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Audiobook Review – Pleasure of a Dark Prince – Kresley Cole

Audies nominee paranormal

pleasure dark princePleasure of a Dark Prince
Author: Kresley Cole
Series: #9 in the Immortals After Dark series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Robert Petkoff
Run Time: 12hrs and 12minutes
Narration Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
A DANGEROUS BEAUTY…
Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her — and those she loves.
AN UNCONTROLLABLE NEED…
Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own.
THAT LEAD TO A PLEASURE SO WICKED….
From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia’s greatest weakness — her wanton desire for him.

Review:
I’ll admit that I was glad to see this book nominated for an Audie in the Paranormal category because I have been slowly working my way through the series in the last few months – although listening to this installment meant that I had to jump a couple of books in the series (from #6 to this one), but the good thing is that while I was missing a little bit of the back story, it wasn’t enough to detract from my listening pleasure. The heroine in Pleasure of a Dark Prince is Lucia, who has been a constant feature in previous books – so even though I did skip a couple, I was well-versed in who she was and some of her antics in the past. The same with Garreth – while I don’t remember specifically meeting him previously, the MacRieve family had been present in several of the previous books and he had been mentioned.

Pleasure of the Dark Prince was pretty much a roller coaster ride from the get-go – the last few that I have listened to seem to be much more quest based – i.e. a quest to find a weapon or a person, than just a straight paranormal romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love this and it makes for something different, but at times, I find that the quest and the characters desire to complete it, sometimes overshadows the romance. In this case, Lucia was kind of like that – I saw the passion between her and MacReive – but at the same time, she drove me batshit crazy because she did some dumb shit in order to fulfill her mission. But since it was an idiotic move that had originally caused her to end up in trouble, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised…

As usual, the hotness level between the two main characters was bordering being off the charts and I felt the need to fan myself in a few places. Not sure if it was the narration by the fabulous Robert Petkoff or the combo of the writing and narration (either way, do yourself a favor and listen to one of his narrations – I dare you to disagree). I will say though that while the romance between Lucia and Garreth was hot, it was the zany cast of other characters who I have come to appreciate – especially Nix – in fact, I think one of my twitter posts while listening was something about getting my Nix Fix.

When it comes to audiobook listening, there are a few narrators that I will pick up book description unseen because I have had such a good experience with them previously. Robert Pekhoff is one of them – his narration has the ability to make my knees go weak in places (which is potentially bad when you are listening while on the treadmill). He also has the ability to make all the characters sound unique in their own way, which is impressive when you consider that this is book 9 in a series and each book has a variety of different characters and many of them appear in other books. I have no idea how he manages to keep them all straight.

Pleasure of a Dark Prince was a solid installment into Cole’s Immortals After Dark series and Pekhoff continues his narration prowess. I can’t wait to go back and listen to the books I just skipped and continue the series. Its going to be hard picking a winner in the Paranormal category, because they are all solid so far. Pleasure of a Dark Prince got 4 stars for both story and narration.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Girl With All The Gifts – M.R. Carey

Audies nominee paranormal

girl of all giftsThe Girl With All The Gifts
Author: M.R. Carey
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Finty Williams
Run Time: 13hrs and 4min
Production Company: Hachette Audio
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Review:
The Girl with all the Gifts is a book that I have seen show up in my various blog feeds for a good six months now probably. I kept meaning to read it (or listen to it), but for some reason never had which I guess was great timing, because when I saw it was nominated for an Audie in the Paranormal category, I jumped on the opportunity. I will say this, take the description and just ignore it because that encompasses about the first 20 pages of the book and then you are in for a roller coaster of a ride. The first half was a bit slow (at least in places), but about 6 hours in it started to pick up and the rest was much a continual on-the-go. Although I will say it is really hard to write a review for this without divulging spoilers – because every little thing that occurs from the description on, contributes to the overall story.

I really enjoyed how the author managed to integrate different elements from Greek mythology into the story, along with the current zombie craze (and I feel safe saying that even if its technically a spoiler, because its revealed uber early on). I will say that I’m normally not a zombie fan, because for the most part, they turn out to be a less than entertaining kill kill kill fest – whereas the Girl (or Melanie as she is called) seemed to be much more thinking and developed. I was a tad disappointed with (for me) how the ending played out – based on reviews that I had read, I think I was just expecting a lot more. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad and everything was complete – I just expected more – which is why the story itself only got 4 stars, rather than the 5 it was leaning towards early on.

