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CandCrew

ADRIAN, MO, US
  • 14
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  • 39
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  • 15
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  • Silver-Tongued Devil

  • Portland Devils, Book 1
  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Tanya Eby
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 788
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 720
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 718

Blake Orbison's pro football career with the Portland Devils may have come crashing to an end, but not calling the signals anymore just gives him more time to devote to his business enterprises, including the latest and greatest: the opening of the Wild Horse Resort in scenic north Idaho. And that other one, too. Blake's on the marriage track now, and he's got a game plan.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • That Blake is a smooth Southern dude!

  • By Michele Z on 01-26-17

Life and love in Small Town, USA!

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

Reviewed: 01-17-17

Another great audiobook from Ms. James! If you have read or listened to "Fierce" (Not Quite a Billionaire series), Blake Orbison was a minor character that the reader/listener got a glimpse of. If you haven't read or listened to that book or series, not to worry as this audiobook stands on its own just fine. The book is set in Wild Horse, Idaho, a typical small town that is portrayed very accurately. (I grew up the suburbs of a larger midwestern city and currently live in a rural midwestern town of 1600. The struggles that Dakota Savage faces due to being in the "wrong" family with the wrong name is very accurate in my own experience, as are the struggles that Blake Orbison experiences as a "big city" outsider who comes into that community.) As a young girl, Dakota lived a rough life and eventually ends up with her half-brother's father. Tragedies further strike the family, causing Dakota to leave and then later return. The past is hard to live down and it affects her livelihood as well. Blake is building a high end resort in White Horse and he has to learn to navigate the small town political and social scene. This story follows Dakota and Blake's relationship through the ups and downs that come with their individual statuses in a small town. There are some heavy themes addressed (rape, near-death, and business sabotage) but they are handled in a real way without being over the top & they are necessary components to the story. There also are steamy scenes as Dakota owns her sexuality and Blake has healthy "appetites" as well. Overall, a nicely done tale that has just enough suspense, romance, sex, and drama. This was a different read than what I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised!

This was the first book that I'd listened to that Tanya Eby narrated. As with all new narrators for me, it takes me about a chapter to really hear their own voice and style. Ms. Eby did a stellar job at the narration and took a great book to an even higher level. Her narration really brought the written text of the book to life, evoking even more emotion because of her reading in many part of the audiobook. I will say that it took me a bit of time to get used to her "version" of Blake but eventually I forgot that it was one person narrating, including the part of the sexy, slow Southern drawling Mr. Orbison. To me, the hallmark of a great narrator is that they bring just the right amount of emotion to each "scene", they give each character their own "voice" and I can tell who is talking by those "voices", and that speech patterns are natural for each character or the parts that aren't dialogue. Ms. Eby definitely lives up to these expectations and when I go looking for new audiobooks to purchase, I will be looking at those she narrates (probably in the romance category to start with). Well done on the narration that elevated an already great printed book!

Now for the legal bit . . . I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own. If you look at my reviews here, on Amazon and Good Reads you will find that I don't always leave a 5 star review. BTW--I would have gladly purchased this audio book with my own funds/credits.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Just Stop Me

  • Escape to New Zealand, Book 9
  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Emma Wilder
  • Length: 14 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 414
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 391
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 390

Lots of young women dream of being a princess. Nina Jones isn't one of them. After escaping from her palace/prison by burying herself under sacks of fertilizer, she ends up in a beach cottage on New Zealand's South Island. She's meant to be looking after a cantankerous widower. Too bad she doesn't know how to boil an egg.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic and different addition to the series

  • By Deor on 12-17-16

Just couldn't stop listening!

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

Reviewed: 12-25-16

I was totally not expecting this book to be what it was. Yes, I knew it was a rugby romance centered around a fictitious All Blacks player and a runaway bride. But the story had me immediately hooked--more so than the other books in this series. If you've not listened to any of the previous Escape to New Zealand books, that's just fine because this book easily stands on its own. If you have listened to the series, you'll get catch-ups with a few previous players/partners in lesser detail than previous installments. Either scenario still means a great book that really pulls you in. (BTW--for those that have listened to the series, JSM pulls itself up to tie with Just This Once as my personal favorite. Iain and Nina also tie with Drew and Kate as my favorite hero and heroine. I was completely blown away by this book!) The starting premise of the book is a bit far-fetched (a runaway bride fleeing marrying a minor European prince; said bride takes off to New Zealand and lands a job as a caretaker/companion for a cantankerous 85 year old man) but it works because NZ is just the place where something like this *could* happen. And, let's be honest, not everything in realistic fiction has to be completely possible! Isn't that part of the point of fiction? What really makes the book believable are the setting and characters. Rosalind James takes the reader on a journey to the area around Kaiteriteri in the northern part of the South Island as well as parts of Auckland. I had absolutely no trouble picturing the settings + what I did Google while reading matched what was in my mind (and I've never been to NZ). I could see, hear, feel, and smell the surroundings! As for the characters? When one thinks runaway bride, one would probably expect as simpering, flighty fool but that's not what you get with Nina. She has her flaws, including that she has previously pretty much done as she's told, but her struggles and growth to change really drew me in. Iain may have thought she was a timid kitten but she becomes an independent (albeit unsure) woman with a sense of humor, a bit of snarkiness, and able to trust his adventurous nature in the bedroom (and the beach, and the garden). Iain is a huge, sexy man who loves his family, has a strong sense of duty to his family and teams, and has been wounded by being left standing at the altar himself. He's also quick to make assumptions about people, which gets him into trouble more than once. The twisting journey that Nina and Iain take as they come together is sweet, irritating, frustrating, exasperating, humorous, and quite steamy. As I said, Iain is sexually adventurous and helps Nina explore this side of herself. (If descriptive, steamy, send-you-up-in flames sex scenes including the f-word and some back door action might offend you, give this book a pass. You've be warned so please don't buy the audiobook knowing this going in and leave an awful review or rip Ms. James for it. It's just not some people's cuppa.). This book made me laugh out loud at the verbal sparring and humorous situations, groan because people can just be stupid, grit my teeth and growl at the audacity of people, fan myself and get a bit bothered at the sexy scenes, and cry--yes, I cried, something I rarely do while listening--at the vulnerability and heartache. I also really enjoyed the side storyline of Iain's parents & their own struggles as an older couple + his grandfather's learning to cope with losing the love of his life.

Ms. James decided to depart from her usual narrator (Claire Bocking) due to circumstances beyond her control. As a huge fan of Ms. Bocking's work, especially this series, I was really worried that Emma Wilder wouldn't be able to fill the shoes left for her. Was I WRONG in even thinking this! Ms. Wilder knocked it out of the park! I can't tell you how many times I forgot that when I was hearing Iain, it was actually an American woman reading the part of a Kiwi man! (and let me tell you, her version of Iain is swoonworthy--just enough growl in that Kiwi speech to make him real and believe you are listening to a 6'6" beast of a rugby player with a soft side for family). She gave each character their own voice. I had no problem telling who was talking during the dialog. Each had their own accent, cadence, tone, etc. that made them identifiable. Her emotion was appropriate for each scene without overdoing it. Her speech patterns are very natural and absolutely enhance the narration/dialogue. Ms. Wilder's performance took a fantastic book and made it that much better--this is probably my favorite performance of any audiobook to date! I look forward to more narration by Ms. Wilder and may even be checking out her other work outside this series.

Now for the legal part . . . I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own. If you look at my reviews here, on Amazon and Good Reads you will find that I don't always leave a 5 star review. BTW--I would have gladly purchased this audio book with my own funds/credits.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Turn Me Loose

  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Claire Bocking
  • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 383
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 341
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 339

Rochelle Marks is working hard to build a name for herself that has nothing to do with her pinup-girl curves. She's made mistakes in the past, and now she's trying to stop her little sister, Stacy, from making worse ones. Rochelle's done with being nothing more than someone's good time. Even if that someone is the one-night stand who turned her life upside down before vanishing - and who's just arrived in Paradise, Idaho, looking to pick up where they left off.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Excited by Her Bruises

