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  • First Star I See Tonight

  • A Novel
  • By: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • Narrated by: Nicole Poole
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,015
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,015

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream - to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham's spotted her, and he's not happy. Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. "The fact is...I'm your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just...mildly unhinged."

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good story - ok narration

  • By G Richards on 08-24-16

Great to see a new Phillips book

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-27-16

Humorous dialog, fun situations (remember the beaver costume in Natural Born Charmer?), and great character development makes Phillips one of my favorite romance writers. Four stars is a generous rating for ‘First Star.’ Such a high rating likely reflects my nostalgia rather than the quality of this particular story. It has moments that prove it to be a true Phillips creation, but it felt watered-down.

This story lacks those special techniques that make Phillips a favorite, such as her way of using perfectly timed pauses to add weight to witty exchanges and letting characters show their reactions, rather than using explanations. Nonetheless, ‘First Star’ is fun and solidly better than the vast majority of romance books churned out by national publishers. The reader is above average, but does not have Anna Fields’ magic touch.

Overall, do not hesitate to add this to your Susan Elizabeth Phillips collection, but keep expectations in check.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Built

  • Saints of Denver
  • By: Jay Crownover
  • Narrated by: Nicki D. Noir, Jay Crow
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 491
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 466

Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn't be more different. She's country club and fine dining, he's cell block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She's French silk, he's all denim and flannel. Zeb's wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn't matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest - either that or she doesn't return it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • So glad the tattoo'd boys are back

  • By Misty on 01-06-16

Average story with competent writing

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-17-16

This is one in a series of stories about ordinary young people living in Denver. Zeb is a carpenter who spent some time in prison, but for somewhat forgivable reasons. He meets Sayer, the sister of Rowdy. Sayer is a lawyer, new in town, and consequently hires Zeb to remodel her home. The two are opposites - at least on the surface - in cliched ways.

Crownover is a competent enough writer, particularly in comparison to many writers in the romance genre. Although the plot, in fact the entire series, offers little originality, characters have enough depth to keep readers interested. There is graphic sex, but it is not the focus of the story line.

Overall, closer to 3 1/2 stars due to above average character development compared to much of the hurried-to-publication and self-published romance books continuously churned out - it's getting more and more difficult to weed out the chaff.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Spotless: Spotless, Book 1

  • By: Camilla Monk
  • Narrated by: Amy McFadden
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 613
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 572
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 571

A gentleman professional killer with a bad case of OCD and zero tolerance for unsorted laundry, March isn't there to kill her...yet. He wants the diamond her late mother stole for a sinister criminal organization. Island agrees to help him find it, facing the kind of adversaries who dismember first and ask questions later. Good thing she's got March to show her the ropes. And the guns. And the knives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Happy Surprise

  • By M. Petherick on 06-25-15

Light Mystery Carried by Humor

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-01-15

Spotless reminds me of the TV series Monk, except the lead is the female sidekick rather than the OCD male. There are other significant differences, particularly the occupation of the male, named March, being the culprit of crime as a professional killer. He kidnaps Island Chaptal to use as a source of information to track down a large diamond for which her mother left hints in her will to its existence and location. Island is an introverted nerd whose early years were spent traveling the globe with her mother. Home-schooled, isolated, and independent, Island learns that the time she spent living with her mother was even more unusual than she realized. The combination of her need to learn more about the mother she remembered and threats from her kidnapper provides her with the motivation to grudgingly agree to travel with her ‘kidnapper.’

The storyline is not inventive, but Island’s dry humor and use of March’s disorder to manipulate him kept me interested. I have never heard of this author and found Camilla Monk’s writing competent, although her character development could be stronger as her focus is on the characters more than the plot. The ending is clearly a setup for a sequel, which I always find a bit annoying. I love serials, but strongly believe each book in a series should fully satisfy on its own. (This isn’t a ‘cliff hanger,’ – and that’s all I will say to avoid ‘spoilers.’ )

In short, Spotless is written competently and smoothly uses humor to carry a weak plot. I will pick up the next book in the series should Audible carry it in the future.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Palace of Treason

  • A Novel
  • By: Jason Matthews
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb
  • Length: 20 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,388
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,051
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,022

Captain Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service (SVR) has returned from the West to Moscow and the Center, the headquarters of her service. She finds things worse than when she left. She despises the men she must serve, the oligarchs and crooks and thugs of Putin's Russia. What no one knows is that Dominika is working for the CIA as Washington's most sensitive penetration of SVR and the Kremlin.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator's inconsistency

  • By Bruce P. Woodward on 10-23-16

Current day Russain-U.S. Espionage

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-07-15

Captain Dominika Egorova of Russian intelligence is called “Diva” by her CIA handler Nate Nash, who fights their attraction throughout the story; but, her lure is stronger. Diva is a ballet-dancer- turned-sparrow agent due to her parents’ death and her uncle’s betrayal years earlier. She is used unconscionably by the Russian government so that after her capture by the U.S., she returns as a double agent.

Matthews’ writing has improved since his first book. It’s smoother, tighter. He again uses recipes between chapters, which has had mixed reviews. I am not into this uncalled for addition (I don’t cook or particularly enjoy eating), but it’s easy enough to ignore. What can’t be ignored is Matthews’ black-and-white, evil-and-good representation of Russian and American agents. In ‘Palace of Treason,’ All Russians are villainous, violent, ignorant liars and Americans are fair, reasonable agents doing the right thing. He uses Diva’s mystical power of seeing auras to make his good & evil portrayal unquestionably clear.
Even with these lapses, many elements feel realistic. From the book’s description, I can envision Putin’s demeanor and the antagonistic competition between agents. Lies, secrets, motives and other elements of intrigue carry the story at a fun pace. There is some chasing and significant violence, including torture (by Russians, of course). Sensitive listeners should pass on this one.

Overall, it’s fun and surprisingly fast moving - strong reader who is great with languages and accents.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Death of a Spy

  • Mark Sava, Book 4
  • By: Dan Mayland
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29

Life has never been better for Mark Sava, the former CIA station chief of Azerbaijan. He's recently married, has a newborn daughter, and the launch of his spies-for-hire business in Central Asia has been a great success. Then he gets a call from the US Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia - one his employees, seventy-two-year-old Larry Bowlan, has died of a heart attack.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW! A wonderful espionage series just got better

  • By Wayne on 03-12-16

Worth a listen

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-06-15

Mark Sava is a former CIA agent and now runs a spies-for-hire business in Central Asia. The circumstances that send him off to investigate an employee's death is a bit weak given his home situation, but travel around locales rarely (if ever) used in novels is different enough to get attention. The plot is not particularly intriguing.

Mayland's Mark Sava reminds me of Barry Eisler's John Rain. Mayland's writing is not as entertaining, particularly when comparing descriptions of scenery and challenging circumstances in which characters find themselves. Even so, the Sava series is entertaining enough to spend a credit.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Rosie Effect

  • By: Graeme Simsion
  • Narrated by: Dan O'Grady
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,580
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,298
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,294

Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because - surprise! - Rosie is pregnant. Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the first one....

  • By Julie on 09-23-15

The Same But Different

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-02-15

Simsion portrays Don’s perspective of life with the same charm, but is unable to recapture the humor of the first book. One sees from the beginning that Don’s attempt to fix relationship problems will fail since the problems are caused by Rosie’s subterfuge and internal struggles rather than his own misinterpretations. Don’s attempts land him into the kind of trouble that cause more cringing than laughing.

Still, I found myself listening to the entire book in one day, missing much needed sleep – a sure sign of a good book. If readers are able to put comparisons to the first book aside, they will find Simsion’s writing fresh and his ability to write dialogue entertaining. His insight into Asperger’s syndrome is fascinating as well as enlightening.

Overall, don’t skip this because it doesn’t offer all of the humor of the first book. If you are able to push comparisons aside and listen without expectation, you won’t be disappointed.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Kiss Me Like This

  • The Morrisons
  • By: Bella Andre
  • Narrated by: Eva Kaminsky
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 274
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 252
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 251

Kiss Me like This is the first audiobook in a new-adult contemporary romance series about the Morrisons by New York Times best-selling author Bella Andre.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Ummm No.

  • By Cathrine A Cooper on 07-18-18

Adult content in a young adult story

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-14

The publisher says this is an "adult" series, which is a term they are using loosely. Technically, Serena is an adult as a college freshman, but she is a self-absorbed girl who is struggling with high-school level concerns, such as her first kiss, virginity, making friends, talking in front of a class,... The author provides reasoning to explain her immaturity (as a super model, she didn't experience normal high school life) but this doesn't cover the fact that the majority of content addresses juvenile issues. This is not a bad story - just not what was advertised - albeit bedroom scenes are included.

Serena leaves modeling to attend college. Her domineering mom-manager doesn't agree and ceases contact. Serena meets the star football player, Sean, who is struggling with the loss of his mother and uncertainty in his future career. Sean introduces Serena to many first time experiences as the two fall in love.

Andre's writing mechanics are solid, but her character development should be much deeper. This is particularly important since the plot not only lacks inspiration, but nothing happens. Because this is a simple story of two people falling in love, dialog and character depth are particularly important. In addition, the premise of a virginal super model hooking up with the college star athlete is so solicitous that it's condescending.

Overall, skip it.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Five Ways to Fall

  • A Novel
  • By: K. A. Tucker
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Louise, Deacon Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 674
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 612
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 612

Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she's made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well...aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny's Palace, Ben's ready to lead a more mature life - until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best of the Series!

  • By Andrea T on 08-18-14

Light, entertaining

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-15-14

Reese is a troubled and trouble-making 21 year-old who takes a trip to Cancun as a step in recovery from a short, painful marriage. She meets Ben, who is on his last day of vacation. Even though Ben is the type to sleep with any female who shows an interest, he is enamored by Reese’s energy, unsocial behavior, and sharp tongue. Reese is estranged from her materialistic mother and accepts the assistance of one of her mother’s exes and past step-father, who puts her to work in his law firm.

Ben and Reese meet again months later as Ben begins his first position as a lawyer in the same firm. Reese’s ex appears back in her life with his new wife and former mistress. Reese is bitter and wants to hurt them as much as they hurt her, which drives much of Reese’s actions through the book. Ben is happy to be entertained by and a participant in Reese’s revenge as long as she understands and accepts his position against commitment.

The last book in a series, “Five Ways to Fall” reads well without reading previous installments. Tucker can write and is particularly good with character development, but isn’t the best storyteller. The plot would have been strengthened by expounding on Reese’s parents and her quest to learn about her father. The performances are well done, but production has a few small problems.

Overall, good escapism and worth a credit.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Black

  • Black Series, Volume 1
  • By: Russell Blake
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 232
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 212
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 212

Artemus Black. Perennially down-on-his-luck Hollywood PI whose Bogie fixation is as dated as his wardrobe. With an assistant who mocks him relentlessly, an obese cat that loathes him, a romantic life that's deader than Elvis, money problems, booze, nicotine, and anger management issues, how much worse can it get?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent 21st Century Noir

  • By Maggie May on 06-04-14

Witty dialog makes this worth a listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-08-14

A private investigator, Artemus Black, lives in Hollywood where he works for the rich and famous. He has had little success in life, including his relationships, professions, and finances. Black lives a satire of a noir detective movie, even dressing the part. He takes on a case to help a has-been actor turned director, which promises a much needed financial boost, but brings betrayal and murder.

In this book, Russell Blake shows he is a master of dialog and fun characters. Black's assistant, Roxy, banters with him at a level equivalent to Grant and Russell in "His Girl Friday" In fact, Black engages in witty dialog with most characters, which is the element that makes this book worth the time to hear.

Overall, the plot is not particularly intriguing, but Blake's solid writing skills, character building, and balanced humor make this book fun - entertaining. I'm getting the next one in the series.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Rock Chick

  • By: Kristen Ashley
  • Narrated by: Susannah Jones
  • Length: 13 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,938
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,710
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,729

Indy Savage is a former wild child (okay, maybe not so "former") and current used-bookstore owner. Lee Nightingale is a former bad boy and now runs a private investigation service. Toss together a quiet barista with a not-so-lawful side-business, a crazy Vietnam Vet, a pothead, a drag queen, family and friends who will not mind their own business, a few stun guns, and a bag of diamonds, and mix them all up with some shootings, a high-speed chase and car bombs exploding, then hang on for your first wild Rock Chick ride.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Rockin story

  • By karen on 03-26-14

Fluffy, formulaic series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-23-14

Fluffy and fun, the first book (and best) in a series of love stories is enjoyable and fairly well written. Indy Savage owns a used-bookstore/cafe where an amusing group of friends gathers regularly. Indy meets Lee Nightingale who owns a private investigation company. Lee moves in, after knowing Indy since childhood, as he protects her from a crazy succession of attacks caused by the side business of a cafe employee. Some grammatical problems, but because it's written in first person, this could be intentional.

About the series: I have listened to books 1 - 6 and found each one a repeat of the first love story. In fact, the love interests from one book to the next are so closely matched in characteristics that the author must have copied some of the dialog word-for-word. Still, they offer adequate entertainment, especially if you listen to other authors in between listening to books in this series.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful