Monthly Archives: February 2017

Audiobook Review – The Baller – Vi Keeland


the-baller The Baller
Author: Vi Keeland
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Mackenzie Cartwright, Sean Crisden
Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio
Run Time: 8hrs 49min
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room. It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster. The famed quarterback decided to bare all. And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets. No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel just as I asked the first question. On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby: screwing with me. When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me to wanting to screw me. But I don’t date players. And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football. I’d date an athlete. It’s the other kind of player I don’t date. You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.
Brody Easton was the ultimate player. Every woman wanted to be the one to change him. But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for. Turned out I was that girl. Simple, right? Let’s face it. It never is.
There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…and this one is ours.

Sometimes I feel like i’m uber far behind in current hot authors that friends are reading – and Vi Keeland is just one of those authors who I had heard a lot about and never read – so when one of her books was nominated for an Audiobook Audie in the Erotica category, I figured it was time that I checked her out. Although asking several of my goodreads friends told me that The Baller possible wasn’t the best of her books to be my first one – but I have to say it honestly wasn’t horrible – I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. the romance between Brody and Delilah was hawt – but I could have done without the addition of Brody’s ex – I honestly just felt like that didn’t add anything other than un-needed angst to the story that was actually pretty solid in the romance department (although I will debate whether its actually erotica, but that is a story for another day).

This was my first time listening to Mackenzie Cartwright but not my first time listening to Sean Crisden. I will say that I really enjoyed Mackenzie’s narration – I found her range of voices to be solid and even the portions where she narrated as a male was enjoyable. The pacing of her narration felt natural (meaning I didn’t feel like I needed to speed up or slow down the narration to enjoy it). Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Sean Crisden (although I have listened to other stuff by him before). While I enjoyed the portions where he was narrating as Brody (or other male characters) – I wasn’t a fan of his female voices – in fact they actually made me cringe at times. His female narration was one of the reasons for my 3.5 stars for this audiobook – I just personally, I couldn’t get past them.

I’ve been a fan of Tantor Media’s audiobooks for years and enjoy their continued high quality audiobook productions. I know when I listen to a book done by them, that it will be solid with no issues. Overall, I gave The Baller – 3.5 stars for the book and the narration and 4 stars for the audiobook production.


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Review – Scythe – Neal Schusterman

Author: Neal Schusterman
Series: #1 in the Arc of a Scythe series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

There is no doubt in my mine that Neal Schusterman writes some of the most through-provoking YA dystopia that I’ve read in recent years. It might not be as viscerally blood and gore like the Hunger Games; but he manages to impact the reader in ways that will make you cringe just from the power of the writing. There is one scene from his first book that I read (Unwind) that to this day makes me shiver when I think of it. When an advertisement for his newest book, Scythe, popped up in my Goodreads feed – it was a done deal that I was going to be getting my grubby little paws on it (and huge thanks to my local library for having such great librarians who buy awesome books like that).

What would you do in a world where there was no death? no cancer, no car accidents? where you could opt to reset your life and start over? where if you did “die” (or go splat) that your body would heal itself? that is the world that Schusterman has written about in Scythe. Yet, in any kind of world, there must be some form of population control and that is where the Scythe’s come in. Scythe’s are those special people who have been trained in the art of taking lives – do they do it by poison, or by beheading, by stabbing or some other form of death. There are even Scythe’s who specialize in mass death…The first book in the Scythe series is the story of 2 teenagers who are apprentices to become a Scythe and their journey through the process.

In typical fashion, Schusterman raises many questions – the main ones for me focused around the idea of causing purposeful death? when you don’t call it murder in the societal sense. How would you pick who to kill? and in what method? how would you ensure that you aren’t focusing too much on any specific gender/race/religion when choosing your victims? In between the training that the apprentice Scythe’s undergoing, is the hint of a revolution in the core of the Scythedom – there is a reason behind the quote – ultimately power corrupts ultimately (John Dalberg-Acton) – what is more powerful than holding the life and death of an entire world in your hands?

I will admit that I was left with many questions after finishing Scythe – but that just means, I’ll have to wait impatiently for the next installment. If you are looking for a thought-provoking dystopia with death being forefront, then Scythe might be the book for you.

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Posted by on February 14, 2017 in Book Review, Review


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Armchair Audies – 2017 edition

armchair-audiesWelcome to the 2017 edition of the Armchair Audies. I’m actually ahead of schedule this year and getting my introductory posts up within a week of the nominees being announced rather than getting distracted like years past. So sit down, put your feet up and here is my brief take on the three categories that I’ll be reviewing this year.