Flinty Williams was a new narrator to me but it won’t be the last time that I listen to her. Imagine my shock when I googled her name (because I wanted to see if she had twitter so I could tweet that I was listening to her) and found out that she was Dame Judy Dench’s daughter…right there, that just solidified my like of her. I thought that she did really well with Melanie’s POV’s – they sounded like a younger girl (although you never really know how old Melanie truely is). I also liked her narration for the SGT (since that is what he was called the majority of the book) – Ms Williams was able to give a gruffness (for lack of a better word) to his voice that I would expect from a military person. I will admit that her narration for the 2 main females – the teacher and the Dr – kind of blended together after a while – but thankfully, they weren’t talking a lot together, so I could at least keep them separate that way.

I also gave the narration of The Girl with All Gifts 4 stars and will be intrigued to check out more books by the author in the future/ more stuff narrated by Ms Williams.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – One Dom To Love

audies nominee erotica

oen dom to loveOne Dom to Love
Authors: Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob, Isabella LaPearl
Series: #1 in The Doms of her Life
Rating: ☆ ½

Narrator: Christian Fox
Run Time: 7 hrs 46 mins
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Raine Kendall has been in love with her boss, Macen Hammerman, for years. Determined to make the man notice that she’s a grown woman with desires and needs, she pours out her heart and offers her body to him—only to be crushingly rejected. But when his friend, very single, very sexy Liam O’Neill watches the other Dom refuse to act on his obvious feelings for Raine, he resolves to step in and do whatever it takes to help Hammer find happiness again, even rousing his friend’s possessive instincts by making the girl a proposition too tempting to refuse. But he never imagines that he’ll end up falling for her himself.

Hammer has buried his lust for Raine for years. After rescuing the budding runaway from an alley behind his exclusive BDSM Dungeon, he has come to covet the pretty submissive. But tragedy has taught him that he can never be what she needs. So he watches over her while struggling to keep his distance. Liam’s crafty plan blindsides Hammer, especially when he sees how determined his friend is to possess Raine for his own. Hammer isn’t ready to give the lovely submissive over to any other Dom, but can he heal from his past and fight for her? Or will he lose Raine if she truly gives herself—heart, body, and soul—to Liam?

Review:
You know, sometimes I look at books on Goodreads after I finish listening and rating and wonder what the heck did I miss, that everyone I know/follow seems to give something 4/5 stars (the rating of this was 4.6 among my 20 friends that had read/reviewed it). And it isn’t the first time that this has happened – but on to the guts of the review. To say that this book was horrible, it probably the understatement of the century. Don’t get me wrong, I read/listen to erotic romance and erotica on a fairly regularly basis and I spent probably about 85% of the book just cringing. It was like watching that train wreak that you know is going to happen, but you just can’t look away. I guess, since the title (and series) was modeled after a soap opera I shouldn’t have been surprised though.

I’ll be brutally honest though, writing a review for this book is nearly impossible without massive amounts of spoilers. There is just really nothing I can say without wanting to add a potential spoiler in to illustrate just how bad it was. And it all started with the diminutive name that Hammer (I mean seriously, really) called Raine – Precious – I honestly had visions of Smegal from Lord of the Rings while hearing that – which probably isn’t a visual you want when listening to an erotic romance/erotica audiobook…

I found the sexual interactions between the three characters uncomfortable and honestly they were hard to listen to because the situations were beyond implausible, Raine was a total brat and was topping from the bottom (when the Sub tries to control the situation from their submissive position) – it irked the ever loving shit out of me. There are particular names I would like to call Raine, but they are completely inappropriate, even if its how I feel. And to add insult to injury (well, mental injury), it wasn’t even a complete book – it was a serial (meaning that the story was divided into three separate books and sold that way) – so if I actually had an inclination to read/listen to the other two (which I don’t), I’d have to spend even more money. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of serials and this just confirms it. But back to One Dom to Love.

Unfortunately, even the narration by Christian Fox, which was actually not bad, couldn’t save my listening experience. I’d previously heard about how enjoyable his narration was from a friend in a romance audiobooks group. In fact, she was quite effusive about her enjoyment of his narration and I hope that should I try another book narrated by him I’ll have a better experience.

I will say that he does have a good range of male and female voices (there were 3 main male characters, 1 main female, with a minor secondary female) and each one was distinctive. I particularly liked the Irish brogue that he gave Liam. In fact he pegged Raine’s bratty tone of voice (or what I would call bratty based on her behavior) so perfectly, that I pretty much wanted to reach into my ipod and slap her silly.

I know for sure that I won’t be continuing with the serial, and gave it a generous 1.5 stars. but in the narration aspect, I gave Christian Fox 3 stars for his narration, but I am curious to see what he can do with a better written book.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Damoren – Seth Skorkowsky

Audies nominee paranormal

damorenDamoren
Author: Seth Skorkowsky
Series: #1 in the Valducan series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: R.C. Bray
Run Time: 10hrs 58min

Audiobook Review Copy Provided by Audible Inc

Description:
A secret society of monster hunters.
A holy revolver forged to eradicate demons.
A possessed man with a tragic past.
A rising evil bent on destroying them all.

MATT HOLLIS is the current wielder of the holy weapon, Dämoren. With it, he stalks and destroys demons.

A secret society called the VALDUCANS has taken an interest in Matt’s activities. They see him as a reckless rogue—little more than a ‘cowboy’ corrupted by a monster—and a potential threat to their ancient order.

As knights and their sentient weapons begin dying, Matt teams up with other hunters of his kind such as LUIZA, a woman with a conquistador blade; ALLAN, an Englishman with an Egyptian khopesh; MALCOLM, a voodoo priest with a sanctified machete; and TAKAIRA, a naginata-swinging Samurai.

As the hunters become the hunted, they must learn to trust one another before a powerful demonic entity thrusts the world into a terrible and ageless darkness.

Review:
I’ll be the first to admit that if Damoren hadn’t been nominated for an Audie (audiobook awards) in the Paranormal category, I likely never would have picked me up. None of my friends on Goodreads have it shelved (and I get probably 90% of my recommendations from there) and it likely isn’t a book that I would have come across easily in a bookstore or browsing on Audible, but now that I have listened to it, I’m glad I did and am waiting for the next book in the series to be available in audio (it was just released in print), so that I can get a hold of it.

I’m probably one of the few people in the world who can’t listen to music while suffering on the treadmill, but for some reason audiobooks work for me and I started Damoren at the same time I jumped on the treadmonster for a 4 mile run (I am totally sick of winter which is a whole nother story) – and my run just blew on by – I was so sucked into the story, that I glanced down and I was at 3.5 miles, it had just flown by (normally, I would have been like huffing/puffing and watching the distance count down). But Damoren sucked me in so quickly that I was done before I knew it and the ride just continued from there. For the most part, I limited my listening to the gym and occasionally part of my commute because I wanted something to look forward to (which of course, added a significant amount of time to how long it would normally take me to listen to an audiobook but it was worth it).

It is really hard to pinpoint what exactly I liked about Damoren – it was full of adventure, encompassing at least 4 different countries (maybe 5); there was lots of bloods, guts and killing as well as a plethora of mythical creatures – not just your normal run of the mill vampires and werewolves that dominate the fantasy landscape. I really liked the idea of the holy weapon’s that could kill these creatures – that was probably the biggest hook for me, Damoren being only one of them. One of my favorite parts were the flashbacks between the current day and the historical when Damoren was being created. I really hope that there are more books in the series based on the other holy weapons, especially the Samurai sword!!

The narration (by the fantastic R.C. Bray) was near flawless. I’ve raved about how much I’ve enjoyed his stuff before (see my review of The Martain and Damoren didn’t disappoint. In fact, with 2 other nominations in the paranormal category (one as a single narrator, and other in a cast), this audie category is his to lose (but hopefully that doesn’t jinx him). While my previous experience with R.C. Bray was primarily American accents, with Damoren, you got the chance to see the breadth of his skill, with Russian accents, german, male and female – it was honestly astounded how well he did in distinguishing between all the different characters and how well he transitioned between them during the course of the story.

Do yourself a favor – just listen to Damoren – you won’t regret it – if I had to try to provide context – take an author like James Rollins or Matt Reilly, mix in some Jim Butcher and you have a pretty good idea of where Damoren fits in the canon. 4.5 stars for the narration and 4 for the story. Now to hurry up and wait for the next book to be released in audio format.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Mortal Heart – Robin LaFevers

mortal heartMortal Heart
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: #3 in the His Fair Assassin series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ¼

Narrator: Jennifer Grace
Run Time: 17hrs 52min

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Producer

Description:
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…

Review:
The final book in the My Fair Assassin series has been a long time coming and it did not disappoint. I mean, Assassin Nuns (which I’m pretty sure I raved about in my review of book 1 in the trilogy). In the third and final entry, we get Annith’s story. Annith who has always been the steadfast supporter of the mission of the convent and who only ever wanted to carry out the mission she had trained for – but who was never given the opportunity. As with the previous books in the series, I was immediately sucked into the author’s method of storytelling. The visuals that she paints (and maybe this was due in part to being in audio) are just so vivid, you feel as though you are in France with Annith, Ismae and Sybella (who are featured in bk 1 and 2 of the series).

While the first book in the series was much more a romance, and the second filled with political intriguing, this one reminded me of a story of redemption; of finding your place in an ever changing world. There were so many different elements that combined together during Annith’s story to complete the story arc. Anne of Brittany’s story (hint, don’t google if you don’t want to know what happened to her) played a central role once again. Honestly, one of the things I loved about this series in general was how the author took characters who would normally be minor characters (handmaiden’s) and made them key to the success of the story.

Honestly, this is a really hard review to write because I loved the book and yet I’m struggling to say why I loved it. There was so much going on – all the various storylines from the previous 2 books were being tied up as well as Annith getting her romance (and boy did she ever). I loved how the story ended (although there was one little thing that I think could be fleshed out into a further book in what ultimately happened to the Abbess – but that is something for another day).

Jennifer Grace was a new to me narrator but it won’t be the last time I listen to her. One of the things I appreciated about this series was that a different narrator was used for each book (since they were all told via different POV’s), but at the same time, how well the narrators did keeping similar pronunciation through-out (so it wasn’t ear-jarring either). I liked how she was able to bring distinctive voices to all the various characters and I never really felt that I was getting people confused as I listened (which is key to stories like this with lots of political intrigue and character interaction). One of my favorite things about Jennifer’s narration was that she was able to capture Annith’s innocence in the world because she had been sheltered all her life (as compared to Ismae and Sybella who had had much harsher lives prior to the Convent).

I gave both the book and the narration 4.5 stars, but rounding down to 4. It didn’t blow me away like the first book did, but was still heads and shoulders above many books that I have read/listened to recently. I’m intrigued to see where the author goes next, now that this trilogy is complete (personally, I would love to see some more historical YA fiction in lesser written about time periods)

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Virtue Falls – Christina Dodd

virtue fallsVirtue Falls
Author: Christina Dodd
Series: #1 in the Virtue Falls series
Rating: ☆ ☆

Narrator: Rebecca Solar
Run Time: 16hrs 22min

Review Audiobook Provided by Publisher

Description:
Twenty-three years ago, in the isolated coastal town of Virtue Falls, Washington, four year old Elizabeth Banner witnessed her mother’s brutal murder. Elizabeth’s father was convicted of killing Misty and sentenced to prison. Elizabeth was sent to live with relatives, and grew from a solitary child to a beautiful woman with a cool scientific mind and an instinctive distrust of love. Now Elizabeth is back in Virtue Falls, a geologist like her father, living cautiously, her life guided by logic and facts. But nothing can help her through the emotional chaos that follows the return of her ex-husband, Garik Jacobsen, an FBI agent on probation and tortured by the guilt of his past deeds. Nor can it help her deal with her father, now stricken with Alzheimer’s and haunted by Misty’s ghost. When a massive earthquake reveals long-concealed secrets, Elizabeth soon discovers her father is innocent. Is the killer still at large, stalking ever closer to the one witness to Misty’s murder? To Elizabeth herself? Elizabeth and Garik investigate, stirring old dark and deadly resentments that could provoke another bloody murder– Elizabeth’s own.

Review:
For as long as I have been reading romance and romantic suspense, I’m honestly surprised that I have never read a Christina Dodd book. Unfortunately, based on my experience with Virture Falls, I will be hesitant to pick up another one by her in the future. I actually listened to this book several months ago, but its taken me this long to try and get my thoughts in line to write my review, because my issues with the book, far outweigh the positives, which is unfortunately, because based on the book description, i was hoping for a solid romantic suspense read/listen.

This book is a case where the blurb doesn’t really match how the story plays outs. Based on it, I was expecting a romantic suspense mystery with a serial killer theme – unfortunately, that is not what I got. Instead a majority of the book focused on a natural disaster (earthquake) and the subsequent recovery of the town. The murder theme was a distance second to the disaster theme in the story and that was a disappointment to me. The prologue of the story was suitably dark based on the description, and i thought, ohhh good, setting up for a good story. Looking back now, I almost wish that I had put the audiobook aside and not finished it, rather than continuing to trudge through – but I did so, mostly because I didn’t have any other audiobooks lined up for my commute and (as bad as this sounds), it fit into several different reading challenges.

