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Melissa Bee

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  • 186
  • helpful votes
  • 62
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  • Fair, Bright, and Terrible

  • Welsh Blades, Book 2
  • By: Elizabeth Kingston
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103

Laura Kinsale presents a second novel by talented new author Elizabeth Kingston. Fair, Bright, and Terrible is the riveting companion to The King's Man. Wales is conquered, and Eluned has lost everything: her country, her husband, her hope. All that remains is vengeance, and she will stop at nothing to have it. When Robert de Lascaux is asked to marry the woman he has loved for eighteen years, he never hesitates. No wealth has ever mattered to him as much as Eluned has.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A second chance romance for the ages

  • By Maria Rose on 09-04-17

Sophisticated, layered revenge and love story

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

Reviewed: 11-13-17

In the first book of this series, The King's Man, we see Eluned in an unfavorable light, especially in how she dealt with her daughter. She is still dark in this book but now we know her history and losses, most profoundly the loss of her country, its ruler the Prince of Wales, as well as her uncle and nephew. We also learn of a love affair she had eighteen years earlier with a man named Robert de Lascaux whom she has not seen since, yet has never forgotten. Now she is asked by her son to marry him.

Robert believes this marriage will be a second chance for them; but unknowingly to him, Eluned is using it as a maneuver for revenge. It is much easier to understand Eluned in this book-her manipulations, deceit and outward coldness- because we know why she has done what she has and we know what she plans to do. Her relationship with Robert is difficult, perhaps even forfeit from the beginning. While he may believe there is much hope for them, Eluned does not believe there is, or rather she cannot allow herself to believe so.

I especially liked that this was a romance where the main characters were older- near forty (although they fell in love in their early twenties). The romance was paired nicely with rich historical information. And then there's the narration by Nicholas Boulton. His voice just melts my ears. There just isn't a better voice or performer out there; he's my very favorite narrator.

Audible20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

  • The Nothing Girl

  • The Frogmorton Farm Series, Book 1
  • By: Jodi Taylor
  • Narrated by: Lucy Price-Lewis
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,597
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,425
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,421

Getting a life isn't always easy. And hanging on to it is even harder.... Jodi Taylor brings all her comic writing skills to this heartwarming tale of self-discovery. Known as The Nothing Girl because of her severe stutter and chronically low self-confidence, Jenny Dove is only just prevented from ending it all by the sudden appearance of Thomas, a mystical golden horse only she can see. Under his guidance Jenny unexpectedly acquires a husband - the charming and chaotic Russell Checkland.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not To Be Missed!

  • By Kindle Customer mmr on 03-28-15

The "Nothing" Girl has "Everything"

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

Reviewed: 06-03-16


Yes this book is about a young woman with a stutter that talks to an imaginary golden horse and I absolutely loved it!

Jenny Dove lost her parents at a young age and went to live with her aunt and uncle. At the age of 13 she decides she doesn't want to live anymore...enter Thomas the gigantic, golden, talking horse who Jenny is able to talk to without stuttering. He is the voice of reason, her advocate and champion. He stays with her for the next 15 years. Years that have isolated her from society and kept her in her aunt and uncle's house. They've agreed to let Jenny live with them (not go off to university or anywhere else) in exchange they won't send her to a place with others who are like her (an implied institution).

Jenny's life takes a turn when she braves a party and reacquaints herself with her cousin Francesca's ex-lover, Russel Checkland (who still hasn't gotten over Francesca). The two chat and agree to meet the next day at a home improvement store. Russel is living on his nearby family estate which needs quite a bit of renovation. Jenny begins helping him paint his home and after a week Russel proposes that they get married. Russel needs Jenny's money to help keep his estate afloat and in turn he offers Jenny the opportunity to live independent from her aunt and uncle. She agrees and so begins their difficult yet very amusing married life together.

