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Category Archives: Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review – The Baller – Vi Keeland

audie-nominee-erotica

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

Description:
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.

Review:
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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Audiobook Review – What Stands in a Storm?

what-stands-in-a-stormWhat Stands in a Storm? Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South’s Tornado Alley
Author: Kim Cross
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Tracy Brunjes
Run Time: 9hrs, 46min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
April 27, 2011, marked the climax of a superstorm that saw a record 358 tornadoes rip through twenty-one states in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. It was the deadliest day of the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history, which saw 348 people killed, entire neighborhoods erased, and $11 billion in damage. The biggest of the tornadoes left scars across the lan so wide they could be seen from space. But from the terrible destruction emerged everyday heroes, neighbors and strangers who rescued each other from hell on earth.

Review:
Ashley Harrison, Danielle Downs, and William Stevens are just three of the victims of the tornados that hit Alabama in 2011 – all three were college students at the University of Alabama, who died when a tree fell on the house where they were taking shelter during the storm. They are three names that are imprinted on my memory after listening to What Stands in a Storm? But over 300 people died during the storm and the author, Kim Cross gave homage to all of them through her telling of these three days – it was poignant and moving – I even ended up tearing up a few times. What Stands in a Storm was told through the eyes of the people who both survived the storm and those who perished in it – through text messages, voicemails, facebook posts; from interviews with family and friends. These memories formed the basis for a narrative that struck fear into me – I felt like I was watching the storm bear down on me – not knowing what was coming next – just waiting for it to hit.

I often find that non-fiction leaves me feeling rather detached because of how its written, but What Stands in the Storm? wasn’t like that. I was tearing up while listening to it – in fact, I had to pull over the car a few times to wipe tears away. I can remember the last book that did that to me – it was one about the Canadian Army and deaths in Afghanistan. I attribute these emotions not only to the writing style of the author, but also the narration of Tracy Brunjes. She is a new to me narrator – and from taking a quick peak at her name on audible, only had 4 books to her name. Unfortunately, while I would like to listen to more by her, those other books aren’t really my thing – but i’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for other stuff in the future.

What Stands in a Storm? is a book that will stick with me and is well deserving of the 4.5 star rating that I gave it.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Girl in the Blue Coat – Monica Hesse

girl-in-the-blue-coatGirl in the Blue Coat
Author: Monica Hesse
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Natalia Payne
Run Time: 9hrs, 42min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days finding and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the German army invaded. Her illegal work keeps her family afloat, and Hanneke also likes to think of it as a small act of rebellion against the Nazis.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person: a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such a dangerous task but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations—where the only way out is through.

Review:
It’s always hard to try and capture thoughts for books that engage you so emotionally that you are just left wondering what happened? For me Girl in the Blue Coat did just that – as soon as I started listening to the fabulous audiobook narrated by Natalia Payne I was sucked in. Historical fiction set during in Amsterdam in 1943, a time period where the Jewish population were required to wear the yellow star of identification and where significant portions of the Jewish population were starting to be forcibly rounded up and sent to various concentration camps. Hanneke is one of those members of the Jewish population, trying to maintain some normalcy of a life with all the restrictions being placed on them, and attempting to stick it to the Nazi’s by buying and selling goods on the blackmarket. All of that changed when she was asked to help locate a Jewish teenager who was being hidden by one of her customers and who had seemingly disappeared into thin air. What follows is a mystery of who is the girl in the blue coat and where did she go?

But this wasn’t just a story of the girl in the blue coat – it was a story of bravery, resistance, growing up in the face of adversity, betrayal of friends and so much more. I’ll admit that Hanneke drove me kind of nuts at times – for a 19 year old, especially one who had been doing some of the work that she had been doing seemed remarkably naive at times – especially when faced with working with the resistance. Her behavior at times reminded me kind of a spoiled brat – taking risks with no care for others, especially when she was Jewish in a community where Jews were being rounded up daily and sent to concentration camps – it just seemed like at times she was almost asking to be caught. It was the interplay between Hanneke and the other characters – Bas/Elspeth/Mirjam/Amalia that really added depth to the story. I really what to know what happens in the future with Hanneke and Elspeth’s relationship as well as Bas and Hanneke.

