Ode to Audio Week with a LIVE WIRE (Titan #6.5 by Cristin Harber) Audiobook Review!

Love audiobooks? Us too! Six incredible authors have come together to celebrate audiobooks with an Ode to Audio week – and there’s a chance to win every day! There’s so many prizes – a chance to win one of the six audiobooks, plus a month membership from audiobooks.com, and a three month audible.com subscription! Find out more about the six audiobooks and enter to win below!

Enter to win the Ode to Audio giveaways here: http://smarturl.it/OdeToAudio

 


ABOUT LIVE WIRE by Cristin Harber:

Titan Group is expanding. New recruits mean Jared Westin has potential new hires to scrutinize. What he didn’t expect was his very pregnant wife Sugar to finagle her way onto the surveillance team as the prospects were assessed.

Her involvement in the simple observation goes dangerously wrong. She and best friend Lexi Black stumble into a problem with Russian mobsters. Sugar is forced to draw on her old ATF tricks, but weeks from her due date, she has no choice but to team up with Bishop O’Kane, a potential-new recruit and Parker Black, Lexi’s hacker husband, who must go undercover.

This is special ops novella is packed with high-stakes crime and intrigue, a baby story for Boss Man, and two steamy romances for two of Titan’s favorite couples.

 

Review:

This audiobook is so. Much. Fun!

Whether you’ve read all, some, or even none of the other books in this series, you’ll enjoy the heck out of this one–it really does have something for everyone. If you’ve read other series books, especially and , you’ll love seeing Sugar (heroine of Westin’s Chase ) and Lexi (heroine of Black Dawn ) up to check out a possible new recruit for team Titan. Naturally things are going to take a wrong turn as they do, which will give established series fans and new fans alike a chance to see the men and women of Titan at their best, as they unite to take down the bad guys. You’ll meet the potential new recruit who’s sure to star in his own series book as well (spoiler alert: it’s Bishop’s Queen ) and as a bonus, you’ll witness a life-changing event for one of the two main couples in this book.

If that all sounds like a lot for a novella, you’re not wrong–yet somehow none of the plot lines feel short changed, and we get to see plenty of tender (and a few steamy!) moments for the couples involved. Plus, the narrator does a fantastic job and has a truly kick-a$$ voice to boot. He does a great alpha male, yet still voices the female POVs convincingly. A must-listen!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

Listen to an audio sample or pick up your copy of the LIVE WIRE audiobook here!

Connect with Cristin Harber:

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Team Titan Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

About HOT PURSUIT by Lynn Raye Harris:

He was the last man in the world she wanted to see. But he might be the only one who could save her.

Ten years ago, Matt Girard did something he shouldn’t have. When sweet Evangeline Baker offered him her virginity, he took it. Then he left town and he’s never looked back.

Until now. His future as a black ops soldier with the Hostile Operations Team is in jeopardy, and he’s come home for a few days before going back to face the consequences of a mission gone wrong.

Matt still makes Evie’s heart pound, but she wants nothing to do with him. She’s had enough of men who lie and promise things they don’t deliver. But when her sister goes missing and her ex-boyfriend turns up dead, she’s in need of Matt’s special military skills.

With time running out, Matt will put everything on the line to protect Evie and find her sister. Even if it means sacrificing all he’s worked for with HOT. Sometimes, the reward is worth the price. Especially when it’s the one woman he can’t forget.

Listen to an audio sample or pick up your copy of the HOT PURSUIT audiobook here!

Connect with Lynn Raye Harris:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 


About GONE TO DUST by Liliana Hart:

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces – and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their countries, their militaries, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise….

Miller Darling is one of the most popular romance novelists of her time. Not bad for a woman who doesn’t believe in romance. She’s as logical as they come, and she doesn’t believe in happily ever afters. What she does believe in is family, so when her brother disappears, she doesn’t think twice about packing her bag and her laptop and heading out to find him.

Elias Cole lived and breathed the life of a Navy SEAL. Now he’s “dead” and his hero’s honor tarnished. The only thing keeping him sane are the men who are like him – The Gravediggers – and the woman who makes his head spin. He’s never met anyone like Miller Darling. Her smart mouth and quick wit keep him on his toes, and damned if he doesn’t find that appealing.

