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gail l hince

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

Atlanta, GA

ratings
113
REVIEWS
113
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
6
HELPFUL VOTES
99

  • A Girl's Guide to Vampires: The Dark Ones, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Katie MacAlister
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (159)

    Joy Randall's Top-five tips for vampire hunters: Location, location, location. Vampires won't be caught dead (ha!) in places like discos, 10-minute lube shops, or Switzerland. Remember, if you wouldn't be there, neither would a bloodsucker. Trust your eyes. You know the handsome, annoyingly arrogant, self-assured man in the shadows with long hair and a cleft in his chin? He's your vampire. No matter how tempting it might be, do not "accidentally" acquire a paper cut on your finger and suggest your vampire kiss it to make it better....

    E. Lanier says: "Maybe it was Katie's first "stab" at writing"
    "full of gentle teasing and outright laughs"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I should preface this review by saying that I have been a fan of Katie MacAlister (and her alter-ego for YA/Teen Reads) Katie Maxwell for a long while now: my daughter and I would pass her books back and forth repeatedly and read them regularly. So it was particularly wonderful to have won this AudioBook copy.

    Significant parts of the story are told in the heroine, Joy’s, voice: smart, self-deprecating, funny and charmingly inept in relationships Joy and her best friend Roxy are off to the Frankfurt Book Fair, with a side trip to the Czech Republic to bask in and hunt down their favorite author, the reclusive CJ Dante, author of the Dark Ones series: full of alpha male vampires and the heroines who love them.

    From one moment to the next, this story is full of gentle teasing and outright laughs: Joy is marvellously snarky and Roxy is a bit of a Chihuahua: tiny, mouthy and full of energy. Roxy also completely and utterly believes in the existence of vampires, and feels, from her obsession with Dante’s books, to know all about them. Her list of “how to tell if someone is a vampire” is quite amusing, and completely understandable as a reader who wants to be transported by every story.

    Several interesting characters come under the scrutiny of Joy and Roxy: while Joy’s belief and patience for the poseur vampire Dominic is waning, her own beliefs are being tested as she is having visions and feeling ‘invaded’ by a distinctly vampiric male. There is also a traveling Goth Faire in town: and here Joy meets the man of her dreams in the form of Raphael: tall, dark, handsome and protective: he is the head of the security detail for the tour.

    So we have Roxy determined to find a vampire and meet the author, Joy curious about and enamored with Raphael, a ringmaster/magician with fake fangs and a slimy bent insisting on calling joy ‘mon ange’ as well as several different nationalities and skills from the workers of the faire, the story is loaded with plenty of side stories and moments of interest. When a particularly distasteful and nasty ‘witch’ from the fair is found dead, exsanguinated and with her throat torn apart the search for the killer is all encompassing.

    Narration is provided by Karen White who manages to slip in and out of voices and accents with near seamless precision: adding in a tone and breathing that emphasizes moments of exasperation, insecurity, tension, anger and even sexual frustration and satisfaction. The French accents are spot on, with a solidly Slavic intonation in the voices of Christophe and the police captain, and the smooth yet often frustrated and flummoxed British accent affixed to Raphael managed to convey him with panache. Never overreaching for male or female voices, all of the characters were clearly delineated and crisply delivered and added to the character visualizations.

    Yes, there is a romance, but it is done in a uniquely ‘MacAlister” way: euphemisms are heavily used to allude to actions and parts, to great effect, as the humor with which Joy (and the author) see the world and their place in it is quite apparent. There isn’t a great load of drama or tension or even a load of angsty heroes and heroines in this series: it’s fun: it pokes fun at the genre, the readers and the characters as it presents a new series with a wonderful story and plenty of characters to learn more about. MacAlister’s books are light and fun reads: perfect diversions after a long day or to while away a weekend.

    I received this AudioBook copy as a blog tour win. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jane and Austen: Hopeless Romantics

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Stephanie Fowers
    • Narrated By Andrea Emmes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Meet Jane and Austen. First there's Jane - an impractical, starry-eyed wedding planner; if love can't match what she's read in a book, she doesn't want it. And then there's Austen - a pragmatic, logical-to-a-fault financial consultant; even if he were interested in someone, he wouldn't know. The two have one thing in common: they can't leave each other alone.

    DK says: "Would Go Well W/Required HS/YA Required Reading"
    "a soap opera-esque series of miscommunications"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    AudioBook Review:
    Stars: Overall: 3 Narration: 3 Story: 3

    I’m a fan of Austen’s work, so this mash up of situations and circumstances pulling from her published works looked fun, and a chance to sample yet another Austen-inspired story.

    Jane is out of university and working as an intern to the events planner at North Abbey, a B & B turned upscale resort. For me, Jane is almost a picture perfect caricature of Emma: a bit obsessed with her ‘vision’ of how things should be, obsessed with romance for romance’s sake, completely ignoring the realities. It was a bit of a ‘getting used to” period for Jane’s overly enthusiastic proclamations of her ‘devoted romanticism”, which while passably believable all seemed to be gleaned from film school director’s notes; dressing her characters with Regency era clothing, reverting to a moderately-accurate approach of mannerisms, while pulling some tragically teen-aged dialogue and situations into her daydreams. It was hard to see her as a functional adult with the screaming daydream moments that felt very juvenile.

    Austen is the son of the couple that owns the North Abbey, and wants to be off working in finance rather than hospitality. Friendly and open with Jane, Austen is the ultimate bean counter: rather clueless about body language cues, with a strong pragmatic streak. He and Jane had a comfortable friendship that Jane had built into a major romance, second-guessing his every move and romanticizing every moment. When he heads to Boston for a job opportunity, she is utterly despondent and convinced her love has walked away. She’s back and forth about him and her feelings, and never quite ‘settled”.

    Back and forth between the two, mixing in several secondary characters that appear quickly with little introduction and various levels of impact: it is often a bit of a crush trying to keep them all straight. With the constant twists trying to name characters as ‘stand ins’ for characters from Austen stories, the Fower’s references and character-mixing are clever. Lighthearted, exceedingly fast paced and some embarrassing situations that are cleverly detailed, the story is a light moment, perfect for relaxing and enjoying the ride.

    Narration is provided by Andrea Emmes, and while I applaud her attempts to assign voices and approaches to each character, there were some issues that were distracting and inconsistent. Jane’s voice felt real and appropriate, and her simple pacing changes to indicate Austen’s voice were solidly performed. But the inconsistent application of British accents for both Chuck and Dancey as well as simple mispronunciations: parentses for parent’s, guyses for guy’s and furlise for Für Elise were major issues for me, more disruptive than the often overly saccharine squeak-toy voice for Ann Marie and the breathy, almost shrill voice for the supposed “star event planner” Taylor. A heavily interactive story with lots of dialogue and quick switches, I can’t help but wonder if a performance that wasn’t quite so focused on defined characters would have been a smoother listen.

    Despite all of this, the story was amusing, and went quickly, keeping me intrigued as I followed along through the wedding week that was the major focus of the story. From fairly straightforward if not entirely logical, the story becomes a soap opera-esque series of miscommunication, dramatic events near farcical moments: as if Fower is in on some cosmic joke that only Jane Austen knew as she penned her stories and poked at her characters.

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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Remix

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Lexi Revellian
    • Narrated By Anne Day-Jones
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Caz Tallis restores rocking horses in her London workshop. When shabby but charismatic Joe and his dog turn up on her roof terrace, she is reluctantly drawn into investigating a rock star's murder from three years before - an unsolved case the police have closed. Which, as her best friend James says, is rather like poking a furnace with a short stick.

    Busy reader says: "Nice mix of mystery and romance"
    "thoroughly enjoyed this story, an easy, fun, romp"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I own a copy of this title that I purchased close to release: how could I not with a rock-star returning from the dead to infiltrate the life of a woman who restores rocking horses for a living? It was clever when I read it, and still holds up to the initial promise: full of the insecurities we all have but hide, an omnipresent friend that is hinting toward more than just friendship and a touch of mystery.

    Caz is mostly a loner, she restores classic rocking horses in her new house / studio that is just how she likes it. Her budget is tight, and her own creations haven’t taken off, but she is content in her friendship with James, even though there are flashes of him wanting more.

    Finding a ‘vagrant’ named Joe on her outdoor patio, 3 floors up, she is necessarily spooked: but the man, Joe, seems familiar and not at all threatening. And he has a motley dog with him, utterly enchanted with his company.

    From here, the true identity of Joe is revealed: the lead singer of a now-defunct rock band who disappeared and died after the murder of a colleague. Joe is really Ric, and he maintains his innocence to Caz, so convincing that she believes him and agrees to help unravel the mystery.

    The story is fast-paced, with characters that are easy to understand and relate to. The integration of rocking horses and the restoration, and a simple but cleverly twisted mystery that introduces us to Ric’s remaining band-mates and former manager / brother in law moves forward quickly without overly relying on tricks or flourishes to keep readers engaged.

    Narration for this story is provided by Anne Day-Jones, and she manages to add twists in accent, delivery and pitch to delineate each character: from slightly northern-tinges to Hackney, posh private school and some hints of other regions, she manages to keep all of the characters straight and distinct without over-reaching. Touches of emotional overlay note frustration, anger, insecurities and even lust to bring a more solid image of the story to light.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story, an easy, fun, romp through London and the outlying counties with a touch of romance and a happy little mutt that seems to never be far away.

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A King's Ransom: Masters of Pleasure

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Reagan Hawk
    • Narrated By David Benjamin Bliss
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    On a quest to find his brother, King Kritan of Katarian on the planet of Panucia finds himself ambushed, beaten, tortured and then sold to fight in the arena games. The people of Tamonius--his rival kingdom--condone slavery, take public sex to new lows and try to turn a profit off anything they can. Nothing can change his hatred for everything Tamonius...that is until he meets the most breathtakingly beautiful woman he's ever laid eyes upon.

    Candateshia Pafford says: "So need more Reagan Hawk on Audible!"
    "dances on the edge of propriety,"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A touch of the otherworldly with initially bizarre influences of ancient Roman attitudes, this sci-fi erotic romance is fast-paced, dramatic and well-developed keeping readers wanting more. The historical influence is felt in some of the constraints on the citizens of the worlds: Panucia had advanced technology, but the leaders of the variant territories banned their use, as well as intergalactic travel.

    Slavery, gladiator games and other bloodsports are common and popular, prostitution is rife in the lower classes, and much like today some territories and people are more cruel and harsh in their punishments than others.

    Surinia is well-heeled and raised to be independent and thoughtful. When she takes up for the cruel punishment of a slave, her life changes and she sees the cruelty and despicable acts that heretofore had been beyond her notice.

    Kritan, a Kartarian half man-half beast is on a mission to find his estranged brother. Caught in a trap, he is enslaved and rescued by the lovely Surinia. As she questions and learns more about this intriguing man, she agrees to help him escape: yet he uses her as a captive.

    The story winds through backstory, intrigue, political machinations and some seriously hot and steamy moments, with scenes of ménage and some dance about the lines of dubious consent. A bit more ‘take charge and push the boundaries than many may be comfortable with, this sci-fi romp does bring plot and purpose to the story and gives solid reasoning to the choices.

    Narration is provided by David Benjamin Bliss and he manages to navigate all of the changes in characters, emotion, personality and threat with aplomb: creating distinct voices for each character with changes in pitch, tone and delivery. Small inflection changes add tension or emotion as required by the text, and the narration never overwhelms or directs the story that is being told.

    A wonderfully fun sci-fi romp that dances on the edge of propriety, but keeps readers and listeners wanting more of the world and the beings that live there.

    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 League of Doorways: Doorways, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Tim O'Rourke
    • Narrated By Fred Wolinsky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    With a werewolf and a vampire for company, Zach Black makes his way across a vast apocalyptic wasteland in search of the box which contains the Heart of Endra. In the desert, they stumble across a mechanical man who tells Zach and his friends that if they want to reach the box, they will have to cross a desolate land inhabited by terrifying creatures, which have been smuggled from the other side of the doorways.

    Nancy Finelli says: "Don't Leave Me Hanging!"
    "There is another cliffhanger at the end - again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

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

    The second in this trilogy picks right up where the first ended, or didn’t since the author is an apparent fan of the cliffhanger. While I understand the reasons for them, in titles geared to younger readers I am NOT a fan (not much for myself either) as I believe that each story should have some conclusion that makes you curious about what next, not struggling to sort out a long or drawn-out plot point. But that is really my biggest issue with this story: again O’Rourke manages to build a world that is solid and inventive, and give us plenty of action to follow.

    There are new characters: good, bad and ugly to get to know again in this story, while some carry-over from the first book does happen, this is really a solid deepening of the characters we met in book one: and you CANNOT jump into this story expecting to follow along. You will be hopelessly lost as the action starts with very little breathing time, and we jump right in to it all: not a ton of catch up or background from the first book. Zach is marginally more developed in this story – but it is definitely action, not a character driven storyline, and if you are wanting some unique twists, surprises and plenty of new puzzles to work out.

    Fred Wollinsky’s narration was better in this than the first: or perhaps I was more accustomed to his performance and voicing. His creation and consistency with Zach’s voice is spot on for the character, and his variations in pitch, tone, accent and delivery are clearer as he navigates through a daunting myriad of characters, each bringing their own intention and threat to the story.

    Part two is down, and this trilogy will end with the next book, The Queen of Doorways. There is another cliffhanger at the end of this story: be warned. I did listen to books one and two in succession, so the characters and voices were fresh and while not easy to recall, I found them less confusing in the second round. Perfectly suited for ages 12 and up, there is something to please the fantasy fan who prefers unique worlds and action.

