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MaryLou Hoffman
Bio
Between Kindle and Audiobooks, I review about 450 - 500 books/year! Since I was 4 years old, I've had a book in my hand at all times. (I was the kid that had to be pushed out the door to get fresh air - and I'd still carry my book to read under a tree.) Audiobooks are my source of sanity during a 12.5-14 hour/week commute.
The Devil’s Spare Change “THE DEVIL’S SPARE CHANGE is the second book in the Malone Brothers series. Though each book will stand alone, I highly recommend these yummalicious, sexy brothers and the women who love them, so why not read them all and in the order of release. When it comes to a Samantha Cole story, I know I’m going to be glued to my device. I did not want to leave the car! Between the romance and the suspense, I was captivated. My heart belongs to every book hero penned by this author. Narration: Donovan Kane is a superb narrator with a rich voice. I only noticed one mispronunciation (hearth), but his enunciation, pitch, tone, and dramatic flair more than make up for a single word. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobooks Unleashed, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: THE DEVIL’S SPARE CHANGE Series: Malone Brothers #2 Category /Genre: Romantic Suspense Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Listenability: NSFW Received from: Samantha Cole (as an Audible gifted copy)”
Luck at First Sight “LUCK AT FIRST SIGHT is the fourth book in the Kismet Bay series. Though each short story will stand on its own, I think it would better if you read them all and in the order of release. There is mention of a town legend, but it wasn’t explained – more assumed that that the reader knew the legend from previous books. Other than that, this short story can stand on its own. Apparently, the legend of the town of Kismet Bay is that the town’s magic will always lead you to your true love. Sage was hard-headed enough to leave town, to try to thwart the magic. Fate and magic have other plans and they always win. Happily…. Ever after. This is the kind of story that, though short it makes me smile. Love wins, no matter what. Where there is a will – and true love – the people in the relationship will find solutions. Add in some meddling friends and family and it really is the stuff to make me smile (all in the time it takes to put together dinner). Narration: Christian Drerup did a beautiful job of providing the voices for the characters and making me believe in the magic and the romance. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobooks Unleashed, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: LUCK AT FIRST SIGHT Series: Kismet Bay #4 Category /Genre: Contemporary Romance Recommended for: 16+ Listenability: OK for most ears Received from: Dawn Brower (as an Audible gifted copy)”
New Year Revelation “NEW YEAR REVELATION is the second book in the Kismet Bay series. Though each will stand on its own, it is much better to read them in the order of release. You’ll understand the town better that way. This is a sweet and simple romance. Since it’s a very short story (about 45 minutes on audible), the author –wisely – didn’t try to throw too much into this story of unrequited love. It was a satisfying and enjoyable listen as I folded a load of laundry (true story LOL). Narration: The narrator, Carly Kincaid, has a pleasant voice. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobooks Unleashed, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: NEW YEAR REVELATION Series: Kismet Bay #2 Category /Genre: Contemporary Romance Recommended for: 18+ Listenability: OK for most ears Received from: Dawn Brower (as an Audible gifted copy)”
All Lies (“Lies” Mystery Thriller Series Book 1) “(5 for the story & 3 for the narration) ALL LIES is the first book in the Lies series. Though each mystery will stand on its own, the series is a continuing relationship between Sabrina and Del. I strongly recommend reading the series in the order of release. This story spans three generations of “idiots,” thieves, and murderers. There is romance, suspense, treasure hunting, twists, and danger. This is the reason to occasionally put down the “bodice rippers” and read a little something different! I absolutely adore that this is based in historical facts. The research must have been fun, extensive, and its own jigsaw puzzle. If you love the based-on-fact story, read/listen to the notes at the end; I found it fascinating! Narration: Greg Hernandez’s narration style reminds me of the old film noire announcers. That’s very difficult to maintain for seven plus hours (and at times a bit on the boring side), but appropriate to the genre. If this isn’t his first book, I’d be incredibly surprised. He doesn’t have pause and emphasis of word choice mastered as yet. It was probably a cold read as well. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobookworm Promotions Adopt-an-Audiobook, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: ALL LIES Series: Lies #1 Category /Genre: Mystery, Thriller Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Listenability: NSFW Received from: Andrew Cunningham (as an Audible gifted copy)”
Waiting For Him “WAITING FOR HIM is the third book in the Trident Security series. Each will stand-alone, but it is still best to read in order for the overall character developments. I have given my heart to the Sexy Six Pack, but Boomer’s reaction to seeing Kat for the first time in twelve years is absolutely swoon-worthy. (Okay, that’s my pun for the day, but you won’t know it until you also read the book.) All puns aside, it did make me sigh once I realized why. In fact, their love is one big sigh-fest! This series just keeps getting better and better. I will always want to read more about this amazing group of Doms/subs and their friends. Unfortunately, now I have to WAIT for the next book and that makes me sad. Samantha Cole is now listed in my top 10 go-to authors when I need something to read. I'll be waiting for her, just as Kat was waiting for Ben... Narration: Donovan Kane is the voice of the Trident Security team. It is everything decadent and sinful. There are a few mispronunciations, but forgiven for the timbre and deliciousness that is whispered in my ear. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobooks Unleashed, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: WAITING FOR HIM Series: Trident Security #3 Category /Genre: Contemporary Romance, BDSM Grammar/editing: book received as an unedited ARC / errors excused Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Received from: Samantha Cole (as an ARC gifted copy)”
His Angel: Trident Security Book 2 “HIS ANGEL is the second book in the Trident Security series. Each will stand-alone, but it is still best to read in order for the overall character developments. I love how we continue to meet and get to know the Sexy Six Pack and their friends. The romances are being formed as in any wonderful romance series. I especially love how Ms. Cole provides glimpses into pasts, not just of the current hero/heroine, but of other characters as needed to make the story more alive… knowing we’ll also need that information when it is that hero’s turn to turn to mush for his lady. The plot is still giving me goosebumps. Angie and Ian are perfect together – in and out of the bedroom! My only complaint is that I can’t live in these stories even longer. They are always over too soon, but that’s just me selfishly crying “more, more, more!” Oh, look, I have book 3… see ya’ later! Narration: Donovan Kane has perfected his “Dom voice” in reading for our favorite Sexy Six Pack. I love how well he is able to give different voices to all of the characters in each scene. He has mastered his craft and this is a beautiful example of it. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobooks Unleashed, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”
The Rest of Forever “THE REST OF FOREVER is a stand-alone paranormal romance. I want a guardian angel just like Damian. I mean every bit like him. I loved that this was a different angel falling in love story. I don’t want to give anything away by saying how it was different. I loved the intensity. I loved Damian trying to avoid his feelings until avoiding hurt more than accepting. I loved that everything wasn’t too easy, or too hard. I loved that April was a Texas spit-fire. I got the distinct feeling that her motto is “rules are just suggestions.” She certainly makes her own decisions! Damian and April’s relationship is a slow to build, undeniable, affection that must have been preordained. THE REST OF FOREVER is sexy, romantic, funny, and thought provoking. I absolutely loved it. This was my first book from this author and I hope she will include me in future tours and releases! Narration: Curt Bonnem’s voice reminds me of Rock Engle’s. He has a voice that is a soothing balm after a hectic day at work. Thank you for making my commute so much better this past week. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: THE REST OF FOREVER Series: N/A Category /Genre: Paranormal Romance, Audiobook Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Listenability: NSFW Received from: Carrie Pulkinen (as an Audible gifted copy)”
To Catch a Spirit “TO CATCH A SPIRIT is the first book in the Spirit Chasers series. They will need to be read in the order of release. WOW! There was a lot of emotional punch packed into this story. The subjects of fear, OCD, depression, and suicide were all written about with great empathy and understanding. I loved Allison and Logan; their unique gifts brought them together, drove them apart, and helped to heal them. They each have a best friend, Trent and Tina, who are perfect as the friends, but I think they may be perfect together in a future book. The plot was entertaining and the supernatural element was well thought out and woven into the details of the contemporary romance seamlessly. Narration: Nicole Blessing has a pleasant voice, but a monotone delivery. Even as she is reading the word, “excited,” she sounds as though she is thinking, “oatmeal.” Listening could be a cure for insomnia, but is not entertainment for my drive. However, she was doing better by the end of the book than she was at the beginning. I hate to say it, but a fantastic story was brought down by poor narration. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via getfreeaudiobooks.com, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: TO CATCH A SPIRIT Series: Spirit Chasers #1 Category /Genre: Paranormal Romance, Audiobook Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Listenability: NSFW Received from: Carrie Pulkinen (as an Audible gifted copy)”
A Gypys’s Christmas Kiss “A GYPSY'S CHRISTMAS KISS is the sixth book in the Connected by a Kiss series and the sixth book in the Scandal Meets Love series. IMHO this should have been book 3.5, since their relationship is mentioned in book four. If you haven’t started the series or haven’t yet read that far into the series, I would suggest reading this one before book four. That said, I adored Lulia’s and Fin’s story. This is a second-chance romance with an interesting twist, starting with their meet-cute in her father’s store when she was about 16 years old and he was a new duke of 20 years old. They didn’t see each other again for 12 years, but each recognized the other, had never forgotten the other, were drawn to, infatuated with, and curious about each other. I liked that Lulia was proud of heritage during a time when being Romani was looked down upon. Even more so, I liked that Fin didn’t care a fig about her Romani roots. He loved the woman, not her family tree. Christmas is a hard time for Fin. He assumed his title during the Christmastide when his father broke his neck on a horse that Fin gave him as a Christmas gift. Losing a parent a Christmas is hard enough, but he is dealing with guilt as well. Isn’t it wonderful when the right woman can come along to help a man to heal? I was rooting for them both from word one. This is the kind of story that never makes me sad, but adds to my happiness by the end. Right now (during this unprecedentedly depressing time in history), contentment is an especially desirable commodity. Since this book is a cross-over between two series, I will be looking for more in each of the series. Narration: Megan Green has a beautiful British-accented voice that is the perfect sound for this Regency romance. She did a wonderful job of differentiating between the different characters and it was a joy to listen to her. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobooks Unleashed, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: A GYPSY'S CHRISTMAS KISS Series: Scandal Meets Love #7; Connected by a Kiss #6 Category /Genre: Regency Historical Romance Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Listenability: NSFW Received from: Dawn Brower (as an Audible gifted copy)”
Wild Mountain Desire “WILD MOUNTAIN DESIRE is a romantic suspense full of secrets, twists, turns, and instant chemistry. Oh my! The last twist was definitely not expected, but I loved it! Narration: Ashley Taylor has a sweet voice and did a beautiful job with the narration. I loved how well she distinguished the different characters. She made it easy to visualize the scenes. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobooks Unleashed, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: WILD MOUNTAIN DESIRE Series: N/A Category /Genre: Romantic Suspense Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Listenability: NSFW Received from: Maura Burd (as an Audible gifted copy)”
Cuddling Sucks in Coffins “CUDDLING SUCKS IN COFFINS is the second of five books in the Slayer’s Reverse Harem series. They do need to be read in the order of release. This is another quick story in this reverse harem paranormal romance series. Though Belle speaks of fantasies of being with all of her vamps, she remains a one-at-a-time lover so far. I hope that she will explore more of those fantasies in future stories. The big, dark, unknown nasty, that is currently known as Paul has some frightening magic that kept me glued to my car seat and mad at the rain that was entirely too loud at times (LOL). You can bet I was rewinding to hear what the rain had washed away. I definitely want to listen to the rest of this series! I encourage anyone who enjoys paranormal smexy short stories to join the fun. My final thought: I love the titles! If you follow me at all, you know I love puns, playing on words, and playing with words. I say, “Well done, Miss Ryan!” Narration: The narrator, Melissa Schwairy, is a masterful storyteller. She gives her characters individual voices with emotions that match the text. She enunciates and pronounces well. I’ve already started a relisten, just to enjoy the narration again. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audiobookworm, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Category /Genre: Paranormal Romance Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Listenability: NSFW Received from: Holly Ryan (as an Audible gifted copy)”
What the Dog Ate “WHAT THE DOG ATE is a stand-alone romantic comedy. I was mad and crying through most of the book. Why the hell was Jackie Bouchard fictionalizing my life story? There are so many women who have worked their asses off to make their homes and their marriages wonderful, to make the family dreams realities, just to find out that while they were working, their other half was amusing themselves in another playground! Then I set aside my personal crap (thy name is Wade) and enjoyed Kona, Maggie, and her many supportive friends. There are wonderful emotional moments, tender and sweet. There are laugh out loud, zingy one liners (“I mean, come on, if they can put a man on the moon, we ought to be able to put one in your bedroom.”). There is Kona, a furbaby like no other. I applaud him for tattling on his Daddy! It may have cost $734 to remove those tiny purple panties, but “that woman” was exposed. He, like most pets, is Maggie’s best support and inspiration. I will read (listen to) any book Jackie Bouchard produces. This is the second one I’ve listened to from her and she is definitely one of my rising stars. Narration: Aisling Gray is a wonderful narrator with a clear beautiful voice. She gives distinct portrayal to each of the main characters. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: WHAT THE DOG ATE Series: N/A Category /Genre: Romantic Comedy Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Listenability: OK for ears Received from: Aisling Gray (as an Audible gifted copy)”
Covens, Cakes, and Big Mistakes “COVENS, CAKES, & BIG MISTAKES is the second book in The Witches of Pinecroft Cove series. Though each will stand on its own, I highly recommend reading both that have been released and in the order of release. This was a fun, entertaining, and enjoyable listen as I puttered back and forth to work. Between the humor and the light mystery it is absolutely my cup of tea. Just hold the poison, please. Narration: Stephanie Murphy is a wonderful narrator with a sweet voice. While most won’t be bothered by the mispronunciation, I do need to mention that the word library has two Rs in it. Since the word is used several times, it became like nails on a chalkboard to me. Not enough to bring down my rating of the book, but I did want to say something since I know that reviews help the authors and narrators improve their crafts. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy, my opinions are my own and are given freely. Title: COVENS, CAKES, & BIG MISTAKES Series: The Witches of Pinecroft Cove #2 Category /Genre: Cozy Mystery, Witches Recommended for: 14+ due to vocabulary & murder Listenability: OK for most ears Received from: Nicole St. Claire (as an Audible gifted copy)”
Stray Magic “STRAY MAGIC is a stand-alone, paranormal romance with a Cinderella theme. I only wish it were part of a series. I have to say it…. Oh, My, Dog! This was so cute! I love that the main characters were older and dealing with real issues – empty nesting, job hunting as an older person (trust me, age discrimination is real), and returning to dating after a long marriage. Cara’s fairy godmotherfather is adorable and had me laughing myself silly at times. He may have screwed up the spell – maybe? – but I like the way it worked out. I think Cara did too. I would love to read more from this new-to-me author. Narration: The narrator is perfect. There is nothing further to say about that! Honestly, I was never bored or felt hyped up while driving. This is what I want. The next time I need to escape life (but still drive safely), I will be popping this story back onto the player and listening again. Note: while I was given this book as a gifted audiobook copy, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”
Drawn to You: A Single Dad Opposites Attract Romance “DRAWN TO YOU is a stand-alone Mpreg shifter romance about finding life again after unimaginable loss. Both Dylan and Jack have endured tragic loss, and yet their lives couldn’t be more dissimilar. When chance brings them together, there is no denying the attraction between the two very different artists. I loved that they weren’t coy one another. Dylan’s family and Jack’s small pack are each amazing in their own ways and I would love to find out more about them all. This could easily be expanded into a series by choosing a direction and putting furry feet to the ground. I didn’t like that Jack, as an alpha, acted more like an Omega when it came to his health and the health of those around him. Major jerk points to him! Still, I understand the reason for it in relation to creating a story. Sometimes an author must be cruel to produce a work worth reading. Ripping our guts out in order to construct a masterpiece of beauty … or at least cuteness and reward. This is the first book I have read from either of these authors. I hope it won’t be my last. They provide humor, love, sexy, family, and community in a wonderfully, deep and moving story. Favorite line: Jack: “For the record, you’re all missing out. I could be bringing you the best hummus in Seattle thirty minutes from now.” “The thing is,” said Mark. “The best hummus in Seattle is still hummus.” Note: I love hummus, but this had me giggling for a long time. This is exactly how my friends yank on each other and I loved it. Narration: Jack Calihan has a rich baritone voice with a steady cadence, clarity, and good pronunciation. He is easy to listen to and I would definite pick up another book if he were the reader. It must have been fun for him to be reading a character with his own first name! There were a couple of production errors – overlaps and drags. These should have been caught and corrected before release. There was also one instance where Adam was called Avery, and I don’t know if that was a written error or a blooper that wasn’t caught. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via audiobookwormpromotions, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”
Goofy Newfies “Goofy Newfies is the first book in the Pet Set Series. The stories in this series do need to be read in the order of release. Lily is an author whose husband has recently been killed in a car accident. Then the journal article she wrote for herself, accidently got put in the wrong folder on her computer, her editor published it, and it went viral. Now, she’s a social-media, modern-day Cruella DeVille. She didn’t expect to meet the vet tech, Van, from next door. The cute vet tech… but she had to return the puppy that wiggled it’s way under the fence and in her kitty door. . I hope there will be more in this series. What other fun pets will come? Llama Drama? A Horse, of Course? Narration: Audra Cook is a wonderful narrator. She speaks clearly and gives appropriate drama to the situations of the characters. It was like listening to a dear friend tell a favorite story. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via getfreeaudiobooks, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”
Diamonds Don’t Cry “DIAMONDS DON’T CRY is the first book in the multi-author Mystifying Music series. Each will stand on its own. The only unifying factor is the magic of music. I love second chance romance stories. After ten years apart, JD has returned to stake his claim on the only heart that ever mattered to him. Scarlett is his only love, besides the baseball diamond. He just has to prove it to her. That’s what is wonderful about second chance romances. That proving – it’s not supposed to be easy, but it is the stuff that makes me swoon. I’d love to read about Scarlett’s sisters as this series continues. Narration: Rhonda Cusumano narrates and though it starts out a little rocky, she soon finds her own voice as she brings her characters to life. There were times that it was hard to tell which character was speaking because she was using the wrong voice for the line. That happens when an actor cold reads. Still, I like her voice and she does an excellent job at pronunciation of the difficult words. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via free audiobook promo codes (dot) com, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”
Vampires Don’t Give Hickeys “VAMPIRES DON’T GIVE HICKEYS is the first book in the Slayer’s Reverse Harem series. They will need to be read in the order of release. Anytime someone says “slayer,” we all immediately compare to Buffy. There is no comparison. There is no Angel, Spike, or any of the rest of the Scooby gang. Instead, there are three hot, hunky, undead men who are devoted to Belle before she is introduced to them. Eddie, Jacek, and Sawyer are Belle’s harem of hotties and each is uniquely able to help Belle in her duties as the slayer and to grow as a person. I like that it was a short story, but not rushed. I loved that there were touches of humor to keep it being as dark as the graveyard. Finally, one of the main things that I like is that the story (and Belle) didn’t immediately fall into a foursome. Instead, she – and we – gets to know all three of the new men in her life as individuals and as more than just their fangs. This is the first I have read from this author, but I would love to read her other series. I’ll be diving into book two of this series this week! Narration: I think I’ve found a new favorite! She does a beautiful job of creating a scene in the mind whether it is suspense, lust, humor, intensity, or anything in between. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”
Spirits, Pies, and Alibis “SPIRITS, PIES, & ALIBIS is the first book in The Witches of Pinecroft Cove series. Of course, this one needs to be read first as it introduces the world and island to the reader. It is yet to be seen if the future books will need to be read in the order of release. Tamsyn isn’t the usual early 20s, known about witches all of her life, new witch. Though at times, she acts more like a teenager than the near 30 years she is. Still, she’s pragmatic and doubtful of the magic powers she’s being told she holds. She’s told she’s a kitchen witch, but she claims she could “burn water.” I like that she may be something different from her aunt, and that her mother may have been, also. We may never know about that since her mother disappeared fifteen years ago. The story is quick and light, but well thought out and interesting. It’s unpredictable and fun. Plus, there are ghosts and witches, a combination sure to capture my imagination and attention. Narration: Stephanie Murphy is one of the best narrators I have heard. She doesn’t just read the words, but makes you believe she is Tamsyn Bassett discovering the world of witches, learning to bake a magical pie, and encountering spirits. Please, may I have another book with her as the narrator? Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via freeaudiopromocodes(dot)com, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”
Consumed “There has only been one other book in the over 50 years that I have been reading that I quit reading in disgust at the material (the other one was HELTER SKELTER when I was 17 years old). This is NOT NOT NOT domination and submission. It is rape. D/s is consented. It is safe. It is sane. That is why I couldn’t listen anymore. So, why did I give it 2 crowns instead of the minimum 1? Because the author can write. She can set a scene and before we met the rapist, Kassandra (the victim) is set up as an undercover agent with edge-of-your-seat anticipation. Narration: Then there is the wonderful voice of Meghan Kelly. She gives drama that brings you into a story. Unfortunately, this time it was bringing me into the scene of a rape disguised as a D/s scene. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”
The Hundred Year Christmas “THE HUNDRED-YEAR CHRISTMAS is a stand-alone short holiday fantasy story. The forward is about 1/3 of the 55 minutes of the recording. Don’t skip it (at least the first time you listen to it); it’s worth knowing the background of this story. This is a story that reminds us (once again) that Christmas is more about giving than receiving, that the love should be embodied all year round, and that Christmas and New Year are more than days on the calendar. I intend to make this an annual listen. Narration: The narrator, Owen Moogan, does a superb job of presenting the story. He brings the magic of Christmas and Santa’s dilemma to life. Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via freeaudiobookpromocodes, my opinions are my own and are given freely.”