When Miller receives a package from the brother who abandoned her asking for help, it’s clear she’s in over her head with the mess he’s gotten himself into. She needs a professional, and Elias is just the man for the job. Only her brother is a former SEAL – the man who left his team to die – and Elias is more interested in vengeance than saving his life.

Listen to an audio sample or pick up your copy of the GONE TO DUST audiobook here!

Connect with Liliana Hart:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

About ENEMY MINE by Megan Mitcham:

Born in the blood of Sierra Leone’s Civil War, enslaved, then sold to the US as an orphan, Base Branch operative Sloan Harris is emotionally dead and driven by vengeance. With no soul to give, her body becomes the bargaining chip to infiltrate a warlord’s inner circle. The man called the Devil killed her family and helped destroy a region.

As son of the warlord, Baine Kendrick will happily use Sloan’s body if it expedites his father’s demise. Yet, he is wholly unprepared for the possessive and protective emotions she provokes. Maybe it’s the flashes of memory…two forgotten children drawing in the dirt beneath the boabab tree…but he fears there is more at stake than his life.

In the Devil’s den with Baine by her side, Sloan braves certain death and discovers a spirit for living.

Listen to an audio sample or pick up your copy of the ENEMY MINE audiobook here!

Connect with Megan Mitcham:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

About INKED EXPRESSIONS by Carrie Ann Ryan

The Montgomery Ink Series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continues with the brother who keeps his secret and the one woman he shouldn’t want.

Everly Law married the love of her life and on the eve of giving birth to their twins, lost him in a tragic accident. Now she’s a single mother working overtime at her bookstore trying to make sure her boys have the life they deserve. Her life is busy enough without her adding dating a Montgomery. As past secrets come to light, she’ll need Storm more than ever—even if she doesn’t realize it.

Storm Montgomery has spent his life atoning for sins that only few know he’s committed. When he lost his best friend, he promised his widow that he’d always be there for her—even when she wanted nothing to do with him. But when a single touch ignites passions they’ve both buried deep inside, he’ll have to remember exactly who is in his arms and that taking chances might be far more dangerous than they bargained for.

Listen to an audio sample or pick up your copy of the INKED EXPRESSIONS audiobook here!

Connect with Carrie Ann Ryan:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

About A SEAL’S OATH by Cora Seton:

Navy SEAL Boone Rudman and his friends want to create a sustainable community that can be replicated anywhere in the world. But they need land, so when Martin Fulsom, leader of the Fulsom Foundation, offers them Westfield, a ranch in Montana, they agree to Fulsom’s condition that they document their progress on a reality television show.

Building the community will be hard enough, but Boone’s got another problem. Fulsom expects families to make up the population of the new town. Now Boone’s got to find a wife fast, before he loses his funding and his dream. So when he arrives at Westfield to find it already occupied by the startlingly beautiful, strangely attired Riley Eaton, he wonders if fate itself has provided him with an answer.

Riley Eaton is done with traffic jams and 24/7 workweeks. She loves Jane Austen’s novels, and she knows she’s not the only woman longing for a simpler, more beautiful life. When she discovers her friends are in the same frame of mind, she throws caution to the wind and invites them to Westfield, the ranch her uncle inherited long ago but has never lived in. Equipped with a key and a standing invitation to stay there whenever she likes, she gathers her friends, drives to Chance Creek, and gives up all things 21st century in order to open a Jane Austen-style bed-and-breakfast. She knows her absentee uncle will be thrilled with a new stream of income, and Westfield is perfect for Regency living, with its wide lawns, extensive gardens, and large ballroom. But when sexy, stubborn Boone shows up with plans to build a hyper-modern sustainable community on the ranch, it’s clear her Regency paradise is over before it even began.

Now Boone has 30 days to marry Riley or lose the ranch to developers, and Riley has three weeks to prepare for the bed-and-breakfast’s first guests or face bankruptcy. Can they overcome their prejudices to help each other? Or will their pride destroy both their futures?

Listen to an audio sample or pick up your copy of the A SEAL’S OATH audiobook here!

Connect with Cora Seton:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Audiobook Box Set Review and Giveaway! SCOTTISH WEREBEAR series #1-3 by Lorelei Moone

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Scottish Werebear: A Collection of BBW Bear Shifter Romances
by Lorelei Moone
Scottish Werebear #1-3
Publication Date: June 16, 2016
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Audiobook, Shifters, BBW

Synopsis: 3 for the price of 2: For the first time ever, a handy collection of the first three novellas in the Scottish Werebears series. Titles include: An Unexpected Affair, A Dangerous Business and A Forbidden Love.

Scottish Werebears: An Unexpected Affair
When romance novelist, Clarice Adler, hides herself away in a secluded holiday cottage to finish a book, the last thing she needs is another relationship. Imagine her surprise when she falls head over heels for the man who runs the place. Derek McMillan knows Clarice is his mate, but he’s a bear shifter and she’s human and the two simply don’t mix. They are literally worlds apart; can they find a way to come together?

Scottish Werebears: A Dangerous Business
As part of the Alliance, bear shifter Aidan McMillan is hunting the Sons of Domnall, a secret society of humans sworn to destroy all shifters. Along comes Heidi Blackwood, his fated mate, and it suddenly becomes nearly impossible to focus on the job.

Scottish Werebears: A Forbidden Love
Alison Campbell has been told that shifters are evil and the world would be a better place without them. In her efforts to infiltrate the Alliance to gather intel for The Sons of Domnall, she comes across Jamie Abbott, bear shifter and Alliance leader, who doesn’t seem so bad at all. In fact, he seems to be all her heart desires and the feeling is mutual. Where will her loyalties lie when it becomes time to pick a side once and for all?

 

 

Scottish Werebear #1-3 Audio Cover

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An Unexpected Affair (Scottish Werebear #1) Cover

AUDIO EXCERPT:

A Dangerous Business (Scottish Werebear #2) Cover

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A Forbidden Love (Scottish Werebear, #3) Cover

AUDIO EXCERPT:

Review:

The first three stories of the Scottish Werebear series take place concurrently–book one back at the isolated McMillan farm, and books two and three in Edinburgh.

Scottish Werebears: An Unexpected Affair was my favorite of the three. It introduced the world of the shifters in the series, which we learn about alongside Clarise (one of the book’s two non-shifting main characters, and the only American). Most of the drama of the shifter-hunting society is saved for the next two in the series, though we do sense a bit of what’s going on through the drama that it becomes clear that Derek’s brother is dealing with.

As in all three books, Clarise and Derek’s story is one of opposites attracting. The American human and Scottish werebear farmer are both attracted to each other from the first, though she assumes he’s married (he leaves her baked goods, which she attributes to the “farmer’s wife” and he doesn’t correct her) and he is certain that attraction or no, he could never be with a human. An accident soon brings them together, and they no longer can deny what is happening between them. What will they do? 4 stars / B

Scottish Werebears: A Dangerous Business is the story of Derek’s brother Aiden, who left the family farm years ago to discover the truth about their parents’ deaths. As a part of the Alliance, a group dedicated to protecting the shifter populations from the Sons of Domnall, a neo-Nazi-style hate group that wants to wipe them all off the face of the planet, he meets Heidi, a werewolf and…his fated mate. How can this be?

I enjoyed watching Aiden and Heidi struggle with their feelings (though shouldn’t she have figured out sooner that Aiden and Jamie were different species? That part seemed odd) and the drama and excitement of their encounter with the Sons. I was hoping against hope that Auden’d not only find the answers he was looking for but also an HEA with Heidi, despite their differences. 3 1/2 stars / B-

Scottish Werebears: A Forbidden Love is Jamie (Aiden’s boss at the alliance) and Alison’s (the daughter of the leader of the Sons!) story. Of the three, its plot definitely seemed to offer the most drama–the two are supposed to be sworn enemies! Plus, we find out that Alison played a part in an earlier tragedy in Jamie’s life. Obviously these two are going to have to work the hardest to find their HEA, right?

Well…maybe. Alison comes over a little too quickly to the other side, it feels like, mainly due to the power of being the mate of a shifter. I really wanted a bit more drama there. I was also amazed that Jamie wasn’t more concerned with finding his brother once he knew it was a possibility, since his disappearance from the beach all those years ago was a big part the reason he was now doing what he did. Though possibly Ms. Moone was just saving it for a future series book? 3 stars / C

The audio for all three were well done, except that for three books taking place entirely in Scotland and peopled by Scottish people (except for Clarice) why is it that the owner of the store she visits on her first day in the country is the only one who speaks with an accent? As an accent lover, that part was on the disappointing side…

Still, Ms. Moone has created an interesting world here (even if the idea of shifter mates is used a bit liberally to explain instalove times three), one I’d be more than willing to visit again!

Overall rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT LORELEI MOONE:
Lorelei Moone

Lorelei Moone is an up-and-coming author of paranormal romance based in London. Her first book, Scottish Werebear: An Unexpected Affair has hit the virtual shelves on Amazon on 25 September 2015, and her second, Scottish Werebear: A Dangerous Business a month later on the 25th of October. A lover of all things sweet, and caffeinated, when she’s not writing about sexy bear shifters and their strong-willed curvaceous love interests, Lorelei can be found baking cookies or cakes for her family.

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Author Spotlight: Cardeno C’s Audiobook Tour and Giveaway

 

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Jesse's Diner Audiobook

Jesse’s Diner: Hope, Book 2
Written by: Cardeno C.
Narrated by: Paul Morey
Length: 2 hrs and 49 mins
Series: Hope (Cardeno), Book 2
Unabridged Audiobook

LISTEN TO AN AUDIO CLIP

Two men with a shared history and a mutual attraction must be honest with themselves and each other so both their dreams come true.

Quiet, unassuming Tanner Sellers spends his time running a diner in Hope, Arizona. Not particularly social, 22-year-old Tanner keeps to himself and enjoys his simple life, but he longs for someone to call his own. In his most secret fantasy, that someone is sexy Steve Faus. But Steve is his friend’s father and mentor’s widower and therefore off-limits.

Despite some challenges, 39-year-old Steve Faus has had a good life. He’s extremely successful at work, has a great relationship with his college-age son, and lives in a wonderful town. Eighteen months after losing his partner, the one thing Steve lacks is someone to share his life with. If Steve is honest with himself, that someone is the young man he has known and cared about for years. Steve and Tanner want one another; all they need is a little push in the right direction to make both their dreams come true.

US / UK / iTunes

ebook links

All Romance eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords

The Half of Us Audiobook

The Half of Us: Family Collection
Written by: Cardeno C.
Narrated by: Ezekiel Robison
Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
Unabridged Audiobook

LISTEN TO AN AUDIO CLIP

Short-tempered, arrogant heart surgeon Jason Garcia grew up wanting a close-knit family, but believes he ruined those dreams when he broke up his marriage. The benefit of divorce is having as much random sex as he wants, and it’s a benefit Jason is exploiting when he meets a sweet, shy man at a bar and convinces him to go home for a no-strings-attached night of fun.

Eight years living in Las Vegas hasn’t dimmed Abe Green’s optimism, earnestness, or desire to find the one. When a sexy man with lonely eyes propositions him, Abe decides to give himself a birthday present – one night of spontaneous fun with no thoughts of the future. But one night turns into two and then three, and Abe realizes his heart is involved.

For the first time, Abe feels safe enough with someone he respects and adores to let go of his inhibitions in the bedroom. If Jason can get past his own inhibitions and open his heart and his life to Abe, he might finally find the family he craves.

US / UK / iTunes

ebook links

All Romance eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords

Something in the Way He Needs Audiobook

Something in the Way He Needs: Family Collection
Written by: Cardeno C.
Narrated by: Ezekiel Robison
Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
Unabridged Audiobook

LISTEN TO AN AUDIO CLIP

Controlled Asher didn’t expect to fall for free-spirited Daniel, but they’ll find what they desperately need in one another.

Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and Spartan apartment. He enjoys being in charge and in control, so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs.

The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, but with all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. If Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need.

US / UK / iTunes

ebook links

All Romance eBooks / Amazo US / Amazon CA Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords

Where He Ends & I Begin Audiobook

Where He Ends & I Begin: Home Collection, Book 3
Written by: Cardeno C.
Narrated by: Alexander Collins
Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
Series: Home, Book 3
Unabridged Audiobook

LISTEN TO AN AUDIO CLIP

Aggressive, physical, and brave, Jake Owens is a small town football hero turned big city cop who passes his time with meaningless encounters believing he can’t have who he really wants: Nate Richardson, his best friend since before forever. Thoughtful, quiet, and kind, Nate is a brilliant doctor who has always known who he is and has never been able to shake his crush on loyal, courageous, straight Jake.

After a passionate night together, Nate realizes Jake isn’t as straight as he assumed, but he worries that what they shared was a fluke, a result of too much closeness for too long. For Jake, the question isn’t how they ended up in bed together because he has always known that Nate holds his heart; it’s how he’ll convince Nate that he wants and needs to stay there.

US / UK

ebook links

All Romance eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Cardeno C - Logo

Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever- after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

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Free Audiobook Alert! AudioFile’s SYNC program starts today with 14 YA and 14 classic/summer reading titles–free!

It’s that time of the year again!

Once again, AudioFile’s offering 28 audiobooks FREE to readers–two per week for 14 weeks–starting today! All you need to do is sign up here. Each pairing is available for one week; to listen you’ll need to download the OverDrive app available here.

Check out this year’s selections:

 

About SYNC:

SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for young adults. Starting again May 7th 2015, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week – a current young adult title along with a thematically paired classic or required summer reading title. Sign up for email or text alerts and be first to know when new titles are available to download at www.audiobooksync.com.

 

Sound clips for this year’s titles:

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Now on Audio! HER PRAIRIE VIKING by Kit Morgan (Prairie Brides #4)

USA TODAY BEST SELLING AUTHOR KIT MORGAN RELEASES HER PRAIRIE VIKING IN AUDIO FORMAT!

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Prairie Brides is a series, so you’ll want to listen to the audiobooks in order to have the most fun! Enjoy these sweet romances as you get to know the Cooke brothers and the townsfolk of Clear Creek. One of the wackiest little towns in the old west!

The long awaited arrival of Mr. Berg is here! He made his first appearance in Her Prairie Knight, and then sprang into action with the rest of the townsfolk in His Prairie Duchess; now Mr. Berg has his own story to tell!

Andel Berg came to Clear Creek under the guise of becoming the new blacksmith, but little did the townspeople of Clear Creek know that he was so much more! Madeline Van Zuyen came to Clear Creek for a new beginning and the chance to start a new life. Little did she know that SHE was so much more!

Mr. Berg had a duty to perform. Find the Princess Madelaina at any cost, retrieve her, and deliver her to Count Rudge, one of the most despicable men Andel had ever known. Not an appealing task for a Captain of the King’s Guard but unfortunately, Andel had no choice. If he didn’t deliver the princess Count Rudge would kill his father and Andel was prepared to do anything to keep that from happening. But Andel hadn’t counted on falling in love.

If he didn’t deliver the princess his father would die. And if he did could Andel live with himself not to mention, live without his princess?

What then, will Mr. Berg do?

AUDIBLE

IF YOU HAVEN’T HAD A CHANCE TO SEE HER ARTICLE IN USA TODAY, YOU CAN CHECK IT OUT HERE:

USA TODAY ARTICLE

His Prairie Duchess, Prairie Brides Book 3

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Available Now on AUDIBLE | AMAZON | ITUNES

Her Prairie Knight, Prairie Bride Book 2

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His Prairie Princess, Prairie Brides Book 1

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The Christmas Mail Order Bride, Holiday Mail Order Brides Book 1

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The New Year’s Bride, Holiday Mail Order Bride Book 2

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MEET THE VOICE BEHIND THE PAGES: MICHAEL RAHHAL

MR-300x300Michael Rahhal has been a performer for his entire life. He has been performing, writing and directing comedy, theater, music and public or private events for the past 20 years. He has toured the world and collaborated with Blue Man Group as a writer, director and performer, founding members of The Wooster Group and as a writer, director, producer and performer for New Belgium Brewing Co.’s nonprofit touring bikes-and-beer festival “Tour De Fat”, where he helped raise over $500,000 for bike nonprofit organizations around the U.S. He also had his own hour-long solo comedy show at Caroline’s on Broadway, performed with Center Theater Group in Los Angeles and the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts.

As an audiobook narrator, his credits include The Wicked Passage: A Blake Wyatt Adventure by N.M. Singel, Realms of Mystery: A Forgotten Realms Anthology, Dragons of Chaos: A Dragonlance Anthology, And the Girl Screamed by Gil Brewer, Kolchak’s Gold by Brian Garfield, The Two Faces of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan, and Rule: A Marked Men Novel by Jay Crownover. All of these titles are available on audible.com. He has also narrated feature documentaries, as well as various animated comedic shorts.
Since moving to Los Angeles, he has frequented the comedy lineups of “What’s Up Tiger Lily”, “Garage Comedy” and “The Tomorrow Show”, as well as “Hot Tub with Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler”.
He also has been studying and now teaching Krav Maga, a self-defense system that is as fun and effective as it is easy to learn, for he believes all bullies, bad guys and would-be assailants deserve to get kicked in the groin several times for preying on us regular folks.

Saturday Morning Videos–the NPH Edition! Neil Patrick Harris: CHOOSE YOUR OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHY book trailer with a bonus :)

My brother and I practically INHALED the CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE series when they first came out.
I am slightly bummed that this is hardcover and not paperback like they were–but I’ll get over it 😉

True story: when Doogie Howser, M.D. was on the air, my brother and Neil Patrick Harris looked practically like twins! Sadly, by the time he was in college my brother no longer looked so much like him–but another kid at UB at the same time as Bill still did…totally bizarre. Are there a lot of NPH lookalikes running around the world, or was the WNY area just lucky like that?

Anyway, I’ve already bought the book on audio (NPH narrates!) and can’t wait to read it. There just aren’t enough quality second-person narration books out there, you know?

And now, a bonus NPH video–yeah, it’s a commercial, but it’s worth a watch. It makes me laugh every time I watch it–it’s so totally over the top.

Anyone know where I can get a crown like the bear wears?

Dual Book Review: A Duke of Her Own and Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James (Desperate Duchesses #6 and #7)

I. Love. This. Series!

          

A Duke of Her Own
Three Weeks With Lady X
by Eloisa James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize until I was about a third of the way book seven (Three Weeks with Lady X), that I hadn’t read book six (A Duke of Her Own) in the series yet.I don’t know why; I had it on my Kindle already. Somehow it slipped through the cracks–I’d read and loved the rest of them, and had really been looking forward to Villier’s book; I must have gotten distracted. Though, really, what’s good enough to distract one from a duke? I have no idea.  I have no valid excuse here. So as soon as I finished Thorn’s book, I backed up and read his father’s.

It was fun to see the child Thorn was after reading his adult story–kind of reminiscent of when you’re visiting your significant other’s family and they pull out the old family albums and start telling embarrassing (to them, of course–not to you. You’re getting plenty of fodder for future torture–not that I’d do that, honest) stories.

Reading them one after the other, you can definitely see how the son is so much like his paternal figure, even though they spent the first twelve years of Thorn’s life apart. Both were convinced that they needed to marry “the right” woman even though they were crazy-attracted to “the wrong” one. Eloisa managed to completely sell me on their convictions here–even though I wanted to smack these two heroes upside the head for approximately half their respective books, I could absolutely see why they were so hell-bent on making such bad choices. They did have fairly decent reasons.

Unfortunately, they’re men and therefore spend ninety percent of the book convinced they’re totally correct in their convictions. Fortunately, they do manage to get their heads out of their posteriors just in time in spite of this.

The strength of the last three books in this series makes it my favorite of Ms. James’s–and really, I love all of her books (and with this one I’ve finally read them all! Write faster, Ms. James!) so that’s saying something.

Can I just oh-so-subtly point out that Thorn’s best friend just so happens to be a duke as well? (cough, cough–perfect hero for book eight–cough)

I listened to both on audio, and they were very well done.  Narrator has a pleasant voice with a delicious accent, and her portrayal of the heroes doesn’t make me cringe unlike some others I’ve listened to. Book six even made me cry–though at least I was driving this time, and not walking the dog. No one was traumatized save myself. Thanks, Eloisa. 😉

Rating: 5 stars / A
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Audiobook Review: The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale (Book two in the Victorian Hearts series)

The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale

Blurb:

In defense of her honor, innocent Leda Etoile has burned all her bridges and taken refuge in her tiny attic room in a shabby boarding house in London. But her last safe haven is invaded when she wakes to find a man hidden in the dark – a man with golden hair and the face of a fallen angel, who moves in the night like a shadow.

Will he be her savior, or her ruin? Samuel Gerard draws her inexorably into the richest circles of aristocratic England. But even as Leda falls in love with a man she can never have, she must keep his secrets. Though everything about him is shame and illusion, this shadow warrior desperately desires what only Leda can give him – absolute love, and the truth about himself.

The incredibly successful pairing of Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton has been honored once again, winning a THIRD Earphones Award from AudioFile Magazine, this time for The Shadow and the Star. Sweeping listeners from the jubilee parades of Park Lane to the flower-scented breezes of Hawaii, Boulton brings this beloved Kinsale classic to memorable life.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OH MY GOSH, this book was amazing. It would have been fantastic to read in print or ebook version to be sure–but in audio? Un-freaking-believable. Seriously, I think I would listen to Nicholas Boulton read the backs of cereal boxes and be perfectly content–he’s that good. His British accent is killer, but when he seamlessly switches to American? I have no words.

But enough swooning–for now. Back to the book 🙂

Laura Kinsale has a way of writing flawed, troubled characters that is both heartbreaking and amazing at the same time. These two are no exception. Both Samuel and Leda practically reduced me to tears more than once during the course of the novel.

Samuel had a devastating past, which is revealed in part as the novel progresses. He has moved beyond it in many ways, growing up to be a successful–if relentlessly focused–man, accepted by the society in which he lives. He is deeply ashamed of his background, however, and it colors his perception of himself in everything he does. He does not believe that anyone who truly knows who he is can love him.

Leda had a similar backstory in that she too was an orphan and grew up believing that her origins–her mother was French and never married her father–would forever taint how others would see her. She felt that being half French meant that she was a flawed individual, and that others would see her as a person with loose morals. As a result, she strives to be perfectly correct in all that she does. When the book begins, her situation is the reverse of Samuel’s–she went from having a somewhat comfortable upbringing (not with her mother, who passed away when she was young, but with a gently impoverished society lady who had taken her in afterwards but unfortunately died before the story began) to being unemployed and nearly destitute.

The two officially meet on Leda’s last day at her job at a London dressmaker, just before Leda refuses to become a mistress to a wealthy man so she can pay for the gown she is required to wear for work.

Books like this make me soooooo glad I work in the 21st century instead of the 19th.

The story is told from Samuel and Leda’s viewpoints, and the first half or so also gives us some views of Samuel’s past. We see how he came to live with the Ashtons, a British aristocratic family living in Hawaii and his training in Japanese ways by their servant Dojun (he essentially becomes a white ninja in Victorian England–seriously, how cool is that??), and his complicated relationship with the daughter of the house, who he has a serious case of worship for but who is obviously not the right girl for him.

Not that he sees this. Like, ever. Really, besides the fact that this novel ended way too abruptly (though it did end at a really adorable spot I naturally wanted more) my only other complaint is that Samuel never does have that aha! moment where he admits–whether to Leda or to himself–that what he felt for Catherine wasn’t what he had deluded himself it was. It was slightly disappointing.

Really, though, the rest of the book so blew me away that I couldn’t even take away a half a star for it. The writing is exquisite, and the characters were fantastic. Leda’s unique blend of innocent virgin and old-lady prudishness (because, hello–she was raised by an elderly spinster in the Victorian era) was absolutely endearing. The settings–England during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and colonial Hawaii–were amazing. The politics and history…well, to be honest, some of the Japanese and Hawaiian bits went right over my head, but Mr. Bouton’s reading had me loving hearing about them anyway.

Like I said, cereal boxes. But I digress.

I suppose I can see how this book–and probably Laura Kinsale’s books in general–aren’t for everyone. Samuel and Leda’s romance isn’t quite the focus of the novel in the way that is customary in a “typical” historical romance. But in spite of this–or actually, it’s probably because of this, more accurately–her characters end up feeling a lot more true to their time period. Leda definitely doesn’t have any 21st century notions as so many historical heroines tend to do, and I can see how modern readers might be frustrated with her. To me, though, she came across as charmingly authentic…even as her innocent ignorance broke my heart. Samuel too is a different kind of hero from the usual, and it makes him feel more real as well.

(Though the whole ninja thing detracts a bit from the realism. Whatever. It’s still totally cool.)

Samuel’s relationship with his adopted mother, Lady Tess (Lady Ashton), is fantastic. I loved every single scene with the two of them in it–especially the ones where it was just the two of them. The gifts he gives her? Beautiful.

I’m still not sure how I feel about Dojun, though. Many of his teachings that become such a part of Samuel’s consciousness really raised some red flags, and by the end of the novel he had definitely lost much of his shine for me. He’s lucky I couldn’t reach inside the novel and smack him upside his manipulative head.

Although I’m sure he would have seen me coming a mile away and easily deflected. Still, I’d have liked to have had the chance.

I was about halfway through with this book when I realized that it was actually second in a series–Lady Tess’s story is told in The Hidden Heart, which I absolutely must read. I am doing things backwards, as always. The only question is–will Mr. Boulton be reading an audio version of that one as well? If so, will I be able to wait for it?

Only time will tell. In the meantime, I may have to go re-listen to a few bits. Just in the interest of–well, something. Something that makes it sound much more noble than gratuitous swooning.

A rating.

I won a copy of the audiobook version from the author through Sarah at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books as part of their Thanksgivukkah celebration. All opinions expressed here are my own, however.

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New Release and Review: Kristan Higgins’s The Perfect Match (Books two in the Blue Heron series)

 

Title: The Perfect Match
Author: Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron
Genre: Contemporary romance
Published: 2013
Pages: 441
Format read: audio
Rating: A-

What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise? 

Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there… or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn’t easier said than done.

Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind.

In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancé, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn’t easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love….

Review:

The Perfect Match is without question a Kristan Higgins novel. Her quirky sense of humor shines throughout, and it’s rife with the fun characters her novels are known for. Individually, I loved both Honor and Tom, and Charlie just broke my heart throughout the whole novel.

The only problem? It felt like Honor and Tom weren’t together nearly enough for much of the book. For the first two-thirds or so, I felt a bit “meh” about them as a couple. Oh, they each thought about how attractive they found the other and they did share a few moments, but it wasn’t until the last third of the book that I really started to believe in their love story.

Part of this might have been the narrator as well–her version of Tom’s accent just didn’t quite do it for me. Now if Tom Hardy, Kristan’s inspiration for his character, had been available…well, that would have been a whole different story then, surely 😉

Once Kristan Higgins decides to “bring it”, though, she goes all out!

The last third of the novel really put me through the emotional wringer. I lost track of the number of times I felt myself getting teary, and I became totally unwilling to stop listening, especially for insignificant reasons like sleeping, showering, and conversing with the kids. (Just kidding, Mini Moes. Kind of.) The last third reminded me why Ms. Higgins is on my auto-buy list. Stick with this one, and you won’t be disappointed!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I still went out an bought the audio, though–because I’m weird like that.

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