    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
  • Doorways: A Book of Vampires, Werewolves, & Black Magic, The Doorways Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Tim O'Rourke
    • Narrated By Fred Wolinsky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    When Zach Black discovers a doorway, he enters a world similar, yet very different from his own. A world inhabited with vampires, werewolves, and zombies, Zach makes a journey like no other. With the help of a beautiful vampire named Neanna Cera and a werewolf called William Weaver, Zach's journey to save the person he loves takes him through the Doorways. But the Doorways have the power to change you - altering your appearance and abilities as you pass between them.

    Susan Keefe says: "Pure magic!"
    "compelling, if slightly over-populated story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Doorways by Tim O’Rourke promised Vampires, Werewolves and Magic all from the perspective of Zach, a sixteen year old boy who will be the hero and constant in the series. I was concerned that the story could easily be ‘too familiar’ with too much of the feel of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as the whole enter a doorway just instantly had me thinking of the Wardrobe.

    What I found was a compelling, if slightly over-populated with characters, story that had some unique twists and villains that are simply ‘regular’ people, without great stereotypical traits to mark them as dangerous. Zach finds himself stepping through a doorway and meeting up with friendly vampires and werewolves. Soon he realizes this parallel universe holds people he knows, some with very different skills and traits than those he recognizes. Of course, there is evil: in fact Zach is thrust into a battle to save his ‘alternate little sister”.

    O’Rourke kept the action flowing, even if, at times, there were too many characters added and given ‘import’ to keep them all straight and easily recognized. His friendship with William and Neanna is serving the plot nicely, and they do show a solid connection. But all of the characters were a touch flat for me without great development that would have had me over the moon about the title. Zach needed to give me more: I didn’t find a way to connect with his struggles or love for his sister, or even the fear or confusion that would have been apparent. It is a solid, action packed fantasy where you have the idea of ‘who’ to follow, but aren’t necessarily engaged with him: it is the action and the unique world that draw and hold you in the story.

    Narration is provided by Fred Wollinsky, and while his narration was solid and he was solidly managing to give Zach a consistent voice that was clearly enunciated and felt appropriate, there were too many voices attempted altogether, and in his more ‘sinister’ moments his enunciation went south and rewinding at least once, but often several times was needed to understand. While I can’t blame that entirely on his choices but on the overload of characters, I think a few less voices would have made a huge difference in this performance.

    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
  • Barbarian Prince: Dragon Lords, Book 1 (Anniversary Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michelle M. Pillow
    • Narrated By Mason Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (71)

    Going undercover at a mass wedding as a bartered bride, Morrigan Blake has every intention of getting off the barbaric planet just as soon as it's over. Or, more correctly, just as soon as she captures footage of the mysterious princes rumored to be in attendance. After a euphoric night, Morrigan discovers her spaceship left without her, and Ualan of Draig is claiming she's his wife. It's not exactly the story this reporter had in mind.

    KJ says: "So So, it could have been better."
    "This will be a fun series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This will be a fun series I think, although I have come to them out of order – having read a bit back-to-front having read the Dragon Queen (book 9) first. A fun fantasy romance with a less-than wonderfully engaging heroine, Michelle Pillow dives right into the misunderstandings and arguments that serve a large part of the plot.

    Morrigan is a reporter, and is doing an undercover exposé of Galaxy Brides. She is totally anti-marriage, and more than a bit selfish and spoilt. Her self-import is part defense mechanism and part insecurities, she is always feeling that she has to battle against someone or something to achieve her own ends. Fortunately, even though her mouth and behavior get in her way more often than not, she does come to develop and grow a personality that isn’t quite so abrasive with the patience and help of Ualan.

    For his part, Ualan is singularly unhelpful to Morrigan when he discovers her total lack of information and knowledge about the customs and rules of the Quirillxen. She had a month to brush up, and apparently he felt that sufficient, even though it is patently apparent that she had not paid attention during the Marriage Laws and customs.

    These two have, despite multiple miscommunications and some real humor in the reactions, a relationship that is developing as they learn more about one another, with an attraction that grows as the story proceeds. There is arguing – LOTS of arguing, and some tidbits about the world and the people around them, but truly this is Morrigan and Ualan learning to overcome their stubborn attachment to ‘what is’ and start to communicate. It’s fun in all of the missed connections and misunderstandings, but it really was hard to see these two in a happy ever after.

    Narration in this story is provided by Mason Lloyd: the second book that I have listened to from him and his facility with accent, voice, pitch and delivery add much to this story. Smooth switches from character to character without over-reaching for the female voices, Lloyd keeps the reader engaged and intrigued, with carefully added pauses for dramatic or emotional effect that are perfectly suited to the text.

    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
  • 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.

    gail l hince 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
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    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.

    gail l hince 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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    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.

    gail l hince 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

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