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review 2015-11-15 09:00
Audio Review: My Bluegrass Baby by Molly Harper

My Bluegrass Baby


Bluegrass, #1


Molly Harper


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Date of Publication: April 09, 2013
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 5 hrs and 28 mins



Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN    Audible    AudiobookStand



An original series from popular romance author Molly Harper! When Sadie & Josh compete for the same Kentucky Tourism Commission job, sparks fly—turns out Kentucky really is for lovers.

Sadie Hutchins loves her job at the Kentucky Tourism Commission. Not only could her co-workers double as the cast of Parks & Recreation, but she loves finding the unusual sites, hidden gems, and just plain odd tourist attractions of her home state. She’s a shoo-in for the director’s job when her boss retires at the end of the year…until hotshot Josh Vaughn shows up to challenge her for the position.

Josh is all sophisticated polish while Sadie’s country comfort, and the two have very different ideas of what makes a good campaign. So when their boss pits them against each other in a winner-takes-all contest, they’re both willing to fight dirty if it means getting what they want. But it turns out, what Josh and Sadie want could be each other—and Josh’s kisses are the best Kentucky attraction Sadie’s found yet!

I've been a fan of Molly Harper since reading her stand alone And One Last Thing... So I couldn't help but give a bit of small squeal when I heard a reference to that book in this one. It's not the first time that the author has added some small reference to one of her other books/series, but I still get a thrill when I recognize it. It's like a bit of a wink or a nod from the author to those in the know.

As with the Jane Jameson and Half-Moon Hallow series', this book is set in Kentucky. Many years ago, I once spent almost a year in Lexington. I had a fabulous time and met some wonderful people. Reading about the interesting people and unique culture of the state always reminds me of that time. This is especially true with this book, as the setting deals with tourism and the many facets of Kentucky life.

I was a bit surprised that this book didn't end with a definitive "Happy Ending". As a romance, I was expecting the HEA, but what I got instead was a Happy for Now ending. Spoiler Alert: there wasn't even a marriage proposal to help tie up the ending. Yes, Sadie and Josh were together, but  I still had questions that needed answers and issues I wanted resolved. I am hopeful that their story line will have more resolution in the next book, maybe tied into that story.

Amanda Ronconi was a new to me narrator and I thought she did a fantastic job. Doing multiple variations on an accent can be tough, but she did a great job. I enjoyed her pacing and emoting as well. She kept my attention on the story, even when I was doing other things. I can't wait to start the next book knowing she's going to be there with me.

I always enjoy Molly Harper's books, now in audio format as well. Her heroines tend toward the spunky and snarky, and I know I can always count on great dialogue. If you are looking for a quick, fun read, and don't mind an open ending this should be on your list. I gave it 4 stars.

Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/11/review-my-bluegrass-baby-molly-harper.html
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review 2015-11-08 09:00
Audio Review: A Cold Dark Place by Toni Anderson


A Cold Dark Place


Cold Justice, #1


Toni Anderson

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Toni Anderson
Narrator: Eric G. Dove
Date of Publication: December 19, 2014
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 9 hours and 53 minutes

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     Audible
Justice isn’t always black or white. Sometimes it’s cold and dark.

Former CIA assassin Alex Parker works for The Gateway Project, a clandestine government organization hell-bent on taking out serial killers and pedophiles before they enter the justice system. Alex doesn’t enjoy killing, but he’s damn good at it. He’s good at dodging the law, too—until a beautiful rookie agent has him wondering what it might be like to get caught.

FBI Special Agent Mallory Rooney has spent years hunting the lowlife who abducted her identical twin sister eighteen years ago. Now, during an on-going serial killer investigation, Mallory begins to suspect there’s a vigilante operating outside the law. She has no choice but to take him down, because murder isn’t justice. Is it?

When Mallory starts asking questions, The Gateway Project management starts to sweat, and orders Alex to watch her. As soon as they meet, the two begin to fall in love. But the lies and betrayals that define Alex’s life threaten to destroy them both—especially when the man who stole her sister all those years ago makes Mallory his next target, and Alex must reveal his true identity to save the woman he loves.

I was excited to get a chance to review this book. It looked like it would be something that I could really get into. After all, we are talking a strong female kicking butt and falling for a covert assassin/spy, while going after a serial killer. Shades of Criminal Minds crossed with Alias. Right up my alley.

The book started great with a male narrator who didn't butcher the female voice in a super high falsetto to make my ears bleed. Eric Dove was a new to be narrator, and I wasn't initially certain I would go for a male narrating a Romance based book, but it worked for me. He had good tone and emoting, all while not making me cringe during the female dialogue.

