Publisher: Audible Studios

Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 16, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Complicated by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Complicated by Kristen Ashley
Narrator: Erin Mallon
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First, Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 567
Length: 18 hours and 22 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

When small-town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn't be stronger, but the timing couldn't be worse.

Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids and himself is his only priority.

Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that's perfect for them - a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She's learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that's what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.

Hix can't fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta's finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.

But when the first murder that's happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.

In other words, things are definitely...Complicated.

This book is the first Kristen Ashley book that I’ve listened to on audio. The length of her books is daunting. This one was over eighteen hours. 18. 1-8. That’s crazy. The only author that I’ve listened to for that long is Karen Rose. I was more than pleasantly surprised that I loved this book and actually wanted more of it.

Hixon Drake is newly divorced. Something he never wanted and never understood. Hix and his wife Hope seemed to have the ideal marriage. Things changed overnight. In a year he found himself out of their family home and divorced. The only thing that matters to him now are his three children.

Hix and his family moved to a small Nebraskan town that Hope was from when his children were younger. Hix is now the town sheriff. The only crime that has happened on his watch was a barn being covered with graffiti. Hix has no intention of falling into another relationship. Then he sees Greta Dare sing and the local watering hole. There is an instant, sizzling attraction and one thing leads to another.

Greta always watched Hixon Drake from afar, but he was married at off-limits. Now he’s in her bed and she has been with no one better. Then he leaves her in the most hurtful way and she realizes that he’s just like any other man. Greta swears that she will never fall under Hix’s spell again.

That’s easier said than done. They live in a small town and word of their night together travels like wildfire. Suddenly Greta is the talk of the town, something she doesn’t want to be. She lets Hix talk her into giving them a try, but there are obvious obstacles that can’t be overcome. Her mom. Her brother. His wife. His kids. Murder.

I really, really liked Hix and Greta’s story. It’s really a story about two people that have been dealt a really crap hand in life. They find each other and realize that life can be what you make it. Everything in their life is…complicated.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Black Sheep by Meghan March

Posted September 4, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Black Sheep by Meghan MarchReviewer: Case
Black Sheep by Meghan March
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Series: The Dirty Mafia Duet #1
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 6 hours and 28 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Casee's 2019 New to Me Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes a story of untold truths and one man’s redemption in the Dirty Mafia Duet.

Every family has a black sheep. In the infamous Casso crime family, that black sheep is me—Cannon Freeman. Except I’m not a free man. I’ve never been free. Not since the day I was born. I owe my loyalty to my father, Dominic Casso, even if he won’t publicly acknowledge me as his blood. I’ve never had a reason to go against his wishes… until I met her. Drew Carson turned my world upside when she walked into my club looking for a job. Now, my honor and my life are on the line. Going against my father’s wishes might buy me a bullet straight from his gun, but black sheep or not, it’s time to make my stand. She's worth the fallout.

This is the first book I’ve read by Meghan March. It was available on Audible Escape, so I thought what the hell. I’ll try it. I’m so glad I did because I am really loving this author even though I want to strangle the heroes. Meghan March has something special, that’s for sure.

Cannon Freeman was born into the mob. His father, Dominic Casso, runs the mafia with an iron fist. Dom treats Cannon like a pile of poo, yet Cannon feels loyalty to him for taking him into his home after his mother was murdered. It’s pretty messed up, but Cannon can do nothing but be there for his father. Cannon runs a club for the elite. It’s about the only legit business that the Casso’s own. When Drew Carson comes in for an interview, Cannon knows he’s pretty much screwed.

Drew Carson is working at the club for one reason and one reason only: to bring down the Casso family. Her father was found hanging in his apartment, but Drew has never believed it was a suicide. It’s confirmed when she finds a file full of facts and pictures of Dominic Casso. Now she has her finger on the Casso family and she’s not letting any of them get away with her father’s murder. Not even the man she’s found herself wanting.

Now that Drew is in his life, Cannon finds himself standing up to his father for the first time in his life. He’s going to protect Drew from Dom, no matter what the cost. As Cannon and Drew begin an affair, Cannon begins to realize that Drew has something to hide. He’s determined to find out what it is. He doesn’t care about her secret, he just wants to protect her.

So the fact that Cannon has almost a blind loyalty to Dom, I’m making it sound like he’s a doormat. Not so. Cannon is a strong man that has been dealt an impossible hand. All he is trying to do is be a part of the family. Drew becomes his family and Cannon will die to protect her.

I really enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end. There are a lot of obstacles that Cannon and Drew had to overcome and I found myself impatiently waiting for the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Dirty Mafia Duet

four-stars


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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, Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend
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, Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend
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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Featured Review: Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson

Posted July 31, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Like the Wind by J. BengtssonReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson
Narrator: Callie Dalton, Zachary Webber
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 335
Length: 9 hours, 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars

Prepare to laugh, cry, and fall in love with this enthralling new romance from J. Bengtsson - available in audio first!

When a letter from his supposedly deceased mother finds its way into his hands, life changes in an instant for international pop star Bodhi Beckett.

Reeling from the deception of those closest to him, Bodhi spirals out of control and is sent to a secluded mansion in the coastal mountains of Southern California for some rest and relaxation. But the retreat proves to be anything but relaxing when a raging wildfire sets the landscape around him ablaze.

While escaping the flames, Bodhi rescues Breeze, a quirky, pet-loving woman, and together the two fight their way to safety. In the aftermath of the fire, Bodhi and Breeze hit the road to uncover the truth about his family. What neither of them expected is to forge a powerful connection that will change their lives forever...but can it survive the real world, or will it disappear like the wind?

This month’s featured review is Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson, chosen by Casee. This is a rockstar romance that features a pop star hero who saves his heroine from a fire and then the heroine gives his rockstar ass a place to hide while he figures some stuff out and through it all, they fall in love. This was a really quick read and the perfect audiobook for a quick road trip.

Casee: What did you guys think? Good choice? Bad choice? Better than Hate Notes?

Holly: It was definitely better than Hate Notes for me. I really liked the beginning. I was super interested in the fire and how they were going to escape. After that things kind of went downhill.

Casee: I agree that it was super interesting in the beginning.

Rowena: Hmm, I enjoyed Hate Notes and I didn’t hate this one but I didn’t love this one either. I don’t know, the dialogue was super cheesy to me and I don’t know, I just never came to care for either Bodhi or Breeze. They were fine but meh, that’s about it for me.

Casee: I didn’t really connect with Breeze at all. Other than her wanting to save all the animals from the fire, I found her to be rather selfish. She acted like she was being selfless, but it didn’t come across that way to me. I did really enjoy Bodhi though.

Holly: I didn’t think Breeze was anymore selfish than Bodhi. That ridiculous temper tantrum he threw for 3 months, then disappearing without telling his father he wasn’t dead after the fire, then pulling Breeze into his drama and his life without preparing her for it? That screams “SELF CENTERED” to me.

Casee: The only thing I didn’t like about Bodhi was the 3-month temper tantrum. I could understand everything else. He seemed to me like someone that was scared. He found someone he potentially wanted to keep in his life and he was scared to lose her. Especially since the last person (nanny) that he got attached to disappeared.

Rowena: Yeah, Bodhi’s three-month tantrum was super annoying but I was more annoyed with him when he let his family and friends think he was dead so that he can meet his Mommy Dearest. That wasn’t cool. At all. I felt bad for RJ because thinking your best friend is dead and then finding out that your best friend couldn’t be bothered to call him to assure him that all was well because he was getting close to a girl? That’s fucked up.

Holly: I really struggled with Bodhi not telling the guys he was still alive. I guess I kind of? understood why he didn’t want to contact his father, but his bandmates who were his family? Especially RJ? That was just shitty all the way around.

Rowena: I also thought it was super strange that he “saves” Evan from their mother’s life, telling Evan that he was Evan’s Eddie, but immediately starts planning a trip with Breeze that does not include Evan, is going to take him away from Evan for a long ass time and basically drops Evan in Tucker’s lap and Evan, who suffered from abandonment issues wasn’t bothered about it.

Holly: That whole thing with Evan was not well done. They had no on-page time to make me think they were going to forge a relationship, and why was Bodhi so effing irresponsible? I just couldn’t.

Rowena: It was a total dick move, a move that I didn’t think he was sorry enough for. Sure, his Dad was a controlling dick but I don’t think anyone deserved that kind of emotional bomb. Nobody in this book, for sure.

Holly: I really didn’t like the short timeline for their romance. They met, went through an intense few hours together and BAM, two days later they were in LURRVVE? Nope.

Casee: I agree that the timeline was much too short. I think being together in the fire and almost dying was supposed to show how magnified feelings are. Obviously, it didn’t work very well for us.

View Spoiler »

 

Rowena: I was also not moved all that much with the grand gesture in the end with Bodhi showing up at the family reunion. A whole lot of the book had me looking like this:

Holly: Also, the way Breeze was immediately into Bodhi and focused on how hot he was, and how to get him to kiss her, and all the fantasy why they were fleeing from a fire? That was annoying af.

And I know I’m probably just old af, but she lost her car in the fire. She didn’t think to, Oh, I don’t know, contact her insurance agent?

Rowena: Haha, I thought the same thing as Breeze and Bodhi are making their way to the Bay. I kept thinking, “When are you going to deal with your busted up car?”

I did really like Breeze’s Mom and Step-Dad. They were pretty great. I laughed out loud when they turned up the sex scenes of their show so that Bodhi and Breeze could hear through the walls.

Holly: I liked Breeze’s parents, too, but why were they described as these hippy people who lived in the neighborhood eyesore and refused to sell out, who were, in fact, selling out. I didn’t understand why that part was included in the book. It made no sense.

Casee: Alrighty then. I’m giving this one a 3. What about you guys?

Rowena: Overall, this book made me feel super old because I was grouchy throughout most of this book and I didn’t think the author did a good enough job of making me suspend belief over a lot of shit that happens in this book. The fire stuff, the Mommy issues, the Daddy issues, the super quick romance that blossomed overnight (literally), it was super easy for me to stop reading the book and roll my eyes over what was happening. So yeah, I had a lot of issues connecting with both Bodhi and Breeze. I had issues with the author’s writing style and though there were parts of the book that I enjoyed, this isn’t a book that I will reread. I give it 2.75 out of 5.

Holly: I’m giving it 2.5. I did like the romance itself if I didn’t think too hard about it, and I liked the beginning and Breeze’s parents. The rest was pretty blah.

Final Grades

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 2.5 out of 5
Rowena: 2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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