When I was looking back through my blog archives, I realized that this is my fifth year of participating in the Armchair Audies. I started off with the romance category in 2013 (and managed to successfully pick the winner) and since then, I have explored a variety of different categories – depending mostly on what caught my eye out of the nominees. And this year was no different – I know from previous experience based on my commute I can probably listen to all the books in 3 categories (about 18 books, assuming 6 nominees per category). So after some serious thought and a look at all the nominees – I decided that this year I’m going to listen and review books in the following categories:

I’ve listened to this category for the last couple of years (although fundamentally, I disagree with some of the nominees being erotica) and have found some interesting new authors – including CD Reiss (who was nominated last year) and Jasinda Wilder (who won 2 years ago). I have already read one of the books nominated but i’m ok with listening to it again for the purposes of reviewing (since I didn’t do that when I read it).

Similar to Erotica – I’ve listened to this category for the last couple of years. I like how the nominees in this category tend to do a good job of falling into not only the paranormal romance category (which is normally where most paranormal books I come across seem to fall into. This category in previous years introduced me to Seth Skorkowsky and Craig DiLouie.

Young Adult
This is my first year of reviewing the Young Adult category for the Armchair Audies – but its not my first experience with the genre. It was a toss-up between this category and romance, but there were a few new authors in this category that I’ve heard good things about – so I’m looking forward to them.

Back-Up – Romance
so I figure 3 categories will be enough for me to listen to – however, in the likelihood that I manage to listen to all the books nominated for them – then my back-up category is going to be romance. I typically listen to lots of romance – and I have read one of the books nominated in this category. Either way – if I listen to it during the Audies or not – i’ll likely be listening to many of these nominees in the future.

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Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events


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2017 Audie Awards – Overview

audie-award-2016-logo-260x200Oh its the most wonderful time of year…fourth(ish) only behind Christmas, my birthday and i’m sure some other day that I’m totally forgetting, is the day that the nominees for the Audie Awards are announced. Unlike last year, I actually remembered that they were being announced today, unfortunately, my bosses failed to understand the significance of this day and scheduled me for meetings pretty much all day (HOW DARE THEY??). So after I finally got some down time to take a look at the nominees (on the Audible website) – I had a slight freak out when I saw that there was a memoir listed in the romance category and knowing me I went high and right on my freak out. Thankfully, historical romance author extradoinaire, Laura Kinsale, talked me off the proverbial cliff and pointed out that the wrong audiobook was linked…(in my defense, it wouldn’t be the first time that a totally random listen had ended up nominated for a romance audie. So anyways – taking a look at this years nominees – it was hard to pick which categories I was going to review for Armchair Audies. Honestly, I don’t normally wish for a longer commute – but maybe I should, so I could fit in 4 categories of listening…haha!

And now to the nominees…

tenth-doctor-adventuresAUDIO DRAMA
Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama by Tim Lebbon and Dirk Maggs
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Death and the Queen by James Goss
Doctor Who: The War Doctor: Only The Monstrous by Nicholas Briggs
In the Embers by Brian Price and Jerry Stearns
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall

Around the Way Girl written and narrated by Taraji P. Henson
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart
The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali with Richard Durham
The Rainbow Comes and Goes written and narrated by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

another-brooklynBEST FEMALE NARRATOR
Another Brooklyn: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson, narrated by Robin Miles
Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson, narrated by Tavia Gilbert
The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien, narrated by Juliet Stevenson
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, narrated by Emma Thompson
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Bahni Turpin

Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff by Pappy Pariah, narrated by Sean Penn
End of Watch by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton
Jerusalem by Alan Moore, narrated by Simon Vance
The Last Tribe by Brad Manuel, narrated by Scott Brick
The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne, narrated by Luke Daniels
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters, narrated by William DeMeritt

Capital Offenses: Business Crime and Punishment in America’s Corporate Age by Samuel W. Buell
Humans Need Not Apply by Jerry Kaplan
Shrill written and narrated by Lindy West
The Storyteller’s Secret written and narrated by Carmine Gallo
Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek by Manu Saadia

The Baller by Vi Keeland
The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter
Eighteen (18): Based on a True Story by J.A. Huss
January: Calendar Girl, Book 1 by Audrey Carlan
Marriage Games by CD Reiss
Sweet Dreams by Sunny Leone

everything-box FANTASY
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey
The Hike by Drew Magary
League of Dragons by Naomi Novik

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
Darktown by Thomas Mullen
End of Watch by Stephen King
Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel

In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton
Paul McCartney: The Life by Philip Norman
A Time to Die by Robert Moore
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick,
The Year of Lear by James Shapiro

The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy written and narrated by Rainn Wilson
Black Man, White House: An Oral History of the Obama Years by D.L. Hughley
I’m Judging You written and narrated by Luvvie Ajayi
Life and Other Near Death Experiences by Camille Pagán
You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
You’ll Grow out of It written and narrated by Jessi Klein

Beric the Briton by G.A. Henty
The Christmas Town written and narrated by Donna VanLiere
The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert
Journey’s End by Renee Ryan
Risen: The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture by Angela Hunt

The Awakening of HK Derryberry by Jim Bradford and Andy Hardin
Divine Collision by Jim Gash
Forgiving My Daughter’s Killer by Kate Grosmaire and Nancy French
The Great Good Thing written and narrated by Andrew Klavan
Space at the Table written and narrated by Brad Harper and Drew Harper

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Another Brooklyn: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
LaRose written and narrated by Louise Erdrich,
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
Demon Dentist by David Walliams
The Enchanted Files: Hatched by Bruce Coville
How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury by Cressida Cowell
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

magic-strings-of-frankie-prestoMULTI-VOICED PERFORMANCE
Les Liaisons Dangereuses: Read by the Cast of the Stage Play by Choderlos de Laclos, narrated by Dominic West, Janet McTeer, Una Stubbs, Elaine Cassidy, Adjoa Andoh, Edward Holcroft, and Morfydd Clark
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom, narrated by Mitch Albom, Roger McGuinn, Ingrid Michaelson, John Pizzarelli, Paul Stanley, George Guidall, and more
Pruno, Ramen, and a Side of Hope: Stories of Surviving Wrongful Conviction by Courtney Lance and Nikki Pope, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Kurtis
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, narrated by Audra McDonald, Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos
Thomas Jefferson-From Boy to Man by Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox, narrated by James Brinkley, published by James Brinkley/Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox
A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham, narrated by Lili Taylor and Billy Hough, published by Macmillan Audio

Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
The Crossing by Michael Connelly
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens
IQ by Joe Ide

Dear Mr. You written and narrated by Mary-Louise Parker
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo written and narrated by Amy Schumer
In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox written and narrated by Carol Burnett
LaRose written and narrated by Louise Erdrich
A Life in Parts written and narrated by Bryan Cranston
The View from the Cheap Seats written and narrated by Neil Gaiman

Adnan’s Story written and narrated by Rabia Chaudry
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Hillbilly Elegy written and narrated by J.D. Vance
A Million Years in a Day by Greg Jenner
Words on the Move: Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally) written and narrated by John McWhorter

dispatcher-copyORIGINAL WORK
The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent by Larry Correia
Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama by Tim Lebbon and Dirk Maggs
Car Talk Science: MIT Wants Its Diplomas Back written and narrated by Tom Magliozzi and Ray Magliozzi
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
In the Embers by Brian Price and Jerry Stearns
Pete Seeger: The Storm King, Vol. 2 by Pete Seeger, ed. and Jeff Haynes

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
The Elementals by Michael McDowell
Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Staked by Kevin Hearne

Dirty by Kylie Scott
Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt
First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Glitterland by Alexis Hall
The Obsession by Nora Roberts

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Ellison
Crosstalk by Connie Willis
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

The Brink: Stories by Austin Bunn
Certain Dark Things by M.J. Pack
Coffee at Luke’s edited by Jennifer Crusie
The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke by Arthur C. Clarke
East, West by Salman Rushdie
Killer Women: Crime Club Anthology #1 by Louise Millar, Alex Marwood and Tammy Cohen

Cross Justice by James Patterson
The Fall of Moscow Station by Mark Henshaw
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Home by Harlan Coben
The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

my-lady-janeYOUNG ADULT
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff,
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco and James Patterson
Winter by Marissa Meyer

YOUNG LISTENERS (up to age 8)
28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr
Island Treasures: Growing up in Cuba by Alma Flor Ada
The Quentin Blake and John Yeoman Collection by Quentin Blake and John Yeoman
The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter
Voice of Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
The Wooden Prince: Out of Abaton by John Claude Bemis

Stay Tuned for my category blog posts for my 2017 Armchair Audies listening extravaganza!

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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events


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Review – Crossing Hearts – Kimberly Kincaid

crossing-heartsCrossing Hearts
Author: Kimberly Kincaid
Series: #1 in the Cross Creek series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Book Won in a Giveaway Held by Author

Hunter Cross has no regrets. Having left his football prospects behind the day he graduated high school, he’s happy to carry out his legacy on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Shenandoah. But when a shoulder injury puts him face-to-face with the high school sweetheart who abandoned town—and him—twelve years ago, Hunter’s simple life gets a lot more complicated.

Emerson Montgomery has secrets. Refusing to divulge why she left her job as a hotshot physical therapist for a pro football team, she struggles to readjust to life in the hometown she left behind. The more time she spends with Hunter, the more Emerson finds herself wanting to trust him with the diagnosis of MS that has turned her world upside down.

But revealing secrets comes with a price. Can Hunter and Emerson rekindle their past love? Or will the realities of the present—and the trust that goes with them—burn that bridge for good?

So I actually read Crossing Hearts close to a month ago – it was officially the first book that I read in 2017 but since it had a release date of today (which means, Happy Book Birthday dance), I decided to wait to post my review. But as in typical Kimberly Kincaid fashion – I just end up gushing over her books! I swear – I haven’t read a bad one by her yet and Crossing Hearts just made my heart go all squishy inside.

I’ve never hidden the fact that reunited love/second chance love is a favorite romance trope of mine – combine that with small town romance and rancher romance (with a women in a kick ass career) and yes – there was little that I didn’t love about how Crossing Hearts came to be. I will say that sometimes family drama in small town romances kind of bugs me and Emerson’s family kind of ticked me off a bit – but at the same time, since she wasn’t all the forthcoming with her medical issues – I don’t blame them entirely either. It is proof positive that bad news only gets worse over time – especially when it is being withheld from people who love you.

One of the things I have always appreciated about Kimberly’s writing is the level of research and detail that she incorporates into her stories. I’m not sure who she worked with to get all the details on being a physical therapist, or how MS affects the body – but you could tell from the writing that she was able to meld the information that she gained from different sources into such a well-developed, well-rounded character. And as for Hunter…well, what wasn’t there to love – former high school athlete, willing to sacrifice his dreams to stay at home to help his family out – yeah, i’m gushing. I can’t wait for the next two books in the series and to see his brother’s HEA’s!

4.5 stars for Crossing Hearts and unfortunately not, I have to start the tedious wait time for a new book by Kimberly (which just sucks!)


Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Book Review, Review


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Random Reads Rebooted – February 2017

Random Reads Rebooted

Random Reads was a blog feature that used to be hosted by the blog, I’m Loving Books, however, it is no longer active (at least that I can fid). Random Reads Rebooted is a reimaged version of this and I hope you will join me.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a bad habit of buying books and then forgetting about them…I’m like a squirrel storing away its nuts for winter, except I do it with books. Random Reads Rebooted is dedicated to finding (and reading) those books that have long been forgotten about it.

On the first Saturday of the month (or within that first week), randomly select a book that is on your bookshelves (it could be a virtual shelf like a Goodreads one, or a real shelf that you have someone randomly numbered). I recommend using to help you pick that special or forgotten book. At the end of the month, come back and let us know what you thought about the book that you picked.

January Review
ok, so I feel like a bit of a slacker because mid-month I hit an epic reading slump (and honestly i’m still digging my way out of it) and i’m still slowly working on my book. I’m about 15% of the way through and enjoying it though. The cultural mesh between traditional Indian and New Jersey culture is making for an intriguing read.

guns-will-keep-us-together February Pick
Even though I have slacked on my January read – I am going to go ahead and pick a book for my February read. Continuing with my plan from last month, this month, I’m picking a book from my Amazon 2010 purchases shelf (which currently has 270 books on it). After sorting the books by title alphabetically, gave me 96 – which correlated to Guns Will Keep Us Together, by Leslie Langtry.

Purchase Date: September 15, 2010

Dakota Bombay prided himself on his blonde Bond image. Then his life gets both shaken and stirred by an irate grandmother demanding a marketing plan for the family assassination business, a six-year-old son Dak never knew he had, and a mysterious redhead who’s erased his decades-old preference for blondes

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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Random Reads Rebooted, Uncategorized


A Month in Reading – January 2017


I always mean to do an end of month summary for my reading but to be honest, i’m never actually organized enough to get it done…so this is new for me – but its one of my blogging resolutions for 2017. I’m finding it hard to believe that it is the end of January already – I mean, this month flew by! On the non-blogging front – I started a new job (yay) – but have been extremely busy (boo!) which is reflected in both my reading and my blogging. But without further-ado, a look back on January.

Total Books Read in January: 18
Total Books Listened to in January: 7

crossing-heartsFirst Book of the Year:
Crossing Hearts – Kimberly Kincaid

simply-sexualLongest on TBR:
Simply Sexual – Kate Pearce – 2899 days!

Longest Book

Scythe – Neal Shusterman

dirty-like-usShortest Book
Dirty Like Us – Jaine Diamond




New Authors Discovered (that I will read again):
Chanel CleetonFly with Me – military contemporary romance
Lilia Moon – Fettered series – Yield, Reveal and Desire – erotic BDSM romance (on the introductory side)
Chris CampilloThen He Showed Up – contemporary romance

Books I’m looking forward to in February
The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman – Young Adult/Steampunk/Mystery
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight – Darynda Jones – Urban Fantasy
The Valiant – Lesley Livingston – Young Adult/Historical Fiction (umm, female gladiator – yes please!)
Devil in Spring – Lisa Kleypas – Historical Romance

Overall, I read less books this month than I typically do, but I had some solid reads and several new authors I can’t wait to read more by in the near future.

How about you – how was your January reading escapades?


Posted by on February 1, 2017 in Meme, Month in Review


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