Natalia Payne was a new narrator to me but i can’t wait to listen to more books narrated by her in the future. I have to admit that I don’t really know how a dutch accent should sound to be able to judge her on accuracy, but it seemed pretty close to what i’ve heard in other historical fiction/movies set in the same time period. She was able to instill the right amount of fear into me during certain portions of the book, as well as making me cry in other portions. There were definately a few times where I almost needed to pull over because I wanted to cry. I want to thank Hachette Audio for allowing me the opportunity to listen to this book and as an added bonus for the audiobook listeners, there is an interview at the end with Monica Hesse (the author); the narrator and one of the Hachette producers who was responsible for bringing this book into both print and audio. I’m excited to see what more Monica Hesse writes about in the future. A solid 4 stars for both the story itself and the narration.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Underground in Berlin – Marie Jalowicz Simon

underground-in-berlinUnderground in Berlin
Author: Marie Jalowicz Simon
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Ellen Archer
Run Time: 11hrs 47min
Narrator Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
In 1941, Marie Jalowicz Simon, a nineteen-year-old Berliner, made an extraordinary decision. All around her, Jews were being rounded up for deportation, forced labor, and extermination. Marie took off her yellow star, turned her back on the Jewish community, and vanished into the city.

In the years that followed, Marie lived under an assumed identity, forced to accept shelter wherever she found it. Always on the run, never certain whom she could trust, Marie moved between almost twenty different safe-houses, living with foreign workers, staunch communists, and even committed Nazis. Only her quick-witted determination and the most hair-raising strokes of luck allowed her to survive.

Review:
I’m a little bit belated in posting this audiobook review (like 6 months late)…but it was a book that made me think about the lengths people go to avoid getting caught. When most of us think about Jewish people who managed to survive the Holocaust, we think of Anne Frank and her family who lived in the Attic until they were turned in; or people like Corrie Ten Boom who helped hide people in a crawl space – but there were others that managed to survive by just staying a step ahead of the Germans – Marie Jalowicz was one of those people.

What made her story remarkable (at least to me) was how unremarkable it really was – it wasn’t sit on the edge of the chair thrilling, but more of a roller coaster ride – sometimes gentle and lulling and other times ricocheting you around the track…mostly wondering if she could actually manage to avoid the Nazi’s for 4(ish) years until the war ended…obviously since she wrote a book about her experiences she did (does that count as a spoiler?) So much of the story seemed just ehhh, she went here and stayed on a couch and had to keep really quiet so she wasn’t discovered during the day and the moved to another location and did the same thing. I think that the story being remarkedly unremarkable is why I only gave it 3.5 stars – I enjoyed portions of the story but the internal me wanted a bit more excitment (isn’t that kind of pathetic?)

Its kind of weird – I could have sworn that i’d listened to something narrated by Ellen Archer before, but looking through my audiobook files – I can’t find anything by her (which means, i’m either going nuts, or simply didn’t log it)…anyways, one of the good things about listening to non-fiction/biographies is that narrators don’t need to deviate too much from a normal reading voice (differentiating characters etc) – so it was a solid listen with no frills – a story that was relatively simple, with a relatively simple narration style – i could easily get used to something like that.

Overall, I gave Underground in Berlin 3.5 stars and the narration 4 stars. Its a solid autobiography that while not exciting is insightful into how people survived persecution during World War 2.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover – Sarah MacLean

never judge a lady by her coverNever Judge a Lady By Her Cover
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: #4 in the Rules of Scoundrels series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Justine Eyre
Run Time: 11hrs 55min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Publisher

Description:
By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a Duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear… including her heart.

Review:
Sometimes I just have to laugh at how I end up listening to different audiobooks – specifically, I’ve had the ebook of Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover on my kindle since it was released in 2014 and yet, I hadn’t read it…so it was kind of like fate when it showed up as a nominee for the romance category on the Audies (yeah, I know this review is a little bit late, overcome by events has been a standard term of phrase in my life recently). It seemed like perfect timing because I was in the mood for some historical romance and I’ve been a fan of Justine Eyre’s narration in the past.

