First Line Fridays – 16 March 2018

Happy Day Before St Patrick’s Day! One of the best days of the year because its my birthday! I’m happily celebrating the 15th anniversary of my 21st year 🙂 While my choice of book for First Line Friday’s doesn’t have an Irish theme, or even any green on the cover – I know that I’m as excited as a leprechaun who found his pot of gold to start reading it!

Special Agent John Kaiser stood at the window of the FBI’s “tactical room” in the River Bend Hotel and started at the lights of Natchez twinkling high over the dark tide of the Mississippi.

All i’m saying to myself right now as I jump into book 2 in Greg Iles trilogy is “How the heck have i never read you before?!” And I can safely say, if book 3 in the trilogy hadn’t been nominated for an Audie this year in a category that I was listening to, that I would have picked him up. But since reading friends of mine told me that I needed to read the previous two books in the trilogy in order to understand book 3 and i’m soo glad i did. Even though they are huge reads at 700+ pages (the first book) and 800+ pages (book two) and culminating with 28 hours for book three. Of course, then I can go back and read the early books in the Penn Cage series…so basically, I have lots of good reading ahead of me and I can’t wait!


Posted by on March 16, 2018 in Blog Features, First Line Fridays


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Review – Hello Stranger – Lisa Kleypas

Hello Stranger
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: #4 in the Ravenels
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by the Publisher

A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

I’ve been reading Lisa Kleypas since almost before I could remember reading romance – i’m pretty sure that she was one of the first ten romance authors that I read as a teenager (along with Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, LaVyrle Spencer and Jude Deveraux…yeah, i can actually remember the names of the authors that sparked my love of romance). And to this day, she is still one of my go-to authors when I need a solid read – I’ll admit that I’ve had my highs and lows with some of her more recent books, but since Garrett was introduced in Marrying Winterbourne – I knew her book was going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. I’ve also had a total girl crush on Ethan from the get-go. I love that unlike many of her other books, both individuals in this pairing were lower-class (or rather for the most part they were). It was nice seeing how the other side lived during the late 1800’s – so often it is just glazed over in books and forgotten about it.

There were so many different facets to Garrett that the author developed – not only was she the first female physician and all that entailed, but she was willing to go above and beyond her calling to help people by volunteering to help others in need – which ironically is how she and Ethan first got to know each other several books ago. There were several scenes in Hello Stranger where Garrett was learning how to fence in an effort to be able to protect herself, which of course, Ethan was able to come to the rescue and fix because she had learnt very proper and not how a fight would go down in real life. The strong man to the rescue trope is pretty common in most historical romances and honestly, for this was it was a bit grating – i really wanted Garrett to not need to be rescued and to do the rescuing (which she also did)…I dunno – I think that was the one element that I struggled with the most.

Ethan’s portion of the storyline was kind of obvious and I had pretty much figure out what was going to happen – i’m not saying that this is bad, but it wasn’t as engaging as previous books – i love Garrett and Ethan but Hello Stranger just didn’t quite have all the entire magic that I was hoping for – but it was still a solid read that I gave 3.5 stars to. I’m intrigued to see where Ms Kleypas goes with the next book in the series – it must almost be time for West to get his HEA.

About Lisa:
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She is a RITA award winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction. Her novels are published in fourteen different languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

Connect with Lisa:
Facebook: @LisaKleypas
Twitter: @LisaKleypas
Instagram: @lisakleypas

Barnes & Noble:

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Posted by on March 7, 2018 in Book Review, Review


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First Line Fridays – 23 February 18

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I can’t believe how quickly we are flying through February – I mean admittedly, it is a short month, but the fact that March is starting to appear on the horizon just blows my mind…I’m neck deck in listening to the various audiobooks for the Armchair Audies right now – so my First Line Friday comes from the book I started on my commute yesterday.

I lay on a psychiatrist’s couch, a couch I’d named Alexander Skarsgard the moment my gaze landed on its buttery curves and wide back, and wondering if I should tell Dr. Mayfield about the dead kid scurrying across her ceiling. Probably not.


Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Blog Features, First Line Fridays


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Audiobook Review – The Duchess Deal – Tessa Dare

The Duchess Deal
Author: Tessa Dare
Series: #1 in the Girl Meets Duke series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Run Time: 7hrs 56min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

Tessa Dare is one of those authors that I feel like I should more of because I have enjoyed the few of her books that I’ve read and yet, I tend to pass her other when looking at various historical romances…i’m honestly not sure why…that being said, because of this, I was happy when the first book in her new series was nominated for an Audie in the romance category. I happened to start the Duchess Deal on my 6hr trek to Ohio (which I do once a month) – so I was able to fully invest myself in the story for almost the entirety of my trip and i’m glad that I did – because the audiobook that made that drive pretty much fly by. I found myself laughing hard quite often and when I did stop for gas and snackage – hurrying through the story, so I could keep listening. I’ll admit that there wasn’t anything overly special about the story line – but it just hit the spot for what I was currently looking for – some angst, a marriage of convenience, as well as a Beauty and the Beast type storyline and the requisite Happily Ever After. I’m a simple girl, what can I say? 🙂

This is the first time that I’ve listened to Mary Jane Wells, but I had to say that I overall enjoyed the experience. Her feminine voices were all distinct to me and i could easily identify who was talking; although I will say that her masculine ones weren’t as distinct – but thankfully, the majority of the book was told from a female POV. Taking a look at her other available audiobooks, it looks like she has found her niche in historical romance (I saw many authors that I have read in the past and I would likely pick up an audiobook narrated by her, in order to continue reading those authors). Her narration pacing was solid and the narration was neither too quiet or too loud (I didn’t have to adjust the volume on my radio while listening).

Overall, I gave the writing 3.5 stars and the narration 4 stars – but I am definitely interesting in trying the later books in the series when they are released in audio.

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Posted by on February 21, 2018 in Uncategorized


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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (19 Feb 2018)

It’s Monday – What are you reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

It’s been a while since I did a “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?” Post – I blame it in part to a reading funk, being uber busy at work (and that doesn’t appear as if that is going to change any time soon). But since i’m sitting at home today on a long weekend and catching up on some TV viewing (normally I would be watching the Olympics, but i’m not a huge fan of Ice Hockey) – I felt like it was a good time to do a post. The weather in DC has been fluctuating been freezing cold (with accompanying snow or rain) and low to mid-70’s (its very confused for sure). My poor heater is currently flipping between on and off, wayyy to frequently and my heating bill isn’t appreciating it!

I’ve actually been on a pretty decent blogging roll recently as I have been busy posting my various Audies blogposts. For those of you who aren’t audiobook fans, the Audies are like the Oscars of Audiobooks – where the best of the best narrators are judged against each other to determine the winner. This is the 4th year that I have been participating in the Armchair Audies and this year, I’m psyched to say, that I am going to be co-hosting with Miss Susie from Miss Susies Reading & Observations. If you like listening to audiobooks and want to join in – check out the blog at Armchair Audies. I’ve signed myself up for 3 categories – Romance, Paranormal and Thriller/Suspense – so will be neck deep in those over the next few months (the award ceremony is scheduled for the end of May). Being that I have 16 books to listen to over the next three months (several of which are in the 20+hr range) – I’m currently neck deep in two different nominees – both in the Paranormal category. Silver Silence is a re-listen after I read it in print when it was released last year and Finding My Pack (Lane Whitt) is a new to me author and narrators. Both books run in the 10+hr range, so they should take up most of my listening for the next week and a bit.

My current/upcoming reading choices are as eclectic as always – sometimes I think my ability to jump between different genres is what keeps me partly sane. As example, the top 3 books on my pile right now are a WW2 alternate history, a women’s lit and a criminal suspense/thriller. I’m also looking forward to Rosalind James’ new book that was just released (Just Say (Hell) No, as well as Laura Kaye’s newest Blasphemy book (On His Knees. I’m sure a few other books will move their way up the pile over the next week, but these are the ones I am most looking forward to. I should also finish up I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios as well as read my ARC of Hello Stranger, the newest by Lisa Kleypas.

What about you – what are you reading or looking forward to reading this week?


Posted by on February 19, 2018 in It's Monday! What are you reading?


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First Line Fridays – 16 February 2018

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

It’s Valentine Day’s week for First Line Friday’s this week! I’m an avid romance reader, so this week it was more about deciding which of the various romances I have on the pile was going to be featured – so in true Dee fashion – I closed my eyes and did an enny-meanie-minie-mo to select and the winner was….

Maggie Sullivan sought refuge in the stairwell between the sixth and sevenths floors at the far west end of the hospital, the steps least traveled in interns and residents racing from floor to floor, from emergency to emergency.


Posted by on February 16, 2018 in Blog Features, First Line Fridays



2018 Audies – Thriller/Suspense Nominees

This is my first year of listening to the nominees in the Thriller/Suspense category – i think mostly because I have been in that kind of mood lately. I’ve had fun discovering new mystery/suspense authors over the past year and hopefully this category will add some more authors to be to be read/listened pile.

The nominees in the Thriller/Suspense category are:
The Breakdown by B.A. Paris, narrated by Georgia Maguire, published by Macmillan Audio
Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben, narrated by Steven Weber, published by Brilliance Publishing
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer, narrated by Ellen Archer, published by Hachette Audio
The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini and Graham Winton, published by Recorded Books
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré, narrated by Tom Hollander, published by Penguin Audio
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles, narrated by Scott Brick, published by HarperAudio

Initial Thoughts on the Nominees:
☼ I’ve had a print copy of the Breakdown sitting in my living room for close to a year now, since it was released but not sure why I’ve not picked it up because it definitely falls into the type of thrillers I seem to enjoy – maybe it was because I knew it would be nominated for an award down the road and I would get a chance to listen to it (lol…not really, but it seems like good logic to me). Georgia Maguire is a new to me narrator (and she has a relatively small backlist of books) so fingers crossed.

☼ I’m probably one of the few people who have never read a Harlan Coben book previously and from reading some of the reviews on Audible, hopefully I’m not setting myself up for a disappointing listen (several of them recommend starting with the different Coben book or being prepared to devote more than 1 listen to this book). I also could have sworn that I had previously listened to Steven Weber narrate a book, but looking through my archives, I can’t find anything…hmmm must be going slightly crazy 😉

☼ The Chemist is probably the one book in this category that I am dreading because its Stephanie Meyer and my disdain of the Twilight series is pretty well known (I made it less than 30 pages into the first book before it, literally, went flying across the room). Added to that, several of my goodreads friends either gave it low stars or marked it as did not finish and I’ve become even more leery. However, I’ve listened to several narrations by Ellen Archer previously and hopefully she can save me from a regrettable experience.

☼ The opening description of the Fourth Monkey on Audible describes it as Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs, so I was immediately intrigued – Se7en gave me the serious heebie-jeebies at times and yet, its a movie I’ve watched several times. I’m also in the mood for a good serial killer novel so hopefully this will provide. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I have never listened to anything narrated by Edoardo Ballerini before, even though folks in the various audiobook groups i’m in rave about him; but I have listened to something narrated by Graham Winton before (a romance novel) and I vaguely remember enjoying his style (but apparently I didn’t write a review for that book).

☼ You pretty much can’t have a thriller/suspense category without a John Le Carre book – this is advertised as being book 9 in a series that I haven’t really listened to any of the previous ones – so hopefully it can stand on its own decently well…Of all the narrators i’m listening to this year with the Armchair Audies, Tom Hollander has the shortest backlist on Audible thus far (only 7 books listed), so its not surprising that I haven’t listened to anything by him before.

☼ Mississippi Blood is by far the most daunting book of any in this category (or overall) at 28+ hours of narration (and to make it even more daunting when asking about this trilogy on Goodreads, it was highly recommended that I read the first two before getting to this one – each one running 800+ pgs). I have no doubt this will probably be the last book that I listen to for the Audies this year, so I have time to get through the other 2 books in the trilogy first. Scott Brick is one of those narrators who is either a love or hate – thankfully for me, i tend to fall more into the love category than the hate – although I have had limited experience listening to him (but I did manage to survive 48ish hours of Chernow’s Washington: a Life).

My Prediction:
Going by pure guessing since I’ve had limited to no experience with all but one narrator in this category – my pick for the winner in the suspense/thriller category is:
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles, narrated by Scott Brick

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Posted by on February 13, 2018 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events


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