Audio Review: HAZARD part of the lovely Rockliffe series by Stella Riley in production with Alex Wyndham


hazard

Title: Hazard Rockliffe, Book 5
Author: Stella Riley
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: 1777, England
Pages: 348
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
Length: 10 hours, 6 minutes
Release Date: May 11, 2018
Published by: Stella Riley

Publisher’s Summary:

Hazard: A game of Chance and Luck, made riskier when Fate is rolling the dice.
For Aristide Delacroix, the first throw summons shades from his past. A man he had met, just once, over a card-table… and the lovely girl indirectly responsible for plunging his life into catastrophe.

For Lord Nicholas Wynstanton, tired of waiting for Madeleine Delacroix to make up her mind, it slyly suggests he begin a whole new game with loaded dice; while for Madeleine, it devises a terrifying lesson in missed opportunities and the uncertainty of second chances.

And for Genevieve Westin, hoping widowhood will be happier than marriage, it brings a rude awakening – leaving a single, wild gamble as her only option.
A cardsharp turned businessman, a duke’s charming brother, a stubborn, razor-edged beauty, and a desperate widow.

Four players in a game of Hazard… all playing for very high stakes.

©2018 Stella Riley (P)2018 Stella Riley

Review:

The publisher’s summary of this story just didn’t do the story justice. I see the symbolism, but it doesn’t hit the mark for me.  Now the story is another matter…!

Author Stella Riley’s writing is as elegant and rich as the time period  she writes in. Her characters flow off the page, with a wide-range of personalities the narrator does an absolutely superb job showing the reader.

The setting, and plotline produces a delightful cast of characters with multi-layered challenges. 

This series has been a wonderful one to following and I look forward to book six which comes out quite soon.

The Duke of Rockcliffe has a presence in each of her stories, some more than others. In this story, the brother of the Duke takes a front seat, Lord Nicholas Wynstanton, as well as a very good friend of his, Aristide Delacroix. Both gentlemen have the same problem, with a twist with a woman they are attracted to.

As with most families, personalities between siblings can be vast.  Nothing is more true than the personality of the Duke of Rockcliffe and his brother Lord Nicholas.  The Duke is quite cold-blooded with a warm heart, and with ennui dripping from every sentence.  While Nicholas is so completely opposite.  One thing is certain.  The two brothers love each other with a fierceness you will discover as the story progresses.

Lord Nicholas knows what he wants – he wants Madeleine Delacroix, Aristide’s sister, but she is definitely not an easy catch! She has a problem with the huge gulf of society between them and knows he could so much better than her.
Nicholas is entirely lovable. I absolutely love his joie de vivre, his bubbly personality keeping family and friends laughing.  All but Madeleine… Narrator Wyndham does a marvelous job portraying his gaiety and seemingly not a serious thought in his head, not until later, that is, and that’s the beauty of how Riley fleshes-out her characters which Wyndham is right in step.

As Lord Nicholas becomes more frustrated with the woman he is attracted to, we really get to know the man, the man who eventually Madeleine cannot help falling in love in love with. Her prickly, acerbic tongue covers her true feelings, helping to keep as far distance as she can from Aristide.

Aristide, Madeleine’s brother is attracted to Genevieve, a woman he should avoid, and frankly doesn’t want to remember. She was the catalyst to the pivotal moment in his life, where virtually he hit rock bottom. When they re-meet, she doesn’t remember him at all – another nail to keep Pandora’s box closed. He struggles… She seems so innocent and doesn’t appear to be lying. And yet…?

It takes two to tango. Genevieve Westin hasn’t had an easy life. So when the two part earlier in their lives, her desperate decision to marry to save herself from her brother Rafe, comes to haunt her. Now, after the death of her first husband, she finds herself with little choice. If she is to marry the one of her choice, she must do it quickly. Rafe will make the decision for her, if not.

But love challenges aren’t all that this story is about. It’s about how men and women brought low struggle to gain a place in society. It’s about how men of ill ilk stopping at nothing to get what they want. Madeleine is caught up in a scenario where she not only defends herself, she defends Nicolas. Love that scene — an eye-opener for stubborn Madeleine!

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Posted in Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: THE DUKE’S FALLEN ANGEL by Amy Jarecki. This series promises to be sizzling!

 

5-star-review

 

Dukes Fallen Angel

Title: The Duke’s Fallen Angel Prelude to the Devilish Dukes Series
Author: Amy Jarecki
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: London, 1833
Pages: 337
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B07FF4KCH9

Synopsis:

When passion begins to boil, fame and fortune no longer seem to matter.

The Duke of Ravenscar intended to debut the most acclaimed ballerina in the civilized world to open his London theater. But when the ship arrives with an understudy, Drake is convinced the fortune he has invested will be forfeit. Until he sees the woman dance.

Britannia LeClair arrives in London excited to be performing the lead in La Sylphide. A foundling, she has had to work harder and with more determination than anyone in the corps. At last, her debut in London proves her worth despite her lowly birth. Until she meets the smoldering gaze of the Duke of Ravenscar.

Determined not to become anyone’s mistress, Britannia keeps the duke at arm’s-length while she sets to uncovering the mystery of her parentage. With only a miniature painting and a monogrammed handkerchief, her inquiries lead to a series of escalating accidents and threats.

When Drake realizes Britannia is in danger, he will move heaven and hell to protect her…if the strong-headed ballerina will let him. As they traverse through the mire of skullduggery and hidden shame, events unravel to endanger them both. Will the truth prove worth uncovering, or will it sever the deep love that has come to bond their very souls?

Review:

Here are two people who immediately you take to heart their plights – Duke of Ravenscar and Britannia LeClair.

Duke of Ravenscar has put all on the line for a wager. (obviously dukes have way too much money and little brains – hey, just saying!) Drake has wagered it all. If his venture of opening a new theater, bearing his family name, The Chadwick Theatre, appointed with the most elegant of surroundings and cost him more than he could afford, fails, the man is doomed. But it was a done deal. He chose the most prestigious and sought after ballerina in France, one Mademoiselle Taglioni. He had it in his pocket!

But when the ballerina wasn’t among those who were shepherded to his theatre, and found her understudy sent in her stead, he was on the verge of an apoplexy.

Britannia, the understudy, had been sick for the last two days as the ship crossed the Channel. Weak and exhausted, she had to prove her worth, no less in her bedraggled clothing. Her future as a ballerina was at stake. If the duke sent them back to France, she would no longer be welcome on stage.

I was caught up with the emotion swirling around these two characters. They both had so much to lose. To make the story even more intriguing, Britannia didn’t know who her parents were, a fondling with a few clues to her identity. The author adds another layer of worry for Britannia. She had been very nearly injured in several ‘accidents’.

As all this unfolds, so does the duke’s heart. He justifies all his actions when it comes to Britannia. For all his blustering anger at the beginning of the story, he becomes a besotted doting man by the end.

I appreciated Jarecki’s research about ballerinas of that time. Although our heroine is fictitious, Mademoiselle Taglioni was very real. Toe dancing was just coming into vogue and shorter costumes kept inching up, which very nearly does in the English noblewoman and has the gentlemen wishing they could see more!
Taglioni

Illustration Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Unfortunately, a passionate dancer like Britannia, also gained a certain poor reputation whether deserved or not.

Jarecki always writes a richly entertaining tale, layered with intrigue, broken hearts and happy ever afters. This one is no different.

 

 

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Audiobook Review: DRAGON KNIGHT’S RING ~ Adam begins his own quest to reunite with his Meggie! This one is a show stopper!


Dragon Knight's Ring
Title:
Dragon Knight’s Ring Order of the Dragon Knights, book 5
Author: Mary Morgan
Genre: Historical Romance, Scotland, Time Travel
Story Setting: Urquhart Glen, Scotland, 1204; The Great Glen in Scotland – 1207; present day Scotland
Pages: 281
Published by: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Published Date: August 12, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B01HDWY8S2
Narrator: Jamie Dione

 

Order of the Dragon Knight’s Series — click to order from Amazon:
Dragon Knight’s Sword
Dragon Knight’s Medallion
Dragon Knight’s Axe
Dragon Knight’s Shield
Dragon Knight’s Ring 

 

Publisher’s Summary:  Crusader, Adam MacFhearguis is on one last quest to the standing stones in Scotland where he seeks to bury the past. However, a silent prayer sends him to an unknown future and to his beloved Meggie. When he uncovers a shocking revelation, Adam questions everything about the woman he thought he knew and loved. He may have traveled the veil of ages, but time is now his enemy.

 Margaret MacKay lives a life in the future without the memories of her past—her death. When Adam arrives at her door confessing he knows her, she is confused and wary. With each passing day, she yearns to learn more from this stranger. Yet, when a truth is revealed, can she trust the man to unlock the chains from her mind and heart?

Will love free the bonds to unite the two lovers who were doomed centuries ago? Or will evil finally claim victory over the Dragon Knights?

 

My Thoughts:  Adam MacFhearguis is a man torn.  Torn in so many ways and the perfect hero.  He wants to do the right thing because of love. Founded in the magic of the highlands and the old ways, he searches for answers in the new religion, for the old religion didn’t save him from losing his Meggie.  He seeks a God who could forgive him for letting Meggie, his true love die, for he can’t forgive himself.  

For three long years he searched and only found more devastation at the hands of religion while battling in the Crusades. His soul reaches out to Meggie, even in her death he seeks her. Returning home from the Crusades, he goes to the standing stones and remembers all of that awful day and wishes for the impossible. The Fae deem to give him that chance.  

At the day of Meggie’s death, her blood spilt on sacred soil, the Fae transported her to the future, 2016, where she was given life with no memories of her past.  At the same time, Adam became the 5th Dragon Knight, appointed so by the Fae.  He knows nothing of this until he has a conversation with Meggie’s brothers. In frustrating desperation, he goes to the standing stones and remembers all of that awful day and wishes for the impossible. The Fae deem to give him that chance.

He knew it was a foolish request, since he no longer believed in them, but in his heart, Meggie did, so he said the words for her. “Can ye not bring her back, Fae? If only to see her face one more time, he uttered softly.

Bringing the ring to his lips, Adam placed a kiss on the red stone before tucking it away in this pouch, belted at his waist.

As the tortured knight knelt at the foot of the standing stones, Adam’s quiet, broken prayer whispered across the Highlands to another realm. And in that moment, when she heard his sorrowful plea, the Guardian granted him his request.

But now there are greater issues, two realms of beings are at stake.  Lachlan, the evil one, plots with The Dark One to take over the world. Will Adam help her remember in time for Meggie holds the key. She must trust Adam, remember who he is and regain the key to destroy Lachlan in time!

The race to have her remember, her frustration, the changing of all time if she doesn’t remember, is the propelling energy in this exciting tale, where evil will change all that is known if the calculations of the Dragon Knights and three rogue Fenian Warriors are not correct.  The Fenian Warriors are willing to forfeit their lives to save both the realm of the Fae and humans — a true and noble quest of their own. Will they be powerful enough?

I enjoyed listening to the last book of the having read an ARC copy.  The narrator, Jamie Dione,  is new to me. In the most part, he did the story justice.  I particularly enjoyed Adam’s character portrayal with his emotion ready to explode while he gains control of his new power.  

Ms. Morgan’s stories torture the heart, gouge the soul, then uplift the spirit soothing and healing what she’s destroyed. But you say, it’s make-believe!  It’s just a fantasy of the mind!  Dear reader, I was there, I saw it all. I’m a believer.

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Audiobook Review: SPECTRE OF THE SWORD, part of the series of the de Lohr Dynasty by Kathryn Le Veque

Spectre of the Sword audiobook cover artTitle:  Spectre of the Sword de Lohr Dynasty, Book 6
Author: Kathryn Le Veque
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval
Pages: 338
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc. 4 edition
Published Date: June 29, 2014
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B008DP2P7K

  

Publisher’s Summary:

A.D. 1203: The Lady Elizabeau Treveighan is the illegitimate daughter of Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany. Elizabeau was sent to foster at a very young age, her identity known only to herself and the earl who fostered her. When her half-brother Prince Arthur is murdered and rumors begin to fly that the opposition to King John intends to marry her to a Teutonic prince and supplant her and her new husband as the rulers of England, she suddenly becomes a very hot, and very dangerous, commodity.

Sir Rhys du Bois is charged with keeping Elizabeau safe until her arranged marriage can occur, but the task turns into one of monumental proportions. It’s one harrowing flight after another as Rhys tries to keep Elizabeau from harm’s way. Somewhere in the process, they fall madly in love with each other and the knight finds himself battling duty and love in order to stay on task. Torn, but with a tremendous sense of duty, he cannot escape the feelings that are swamping him, and Elizabeau does not make it easy for him. Her love for him supersedes her loyalty to her country, and to a family name that has only meant heartache for her.

When Elizabeau is finally captured by the king’s men and slated for execution under the charge of treason, Rhys will risk everything to save her from the executioner’s sword. However, Rhys is betrayed by another knight and soon, he too is slated for the executioner’s axe. As Rhys and Elizabeau face death together, allies come together for a covert operation that will save their lives. It’s a race against time before King John’s men can execute the last legitimate heiress to the throne and her protector turned lover.

©2013 Kathryn Le Veque (P)2014 Kathryn Le Veque

Review:

The reader will be caught between Elizabeau and Rhys–two individuals whose hearts are squeezed and tortured weighing which is most important – honor as a Knight who must comply what his liege demands, duty to country as a noble woman, or the searing intense love connection they find. I was easily thrown into this quagmire of emotional turmoil which author Le Veque is so good at developing. 

Not only do Elizabeau and Rhys deal with this emotional dilemma, they find themselves hunted down.  Elizabeau is to wed a prince she has never met for political gain for her country, she is also being hunted by her enemies to rid themselves of what she may attain. Rhys must save the woman at any cost to himself.  A true knight of honor. 

This quick-paced, page-turner with its dangerous setting and emotional intensity, kept me listening well into the night.

Elizabeau is quite a character, with spunk and a desire to live her life as she wants to.  She wants Rhys, not some Teutonic prince to placate her country. Her quick wit and spontaneity of action saves the day, but at the same time very nearly gets Rhys killed—there were some rather breathless moments laced with humor.

Rhys has always been a warrior and knight.  He lives and breathes their code.  He struggles mightily to avoid having his heart entangled with a woman who will bring them both down.  He is quite the warrior mathematician, which does him in good stead when faced with losing Elizabeau forever. However much he fights the lure of Elizabeau he cannot remain untouched.  She is a sweet, loyal and loving woman.

This is a stunning, emotionally engulfing story.  The narrator has an unusual style and is not one of my favorites.  However, he did a terrific job in portraying the intimate emotion between the two of them.  Scenes tête-à-tête, were singularly impactful and held me in rapt attention.  I was the proverbial fly on the wall.

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Not all Dukes are cut from the same cloth…Some are over the top. Dark, emotional, and riveting…THE DUKE OF MINE by Delilah Marvelle

 

This Duke of Mine

 

Title: This Duke of Mine A Grimm’s Fairy Tale Historical Romance
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Setting: London and Weymouth, England; Cassel, Germany; Victorian Era
Pages: 262
Published by: Delilah Marvelle Productions, LLC
Published Date: August 21, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B07GRDZ932

 

Synopsis:

Once Upon A Time…there was a Duke who wore a brass key around his throat. No one in the kingdom knew what it unlocked until SHE came along… 


Miss Magdalene Evelyn Barlow may be related to the Grimm brothers, but her life, even as an heiress, is anything but a fairy tale. Only one man can bring that tale to life: The Duke of Thornton. His gruff and isolating ways hide an overly passionate, guilt-ridden man who refuses to let any woman near until trouble-toting Magdalene rolls up her lace sleeves and introduces him to the scrubbing magic of…love.

