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kimbacaffeinate

Midwest
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  • 119
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  • Changeling

  • A Novel of Sorcery and Society
  • By: Molly Harper
  • Narrated by: Amanda Ronconi
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,101
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,035
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,032

If 14-year-old Cassandra Reed makes it through her first day at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies without anyone discovering her secret, maybe, just maybe, she’ll let herself believe that she really does belong at Miss Castwell’s. Except Cassandra Reed’s real name is Sarah Smith and up until now, she lived her whole life in the Warren, serving a magical family, the Winters, as all non-magical “Snipes” are bound by magical Guardian law to do. That is, until one day, Sarah accidentally levitates Mrs. Winter’s favorite vase in the parlor.... 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Molly Harper + Amanda Ronconi = perfection

  • By Aimee on 08-24-18

boarding schools, dark secrets and magic

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

Imagine mixing a potion of all of your favorite stories. Let’s start with Charmed and the power of three, then add in Harry Potter with schools for the magically gifted, familiars and loads of secrets. Let us not forget the non-magical folks known as Snipes (Guttersnipes), and the Ministry of Magic known as the Guardian of Law. Add a pinch of the Moorchild with changelings and stir in a Victorian setting with a smidge of steampunk and vivid characters who breathe life into the tale. Stir counterclockwise and poof you have Changeling the first novel in the Sorcery and Society novels.

Amanda Ronconi was the perfect narrator for Changeling. I loved her voices for Cassandra, the school librarian and Mary. While I felt she sometimes broke accent, she gave each character a distinct voice and enhanced the climactic scenes along with the humorous ones.

  • Awakened Spells

  • Awakened Spells, Book 1
  • By: Logan Byrne
  • Narrated by: Nikiya Palombi
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6

Lexa Blackmoon, orphan and low-end magical thief, is just trying to get by the best way she can. But when a shadow mage tells her she's meant for something greater, she can't help feeling he's telling the truth. Taken to a secret resistance camp, Lexa learns that not only is she a mage, but she bears the Mark of Merlin, a magical power greater than she's ever dreamt of. She trains her powers to infiltrate the ranks of the magical police force tasked with keeping the arcane realm secret from normal humans. 
 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Magic, Cases and Cadets

  • By kimbacaffeinate on 10-12-18

Magic, Cases and Cadets

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

Reviewed: 10-12-18

Fans of Harry Potter, schools of magic etc will enjoy this series. The story is a fast-paced and actioned-packed allowing you to become quickly immersed in the story.Supernatural creatures from unknowns to elves, gnomes, vampires, shifters and mages can be found in this world. The characters are adult, but young making this perfect for fans of NA or transition series..
M.A.G.I.C Force and their cases were well executed and offered cringe worthy villain, secret crime syndicates trying to take over the realm and climatic action scenes that pushed characters. It looks like each book will feature an action-packed case while it develops the characters. It has great potential. Lexa is already showing signs of being quite the kick-ass officer and I am looking forward to seeing her growth.

Nikiya Palombi did a wonderful job of narrating and I appreciated not only the voices she created but her ability to capture their emotions from annoyance to fear. My only issue with the narration stems from the writing itself. Conversations were heavy with "He said, She said" identifiers and it made me a tad crazy. Thankfully action scenes were easier.

  • Summer Knight

  • The Dresden Files, Book 4
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,285
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15,950
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,894

The Winter Queen of Faerie has manipulated Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden into accepting a case to solve a murder and stop a war between the courts of Summer and Winter that could have literally earth shattering consequences. His own soul is up for grabs. Dresden must dig deep to discover that at time a willingness to accept a little help from your friends, be they a cub pack of werewolves, old loves in sheep's clothing, or a battalion of pizza loving dewdrop fairies, is a very good thing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Harry & James are one.