I spent probably about 95% of the book wanting to slap Elizabeth (the main female character upside the head) – she was supposed to be really smart (on the Academic front) – but when it came to common sense – it was like it was Gone with the Wind. She put herself into situations, all in the name of her studies, that a sane person wouldn’t. And yes, I know, in order to make it big in science there have to be risks, but these were just dumb – going places without letting someone know where you are heading after a major natural disaster type things. She just ugh!

And then there was Garik – while I admit that I liked him more that Elizabeth – but that doesn’t say much. I found him to be a fairly underdeveloped character. There was a lot of stuff going on with him in the background of the story (much of which was mentioned in his introduction) and then it was just like all of his issues disappeared the minute Elizabeth (his ex-wife) may have needed him (or at least so he thought) – he just went running to her. I will admit that he and their relationship made the story slightly more paletable (if the book was supposed to be more of a romance than a mystery).

With all my issues with the plot, if the narrator had been solid, it might have made the audio version more paletable – However, I had issues with her narration as well. While her female voice narrations were solid and easily distinguishable – her male narration was a struggle and it made me cringe in places. My other complaint was during the times when Elizabeth was in full-on academic mode (during some of the observation scenes) – instead of a serious academic, she sounded almost like a tabloid reporter with a new hot tip. It was just too much. However, this was my first experience listening to Ms Solar and I would like to try listening to her narrate a different book or genre.

Overall, I gave both the book and the narration 2 stars and while I’ll likely try the narrator again, I’m less sure about the author, unless I get a serious endorsement from a fellow reader who I follow/trust when it comes to recommendations.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Murder in Murray Hill – Victoria Thompson

murder in murray hillMurder in Murray Hill
Author: Victoria Thompson
Series: #16 in the Gaslight Mystery series

Narrator: Suzanne Toren
Run Time: 9hrs 4min

Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Publisher

Description:
Frank Malloy has never known any life other than that of a cop, but his newfound inheritance threatens his position within his department. While trying to keep both his relationship with Sarah and his fortune under wraps, he’s assigned to a new case—finding a missing young woman for her worried father, Henry Livingston.

It seems the girl had been responding to “lonely hearts” ads in the paper for months before she disappeared. Her father thinks that she’s eloped with a deceptive stranger, but Malloy fears the worst, knowing that the grifters who place such ads often do much more than simply abscond with their victims. But as Sarah and Malloy delve deeper into a twisted plot targeting the city’s single women, it’s their partnership—both professional and private—that winds up in the greatest peril…

Review:
I’m honestly trying to remember what caught my eye about this series and made me want to pick it up. I *think* it was because I needed a book with a certain word in the title, and one of the previous books worked and I kind of got hooked. So when I saw that Recorded Books had one of the entries in the series available as a review audiobook, I was intrigued. I had previously only read the books, so while I was familiar with the series, I’d never listened to them and the narrator was also new to me.

As with previous books in the series, while some stuff occurs in each book that may provide spoilers for earlier books, you can (or at least in my opinion), jump around fairly easily from book to book skipping if need be (depending on availability). Case in point, prior to this book (#16 in the series), the most recent one I had was #10 in the series (Murder on Bank Street). But aside from more personal elements of the story (between Sarah and Frank), I didn’t feel like I was missing all that much. The mystery aspect was solid as with my previous experience with the series – I liked the topic that the author chose to tackle because its one that is still prevalent in society today (but did you really think I was going to tell you what that it?). And while I had a pretty solid idea of the who done it, how everything played out had a few twists and turns that I didn’t expect.

On the audiobook front, the narrator, Suzanne Toren was a new narrator to me and aside from one irksome thing, was a solid narrator. I thought that she had a good range of voices/voice distinction for the different characters. The narration was neither too quiet nor too loud (meaning that I didn’t need to adjust the volume in my car as I was listening to counter issues like that (which I have had to do in the past). My biggest issue with the narration, and it goes back to one of the characterizations, was the portions where a little child (about 4-5 in the book) was speaking. This part of the narration felt forced and not at all childlike (as I would expect) – but it seemed as though the narrator was trying (which IMHO made it worse). I think in this instance, I would have preferred to just have the child portions spoken naturally and let it flow, rather than the jarring/disjointed portions that I felt like I was experiencing. But at the same time, I don’t know if my issue with the minor portion of the child’s narration would preclude me from either listening to this narrator again or listening to the book series later on (if need be).

Overall, I gave the story 4 stars and the narration 3 stars, for 3.5 average. I’d recommend this series to anyone who enjoys historical mysteries with a touch of police procedural or medical info (as the main character is a midwife – although that doesn’t always take center stage in the stories).

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Audiobook Review

 

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