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Gaele

We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis

Atlanta, GA

ratings
107
REVIEWS
107
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
6
HELPFUL VOTES
87

  • Lord of Fire, Lady of Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Michelle M. Pillow
    • Narrated By Mason Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (25)

    Lady Della despises all things Viking. They may rule the land, but they will never rule her. Unfortunately, her father doesn't seem to agree. To prove his continued allegiance to the Viking king, the Ealdorman of Strathfeld betroths his only daughter to a respected Viking Lord - a warrior whose legendary prowess isn't reserved for the battlefield. Fighting the newfound craving in her body and the unwelcome fire in her heart, Della must choose between everything she knows to be true and the one thing she never expected...

    hazel says: "The woman has no spine."
    "Medieval: emotional and lush"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’m a huge fan of those retro bodice-ripper stories: you know- the ones with Fabio on the cover and you can SO not judge me for that. They are escapist, they pull at your emotions and deliver some moments with characters where you wish to be able to reach out and shake them because they are being so contrary. I’m also in a huge Historic Romance kick of late, there is something so unique to the world and the conventions that give authors a way to ‘work around’ those, and further develop some depth in their characters to make up for an often rigid society. Well, Michelle M. Pillow has managed to blend all of the elements and return a story that pleases my need for an emotionally charged escapist read in a world built with lush historical details and a bit of angst as the characters fight traditional conventions.
    Brant is a strong leader, competent and capable and well respected by his men. Fiery is his nature, passionate and determined, this is all signified with a shock of red hair that graces his locks. He is truly the Lord of Fire, and it only remains to be seen if he can melt the icy reserve of his wife and lady.
    Della is cold, yet that is a shell to protect her heart and express her discomfort with her situation. While she appears to use her lack of emotion and reactions to embarrass Brant in the company of others, her utter dismissal of him during their private moments are akin to throwing ice on a burn.
    Yet, the two need to learn to trust one another, and find the keys to share the passion that is buried within. And there is where I had a few moments of repetition in the story: there was often a rehashing of their issues, as if neither wanted to learn from the first time around. Those were moments that made me want to shake them. A few overused words that came up often, and a bit too much dithering in interior monologues about their undying concerns, passions or love: when it was abundantly clear to the reader that they were electric and attached to one another, they seemed to take a bit of time to get to that realization themselves. I did adore the fact that this was a veryearly historic romance, based in the middle of the Anglo-Saxon era of Vikings and Wars and Alfred the Great, king of the West Saxons.
    Narration in this story is provided by Mason Lloyd, and his voice is unusual for most romances, yet a perfect adjunct to the story. Effortlessly modulating pitch, tone and even accent, his narration never distracts and often enhances the more emotional moments, adding in scorn, disbelief, anger and frustration with apparent ease. Even the softer moments are clearly defined with his voicing, and the rare moments of happiness and laughter are spoken as if he were smiling from within.
    This isn’t a smooth run to the end, but the story rarely finds the reader without some sort of emotion from frustration to anger to worry to ultimate cheers as the two finally sort out their communication and manage to come together for a happy ending.

    I received an audiobook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • I, Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Rick Garnett
    • Narrated By Chris MacDonnell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Paris and Helen - more than a romance, this audiobook depicts the adventures and inner life of the Trojan prince Paris, a complex figure in a world of stark simplicity, moving through passion, betrayal, and violence to a stunning finale. Through interpolation of gripping action scenes, tender vignettes, and vivid dialogue, the audiobook gives new depth and richness to the classic story of Paris, Helen of Troy, and the war their stolen love engendered.

    Gaele says: "a modern story with a classic feel"
    "a modern story with a classic feel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    AudioBook Review:
    Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 3


    In an elaboration and build out for a classic character from Homer’s Iliad, Rick Garnett has focused this story on Paris, a character he felt was diminished by many interpretations of the original work and often stood in the background to the more famous Helen of Troy.

    Garnett himself has a litany of reasons why he has reworked the original, and the influences brought forward from other classic works that influenced his portrayal and characterization. While I appreciated the obvious attention to detail and care taken in his work, but as a filling out of a classic character, I had difficulty integrating the two works Taken as a stand-alone story, there is a character that has a touch of insouciant confidence, a solid belief in his fighting skills, a curious ‘there’s always tomorrow” attitude that all hold a deeply seated alpha to solidify his hero status.