If you had been reading (or listening) to the Rules of Scoundrels series then we knew who Chase was (as it been revealed in a previous book) – but even before that, I had wondered who Chase and looking back there were hints that were there but that I had kind of glazed over. And Duncan West…what can I say about him – its hard because I hated him at first, then grew to like him, then hated him again and then liked him again – it was a very love-hate relationship. But that just made the ride to their HEA all the more enjoyable. There were a few times where I just wanted to scream (and it is probably good that no one rides in my car with me while i’m listening to audiobooks)…and other times, where I just wanted to sit and wait to see what happened (causing me to be slightly late to work).

Justine Eyre’s narration fit the story perfectly as it had will the previous books I’d listened to by her – her narration style just fit perfectly with Sarah MacLean’s writing – there is a witty banter style to her narration that just is perfect. As I hadn’t listened to the previous books in the series – I had my own idea of how I thought Chase/Georgina would sound and amazing enough, Justine’s narration was actually pretty close to how I envisioned Chase would sound. Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover was a solid way to close out the series and overall, I gave it 3.5 stars and Justine Eyre’s narration 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Opening Up – Lauren Dane

opening upOpening Up
Author: Lauren Dane
Series: #1 in the Ink & Chrome series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Sasha Dunbrooke
Audiobook Length: 9hrs, 55min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
The men of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle shop are great with their hands… and they’re not afraid to get dirty.

PJ is exactly the kind of woman Twisted Steel owner Asa Barrons doesn’t need. The last thing he wants to do is mix business with pleasure, and PJ has some of the best custom detailing he’s ever seen. But the chemistry between them won’t be denied, and soon he’s introducing her to a whole new world in the bedroom, pushing her far beyond anything she’s ever experienced. PJ finds she can’t get enough, but how far is too far before he consumes her completely?

Review:
I’ve lost track of how many Lauren Dane books i’ve read over the years, but in all that time, I’ve never actually listened to one (that actually surprises me because of the amount of audiobooks that i’ve listened to over the years). Typically, I know when I pick up a book of hers, i’ll be immediately sucked it – that it will be hot and steamy at times (and oh wow, was it!), that will likely be a quick read (mostly because once I start reading, I can’t stop!).

In Opening Up, we meet Asa Barrons, one of the owners of Twisted Steel – a custom car business – he is the kind of tough guy with a soft interior that Dane does really well as a character – he’s all tough and business, but that right woman, just makes him fall to his knees. And that right woman, is PJ…I’ll admit that having a woman go by her initials isn’t necessarily a common occurance, in real life or in books, but she countered Asa’s hardness in all the right ways. its hard for me to describe what I liked and didn’t like about PJ – I think for the most part it was how she continued to face shit (for lack of a better word) from her family (specifically her father) and yet, didn’t let that deter her from her dreams/wishes of doing custom paint work on cars (which is just perfect considering the business that Asa owns). she also wasn’t a dainty flower, as seems to be the common character in romance novels – she wasn’t a virgin and knew exactly what she wanted from men and in bed. While there were a few times that I wanted to scream in fustration about how her family treated her, I loved seeing PJ grow and overcome their objections and find her way towards Asa.

Sasha Dunbrooke is a new to me narrator, but i can guarantee it won’t be the last time that I listen to her. She managed to hit all my emotional buttons at various times during Opening Up – I both laughed and cried in several places, sucked into the storyline that I was. I was so glad that I had a substantial amount of time that I was out and running and errands because i got to essentially binge listen a good half of the book in the space of a couple of days, rather than just getting to listen in fits and starts. I honestly have no real complaints about Sasha’s narration – its hard to pick if there is anything that I disliked about her narration…she had a good range of voices for the various characters, her men sounded like men (and not like women with a really bad falsetto)…overall, just a solid and enjoyable listen.