  • By Michael on 10-28-10

Fairies, pizza and the courts of Summer and Winter

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

Reviewed: 09-28-18

Marsters narration was stellar in Summer Knight. I found myself laughing aloud and the voices he gave to some pizza loving dewdrop fairies. Once again the council is questioning whether Harry should be a Wizard and the Queen of Winter once to hire him to solve a murder. What trickery is this? It might be just want Harry needs to rid himself of the funk he has been under since his girlfriend was turned.

Harry rather depressed when our story begins. His home is a mess, and there’s an eviction notice for his office. His friend schedules an appointment for him and it turns out to be with Mab the Winter Queen. Someone has killed the Summer Knight and Mab has been blamed. If Harry aids her it may just prove his loyalty to the White Council. Who once again are seeking to have him hog-tied and sent to the vampires. Poor Harry!

I absolutely loved the faerie storyline from travels there to happens at their court. Dresden’s humor and one-liners had me roaring. Can I just say the fairies scare the shite out of me? Trickery at every turn, riddles and more kept me on edge. It was an intense storyline with a tight window to solve the case. If Harry fails the ramifications could affect everyone.

Harry enlists the help of dewdrop fairies and the werewolves. He even consults with his Godmother. He gets some unexpected help and I enjoyed the thread. Battles, discovery, hardship and loss made for a thrilling listen.

  • Love and Other Wild Things

  • By: Molly Harper
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Amanda Ronconi
  • Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,827
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,722
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,711

Welcome to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where shape-shifters, vampires, witches, and dragons live alongside humans. The town formed around the mysterious energy rift in the bayou, which helps keep the town’s magic in balance. But lately the rift has been widening and destabilizing - threatening to send the town’s magical population into chaos. Energy witch Danica Teel has been sent by the League to figure out what’s going on, with the help of bear-shifter Mayor Zed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Too damn short

  • By ESP on 09-06-18

Sexy, funny and suspenseful

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

Reviewed: 09-26-18

I love the premise for this series involving the small town of Mystic Bayou, Louisiana where shifters and paranormal creatures live side-by-side with humans and others.  The bayou is interesting as there is a mysterious energy rift in the bayou, which helps keep the town’s magic in balance. However the rift has been widening and destabilizing - threatening to send the town. The League, a secret organization within the supernatural world sends Danica Teel to research and investigate the rift. 

Danica's gift is unusual, and I will leave you to discover that for yourself. She is a bit of a loner aside from the few people she has in her small circle, but her presence feels right in Mystic Falls. She is sleeping better than she ever has, and the pie is outstanding. She is staying in the old cabin, Jillian Ramsey stayed in. We met her in the first audiobook, How to Date Your Dragon. I do recommend you listen to these in order of release as the stories and characters share history and build off the overall ARC. 

Bear-shifter Mayor Zed is Danica's guide and oh lord the made me laugh. We are privy to some of his inner dialogue and more than once I laughed aloud getting odd stares as I walked with my headphones on. Yep, ignore the crazy lady with headphones please. 

We are treated to an intense mystery, pie and a lovely, quirky, sweet but sizzling romance. Before it's all done we face down danger, swoon and eat. If you are a foodie lover, you will be making a run to the store after listening to this and not just for pie. 

The story is told in a dual narrative between Danica and Zed. Narrated by Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis. I love these two together, from the pacing to the capturing the character's personalities they really enhance an already brilliant tale making me crave a trip to the bayou all the more. 

  • Once Upon a Real Good Time

  • By: Lauren Blakely
  • Narrated by: Sebastian York, Andi Arndt
  • Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 353
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 330
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331

That smoking hot one-night stand with a former rock star? Turns out, he's my son's new teacher. Oops. But I didn't know that the night I met Campbell. All I knew was he played my body the same way he played a guitar - like he owned it. My libido is still high-fiving me after being self-served for too many years, and we're both ready for another night or two of fun, especially since we don't just have chemistry in bed - we connect over everything. That is, until I learn he's the man who'll be coming to my house twice a week to teach my son the best music lessons money can buy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A GENUINE & DELICIOUS SLOW-SIMMER TO PERFECTION

  • By 🔹🔹🔹CAROLYN 🔹🔹🔹 on 09-14-18

The perfect listen to Fall in love with

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

Reviewed: 09-22-18

Narrated by the Sebastian York and Andi Arndt delivered a feel good romance about two people who deserved a happily ever after. Campbell and Mackenzie meet and have this instant connection and off the chart chemistry until he turns out to be her son’s music instructor. Swoons, long sexy conversations and matchmaking had me grinning like a sappy fool.

First, I love when York and Arndt narrated together. Listening is an absolute pleasure from the pacing to chemistry they create allowing the characters to come to life. Blakely introduces Campbell and Mackenzie and I am all in. He is a former teen idol. Both a single parents living in the Big Apple. Both are standup people you’d be happy to call friend.... So of course, I need them to have a happily ever after, but it's complicated by their kids and boundaries.

Second, the tale that unfolded delivered the sweetest romance with off the chart chemistry. I loved the late-night conversations and attempts at friendship, that involved the kids from cooking to geometry. The kids were awesome, and I loved some meddling that occurred. If you’re looking for a romance to swoon over this fall, Once Upon a Real Good Time is the perfect place to start. Around five hours in listening length, it’s perfect for your commute. Just don’t crash the car. Ok?

  • Modern Love

  • By: Beau North
  • Narrated by: Becci Martin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 10

“Love at first sight wasn’t meant for millennials.” So thinks Alice Aberdeen - art student, recovering addict, David Bowie enthusiast. Alice is among the recently dumped and just wants to keep her nose down until she finishes her degree. Her sister, Emma, has other ideas and sets her up with new-in-town Warinder “Will” Murphy - tall, dark, and aloof. To say it isn’t love at first sight is an overstatement. He finds her too abrasive, with her sharp tongue and a don’t-screw-with-me attitude. She thinks he’s too reserved, too damn serious.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A realistic romance that left me smiling

  • By kimbacaffeinate on 09-18-18

A realistic romance that left me smiling

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

Reviewed: 09-18-18

North created a complete story with complex characters that I emotionally connected with them despite our age gap.

Alice Aberdeen works as a bartender while attending art school. She has been down in the dumps after a breakup. Her roomie, determined to cheer her up, takes her out to a club. Her roommate’s boyfriend arranges for Will Murphy to meet them. Yep, they are matchmaking..only no one told Alice. The two have a rather awkward, snarky encounter before discovering the setup.

Thus begins a series of encounters filled with banter that leads to more.  There was great chemistry mixed with bouts of miscommunications which made me a little grumpy. Other characters added further complications, but despite it all, I enjoyed the ride.

I enjoyed the growth we see in both characters. Each has hang-ups, fears and struggles to overcome. I felt North researched or had personal experience with some issues that were present. They felt genuine allowing the reader some insight.

I prefer dual narrators for this type of romance, but Becci Martin grew on me. I thought she had a firm grasp of Alice and her voice for Will eventually became comfortable. Her pacing and tone worked well, and the soundtrack was well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Unbreak My Heart

  • By: Lauren Blakely
  • Narrated by: Joe Arden, Erin Mallon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186

Experience all the feels in this unforgettable second-chance standalone romance from number-one New York Times best-seller Lauren Blakely! I didn't break her heart, and she didn't break mine - we broke each other's. I never stopped loving her, but time and distance played its cruel role in ripping us apart three years ago when she moved halfway around the world. Now after all those endless miles away, she's returned...but I'm not the guy I was before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth all the feels, the tears and the ride!! Wow!

  • By Patricia Villali Koett on 08-15-18

Grab your wine and truffles

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

Reviewed: 09-12-18

I can always count on Blakely to me me laugh and swoon, but this time she made me cry. Narrated by Joe Arden and Erin Molton I fell hard, cried often and devoured this audio in just two sittings. This is a second chance romance an I loved both Holland and Andrew.

  • The Real Deal

  • A Novel
  • By: Lauren Blakely
  • Narrated by: Erin Mallon, Zachary Webber
  • Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 563
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 520
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 518

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family's summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good story, however...

  • By Kerry on 07-22-18

will leave you grinning like a fool

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

Told in dual POVs and narrated by the sexy and talented Zachary Webber and equally talented Erin Mallon. Blakley's witty humor and charm popped as we got to know April and Theos. 
The banter..oh how I loved the back and forth exchanges between April and Theo. The two have this genuine rightness about them when they are together and I liked watching the buzzing chemistry between them sizzle. 
The family reunion was a hoot, and made me want to plan one, from the games, to April's old prom date. 
While the romance developed quickly, it never felt like insta-love and I easily rooted for them. Drama was kept low, but gave enough of an edge to keep me listening. 

  • Iron and Magic

  • Iron Covenant, Book 1
  • By: Ilona Andrews
  • Narrated by: Steve West
  • Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,493
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,405
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,402

Hugh d'Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hugh recreating his life

  • By IreneMBBT on 07-27-18

I want more!!

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

Reviewed: 08-02-18

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers comes from the world of Kate Daniels and was one of Roland’s men. A favorite until they banished him. When we meet Hugh, he is a shadow of himself having lost Roland’s favor and the magic that came with it. Some of his men seek him out when another is hunting and killing the Iron Dogs. Destitute, without weapons and seriously hung over he lifts himself up confronts the enemy and works to protect his remaining men. He must do so quickly because the necromancers are coming!

Enter the White Lady. Elara Harper, is a magical creature tasked with protecting her people. They own a fortress and sell their wares, but a threat is coming and she must prepare. They strike a deal and the two enter an arranged marriage. Oh, lordy was this a sizzling, snark filled union. I laughed at their barbs and bit my lip as the chemistry between them builds. Battles of supplies, ruling and their people ensues, but the danger grows ever closer.

Elara is unusual, and I found her magic so intriguing. Huge who is no longer immortal can heal and is a good strategist. Both are kickass on the battlefield. Despite all the flying barbs, sexual tension and baiting the two have a mutual respect for one another.

The intense battles scenes, talks of Kate, and unexpected encounters were freaking brilliant. Necromancers, vampires, Buffy and bizarre creatures not to mention Elara..O.M.G. I am over the moon excited that there will be more books in the Iron Covenant series.

This was my first time listening to Steven West and I bow to Andrews decision to go with a male narrator. Now I love Renee Raudman but Steven was no less brilliant with a wide range of voices and he captured the snark, tension and story that made listening perfection.

  • A Plague of Giants

  • By: Kevin Hearne
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels, Xe Sands
  • Length: 22 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,444
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,318
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,300

Mother and warrior. Scholar and spy. Rebel and hero. Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this audiobook is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these three characters intertwine - and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining but dissapointing

  • By Roland on 11-20-17

perfect for those who love epic fantasy

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

The Kennings are gifts or magic individuals hold. The magic comes from the elementals and mythology which quickly made me feel at home. Those who are gifted the kennings, use them with care as doing so drains their lifespan. When the story begins there are five known kennings, and they will soon discover a sixth. No one knows what the seventh kenning offers. I liked the magic and rules established within the world. We get to see a few characters come into their powers and witness them trying to master skills.

While the story contains multiple POVs and shares both present and past accounts, I felt the bard and scholar Dervan Du Alöbar who is transcribing the story being told, pulled all of it together. Kind of like a giant play with intermissions by Dervan. The stories surround the invasion of the Hathrims, the Bone Giants invasion and political unrest or indecision among those in Teldwen. I quickly became connected to the multiple characters and felt their happiness and loss.

Luke Daniels narrates much of the story and as always he is a masterful storyteller with a wide range of voices. He brings Hearnes charters to life, I even heard a little Oberon, and it made me grin. Xe Sands was a new-to-me narrator, but she compliments both Hearne and Daniels wonderfully. She typically took on the female roles and her pacing, tone and connection to the characters only enhanced Hearne’s story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful