June is Audiobook Month (6/26/17)

Did you know June is #audiobook month? I’m joining Jess and Tina (@asreadbyTINA) to celebrate and to play #audiobingo!

Almost all of the books I logged on Goodreads last year were are audios. I listen to about 300 audiobooks a year.
Each week, I will spotlight a different group of five.

This week I will spotlight 5 newly discovered narrators whose voice completely enhanced a series. They are now on my list of narrators to follow:

    1. 1) Jeffrey Kafer (Taste of Darkness by Katie Reus)
    1. 2) Pinky Powell (Nikolai by Roxie Rivera)
    1. 3) Tristan James (Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford)
    1. 4) Callie Dalton (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata)
    1. 5) Lance Greenfield (The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett)

 🎧 Those are my top five new narrators yo keep an eye on. Please share the narrators do you ❤️ with us.🎧 Or if you would like a recommendation, please ask.

Standalone Sunday (6/25/17): Under Locke by Mariana Zapata 

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!
Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. 

BLURB
: He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a widow, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario: If things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before; one more wouldn’t kill me.
After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude and impatient, and he doesn’t know how to tell time. And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
Narrated by: Callie Dalton
Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently listening to this audiobook because I loved The Wall of Winnipeg and Wait For It by the same author. Zapata takes her time with character development so that the friendship, attraction and subsequent love story never feels rushed. I am anticipating a satisfying story today.

Have you read or listened to this book? Did you enjoy it? What about this author, have you tried her before?

#audiobookmonth #standalonesunday 

It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

Narrator: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: It Happens All the Time: A Novel by Amy Hatvany
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages) •Audiobook (9 hrs and 49 mins)
Genre: Fiction
Published By: Atria Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Audible
I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

two-half-stars

I am sorry if my thoughts on this book offend an rape survivor but this book created some strong emotions in me and I felt really unsettled and unsatisfied with this book’s ending. I get that the author was tackling a sensitive subject but I didn’t quite agree with certain things. I needed time to reflect so I can write my review with sensitivity, yet honesty. I do not feel like I can be honest without victimizing people who have already been brutalized. So I will keep my words brief.

The book starts off with a history of how young Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks became friends complete with their various family dysfunction. I believe the author was trying to lay foundation of what drove Amber and Tyler. This background led me to connect with Tyler and not so much with Amber. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong. First I want to start off by saying Rape is just a horrible crime. I am not interested in victim blaming or justifications, however I do believe alcohol abuse does change the situation. I am not blaming Amber at all, but I am saying that Tyler wasn’t in a clear frame of mind to be making sure he “got” consent first. In addition, I do not agree that Tyler, whom the author had painted as a nice friend, just turned into a this monster so fast and the reader is to believe that he would take advice for a father whom he has despised just so he can avoid dealing with devastation his actions wrought. I do love that Amber talked to both her parents and they stood by her. The fact that they embraced her immediately and validated her was everything. Her parents seemed to be really good parents unlike Tyler’s parents.

I didn’t like the hypocrisy in the end with Amber committing a crime, but it’s viewed with “understanding” and it’s okay that Tyler covered her actions up because I guess Tyler owes Amber for his part in hurting her.

At the end of the day, I hope all rape victims get counseling and have a support for their healing. .This book was hard to review but it make me examine my own beliefs on the topic. I hope to learn more about how to help victims.

Ezi

June is Audiobook Month (6/1/17)

Did you know June is #audiobook month?  I’m joining Jess and Tina (@asreadbyTINA) to celebrate and to play #audiobingo!

Almost all of the books I logged on Goodreads last year were are audios. I listen to about 300 audiobooks a year. I mostly 👂 via @audible, @overdrive, @oneclickdigital, @HooplaDigital apps. But there are other audio apps you can try.

This month of June, I will spotlight a different group of five narrators and/or audiobooks to share my thoughts or experiences.

This week I will start by listing my Top Five favorite narrators (in no particular order). I’ve also added a book each narrated that I rated highly.

    1) Rosalyn Landor absolutely nails historical romances. I first discovered her in Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas. They make an excellent author-narrator pair. I devoured the Gamblers of Craven series, followed the Wallflowers series and then The Hathaways series. (Devil In Winter Review).
    2) Robert Petkoff is the reason I finished The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. I initially quit reading the series after book 5 until a GR friend suggested that I listen 👂 instead of reading it. His voice made all the difference and this series is among my favorite now. (Lothaire Review). His voice is theatric and exudes humor. I can almost hear him cackling “muhaha” as I reflect on his work. He is amazing.
    3) Lauren Fortgang IS the assassin Gin Blanco. She’s done a great job in other audiobooks I’ve heard but the way she bodied The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep just took my appreciation to another level. (Bitter Bite Review). She can give you sass, confident, humor and snark like no one else. 
    4) Julia Whelan (aka Sophie Eastlake) does young adult and adult voices  with perfection. It was her narration of The Witness by Nora Roberts that first made me take notice of her. Then I experienced her with The Elder Races by Thea Harrison, so I started seeking out other audiobooks read by her. Her voice just commands my attention and keeps me completely engaged. (Flat-Out Love Review).
    5) Therese Plummer has one of the most melodic and friendliest voices ever. When I hear her voice, it’s just soothing to my soul. It feels like listening to your best friend tell you a story. She’s a narrator that takes an average story and elevates the experience. I love her in chick lit and contemporary romances. (The Wanderer Review).

🎧 Those are my top five. Please share the narrators do you ❤️ with us.🎧 Or if you would like a recommendation, please ask.

Standalone Sunday (5/28/17): The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. 

BLURB:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently watching the made-for-tv series on Hulu because my husband listened to this audiobook narrated by Claire Danes.

I chose this book because I’ve been captivated by this intense dystopian series and its been hard trying to avoid spoilers from the Love of my Life who is so eager to share his book knowledge.   We have this same issue (him attempting to share spoilers) with The Walking Dead and the Game of Thrones tv shows. The GoT is series I’ve vowed that I will not start the audiobooks until the author finishes the series. I’m not convinced there will be an end to the series due to author’s snail paced writing schedule.

Anyway, the Handmaid’s Tale is painful as a woman to watch as the women were reduced to homemakers and breeders. I’m afraid to see the season finale next week, but I will start the audiobook then.

Have you read or listened to this book? Are you watching the Hulu original series? What do/did you think about it?

Goodreads Monday (5/22/17): An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links! 

My choice today is An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League #1) by Alyssa Cole.

BLURB: As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . 

ADD TO GOODREADS 

Isn’t that cover beautiful? Alyssa Cole is an author I met at RT 16 in Las Vegas. She was so nice that I told myself when I see an audiobook by her, I’ll snag it. That I’ve done and I can’t wait to listen to it.  This choice is a historical fiction which I enjoy and it is also a series. I will add a review as soon as I’m done. Have you read anything by Alyssa Cole?

What are you reading today from your Goodreads TBR shelf? 

Standalone Sunday (5/21/17): Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Wait For It by Mariana Zapata

  

BLURB: If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.

Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.

Except for a boyfriend.
Or a husband.

But who needs either one of those?

Kindle Edition: 670 pages

Audiobook
: 15hrs, 52 mins

Published:
December 7th 2016 by Amazon Digital Services LLC

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently listening to this audiobook narrated by Callie Dalton. I chose this book because I read The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by the same author a week and a half ago and loved that book. So I purchased this book. I plan to also get the Audiobooks Under Locke and Kulti by Mariana Zapata. This author’s writing was that gripping and entertaining to me.

Have you read or listened to this book or any book by Mariana Zapata? Did you enjoy it? Happy First Day of the Week!

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline CareySeries: Kushiel's Legacy #1
on 2002-03-15
Pages: 704
AmazonNarrator: Anne Flosnik
A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger... a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm...Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy... and unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d'Ange, she has no choice.Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond.Phédre nó Delaunay is the woman who holds the keys to her realm's deadly secrets, and whose courage will decide the very future of her world. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new. It is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. A world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, deposed rulers and a besieged Queen, a warrior-priest, the Prince of Travelers, barbarian warlords, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess... all seen through the unflinching eyes of an unforgettable heroine.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Series: Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1
Release Date: March 15, 2002
Format: e-book (929 pages); Audiobook (31 hrs and 6 mins)
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Erotica,
Published By: Tantor Audio
Purchase Links: Amazon US
 
The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good…and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission…and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair…and beyond.

Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart – a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new.

three-stars
4-stars for the plot, writing and characters, but 2-stars for my enjoyment. Thus a 3-star rating.

Holy cow. I felt every bit of this 31 hour book. It was slowly and methodically developed as all really good fantasy novels are. I will say that the writing was really well done and the characters were developed with care. The author wrote an interesting story but I was just too long.

At the heart of this story was a young girl discarded from her family because she had a flaw ~ birth defect in her eye. Her parents eloped after her mother fell in love with a man below her station. They had hoped their child would mend those fences and restore them to their respective families.

Unfortunately Phaedre was not born flawless. The disappointed parents gave her away to a group that rehomes (sells) the unwanted. The glorified brothel is where Phaedre met Lord Anafiel and began to learn about her own sexuality. Basically she needed pain with her pleasure.

Instead of the options she got, Phaedre wanted to be trained as the best courtesan/hooker ever. On some level I get that she felt empowered and like she controlled her own destiny. But I felt she devalued herself just as her parents did.

Many more things happened but I lost interest early on. The story brought it more characters who impacted Phaedre’s life, and a few events really tugged on my heart strings. The ending was a cliffhanger, but I wasn’t moved to continue right away. I have to be in the mood for such a big epic fantasy to pick up the sequel.

Ezi

Review: Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers #2) by Rebecca Zanetti

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #2
Release Date: May 16th 2017 by
Format: Paperback (ARC) 417 pages; Audiobook (13hrs)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published By: Forever; Hatchette Audio
Purchase Links: Amazon US • AudibleBarnes & Noble

A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars-even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

four-half-stars
And Rebecca Zanetti Slays Again!

Rebecca Zanetti is a master of weaving thrilling stories full of suspense, romance and mystery. When you begin her books, be prepared to get caught up in a sexy romantic suspense with an incredibly developed storyline. She is an auto-buy for me because her books have everything I love, family, romance, suspense, mystery, and most importantly, a happy ending. My favorite thing in her stories is the unshakable bond of family loyalty. It is really the glue that makes the characters lovable. They have this all for one, one for all attitude that is so endearing.

Book 2 in the explosive Blood Brother series, was no exception. Remember, this series is the spin-off from the Sin Brother series and contrary to what some say, this series SHOULD be read in order to truly appreciate the character’s journey as well as the underlying plot because the same villains have been plaguing the various main characters.
The prior book, Deadly Silence, introduced a serial killer dubbed the Copper Killer because he hunted red heads and the Lost Bastards Detective Agency (Ryker, Heath and Denver) were on his tail. Also, investigating the case was a profiler, Anya Best, a professor in criminal psychology. The serial killer has been sending her letters showing that he was fixated on her but Anya has no clue who he could be.  Heath Jones was working with FBI agent Loretta Best, Anya’s older sister, who became the killer’s latest victim. So, Heath decided he would protect Anya and avenge Loretta. It was clear the author was setting the stage for this book’s main couple.

I really enjoyed Anya because she was strong, smart and capable. She didn’t let her fear stop her from trying to figure out the killer. It also amused me that she was trying to shrink the Heath because those brothers have so many issues and secrets. Heath is an alpha male with a tender heart. He saves animals for crying out loud. How can you not love a strong, capable man who is so conscious of the pain and suffering of those who are wounded? Heath and Anya worked as a couple because they had this simmering chemistry.

Their relationship was an insta-attraction, not necessarily insta-love because Heath fought himself because of the past monsters (Dr. Madison and Sheriff Cobb). The danger, intrigue, suspense and being on the run certainly created an atmosphere that would be sexually charged. Plus, Ryker, Denver all approved so we got another addition to the family.

Rebecca Zanetti delivered an intense romance with lots of moving parts. That’s why I think it’s really imperative to start with Forgotten Sins (Sin Brother #1). Thats the best way to truly enjoy this quilted novel’s family theme as well as the super villains.  If you enjoy series like Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalkers series, you will love this one as well. I can’t wait to continue with Book 3, Twisted Truths, which will finally address Denver and Noni’s story.

Ezi

About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides there with her husband, children and extended family who inspire her every day.

Sparrow by L.J. Shen

Title: Sparrow by L.J Shen
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Format: Audiobook (9 hrs and 23 mins)
Genre: Mafia Romance, Dark Romance

Troy Brennan

Every southie in Boston knows that name. The son of a dead mobster. The heart throb with steel blue eyes. “The Fixer” who can make or break you in this city.

Oh, and my new husband.

Sparrow Raynes

That’s me. No one seemed to remember my name up until he barged into my life.
But then he caged me.
Kidnapped me.
And killed every chance I had to runaway from the place where we grew up.
Put simply, Troy Brennan clipped my wings.

I have dreams, big ones, but I doubt he’d ever let me chase them. I have no idea why he’d decided to take me as his wife. But I do know this: pissing off this man will not do me any good. At all.

Sparrow is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.

three-stars


I never quite clicked with Troy Brennan and Sparrow Raynes. I liked Sparrow because she dealt with the world on her own terms. Troy was kind of a dirty dog and I guess he did Sparrow a solid by handling an issue on her past that cause her a lot of pain. But Troy still toyed with her. He had been watching her for a long time and knew stuff about her. Plus, I can’t get over that he gave her a weding gift picked out by his mistress, brought his mistress into their home and had relations with that crackhead whore, and he let Sparrow wear a dress he knew belong to his mistress to a public outing. That was so foul. Plus he kept that housekeeper. When a man lets his mistress get one up on his wife, I cannot ride with you.

The wife should never be blindsided by the sidepiece. So Troy got two middle fingers from me.

I never felt their attraction was anything other than a physical itch that each needed to scratch. It didn’t feel like love or passion. It just didn’t work for me like i was expecting. How the fixer just shared his business with that guy who took something that belong to him was also weak to me. I enjoyed the twist about bad guy more than anything. The bad guy laid his plan down so properly that it was a tad sad it didn’t work.

The writing was okay but I wasn’t feeling the couple’s chemistry. I will try another book by this author to see if its the writing or just this story.

Ezi