    The story proceeds apace, and has a touch of romance, humor and some action with plenty to encourage readers and listeners to seek out the classic story. This is the perfect bite to introduce you to a classic that may feel daunting in a small bite. Garnett is obviously familiar with the original and keeps a similar feel in this modern work.

    Narration is provided by Chris MacDonnell who manages to add inflections and pacing changes as well as subtle and not so subtle pitch variations to delineate characters all worked well. The narration was a solid performance, enhancing emotional components and delivered smoothly to keep listeners engaged without overwhelming them with too many narrative choices.

    If you are looking for a modern story with a classic feel that you can get in an easy afternoon’s listening, this is the story for you; working well as an influence to seek out the classic work from Homer.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Executive Decision: Falling for Him, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Mandy M. Roth
    • Narrated By Sarah Van Sweden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Dale Corbins has been in love with Liz from the moment he laid eyes on her. He knows time is running out, that one of these days she's going to come home and tell him she's fallen for someone else. When he finds out she's been sleeping with their boss, he decides it's time to take matters into his own hands. Unfortunately, winning Liz's heart isn't an easy game to play. It will take more than romantic gestures and sweet nothings to get the woman he loves. Thankfully, he's a very persistent man.

    Gaele says: "Roth played my emotional response with precision"
    "Roth played my emotional response with precision"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    AudioBook Review:
    Stars: Overall 4 Narration 3 Story 4

    A best friends to lovers trope is the centerpoint of this story, and while I really did like Dale, I was rather on the fence about Elizabeth. These two have been friends for years, in fact Dale is her roommate and shoulder, and occasional ‘safety switch’. He’s pretty carefree and open, and he doesn’t make his admiration of her a secret, but she hides behind the ‘I’ve been hurt’ barrier.

    When Dale decides that enough is enough, and wants to make his intentions clear – their connection is off the chain, but her immaturity and constant need to bicker was annoying and thoroughly frustrating. While there was some solidity to their friendship, I couldn’t fully buy into his attraction for the longest time, her behavior was so conflicted unless or until it suited her to be loving and kind.

    Narration in this story is provided by Sarah Van Sweden, my second encounter with her work. While this was a smoother narration than the first I’d listened to from her, there are still moments where her overly definite enunciation distracted from the flow of the story, although it was an issue quickly sorted with what appeared to be increased comfort with performing a narration and not simply reading.

    The story does dance about a bit and emotionally runs the gamut from wanting to get a cold drink after sexy time to wanting to bash Elizabeth (and occasionally Dale) over the head with a cast-iron pan to halt the bickering. Believe me, you will want LOTS of ice handy, this is erotic romance with some seriously hot and inventive scenes, a trait Roth has down. A few late additions ramped up the tension, almost unnecessarily, and perhaps introduced characters to follow in later installments. If you are a fan of friends to lovers and like a story with steam – this is the book for you. Overall it was an enjoyable getaway as Roth played my patience and emotional response to the characters with precision.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Guardians

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mandy M. Roth
    • Narrated By Sarah Van Sweden
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Ass-kicking Guardian, Madelyn Mason, is the only female in a sea of supernatural males. College student by day, she spends her nights fighting for mankind--the innocents, the ones who have no clue that the things of nightmares walk among the living. Larger than life Hollywood hunk, Brady Devens, has won the hearts of millions of adoring fans. But, the only heart he wants to win is that of his mate, Madelyn.

    Majbritt Breindal Rasmussen says: "great story, well written."
    "nice introduction into Roth’s paranormal romances"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never quite know what I’ll get with a Mandy Roth title, beyond the smart-mouthed comments and some incredibly hot and sexy scenes, the layering of her characters with otherworldly traits, unique settings and inherent conflicts can be set anywhere: from real-world to outer space.

    Madelyn and Brady are friends, roommates and absolutely adorable together. Madelyn is a guardian, protection of the innocents with her not insignificant fighting skills. Brady is the latest Hollywood hot thing, an actor that works for Madelyn’s father. The only person to know Mady’s secret – Brady is that stand-up guy that you want in your corner, and that is her main reason she isn’t willing to endanger the relationship that they had with sexual games. But they do, at first, dance to that cliff and back in nearly every interaction.

    Not only is Madelyn the only woman in guardian’s history – it seems that everyone is keeping secrets from her. And as kick-ass as she is, and able to manage just about every challenge she faces in her efforts to protect the innocents, she just can’t seem to put all the pieces together.

    And then, the revelations starting coming fast and furious- and here I thought Mady was a little ‘off’. Thinking she had to manage it all, and believing that those who ‘knew’ her secret didn’t understand her, when the pieces start to fall in for her, she is far too complacent in her reaction. A temper tantrum, some smart ass comments, even a few punches would have felt better for me. But, this led the story into the well-developed and still transforming relationship between her and Brady, and from the seriously palpable sexual tension that was unfulfilled, we move into some incredibly inventive and steamy moments with plenty of heat and action to spur the imagination.

    Narration in this story is provided by Sarah Van Sweden. Her tone is pleasant and her speech is clear, and while the performance starts with only small modulations in tone and pacing to delineate each character, those changes became more pronounced as the story progressed and worked to smoothly set Brady and Madelyn separate from the other characters that were introduced. What I did notice was a decided lack of “performance” in the narration: concise and clear speech is necessary for the listener, but the tiny pauses as each single syllable and word is enunciated ( slowly – I – faced – them ) left me knowing that the text was being read. What that did was add a hiccup in the flow: I understand that careful attention to the written word is important, and clarity in speech is necessary, but the quest to not make errors (when they WILL happen) halts the natural flow of the narration. What I can say is that during the more action-heavy scenes, she does speed her pace slightly and the hesitations between the words seems to diminish slightly.

    A fun story, this is a nice introduction into Roth’s work for those not familiar with her writing, and sure to please those who enjoy a paranormal fantasy romance with a bit of heat and a smart-mouthed heroine.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zane: The McKades of Texas, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Kimberly Lewis
    • Narrated By Madeleine Bundy
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Kellan Anderson is in hillbilly hell - or at least that's what it feels like. After enduring endless counts of abuse from her now ex-boyfriend, Kellan makes a run for her life and finds herself in cowboy country. Leaving her fancy clothes and expensive lifestyle behind her, she trades in her high heels for cowboy boots and changes her name to Andi Ford. With her painful past threatening to catch up with her, hiding out in this small town seems easy enough - until one blond-haired, blue-eyed cowboy steps in the picture.

    Gaele says: "Lewis develops Andi (Kellan) and Zane with flair"
    "Lewis develops Andi (Kellan) and Zane with flair"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A contemporary small-town Texas setting is the backdrop for this romance. Carrying a feel that is reminiscent of stories written 10 – 15 years ago, Kimberly Lewis brings us the McKade family and the ‘new girl’ Andi, just trying to adjust to the very different country she finds herself hiding in.

    While there aren’t any great new reinventions of the wheel here, Lewis develops Andi (Kellan) and Zane with flair, and each of the secondary characters in town are just as fun and well built. But of course, the reason Andi (Kellan) is there is to hide away from an evil ex, and well – this story would have been perfect without that rather over-wrought trope. The solution to that situation was confusing and a bit quick to resolve, and while I understood the need to give Andi (Kellan) a reason to travel to ‘hillbilly hell’, I did not wholly buy into her fear or the threat.

    But – that was a small niggle in the overall story, and while it was a diversion from the lightning fast, snarky banter and sparks flying between she and Zane, it wasn’t the focal point of the story. And – Lewis managed to use the BEST Line EVER

    “Screw you, cowboy!” she yelled after him, saying the word exactly as she had before. “And that horse you rode in on.”


    Narration in this story is provided by Madeline Bundy, and like others that I have listened to recently, the performance was workable, but not outstanding. Overly emphasizing each word to completely enunciate causes odd pauses and breathing moments that are not reflective of the text, and while her conversational moments and slight distinctions for different character voices were performed slightly better, and gave some variation in narrative speed and interest, the overall impression was an average one. I love audiobooks for the little ‘oomph’ given by narrating a story, that bit of extra that a great narration can give to a story in their personification of characters and emotional emphasis. Overworking or not doing enough can ruin a story: this narration was just average and workable, neither special nor horrible.

    I received an AudioBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Pool, A Suitor, A Cellist: Bright Shadows Series: Novelette Trilogies for Busy Folks

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By R. Manolakas
    • Narrated By John Bell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    A lonely and beautiful little girl with a strange friend, a shy, thoughtful young man searching for a purpose in life that will surprise you, and an elderly, sensual woman whose art warns her of the future: these are the spines of the bizarre novelettes featured in this first volume of a series of trilogies.

    ocdoug says: "Twilight Zone like but even more bizarre"
    "different and solidly written,"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am admitted fan of short stories, so this trilogy was an enticing review option. R. Manolakas presents these as being in the style of Twilight Zone, and while they were different and solidly written, there was just a little something missing to give me that moment of “ooh” that I remember from those shows.

    A touch of the bizarre, where conundrums are created that don’t necessarily engage but serve the plot well starts this collection, and while the conclusion to this story managed to feel appropriate with the other two in this collection just didn’t seem to make sense as a triad. The last two stories are ventures into historical fiction, and while technically proficient and well-written, I was easily able to discover the mystery long before the reveal or conclusion. Again I still felt a bit disconnected and removed from the story, missing the promised feel of unique or otherworldly twists.

    Narration is more than capably provided by John Bell. His voice was mellifluous and engaging, she smoothly navigated the dialog and characters, and presented the appropriate tone and enunciation to the work.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the author via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Reason to Stay: Oak Hollow, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 26 mins)
    • By June Stevens, DJ Westerfield
    • Narrated By Meghan Kelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Ellie loves her hometown, job, and best friend Jake. But Jake is a ladies man that will never settle down. Ellie can't stand to see him with other women anymore, so she is packing up and leaving Oak Hollow and everything she loves to start over. A night of unexpected passion makes her start to think maybe things can work out between them, until she happens upon a secret Jake has been keeping for more than a year. Will their friendship be forever torn apart? Or will Ellie find a reason to stay?

    The Book Nympho says: "Enjoyed it but wish it was longer."
    "for those who like their lust to turn to more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A quick and steamy read that brings us into the story of Jake and Ellie at a point of change. These best friends each hold a torch for one another, but for their own reasons, they haven’t acted on it. June Stevens sets the story and gives us the characters fully formed and set which speeds up the action and lead-time to steam.

    Jake is a fireman, a ladies man who has relied (some would say leaned) on Ellie and her friendship since childhood. Never once has he moved toward a relationship with her- his type is willowy and tall, and that is SO not Ellie. Ellie is done with the small town and limited opportunities. Sure it will be hard to leave her life and connections, but the sale of her house offers her a whole new view. Not your typical romance heroine, Ellie is full-figured and curvy, and she’s tired of watching Jake’s parade of model-thin women. She doesn’t believe he could be attracted to her, no matter how connected they are in all other areas.

    When they both take that chance in a last-ditch effort, sparks fly and ‘type’ goes out the window. Jake and Ellie are made for each other, they have the affection and history that makes relationships work and when they discover the steam that rises in an untested attraction, all bets are off.

    Narration for this story is provided by Meghan Kelly and she manages to present the story with a pleasant tone and tenor that suits the characters and the plot. She doesn’t over-work the inflections or tones to deliver the characters, and she adds appropriate pauses, hesitations and emotion to the story that doesn’t distract or compete with the words. The start of a new series, for fans of romance with women who aren’t reed thin and like their lust to turn to more – this is a good option.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the publisher via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    9 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Nobody's Child: Georgia Davis, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Libby Fischer Hellmann
    • Narrated By Beth Richmond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    A bloodstained note left for PI Georgia Davis reveals the shocking existence of a half-sister she never knew about. Her sister, Savannah, is pregnant and begging for Georgia's help. Determined to track her down, Georgia finds herself heading deep into the secretive and dangerous underworld of Chicago's illegal sex trafficking business. She soon discovers that trafficking is just a small part of the horrifying and deadly situation in which her new sister is caught up.

    Snoodely says: "Hellmann delivers another winner."
    "Libby Fischer Hellman brings light to shadows"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    AudioBook Review:
    Stars: Overall 5 Narration 3 Story 5

    The second title in her Georgia Davis series that I have reviewed, Libby Fischer Hellman again brings light to shadows, unearthing truly disturbing elements as she brings us through the story. Georgia Davis is an easy character to like: she breathes and thinks and reacts to events with a humanity that is often missing in other detective stories, and Hellman uses that well-defined humanity in a character that is gutsy and determined, looking to do right for the underdog.

    This story is particularly disturbing for it highlights the sex trafficking industry: already readers will intuit some less than savory elements, but Hellman goes steps further bringing child-trafficking into the mix. Be aware readers, while the story is incredibly well detailed and researched, there are moments that will literally turn your stomach and have you writing your congressmen.

    Georgia manages to wind her way through several threats, deal with some particularly unsavory people, the initial depravity just may not be as deep and disturbing as this can get. And it can get pretty disturbing with Russian gangsters, her newly discovered half-sister who works as a prostitute, a missing child, and the ever-present grasping and greedy money-men, who only want their cut.

    Narration in this story is provided by Beth Richmond, and while her narration was capable, it could have been much better. Her delineation between characters was lackluster, and there was a decided lack of emotive emphasis: this is a page-turner, action packed and tense story: narration should have, in some way, reflected that tension. And sadly, it didn’t. Fortunately, the story is so well written and engaging, the less-than-stellar delivery did not decrease my enjoyment of the book significantly.

    Georgia Davis is a wonderful character: less gung-ho confident and more determined and methodical, looking to do right to those who have been wronged. Her stories all stand alone, although they will whet your appetite for more, especially if you prefer your mysteries with a touch of grit and grime.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (8811)
    Performance
    (6919)
    Story
    (6952)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Amazon Customer says: "Word Thief"
    "your child should read/ see / listen to this"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So I was late to the party again with this title, and actually my initial assumptions about this being ‘yet another’ story of Nazi Era Germany. Honestly, the perspective and construct of this story is so unique and different, that it has been added to my list of ‘your child should read/ see’ this list of books and films that I believe provide a perspective on history that is often lacking in textbooks.

    Firstly, the main narration is provided by death. Yes, Death. His retelling of the story, providing a perspective that ranges from ‘oh what fools these mortals be’ to actual moments where his occupation feels like a burden. A rather tricky narrator to be sure, but Zusak uses the character to full effect, giving a sense of foreboding without being maudlin. In the audio format, the narration of Allan Corduner is simply spectacular, as he adds the emotional component to Death’s character, a sense of ennui with a been-there-done-that touch of boredom, while never seeming to take delight in the harvesting.

    When the blurb says it is just a ‘small story really’, that wholly discounts the joys within: From Liesel and her Papa’s relationship, her slow discovery of the joys within books and her covetous desire to have books, to her friend Rudy who is determined to become Jesse Owens: there is love and loss and innocence shattered. Focusing on just a small group of people who are surviving and existing despite horrible circumstances.

    This combination of author and narrator is what all audio versions should strive to be: Zusak has bent, twisted, combined and placed words with such care that they seemingly could not have been used any other way. Adding Allan Corduner, a British actor to narrate the book was a genius move: his ability to massage the words and bring forth their meaning and subtext without overarching emotive emphasis, and his facility for accent and voice give each of the characters a distinct appearance that couldn’t be anything else. It is truly a treat to find narration that so perfectly suits the text, and brings the emotion of the moment to the forefront, enhancing the listen.

    I am on my fifth listen of this story: each one brings a new element forward, making me see more of the story than I did the time before, and it never gets old. That is, for me, a signal that this is an important story: one suitable for high school aged readers, although some mature middle grade readers may find the story attractive. As always, with every book that deals with the more unsavory facts of human behavior, I would suggest that parents take a listen or a read of the title as well: surprisingly despite the setting, there is a solid hopeful thread that manages to follow the book from beginning to end.

    I purchased an Audiobook copy of the title for my own library. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ring of Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Victoria Howard
    • Narrated By Michelle Ford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    When English accountant Daniel Elliott dies in a car accident one rainy night, his widow, Grace, is overcome with grief... and panic. Daniel was controlling and their marriage loveless, but he always took care of the sheltered Grace. Or so she thought. She soon discovers Daniel kept secrets: an alias, mob ties, a list of numbers, a mysterious beach house in Florida... and a girlfriend who looks like Grace. Swallowing her fear, she flies to Miami to claim the house Daniel left her. But the price of her curiosity is peril.