Length: Full length novel
Heat Level: It will cause respectable people to swoon!
Era: Early Victorian
Real Historical Figures: Featuring the Grimm Brothers!

 

Review: 

It’s always a shock to me when I begin one of Marvelle’s novels with its high Heat Level.  She does get my attention and so do the characters!  It is all made clear as the story unfolds why the characters are the way they are.  Reader, she takes us to the darker side of the pain of living and gives us an experience of living embroiled in emotion, pain, suffering, and eventually hope.

Her characters have interesting personalities, molded from their past experiences, which enrich the telling of the story, and take me beyond the foul language which may spew from the mouths of some of the characters.  Marvelle definitely puts me in the setting, pushes me into the emotional tangle her characters find themselves, sometimes face first! Each character has a backstory which makes them who they are, whether the character is up to the challenge or not, and we are privy to that and more as the tale unfolds.

In this story Duke Thornton, Anthony, has a real problem, other than being addicted to laudanum.  It’s with himself.  He sees no merit in himself and carries a dark secret within his heart (again, we discover what that is).  He has become what he thinks he is.  Hence, the foul language and in your face attitude. 

Magdalena has lived her life in fairy tales.  She’s the ultra-extreme of the Duke. She reads and guides her fellow young women through teaching the moral stories she finds in the Grimm Tales.

Drawn to the Duke yet repulsed at what he crassness he treats the world, she pushes back. In one conversation, she is frustrated with the Duke and likens him to a wolf, showing him an illustration within her book.

Magdalene regally nudged that large hand away , signaling she disapproved of his behavior.  Paging through her book of folklore mantras, she methodically left it open to a story she knew all too well: Rotkappchen. Little Red Cap

She tapped the illustrated face of a wolf in nightclothes peering over linen a bed. “There is no need to be a cliché. Speak plainly here before these young women or do not speak at all.”

He lowered his gaze to the illustration. Rigidly closing the book, he set it on top of the financial ledger, aligning them spine to spine with the back of his hand with a sweep.

His steady gaze bore into her. “You certainly take an unfeeling and harsh view of wolves. Did no one tell you they mate for life?”

Magdaline Barlow reminds him of innocence and goodness—he’s intrigued, yet parts from her, and a year passes without him able to remove her from his thought.  His dark side rejects her joie de vivre. But we the reader, see good in him.  Here is what he says to the girls at the school which endears him to me.

“It’s time you understand   the real world, people can and will die. Don’t ever look the other way. Not even if family or society tells you to.”

Pointing at their heads with the sweep of a rigid hand, he continued, “They say men are the future of England, but that is woefully untrue.  You are the future, ladies.  That is why I even bothered walking through those goddamn gates and fought my way through mosquitos. For I know you will all one day raise daughters and sons that will go out into the world and mold our society.  You create the world we live in a therefore it’s important to always speak up for yourselves and others. For who else will? Most certainly not us men who haven’t even given you a goddamn vote in Parliament.  The only way to therefore vote is by using that throat. So use it. For that is your power, to be able to speak, and do not ever let anyone intimidate you into silence again. Do you understand me?”

With that lecture to the girls, he won me over, just as much as he won Magdaline.

Anthony and Magaline have a lot of growing to do, both from different spectrums of the emotional and maturity wheel. Many years pass.  Each have changed.  When they come together, their story of love is absolutely worth waiting for.

If you like your stories gritty, exploring the darker side of man, you will fall in love with Marvelle’s style.  Even through all the heartache, her stories leave the reader with a happy ever after.

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Author Mary Morgan’s second series in the land of the Fae is every bit as good as her first with the Order of the Dragon Knights! Read my review of Book 2 of the Legends of the Fenian Warriors — OATH OF A WARRIOR

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Title: Oath of a Warrior Legends of the Fenian Warriors, Book 2
Author: Mary Morgan
Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Historical Romance
Pages: 288
Published by: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Published Date: June 20, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B07CZSXFYN

Synopsis:

“You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!”

Fenian Warrior, Rory MacGregor’s love conquests are legendary, but he has never spoken of the one mortal female who captured his heart. After his dark secret is finally revealed, he is ordered to return and seal the wounds left open by her death. Yet, he finds the timeline altered and swears an oath to rewrite fate, even if it brings about his own death.

Erina MacIntyre is known for her healing herbs and love charms. Determined to aid others, she refuses to listen to the whispers that call her a witch. When a Highlander steps forth into her path, he ignites a thread of strange familiarity and sparks a flame of desire she is unable to control.

Can the destiny of two lovers find love once more among the ashes of death and betrayal? Or will history repeat itself, leaving a scorching path of destruction for both mortals and Fae alike?

Review:

My takeaway: You truly don’t know when and where help will seek you out.

A Fenian Warrior has a special role in the realm of the Fae. They are to steer a better course for human mortals, yet not alter the timeline of their life strings. The Fenian Warriors has to tread carefully among humans, yet provide guidance without change the timeline.