I laughed out loud several times and looked forward to listening to this book every time I needed to stop. Although this is a modern story, it had a classic feel to it. It takes place in England's countryside and has the marriage of convenience element you typically find in historical romances. There's a slow building romance which I loved and plenty of forces trying to keep them from being successful as individuals and as a couple.

I was hesitant to listen to this book because, really, a talking horse? We know that Thomas is a coping mechanism for Jenny. He is her subconscious, the rational part of her brain that is kept dormant because of her own insecurities. He is her successful inner monologue-so surprisingly it (he) works very well, even though I had my doubts.

The narrator, Lucy Price-Lewis, was spot on in her narration. Thomas has a very distinguished voice-which is appropriate because he is rational, but he's not without some cheeky humor. Jenny's voice was delicate and her stuttering sounded appropriate, natural- not something forced. All of the characters were individualized by voice and I thoroughly enjoyed her pacing and the overall lovely sound of her voice.

I'm so glad I listened to all the good reviews because now I can add mine!

  • Must Love Breeches

  • A Time Travel Romance
  • By: Angela Quarles
  • Narrated by: Mary Jane Wells
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 354
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 329
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 329

A mysterious artifact zaps Isabelle Rochon to pre-Victorian England, and suddenly her love of historical authenticity collides with the reality that she's a modern-day girl. But when a thief steals her card case, she determines to retrieve the time-traveling artifact. Now she must hunt down the case, navigate the pitfalls of stiff society London, conceal her time-traveling origins, and resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, a viscount so hot he curls her shower-loving toes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't Miss this Wonderful Time Travel Romance!

  • By bluestategirl on 04-13-16

Must Love Chick Lit

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

Reviewed: 06-03-16



I was really looking forward to this book. I was ready for something light, fun and that fit into the chick lit genre (which I don’t read much of). With Mary Jane Wells narrating, I couldn’t wait to give this a listen. Unfortunately, I found the story to be too frivolous for my taste. I was willing to suspend belief with the time travel premise but I just didn’t care for any of the characters, the romance or any of the subplots. I kept thinking, "There’s no way she should say that or do that" or "That wouldn’t really happen." Phineas Montagu’s past and current threats held no interest to me and felt like filler, nothing to truly threaten his and Isabelle’s relationship. There wasn’t much “meat” to this story and I found scenes that should have been comical or entertaining to be more worthy of an eye roll.

I did, however, enjoy Mary Jane Wells narration. She has a lovely English and Scottish accent, has a distinct voice for each character and somehow her voice always has a touch of cheerfulness to it. I do think she was the right fit for this story and matched Isabella's modern personality. Yet, even with her very solid narration, I still had difficulty finishing this listen and only did so because I obtained a review copy and wanted to see/hear it through.

I really think that this book was a little too chick lit for what I can tolerate. I’m sure this book will be a fun romp for others (I see that it is from other reviews). It just wasn't a good match for me (apparently I'm just no fun!)

***This audiobook was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.***

  • Glitterland

  • Spires, Book 1
  • By: Alexis Hall
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 387
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 385

Ash Winters is barely holding on, near drowning in his own darkness and fear. He lives a gray shadow of a life, sullen and cynical, unable to remember hope or happiness - much less the distant, fading glitterball of love. It has to be a sick joke of the universe that he finds himself hooked up with good-humored Essex boy Darian Taylor, a wannabe model in a sparkly jacket and a fake tan. Darian may not be an intellectual giant, but he's hysterically funny, and he's got the courage to challenge Ash to live again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Why did I wait so long to read this?!!

  • By Toni H on 02-20-16

Great story, ridiculously amazing narration

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

Reviewed: 03-03-16

“Why, in all the vastness of the world, did a sparkly idiot from Essex make me feel alive?”

So, this is my first romance where both of the main characters are male. I'm not going to lie, I don't think I would have read/listened to this if it hadn't been narrated by Nicholas Boulton, who is my very favorite narrator (no surprise that he is nothing short of brilliant in this story (that Essex accent!) Needless to say, I am so glad that I did.

