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Reads/Listens from an insanely incongruous list of genres.
Favorite Audiobook
Cruelest question ever.
Valley Fever “DNF at 4 hours (33%). I tried. I even walked away for a bit, listened to some other books, and went back to it to see if it was just a mood, but I can't. I enjoy a reformed bad boy, but so far all I'm seeing is an alcoholic jerk. Technically I'm at the part just after detox and even sober, Tobias Langthorne is insufferable. Get ready to hear the name Tobias Langthorne (yes, his full name) a lot. Because it's in the book almost 600 times. Tobias mocks, teases, disrespects, and belittles Lina, not only in the prologue but currently as adults. Lina is disturbingly obsessed with Toby. Not just in a "he's hot" kind of way (and no amount of hot makes up for his words/behavior), but also in saying she's been in love with him forever. At nearly 30, she still talks/thinks/acts like the 15yo at the beginning. I see that the ratings increase significantly for the subsequent books, so I may try those to see if it's just this author's take on the trope I'm not connecting with. Logan McAllister's narration was fine.”
Meridian File “This is my second book by C. B. Samet and first narration by Matthew Keys. I enjoyed the mystery/suspense bodyguard story a lot. I liked that the characters were older (30s) and incredible maturity was shown in the professional and personal lives. There were several action scenes to keep me engaged. While I feel I got to know Aurora Meridian well, Mason was a bit more elusive and I wish Samet had developed him more. This is a great book for those who don't want the romance to overwhelm the story and who prefer any sex scenes to be closed door. I'm definitely intrigued by the world that Samet has built in regards to Rider Security and am looking forward to hearing more of their stories. Keys did a wonderful job with narration. Aurora was a bit whispery/breathy, but it worked after I got absorbed into the story. Each character had their own voice & personality, and where appropriate, a consistent accent. It wasn't a negative for me ~ but the main narrative as well as the MC's dialogue carried a Canadian/Wisconsin-esque affect rather than the typical non-accent of most narrations. Overall, I'd be fine if he remains the narrator for the entire series.”
The Woman America Loves a Latte “This was my second listen from Holly Tierney-Bedord and completely different from the first. At it’s base, The Woman America Loves a Latte is a well-crafted Mystery/Supspense/Thriller novel. On top of that, it is hilarious. Poor Vee is desperate to love and find love that she ends up involved with a man who finds her more valuable dead than alive. Fortunately for her, he’s too stupid to succeed. Following her adventures in escaping him as well as the added perspectives from her friends (and enemies) while she’s publicly on the run had me cracking up. It’s slightly over-the-top, but I went with it and had a great time. It’s also the kind of book I could see myself listening to multiple times, not only to catch things I may have missed the first time around – but because the humor would be just as fun the next listen. Honestly, the only drawback to the book was the prologue & epilogue. They didn’t feel like they were from the same book. I usually love epilogues, but the jump was so far it felt unsubstantiated. Chistopher Lane was fabulous narrating this. With so many chapters from a female POV a male narrator was a surprising choice – but he was fantastic and I’ll definitely seek out more of his work.”
Gods Of The Dark Web “I picked this book specifically because Sean Duregger narrated and I loved his performance of Out for Blood. I'm still new to the Horror genre so I can't really comment on comparing this to other authors or specific subsets. I will say that while I was a little nervous given the reviews commenting on how gory this was, apparently my interest in Police/FBI procedurals prepared me for some of the graphic descriptions in this book. At just over 2 hours, this is a quick and intense listen. I did find some of the conversations a little awkward, but overall the story was engaging and satisfying. There's not much more to impart beyond the publisher's/author's summary without spoiling it - but the ending was definitely a surprise. I'm looking forward to checking out more by Lucas Mangum.”
What Would It Take “This is my first book by EL DuBois and I'm looking forward to more. She managed to introduce a solid cast of characters, develop a romance between Saxton & Saylor, and even incorporate some suspense/thriller elements. While this is a sports romance, this will be best enjoyed by those who prefer Football be a minor part of the story. I hope that this is kicking off a series because I'd love to hear more about the secondary characters. I loved Sarah Sampino in this. Set in Austin, Texas - she provides all the characters with a subtle Southern accent that compliments the story without overpowering it. I also liked that she used a lower register when reading the chapters that were from Saxton's POV. All the characters had unique voices and inflections that made it really easy to always tell who was speaking.”
Matchbox Girls “This was my first Urban Fantasy, first book by Chrysoula Tzavelas, and first narration by Sarah Sampino. Tzavelas creates and unique world with a lot of amazing world building. I was immediately drawn in and felt connected to all the characters. This is enjoyable for anyone who likes mystery, suspense, & quite a bit of action. I was impressed with Sarah Sampino's narration. Her voice is the great fit for the characters, their ages, and emotions. I'm looking forward to hearing more of her work.”
Out For Blood “I don’t actively seek out horror books (well, not since I was on a Stephen King kick in middle school), but I’m thrilled to have found this audiobook. I think it technically qualifies as a romance, but this will be best enjoyed by folks who are OK with that being a small part of the story. Chris Calaway is 22, dying of leukemia, obsessed with vampires and I immediately fell in love with him as a character. If fatal optimism is possible, that’s Chris. He’s really so excited to be free of his disease and becoming a part of a world he has fantasized about his whole life that I couldn’t help but jump into the world with him. Cooke has a unique take of vampires and does a fantastic job on world building. He also spends time on the history of certain characters that entertains and it’s not until later that you realize what parts are relevant to current day. 1991 current. Perhaps it’s because I was not much younger than Chris in the early 90’s, but the book felt nostalgic instead of outdated. There is quite a bit of well crafted mystery and suspense going on, punctuated by enough humor to keep the nightmares at bay. I was enthralled from beginning to end and finished it in 2 days. My only complaint, and I admit it’s unfounded other than I really like a good romance, would be to have heard more about Chris and his beau. Is it possible to demand a sequel 30 years later? Narration: Sean Duregger did a fantastic job with the narration. This was a huge cast of characters and Duregger gave each of them their own unique sound as well as skillfully expressing various emotions. I look forward to more of his work. Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers): It’s Vampires. There’s blood sucking and a few murders. While somewhat detailed, I didn’t find it overly gory.”
Those Who Dare Raiding Forces, Volume 1 “Those Who Dare is exactly what it purports to be – a lot of military, some suspense and humor with a hint of romance. Phil Ward’s first book in the Raiding Forces series feels like part Ken Burns documentary (that’s not an insult, I love Ken Burns) and part 1950’s radio program. Detailing the creation of the Raiding Forces, this centers mostly around Lieutenant John Randal but there is a huge cast that we get to know, root for, and love. The romance does not progress beyond a peck on the cheek and Lady Jane Seaborn proves an enjoyable Peggy Carter to John Randal’s Steve Rogers. My only complaints were: * the author used rank and full names nearly every time a character was mentioned. It gets tedious. * the military drum sound effect between each section. It’s a lot of drumming. Even with that I truly enjoyed this production and am looking forward to the next book, Dead Eagles. This is duet narration. Miles Meili narrates the bulk of the story with Shauna MacDonald performing any female speaking parts. Meili & MacDonald give us an impressive range of voices, accents, and personalities. It was wonderful and I’m thrilled they’ll be narrating the rest of the series. Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers): Very brief mentions of wartime death. Not graphic.”
The Snowflake Valley Advice Fairy “This novella was my first listen from Holly Tierney-Bedord. At just under two hours it’s a quick listen with several moments of levity. Most of it revolving around Elinor’s adventures of settling in to life in Snowflake Valley and reading letters from townspeople seeking advice. It required a little suspension of reality (small town weekly advice columnist is not a full time job), letting that go it was a cute story. It will be best enjoyed by those understanding that the romance is a small percentage of the story. Jeannette Smith’s narration is perfect for the age of the main character and she does a good job of giving each of the townspeople their own unique sound.”
Werewolf Sanctuary: Wolf Maiden Saga Book 1 “I was pleasantly surprised by this audiobook. Paranormal can be hit or miss for me because some authors don't always do a good job of staying consistent with the "rules" they've created for their world. Eva Gordon does this well and combines it with a unique take on wolf shifters and their interaction with the human world. I'm a romantic suspense fan as well and was happy with the action parts. There was a bit of a lull in the middle as our main characters were meeting, but nothing too bad. What I especially loved is that Maddy is an intelligent and strong heroine, no TSTL scenes here! Wyatt is definitely a strong alpha male, but not dismissive or demeaning to Maddy. He does make a few missteps, but nothing that would have me wishing Maddy would drop him. The supporting cast as well as antagonists are well developed. Gordon has a knack for combining all these elements into an engaging story. I will definitely seek her out in the future. My only complaints would be: * Maddy would say phrases like, "practice pet medicine" and referring to herself as a "pet doctor" instead of veterinarian or other technical words. It detracted from her expertise as a doctor. * "Wolfish grin" was used repeatedly to describe one of the werewolves smiling. It came off as "campy" and, to me, distracted from what seemed to be a serious story. * There was this "real life" wolf growl soundtrack that would occasionally play, and it just didn't work for me. Maybe if this were a cast or play like performance with regular "sound effects", but with a single narrator it was sort of jarring. J. B. Burgess was new to me as a narrator. He has a good voice and did a wide variety of accents ~ giving each character their own unique voice. I was never lost trying to figure out who was who. There were a few times where he was a bit stilted, but nothing to keep me from listening to this again. I received a free review copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
Mail Order Bride, Westward Dance (Montana Mail Order Brides, Book 2) “Please see my note at the bottom for trigger warnings & whether this is truly a "clean" romance as it contains spoilers. This is the second book in the series and, despite being disappointed in the first one, I opted to continue as the ratings went up significantly. I think this series is best enjoyed by those who don't take historical accuracy or plausibility too seriously. Also, while the first couple was truly a "mail order bride" situation ~ the MCs here are the siblings of the MCs from the first book. So it doesn't actually fit that description. Overall it was an OK listen. Again Bridey’s style of continually changing POV, even mid-paragraph, made it difficult to keep up with who is talking and damaged cohesiveness. As other reviewers mentioned there didn’t seem to be a consistency with what era the book was in. It's better than the first one though, 2.5 stars. Scott Bennett has a nice voice for this genre and did a good job giving each character their own individual sound. I look forward to listening to him in the future. *** TW & Clean Romance issues *** First, this book opens with the assault and attempted rape of Maddie. The physical blows she receives are detailed and the incident is mentioned throughout the book. If you just don't want to hear about the actual assault, you could start with chapter 2 and do just fine. Clean romance is kind of a inconsistently defined genre. However, I think there's some things in this book that might be troubling to someone who sought this out specifically because it was clean. 1. There are curse words used regularly through the book. d***, a**, and jack*** appear multiple times. The nonspecific phrase "he swore" is also used repeatedly. Seth has vast sexual history outside of marriage and it's talked about repeatedly by various characters. He does disclose this to Maddie, and she, in turn, admits to not being a virgin. I listen to everything from clean to erotica, so I don't care and it didn't impact my rating ~ but I think folks who are specifically looking for clean romance might be caught off guard. *** End spoilers *** I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
Mail Order Bride: Westward Winds (Montana Mail Order Brides, Book 1) “This is my first book by Linda Bridey and my first experience with narrator Scott Bennett. Tessa O’Connor is bored with life as a socialite and decides to seek adventure as a mail order bride in the west. Dean Samuels is a widower with two children looking for someone to fill the title of woman of the house. This is a clean romance. Overall it was barely an OK listen. Bridey’s style of continually changing POV, even mid-paragraph, made it difficult to keep up with who is talking and damaged cohesiveness. As other reviewers mentioned there didn’t seem to be a consistency with what era the book was in. (I’m not sure the text ever specifies). However I might have been endeared by Tessa and Dean’s relationship or Tessa’s relationship with the kids it was overshadowed by an inordinate amount of time spent with Tessa complaining about letters. It was belabored with every character she came in contact with. Almost half the book (more than 2 of the 5 hours) was devoted to her anger over the letters. She came off petulant instead of passionate, especially when what could have been a sweet epilogue was ruined by her again mentioning the letters in a mocking way about Dean. This didn't feel like an HEA, it felt like he was doomed to life with a harpy. Scott Bennett has a nice voice for this genre and did a good job giving each character their own individual sound. I look forward to listening to him in the future. The rest of the series receives much better reviews so I may continue. I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
The Desert Sequence “Audible. The entire 8 book series is available on KU, as is this trilogy. As of this review all the titles (including "box sets") are available to whispersync at a discount. This is my first time listening to this author and narrator. Starting with narrator, Andrea Parsneau. She is terrific. She does an excellent job with giving each character ~ even secondary, tertiary, and minute ones ~ their own unique voice/accent/cadence. I never had any issues figuring out who was talking at any given time. Parsneau is able to evoke a myriad of emotions and I will actually seek out her other works in the future. This is my first experience with litRPG. As a competent gamer (mostly with my kids, but I'm familiar with and have played RPG/MMORPGs on a variety of platforms as well as having gamer fluency) and as an avid reader/listener of books in a lot of genres ~ I thought this would be really interesting. It is. The concept is really neat and some parts of pulled off incredibly well. I was sucked into the world fairly quickly and mostly enjoyed this trilogy. Maddie's POV as a sentient NPC is an intriguing concept and I enjoyed getting to know her as well as following along on her adventures. It's sort of like Mad Max meets Lara Croft. I did have some issues: * World-Building. Being in a game, there's a vast world here but it's rules/parameters/expectations weren't consistently applied, or explained at all. In some respects, I thought it was the author relying on generic RPG concepts ~ but they were often violated and no real reason was given. At times, it felt like a sci-fi/fantasy novel that someone dropped bits of gaming lingo in to. * The world isn't described well. Some beings are described okay and I feel like I know what they look like ~ but others are almost completely nondescript. Like the "Hog". I kept waiting to get an understanding of what this vehicle looks like and most of the info is about undefined modifications that Maddie made to it. With the exception of hair color - almost none of the characters are physically described. * The Complete Trilogy. This makes it sound like it's three books. The whole thing is about 9.5 hours long. The way it's written is as a serial of 3 novellas or a single book broken into 3 parts. Overall, I enjoyed it ~ but it didn't wow me and it isn't really something I'd listen to repeatedly. It's also likely the the narrator made the book more enjoyable than if I'd just tried to read it myself. I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
Bearly Rivals “This is my first book by Kayci Morgan as well as my first time listening to Gary Bennett. This was a short but enjoyable MMF paranormal romance. As this was originally written as a Kindle Worlds book, there isn't a whole lot of world-building or explaining of shifter/human dynamics. That wasn't any kind of hindrance to enjoying the story. Human Bailey finds herself in the middle of a pack rivalry between Bear-shifters Jaxon and Levi. I'll admit I had a bit of trouble connecting with Levi's original treatment of Bailey and her attraction in spite of it, but I found myself invested in all three of the characters. There are well-written MF, MM, & MMF scenes that accentuate the plot. We're introduced to characters who will appear in subsequent books. Gary Bennett has an intimate/cozy voice that was an excellent fit for the alternating POVs of our three MCs. He did a good job with male & female voices as well as a wide range of emotions. I'm looking forward to listening to him in the rest of the series. I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
Bearly Dangerous “This was a short but enjoyable MMF paranormal romance. Felicity (BFF from book 1) is determined to make her terminally ill mom happy by getting married before she dies. After Felicity’s boyfriend dumps her for suggesting commitment, Kyle steps in. The only problem is that Kyle’s bestie, Hunter, has the hots for Felicity too. Hunter also sees Kyle in a new way. We got a little update from the triad in the last books and were introduced to characters who will appear in subsequent books. Gary Bennett has an intimate/cozy voice that was an excellent fit for the alternating POVs of our three MCs. He did a good job with male & female voices as well as a wide range of emotions. I'm looking forward to listening to him in the rest of the series. This is fun novella and a deal at under $5. I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
Bearly Breathing “This was a bit longer than the last two and I think it really gave Kayci Morgan the chance to craft an even better story. River is the alpha of his clan but hated for both being gay and having made a terrible mistake in his teens. Widowed Darius (whom we met in book 1) is getting his life back together for himself and his son, Parker. After the death of his wife, he struggled with alcoholism but has now been sober for a year. When River meets Darius he feels an instant connection. I thought that this might be GFY-trope, but it's actually that Darius while knowing he was bi only ever loved his wife. I'll admit I'm a sucker for a precocious kid loved by all the adults in his life, so Parker was a great dynamic to Darius & River's relationship. Gary Bennett has an intimate/cozy voice that was an excellent fit for the alternating POVs of the MCs. He did a good job with male & female voices as well as a wide range of emotions. This is definitely my favorite of the series so far and a deal at under $5. I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
Serenity Avenged “This is the third book in the Shelby Alexander series. Shelby's ex-wife owes money to a mobster who is now hunting her down and endangering his daughter as well. Multiple POV's and we hear a lot from Jimmy relative to Shelby. I guess because of the length, we're kind of just ignoring the people of Serenity which felt a little off. Plus, I've enjoyed Carly as a character and her interactions with Shelby, but she's completely ignored in this one. I didn't like it as much as Serenity Stalked, but it was still an action packed listen. Theo Holland continues to be an excellent choice for this series. He gives all the characters unique voices. I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
Serenity Stalked “This is the second book in the Shelby Alexander series and an enjoyable addition. A serial killer is hunting in Serenity and his moves leave Shelby Alexander under suspicion for murder. Once the killer realizes the focus is on Shelby, he plots to frame him even further. This isn't really a mystery per se as the killer has nearly as many chapters as Shelby does, but there is enough action and intrigue to keep the listener engaged. It's a quick listen and I enjoyed it. Theo Holland continues to be an excellent choice for this book. He sounds like how I imagine a 50+ former bad boy but trying to just get some peace and quiet man should sound. He gave all the characters unique voices and his accents were nice without being comical. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more from him. I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”
Serenity “This is my first experience with author Craig Hart & narrator Theo Holland. This is a really short book. If it's not novella-length, it's definitely just over the word count. That's OK, I just think the length may have impacted feeling like the story was a little rushed and could be developed better. It wasn't awful, I just wasn't "wowed" by it. Shelby Alexander is a divorcee, retired boxer, and ... well, I don't quite know. He doesn't really have any background in the story to support it, but he gets "hired" by the local meth dealer to investigate who murdered his sister. He becomes embroiled in a turf war between drug manufacturers, puts up with local and biased law enforcement, tolerates his whiny daughter, and has frequent sex with his much younger girlfriend. Once I got past the "why this guy?", I pretty much enjoyed it. Though, I think the story was significantly elevated by the narration. Theo Holland was an excellent choice for this book. He sounds like how I imagine a 50+ former bad boy but trying to just get some peace and quiet man should sound. He gave all the characters unique voices and his accents were nice without being comical. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more from him. While I give this one a 3, I'm definitely invested in the world that Hart has built and am ready for Serenity Stalked. I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.”