    Ellis says: "Kept my attention throughout"
    "AudioBook Review"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A romantic suspense story that I had trouble with the romance although found the suspense and the setting of scenes quite clever, Ring of Lies is a “what do you do when all you thought you knew was untrue’ sort of story.

    To the positive, the story was developed with clever scene setting and description that gave me a sense of being there. The twists and turns as Grace navigates her own grief and the uncovered secrets and peril in Miami felt plausible, but there was just something not quite meshing in the story for me.

    Mostly I think it was a character issue: I didn’t find Grace particularly capable or strong, and while she did manage to take in information and make decisions, they still felt tentative and unsure. And she was more dithery and insecure – no anger, no real displays of furious after finding a whole life her dead husband had concealed. Sure, the shock was expected, but I also believe anyone would be angry – furious if truth be told. Then we have Jack – a bit too Stacey Keach in Mike Hammer, with the associated ‘trying to hide the golden heart within’ sort of attitude. Why can’t a dislikable character just be left to be competent but no one you’d want to have a drink with? I would have believed that more, and then there would be no need to flavor this story with a romance that just felt forced and untrue.

    Not bad in the whole, with enough issues with character dialogue feeling stilted or utterly misplaced to the character that is speaking, and there seemed to be a great rush to finish the story in the last moment, a curious problem with many titles in this genre. Is there a checklist that says you have to end in X pages so pages R, S, T, U, V and W all must tie up every thread whether that seems to make sense or not? There were some pieces that required more exposition, even if the ending did feel appropriate for the situation, even though rushed.

    Narration is provided quite capably by Michelle Ford, who manages to impart voice and accent changes neatly, add emotional impact without overreach, and provide enough variation in delivery and pacing to provide interest while remaining easy to follow.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In Winter's Shadow

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Gillian Bradshaw
    • Narrated By Nicole Quinn
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Vows broken. . .Friendships betrayed. . . The fate of heroes finally revealed. . . As powerful enemies attack the throne from inside the kingdom, Arthur, his queen, and his greatest warrior Gwalchmai will be put to the ultimate test. Never faltering in her loyalty to the king, Gwynhwyfar has stood at Arthur's side through rebellion and war. But one desperate decision could cost her all they've built. With the kingdom crumbling around them, following the Queen's heart could be the greatest threat of all.

    Katherine says: "3.5 stars, Tragic and Painful"
    "A wonderful presentation of Camelot legend"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    AudioBook Review
    Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 5 Story: 4


    Carrying the story forward, the story is now told by Gwenhwyfar or Guinevere as more commonly known. Bradshaw has managed to bring us to the end of days for Camelot, with the final battles, the death of Mordred, Gwalchmai’s death and her own roles and guilt for her part.

    Again managing to re-invent the story of King Arthur using Bretonized forms of the names and presenting unique perspectives on the events, with points of view that were left untold or unimagined in the originals, Bradshaw has managed to neatly pull all of the threads together and wrap this series with a conclusion that is both refreshing and satisfying.

    What stands out prominently for me is Bradshaw’s ability to present her characters in a way that both feels unique yet holds true to their own internal dialogue as they explain, tell and share their parts of the story. From Gwalchmai’s guilt about his lost love, to the very well-reasoned and completely real sense of ‘what is right’ that Gwenhwyfar presents as she wraps up the series, this reads as if the characters are real and palpable, giving readers the ability to commiserate, empathize, learn from and enjoy each person as they appear.

    Narration is again provided by Nicole Quinn who manages to present the arcane and archaic place and character names with a smoothness that never falters. That is a quality of major importance, as the names and places are often tongue twisters, and the flow of the story would be greatly impacted if the pronunciation faltered or varies. Additionally, her narration of the many moods of Gwenhwyfar, and the addition of simple adjustments in accent, tone and pace as she presented the other characters not only were easy to distinguish, but added to the enjoyment and impact of the story. Touches of Wales and Scotland, as well as a bit of the ‘Northern’ accent all add to the story, and her seamless transitions in this well-produced performance are a wonderful addition.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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