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Tag Archives: 3.5 stars

Audiobook Review – The Marriage Games – C.D. Reiss

The Marriage Games
Author: C.D. Reiss
Series: #1 in the The Games Duet
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Elena Wolfe, Sebastian York
Run Time: 9hrs, 15min
Audiobook Producer: Flip City Media Inc.
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
THIRTY DAYS
That’s all Adam Steinbeck demands of his wife.
Thirty days in a remote cottage, doing everything he demands. After that, he’ll sign her divorce papers and give her complete ownership of their company.
THIRTY DAYS
That’s how long he has to rediscover the man he once was. The Dominant Master he hid when he fell in love with her five years ago.
THIRTY DAYS
She wants the business they built badly enough to go to the cottage for a month. Cut off ties to the world and do his bidding. She can submit to him with her body, but her heart will never yield.
She thinks this is his pathetic attempt to repair their marriage.
She’s wrong.

Review:
The Marriage Games is the second of the two books in my Armchair Audies listens that I had previously read prior to the nominees being announced. I discovered C.D. Reiss last year when her Coda series was nominated for another Audie – so I was excited to see her with another nomination this year. But I will its hard to describe the initial disappointment I felt when I read The Marriage Games earlier in the year – reading it, I just didn’t feel the emotion that I felt like I should have – I just felt really detached from the whole storyline – which is a complete opposite experience to how I felt when I listened to it more recently.

Anyways, since I had already read The Marriage Games, I was able to invest myself more fully into my enjoyment of the audiobook – since I knew what was going to happen (although as normal, I did discover that there were things I had missed in my initial reading of it – which considering how long it took me to read it initially, is surprising). Since I was able to focus more on the audio than the story – let me tell you how much I LOVED the narration by Elena Wolfe and Sebastian York! I know like knees going weak, making me want to drool in sexiness type narration! (and I don’t say that often).

I love how audiobooks with dual narrators has developed over time – I have listened to all different combinations – predominantly one narrator with highlights of an other, narrators that alternate POV’s, but still narrate opposite gender if they appear in that specific POV and then there is a true duet, like the Marriage Games, where Elena and Sebastian were fully integrated so that Elena did all the female narration and Sebastian all the male – it was like listening to an actual conversation where there were multiple men and women speaking in a holistic way. I actually enjoyed my listen of the Marriage Games so much, that I went ahead and bought the second book in the duet (Separation Games) to listen to as soon as I was done – which I hadn’t felt inclined to do after I finished reading it a few months previously.

The Marriage Games was definitely a case where 2 brilliant narrators took a slightly less than impressive book (at least to me) and elevated it to knee-weakening level. While my rating for the Marriage Games stayed at 3.5 stars, the audiobook narration was easily 4.5 stars. Elena Wolfe and Sebastian York is a narrator duet that I would love to see more of.

 

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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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Review – Sweet Serendipity – Jamie Farrell

sweet-serendipitySweet Serendipity
Author: Jamie Farrell
Series: Part of Kindle Worlds tied to Hope Falls series (Melanie Shawn)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
Wyatt Owens has had a crush on his best friend’s little sister for as long as he can remember. So when he unexpectedly finds her at his buddy’s vacation home – naked, no less! – when he arrives for a week of hanging in Hope Falls, he can’t decide if this is his lucky day, or if he’s in for the longest week of his life.

Skye Ryder has never much liked Wyatt. He’s bossy and disapproving and he never does anything wrong. But she’s also never been alone with him before. Nor has she ever noticed how sexy he can be, especially when he’s showing off his military-issue muscles and flashing those rare smiles. She’s not looking for love, but the man she hated is suddenly the man she can’t resist.

Review:
It’s been a while since I’ve read and/or reviewed one of Jamie’s books – mostly because she is a good friend of mine and I struggle to sometimes remain impartial on my reviews (because I could go total fan girl). But when she mentioned that she had been asked to participate in Melanie Shawn’s Kindle Worlds novellas for the Hope Falls series – I was intrigued (and even though I haven’t read any of the Hope Falls series, I’m now planning on it). If you aren’t familiar with Kindle Worlds, authors license the use of their fictional world to other authors to write novellas in – stories need to stay to the same vibe of the original series (so no vampires in a historical romance world) – I haven’t read many of these Kindle Worlds books, although I’ve been intrigued – so Sweet Serendipity seemed the right way to dip my toe in.

Not only did Sweet Serendipity feature a romance trope that I love (friend falling for best friends sibling), but it also featured a smexy military and an adorable, yet slightly klutzy young boy. Having known Jamie for several years (and her kids through her various social media postings) – I have no doubt that some of Nicolas’s adventures may have been inspired by her own kids. I love that when she features kids in her stories, they aren’t just there for added kid drama, but rather that they contribute to the story in often significant ways (in this instance, some of Wyatt and Skye’s relationship was due in part to Nicholas wanting them both with him during certain events in the story). Skye’s backstory was intriguing and her ex was (for lack of a better term) a dick – so seeing her struggle a bit with that as she and Wyatt developed a relationship make the book feel more real to me.

If you are looking for a small town romance, with a hot military hero and a (fairly) stable headed heroine – then Sweet Serendipity might be a book for you to try. You can purchase Sweet Serendipity from Amazon.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Book 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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Review – Doing it Over – Catherine Bybee

doing it overDoing it Over
Author: Catherine Bybee
Series: #1 in the Most Likely To series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over—is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina’s quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.

Wyatt Gibson never liked the big city. River Bend suits the ruggedly handsome builder just fine. Wyatt knows he’s home, even if that means being charmed by the appearance of Melanie and her spunky, adorable daughter. Is Wyatt’s calm devotion—even amid a coming storm—enough to convince Mel she may have found a home to call her own, a family that never leaves, and a true love to last a lifetime?

Review:
I got to say, the idea of students being “most likely to” anything is a tradition that i don’t a) fully understand and b) and find that they might be kind of a form of reverse psychology – you tell someone they are the most likely to go jail and they use that to clean up their act; or most likely to succeed but they end up failing at that…which is where Doing It Over takes you – Melanie had been voted most likely to succeed in high school, but then a family upheaval changed the course of her life and she found herself down on her luck, scraping for every penny, driving a car thats held together by the paint on the exterior…but you know what they say, you can always go home again (or is it, you can never go home again…either way)…her home and her high school friends are where she headed when she needs to start over.

I have to say that compared to other Catherine Bybee books, this one didn’t suck me in as quickly (I mean, I devoured her Weekday Brides series), whereas with Doing it Over, I took me time with the reading. Not saying that Doing It Over was a bad book, it wasn’t, it was just that it was different to other books by her – to me it had a bit more of a women’s lit feel, in conjunction with thee romance between Melanie and Wyatt – compared to the straight romance of her other books. But that being said, seeing Mel with her friends was one of my favorite parts of the book and i really hope that they get their HEA’s in the next books in the series. There was an interesting mystery element to Doing It Over – I’ll admit that I wasn’t quite sure if it was needed and kind of saw where it was going on pretty early in the story arc.

As with her previous books, I think one of the strengths of Ms Bybee’s writing is her character development, especially her secondary characters. She has a way of writing very colorful characters who you can’t help but love – in this instance, I think Miss Gina is probably one of my favorites – she was the perfect mix of helpful small town matron and quirky bed and breakfast own (I think possibly more on the quirky site than anything else). Mel’s ex husband was a douchebag which I think the author nailed perfectly and the mystery guest…well…he definately gave me the chills at times. I also appreciated that Mel’s daughter was an integral part of the story and was a character in her own right, rather than just being an after-thought like many children in romance novels.

Overall, I gave Doing It Over 3.5 stars, but I am intrigued about where the author will take the series in later books. I’d recommend this for fans of romance with a bit of female friendship focus; also those who might like romance with a bit of mystery without going a full romantic suspense route.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Lycan Fallout 2: Fall of Man – Mark Tufo

Paranormal nominee banner

fall of manLycan Fallout 2: Fall of Man
Author: Mark Tufo
Series: #2 in the Rise of the Werewolf series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Sean Runnette
Run Time: 11hrs and 23min
Audiobook Producer: Podium Publishing
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Producer

Description:
Mike is back. Devastated by his loss he strikes out on a doomed journey to wipe the earth of the Lycan scourge, with his faithful companion Oggie by his side. Bailey, a distant relative of Mike’s best friend BT, joins him but for different reasons. Azile struggles to reign him in, while a world already pushed to the edge begins its fall over the precipice. When all is lost, can anything ever be won? Join Mike on another epic adventure as he fights foes both new and old

Review:
Every year when I listen to my chosen armchair audies nomination, there is at least one book that I discover, that not only is totally new to me but one that never would have crossed my path. But Fall of Man has so far (after listening to multiple books in several categories) that book for me in 2016. I’ll admit that while I like dystopia type stories, those that are based around a nuclear holocaust type scenario, typically don’t pique my interest, but this was intriguing with the mix of both werewolves and lycan, which in Rufo’s world are 2 separate/distinct beings (one good and one evil).

I was a bit concerned as I started to listen to the Fall of Man because it is the second book in a series. Especially when the description of the book ending with “Join Mike on another epic adventure as he fights foes both new and old” – I had to wonder, what Mike gotten up to in the previous book? words like epic were used, so i expected something that was a roller-coaster of a ride and Tufo didn’t disappoint – while the narration of Fall of Man was 11hrs long, it definitely didn’t feel like it. There was very much a journey-ish feel to the story – as Mike traveled through a country that had been destroyed and was trying to recover. I think one of the more interesting scenes to me was when Mike used a rifle to shoot at invaders that were encroaching on territory – but as technology they were so far advanced from anything that was currently in existance, but Rufo had a way of writing the scene that it reminded me of when I was learning to shoot my rifle when preparing for deployment a few years ago – the adjustment of the sights, aiming firing, fixing again, etc.

Sean Runnette is another new to me narrator that i have encountered during this years Armchair Audies, although he has an extensive backlist (like 200+ audiobooks extensive) – although since the majority of them are in the sci-fi/fantasy realm so not necessarily a genre i listen a lot to. That being said, he had a very smooth reading style that just sucked you in. i felt like I was on the journey with Mike – seeing the world that had been destroyed through his eyes; fighting the lycans and making friends with the werewolves. The speed and pacing of Runnette’s narration was perfect – there are times where I want to speed up or slow down the audible app, but in this case, i didn’t.

The audiobook producer of Fall of Man – Podium Publishing – was also new to me, but i found that the audio was high quality and well produced. Looking at their website, they have lots of audios I would be interested in listening to from many new to me and familiar narrators (hello, R.C. Bray). So I know they will be on my list in the future.

For me Fall of Man was what I am terming my surprise listen of the 2016 Armchair Audies. An unknown author and narrator to me but both of whom I will pick up again in the future. Overall, I gave 3.5 stars for the story itself and 4 stars for narration.

 

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