  • By Rusty on 01-29-17

Paradise Revisited

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

Reviewed: 06-27-16

This is the third installment of the Paradise, Idaho series. If you've not listened to or read the previous 2 books (Carry Me Home and Hold Me Close), not to worry as this book can stand on it's own without the connections to the first two books. If you have read the first two books, you'll get to "see" Zoey, Cal, Luke, Kayla, and Eli briefly and the tie-in to the books is nicely but not overly done. This book is romantic suspense all the way. (Minor spoilers follow): There's mystery, murder, and you're left wondering what exactly happened right up to the end. Rochelle Marks works as an assistant in the Engineering Department at the University of the Palouse. She's tough as nails and yet would do anything to help those she cares about--including taking a lot on herself to protect others. She's a bit of a rough girl with a reputation and carries a chip on her shoulder. She's always gone for the bad boy type but she doesn't let anyone take advantage of her and she's not afraid to stand up for herself, her family or friends. Tech-savvy entrepreneur Travis Cochran has come to the University as lecturer for one semester. When he meets Rochelle, they both realize who the other is--a one-night fling that couldn't be forgotten. The story chronicles Rochelle and Travis' getting reacquainted as well as their developing relationship. In the midst of all of this, Rochelle's youngest sister begins to struggle with the stress of being premed at the university (as well as the only child of 6 to go to college) and falling in with the wrong crowd. When the body of a college-aged girl shows up in the ditch next to a crop field, things really get going. Travis and Rochelle navigate their new relationship and deal with the difficulties her sister has which are compounded by the darker side of life in this college town. This book is not all roses and sunshine so if drug distribution/use, men taking advantage of young women, and the shaming of women for behavior that is often praised in men are offensive to you, give this book a pass. Ms. James does a great job of handling difficult issues in a vary realistic way that doesn't go over the top but is still believable. Kudos to her for the post notes on the topic statistic that put some of the issues in the book in perspective.

Claire Bocking give a fantastic performance, even though it's all Western US dialogue (a departure from the multicultural performances in the "Escape to New Zealand" series). Bocking is incredibly skilled at getting each character right in both the actual voices used + "reading" the characters correctly in terms of emotion, personality, etc. The listener has no problem identifying who is thinking/speaking because each character has their own "voice". She does a stellar job of getting the emotion of each scene just right--no overly dramatic or underdone narration/dialogue. Her pace and cadence make the story flow, unlike the narration of others doing other books that have made it difficult to listen to or follow a good or even great story. She does mispronounce a few minor place names and words but it's nothing to detracts from the performance. This was a solid performance that has me hoping that she will be narrating the fourth installment of the series!

Now for the legal bit . . .I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own. If you look at my reviews here, one Amazon and Good Reads you will find that I don't always leave a 5 star review. BTW--I would have gladly purchased this audio book with my own funds/credits.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Fierce

  • Not Quite a Billionaire, Book 1
  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Claire Bocking
  • Length: 14 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 497
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 458
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 456

I never asked Hemi Te Mana to rescue me. It was true that I had a lousy job. Not to mention a lousy apartment and too much responsibility, although it was a responsibility I wouldn't have given up for the world. That still didn't mean I needed rescuing, if that was what you'd call the situation I ended up in. And anyway, I knew that a multimillionaire Maori CEO with too many muscles, a tribal tattoo, and a take-no-prisoners attitude was way, way out of my league.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally, the story that was in the story...

  • By Mom on the Run on 05-18-16

The first in a new series!

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

Reviewed: 05-30-16

Another great book in a new series by Rosalind James. It is loosely connected to James' "Just In Time", part of the Escape to New Zealand series. Having said that, this book is definitely a stand alone and it is not necessary to have read JIT to enjoy "Fierce". (If you have read JIT, "Fierce" is the actual, full story that Faith was writing.) "Fierce" contains two vastly different and dynamic main characters. Faith is making her way in the world as a photographer's assistant in New York while trying to raise her 15 year old sister. Hemi is Kiwi of Maori descent who has hit the big time as a designer and works out of New York as well. The pair meets as a result of a photo shoot for Hemi's company. They are about as far apart in personality and principles as they can get. Even so, they are drawn to each other. The story chronicles the twists and turns that their relationship takes them on. Hope is fierce in her determination to do right by her sister and herself and is torn with how to fit Hemi into that scheme. Hemi is fierce in his determination to fit Hope into his life as he sees fit--which includes hanging on to the past and ignoring his heritage. There are moments of frustration, intrigue, wonder, anger, disbelief, sadness along with steamy scenes that will have you blushing and fanning yourself. This book isn't for the faint of heart when it comes to sex. Those scenes are tastefully done but are intense and somewhat blunt. However, those scenes aren't for the sake of sex alone. They chronicle the internal struggles both Hemi and Faith have in and out of bed. Be warned that the "f bomb" gets dropped a few times and Hemi is pretty raw in talking about what he wants. When I read the book, I only rated it 4 stars (would've given it 4.5 if I could have) because the book was good but didn't "suck me in" like books I've given 5 stars to. However I did rate the story a 5 for the audiobook because I found myself getting sucked in to the story through the performance. It is an excellent story that keeps you engaged throughout and includes good character development. There is a believable story that goes along with the relationship.

