Showing posts with label Audio Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Audio Books. Show all posts

The Holy Grail of AudioBooks For Me: Audio Book Review of Maybe This Time by Jennifer Cruise

Audio Lovin: AudioBook Review of Maybe This Time
By Jennifer Cruise
Narrated by Angela Dawe
Brilliance Audio – Unabridged – 11 hours, 5 Minutes
Story – 5 Heart Review
Narration – 5 Heart Review

Andie Miller is ready to move on with her life. She wants to marry her finance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her. A distant cousin has died and left North the guardian of two orphans who have driven away three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs someone to take care of the situation, and he knows Andie can handle anything...

When Andie meets the two children, she realizes the situation is much worse than she feared. Carter and Alice aren't your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. Complicating matters is Andie's fiance's suspicion that this is all a plan by North to get Andie back. He may be right because Andie's dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that's not the only haunting...

Then her ex-brother-in-law arrives with a duplicitous journalist and a self-doubting parapsychologist, closely followed by an annoyed medium, Andie's tarot card-reading mother, her avenging ex-mother-in-law, and her jealous fiance. Just when Andie's sure things couldn't get more complicated, North arrives to make her wonder if maybe this time things could just turn out differently...

I loved everything about this story and audio book! The story is so unique and kick-ass. As I mentioned in a teaser post I wrote while I was still listening to this, this might be the best audio book I've ever listened to and it was a combination of a great story and a perfect narrator.

This is a reunited lovers story with so much more. The romance between Andie and North drives this story but around it are amazing sub-plots of these two children and also the possible ghosts. It's all so perfectly intertwined, wrapped and warped together that it's nothing less than engaging and addictive.

I literally sat in my car in my garage not wanting to get out and go inside. After a long day of work when all you want to do is get home and see the hubby and fur-kids, it says so much when an audio book can make me want to linger even longer!

Narrator Angela Dawe once again transforms herself into some amazing voices. She really got each and every character so dead on. And her voice for Andie transforms with her character growth and emotions throughout the story. Really excellent. She sets the tone of this story in a way that I'm not sure I would have given it if I were reading and I have to say that would be regretful. This might be one of the first books that I think is fully complete as an audio book.

It's almost like Cruise wrote this to be performed by Angela Dawe rather than as a print book. It's such a cast of characters that it screams out to be performed.

Looking for your first audiobook? This is it. It's also a great recommendation for someone new to Cruise or to audio. You'll love this!

Sound Effects in AudioBooks: Yay or Nay?

This week Jen at Devourer of Books is hosting daily discussion topics and giving away some great audio prizes as the host of AudioBook Week. Head over to her blog for changes to win all this week!
Sound Effects in AudioBooks: Yay or Nay?

This seems to be a topic that audiobook lovers are divided on and love to debate on. Personally, I'm still on the fence but think I'm leaning heavily to the Nay side.

In romance audiobooks, I don't encounter sound effects that often. Holy Crikey can you image what some of those sound effects would/could be? It seems like they might stay away from any and all sound effects for that reason alone!

However, I do find I run across sound effects in Paranormals and Urban Fantasy books more often. The best of them are when they use sound to build to the suspenseful part (think when the serial killer is going to pop out from around the corner in a movie type music) or to end a chapter on a note that propels you to keep listening.

The worst of them seem to be those that just randomly "shoot" out sounds to try to shock. I use shoot out because many times these sound effects are of bullets, explosions, body blows, etc. It's like Summer Action Films on audio - except not. Most of them fall very flat on the quality of the effect. Instead seeming like some child is playing on a keyboard with sounds built in. Half the time the bullets make me think there's a mosquito in my car! :)

What about you - are you a yay or nay for sound effects? What audiobooks have done it well, or maybe which ones did you absolutely hate what it did to the story?

If you haven't listening to an audiobook before, do you think you would want sound effects, or would you rather have just the narrator bringing you the author's words?

Kicking Off AudioBook Awareness Month!

To kick off AudioBook Awareness Month, I thought I would do a re-play of one of my favorite posts I did on why I love audiobooks so much and a few of the ways you can use them to get in extra "reading" time.

Originally Posted 3/31/09
Cheeky Girl Loves Audio Books!

I admit I devour books like candy, but never thought I would enjoy having someone else – anyone other than the voices in my head that is – bring the characters to life for me. With an hour or so car commute each way to work, I decided to give audio books a try and I discovered a prefect way to pass the time and get some "quality" time in with my feisty girlfriends and those hot leading men!

I was very lucky that the very first audio book I tried was excellent – The Good, The Bad, and The Undead by Kim Harrison- which introduced me to the amazing Hollows world and I highly recommend the series both in audio and printed versions! I've since learned that audio books can be hit or miss – the success or failure hinging on the person reading and how well they handle the various characters.

You can usually tell within the first few tracks if the voice will connect with you or if you feel it paints the perfect world for you. My experience has been that most of the audio books are very well done. There have been only a few that were so bad I had to stop listening before I got through the first disc. I remember one distinct book that I really struggled to keep listening, since the first few tracks were just annoying! For some reason I hung in there and was rewarded with a light-hearted romp through France and a new series to follow!

Some great perks with Audio Books:

  • Car Commuting - Put your time behind the wheel to good use!
  • Great for putting on your iPod while you clean the house
  • You can download Audio Books just like eBooks - Look for upcoming posts on the various different Audio Book retailers
  • Great for travel when you don't want to carry paper books or have light to read by (I hate when they turn off all the lights on the plane and then my seatmate wants to sleep!)
  • When you want the excitement of having a book read to you like when you were 5 (only obviously now your book selections have changed) :)
  • Your local library already has a selection of Audio Books waiting to be discovered
  • Too many more to list!
If you have any suggestions for audio books you would like to see reviewed, just leave me a comment below! If you're an author with an audio book - speak up and sing its praises!

In the upcoming days and weeks of June, I'll be posting audiobook reviews, giveaways, audiobook publisher spotlights and hopefully some cool interviews. I hope you'll check back every day to see what's new on the blog! (I'll still be including regular book reviews as well.)

- Happy Reading From Cheeky Reads -
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

June Is AudioBook Awareness Month!

I'm getting my Audiobook geek on all June long! It's national Audiobook Awareness Month and I'm planning a month of fun interviews, audiobook reviews, Audio Publisher Spotlights, post about the ins and outs of books you listen to instead of read, and of course...GIVEAWAYS!

There'll still be plenty of print and ebook news and reviews, but I'm hoping you'll share the audio love or give it a try for the first time this June. Don't knock it until you've tried it - maybe a few times to get the narrator and story you love - and I think you'll fall in love with how much "extra" reading it lets you enjoy!

Happy Reading & Listening!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

When The Lights Go Dark...

This weekend I'm doing something completely insane in my mind. I'm having LASIK eye surgery after 20 years in glasses and contacts. It has taken me about 5 years of researching, visiting doctors, talking to friends, etc in order to come to this decision and I have to say that I'm extremely excited about it.

I'm also get REALLY nervous. Like watch crazy grahic videos of surgeries during my lunchbreak nervous. I 1000 times over do not recommend you do this if you are ever having a procedure done. Do NOT look it up on YouTube no matter how much you want to know. :)

But this post isn't about my being nervous of the surgery. It's really about being nervous about the What Ifs. Now, let me start by saying that I'm fully prepared and knowledgeable about what I'm going to do and am going to a great doctor.

BUT, there is always that chance that the worst could happen and I would lose my vision. As someone whose biggest pleasure in life is reading I'm nervous about how this decision might turn out.

What would I do if I could no longer read the words on the written page?
If you have read Cheeky Reads for some time, you might know that I'm a huge lover of AudioBooks. Like HUGE. (Insert Trump voice over here) But what if that was the only way I had to enjoy books? Would it be enough for me or would I curse my decision to have an elective eye procedure for the rest of my life? It's a daunting question for this book lover and once I can't get out of my mind.

One thing is certain. These thoughts have given me a brand new appreciation for those services available for visually imparied people and a desire to learn more about how books are being transformed into audio and other mediums for them.

If something happened to you tomorrow and you could no longer read your favorite books, would you try out audio books? Do you currently listen to audio books? Hell, have you had LASIK and everything turned out fine and you can tell me to quit being silly?!?

A Favorite Author's Older Work - When It Just Doesn't Work For you

So I'm currently listening to an audio book of one of my favorite, go-to authors. It's a new audio release for a book of hers that I hadn't read from the mid-90s. The premise sounded fun and sassy - just like most of this author's work, but I've noticed a few things as I've listened that have me questioning visiting a Fav authors older stuff.

At first I thought it was just the narrator of the story - she has a great voice for characters, but holy cow she makes EVERY SINGLE WORD animated and like the characters are constantly talking with exclamation points. This made me think "Oh, it's just a bad narrator I should read this one instead." But no, I kept listening and discovered more was wrong.

Next I realized there are things about the character descriptions that bother me and I felt dated the story. For instance - the heroine makes a big deal about the hero wearing a "super cool" diamond stud earring. Ok - to me that dates the story to the 90s when women actually did think that was hot, but not so much for me anymore. I don't see that as the fashion now and to be honest I can't stand a guy with an earring. Maybe this means I'm getting old instead of the story? :)

Moving deeper in, I couldn't believe that one of my fav authors was letting me down. I think I might actually HATE the heroine. I've never hated one of her heroines. But this one is just SO wimpy against her family and others. She WHINES. But the worst offense is that I can't see to justify her motivation for staying in this story.

The entire plot so far has me screaming in the car at the stereo. At one point the heroine says ..."but I couldn't change that now..." when she REALLY could. There is absolutely nothing at all keeping her in the situation by any stretch of the imagination.

Likewise, the family in this book is so horrible and rotten there is NO WAY they can ever be redeemed and then I'm left asking why would the author have centered the heroines emotional journey around them if it was going nowhere. I expect she's going to attempt to redeem them but I find that impossible now.

I'm so disappointed, but I keep listening because I'm hoping in my heart of hearts that my fav author can really pull this one out. It seems doubtful.

What about you? Ever run across an older romance and it felt dated? Found a story by a favorite author that was totally not for you? Did it affect your trying that author again or did you think "She can't write every book perfectly?" I'd love to hear from you about if this has happened to you and what it did to your relationship with that author. 

If you're an author I'd love to hear from you too! Do you sometimes look back on books you wish you'd done things differently with - no titles needed just a general answer. :)

BEST Audio Book EVER! (Well, mightly fine one at least)

Confession: I'm only half-way through a book and I'm ready to call it a winner. Seriously, I've been tweeting all morning on how freakin' fantastic the current Audio Book I'm listening to is. Which one you ask?

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Cruise released in audio by Brilliance Audio.

THIS is why I adore audio books and why I keep singing their praises to readers who have yet to try them out.

The story is performed by Angela Dawe and she nails every voice, owning every character. This is the first time I've written "performed by" and totally meant it. These characters come alive off the page and do great justice to Jennifer Cruise's story.

I mean it's a Jennifer Cruise story, which means chances are that it's going to be pretty good if not great, but this just raises it to another level. I can honestly say I think the Audio Book version might be better than the book itself because - I'll say it again - Angela Dawe owns these characters.

So fantastic! If you were looking for your first audio book to try, or if you tried one in the past and hated it, PLEASE try this one. It's the perfect example of what an Audio Book should be and can be!

Here's Brilliance Audio's website with a sample of this audio book. The audio book just gets better and better the further into it. :)

Here's an Amazon link.

And a Borders link.

Have you read or listened to Maybe This Time? Tell us what you thought or tell us the best Audio Book you've found!

Welcome Author Emily Ryan-Davis & Enter to Win An Audio Book Copy of Mating Call!

Audio Books: Read Together

Happy Wednesday everyone! Cheeky Reads is the first stop on my audio book blog tour, which launches along side my first audio book release, MATING CALL, available now at AudioMinx.

MATING CALL is the first of a paranormal romance serial trilogy crammed full of dragons both solid and ephemeral. I'm happy to say books two and three, DRAGON DANCE and DRAGON BOUND, will be releasing in September and November of this year (don't forget Tuesdays are discount days at AudioMinx).

But less about THE audio book and more about audio books in general.

The first time I chose an audio book over a print book was Christmas four years ago. My now-husband, Chris, and I were going to undertake a four-hour drive to visit my family for the holiday. I'm not a verbal entertainer by nature and I worried Chris would be bored to death traveling such a long distance, his hands glued to the wheel instead of free to flip pages or wield knitting needles (like mine).

Together we chose Christpher Moore's A DIRTY JOB. I chose it more for him than me because I figured I'd knit or something if I didn't like the book. For the record: love A DIRTY JOB. I highly recommend it (not romance, though: you've been warned).

Chris and I went out of our way to keep driving so we could finish listening to the book together. We loved the voice acting, we loved being able to laugh together the way we would if we were watching a movie, and we didn't experience any of that awkward “you've GOT to read this! it's hysterical!” bumbling that occurs when you try to communicate hilarity to someone who's not been reading along with you. That audio book was the perfect joint-reading solution to our long drive.

When Audio Lark opened for submissions last year, my first thought was of the A DIRTY JOB experience. I immediately put together submission packages for my contemporary paranormal Dragon Queen series. The Dragon Queen books were my first e-books, my first print books and wouldn't it be fitting if they were my first audio books, too?

This afternoon, I was listening to proofs for DRAGON DANCE (book 2) and my husband was sitting on the bed putting on a pair of socks when the voice actress hissed a vehement curse followed by incredulous exclamation. I started laughing and so did he (it was meant to be a laughing bit) and in that moment, I knew I HAD to make audio books a more regular part of my life. What better way for reading households to do things together?

I'm not sure I'd advocate spicy romance as read-together subject matter...but I'm not sure I'd caution against it, either, ifyaknowwhatImean.

My question for blog visitors today is, in what circumstances do you “read” audio books? Your commute? Gym time? In the winter, when your hands are busy knitting up homemade socks? Tell me a) the last audio book you “read” and b) why you choose audio when you do choose audio, and you'll be entered in a drawing to receive a free download of MATING CALL.

Emily Ryan-Davis writes for Ellora's Cave, Liquid Silver Books and Freya's Bower. News of projects, releases and blog appearances can be found at MATING CALL, DRAGON DANCE and DRAGON BOUND are currently available in electronic and print format at Freya's Bower.

Audio Book Review: Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

Audio Book Review: Married by Morning

Written By: Lisa Kleypas
Performed by: Rosalyn Landor
Brilliance Audio Unabridged
9 Hours 52 Minutes
Writing: 5 Heart Review
Audio Performance: 5 Heart Review

He is everything she wants to avoid...

For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters – a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges' older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response – and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.

She is not at all what she seems...

Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine's respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever – unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires...

I'm a big fan of Kleypas. I mean who isn't? But I've always read her contemporaries and had sort of purposefully ignored her historicals. Why? Because I think I could very well find myself reading her entire backlist of books to the exclusion of many other writers. Since I know Kleypas is a big name in romance and doesn't need a review here for people to know she has a book out, I narrowed my reading of her to comtemps because I feel there aren't enough of us singing the praises of the straight-up contemporary and how great they are.

When I received Married by Morning to review I decided to try out a Kleypas historical – and holy crap, what I have been missing! Married by Morning is now seriously in my all-time top books. One reason? LEO! Kleypas might have officially ruined me for all other romance heros. All that come after might see themselves compared to Leo and found lacking. My PERFECT HERO.

I loved almost every single thing about this book – pure perfection for me! Believe it or not, I loved it even more than I have many of her contemporary titles. The ending was slightly off from what I had expected, but not bad or anything that would have ruined the story at all. In fact, I thought there were many parts of the ending that brought the trust and relationship between Cat and Leo full circle.

Now, with all the Leo talk you might think that the heroine Catherine was only so-so or average. She was not at all. In fact, she was an amazingly relatable character that I found loving easy to do. Her quirky nature and imperfect looks – she wears glasses back when I imagine it was not at all fashionable for a women or man – made me root for her to match wits with Leo again and again.

As for the audio book performer Rosalyn Landor? One word: fantastic! Her changes in voice are slight, but you never question who is speaking as she inhabits each character completely. I loved how easily she was able to get across Leo’s cheeky tone when he’s trying to annoy Cat. Rosalyn’s performance really added to my love of both Leo and Catherine.

If you’ve been on the fence about trying audio books, this is one I can 100% say to try. It’s a great one to hear audio books at their best and with a great story to boot.

Again, I can’t say enough about how much I loved this book and now I’m doomed to reading Kleypas’ entire backlist of historicals. I’ve already gotten Love in the Afternoon that I can’t wait to start!

Happy Reading!

AudioBook Week Winner!

I had a blast being a part of AudioBook Week and want to thank Jen at Devourer of Books for hosting a fantastic week for bloggers to share their love of Audio Books.

I'm pleased to annouce the winner of my AudioBook Week giveway, as selected by, is comment # 8...


Congratulations! I will email you with a list of AudioBooks I have for you to select from. You can also email me at cheekyreads @ (no spaces) if you read this first.

Thanks to everyone for participating in AudioBook Week and I hope if Cheeky Reads is a new-to-you blog, that you'll stop by again soon!

Happy Reading
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Audio Book Week: Audio Book Recommendations

Today Audio Book Week is focusing on what Audio Books we would most recommend to readers.

Head over to hostess Devourer of Books website to see her recommendations and check out the Mister Linky for a list from other bloggers to.

Here is my list of some of my favorite Audio Books:

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas - Narrated by Rosalyn Landor - Brilliance Audio (LOVE this narrator)

The Rachel Morgan Series by Kim Harrison - Narrated by Marguerite Gavin - Tantor Audio (Start with Book 1 - Dead Witch Walking)

The Janissary Tree: A Novel (Yashim the Eunuch) - Narrated by Stephen Hoye - Tantor Audio

The Malory Books by Johanna Lindsey - Narrated by Laural Merlington - Brilliance Audio (Start with Book 1 Love Only Once)

There are so many more, but I don't want to overload you! If you are trying Audio Books for the first time, please take all the blogger recommendations into consideration - especially check out the narrators we list. That should help you make a better first step into filling your free time with even more great books!

AudioBook Week: When & Where Do You Listen? Giveaway!

AudioBook Week (Hosted by the lovely Devourer of Books) continues with today's topic - When/Where do you listen?

I'm excited to hear from other Audio Book lovers where they listen, but I'd also like to ask non-Audio Book listeners if they can think of times in their day where an audio book might be a great fit or help them make it through the day. I'd love to see if we can give suggestions to non-listeners and get them to try out Audio Books.

Personally, the number one spot I listen is in my car on my daily commute to and from work. I seriously hate radio DJ’s and their annoying chatter, but I also never really liked talk radio. At first I thought Audio Books would equate to talk radio, but I was so wrong.

Another awesome time I listen to audio books is on long car rides or vacations. I love picking something the hubby and I might both love and we can share the book together. We don’t have kids, but I can see how cool it might be to pick a book to entertain the entire family on a road trip.

The best guilty pleasure place I listen to Audio Books? While I’m in the tub! You ladies know that when you have water and bubbles it can make reading a book not the most relaxing experience. Who wants to keep wiping their wet hands off in order to turn the page or worry about dropping the book into the water? Putting on an Audio Book lets me relax into the bath and really escape.

So, where do you listen? Give our non-listeners some tips and hints for how Audio Books can expand their reading and make their day better! If you don’t listen to books, what do you think is holding you back? Comment to enter to win a brand new Audio Book from my pile. I’ll email the winner a list to choose from!

Sorry, but contest is open to US and Canada residents only at this time. Winner will be announed on Friday afternoon June 25th.

AudioBook Week: What Do You Want In An AudioBook Review?

Today's AudioBook Week topic is how should bloggers go about writing an Audio review, and what do readers/listeners really want to see in those reviews.

My Audio Reviews have slightly evolved since I started them. My main change has been that lately I've been giving two ratings to my reviews - one for the story and a second one for the narrator. That's because sometimes even the best narrator can't save bad writing and a bad narrator can ruin a well-written book.

Another new addition is adding the running time of the CDs because I think sometimes people want to know how long it will take them to get through a particular book.

One think I really wish I could include in my reviews - an audio excerpt. Even if it was only 10-20 seconds I think just hearing the narrator would help both the review as well as get more readers to try out AudioBooks.

Do you like seeing two ratings for AudioBooks - 1 for the story and 1 for the narrator? What else do you wish was included in an Audio Review? Would you like to hear short excerpts to help you make up your mind?

AudioBook Week! Why AudioBooks?

June is AudioBook month and if you are a frequent visitor to Cheeky Reads you already know how freakin much I love AudioBooks. The awesome Devourer of Books blog decided to host a week of AudioBook themed posts and events and I couldn't pass up spreading the love!

Check out Devourer of Books today to see her latest posts and enter to win some AudioBooks.

For today's post, she asked us to answer the question "Why AudioBooks?"

To answer this question, I think I have to actually talk about how I came to try out listening to AudioBooks. It's not a light story, but I'll try to keep it from going crazy emotional.

My commute to work is about 1 hour each way and a few years ago I would listen to the radio in the morning, but on the way home each night is when I called my Mom. Now, my mom was sick almost my entire life and had been disabled completely from around the time I was 12. It was hard moving away from my parents and the small town I grew up in, but my parents were my best friends and we spoke everyday.

So, never fail, I would call my mom at 6pm every single day. I would get in my car and tell her all about my life, what had happened that day, etc. And being the awesome mom that she was, she listened like no one else could. Before I knew it, I would be home and our conversation would be over. It was like that 1 hour commute was no time at all.

About three years ago my mother passed away. My dad, who was also older and disabled, wasn't available to talk at 6pm becuase he had friends that could only come visit him at that time. So, I found myself for the first time in about 4 years without my best friend to talk to and make that trip home fly by.

A few months passed and I suddenly started to realize something: I would have a great day at work, be excited about something, etc. but by the time I got home I would be depressed, angry, irritable. You name the bad mood. The hubby started asking why I was always snippy when I first got home and it made me realize something was off.

That something was that the long ride home without my mother to talk to was very lonely. It clicked for me that I really needed something to fill that time with, to take my mind off replaying every last conversation I'd had with mom over and over again. I was depressing myself every single day in that car without realizing it.

When I did figure it out, the next time I went to the library I saw the AudioBook section and thought "Why not?" Which was weird since I was a die-hard "You must read the print version" kinda reader.

I was so lucky that day because I happened upon an AudioBook of an unknown to me series, unknown to me author, and in a genre I don't normally read. And it was good. I mean really good. I'd hate to think of what might have happened if that first AudioBook had been bad. And it is true - AudioBooks can be hit or miss the same way printed books can. The wrong narrator can ruin a great story. A good narrator can take a so-so story and make it more compelling or exciting.

If that first AudioBook hadn't been terrific I think I would have missed out on one of my favorite things in the world now - and would have missed out on something that truly saved me.

That's how I think of AudioBooks - as something that saved me from a really bad time in my life. I was able to lose myself in those stories instead of focusing on my loss. I really cannot put into words how much AudioBooks mean to me.  To put it simply - I adore AudioBooks!
Audio Lovin’: Audio Book Review of Savor the Moment (Bride (Nora Roberts))

Performed by: Angela Dawe
Brilliance Audio Unabridged Version
Approx. 9 Hours
Story – 4 Heart Review
Voice Performance – 3 Heart Review

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts cordially invites you to meet childhood friends Parker, Emma, Laurel, and Mac — the founders of Vows, one of Connecticut’s premier wedding planning companies.

Laurel McBane has always relied on her friends for support, especially when her dream of attending culinary school was almost ruined by her parents’ financial problems. Now Laurel is repaying the kindness of her friends by creating extravagantly luscious tiers of cakes and other confectionary delights that add the perfect touch to their clients’ weddings.

As for romance, Laurel believes in it — in theory. But she’s too low-key to appreciate all the luxuries that other women seem to long for. What she does appreciate is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker’s older brother, Delaney Brown, on whom Laurel has had a mega crush since childhood.

But some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the Ivy League lawyer is still out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the line with her, or so she thinks. When Laurel’s quick- silver moods get the better of her — leading to an angry, hot, altogether mind-blowing kiss with Del — she’ll have to quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into forever…

Narrator Angela Dawe gets the heroine Laurel’s voice perfectly, but Emma and Mac’s voices tended to draw me out of the story. The male voices weren’t bad, but didn’t stand out to me as great or memorable. Again though, Laurel’s voice seemed to match the character perfectly.

This was a very solid, well-developed story and one would expect no less from La Nora. She’s a #1 best seller for a reason ladies – because she knows how to structure a story and create characters you can get wrapped up in.

As I listened to the story, I was struck by just how much detail was focused on Laurel’s baking and the weddings and wished that those details had been more in the background and the romance had more front and center time.

That was my only issue with this story that sometimes I got frustrated with all the details about stuff other than the romance. These are two fun, great characters that are made for each other – focus on them!

I wasn’t disappointed in the romance and loved all the other characters – if you don’t count the off voices – and can highly recommend this story whether in book form or in audio. If the romance would have had more face time then this book could have been a 5 Heart Review for me.

Audio Lovin': Audio Book Review of Reckless by Amanda Quick

Audio Lovin: Audio Book Review of Reckless by Amanda Quick
Performed by Anne Flosnik
Briilliance Audio Unabridged Version
11 Hours : 55 Minutes
Story – 3 Heart Review
Narrator – 5 Heart Review

At sixteen Phoebe Layton had imagined that Gabriel Banner was a brave and valiant knight, a noble-hearted hero born to rescue ladies in distress. Which was why, eight years later, when she desperately needed help to carry out a vital quest she could think of no one more suited to the job than Gabriel.

But when she lures her shining knight to a lonely midnight rendezvous, Phoebe finds herself sparring with a dangerously desirable man who is nothing like the hero of her dreams, and when he sweeps her into a torrid – and blatantly unchivalrous – embrace, she can’t help but fear that she’s made a dreadful mistake. It’s a kiss that will seal Phoebe’s fate. For now the exacting Earl of Wylde has a quest of his own: to possess the most intriguing, impulsive, outrageous female he has ever met…even if he has to slay a dragon to do it.

Right off the bat, I knew I was going to have fun with this audio book. The narrator (voice performer?) Anne Flosnik did excellent voices, and the hero and heroine had me wrapped around their little fingers very quickly.

This was audio book that had me literally smiling as I drove down the highway. First off, Anne does a wonderful job with the voices transporting you to the time period. What made me smile was that if ever there was an audio book made for a drinking game this is it and the narrator adds so much fun with her tone!

Just what do I mean? Well, without giving away any spoilers, I can tell you the hero and heroine are on a quest to find a book called the Lady and the Sorcerer. Now – take the word Sorcerer and make it Sore-soar-roar in a sing song voice and you have an instant drinking game! Mrs. Quick includes the title of the book so many times you’ll be drunk before you’re even past the first few chapters. It could have been insanely annoying, but again, the way the narrator says the line cracked me up every time.

My issues with this audio book didn’t involve the great narration. Instead, I was disappointed in the characters as the story moved forward. I adored the heroine Phoebe at the beginning of the story, but found myself falling out of love with her as the story progressed. Why? Because the author created such a smart, intelligent and witty woman in Phoebe and then made her seem to regress in intelligence and become more na├»ve as the story went on. Phoebe lost the wit and spunk she showed in the first few chapters and this made me lose interest in the story.

There were also a few parts of the story I felt didn’t feel right. Phoebe and Gabriel were smart and yet they only watch the front of a building when trying to catch a thief. Hello – everyone knows thieves don’t go in the front door! It felt like this part of the plot was forced and didn’t go well with what the characters would have thought to have done.

Gabriel was a hero readers will swoon over and Phoebe is great in the beginning. She’s still “her” at the end, but I just felt that the story didn’t hold up the promise of her character that was presented at the beginning. It’s like, LOOK – awesome strong historical female, and then she slowly loses her intelligence. I just shake my head as I write this because Phoebe rocked it at the start of the story.

I did get many chuckles – even beyond the drinking game phrases – and enjoyed listening to this historical romance. I will definitely be listening to more of Amanda Quick’s audio book and cannot say enough about how well Anne Flosnik did with the voices.

DNF's - Do You Finish Every Book, or Are Some DNF's?

I admit it; I've never read a book I didn't finish. No matter how bad, how horribly written or plotted, I've finished every single book I've ever cracked open. Whether it's the hope that it WILL eventually get better, or that I just have to know how it ends even if I hate it, I feel this intense need to see the story to the end.

Once, just once, there was a book that almost became a DNF for me. It wasn't a romance at all. It was Without Remorse by Tom Clancy. A really awesome story - bogged down in tons of technical jargon that had me going back pages to see if I could remember what weapon did what and who was on the good side. I put that book down many times over a year - but always came back to it. Again, the central plot and characters are fantastic; I just couldn't keep track of all the details. I eventually finished that book - and have kept a copy on my shelf ever since almost like a trophy of the accomplishment.

Why am I bringing this up? Because I just might have my very first DNF. Although it's an audio book and not print, I don't think I would be interested in the story anymore. It's literally the worst audio book I've ever heard. The voices are horrible imitations of Hillbilly cartoons. The Hero's voice is by far the worst and he even says Ga-Ron-Tea (guarantee) in a voice straight from Yosemite Sam at one point.

This audio book is so bad I literally cringed driving down the road when the hero speaks or a new character with some insane fake southern accent is introduced. The author is a very well know one, and I've heard people love the books - but I do not think I could read these in print without having those voices playing in my head.

I won't go into details about the book here since I might still plan on reviewing the audio book. I can't stand thinking there might be a book out there I didn't give enough of a chance. There's a part of me that would feel guilty for not reading on when an author put so much into this. Why do a feel this way, and an even better question is do you ever feel this way?

Do you finish all the books you pick up, or do you have no problem putting down a book you aren't enjoying? Has one certain book let you down, or are you a frequent DNF'er?

I want to know - am I the only one who finishes them all? Should I stick it out on this audio book so at least I can honestly say if the story was good or not?

Doing The Naughty: Welcome Guest Author Dee Tenorio

A huge welcome to today's guest blogger Dee Tenorio!

Dee is the author of numerous books from Samhain Publishing and her newest novella, Love Me Knots, releases today. Big congratulations to Dee and I'm so pleased to have her here at Cheeky Reads!

Check out Dee's guest blog below and enter for a chance to win a ecopy of Love Me Knots!

Dee's Website
Dee's Blog
Check out Love Me Knots at Samhain

Doing The Naughty

When I first started writing, I thought I was being oh so titillating by having my characters make out.

I was like, seven.

By the time I was ten and had discovered romance---particularly historicals! WOWSA!---I quickly learned the error of my thinking. Still, it was a long time before I got comfy enough to actually write a frisky love scene. I remember when I started writing "Test Me" as an erotic romance. I was sitting on my bed, my husband innocently working on his computer across the room and my face was absolutely on fire while I typed like mad. (Incidentally, I was in this same condition while doing research on Vetta's waterproof sex toy in that same book, for much the same reason. Believe me, gang, you do not want to get researching sex toys by hubby who is pretty sure he's taking care of business. Well...not without taking your vitamins first.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, doing the naughty. So, anyway, at first, it was really difficult to allow myself to write erotic. I was so sure my mother was going to find out and I'd wake up in the night with her standing over my bed with that look on her face she'd get when I forgot to do the dishes. The "Girl, I'm gonna beat you so hard, you're going back in time and you done better do the dishes when you get there" Look. (Note: Mom never actually beat me, but she sure looked like she would.)

But after that first scene got written of Travis getting a hell of an eyeful of his nekkid heroine, Mom didn't show up. Mom didn't have a clue. So I kept going, and "Test Me!" got naughtier and naughtier. And you know what? It was fun! No holds barred, as descriptive as I wanted to be. I totally relaxed about the content I was writing. And with that freedom, I was able to write several more books with characters that had complete sexuality, which I think was part of making them more realistic. I didn't flinch when things got hot. I didn't blush and worry about Mom acting like the end of the movie "Carrie". And when a story idea came along about a couple that has great sex but bad communication... Well, who was I to say no? And there you have it, "Love Me Knots" was born.

I look at writing more explicitly as a different kind of honesty. I'm not going to get all preachy about how it's empowering to write the naughty. But the way a couple expresses themselves physically is as much a language as what they say. And if it means taking a few more vitamins, why not? :)

Of course, there are certain caveats are required for doing the naughty regularly on paper, particularly if you've never done it before.

1) After describing a man's appreciation for the feminine privates, keep in mind that your CPs just might wonder if YOU have an appreciation for feminine privates...

2) Mom's DO smack you in the back of the head when they find out you've been writing.

3) You really need to stock up on vitamins and Wheaties.

So, how about you? Have you ever worried about doing something, only to find out that it's the right thing for you? Share a comment and win a free ecopy of my new erotic novella, "Love Me Knots"!

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Audio Lovin": Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot

Queen of Babble Audio Version
By Meg Cabot
Ready by: Justine Eyre
Books on Tape
2 Heart Review

So I'm catching up on all the reviews for all the audio books I've been listening to lately. I spent a lot of time in my car driving and was starting to forget all the audio books that had crossed my path. Enjoy and if you don't do the audio book thing, check out my post here about why I think they are the bomb. Yes, I did just totally dork out. :)

Having listened to the audio books of the previous Queen of Babble titles, I was already familiar with the characters and the readers voice and inflection. I think that made this particular audio book easier to get into despite a lead female character who had slightly annoyed me previously.

The gang's all here again, with the hero Luke starting to show his true colors and steady sidekick Chazz suddenly deciding he's loved Lizzie for years. After the very first book, I had high hopes for Luke as a real hero and was disappointed that he turned out to be such a...well...wanker.

Having Lizzie and Chazz come together does work perfectly, but there was something about the ending that left me unsatisfied. It seemed like a bit of a cop-out by Lizzie and by Chazz as neither gets what they had said they wanted. But, I guess compromise is what it's all about.

I really enjoyed the Ava Geck character and would have liked for her to play a bigger par t of the story. The way Ava and Lizzie come together at the end was a nice touch and you could see Ava grow as direct result of Lizzie's influence.

The loss of Lizzie's grandmother was very well done and threaded throughout the story so well that you felt it didn't just serve as a senseless plot twist.

If you've read the other Queen of Babble books, I recommend you read or listen to this one as well. It's a great ending to a story even if this book lacks a little something.

Audio Lovin': REVIEW of The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey

The Magic of You Audio Version
By Johanna Lindsey
Read By Laural Merlington
Brilliance Audio
4 Heart Review

As wild and reckless as the most incorrigible of her male cousins, young Amy Malory has reached marriageable age, and she has set her amorous sights on a most unsuitable mate: the handsome, straitlaced ship's captain who once nearly had her uncle James hung for piracy.

Warren Anderson is shocked by the brazen advances of his despised enemy's high-spirited niece. Still tormented by past treachery, he is determined to resist Amy's charms. But an overpowering yearning for the enchanting minx threatens to defeat his defiant heart...and force its sensuous surrender to a love that could stoke the fires of a perilous family feud.

So, I'm not shy about how much I love the Malory series! I cannot get enough of them and love the interaction between the Malory family and the Andersons who can't seem to stop marrying their women! The books do such a great job of creating male characters both full of emotion and who are also men of action. We get so much insight into the thoughts and feelings of Lindsey's men and I guess that’s a big part of what draws me to these stories – that I love the outward gruff and toughness of the men juxtaposed with their internal old softies.

This Malory book is no different. In fact, Warren is the gruffest of the Andersons having been badly hurt and thrown over by the woman he loved years before. Hearing him struggle to maintain his Oscar the Grouch routine is loads of fun, especially when headstrong Amy tries her hardest to make him smile at every turn.

Amy is every bit a Malory and it's interesting to see a female of the family get hit with the love bug. She doesn't disappoint as she shows the Malory spunk and determination to make Warren hers. I enjoyed Amy as a character and found her to be a perfect foil for Warren.

I believe this is the same reader of the other Malory audio books I've listened to, and she does manage to give all the characters their own distinctive personalities. You never have to guess who is speaking and she inflects just the right emotion into her voice for each situation.

What can I say – It's another terrific Malory book by Johanna Lindsey and I just can't get enough of them! Whether you read them or listen to them, check out this Malory series if you like historical romance. You won't be disappointed!