Overall, I gave the book itself 3.5 stars and the narration 4 stars. Fans of Lauren Dane will enjoy Opening Up and I recommend to people who like hot, sexy romance with a bad boy and slightly bad girl.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Seven Years – Dannika Dark

Paranormal nominee banner

seven yearsSeven Years
Author: Dannika Dark
Series: #1 in the Seven series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Nicole Poole
Run Time: 11hrs and 24min
Audiobook Producer: Tantor Media
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Tantor Media

!Warning Spoilers!

Description:
Seven years ago, my world ended.
Seven years later, my new life began.

It’s been seven years since Lexi Knight lost her brother in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of his death, her brother’s best friend shows up unexpectedly – a man she hasn’t seen since the funeral. He is no longer the boy Lexi once knew, but a dangerous-looking man with tattoos and dark secrets. He broke her trust and abandoned her family, yet what he reveals makes it impossible to stay angry. Lexi has been secretly infatuated with Austin since childhood, so finding out he’s a Shifter just makes him sexier. Dammit.

Austin Cole has returned to the city where he grew up, and just in time. He’s lived a hard life these past seven years, and the shadows of his past are threatening to destroy Lexi’s family. It’s time that she learned the truth about her brother, but there is a shocking twist that Austin never saw coming. Now he must protect her family when her mother and sister wind up in mortal danger. Will Lexi learn to accept the truth about who he is, and can Austin salvage a relationship from the ruins of their past?

Destiny will find you.

Review:
Out of all the books in the paranormal category for the Armchair Audies, this is the one that had me worried the most about the listening – which is kind of funny, since this kind of paranormal romance is normally right up my alley – but I had previously tried to read the book last year and ended up putting it aside around 50%. Most of my concerns about the book had to do with the world building (or lack there of) and where the story was going. However, earlier this year, the audiobook started to be mentioned more and more in several of the Audiobook groups on Goodreads and people seemed to really like the narration. So when it was nominated for an audie, i figured that i would give it another chance, since I know that often not so good books can be made more enjoyable with the right narrator. Unfortunately for me, while Nicole Poole made the book slightly more enjoyable, it was a struggle for me to finish listening.

For me, my biggest issue with this listen was (as with my previous attempt) the world building. Lexi was just a normal girl (or so she thought) and then all of a sudden, she discovers their are shifters in the world and not only that, that she is one. And she just takes it all in stride…i mean, i don’t know about you, but if i found out that I was a shifter, I would probably freak the shit out. From there, I just had trouble with any suspension of disbelief – i mean, i know that is required when reading books with paranormal elements, but yeah, I just didn’t understand the world that the author had created and that for me made the book a struggle. Honestly, I do think that the story in general had potential, if the world building had been stronger/more developed. But with the number of people that enjoyed this book, then maybe its just me.

I feel kind of bad for Nicole Poole, because to me no matter what she did, I felt that she was working with a substandard book and I had a hard time judging her fairly because of my lack of enjoyment for the storyline. That being said, I think she has a lot of strengths as a narrator – she had a diverse range of voices for the different characters. Her pacing seemed to be spot on (but that being said, i did consider speeding it up in a few places to just get the book moving). I even didn’t really have an issue with her male narrations, which for me, is often where I have issues – male narrators sometimes struggle with female voices and vice versa. But her narration of Austin was solid – it didn’t seem to be too wishy-washy (for lack of a better word) with solid tenor intonation throughout. She also did a good job with the narration of Lexi’s little sister, which is also something that I have found narrators struggle with, the little kid which out it being too high-pitched and babyish. The audiobook production by Tantor Media was the same high quality that I’ve come to expect from them, based on my previous experiences.

Overall, while Nicole Poole’s narration was solid and I gave it a solid 3.5 stars, unfortunately, it couldn’t counter-act a substandard story, which I only gave 2.5 stars. While others enjoyed Seven Years and the subsequent books in the series, it just didn’t work for me. But hey, that is what makes reading (and listening awesome), not everything works for everyone, which is why its great that there are so many options out there.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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