The story starts with a young woman being abducted from the side of the road. It was scary and full of anticipation and tension, as you figured out what was going on. The author does a fantastic job at setting a scene and the mood.

My problem was my ability to connect with our main characters. I tried, I really did. But Mallory just left me cold and Alex wasn't strong enough to keep my attention on his own. The only thing that kept me going was figuring out who the bad guy was. But as soon as I figured it out, I just couldn't gather the interest to go back to the book.  I tried multiple times to get back into it, but without a solid connection between me and Mallory and Alex, I just felt "meh" about seeing the specifics of how the book ends... After all, I am sure they get together, living happily ever after, as soon as the bad guy gets taken down... I just don't care to hear the details.

I was very disappointed in not being able to stay connected to this book and at 60% (5hrs, 53min), am throwing in the towel with a DNF and a rating of 2 stars - 1 for the book and 1 for the narrator.

Thanks to the author for the opportunity to listen and review the book.

Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/11/audio-review-cold-dark-place-toni-anderson.html
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review 2015-10-25 09:00
Audio Review: Unleashed by Eileen Brady




Kate Turner DVM, #2


Eileen Brady

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Caroline Shaffer
Date of Publication: August 4, 2015
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 8 hrs and 7 mins

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     Audible    Downpour


Dr. Kate Turner is happy with her new life in Oak Falls in upstate New York. Working as a relief veterinarian at a small house-call practice, she truly enjoys helping her patients.

All that changes when client Claire Birnham is found dead, an apparent suicide. A talented artist, Claire had everything to live for: new job, Manhattan apartment, her Cairn terrier, Toto. As feisty as the "Wizard of Oz" s Toto, he and Claire were devoted to each other. Kate can t imagine Claire simply abandoning her pet. Was her death murder?

Questions end when police arrest young kennel helper Eugene. The fragile friendship between Kate and police officer Luke Gianetti frays as she ignores his advice and keeps asking questions. House calls provide gossip and clues, some helpful, some not so much, as she treats her animal patients. Did Claire s recent insurance windfall prove too tempting for her hard-working and hard-drinking mother? What does trouble in the art gallery where Claire worked signal? How huge a grudge did heavy metal rocker A. J. hold against high school sweetheart Claire after she dumped him? Was Claire a threat to A. J. s rich new girl?

Dr. Kate mixes real medicine with murder as she risks her life over Claire s death, aided by insights from a former fire investigator, a.k.a. her Gramps. "Unleashed" is just as irresistible as Dr. Kate s first adventure, "Muzzled."

I had the good sense when I found the first book in this new series Audiobook Jukebox, to request both at the same time. So it was a no-brainer for me to start this book as soon as I finished the first one.  This story picks up a few months after the events of Muzzled and things have settled back down.

This time the story opened during a murder. There is absolutely no mistaking that it was well thought out and planned precisely to emulate a suicide. There are no clues to the who, just the facts of what happened.  Knowing this kept me hyper aware of every interaction Kate had with potential suspects as she questions the official report.  Unfortunately, this really didn't help me figure out who or why, any faster than Kate.

The various animals that Kate comes in contact with, continues to be an interesting aspect of the story. These peeks into the workings of a veterinarian's typical day are an educational and fun piece to this series. I was also excited to see that we got to learn more about Kate's Gramps. His insight and guidance, though reluctant, have helped Kate navigate these mysteries that she keeps finding herself drawn into.

Caroline Shaffer's performance was great. Voices were made distinctive though tonal, speed and accent changes. She added to, instead of distracting from, the story.

I think my biggest issue with this book was that there was some repetition of facts. A couple of times, it seemed that were were getting the same information, told two different ways. Not clues, mind you, just background information on Kate or one of the men in her life. I really didn't need to hear about how Luke is playing the field after his break up with his long time fiance - got it the first time. Just little things like this, Maybe it wasn't as noticeable in print form, but it stood out in audio. Overall though, I did enjoy the book and look forward to potentially a third book in the series. I gave this book 3 stars.

Special thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and Blackstone Audio for the opportunity to listen and review this book.

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review 2015-10-11 09:00
Audio Review: Muzzled by Eileen Brady




Kate Turner DVM, #1


Eileen Brady


Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Caroline Shaffer
Date of Publication: July 14, 2015
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 7 hrs and 38 mins

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon    Audible    Downpour
Anything can happen during a veterinary house call, including murder. Dr. Kate Turner thinks she's seen it all until she finds two elderly clients shot dead and their show dogs running loose in the house. Chief of Police Bobby Garcia dismisses it as a sad murder-suicide, but Kate isn't so sure. Something about the scene isn't right. There are twenty-seven Cavalier King Charles spaniels found in the home but one dog may be missing. Or is he?

As she learns more about the murdered couple a twisted scheme of fraud and deceit begins to develop. Each one of her house call clients provides a clue to the mystery. Is the tattooed biker who loves to bake a hit man? Did a ten million dollar lawsuit drive the filmmaker to shoot for real? Or perhaps the estranged daughter got tired of waiting for her inheritance? As the number of suspects goes up so does the cups of coffee and pieces of pie Kate wolfs down, leaving her nerves jangling and her pants too tight. Before she knows it someone tries to frame her for the murder. Who can she trust? The bookkeeper with her pet parrot, Capt Hook, stuffed into her cleavage or the grouchy office manager who knows where all the bodies are buried?

In this "pet noir" author and veterinarian Eileen Brady takes the reader behind the scenes to mix her medicine with murder.

I have read cozy mysteries about people with all kinds of different jobs, but I had never read one about an actual Veterinarian.  As a matter of fact, I don't think I have read many books period about animal doctors.  So this this book immediately caught my attention when I saw it available on Audiobook Jukebox. This was both a new to me author and narrator.

Dr. Kate Turner is filling in as a relief veterinarian in the small town of Oak Falls in upstate New York, while the regular veterinarian takes a very much overdue vacation on a cruise around the world with his cancer survivor sister. The story starts with Dr. Kate almost to the home of an elderly couple who breed and show champion spaniels. When she arrives, she finds them both dead in what looks like a murder/suicide. Except that everything she knows about the couple seems to make this an unlikely scenario. Oak Falls is a small town, and it seems that everyone she meets has a different story or theory about the couple that may have led to their death.

Caroline Shaffer did a really good job separating the voices, taking clues from the story to make each person unique in some small way. She had an appealing tone, even when she was laying on the thick New York accent. Her pacing and emoting was well done, making this an enjoyable listen.

If you enjoy stories involving animals, you will have a good time with this book.  The clues were well thought out and though I was surprised at the end, looking back, I could see that they were all there. They just had to be put in the right order. I had a good time with this story and am happy to have discovered not only a new author, but a new narrator. I gave this book 4 stars.

Special thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and Blackstone Audio for the opportunity to listen and review this book.

Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/10/audio-review-muzzled-eileen-brady.html
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review 2015-09-20 09:00
Audio Review: Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson


Sealed with a Curse


Weird Girls, #1


Cecy Robson


Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Renée Chambliss
Date of Publication: September 3, 2013
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 10 hrs and 1 min

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN    Audible   Tantor
The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?

Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it's coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.

I have heard nothing but great things about this series, yet I never found the time to actually read it. So when I was able to get it on audio I thought, "Okay, now I can get into this series." But that didn't happen either; something else always seemed to trump it. Which made this a perfect book for my Month of TBRs.

I want to start with the narrator. You know the sister Victoria on Mike and Molly? The one who with that high, slightly nasally little girl voice? Very, very close. I'm sure that some may find it cute. For me, it grated and made the entire 10 hours uncomfortable. I totally feel bad because other than, you know, her voice, Renée Chambliss did a pretty good job with the inflection and emoting.

I was a bit confused listening to the story itself. It felt like we joined the series mid way through, not starting at book one. And though there are 2 prequels, this book felt more like it should have been 5 or 6, not 1. There were quite a few backstories that were just glossed over that I was a bit frustrated with. Plus I totally didn't get why Celia felt that she had to help Misha out. She kept going on and on about how her and her sister's stayed out supernatural issues, but all it takes is Misha hinting there could be trouble and they are jumping in with both feet. And what the heck was the werewolves and insta-lurve thing with the sisters all about?

I did enjoy the differences between the sisters and how they all worked together to protect each other.  I liked that they weren't each a version of superwoman, but that each one had some serious flaws in their powers and each one was a unique personality. Another thing I liked was that the girls still had their days jobs, and actually went to work.  And when the supernatural crashed their work, they struggled to keep the two worlds apart and had to deal with the backlash of them colliding.

I'm torn between switching to the print version and continuing this series and knowing that I still won't have the time, so I should keep going in audio.  Either way, I continue with the series and see where it leads me.  I gave this book 2 "It was Okay" stars.

Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/09/audio-review-sealed-with-curse-cecy-robson.html
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