Through thousands of years Rory is able to do so, until he meets Erina in 1605 in Scotland. He did what no Fenian Warrior should do. He fell in love. A Fenian Warrior must never fall in love, let alone, with a human. He hid what was in his heart and continued moving through time doing his duty. His love and denial of it festers, and herein lies his tale, Oath of a Warrior as penned by the talented Mary Morgan.

Rory has broken rules again, this time after meeting Erina. He aided the Dragon Knights of Urquhart, along with two other Fenian Warriors. This series is spawned from the previous one, where these three Warriors took it upon themselves to aid the Dragon Knights who travelled a path of redemption.

If you haven’t read the series Order of the Dragon Knights you are in for such a treat when you do. I fell in love with Mary Morgan during the reading of that series. And was delighted to find she reconnects us with the Dragon Knights in Legend of the Fenian Warriors.

Rory MacGregor is in a real pickle and just has been discovered.  He has wronged another. Something Fenian Warrior cannot do and continue to retain their nobility and honor. So he must return through time to correct the wrong which was committed or forever be condemned by the demons he lives with and death from the Brotherhood.

His conflict is slowly killing him. He denies his love to Erina and is responsible for her death. But the land of the Fae with their capabilities of traveling through time, Rory is given another chance, to be as a Fenian Warrior should be, and to save the woman he gave his heart to. But can he save Erina from her death, burnt as a witch, while keeping his heart unattached the second time?

Morgan’s world building floats the reader in a magical world, fantasy, yet not. Her characters are so fleshed-out, I could touch them. Her scenes are descriptive—some being very emotional which put me to tears. Even in this second reading, I enjoyed the story to the maximum. I adore how the story is laid out. Morgan is a master at bringing all the elements together and keeping the reader with her at every step. A marvelous author to add to your reading enjoyment!

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Review: A FIERCE WIND by Regan Walker

Love in the time of revolution

ReganWalker_AFierceWind_800, with quote

 

Title: A Fierce Wind  Donet Trilogy Book 3
Author: Regan Walker
Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: France, 1794 Prologue: 1790

To Tame the Wind Book 1
Echo in the Wind Book 2

Synopsis:

Zoé Ariane Donet was in love with love until she met the commander of the royalist army fighting the revolutionaries tearing apart France. When the dashing young general is killed, she joins the royalist cause, rescuing émigrés fleeing France.

One man watches over her: Frederick West, the brother of an English earl, who has known Zoé since she was a precocious ten-year-old child. At sixteen, she promised great beauty, the flower of French womanhood about to bloom. Now, four years later, as Robespierre’s Terror seizes France by the throat, Zoé has become a beautiful temptress Freddie vows to protect with his life.

But English spies don’t live long in revolutionary France.

 

Review:  As with all this series, author Walker builds her story with a historical setting of dynamic and volatile events.  She excels in digging deep into history, extracting and making clear events most layman are not familiar with.  In this, she endears me to her stories, for not only are they exciting, adrenalin-producing ones, but rich in historical intrigue. I come out of reading them more knowledgeable.

Among fictitious characters, she intertwines real historical ones, breathing life once again into who they were. Walker digs deep into the historical machinations, providing a slightly different aspect of history, coupling it with an evolving relationship between friends which will satisfy every fiber of your tendre for a love story.

Zoé worked with her uncle to help those people whose heads were targeted for the guillotine.  She is a passionate woman who started down this path because her betrothed, very much involved in the resistance to the new Republic of France, had it as his dying wish.  With that in mind, she pursued this path with little care for her own safety.

Unbeknownst to her was the protective streak Freddie had for her.  He had loved her when she was young; they were friends, at least that was what Zoé thought.  But Freddie’s heart yearned for so much more.  Where she went on the mission to save lives, he followed.  One day Zoé would be his wife.  He just had to keep her alive until then.

Zoé worried about her friend.  He didn’t have the skill to be in battle.  On a mission he took a bullet and Zoé realized how much he meant to her.  But little did she know of Freddie.  He was very able to take care of himself as you will discover within the pages of this story.

This is a series for someone who likes action, adventure, history and a good old-fashion love story.

 

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Ah! Love with all its challenges! Audiobook Review and Narrator Review: A WITCH’S JOURNEY, book 1 from the Lobster Cove Series. Take a look at the narrator and how she begun her career. Most interesting!

Author: Tena Stetler

Narrators: Kate Tyler

Series: Lobster Cove, Book 1

Length: 9 hours 47 minutes

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Released: Oct. 19, 2017

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pepper McKay comes from a long line of powerful witches. Unfortunately, magic brings her nothing but trouble. She learned the love of wildlife rescue and rehab from her Aunt Ashling. After graduating from college, Pepper works for Salem Wildlife Sanctuary and lives from paycheck to paycheck until she inherits the McKay property in Lobster Cove. With the family land and resources, she dares to dream of starting her own wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center.

Lathen Quartz, a former Navy SEAL turned handyman maintains the enchanted McKay property for the McKay estate. But someone is trying to steal the McKay magic. Lathen offers to help Pepper achieve her life-long dream of building a wildlife center. During the long hours spent together on the project, their mutual attraction can’t be denied. But each harbors a deep, dark secret. Will they overcome their demons and give love a chance?

Best-selling author, Tena Stetler, has an over-active imagination and writes award-winning paranormal romance novels. She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. Colorado is home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle.

Her books tell stories of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Well, okay there are a few companion animals to round out the tales. Travel and adventure flourish in her novels. Any summer evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a glass of raspberry iced tea and a bowl of popcorn.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Narrator Bio

Kate Tyler is an audiobook narrator and producer with several published audiobooks available on Audible, iTunes and Amazon. A background in drama and a successful career in voiceover, Kate lives with her family in San Diego and enjoys swimming, running, cycling and stand up paddleboard.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

 

There are some stories which are close to your heart simply because of the setting.  Pepper wants to rescue wildlife.  That, in itself, brings me closer to the story.  I loved the detail the author surely researched to make Pepper’s journey real to the listener–with a plot most believable. Equally lovely, was the support her parents gave her.

I like the fact that Pepper learns to rely on the love her family.  I also enjoy the fact that Lathen, a simple handyman (don’t you believe it!) is there for Pepper.

This is a fun story with suspense and the joy of meeting the person that zings your heart, witch or no!

The narrator used certain tone and accents that jarred my sensibilities.  Of course, this is all subjective, but I feel the tone was a harsher than it should be.  Perhaps, she was interested in providing the listener a voice different from the others.  Of course, every listener will react to different voice portrayals. This is not to say she took away from the story, she just didn’t bring the story to full bloom.

Bottom line:  I think this is a worthy listen and if you enjoy paranormal and romance, this one is certainly up your ally.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Kate Tyler. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • Great question! My son, Drew, was 15 and ½ last summer. That’s a tough age for a kid entering summer because it’s a little too young for a summer job, and a little too old for a summer camp. We wanted to come up with something that we could do together during the summer to keep him busy, that would be fun and interactive, where he could earn a little side-money and something that might look good on a college resume! We searched Google for something he could do and among the suggestions we found narrating audiobooks. Since he and I both have a background in stage theater and improv, we thought it might be fun. I’m an avid audiobook listener and thought it would be fun! We ordered some equipment online and it came on a Saturday from Amazon. Drew had everything set up that night and we were off and running the next day, auditioning for books!
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • Yeah, that’s what most people think. Yes, I’m in theater and so is my son. It definitely helps, but it’s absolutely not essential. Since I’ve been in this world, I’ve gotten to know a lot of narrators and many of them would describe themselves as introverts. I’m an extrovert so I found that funny. But when you think about it, you’re all alone in a small room when you work, so it works well for people who are naturally introverted. Kind of cool, right?
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Oh yes. I love audiobooks. I listen every week if not every day to something awesome on audio. I re-listen to stuff. I even follow a few narrators when I really like their voice. If I love a voice, I’ll check out everything they’ve done and if it appeals to me, I’ll grab it. I travel a lot for business and pleasure and I listen in the car, on trains, on airplanes and so on. I definitely listen when I’m working out. Nothing can make five miles go faster than a few good chapters of a zombie thriller!
  • Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
    • So, yes. I’ve declined projects. Most people think it’s all acting, but there are some things I just don’t want to narrate because I just don’t believe in them. If there is a self-help book that gives advice I just disagree with, I’d turn it down. Narrating self-help is different from acting in that it’s your voice trying to convince someone of something. If you don’t believe it yourself, you’ve got two problems. One, you won’t like saying it. Two, it will come through as fake to the listener. All bad outcomes. So it’s best they find someone else. That could be true for other narrators with other touchy subjects like politics or religion too.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • I like to get to know the authors and what they are looking for. It’s the dream in their head we’re trying to make happen, so I want to try to get as close to that as possible. And, selfishly, I’m a sucker for applause and encouragement. So if my author loves my voice and they are telling me how much they enjoy how I’m doing a certain character, that’s a huge bonus for me. I love working with an author who is not shy in telling me when they are loving what I bring to the book!
  • Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
    • Um. No. A big no on that one. I guess it could happen, but I’ve actually gifted some of my audiobooks to friends and family and they’re like: “Are you sure that’s really you?” I think they mean it as a compliment, but with family you never can tell!
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
    • Oh sure! You spend a lot of time with a book and voicing the characters. So a lot of what you bring to it is your own personality. It happens more often than not that you are feeling the emotions right along with the character. In Witchs’ Journey there were some exciting parts and some scary parts and some dreamy parts. You end up feeling all of those as you bring voices alive.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
    • Absolutely! Reviews can be very important for the success of an audiobook. I encourage listeners to leave reviews. Whenever I see a book with one or two reviews I check out the reviewers page. Does it have one review or many? If there’s only one review, I tend to wonder if it was just the author’s mom who wrote something nice. Reviews from reviewers who read 30+ books a year are key. They really know what they like and the reviews are more deep than “I liked it a lot.” It’s been fun to get reviews that say things like: “I will definitely listen to Kate Tyler again!” That way I know I’ve done my job right.
  • What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
    • I like reading reviews that give a taste of the story. Some sort of recap of what they thought the book was about. Once they’ve done that, then I want to see their impressions about how well the story was put together, and how well the narrator did the voices or characterizations.
  • Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
    • Well, gee, I’d say Brene Brown, because I love her, but she usually does her own stuff which makes a lot of sense. If you know her, you know you want to hear her voice reading her material. And she’s very captivating to listen to. Not all authors can read their own material, but she is very talented and makes the book come alive.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • Oh, no. I think listening is equally as valuable as page turning. In fact, there are statistics that show that people who buy a book has about a 10% chance of reading it cover to cover. Audiobook listeners generally listen end to end about 80% of the time. If your goal is to get your story or message into a person, audiobook wins hands down. Not only that, page-turners are usually different people than listeners. If you want to reach a larger audience, you have to consider that. Making it available in different formats makes it accessible to a larger group of people. And after all, isn’t that the point?

 

 

May 17th:

Bookworms Corner Blog Spot

Booktalk with Eileen

Authors’ Secrets Blog

May 18th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

May 19th:

Happily Ever BookWorm

May 20th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

May 21st:

Book Addict

T’s Stuff

May 22nd:

Smada’s Book Smack

May 23rd:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Lilly’s Book World

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Posted in Action/Adventure, Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Book Reviews, Interviewing authors, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Review post: Rebuilding a theatre with the Hudson Sisters: Book 2 — THE SUGARHOUSE BLUES has just released penned by talented author Mariah Stewart

Sugarhouse Blues, book cover

THE SUGARHOUSE BLUES

The Hudson Sisters series, Book 2

On sale May 15, 2018!

Trade Paperback • Price: $16.00 • ISBN: 9781501144929

eBook • Price: $7.99 • ISBN: 9781501144967

Publisher’s Summary:

Allie, Des, and Cara, each having her own reasons for wanting a share of their father’s estate, meet in the grand Victorian home in which he grew up, only to be greeted by another secret he purposely hid from them: his sister Bonnie. The women reluctantly band together to take on Fritz’s challenge, working with a local contractor to begin the renovations financed by an account Fritz had set up for the task. While the restoration appears to go smoothly at first, it soon becomes apparent that the work will be more extensive than originally thought, and Des, elected to handle the money, needs to find ways to stretch out the remaining savings while searching for new sources of funding.

As strangers linked only by their DNA try to become a family, the Hudson sisters also try to come to terms with the father they only thought they knew. In the process, each woman discovers her own capacity for understanding, forgiveness, love, and the true meaning of family.

About the author

MariahStewartAUPhoto.jpg
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.

Excerpt
Dad was the late Franklin—Fritz—Hudson, Hollywood agent and father to Des and her sister, Allie, via their mother, Honora—Nora—Hudson, the actress, who’d died four years earlier. Unbeknownst to them until recently, he’d also been father to Cara, whose mother, Susa, may or may not have been Fritz’s legal wife. Things were a bit fuzzy where his marriages were concerned. Had he divorced Nora before marrying Susa? The paper trail was spotty, and Fritz’s best friend and attorney, Pete Wheeler, hadn’t been able to shed any light on the situation when it came time to sort out the legalities. After Fritz died, it had fallen to Pete to introduce Des, Allie, and Cara to each other, and to break the news to all three daughters about their father’s dual families. Once the shock had begun to subside, Pete’d dropped the other shoe: To inherit Fritz’s estate, the three women had to live together in their father’s family home in Hidden Falls, Pennsylvania, until they completed the restoration of the family’s boarded up, run-down theater. If any one of the three refused or left before the restoration was complete, the entire estate would be donated to a charity of Pete’s choice. Since Fritz’s daughters each had her own reason for needing the money, they’d agreed to the absurd terms.

But it turned out that Fritz had kept other secrets.

There was that little matter of Fritz’s sister, Bonnie—known to everyone in Hidden Falls as Barney—who’d been living in the Hudson family home. While Fritz’d never told his daughters about her, Barney had known all about them and the terms of her late brother’s will, and was waiting for them with open arms when they arrived. It had been impossible not to love Barney, and they’d all taken to her immediately. Barney was not only smart, she was wise, loving, and had a heart of gold. She’d cheerfully filled in her nieces on the family history their father had neglected to share. Des knew her life was so much richer for having Barney in it.

And the more Des got to know Cara, the more she cared about this half sister who was down-to-earth and fun, and had been blessed with common sense, a logical mind, and an abundance of heart. She and Des even looked a little alike, both having the same curly auburn hair and heart-shaped face. Together they’d studied the family portraits displayed in Barney’s front hall, trying to figure out which ancestor they resembled.

Cara was easy to get along with, certainly more so than Allie, who was the oldest of the three, and the tallest. She was slim, and her blond hair was long and straight. She had cheek bones that a model would envy, and features that guaranteed that more often than not, she’d be the most beautiful woman in the room. Allie had an innate sense of style that Des admittedly lacked. And while as a child Des had been the star of her own TV show, Des Does It All, she’d always felt invisible when Allie was around.

And now the Review:

I had the pleasure of reading Last Chance Matinee so the story had interest for me from the beginning. The dynamics of family life with its ups and downs will keep you reading, wondering just how these three sisters, aunt and other supportive men in their lives will make it turn into a happily ever after!

I just sat back and let the story unfold. The author weaves a touching story of three sisters who work to find their place in the Hudson family. Allie is the most flawed, and like her other sisters are overcoming the trauma of divorce.

The three sisters, well fleshed-out are very different and are intriguing in how they react to circumstances. Two of the sisters have the same mother, where Cara grew up in a very level-headed home. Allie and Des’s mother was actress who didn’t really succeed as one and lived her dreams through Des, who as a young girl, landed a weekly series on the television.

I like how each of the women have financial problems and couldn’t say no to sharing their father’s estate and wild plan bringing the three together. I almost think Fritz had it all planned. A sister, alone, and probably a bit lonely, is like a mother/father image none of them really had. Emotionally, the three sisters are pretty beat up, but the wonder of this small town and the spirit of accomplishing something together definitely helps heal old wounds, allowing the women realize they are smart, and stronger when they stand together.

Let’s see where book 3 leads us.

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Audiobook Blog Tour: BEYOND THE MIST by Casi Mclean, narrated by Amy Deuchler

Author: Casi McLean

Narrators: Amy Deuchler

Length: 8 hours 10 minutes

Series: Lake Lanier Mysteries, Book 2

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Released: Mar. 26, 2017

Genre: Time Travel Romance

Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond the Mist?

Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense.

Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can’t put down.

Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.

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Narrator Bio

Amy is a Chicago-based voice artist and actor specializing in audiobook narration, e-learning, and radio or TV commercials. Amy is professionally trained in commercial and narration voiceover and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Marquette University and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In her spare time, Amy also enjoys reading, painting, designing lights and scenery for theatre, and biking. She lives with her boyfriend and their two cats and a dog just north of Chicago.

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If you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll know that I’m in love with time travel. This one really blows my mind and certainly gives me lots of thoughts to ponder and contemplate.

It’s an experience you need to take, speaking of it doesn’t do it justice.  Piper and Nick time travel to the day of September 11, 2011 for a worthy cause. Nick feels he has instigated the death of a women, carrying his child.  He returns to the past, one year before to try to correct what he feels is his error.  Piper follows him in the past to prevent further change of the timeline and further injury to ‘butterflies’.  This is a story of all-consuming love, danger entwined with suspense with the destruction of the Worldtrade Center and the events leading up to the catastrophe.

I loved the many possibilities  which this story propels forward.  What happens after the destruction of September 11?  Where is the world decades in the future?   It certainly grips the imagination with much to ponder about the direction of humanity!

Mesmerizing, pacing perfect with characters of depth and character worthy of the story itself– you’ll enjoy this one.

I enjoyed the way the narrator told the story. Her character portrayal helped engage me, eager to know what happens.  She added texture and emotion to the tale; her male and female voices are easily distinguishable.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Amy Deuchler. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

How did you select your narrator? I compare the search to looking through a ton of oysters to find a pearl. I’m super picky about narrators. I want them to feel the passion and pain in my story and put emphasis where I have it in my mind. The narrator has to fit the tone of the book and know what makes the characters react the way they do. Not an easy task, but I know when I hear the clips.

 

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? All of my writing has a piece of me written between the lines, especially my Lake Lanier Mysteries Series. The first time I heard the eerie lore, strange occurences and supernatural settings, my muse danced. The tales told me what to write, and the pages flowed like water. Now that I live on the lake, I’m inspired every day.

Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? I don’t know what I’d do without audiobooks. After a long day of sitting at my computer, reading, writing, research, promo, and marketing, my eyes blur. I love to read, but my eyes just say enough is enough. Audiobooks take me into the stories I love, while my eyes rest. I listen in my car, shopping, walking, or sitting on my porch. Anytime I need a break I have my stories. I love audiobooks!

Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? Amy nails the tense moments. She reads with the passion and intensity that those scenes need and makes the words jump off the pages with emotion. People can’t always read what the author feels but a good narrator helps translate those feelings.

If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? Obviously, as a romantic suspense time travel author, I love the concept! I would use the power in a heartbeat. I’m not sure what I’d choose as my first destination…and yet, in a sense, I’ve already experienced a time slip with each of my novels. I hope everyone feels that way when they listen to or read my books…after all, that’s the point.

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? I love a series. They give me a chance to revisit characters and places I already love and, as an author, a series reconnects me to readers who loved my stories. A stand-alone is easier. One and done. In a series, you have to find a way to bring your readers up to speed without dumping too much back story on them. But a series, to me, is more rewarding. I try to make all of my series stories stand-alone, but I make sure some of the previous characters visit in smaller roles.

What’s your favorite:

Food: Lobster
Song: Everlasting Love
Book: Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
Television: show Outlander
Movie: Déjà Vu
Band: Anything Motown
Sports: team Atlanta Braves [pro] Georgia Bulldogs [college]
City: Ashville N.C. or Charleston S.C.

Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work? I was inspired by Outlander and Déjà Vu but they aren’t referenced in my writing.

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors? Learn from those who have walked the path before you, and never give up on your dreams.

What’s next for you? My current WIP is a romantic political thriller, Reign Of Fire, which is the first in my Deep State Mysteries series, and I’m also working on a new supernatural romance series, Ghosts Of Lake Lanier.

 

May 13th:

Happily Ever BookWorm

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

May 14th:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

Authors’ Secrets

Jazzy Book Reviews

May 15th:

Booktalk with Eileen

May 16th:

Book Addict

Fried Oreos

May 17th:

T’s Stuff

May 18th:

Tale Spinner

Audiobook Romance

May 19th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Smada’s Book Smack

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Posted in Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Book Reviews, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense, Time Travel | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments