Tag: Audiobooks

Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted July 13, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Traitor Queen
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Original
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 356
Length: 11 hours and 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

What if you fell in love with the one person you'd sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

This popped up as a recommended read in Audible Escape. The blurb was intriguing so I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed both narrators. From the very first I was pulled into this novel. I ended up purchasing the ebook so I could read when I wasn’t able to listen.

Lara and her half-sisters were raised in a desert compound for one purpose – to take down The Bridge Kingdom from the inside. As part of a 15 year treaty, one of them must marry the King of Ithicana (the Bridge Kingdom). Lara isn’t the chosen one, but she betrays her sisters to take her place as Queen in order to save their lives. Her goal is simple; Learn as much about the country and the Bridge as possible, so her father and his forces can take it over. Ithicana and her new husband are nothing like she thought they’d be, and it isn’t long before she begins questioning everything.

This was such a stellar story. I was sucked in from the very first page. Lara was such a multi-faceted character. Her whole life she’s been told Ithicana and her King are the reason so many in her country are starving. Although she doesn’t have a lot of love for her father, she does want better for her people. I completely understood why she made the choices she did. From beginning to end, I felt her struggle and determination to do what was right. My heart broke for her at the end, even as I wanted to rage at her. There never came a point when I didn’t understand her plight or her reasons for doing the things she did.

Aren wasn’t as complex of a character. He wanted what was best for his country, and he hoped for a true alliance with Lara’s father, though of course he was wary of ever getting it. Of the two, he was more open and sweet. He just wanted to be able to allow his country men and women to leave, or pursue other dreams, rather than become soldiers. I liked him, but I didn’t feel the same connection to him that I did Lara.

This book ended in a cliffhanger and I immediately dove into the second book.

The politics and intrigue, the personal relationships and Lara’s struggle to do what she was trained to do when her heart was telling her otherwise was very well done. I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Posted April 2, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 318
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a stand-alone paranormal romance. I started this book months ago and quit about halfway through. I was mostly just bored with the story. I was recently on a flight and forgot to download a new audiobook, so I turned this one on since it was already on my device. The second half was much better than the first.

Nina Linden is struggling to keep her landscape business afloat since her former business partner and ex started sabotaging her. Though the place is said to be haunted and/or cursed, she takes a job to bring an abandoned private island back to life. Billionaire Deacon Whitney wants to revive the Whitney Estate, the family’s private island that’s rumored to be cursed. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or curses, but he knows others do so he’s paying double the rates. Nina doesn’t expect to be attracted to Deacon..or to be having strange visions of herself as a maid in a gothic mystery.

Deacon’s flighty cousin, interior decorator ex-girlfriend and architect best friend are there helping, along with a cleaning service. The novel jumps around a lot, and in the beginning I had trouble following everyone and everything. I came to really like the cast of characters and the way the novel flashed back and forth between the developing romance of Deacon and Nina and Jeff, the architect, and Cindy, the owner of the cleaning service, but the second half didn’t make up for the first.

I enjoyed the setting and the romance. Harper is generally good for a laugh, and I found myself smiling several times over the antics of the characters. The mystery plot was kind of a dud, but I enjoyed the paranormal/ghost aspects. Not my favorite of Harper’s novels.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: P.S. It’s Always Been You by Lauren Blakely

Posted March 17, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: P.S. It’s Always Been You by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Rowena
P.S. It's Always Been You: Part 1 by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Scott Eastwood
Series: P.S. It's Always Been You #1
Publisher: Audible Original
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 3
Length: 2 hours, 53 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Narrated by Scott Eastwood and Andi Arndt, a sweeping, second chance romance that weaves mystery, passion, and humor as two present-day lovers search for a love story from the past....

Past loves should stay in the past.

After the way my first love took off for the ends of the earth, the last thing I want is to see him on billboards and bookstore bestseller shelves. Now my boss just handed me the project that could make my career. All I have to do is partner up with the man, the myth, the legend - adventurer Hunter Armstrong.

That's easier said than done, because when we reconnect, I learn Hunter has his own agenda on this project. And it's not to find a treasure in art and antiques. It's me. But what we discover shocks both of us, and we have no choice but to follow the clues....

P.S. It’s Always Been You: Part 1 is the first installment in the P.S. It's Always Been You serial novel. Presley and Hunter’s story continues in P.S. It's Always Been You: Part 2.

P.S. It’s Always Been You kicks off the first of three audiobooks that tell the story of Presley and Hunter. Their story is a second chance romance and part 1 gives us a quick introduction and lay of the land. Pressley and Hunter were together for six months and fell in love but then Hunter got a job offer that he couldn’t refuse so he took off, leaving Pressley behind and ten years later, runs into Pressley again and realizes that his feelings for her never really went away. Too bad for him, Pressley is over him and not at all interested in starting up their relationship again.

This audiobook was pretty short and while I enjoyed it and thought that the narrators were easy to follow along, I wasn’t a fan of that cliffhanger ending. In fact, I was super annoyed that we didn’t get an entire story and that was probably because I didn’t know that it was only part of a story. Aside from that, I’m curious about Pressley and Hunter and I’m looking forward to finding out about what they’ve both been up in the ten years since they last hooked up. So yeah, I am definitely interested in listening to the other parts of the story.

3.5 out of 5

P.S. It’s Always Been You

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Jed Had to Die by Tara Sivec

Posted February 6, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Jed Had to Die by Tara SivecReviewer: Tracy
Jed Had to Die by Tara Sivec
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Publisher: Novel Audio
Publication Date: October 27, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Length: 8 Hours and 11 Minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

The happiest day of Payton Lambert's life was the day she graduated high school and watched Bald Knob, Kentucky get smaller and smaller in her rearview mirror. She wanted more for her life than a tiny town where everyone knows your business and you can’t find a decent cup of coffee for at least forty miles. Twelve years later, an unexpected phone call in the middle of the night has her packing up her life in Chicago and racing back home to the one person she ever regretted leaving behind.

Wait, one person?? Make that two. When the hell did Leo Hudson become sheriff of Bald Knob and get so hot? The scrawny Future Farmer of America who followed Payton around like a puppy and could recite cow insemination facts in his sleep is long gone. Leo is still hot on her heels, but now he's wearing a badge and dead set on solving a murder that may or may not involve Payton...along with half the town.

You steal a few wine coolers in high school and make one little comment about cutting off a man's balls when you come home, and suddenly, you're suspected of killing him.

In a town where the biggest crime happened the day Jethro Snell kicked a few of his cows (an honest mistake when you've had a few jars of homemade moonshine), people are pointing fingers, rumors are spreading like wildfire, and Payton swears she's only making out with the sweet-talking, studly sheriff to distract him from the secrets she's keeping.

When you've been tased, peed on by a yippy dog named Bo Jangles, and can't stop picturing what Sheriff Hudson looks like naked, it will be a tough job making everyone agree that...Jed had to die.

Payton Lambert got out of her hometown of Bald Knob, Kentucky the minute she could.  She went to Chicago, got a degree, and now owns her own coffee shop (called Liquid Crack)…which is getting franchised!  She has no plans to ever go back to Bald Knob, but all of her resolutions of the past 12 years go down the drain when she gets a call about her best friend, Emma Jo.

Emma Jo got married right out of high school and stayed married to the deceitful charmer for 12 years.  During that time she’d been abused constantly.  Of course, no one would have believed her if she’d told anyone, her husband is the town mayor and just an all-around good guy.  Blech. He finally beats her to the point that she reaches out to Payton for help and Payton is there as fast as she can be.

Payton is not liked in her hometown.  She was a troublemaker during her youth and a menace (according to the town folk) and not welcomed.  She forces Emma Jo to finally get a restraining order against her husband Jed and gets the locks on her house changed.

Leo Hudson is the hot town sheriff and has got his eye on Payton.  He had a crush on her in high school when he was just a skinny geek.  That crush never died and now he’s not going to let her get away without making his move.

When Jed turns up dead, Emma Jo and Payton believe that something they did caused Jed’s death and they’re petrified that Leo will find out.  That doesn’t stop Payton and Leo from starting something.  Payton’s not sure where the relationship is going, however.  If she doesn’t go to prison for Jed’s death, then she’ll be going back to Chicago to get away from the town that hates her.

This audiobook cracked me up.  When I first read the blurb I figured this story was based on the song by the Dixie Chicks Goodbye Earl.  It started off a little bit that way but only a bit.  I liked the turn it made and found it original and hilarious.

Payton was my favorite character in this book as her sarcasm brought joy to my heart.  Now, Payton and Emma Jo trying to come up with lies to try and hide what they thought they did got a bit old, but overall was pretty funny.

Amy McFadden was the narrator on this story, and I thought she did a fantastic job.  She was spot on with her accents and everyone had a different one so there was no question about which character was doing the talking.  I’m pretty sure she made the book that much better for me.

If you’re in the mood for a fun and funny audiobook, then this is definitely one you should pick up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend

Posted January 17, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Laird Wolf by Vivian ArendReviewer: Holly
Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend
Narrator: Tatiana Sokolov
Series: Takhini Shifters #2
Also in this series: Laird Wolf
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 178
Length: 4 hours and 21 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend These stand-alone stories are filled with humour and heart-felt adventures, and the sexy happily-ever-afters are sure to make you smile.

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He’s a wolf in a kilt. That pretty much says it all…

Pulling off a rescue mission at a remote castle in Scotland should be an easy task for lone wolf Damon Black. He’ll flash some muscle, show a little Alpha power, and do whatever it takes to ease Addie MacShay’s fears. But the woman who throws herself into his arms and cries boyfriend is more intriguing than anticipated. The sexy she-wolf’s got more curves, more tantalizing scent, more of everything he desires.

Addie’s job cataloguing an estate at the Sterling-Wylde Manor is complicated by the ongoing discovery of new wills and the two creepy heirs who won’t leave her alone. But her fake boyfriend turns out to be a far greater threat—not only is he fun and flirtatious, he looks delicious in a kilt. She craves his touch, but with her empathic skills on overdrive, touch is the last thing she needs.

Damon’s fighting his unruly inner beast. Addie’s fighting their incredible sexual pull. They’ll both have to lower their guard to make this more than a Highland fling.

Laird Wolf is the second book in Vivian Arend‘s Takhini Shifters series. I didn’t read the first book in the series and I think some of the hero’s backstory. It wasn’t enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book, but you may want to read Copper King first. I loved the setting (a Castle in Scotland) and the main characters. I’m anxious to go back to book one now. Tatiana Sokolov narrated and I enjoyed the way she told the story.

Addie MacShay has been hired to catalog an estate in Scotland, owned by a family of cat shifters. Their father recently passed away and the two remaining heirs are fighting over who will inherit. She’s been feeling unsafe alone in the house with just the two brothers (she feels eyes watching her all the time and gets a bad vibe whenever she’s alone with one of them), so she asks her best friend for help. She sends Damon Black to play bodyguard. To explain his presence, they say he’s her boyfriend who decided to join her.

Damon is happy to play bodyguard for the sexy Addie. Having his luggage get lost at the airport and falling into a mud pit on his way to the castle wasn’t really part of the plan, but he can roll with it. Now he’s running around the estate in nothing but a loaned kilt, trying to figure out why thing seem so fishy with the brothers..and trying to keep his paws off Addie. She’s beautiful and smart, a deadly combination for him. When his wolf starts acting strange, Damon will need all his willpower and investigative skills to figure out what’s going on.

This was a good story. There were some heavy parts, but overall the tone was light and fun. I really liked Addie and how seriously she took her job. I also really liked Damon and how well he protected Addie. It wasn’t so much fighting off bad guys, but making her feel safe with his presence.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Takhini Shifters

three-half-stars


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