Tag Archives: 2 stars

Audiobook Review – Upside Down – Lia Riley

upside downUpside Down
Author: Lia Riley
Series: #1 in the Off the Map series
Rating: ☆ ☆

Narrators: Brittany Uomoleale, Tim Wright
Run Time: 8hrs and 39min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

When i read the description of Upside Down, it seems like a book (or audiobook that I would be attracted to) – the plot description just drew me in. Unfortunately that is about all I can say about it, when it comes down to brass tacks. The idea of going on a student exchange and then finding love was intriguing and I’m surprised it doesn’t actually get used more in romance novels, but that being said, in the instance of Upside Down, it just didn’t work for me. I think my biggest issue with Upside Down was that for a good portion of the book, the sex overwhelmed the story and it just seemed underdeveloped. Yes, I know, me saying the sex took over the story is something you don’t hear very often, but it just felt like every time there was opportunities for the author to develop the plot and more the plot forward and instead the characters ended up in bed with each other.

I thought that the premise of the story was interesting, Natalia (or Talia as she was referred to in the book), trying to find herself after a family tragedy while studying abroad. And at the beginning it was like that, but unfortunately, the story took a quick down into the overly angsty realm and I really struggled to finish listening to it (and if I didn’t have it slotted into a challenge, I may have actually put it aside). I liked Bran as a character, but it seems that so many authors rely on the guy (or girl) with a secret premise to achieve the story (or in this case, both of them).

Both of the narrators, Brittany Uomoleale and Tim Wright, were new to me but I was intrigued enough by their narration that I may listen to other narrations done by them in the future. I found that both of the narrators were well-suited to the ages of the characters that they were narrating (meaning, they didn’t sound too old or too young for the ages of Talia and Bran). Overall, the narration of Upside Down made a mediocre story better but not by much. I gave the narration of Upside Down 3 stars.

While I know many readers like the new adult angsty romance, it just doesn’t work for me and unfortunately, Upside Down featured pretty much every element that I dislike in the genre – the big secret, the angst, more sex than plot. I gave Upside Down 2 stars but it may work for someone else more than it worked for me.

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Posted by on November 2, 2015 in Audiobook Review


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Review – Baked Fresh – Annabeth Albert

baked freshBaked Fresh
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: #2 in the Portland Heat series
Rating: ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Netgalley

From its famous coffee to the mouthwatering fare at its cafés, restaurants, and bakeries, Portland, Oregon, has a lot to whet the appetite, including the hard-working men who serve it all up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter.

When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

**This Review Includes SPOILERS**
When I picked up Baked Fresh, it had been a while since I had read any m/m romance because I had felt myself getting burnt out on it. However, a friend proposed Baked Fresh as a group read in one of my Goodreads groups and I was sufficiently intrigued that I decided to request it via netgalley. Unfortunately, my interest based on the description and cover soon waned…I had a hard time figuring out why but ultimately, I realized, that I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters/couldn’t emphathize/sympathize with them. Added to that, my mental image of the 2 characters didn’t match with what was on the cover – specifically, one of the charaters had weight loss surgery and was described as being cuddly and that isn’t a term I would use to describe either guy on the cover.

Aside from the whole cover disconnect, I felt like Robin and Vic just didn’t talk – there were so many discussions they should have had, that never occurred. For example, Robin is an ex-drug user, but you never find out when/why he became addicted or how he kicked the addiction. Or Vic, who had had the lapband surgery, never really addressed his personal issues with Robin – he was so insecure about who he was (I guess in part due to his size/weight issues), but for me, it just wasn’t enough. I felt empty when it came to their relationship. There was also a really quick transition in the relationship between Robin/Vic that just felt empty – it went from them not dating (or not wanting to date), not dating, not dating, don’t want to have sex, to jumping each others bones – I just wanted more.

Overall, I was disappointed in Baked Fresh because I was hoping for so much more – I don’t know if its because I hadn’t read the previous book in the series that may have set the scene a bit more…Overall, I gave Baked Fresh 2 stars

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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Book Review


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TBR Tuesday – 7 April 2015

TBR TuesdayDance Upon the Air
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: #1 in Three Sisters Island series

Date Purchased: November 11, 2010

Review: As long as I’ve been reading romance, Nora Roberts has been a staple in my library – she is one of the few authors I can normally just grab and go – but there are a lot of her backlist that I haven’t ventured in to, although I own many of them. Dance Upon the Air, first published in 2001, is one of them. I think I grabbed the audiobook at a sale on Audible a few years ago. Unfortunately for me, while it is one of her older works, I also felt too much like her other paranormal trilogies/quartets – even now they start blending together. While the audiobook itself wasn’t long (in the 11 hour range), the book itself just felt like it dragged and I spent a good chunk of the time wanting to slap the main characters. This was a 2 star listen for me. Dance Upon the Air was a 2 star listen for me, the narrator was slightly better (3 stars for it)

What book did you discover on Mt TBR this week?

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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in TBR Tuesday


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TBR Tuesday – 24 March 2015

TBR Tuesday
The Courage to Love
Author: Samantha Kane
Series: #1 in the Brothers in Arms series

Date Purchased: November 21, 2011

Review: Anyone who knows me will probably laugh when I say this, but this book had too much sex and not enough story. In fact if you were to remove all the smexy parts, the story would probably have only taken up about 40pgs of the 208 (in the paperback version). Don’t get me wrong, the author can definately write hot sex scenes, but there comes a point where there is just too much and unfortunately that was this book. I had a really hard time liking/sympathsizing with Kate and everything that she went through, even though I did like Jason/Anthony’s story. I won’t be continuing the series. Overall, 2 stars.

What book(s) did you find on your TBR pile this week?


Posted by on March 24, 2015 in TBR Tuesday


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TBR Tuesday – 17 March 2015

TBR TuesdayTracker’s Sin
Author: Sarah McCarty
Series: #4 in the Hell’s Eight series

Date Purchased: Oct 1, 2010

Review: To say that I was disappointed in this book is an understatement. I remember a few years ago when I read books 1-3 in the series, I really enjoyed them and had high expectations for this once, because it was supposed to tie up the story ARC that had appeared in the previous 3. But it just felt like the author dialed this one it – the writing felt chunky, and didn’t flow well; the relationship between Tracker and Ari was blech and overall, just a let down. I’m undecided if I’ll continue the series or not – I know that I have book 6 somewhere on Mt TBR (and that would fit this challenge perfectly), but I guess time will tell.

What about you – Did you read any books off your TBR pile this week?

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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in TBR Tuesday


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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

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.

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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Review – The Lady Meets Her Match – Gina Conkle

the lady meets her matchThe Lady Meets Her Match
Author: Gina Conkle
Series: #2 in the Midnight Meetings series
Release Date: 7 April 2015
Rating: ☆ ☆

Copy Provided in Exchange for Review

Cyrus Ryland didn’t become England’s wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around at his grand ball enflames his curiosity. When the clock chimes midnight and she’s nowhere to be found, Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is. Little does he know that not only does Claire Mayhew not want to be found, but she wants nothing to do with him at all..

Ok ladies so I read this book and its my first ever historical Romance book.

This was the first for me and I was surprised. I normally don’t normally go for these kinds of books. I tend to stick to whats got a bad boy in it. This is an ok book. I was pleased with writing style. Some words for me well like I said (first historical romance) I didn’t get (thank god for google.)   I didn’t like the little poems or saying that are at the top of each chapter. Not my thing.

I did get a little board it sometimes felt like it was missing something more. He is a man who has money and so on but it was missing drama. He searches for her but only for a little while. I expected a little more seeking and finding. Cyrus and Claire are great together the instant they meet the bickering banter that they spew at each other ignites them both. They have a lot of heavy flirtation which I expected to lead to a little more than just heavy petting.

I like Claire for the most part. I think it was crucial to the story for Claire to stand on her own two feet no man needed. She worked that. She put up brick and mortar around her heart not to be won over by the likes of a man with money. She didn’t want him to think that was all she was interested in him for. She also came to annoye me from time to time she couldn’t make a choice on what she wanted. Figure it out girl!

Cyrus I didn’t really like him that much. He came off very proud and stuck up in a way that I didn’t like. He also held things over Claire at first. I am not sure that he did it for me. After a while when you got to know him he sounded good looking and all but I think he was just to sweet for my taste. He did have a bit of a bad boy streak but not enough to do it for me I needed more.

Everything was very proper for the time period I suppose. So much built up to one scene that wasn’t that great. I expected more and got less. Not surprised I guess given the time that this book was set to take place. If you like historical romance with just a hit of smut then this is the book for you.

Over all I wasn’t overly impressed with this book the writing was great and I learned a few things. But number one and only thing don’t read historical romance its not for me.  Leave historical romance to those who already enjoy it.

I give this one the 2 out of 5 stars. Unless you like historical romance then 3 out of 5

Have a great weekend All


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Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Book Review


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