As for the performance? Claire Bocking is a one woman cast and I feel that, to date, this is her best narration. I am a huge fan of hers but this performance vaulted her in to the absolutely amazing category. I found myself forgetting that only one person was narrating and Hemi? It was hard to believe that he was being read by a woman that normally speaks with an American accent. Every character, once again, has their own voice through tone, cadence, inflection, and accent. The amount of emotion for each scene was done just right--nothing over the top with over-emoting--which made the story that much better.

Overall, well done and can't wait for "Fractured" to come out.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Just in Time

  • Escape to New Zealand, Book 8
  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Claire Bocking
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 423
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398

Will Tawera doesn't do commitment, except on the rugby field. Moving to Las Vegas to become a kicker for the NFL would be a big change from New Zealand rugby, but then, he's ready for a change. And when he's asked to do a little modeling on the side? Thousands of dollars to hold a beautiful blonde while looking dark, dangerous, tattooed, and Maori? He could do that.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Shame on Rosalind for 50 Shades of NZed

  • By Catherine on 02-06-16

It's just that good--Sweet, Steamy & Swoonworthy!

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

Reviewed: 02-03-16

This book is just THAT GOOD! Whether you're a fan of the Escape to New Zealand series or reading it on its own, you won't be disappointed. No cookie cutter heroine or hero here, just two people in two completely different literal and figurative places whose lives happen to intersect by chance. Faith follows the rules because that's who she is by nature. She is a quietly determined yet reserved woman whose current life leaves much to be desired. There's no room for a temporary relationship even if she it's all can think about. Will, on the other hand, follows the rules because that's what's expected of his job. He is a charming but low-key player (whom I really did not like from a previous book in the series or the beginning of this book) who has no desire for any strings and doesn't do so great with any relationship, and not just romantic ones, as it is. The pair meets as an indirect result of a devastating life event. The journey they take is funny, frustrating, exasperating, and even a bit of a tear- jerker at points. Along the way there are moments that make you shake your head while thinking "what the heck were they thinking?", "did that really just happen?", "man, grow up!", "why are they surprised at that result?", and even "I didn't see that one coming!" The pair is believable from beginning to end as they evolve individually and together. Definitely will be re-reading this one because, like I said, it's just that good!

Claire Bocking's performance is stellar. Her Kiwi and American accents are spot-on, as well as giving each character his/her own voice that is distinct from other characters. She brings the right amount of emotion to each scene, making each its own. The printed version of the book is great in its own right but Bocking's performance takes it to an even better level--steamy scenes become scalding hot, touching scenes invoked actual tears, and vulnerability really comes through. This is the 8th book in the series that she's narrated and she keeps knocking it out of the park. I can't imagine anyone else narrating future series installments because she it!

Now the legal part--I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review (nor would I if I didn't think it was good). The opinion expressed here is my own.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Hold Me Close

  • Paradise, Idaho, Book 2
  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante, Natalie Ross
  • Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 482
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 482

Kayla Chambers knows what love is - and what it isn't. When her boyfriend turns abusive, she and her son escape to a new life in a place where he'll never find them. The idyllic town of Paradise, Idaho, has everything she needs to get back on her feet. Survival is her only goal, and the last thing she wants is another man in her life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Love the narration

  • By Petra on 12-18-15

Childhood friendship develops into more.

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

Reviewed: 12-27-15

This is the second installment to the Paradise, Idaho series. If you've not read the 1st book in the series, Carry Me Home, you'll find that this book stands on it's own. If you have read CMH, you'll find that this book is lovely in its continuity in the series where you'll get to catch up with Cal, Zoe and Luke/Cal's parents. Kayla is a widowed, single mom to Eli who's escaped from an abusive relationship. She returns to Paradise, Idaho, a town that she briefly lived in as a child. There, she encounters Luke Jackson, a boy from that childhood past who is now the principal of the local high school. The story tells the tale of a wounded woman trying to re-establish her and her son's lives, including a relationship with Luke. Luke wants more than just friendship and he gets that . . .with all Kayla's emotional baggage that has resulted from being abused. While the abuse portion of the storyline is vital, it is done tastefully and respectfully. (As a survivor of a 3-year mentally abusive relationship, I found James' handling of the topic to be spot and done in a way that helps others who haven't been there see just how insidiously the process of getting into an abusive relationship develops and the damage left even after escaping the relationship without being over the top to add to the drama of the story.) Kayla, Eli, and Luke are very genuine people, well developed, and absolutely believable. The suspense in this story comes from Alan's search for and pursuit of Kayla after she escapes him. Again, James' portrayal of Alan as an abuser is right on the money. He outwardly projects that everything is okay while reality is that he is very disturbed.

Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross deliver performances that really bring a great story further to life. They add more character portrayals to the series and do it in a way that previous characters still stand on their own with their own identifiable speech patterns and personality while giving the new characters the same. With abusive being a highly emotional topic, both Ross and Gigante do the narration right . . . just the right emotion without taking it over the top and making it unbelievable or ridiculous. The dual narration really works for this story and the series.

I highly recommend the book as it flows from start to finish even though the plot has several twists + Kayla, Eli & Luke have to work their way through their relationships. The narration adds the necessary emotion to the story. Also, kudos to James' for adding author's notes at the end about partner violence/abuse, including signs and where to begin to get help.

  • Just Once More

  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Claire Bocking
  • Length: 5 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 384
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 355
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 353

Eight smoking-hot rugby players. Eight partners. Seventeen kids. Beaches and barbecues and beer, salt and sand and sea. Family and good mates and no worries. December in New Zealand. One very pregnant, very tired Hannah Montgomery Callahan is playing hostess to it all, doing her best and wondering if her best is good enough. And one legendary All Black captain is willing to do whatever it takes to show her that when he promised to be there for her forever, he meant it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Catch up with the characters from the Just series

  • By Rose OToole on 11-13-15

Catch up with the Escape to New Zealand families!

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

Reviewed: 11-21-15

First off, this book could possibly be listened to by itself BUT the reader would probably feel like they're not completely "in" on everything since it involves history laid in the 1st six books. If a story based around rugby, more specifically the provincial,super and All Blacks teams interests you, this could be the series for you to explore. Now having said that AND having read the other books . . . it was good to "b" able to Escape to New Zealand once again. The play on the "b" is because of the background, believability, babies/pregnancies, brotherhood, bonding, beaches, bedrooms, backseats, and beginnings. It was fantastic to have details of situations from past books be filled in to really round out the stories. The book also makes the characters even more endearing because their insecurities and feelings of being "less than perfect" are revealed and dealt with in a very realistic manner. Pregnancy and babies are handled in a broad spectrum--from the issue of not being able to have biological children to should we have more to holy smokes, what have we really done & how are we going to manage another child? The interweaving of the lives of fictitious past and present All Blacks gives possible insight into the issues they might really have to deal with. The book helps to forge new bonds and strengthen old ones. Obviously the beach is going to factor into a book that is set in New Zealand in December--both in the bonding and "steamy" factor. Speaking of steamy . . . in addition to the beach, there's also bedroom and backseat happenings as well. As for the beginnings--so many to witness. From a wedding to a newly engaged couple to the growth of families. Can't wait to see how these evolve in future Escape to New Zealand installments!

As for the narration, I have to say that Claire Bocking really brought great stories to life once more and has reached a new level of phenomenal for several reasons. Her Kiwi accent is spot on and she seamlessly switches from narrator mode (her own voice) to Kiwi characters (including Paheka and Maori) to American characters. Not only that, she does a marvelous job of giving close to 20 individual characters their own voice and you can clearly tell who's "talking" even with out the prompting text/bits. We're talking a range from toddlers to young children to older children to teens to young adults to older adults. Once again, she emotes the narration and character speech with sincerity and believability. I found myself laughing, sighing, groaning and even crying because of the emotion she brings to the story. I just can't imagine anyone else doing the narration for this series of books and being so successful at it.

Now for the legal bit . . .I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own. If you look at my reviews here, one Amazon and Good Reads you will find that I don't always leave a 5 star review. BTW--I would have gladly purchased this audio book with my own funds/credits.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Carry Me Home

  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante, Natalie Ross
  • Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 816
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 720
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 724

Paradise, Idaho, may not be the largest town, but for newly minted professor Zoe Santangelo, it's the first step on the path to her big break. After teaching in a small Idaho school, her next stop is the Ivy League, and no one is going to stand in her way. She'll do what it takes to move up, to protect her students from a creepy campus stalker - and to protect her heart from Cal Jackson, the hot, hunky cowboy who keeps coming to her rescue.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reminds me of Linda Howard

  • By C. Harrison on 06-19-15

Great 1st book in a new series that is outstanding

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

Reviewed: 06-22-15

This is a book/series is departure from Rosalind James' previous "Escape to New Zealand" and "The Kincaids" series. It definitely fits in the romantic suspense category because there is a villain that creates a situation where you're not quite sure what's truly happening all the way around so you're kept waiting (in a good way) for things to cogamut of witty, sexy, exasperating, confusing, frustrating, intense, and tender. Sincntinue to unfold/be revealed and then, ultimately, be resolved. However, if you're looking for the espionage or "out there", darker portion of romantic suspense, this book may not be for you as that's not where the anticipation comes from. Without giving too much away . . . Zoe Santangelo has a PhD in geology (specializing in hydrogeology) that has come to the small town of Paradise, Idaho to start her journey to becoming a tenured professor at one of the predominant research universities in the field. Like many others with similar aspirations, Zoe starts at the bottom of ladder at a smaller institution, eager to work her way up. She loves her field, teaching at the university, and working with students but knows that she'll be moving on as soon as she can. Cal Jackson is a former NFL football player who has come home to run the family farm after his career is ended by an injury. He loves what he does, his family and the town but is possibly looking for more as well. The two meet and interact as a result of their relationship to the university. The story chronicles their struggles, both individually and as a couple, as well as a campus situation that has everyone concerned for the safety of students and Dr. Santangelo. Both characters have their own issues that results in sort of power struggle that they need to work through that ultimately affect their relationship. The pair are very likable and believable. Zoe is highly intelligent yet down to earth, and very independent, yet unsure of herself. Cal is self-assured, a bit of a control freak and almost cocky--but in a way that endears him to the reader. Their interactions run the gamut of witty, sexy, exasperating, confusing, frustrating, intense, and tender. Since this is also a romance, it doesn't hurt that things get a bit steamy occasionally. Overall, there is just the right balance the romance and suspense. Don't expect a wimpy heroine that needs rescuing--that's what gets Cal into trouble.

The performance? Sends a great story right into the stratosphere! I wasn't too sure of how I was going to like a male and female narrator interacting within same chapter. (I love Kristen Proby's "With Me" series that has a male and female narrator but they trade chapters because that's how the books are laid out--male vs. female perspective.) I have to say the narration TOTALLY WORKED and enhanced the performance. Natalie Ross was new to me and she does an outstanding job of getting Zoe "right". Tone, pace, inflection and emotion for each segment are spot on and really bring Zoe to life. Phil Gigante knocked it totally out of the park with Cal. He gets the "good ol' boy" persona right while making him real (as well as swoonworthy). Combined, the dual narration really works in all the different situations and brings out the emotions for each section. Can't wait for Hold Me Close to be released in print and audio. It'll be a great story and if it's narrated like Carry Me Home, it's already a winner.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Welcome to Paradise

  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Emma Taylor
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 350
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 322

Mira Walker is hoping that competing on a "living history" reality show will give her what's missing from her real life. Maybe she'll get closer to her boyfriend, who hasn't been all that nice to her lately. Get fired up about her job again. Who knows, she might even win a million dollars. Gabe Kincaid and his brother, Alec, are after that million, too, though. Mira and Scott are no threat at all, not when everybody involved is going to want to kill Scott after the first day. And there's no bond stronger than a twin's. What could possibly go wrong?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reality TV Romance Done Well

  • By CandCrew on 06-07-15

Reality TV Romance Done Well

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

Reviewed: 06-07-15

I'm not a huge reality TV fan but if I had to pick a "favorite" it would be "Survivor". Rosalind James puts a twist on reality TV by having the story center around a pioneer theme circa 1885. Without giving too much away . . . pairs on the show spend weeks living much like the homesteaders that settled the midwestern/western states. James does a brilliant job of giving insight into the struggles of daily life that settlers experienced while trying improve the land. She even addresses the injustices brought about by the Homestead Act. Of course, this is romance and James also does a fantastic job in this area. Twin brothers Gabe and Alec are selected for the show, as are couple Scott and Mira. Throughout the story of how the game progresses, relationships evolve including a new one between Gabe and Mira. However it's not just their story. James weaves the other contestants into the story so that we get a good picture of what they are like as well as helping to reveal the true nature of Gabe, Alec, Scott, and Mira. As always, James adds just the right amount of steaminess to the story. If you don't want some slightly dirty "encounters" (including a sizzling session of shaving down by the stream) done in a tasteful but provocative manner, this book isn't for you.

Emma Taylor does an outstanding job with the narration. She gives individual voices to each character (of which there are a dozen+) that are easily recognizable as their own. Her rate and inflection are very pleasant and she does a great job with the right amount of emotion--nothing unbelievable because it's so over the top. In fact, Gabe really comes alive and I liked him even more in the audiobook (I had also read the print book). She gave him just the right amount of "rakishness" while still preserving his "gentleman" tendencies. Her Mira came across as sweet but not in a sickening way while preserving her quiet strength. Characters I didn't like when I read the book REALLY annoyed me while listening--and not because of a poor performance but because Taylor does them so well you really hear them if that makes sense. The book is a great one when read but Taylor's performance really takes it to the next level, bringing everything to life.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own--If I didn't enjoy the audiobook, I'd have no problem stating so.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Just for You (Escape to New Zealand)

  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Claire Bocking
  • Length: 4 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 272
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271

Hemi Ranapia isn’t looking for love. Fun, yes. Love, not so much. But a summer fishing holiday to laid-back Russell could turn out to be more adventure than this good-time boy ever bargained for. Reka Harata hasn't forgotten the disastrously hot rugby star she met a year ago, no matter how much she wishes she could. Too bad Hemi keeps refusing to be left in her past.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Back to the beginning for Hemi and Reka

  • By M. Miller on 04-28-15

Get ready to fog up the windows with steaminess!

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

Reviewed: 04-21-15

**Slight spoilers included** This is the prequel novella to the "Escape to New Zealand" series that introduces the "before" story of Hemi and Reka. Even though it is a prequel, it easily stands on it's own so familiarity with the series is not a must. However, it IS a must to be ready to hear some steamy scenes that move into the slightly dirty. Hemi is a young rugby player for the Auckland Blues and New Zealand All Blacks that meets Reka at a wedding reception in Russell. Things heat up between them for the night but Hemi returns to Aukland and the pair goes along their merry way. A year later, Hemi returns to Russell for a holiday with his team mates and runs across Reka. What follows is a story of how their relationship develops and it's definitely not all sunshine and roses. For me there were moments of frustration, disbelief, tenderness and satisfaction. This story is probably the steamiest of the series to date (up to Just Not Mine) so if you don't like a bit of tastefully done but hot sex, this is probably not for you. This piece is not done for the sake of sex. It give insight into Hemi and Reka further into the series. If you are new to the series and plan on going through the whole thing, I recommend reading/listening to the first four books (Just This Once, Just Good Friends, Just For Now, Just For Fun). It was nice to be introduced to Hemi & Reka in their current context and then be let in on the "secret" of how that relationship developed.

As for the narration, holy smokes does Claire Bocking do this one up right! Each character continues to get their own identity through tone, inflection, and cadence so you know who is talking--Kiwi, American, adult, "littlie", "wrinklie", and narrator. Her performance is well done so that you get when someone is frustrated, angry, unsure, indifferent, teasing, etc. The steamy scenes are incredibly well done in a tasteful way with just a bit of "grit" to the dirtiness of the dialogue. The performance makes the dialogue very real and believable. It's not like some audiobooks that you listen to and think "well that just fell flat" or "I'm not buying that scene for a second".

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own--I'm not they type of person to sugar coat something, especially if I was less than satisfied.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful