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Audiobook Sync is here!!!

audiobook sync I LOVE this time of year because its when one of my favorite free online programs starts back up – have you heard about audiobook sync? If you haven’t, here is the skinny: Audiobook Sync is a program that is run for 14 weeks each summer (so from early May through middle of August) and presented/sponsored by Audiofile.

The idea is simple, each week, a new pair of audiobooks is available for FREE download (yes, you read that right – FREE). It is a newer release YA book that is paired with a classic novel with similar themes. Each pair is only available for download during their specific week, so if you miss out, you don’t get another chance and they are yours to keep. All you need is the free (are you sensing a theme here) Overdrive Program/App downloaded on your computer/Ipad/kindle fire etc.

The first pair of audiobooks for the 2015 is Beautiful Creatures (the YA novel), written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl; narrated by Kevin T. Collins, Eve Bianco, which has been paired with Rebecca, written by Daphne Du Maurier and narrated by Anna Massey (I’ll confess that Rebecca has been on my pile for years and I’ve never gotten to it, so maybe this will be the push I need…)

For more information, including books that will be available (and any geographic restrictions), click on the link below and enjoy!

Audiobook Sync: Young Adult Lit For Your Earbuds

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Reading Events

 

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Audiobook Review – Beauty from Pain – Georgia Cates

audies nominee erotica

beauty from painBeauty from Pain
Author: Georgia Cates
Series: #1 in the Beauty series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Bunny Warren, Robert Black
Run Time: 9 hrs, 9 mins
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
They agreed on three months…but their love knew no boundaries.

Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names.

It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he’s ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer.

Review:
I’ll admit it, i’m a sucker for a gorgeous cover and if I had been in the bookstore, Beauty from Pain (and its subsequent books) totally would have caught my eye. I love the black and white photography with the erotic looking cover, that still stays this side of being too much. But since I was listening to the audiobook, well, I did still gaze at the cover, but it didn’t affect my choice as much. I will admit that when I pick up a book that has been marketed as erotica/nominated in an erotica category for awards, I have certain expectations and unfortunately for me Beauty from Pain just didn’t live up to that. For me, erotica is about the sexual journey of the participants and while there were some spicy scenes in Beauty from Pain, it read more like a traditional romance to me. The only thing that really could potentially push it into the “erotica/erotica lite” category is that there really wasn’t a happily ever after which is required for a romance, but that being said, this was really the first in a series with a continuing storyline where I expect one to culminate at the end of book 3.

While the storyline was intriguing, I found the writing to be chunky in places with lots of redundant sentences. Maybe it was because I was listening to it, but weak writing is much more obvious to be when I’m listening to audiobooks, rather than when I’m reading. I think because I actually concentrate more in the audio, rather than reading where I tend to skim read. And maybe it is a small thing, but it got really annoying with the alternating point of views, that each chapter was titled who was speaking/thinking – I wish that had actually been left out, because I do think the voices were distinct enough that it was obvious the POV that the chapter was written from (also an minor irk, Laurelyn barely went by that name in the book, so it was disconcerting to hear that every time it was her point of view). In general, I didn’t mind Jack and Laurelyn’s story – I think it had potential to be really good, although there were some things that Jack did that just weren’t resolved for me. Certain things he was adamant about and then all of the sudden just changed his mind, no explanation (i mean, I’d expect that from a female, but not a male…well, you know what I mean – j/k) however, I spent the majority of the book hating the secondary characters. I wasn’t a fan of Laurelyn’s friend, or her friend’s brother (Ben) because he was a douchebag and the limited mention of Laurelyn’s mother made me go crazy, she was just so self-obessessed (and I have a feeling she is going to be significant in book 2, which I’m not looking forward to).

Both Bunny Warren and Robert Black were new narrators to me. I’ve found when listening to duo’s narrating books that I often really like one, and not so much the other; or find them both to be fairly middle of the road. In this instance, it was the former – I really liked Bunny’s narration – I found she did a great job of narrating Laurelyn’s POV – her voice was pleasant to listen to and I found myself sucked into those portions of the audiobook. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Robert Black’s narration. Maybe it had something to do with having grown up in Australia (for the first nearly two decades of my life), but the accent that he used for Jack just grated on me. Maybe that is how Australian’s sound to a complete outsider, but I don’t remember ever hearing them talk to like. I found it hard to listen to and distracting to the point that I struggled to listen to his portions of the audio. I almost wish I could have listened to Bunny’s stuff and read the male POV’s – it may have worked better for me. It also seemed like the author dug in and found all the random slang that aussies use – some frequently and other not so – I actually posted a question on facebook about one such phase because I had never heard of it in my life (apparently, Sanga is short for Sandwich, but not where I grew up). That made it hard for me.

I know that I will be finishing the series – because I want to see what happens between Laurelyn and Jack (and because book 3 in the series was also nominated for an audie award in the same category). But overall, I was disappointed – it didn’t live up to what I expected, based on the number of high rated reviews from Goodreads friends/ the fact that it was nominated for an award (even if the award was for narration). Both the story and the narration got 2.5 stars from me, but if Bunny had been the sole narrator, it would have been more like 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Suffer the Children – Craig DiLouie

Audies nominee paranormal

suffer the childrenSuffer the Children
Author: Craig DiLouie
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: R.C. Bray
Run Time: 11hrs 26min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod’s Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe. Soon, they return from the grave…and ask for blood. And with blood, they stop being dead. They continue to remain the children they once were…but only for a short time, as they need more blood to live. The average human body holds ten pints of blood, so the inevitable question for parents everywhere becomes: How far would you go to bring your child back?

Review:
WARNING: Book contains scenes that may be nightmare inducing to parents of young children
It is very rare that I need to pause listening to a book mid-way through for a mental break, but Craig DiLouie’ Suffer the Children made me do just that. I’ll be upfront and say that horror is normally not a genre I would pick up, although there are some authors that I will stick my toes into that field just for them (and I guess the same could be said for narrators I enjoy). In fact, this book never would have crossed my reading/listening path, if it hadn’t been nominated for an audie in the Paranormal category but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to listen to it.

First things first, this isn’t your normal vampire fare (or how vampire fare has come to be written recently) – if I had to draw parallel’s it is much more like the old school dracula type vampire, rather than the new romance-y ones. There was nothing nice/romantic about these but that being said, there wasn’t anything really original about the vampires either. For me, the draw in the book was more the philosophical take on how far would you go – it reminded me a lot of the questions asked in the morality class I took in college – if you had to kill 5 or 1 which would you pick? what was the solution for the greater good. I don’t necessarily know if that was what DiLouie was trying to convey in the book (I have a feeling that it was), but that is where my mind went. The prevailing question – what would you do for just one more hour, one more day with your children? I’m not a parent and the idea of having to make that choice is just horrific to me, I can’t imagine who someone who is a parent and listening to this would react.

I will say that I wasn’t expecting the book as it did – although that ending kind of makes sense…it kind of makes me wonder what happens next…

R.C. Bray, once again, brought his skillful narration to the book and it was via this that I felt myself cringing in places and ending up having at least one nightmare during the course of listening. (BTW, tweeting that to an horror author will get you a huge thanks…lol). Having listened to Bray narrate several books in different sub-genres (sci-fi; urban fantasy and now paranormal/horror), its safe to say that he is going to be an auto-buy/listen in the future. Its hard to peg exactly how his narration worked – maybe the fact that I found myself physically cringing in places as I heard his narration of different parts or the fact that I was so invested in what happened to the different characters that hearing what happened to them made me sit in my car in shock for a good 20 minutes one day.

Both the book and the narration were a solid 4 stars for me and I know that I will be checking out more work by DiLouie in the future (even if his writing scares the beejeebers out of me at times). Hopefully with more narration by R.C. Bray in the future.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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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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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, Uncategorized

 

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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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