Narrator: Amanda Ronconi

Joint Review: Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely

Posted August 20, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Never Have I Ever by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jason Clarke
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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What happens when two frenemies can't stop pushing each other's buttons? Find out in this tender, laugh-out-loud funny romance from number-one New York Times best-selling author Lauren Blakely, available in audio first!

Never Have I Ever been so infuriated by a man I wanted to kiss.

They say opposites attract, but I beg to differ. Combust is more like it. Because every single time I talk to Zach Nolan, I see red.

The too-good-looking, too-smart, too-effortlessly-charming single dad who works down the hall from me has turned getting under my skin into a sport. Call it the battle of wits between the wedding planner and the divorce attorney. Trouble is, when we’re forced into closer quarters, planning an engagement party for our best friends, I start to see his other sides.

And I fear I’m falling for the enemy.

***

I’m not out to make friends. My goals are simple -- fight till the end for my clients, and my family. The last thing I need is a vibrant, outgoing, snarky, and surprisingly big-hearted wedding planner to spend my precious free time with…except, watching Piper bond with my daughter just might break down the cinder block walls I’ve built around my heart these last few years. Second chances don’t come around for guys like me…or do they?

Rowena: Never Have I Ever is the latest contemporary romance released by Lauren Blakely and, honestly, it’s the Single Dad romance that Holly and I wanted back when we were thirsting for a good Single Dad romance. Lauren Blakely shows us again why she’s so good at her job.

Single Dad Zach Nolan is a divorce attorney who has his hands full. With his clients, his two kids and now, his best friend’s wedding. He’s only a little annoyed that this wedding is going to put him into the path of Piper Radcliff, the woman that annoys the shit out of him and has for quite some time now. They share a lot of friends and a lot of animosities as well. They’re office neighbors and Piper sparks up a friendship with Zach’s daughter so they’re in each other’s personal space a lot. When wedding preparations for their friends amp up, they get closer and that fire turns to an attraction neither of them was expecting but aren’t willing to walk away from.

Alright, what did you think, Holly?

Holly: I’ve come to expect a great story from Lauren Blakely, but honestly this one was everything I didn’t know I needed and more. I absolutely loved Zach and his kids. This is definitely the Single Dad romance I’ve been looking for.

Rowena: I haven’t read very many books from Lauren Blakely and I don’t even have a good reason. I’m just super happy that I took the time to actually listen to this because I adored it from beginning to end. I thought both of the narrators were fantastic throughout the entire story and it was by far, my favorite narration job of all of the audiobooks that I’ve listened to so far. Jason Clarke??? I need to listen to more of his books.

Holly: I really loved the narrators, too. I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks narrated by Amanda Ronconi, but this is one of my favorites. Jason Clarke was great, too.

Rowena: Like you, I absolutely adored Zach and his kids. I loved that they had such a great relationship and that being a father was important to Zach. I also really loved that Zach didn’t make his kids the only part of his life. They were super important to him but when he finally decides to move on from his late wife, I’m glad that he didn’t use the kids as a way to keep Piper at arm’s length.

Holly: Yes, I loved that Zach put his kids first, but didn’t make his kids his whole life. He may have struggled a bit with balancing his personal life at first, but I loved how he decided he needed to open up to a future with more, then did it. But Rowena, seriously. The kind of father he was? It melted me.

Rowena: I also really enjoyed the romance between Zach and Piper. I loved that Piper’s friendship with Zach’s daughter was something that outside of her relationship with Zach. I loved that her friendship with Zach’s daughter was important to Piper and that everything felt organic and real and I just super duper loved it all.

Holly: There was a part where he was reflecting on what his life was about and I swear, my heart grew two sizes during his internal monologue.

She’s in her element. My element, it’s back in the hotel with two rugrats. It’s the courtroom. It’s the gym. It’s the couch with a book and a glass of scotch late at night. It’s boxing gloves to fight like hell for my clients. It’s math problems and Goosebumps and taekwondo and Lucy’s list of things she wants to do for the summer.

Rowena: Yep. I was right there with you on Zach’s inner monologue. I remember texting you while I was listening to this one about how cute this book was and it was because I was grinning like a maniac over something Zach had just thought and like you, my heart exploded with love for every little thing in this book.

Holly: I just loved his daughter, Lucy, and how well she and Piper connected. Some of my favorite parts of the book featured Piper and Lucy. GIRL POWER!

Rowena: YESSSSSS!!! I loved Piper and Lucy’s girl power friendship. I also loved that Piper did everything she could for Lucy because she wanted to, not because she felt like she had to because she was her boyfriend’s daughter. The letter thing in the end? I freaking loved it. I swear I don’t think there was any part of this book that I didn’t like.

Holly: Oh man, that letter thing at the end reduced me to a pile of goo. Gah, I just loved Lucy. She was so smart and thoughtful.

Rowena: Even the parts of the book where both Zach and Piper were being jerks to each other, I liked…because their issues with each other were relatable. I understood where they both stood on those issues and I loved seeing them figure their shit out…together. There was no going back and forth, when they decided to be all in, they were all in and figuring everything out together.

Holly: I agree about Zach and Piper’s issues being relatable. You know what I loved, even when they “hated” each other, they were still adults. They still worked together in the same building and attended the same functions, and they didn’t make it awkward or uncomfortable for anyone else. They bantered and poked at each other, but at the end of the day they were both still adults who acted like adults.

Rowena: This book was the bomb. I loved it all. This book gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. Period. You?

Holly: I loved this book, too. I loved Piper and Zach and how their relationship developed. I liked Piper and Lucy’s friendship. I loved how Zach was as a father. I even loved the secondary characters. I’m going to give this 4.5 out of 5.

Final Grade

Holly: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 5 out of 5


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Posted August 7, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperReviewer: Casee
How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #1
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues, How to Date Your Dragon
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 214
Length: 6 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Casee's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Casee's Summer Reading Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The first book in Molly Harper's uproariously funny, sinfully sexy new Mystic Bayou series!

Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay's career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian's first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can't get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she's seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon's breath, which Bael just might turn out to be...

This book is based on the Audible Original audiobook.

This is my first book by Molly Harper as well as one of the books that Holly chose for me for the Summer Reading Challenge.

Jillian Ramsay works for the League of Interspecies Cooperation. Few humans know of its existence, nor do they know that shapeshifters exist. The League knows that the secret of shapeshifters will come to light soon enough and they want to be prepared. To help that preparation along, Jillian travels to Mystic Bayou. Mystic Bayou is a town that humans and shifters live together. Harmoniously. The town is thriving and Jillian is there to find out how.

Bael Boone is the local sheriff and he has no intention of letting Jillian learn the town secrets. He’s going to drive her away, no matter what it takes. Sending her away becomes harder when they realize they are attracted to each other. While Jillian is down for an affair with Bael, Bael wants more. That was actually refreshing because it’s usually the other way around.

This book was a light, quick read. It was funny and sweet. Don’t let the title deter you from reading it (as it did me). I loved Bael and how he expected Jillian to fall in line with his plans. I loved Jillian for being who she was and not taking his alpha crap. Well, most of the time. I am looking forward to reading Zed’s book.

I wasn’t crazy about the narrators, but they didn’t make the story any less sweet.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Posted August 5, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperReviewer: Rowena
How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #1
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues, How to Date Your Dragon
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 6 hours, 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay's career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian's first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can't get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she's seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon's breath, which Bael just might turn out to be....

How to Date Your Dragon is the first book in Molly Harper’s Mystic Bayou series and it’s the first book that I tackled on my Summer Reading Challenge for this year. It’s one of Holly’s picks for me and though I wasn’t all that interested in reading this book, I’m glad that Holly picked it because it was a fun paranormal romance that I enjoyed from beginning to end.

Jillian Ramsay works for the League for Interspecies Cooperation and her latest assignment takes her to Mystic Bayou in Louisiana. The League has growing concerns that the humans are going to learn all of their supernatural secrets and in an effort to kind of handle everything before it becomes a problem, Jillian is to learn all that she can from the folks of Mystic Bayou about how they live in peace with each other. Easy peasy, right? Well, it would have been easy if any one of the folks would have talked to her but she’s having trouble getting folks to open up to her and the only way that she can fix that is to stick around, get to know everyone and make them comfortable with her enough that they’ll start talking. She seems to get along with everyone except the town’s sheriff, who won’t get off her back. She butts heads with Bael Boone at every turn and while on one hand, she wants to punch him in the nuts, on the other, she wants to kiss his brains out.

What a fun treat this book turned out to be. Molly Harper did a great job of introducing a world that had me laughing one minute and happy sighing the next. While Jillian was in town, the people she was interviewing were showing up dead so there was a bit of a mystery going around with us trying to figure out who was killing all of our supernatural friends. I thought that was handled pretty well and I really enjoyed the lighter side of paranormal romance that this world seemed to be. I’m used to a more darker paranormal world and I really love the intensity of those darker paranormals but Molly Harper created an interesting world for the folks of Mystic Bayou and I liked it.

I thought the romance between Bael and Jillian was fun and I loved how pissed Bael got when Jillian didn’t seem to catch on to how important it was that he showed her his hoard. And his dragon name? BWAHAHAHAHA, too freaking funny. I’m curious to see who else gets a romance because I would love to see Zed’s story. I really enjoyed getting to know him.

This was a fun introduction into Molly Harper’s work and I’m glad that I read it because I do plan on continuing this series and reading more books from Molly Harper. I like her style and am ready for more. I definitely recommend this one.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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Review: Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly Harper

Posted June 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #2.5
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), How to Date Your Dragon, How to Date Your Dragon
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: June 6, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A hilarious new standalone novella brimming with otherworldly charm from the reigning queen of paranormal romantic comedy Molly Harper!

Ingrid Asher is the newest resident of Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where shapeshifters, vampires, witches and dragons live alongside humans.

Ingrid doesn’t ask for much. The solitary tree nymph just wants to live a quiet life running her ice-cream shop in peace. Unfortunately, she can’t seem to shake her new neighbor, Rob Aspern, head of the League’s data science department and so good looking it just isn’t fair.

If there’s one thing Ingrid doesn’t need, it’s someone poking around in her business. But the more she gets to know the hunky mathematician, the more she finds herself letting her guard down. Can she trust him with her secrets, or will her past destroy everything?

Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly Harper is was a cute, light story set in the town of Mystic Bayou, where mythical creatures have lived in peace for hundreds of years. Ingrid Asher is a tree nymph who recently decided to move to Mystic Bayou to open a creamery. She’s still recovering from a terrible betrayal by someone she trusted, so she doesn’t open up easily. The residents of Mystic Bayou are strange to her, for they’re all open and want to be her friend.

Rob Aspern is generally pretty slick with the ladies, but Ingrid has flustered and all kinds of tongue-tied. She seems wary around everyone else, but she’s downright icy to him. As he works on winning her trust, he finds himself falling for her.

This was a very short listen. I really enjoyed both narrators and easily fell into the story. I love Mystic Bayou and I was ridiculously excited to return to the world. I’m sad it was so short, but that’s about me wanting more from the world than a reflection of the story itself. I thought things wrapped up nicely and the story ended on a sweet note (more “let’s see where this goes” than “Let’s live happily ever after”).

I can’t wait for the next installment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Posted January 28, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf, #1) by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Series: Naked Werewolf #1
Also in this series: How to Run with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #3)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 371
Length: 9 hours and 12 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he's worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he's not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf is the first book in Molly Harper‘s Naked Werewolf series. I avoided these books in the past because the covers and titles made me think they’d be super campy, which I don’t like. Though they’re on the lighter side, they aren’t campy at all. I really liked this book.

Mo Wenstein has moved to Grundy, Alaska from Georgia to escape her well-meaning but very overbearing hippy parents and a broken engagement. As the child of hippies who believe in living off the grid in a family commune, Mo has the skills she needs to live in the wilderness. The only downside is her contentious relationship with local resident Cooper Graham. They rub each other the wrong way..which is too bad, since he’s hot as sin and all Mo wants to do is rub herself all over him.

Well, that cinched it. He was an asshole. I was definitely going to end up sleeping with him.

She manages to find a job right away in the local saloon/restaurant. She makes friends pretty easily and settles in fairly quickly. Things are going great until one day she opens her front door to find Cooper on her porch naked, with a bear trap on his ankle. Turns out he’s a werewolf. Once his secret is out, Cooper quickly moves in on Mo.

Harper’s writing voice really works for me. Mo’s adventures in Alaska were fun to read about. I liked how well she settled into small town, back country life. She easily made friends and I loved reading about her interactions with the residents of the town. Having just visited Alaska this past summer, I was really able to picture the town itself and imagine the residents.

I did struggle a bit with Connor’s actions, and how much Mo let him get away with. I also had a hard time with Amanda Ronconi’s voice for Connor. Normally I love AR’s narrations, but her voice for Connor was awful.

Still, I loved the snarky heroine, small Alaskan town and the way the romance developed between Mo and Connor. Harper delivers again.

3.75 out of 5

Naked Werewolf

four-stars


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