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Audiobook Review – The Sweetheart Deal – Polly Dugan

the sweetheart dealThe Sweetheart Deal
Author: Polly Dugan
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Kathleen McInerney, John Glouchevitch, Brad Abrell, Adam McArthur, Aaron Landon, John Salwin
Run Time: 9hrs 40min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
Leo has long joked that, in the event of his death, he wants his best friend Garrett, a lifelong bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken night, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Then, twelve years later, Leo, a veteran firefighter, dies in a skiing accident.

As Audrey navigates her new role as widow and single parent, Garrett quits his job in Boston and buys a one-way ticket out west. Before long, Audrey’s feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey, her boys, and their life together in Portland. When Audrey finds out about the drunken pact from years ago, though, the harmless promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.

Review:
I’m not sure what it was about this audiobook that caught my eye when I was looking at the available list. I think because I am a sucker for romances (I mean, look at what this blog reviews most of the time), I was curious to see how the author would handle an issue like death of a husband and the potential romance between his widow and best friend. Yes, it felt kind of sketchy to me, but I was intrigued. This is the first book i’ve read by Ms Dugan, but taking a look at the descriptor of her other book, it seems as though she likes tackling these difficult themes and ideas (her other book looks at two women dating the same man and the outcomes).

From the get-go, I was glad (as bad as that maybe sounds) as to how she handled the death of the husband – it was sudden and unexpected, not prolonged. Having seen how both types of deaths have been handled in my family, I would take the sudden/unexpected over the prolonged any day of the week (if I was forced to chose…which I hope I never am). I also found that she did a good job of capturing the different cycles of grief that people go through – how Audrey handled the death of Leo, compared to Garrett (his best friend) compared to Leo and Audrey’s son’s – each was individual and you could see that the author had done research into different methods of coping, dealing with grief etc. I know that Garrett just up and quitting his life in Boston (where he was an established professor) was drastic but I could see it as his way of coping.

i think for me the most appealing (if that is the right word) of this was that it took place over a period of time – it wasn’t like there was the death and then wham bam, Audrey had moved on. You could see (most definitely in her) how she progressed through the stages until she could be in a relationship with someone again. That being said, I still found the time period to be too fast, Audrey and Leo had been together for close to 20 years and so to have her move on in less than a year, just seemed too quick.

For me, the most enjoyable parts (for lack of a better phrase) was seeing Garrett interact with Audrey and her family. Seeing him try to fit into an established role and navigate what were potentially rough seas. I found that the author did a good job of making all the voices of her characters unique – not only because the audiobook used multiple ones, but because they were different. That being said, maybe it was because I was listening to the audiobooks, but the dialogue tags drove me nuts. I know its a probably a personal peeve, but a few times, it got very he/Garrett said or she/Audrey said in their conversations and seemed almost redundant to me.

For me, the book itself was brought to life by the narration. Honestly, I don’t know looking back, if it is a) a book I would have picked up without it being an audiobook and b) if I would have stuck with it, if was I just reading it. I thought that the use of multiple narrators (a different one to narrate each POV) worked well – although looking now, it strikes me as funny that there was really only one female POV in the book, compared to the 5 men. Maybe it was because the majority of the book was alternating between Audrey and Garrett’s POV’s, with the other ones playing a more minor role. All of the narrators were new to me and I was intrigued enough that I want to check out more work they have done in the future.

I thought all of the narrators, especially Kathleen McInerney, who was the narrator for Audrey’s POV were able to convey the different emotions/feels that were tied to parts of the story. You could hear the grief in her voice early on in the narration, the desolation of realizing that the life she knew was gone – but at the same time, as she began to move on with her life, you could hear the strength returning to her and a sense of purpose.

While I liked both the book and the narration, I gave them 3.5 stars each. I would recommend The Sweetheart Deal with readers who like women’s lit and potentially new love later in life type books.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Waiting on Wednesday – 01 July 2015

Wishlist WednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we post about one book that has been hanging out on our wish list (either for a long time, or not so long)

Looking at potential picks for this week was hard, because right now I have a glaring hole in books that I am looking forward to in July. I know that for this meme it can be any book i’m excited about reading, but personally, I want to keep my picks to books that I am going to get my hot little mits on, sooner rather than later…

So my pick for this week’s Waiting on Wednesday is an anthology that is coming out in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to this anthology, not only because its got one of my favorite authors contributing (yes, I’m looking at you Jamie Farrell), but also a bunch of new to me authors, which always excites me.

Small Town Summer is an anthology featuring stories from Terri Osburn, Heatherly Bell, Jamie Farrell, Liz Flaherty, Regina Kyle, Amy Lamont, Stefanie London, Megan Ryder, Rebecca Thomas. Of these authors, I’ve only read Jamie Farrell and heard of Terri Osburn (and she comes highly rated from many friends who read contemporary romance). Small Town Summer is going to be released on July 14th and I already have it pre-ordered.

25770211Description:
From warm sunny days to long sultry nights, spend your summer falling in love in a small town! These nine contemporary romances featuring sassy heroines, sexy heroes, and lots of heartwarming romance make the perfect beach read. Whether your pleasure is sweet small town romance or smolderingly sexy love stories, there’s something in the Small Town Summer box set for everyone!

AWAKENING ANNA (Terri Osburn) – Librarian Anna Robinson is fascinated by Max Marshall, the hot young writer occupying the bestseller lists, and the apartment above hers. In one night, Max awakens Anna to true sexual pleasure, but the new lovers quickly learn that one night is never enough.

ANYWHERE WITH YOU (Heatherly Bell) – Welcome to Starlight Hill, California, where the wine flows freely and so does the gossip.
Celebrity stylist Kailey Robbins wants a second chance with ex-military pilot Joe Hannigan, but can she convince him that this time she’ll settle down into small town life?

MOONSHINE & MAGNOLIAS (Jamie Farrell) – Shelby’s a newly single mother learning how to be herself again. Zack’s the hot military man next door who loves a good adventure. And a chance encounter at a steamy summer softball game will challenge what they both thought they knew about their hearts, their lives, and their forevers.

SUMMER IN STRINGTOWN PROPER (Liz Flaherty) – Banker Molly Linden never expected to be alone and unemployed at fifty. Buying hunky carpenter Joe Rahilly’s saloon takes care of the employment situation, but she’s still alone. Or is she?

SUMMMER STOCK (Regina Kyle) – Jax Donovan left his hometown—and high school sweetheart Georgi Petersen—for the bright lights of Broadway. Now he’s back, but can he convince the lovely librarian that their romance is worth rekindling, on stage and off?

SERENA’S SOLDIER (Amy Lamont) – Young nurse Serena Adessi can’t wait to be reunited with the soldier she’s loved for as long as she can remember. But when Mace Palmer sustains a career-ending injury while deployed, can she convince him he still has a future worth fighting for?

A KISS IN KITE HARBOR (Stefanie London) – When plus size model, Shelby Jenkins, returns to her hometown she must face up to the bullies from her past, but the only person who can help her is the one who broke her heart. Small town advocate Nate Ritter is ready for redemption, but will he lose the woman of his dreams to the big city again?

HER LAST SHOT (Megan Ryder) – Girl next door Rachel Darling has been in love with local baseball hero, Bastien LeBeau, for her whole life. Now that he’s back in town, can she convince him that she’s the right woman for him or will he lose the best thing that might ever happen to him?

SWEET HOME ALASKA (Rebecca Thomas) – When Lauren Kinkade abandons her Hollywood dreams to run the family business back in Alaska, she reaches out to a former schoolmate to help get things off the ground. Trey Briggs has his reasons for turning her down, but can he really resist the girl he’s always wanted?

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Wishlist Wednesday

 

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TBR Tuesday – 30 Jun 15

TBR Tuesday
Love Slave for Two: Reckoning
Author: Tymber Dalton

Purchased: 29 October 2012
Date Finished: 17 April 2015
Time on TBR: 901 days

Review: When I think back to my progression of reading through different genres of romance, Tymber Dalton figures fairly prominently in them. One of my first BDSM romances (The Reluctant Dom) was one of hers, as was one of my first m/m romances; I read my first romance featuring a disabled character (Cross-Country Chaos) and even ventured into the world of science-fiction romance with her. So when I realized that I had one of her Love Slave for Two books still stashed on the pile, I was excited to dig into it because I was a fan of the series. However, to my disappointment, this entry in the series just didn’t hold the same magic for me. There wasn’t the spark that I’ve come to expect from her books – to me, there was too much focus on the “suspense” aspect that just wasn’t what I was looking for at the time. Maybe because it had been a feature in all three of the previous books (aside from the prequel) and I was just tired of it. Don’t get me wrong, the romance/smexy bits between Nevvie, Adam and Tyler were as hot as ever – but the rest of the story was just ehh to me…

This entry in the series only got 2.5 stars from me, but considering I’ve rated the rest of her books in the 4 star range, I guess its ok to have a disappointing one now and then. Thankfully, I know that this is an anomaly in Tymber’s writing and I will continue to read her stuff in the future.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Dishing with Dee….I cut the cord

dishing with dee 2

I’ve been talking about it for a while, but today I FINALLY made the jump and cut the cord, or is that cable – I cancelled my cable TV service. I’ve had cable for years, and every year the cost has been slowly creeping up, just a few dollars here and there, but when I looked at my cable bill this last month, I realized that I was paying over $200 (for internet/TV and phone) and probably only using one of three parts of the package (the internet). So while I was out running errands today, I swung by Best Buy and got an Amazon FireTV stick. This will allow me to access Hulu, Netflix and SlingTV, as well as all the TV shows available via Amazon Prime…then I called Comcast and cancelled my cable. I will admit, I was surprised how easy the woman on the phone made it – I’d heard these horror stories about people trying to cancel and honestly, I’ll withhold judgement until I get my bill next month – but it was fairly pain free.

So the current status of TV in my house – Hulu, Netflix, SlingTV (a basic package that has Food Network, ABC Family, Lifetime, a few sports channels) and Amazon Prime. I’ve gone frmo $217 a month to about $110 (not including my Amazon Prime that I pay on a yearly basis). Which means, more money for triathlon fun ;)

What about you – would you be able to take the plunge or have you already?

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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Waiting on Wednesday – 24 June

Wishlist WednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we post about one book that has been hanging out on our wish list (either for a long time, or not so long)

This is the first time that I have participated in Waiting for Wednesday, but I have a huge can’t wait for this book to be released list. In fact, I have an exclusive shelf on Goodreads dedicated solely to books that I need to stalk for release dates ;) This week, the book I can’t wait to be released is actually a fairly new addition to my shelf, but I never imaged that the author would write another book about the main character, following the first one. So when I stumbled across it, I was like dancing with joy. The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate takes the reader back to the word of Calpurnia (Callie Vee) Tate, a young girl at the turn of the 20th century. The first book (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate) was a breath of fresh air when I listened to it a few years ago and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to in this new adventure. As a bonus, the author did a great job of discussing evolution in the previous book (through the use of discovery of new plants) and I’m intrigued to see what she brings into this one.

You can read my review of the first book HERE

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate is going to be released on July 7th and I know, already that I need to check and see if my library has it on pre-order (or if not, see if I can sweet talk the librarian into getting a copy).

calpurnia tate

Goodreads Description:
Callie Vee, Travis, Granddaddy, and the whole Tate clan are back in this charming follow-up to Newbery Honor–winner The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

Callie’s younger brother Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the animals—Travis included—away from her mother’s critical eye.

When a storm blows change into town in the form of a visiting veterinarian, Callie discovers a life and a vocation she desperately wants. But with societal expectations as they are, she will need all her wits and courage to realize her dreams.

Whether it’s wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, the trials and tribulations of Callie Vee will have readers cheering for this most endearing heroine.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Wishlist Wednesday

 

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Audiobook Review – The Interview – Silk Jones

the interviewThe Interview
Author: Silk Jones
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Shoshana Franck
Run Time: 51 minutes
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
A laid off legal secretary with a curiosity about the B.D.S.M. lifestyle responds to an advertisement in a lifestyle magazine placed by a law firm seeking a “submissive legal assistant” and gets more than she bargained for. This short story is the kickoff to a series about a law firm that has quite a bit going on behind closed doors.

Review:
When the author of this book approached me for a review, I was intrigued about the premise, but skeptical about how well it would play out as an audiobook – mostly because of the length – for a book to be less than an hour in audio format, as a listener, I know that the book itself, is probably only about 30pgs. In general, I tend to not read/listen to novellas that are that short, because I rarely feel like it was worth it when the book is done. However, since it was approached as a prequel to a new series coming out and the description caught my eye, I decided to take a chance on the offer – and if nothing else, it made me commute home one night decently entertaining (sometimes I am glad its only me in the car on the commute – I can only imagine what someone else would say…).

Really when all was said and done, The Interview was much more of a vingette type novella rather than a story with a beginning/middle/end – meaning that it was limited to a very specific scene that occurred. However, since I knew that going in to the listen, I was intrigued to see how well one scene could be developed in a limited page count – so often in a full-length novel, a scene may be only 1-2 pgs (depending on what is going on), rather than the 20-30 that occurred in this novella. So it allowed Ms Jones to more fully develop the view of the characters and go more in depth into their thoughts/actions.

The narrator, Shoshana Franck, was new to me (I honestly don’t know if I have ever seen anything narrated by her before), but I was intrigued by her style – it seemed very conversational, which felt right for the writing style. I could tell that her male voices weren’t necessarily going to be a strength of hers, so I liked how she didn’t really try to voice one that way, but rather just used different emphasis on words.

I thought that while short, The Interview had a solid basis for a vignette style telling and I enjoyed the narrator – I’ll admit that I am curious to see what the author could do with a longer piece of writing and I’m pretty sure that I will check out more by the narrator in the future. Overall, I gave both the book and the narration 3 stars.

Buy Links
The Interview: Law Firm Erotica Book I (Kindle)
The Interview: Law Firm Erotica Book 1 (Audible, via Amazon)

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Audiobook Review

 

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Radio Show Debut

author ceoHey everyone! So I know many of you don’t follow my facebook page (but you really should – click HERE) – but last night I was lucky enough to be a guest on The Woman Show, hosted by Naomi Blackburn. Naomi has been a friend of mine for several years – we meet over a review for a book we were both eager to read that was totally spoiler-ific – and it was like a matchmade in book lover’s heaven.

One of the amazing things that she does (aside from reading like 500+ books a year) is works with authors providing guidance on how to build their business/brand, through her blog, The Author CEO.

Last night I was lucky enough to be a guest, along with Tracy Riva (http://tracyriva.com/) and Bennet Pomerantz (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bennetpomerantz) on her show, discussing what Book Bloggers look for when we receive requests from authors to review their books. We had a great discussion about our likes and dislikes – for example, Tracy really likes to see the cover of your book, whereas Bennet tends to be less drawn to the cover (FWIW, I fall roughly in the middle). We also had a great time talking about both good and bad experiences with authors who we have reviewed books for.

The radio show is available online – so I hope you listen and enjoy –

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Special Event

 

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