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Gaele

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

Atlanta, GA

ratings
111
REVIEWS
111
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
6
HELPFUL VOTES
94

  • The Second Son

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Elise Marion
    • Narrated By Piers Gibbon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Let the Magical Mayhem begin! Cindy Eller has not one, but two weddings to prepare for in less than two weeks when the cupcakes hit the fan - a mysterious man has appeared claiming to be betrothed to Cindy and insisting she must marry him before her sister's nuptials can take place.

    Gaele says: "appreciated the depth and growth of the characters"
    "appreciated the depth and growth of the characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The second in the Kings of Cardenas series, The Second Son picks up and continues the story established in The Third Son. While you aren’t required to read or listen to these books in order, some of the subtleties that establish the relationships and history are difficult to provide without retelling large swathes of text, so I would recommend you take these in order.

    Set in a fantasy world, yet informed with references appropriate to the mid 1800’s Europe including clothing, societal expectations and the courts of royal houses, Marion has created a lovely world full of references, characters and emotions that will captivate and intrigue. The old king is dead, and Damien, the third son, has ascended to the throne. His remaining brother, Serge, has been ill, comatose with little hope for his recovery for the past year. And yet, he awakes, and sends his brother, Damien, into a landslide of guilt.

    Isabelle was under the protection of the Cardenas royal house since early childhood and the demise of her parents’ reign in Barony. Groomed to marry the first son, her marriage was cut short by her husband, the crown prince’s death. She has been in mourning, yet comfortable and cared for in the Cardenas royal household, while she would like to return to rule her own country of Barony, she knows that it is little more than a dream.

    I couldn’t help but feel for both Serge and Isabelle: she is willing and trained to rule, and to take the mantle of her country would be the logical step. Although, she was without a king: a situation that the Privy Council needs her to rectify. Logically, Serge is the correct choice. His experience both in upbringing as the spare for the heir gave him unique perspective on the requirements for a king, while his military experience, bearing and the respect gained by his men would make him a formidable opponent for the uprising rebels in Barony. He has always had his eye on Isabelle, and when he finds her reactions to him are as steamy and sensual as he had hoped, he has lost his heart.

    Isabelle is wonderful, if a bit immature. Still in love with her first husband, her choice of Serge was made with her head, not her heart: unfortunately she refuses to see that she too is in love with him, even as her grief for Lionus is raw. There is a core of steel in there however, with a genuine will to do the best for her people that she can. Still the twists and turns of the ones who would bring Cardenas to heel are moving through the story, and Isabelle needs to learn to find her own way after wounding Serge deeply with her revelation.

    We also get an introduction to the Lady Knights of Barony, as Isabelle is determined to learn to fight and protect herself, and be of use to her people. I think I appreciated the depth and growth of the characters and story more than in the first book: Isabelle was hard to not like. Having decisions made for her most of her life, it was fun to see her gain confidence in her own abilities, and taking charge of her life, even as she is mere putty in Serge’s arms. Steamy and sexy, with plenty of action, emotion and appearances from secondary characters that we already know, and the moments with the Lady Knights add some ‘girl power’ to the story as Isabelle manages to find her own way in a life that is far different than the one she pictured only a few years earlier.

    Narration for this story is provided by Piers Gibbons, and his voice, while not overextending in pace, tone or affectation, manages to provide a clear delineation between characters, while adding emotive emphasis that is pleasing to the ear. His smooth diction with crisp enunciation and seamless delivery enhance the words on the page, and do not distract with unnecessary flourishes.

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (19)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    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
    (56)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (52)

    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.

    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
    (8)
    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.

    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.

    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
    (20)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    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

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