Aside from the ridiculously amazing narration, I was surprised how much I liked the story… how well written it was. The author conveyed the relationship between Ash, a bitter bi-polar writer and Dorian, the “glittering pirate” model from Essex with such poetic vulnerability. I just loved both of them and how well they complimented each other- uptight, messed up Ash and beautiful, carefree Dorian. It was an erotic *cue blushing* heart- warming, funny, soul- laid- bare kind of book.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Scandal with a Prince

  • By: Nicole Burnham
  • Narrated by: Hollis McCarthy
  • Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 119

One magical summer, Megan Hallberg met - and loved - Prince Stefano Barrali. But his royal duties took him home, and when she discovered she carried his child, she also discovered he was engaged...to a beautiful, worldly aristocrat.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A beautifully written and performed story.

  • By Kindle Customer on 11-01-16

Warm and predictable

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

Reviewed: 11-13-15

Historical romance is my favorite audiobook genre. This book caught my eye because the synopsis hinted at it having all of the elements I love in historical romance but taking place within a present day setting.

Megan and Prince Stefano Barrali met ten years previous to the start of the story while doing humanitarian work in Brazil when they were both just twenty-two years old. Their short whirlwind love affair ended when their project did and Stefano went home to take care of family obligations while Megan continued on with college. Soon after they resumed their normal lives, Megan found out she was pregnant at the same time Stefano publically announced his engagement to a beautiful social-lite.

Now, ten years later Megan is a single mother to Anna and a successful manager of a renowned hotel in Barcelona. It's here that she is met face to face again with Stefano. There is still a strong connection between the two despite the decade that that has gone by. Megan does not wait to tell Stefano that he has a daughter; the bulk of the book is him developing a relationship with Anna as well as reconnecting and forming a new one with Megan.

The main obstacles to Megan and Stefano's relationship are the media and how his family will react once they learn about Megan and Anna. Then there is Megan's professional career and the life she would have to give up if she were to be with a prince. Somehow, these never felt like true threats and should not have deterred them from each other or publically becoming a family. In fact, the media and Stefano's family are basically left in the dark about his relationship with them.

The formula of this book- a present day prince falling in love with a "commoner" is no different than any other contemporary book where a main character (usually a male) is some kind of celebrity and falls in love with a non celebrity or someone of different background or social class. All in all this is a rather unoriginal love story that will give its audience something warm and predictable. I prefer more tension, angst and wit- not sweet and mundane.

What I did like about it was the fact the Megan never took advantage of Stefano's status; she built a successful life for her and her daughter (however I do feel that she gave up to easily on reaching out to Stefano). I also found a few quotes to be particularly simple yet effective and memorable: "Love the child; the rest will fall into place" and "embracing life as it is."

I thought the narrator, Hollis McCarthy, read fluidly and had a pleasing voice. This is the first book that I have listened to where there was an Italian-like accent and (especially in the beginning), I could not help likening it to the standard vampire drawl of " I vant to suck your blood!" I am no judge of a good Italian accent but there were times that I questioned its authenticity. Overall, she was a very neutral narrator-one that simply let you listen without distraction.

***A copy of this audiobook was given to me in exchange for an honest review***

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Love for the Pages

  • By: Joy Penny
  • Narrated by: Dawn Huestis
  • Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 24

Kiss. Marry. Kill. Nineteen-year-old June Eyermann has always known exactly which of her favorite Byronic heroes goes where. She'd kiss moody and possessive Rochester from Jane Eyre and marry prideful but repentant Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, leaving obsessive and spiteful Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights to be chucked off a cliff - but no. She couldn't leave any of her heroes behind. She lives for her favorite fictional worlds.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Creative love story with fun classic throwbacks

  • By Katie on 06-07-17

Light, sweet coming of age romance

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

Reviewed: 12-29-14


Nineteen year old June Eyermann is back home for the summer after her first year of college. Back home where her mom and step father continue to push her towards academic and career choices they want for her. June, a classic romance book junkie at heart, begins to make some choices for herself starting with volunteering at the Rockford Library instead of a paid position at her step father's office. Here she meets Everett Rockford, a man whose personality has many of the traits from her favorite book heroes: Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Rochester from Jane Eyre. Some of their interactions even mirror scenes from those books. As June's relationship with Everett becomes more complicated; so does her inability to see him for who he is and not the book characters she's begun to associate him with.

I found the narrator, Dawn Huestis, to be a great match for June's character. She has a voice that captures the age of being almost grown up yet still vulnerable. She was very competent at being able to read clearly and at a reasonable but energetic pace. She was also able to differentiating between voices with ease.

For the most part, the story was light and sweet and at just under six hours on audio, it was short as well. I was actually uncertain as to who June's love interest was going to be and found that there was always an underlying bit of tension that left me thinking things were not going to work out the way I thought they would. I appreciated June being able to make mature decisions in love, in school, and in work, but more importantly that she was able to make them for herself.

***This audiobook copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review***

  • One Summer

  • By: Karen Robards
  • Narrated by: Kate Fleming
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 303

hnny Harris is home again, his too-tight jeans and damn-your-eyes belligerence honed to perfection by a ten-year stretch in federal prison for murder. Now he’s out on parole and ready for the job Rachel Grant has promised him to help him begin a new life. Unlike the rest of the town, Rachel has always believed in her former student’s innocence. But one thing has changed. The sullenly handsome boy she remembers is still sullen, still handsome - but no longer a boy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Classic Robards! A must buy

  • By Empress Karen on 02-10-14

Loved the romance, not the mystery

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

Reviewed: 12-22-14

I think I'm a very tough critic when it comes to the romantic suspense genre. I really feel that the romance compromises the mystery or the mystery compromises the romance. In this book it’s the former; I loved the romance but didn't care for the mystery at all. I could look past the out-datedness of the story (it had an obvious 80's feel) but I felt that the mystery was "cheesy." Anna Fields/Kate Fleming is a quality narrator, but I expected much more from this story.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Flowers from the Storm

  • By: Laura Kinsale
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,545
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,379
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,384

He's a duke. He's a mathematical genius. He can't talk and he's locked in a lunatic asylum. Only a modest Quaker girl can reach him, but when she helps him to escape, she's swept into his glittering aristocratic world, her life torn apart by his desperate attempt to save himself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ~COMPELLING!!~ Love This Author! Love This Book!

  • By 🌸DARA on 10-01-13

Heart wrenching story, beyond amazing performance

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

Reviewed: 12-22-14

This has become one of my all time favorite books and although it is historical fiction, I consider it a classic ranked with the likes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I just loved this story that much.

Nicholas Boulton's narration was exquisite (what a voice!) I can't think of anyone else who could have captured Christian's torment the way he did-it was an amazing performance. Readers and listeners should be warned that this story is agonizingly beautiful and completely emotionally draining. I physically clutched my heart a few times (I kid you not). I was just so touched by Christian's fragmented thoughts and sputtering words. The part where he was trying to convey his wishes to his friend and gestured, telling him, "braid...down" just undid me. There were just so many scenes that I could not stop thinking about...all the times that I felt I just couldn't take anymore anguish.

God, but I do love a beautiful, tortured love story.

  • The Shadow and the Star – Victorian Hearts, Book 2

  • By: Laura Kinsale
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
  • Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 674
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 623
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 625

In defense of her honor, innocent Leda Etoile has burned all her bridges and taken refuge in her tiny attic room in a shabby boarding house in London. But her last safe haven is invaded when she wakes to find a man hidden in the dark - a man with golden hair and the face of a fallen angel, who moves in the night like a shadow. Will he be her savior, or her ruin? Samuel Gerard draws her inexorably into the richest circles of aristocratic England. But even as Leda falls in love with a man she can never have, she must keep his secrets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Story - Wished it was longer!! ;-)

  • By 🌸DARA on 11-29-13

Heart crushing plot, exceptional narration

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

Reviewed: 12-22-14

I came across one reviewer who claimed Nicholas Boulton had "ruined" her for all other narrators and after listening to him in Flowers from the Storm and now this one, well I whole-heartedly agree. Nicholas Boulton's voice is pure bliss and his performance is exquisite. Honestly, I do believe he could read me a tax form and I may clutch my heart in divine anguish. I'm ecstactic that he reads all of Laura Kinsale's books and I purchased all that were available for sale after listening to Flowers from the Storm (I'm staggering them between several other audiobooks so that I can slowly savor them).

What is so amazing about the pairing of Boulton and Kinsale is that he perfectly performs the beautiful, tormented characters and heart crushing plots that Kinsale has devised. Her words are lovely, but Boulton, without a doubt, heightens any emotion a reader could summon by just reading alone. Really, you should be forbidden to read Kinsale's books when there is such a narrator as Boulton to perform them. I mean Japanese, Hawaiian, English and British accents...I think he's unbeatable.

The beginning of this book started off a bit shaky for me; I had my doubts about the Japanese story line and I waited for it to become the one aspect that wouldn't work in this book; however, Kinsale pulled it off. I would hesitate to call Samuel a Ninja at all. He was conditioned and educated on many levels of respect and self control and learning to fight was a strong part of that (with and without a sword). I enjoyed the short chapters of Samuel as a boy being trained in Hawaii interlaced with the intense, present day relationship with Leda.

Like Flowers from the Storm, I felt a bit speechless at the end of this book... Kinsale really pushes the reader's comfort level as to how much their heart can really take; I was amazed I was able to survive the emotional rollercoaster this book took me through.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • My Beautiful Enemy

  • By: Sherry Thomas
  • Narrated by: Charlotte Anne Dore
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 89
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 88

Catherine Blade's uncommon beauty and daring have taken her far in the world, but she still doesn't have the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she's ever loved - the only person to ever betray her. Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • my least favorite from this author, and still good

  • By Christina on 09-04-14

Exceptional story-adequate narration

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

Reviewed: 12-22-14

I've said it before, I believe Sherry Thomas is a master when it comes to angst and clever wording. As with many of her previous novels, Thomas uses time as a tool to create and intensify the heart-ache between characters. In this story, Catherine Blade, who is half British, half American and trained in martial arts, has just come to England for the first time searching for a coveted stone tablet. She is shocked to run into Leighton Atwood, a man whom she met and supposedly killed eight years earlier. The prequel of this book, The Hidden Blade covers both her, as Ying-ying, and Leighton's separate childhoods.

We learn of her and Leighton's intense relationship in alternating chapters from eight years earlier during their travels in Chinese Turkestan when they were disguised as a Persian merchant and Kazakh boy. Their meeting and travels together are beyond entertaining. The intense wording and drama had me riveted.

The present day chapters revolve around the awkwardness of Catherine and Leighton as he now has a fiancé and his wedding date approaches, along with the mystery of the tablets and the true enemy stalking her.

Although I found this story to be exceptional, I did not feel the narrator, Charlotte Anne Dore, was the right one for this book. Her voices (or rather her lack of variety in her voices) puzzled me a bit. I wondered why there weren't differentiations in voices between Ying-ying when she was pretending to be a Kazakh boy, when she was in China, and then when she was in England. Her voice in all locations was the same. This can also be said of Leighton's voice when he was a Persian merchant-his voice wasn't any different than when he was in England. Had there been distinct variations, this audiobook could have been amazing.

I also noticed that Dore often took unnatural pauses while reading and that was at times very distracting. I did like the overall sound of her voice-a bit gravelly, which could fit the hidden strength within Catherine/Ying-ying. I didn't think she did this story justice. Had I just read this story, and not listened to it, I would have easily given it 5 stars.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful