and frustrated. At least his current officemates are fun—especially the sexy new guy who draws him like a magnet. After all, what could possibly be wrong with having a little fun while the Navy figures out what to do with him? Like the other stories in the Anchor Point series, Wash Out is a standalone that manages to successfully tie in characters from previous stories, which I greatly appreciated. As is also the case in earlier narratives, Logan and Casey are trying to find their place in the world with regards to the Navy, and are carrying around some serious burdens to boot. Though I feel bad about the reaction, I don’t think that Wash Out was as balanced as some of the pervious titles, and couldn’t help siding with one character more than the other on occasion.  The requisite instant chemistry between MCs is very much present as well, and Casey and Logan don’t wait long to explore it. Casey’s injury forces them to go a little slower than they might have otherwise, however, which works to the story’s advantage. Instead, they engage in other avenues of physical intimacy, and I found the combination of tethered impatience and joyful curiosity refreshing. One of my favorite things about Wash Out is that its ending is a HFN, rather than a HEA. The narrative makes it clear that everything can change in an instant,...
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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: 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
16

Review: The Thief by J.R. Ward

Review: The Thief by J.R. Ward The Thief Author: J.R.Ward Reviewer: Una Rating: B What I’m Talking About: The Thief is the sixteenth novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series.  Though some overarching plot lines are resolved and/or made more convoluted, it was as gripping and intriguing as I’ve come to expect.   Suffice to say, The Thief resolves the romantic plot lines between Assail (drug/arms dealing vampire) and Marisol (aka Sola the human thief).  However the new threat that Throe presents is only intensified in this novel as we learn more about his plot as well as the origin of power.  As always with this series, there are multiple plot lines running through with only a few being resolved.  Yet die-hard fans will be happy to know that some Ward teasers and “spoilers” finally come to fruition, for example; Murhder, the current state of the Scribe Virgin, Saxton’s HEA, the nature of Boo the cat, and a few other tidbits. For those (strangely) unaware, Saxton’s HEA took place in the spin-off series, Black Dagger Legacy (BDL).  Though not necessary, his mate’s background is important to understand why he makes a worthy escort to Saxton when conducting the King’s business. I feel, now after The Thief and Blood these series need to be read in order to fully appreciate the complete world.  Which would make The Thief technically book number nineteen.  Though we do not see BDL characters in the BDB novels, the reverse is true.  In fact, BBD characters are prominent in the BDL novels, in fact one BDB mated pair tend to parallel the BDL main characters.   Unlike in all of the previous BDB novels, the question of Sola’s mortality is not resolved.  Unlike for Mary, Jane and even Manny, Sola’s mortality (along with her grandmother’s) is not addressed.  Assail only believes that since a miracle occurred for the other brothers, he may well be able to have one for his family.  Hence, I wonder what may transpire in a future novel in either of the “series”.  But with the appearance of Murhder and the issue of resolving the inheritance, this tangled plot strand is finally being woven into the story.   There are numerous other plot strands that seemed to just be touched on in The Thief.  But I am sure that Ward is only giving us the teasing taste of what is in store.  These books are truly starting to have the feel of a chess board.  Though a...
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May
14

Review: Awaken Me by Farrah Rochon

Review: Awaken Me by Farrah Rochon Awaken Me Author: Farrah Rochon Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: None of the Holmes’ siblings take Reid very seriously, and he’s done nothing to try and change their minds about him. But when he wakes next to yet another beautiful woman who’s name he can’t remember, he realizes it’s time for a life change. And when he meets Holmes Construction newest employee, he realizes Brooklyn is someone worth changing for. Brooklyn blames herself for the closing of her dad’s company, and now she’s going to work twice as hard for Holmes Construction to help pay for her dad’s medical bills. But even though she’s the best at what she does, her heart belongs to another passion: drawing and writing comics. Luckily she has a gorgeous workplace crush to keep her mind occupied while on the construction site.  Awaken Me is a wonderful slow-burn romance between two people more alike on the inside than anyone would suspect. Brooklyn and Reid are both afraid to take chances for fear of disappointing their families. Where as Reid allows his family to think he’s shallow and doesn’t take life seriously, Brooklyn strives to do her best to show her parents she’s the dependable, hard worker they know her to be. But both want more from life, and they are posed at the precipice of change when they meet one another, which allows them to grow both individually and mutually. Mutual attraction plays a role in their story. But instead of jumping into bed, both want to take it slow, even when their bodies don’t agree. This is important, because in order for the relationship to have a chance, they need to get to know each other, and both need to take down walls. I love the little moments when each is open and honest, sharing some of the person they are on the inside.  Awaken Me is a solid romance, but it’s the extras that make the book a story; a journey. The overwhelming feelings stirred by the memories of Reid’s deceased mom are touching and heartfelt. I love the family-centric setting, including the fears of letting down loved ones. It’s all relatable.  In the end, I truly enjoyed the slow burn romance of Brooklyn and Reid. They are two peas in a pod: both filled with fears and insecurities. They felt a connection and allowed it to blossom over time, creating a passionate love story. My Rating: B+ Liked It...
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May
9

Review: Lock Nut by JL Merrow

Review: Lock Nut by JL Merrow Lock Nut Author: JL Merrow Reviewer: B. Rating: B What I’m Talking About: As they merge the rest of their lives, working together should be a natural progression of things for recently affianced Tom Paretski and Phil Morrison. And, that seems to be the case, at least, until a favor for a friend of a friend results in yet another dead body. Now, with tensions rising at home as well as in the field, their happily ever after may not be as certain as they thought. In this final addition to The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, Tom and Co. (i.e. the survivors to date) are all back and gearing up for the wedding we’ve all been waiting for. With his best friend and sister both happily married to the respective loves of their lives, and his own nuptials fast approaching, Lock Nut sets out to be the perfect ending to a series that has been somewhat, if comically, less than kind to its main characters. Not to change a good thing however, the author still has a plenty of torture in mind for Tom after all. As was the case with the previous story, there were a few specifics in Lock Nut that felt incomplete. These were mainly questions raised during the course of the narrative that never seemed to have been fully answered. Although my overly picky sensibilities were incapable of ignoring them, they don’t really impact the outcome in a meaningful way, leaving the mystery itself, along with happenings of all the characters, to carry the plot as they should. The whodunit half of Lock Nut kept me guessing for quite a while, which I enjoyed a great deal, even though I wasn’t entirely convinced of the villains’ cleverness so much as their good fortune via the mistakes of others. There was also an “ick factor” regarding a younger character’s age that I agreed with Tom’s initial reaction about, but it wasn’t anything explicit (or even immediate) and things worked out in the end. Overall, Lock Nut delivers the HEA that the author has been teasing her audience with for a long time. Tom and Phil’s relationship is more comfortable and sincere than ever—which, of course, allows Tom to find even more things to worry about. Though certainly not perfect, there’s an ease to their interactions, and the taunting and poking they aim at one another was among my favorite aspects of the whole story. This no-nonsense sort...
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May
3

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Claimed in Shadows by Lara Adrian

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Claimed in Shadows by Lara Adrian Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Claimed in Shadows Author: Lara Adrian Narrator:  Hillary Huber Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Midnight Breed #15 Genre: Paranormal Romance Source: Tantor Audio Aric Chase is trained and ready to finally take up his own position within the Order. As the day-walker son of two of the most formidable Breed, he is nearly royalty within the Order and Breed society. But he works hard and is ready to prove himself when his special gifts are needed for a covert mission in Montreal. Meanwhile, Kaya was raised by an abusive mother and in poverty. She never understood what family could be like until she became a trainee of the Order and friends with Mira. Now Kaya works hard to prove herself and become a member in her own right, but if her past ever comes to light, she may lose everything. Claimed in Shadows is the fifteenth book in the Midnight Breed series, and the fifth since “New Dawn,” when the author shook up her world and moved it 20 years into the future. I honestly wasn’t certain I was going to stick with the series as it just hasn’t been as solid and consistent since the changes. However, the opportunity to listen and review this audiobook presented itself, and I’m so glad I took it. Between the exciting story and Ms. Huber’s narration, I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the Order all over again. Claimed in Shadows is exciting and engaging. I like that the focus was fairly narrow, keeping side stories relevant to the overall plot and staying away from the Atlantean storylines. The Order is working to take down Opus Nostrum (ON) and its associates, yet ON seems to always know what the Order’s plans are. There is a pretty good twist in this one, and I like how it played out. Kaya and Aric are friendly from the start. Although she’s human and fairly new, Aric treats Kaya as his partner and equal. They allow their mutual attraction to burn and dance around the fact that he’s going to be leaving as soon as their mission is complete. Both are considerate and thoughtful, which makes things work out for the better, even when Aric discovers Kaya has been lying to him and the Order. I appreciate why Kaya kept her secrets and the severity was enough to place fear in her that Aric would not want her,...
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