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Audiobook Review – The Duke’s Holiday – Maggie Fenton

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the duke's holidayThe Duke’s Holiday
Author: Maggie Fenton
Series: #1 in the Regency Romp series

Narrator: Sue Pitkin
Run Time: 15hrs 11 minutes
Audiobook Producer: Brilliance Audio
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

The cold, precise Duke of Montford demands things his way: neatly ordered, in place, and adhering closely to the rules. So he is furious when he learns that the tenant of his ducal estate has been dead for a year, and a stranger has been running the Honeywell business–which, by contract, is now Montford’s. When he arrives in Yorkshire to investigate, he discovers that the estate is being run by an unruly, tomboyish woman–and a bluestocking at that!
Fiery redhead Astrid Honeywell is independent and educated. She’s been handling the Honeywell family business for years. And she’s not about to relinquish it to anyone–not even Montford–because of some archaic contract.
Montford and Astrid have an instant hatred for one another…and an undeniable, unspeakable attraction. They must resist this improper desire–after all, Montford has a fiancée in London. But when Astrid’s life is placed in terrible danger, Montford finds he may be willing to risk everything to save her.

It’s hard to describe my overall reaction to The Duke’s Holiday, with the exception of, it was totally not what I expected. I mean, I went into the audio of this book, expecting a very traditional historical romance, staid characters with a fairly predictable storyline (because unfortunately after reading/listening to so much historical romance over the years, it all starts to blend together). What I got was a historical romantic comedy that had me laughing out loud for a good portion of the book and by laughing out loud, I mean like serious, belly clutching laughter.

Not only was The Duke’s Holiday full of antics that reminded me of something you would see on a comedy show, but it departed from the norms of the time period with Astrid, the heroine, running her families brewery, under the guise of her father, who was unable. Enter, the Duke of Montford (because he was NEVER called by his real name of Cyril…not that I blame him), who owned the estate (although that was up for debate if you asked any of the Honeywell’s) and who liked things very proper – in fact, at times, I wondered if he maybe had a touch of obsessive-compulsive behavior with his need to control things. It was fun listening to the Duke shed his properness (is that a real world) as he became more relaxed and free at the Honeywell’s. I’ll admit the scene where the author went into great detail about the foot race that is held every year and involves drinking a pint of Honeywell Brew approximately ever 1/4 mile, made me nearly run the car of the road, i was laughing so hard. That is totally something I would sign up to do in my insanity and the following scenes where the Duke is singing druken limericks was just as entertaining. The author had the raunchy nature of drunken shenanigans pegged perfectly. As another reviewer on Goodreads stated, both Astrid and the Duke were perfectly unperfect (or was is unperfectly perfect)…either way, that statement sums up my thoughts almost perfectly on the book.

Once again in my Audie’s listening I came across a new to me narrator (which seems to have been the theme for this year). As with others, I can safely say that I will be adding more narration by Sue Pitkin to my listening future. Its honestly hard to pinpoint exactly what i liked about her narration though – it wasn’t one specific thing (you know, somehow its how the narrator differentiates characters or how they handle pacing of the story etc)…for me, it was just a solid combination of everything that made The Duke’s Holiday an all-around solid romance audiobook. As mentioned above, one of my favorite scenes, due in part to the narration, was the druken duke – in fact, i remember tweeting the narrator after I had gotten done listening to that chapter because I had to let her know how much I had enjoyed it. While I know that voices of the opposite gender are at times a struggle for narrators, I thought Sue Pitkin handled not only Monford’s narration perfectly, but also that of his companions (one a well described fop and the other a walking train-wreck). I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to them because I have a feeling the other two books in the series will be about them.

A solid 4 stars for both the book itself and the narration – this is a book that probably never would have caught my eye if not nominated, but will be an author that I watch out for in the future. Warning to all listeners, driving while listening to this book may result in distracted driving from laughing so hard you card (just so you have been warned…)

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Posted by on April 29, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review


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Review – ‘Twas the Night After Christmas – Sabrina Jeffries

twas the night after christmas‘Twas the Night After Christmas
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Series: #6 in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series (can be read stand-alone)

Review Copy Provided by Galley Books via Edelweiss

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has been estranged from his mother for most of his life. When his mother’s new companion, Mrs. Camilla Stuart, writes to tell him that his mother is seriously ill, he goes home. But when he learns that the lovely widow tricked him in order to effect a holiday reconciliation, he refuses to stay—unless she meets his “terms.” Somewhere between trying to seduce the beautiful Camilla and struggling with the cruel memories of his childhood Christmases, Pierce discovers that not only does forgiveness go two ways, but that love can blossom even in the coldest of winters.

Ok, so this is one of the reviews where I admit that I have too many series in progress and that I am an idiot…when I was browsing Edelweiss and came across this book (being as it is book 6 in a series), I could have sworn that I had read the previous books – so my finger got click-itis (I wonder if i can get that as an actual medical diagnosis) and I got it on my kindle…to realize that I hadn’t even started the series…I did have book 1 somewhere in the archives of my kindle, but I hadn’t read it, or the 4 that followed…and being a tad OCD like I am, I couldn’t read it out of order (even though I was told by friends that i could)…so this review is a bit delayed, which I read the other ones in the series, but I am now all caught up… (no laughing from the peanut galley over my antics…its the old adage, too many books, too little time)

Anyways, after that digression (aren’t you glad you read it) – here is my review…I had really enjoyed reading the previous books in the series. i am a sucker for those that feature a family or a close-knit group of friends (a la Lisa Kleypas, or Stephanie Laurens as alternative authors), so seeing how the mystery emerged and was solved was great. However, this book, which loosely linked (Pierce, the main character, was a secondary character in #4 – To Wed A Wild Lord – didn’t really fit into what I was expecting – it was much more of a stand-alone traditional historical romance (not that that is bad, just wasn’t quite what I expected). Although, my favorite character from the series, Jackson, the Bow Street Runner made an appearance.

I did enjoy how the author was able to work in the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem into the story. I grew up with it but honestly didn’t realize that it was around in the early 1800’s – although then called “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.” so it was interesting seeing how some Christmas traditions that still exist today were carried out nearly two centuries again (in about 10 years time…).

I think that my biggest issue with the story was the feud/disagreement/mystery (whatever you want to call it) between Pierce and his mother. While it was a significant part of the story, it was just underwhelming to me. I felt like it, while it could have been center stage, kind of took a backseat to the romance (not that that is bad, I just wanted more). Overall I would give this book a solid 3 stars – it was for me, a comfort read…since I rarely re-read, I can’t say that I would see myself reading it again, but at the same time, it is the type of book that I seek out when I just want to spend the day bumming around doing nothing.

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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Book Review


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