Monthly Archives: February 2018

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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2018 Audies – Paranormal Nominees

The paranormal category for the Audies is one that I have listened to on and off over the years – there have been several years where it has been heavier on the paranormal romance/urban fantasy side of the house where I have jumped on the chance to listen and others where it has been weirder stuff that I haven’t been as interested in. This year the nominees were definitely more on the paranormal romance/urban fantasy side of the house, so it was a no-brainer to pick it as a category.

The Nominees for the Paranormal category are:
Curse on the Land: Soulwood, Book 2 by Faith Hunter, narrated by Khristine Hvam, published by Audible Studios
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones, narrated by Lorelei King, published by Macmillan Audio
Finding My Pack by Lane Whitt, narrated by Cooper North and Aletha George, published by Tantor Audio, a division of Recorded Books
Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology edited by Jonathan Maberry and George A. Romero, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, Rex Linn, Gabrielle de Cuir, Adenrele Ojo, Richard Gilliland, Ray Porter, Kristoffer Tabori, and Kasey Lansdale, published by Blackstone Publishing
Silver Silence by Nalini Singh, narrated by Angela Dawe, published by Tantor Audio, a division of Recorded Books

Initial Thoughts on the Nominees:
☼ This will be the third book by Faith Hunter that I have listened to over the last year, to include the first book in this series which was nominated for an Audie in the same category last year and she is rapidly moving her way up my autobuy pile. Without a doubt, Khristine Hvam is a favorite narrator of mine and has narrated many of my 5 star listens.

☼ Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series is one of those that has grown progressively weaker as the series has continued (normally its the reverse). I find Charley to be annoying and hasn’t really grown as the series has progressed – but thankfully, Lorelei King’s narration has been a saving grave over the last few books as I started listening and not reading them.

☼ Lane Whitt is another new to me author that I will get to experience during this iteration of the Armchair Audies. Although Goodreads reviews of this seem to be fairly hit or miss among my friends, it does have a fairly high rating overall; but it is written in first person (according to several reviews) which I’m not a huge fan of. Both Aletha George and Cooper North are new to me narrators – so i’m intrigued to see how they do.

☼ The Night of the Living Dead anthology might be the entry in this category that I am most intrigued about – I’ve found most Zombie books to be intriguing on how they each approach the outbreak – but this anthology goes back to the founding of the genre. With multiple authors and narrators – It’s hard-pressed for me to decide what i’m most looking forward to with this entry.

☼ Last but not least is the most recent addition to Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changling series – when compared to the Charley Davidson series which I’ve found to get weaker over each book, the Psy-Changling series continues to grow and evolve and bring more depth and intricacy into the story-telling. This is a re-read for me (or is it re-listen…) – I’m not a huge re-reader in general, but typically, I’ve found listening after reading has just opened my horizons even more. I’ve listened to a few books narrated by Angela Dawe in the past – I find her a solid narrator but she isn’t a favorite of mine.

My Prediction:
My prediction for the winner in this category last year was the Faith Hunter book and while it didn’t win, I was excited to see the next book nominated this year. So my initial prediction is:
Curse on the Land: Soulwood, Book 2 by Faith Hunter, narrated by Khristine Hvam

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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events


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2018 Audies – Romance Nominees

When I left work the day of the Audies Nominations being announced, I was excited to see that for the first time in a couple of years, the Romance Nominees were mostly what I would term to be traditional romances (i.e. boy mets girl, boy falls in love with girl and they live happily ever after). Over the last few years, I’ve been disappointed seeing books by authors like Nicholas Sparks nominated or something like The Bridges of Madison County which won a few years ago. As an avowed romance reader, seeing non-romances being nominated and then winning hurts my soul. But alas, I’ll step off my soapbox and talk about the nominees for this year!

Without further ado, the 2018 Audies Nominees for Romance are:
Any Day Now by Robyn Carr, narrated by Therese Plummer, published by Recorded Books
Cake: A Love Story by J. Bengtsson, narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden, published by J. Bengtsson
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers, published by Brilliance Publishing
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare, narrated by Mary Jane Wells, published by HarperAudio
The Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown, narrated by Donna Postel, published by Brilliance Publishing

My Initial Thoughts:
Ohh, this is going to be a fun category to listen to over the next couple of months.
☼ I’ll admit that the Robyn Carr book is one of the ones on this list that I am less than excited about – don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with her writing, it just doesn’t always work for me, but I know many of my friends love her. But at the same time, anything narrated by Therese Plummer is normally a winner for me.

☼ J. Bergtsson is a new author to me but I’ll admit that I love a good rockstar romance at times. I’m a solid Andi Arndt fan girl when it comes to audiobooks, but Joe Arden is a new to me name – so this book could be a double winner for me if i like it.

☼ Nora Roberts has long been an author that appears on my frequently read/listen to list – although I’ll admit that I haven’t listened to some of her more recent stuff (although I do continue to devour the books she writes under her alter-ego, JD Robb). I’ve listened to several narrations by Elisabeth Rodgers before and found her narration solid – it isn’t horrible, but at the same time, doesn’t necessarily blow me away either.

☼ Tessa Dare is an author I know that I should read/listen to more of – I’ve read several of her books and rated each of them in the solid 3.5-4 star realm, but I’ve never listened – so i’m looking for a new author to add to my audiobook listening pile. Mary Jane Wells is also a new narrator to me but she has a pretty hefty romance narration backlist with lots of historical romances – so fingers crossed.

☼ The Carolyn Brown book is the one that I felt doesn’t (upon first read of the summary) really fit into the traditional romance category – it seems to be much more of a women’s lit to me (where the focus is more on the growth of the characters vs. the actual romance) – but I’ll see if i’m wrong down the road. Donna Postel is another new narrator to me but she has an interesting backlist of other audiobooks, should I decide I want to listen to more by her in the future.

My Prediction:
Based on what I know about the different narrators and my experience with them (or lack thereof) in the past, my initial pick (pre-listen) to the winner for the Romance category is:
Cake: A Love Story by J. Bengtsson, narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden

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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events


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