A closet readers take on: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Erotica, YA Fiction & Audiobooks

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

COVER ENVY: Kim Harrison's A PERFECT BLOOD & Nalini Singh's ANGELS' FLIGHT




Title: A PERFECT BLOOD
Author: Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows
Edition: Hardcover
List Price: $26.99
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Buy A PERFECT BLOOD

Synopsis

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and "other." Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She's faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.



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Title: ANGELS' FLIGHT
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
List Price: $7.99
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Language
Buy ANGELS' FLIGHT

Synopsis

Warrior angels, vampire hunters, and angels gone bad heat up this altogether sizzling paranormal alternate universe. This anthology of novellas features Angels' Wolf, Angels' Judgement, Angels' Pawn, and the never-before-published Angels' Dance.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOUL SCREAMERS READING CHALLANGE: Rachel Vincent's MY SOUL TO LOSE (Audiobook Review)

Soul Screamers Reading Challenge


I can’t begin to tell you how much I love Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series. It is full of deep characters, strong relationships, and fighting for what is right.

I was ecstatic when I first found out about Fiktshun’s Soul Screamers Reading Challenge, and couldn’t wait to get started. Since I have already read the entire series so far, I decided to go back and listen to the audiobook versions.




Series: Soul Screamers (prequel)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
List Price: $0.00
Listening Length: 1 hour and 48 minutes
Program Type: Audible Audiobook Version (Unabridged)
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. Audible.com
Release Date: July 8, 2009
ASIN: B005NDAV1W
Buy MY SOUL TO LOSE from Audible.com




My Ratings

Plot: 4.5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Originality of Plot: 5/5
Characters Development: 4/5
Ending: 4/5
Narration 5/5
Cover Art: 4/5
Likelihood to Recommend: 5/5

Overall: 41.5/45 = 92%



Synopsis

It was supposed to be a fun day, shopping at the mall with her best friend. Then the panic attack started and Kaylee Cavanaugh finds herself screaming, unable to stop. Her secret fears are exposed, and it's the worst day of her life....Until she wakes up in the psychiatric unit.

She tries to convince everyone she's fine - despite the shadows she sees forming around another patient and the urge to scream that comes burbling up again and again.

Everyone thinks she's crazy. Everyone except Lydia, that is. Another patient with some special abilities....



My Review

All Kaylee Cavanaugh wanted to do was go to the mall with her best friend, and plot the demise of her recent ex-boyfriend. Unfortunately, something strange and dark will keep Kaylee from enjoying her shopping trip. This isn’t one of Kaylee standard anxiety attacks, and the only way to release the pain is to scream! After blacking out, she wakes to find that she has been strapped to a bed in mental health ward of the local hospital. Kaylee is confused by what she saw at the mall, and everyone seems to think that she has a mental breakdown.

I loved seeing Kaylee as a somewhat average teenager. All she really worried about was school and how to get back at he ex-boyfriend. She is almost carefree, in comparison to Kaylee once she finally understands what and who she is. You get to see glimpses of the strong character that she will become throughout the series.

It was great to see Kaylee’s best friend Em, as well. I just adore her most of all, because she sticks with Kaylee through thick-and-thin. They have such a sweet, innocent friendship at this point in the story. We also get to see Nash in his all is alpha, jock glory. I would have like to see just a little interaction between Kaylee and Nash, but that is probably me just being greedy.

Amanda Ronconi’s narration of MY SOUL TO LOSE was spot on! I find that it’s hard to listen to most YA audiobooks, because they narrator either sound to old or far to young. Amanda was able to convey everything from the light-hearted mood in the beginning to the despair Kaylee felt towards the end of the book.

My only complaint about this audiobook, is the fact that is ended so quickly. I really thought there should be just a little more. Other then that, I really enjoyed this audiobook prequel. It was great to take a look back and see how it all started. It was fun to see a Kaylee not so burden down with problems of the world on her shoulder. MY SOUL TO LOSE was a great introduction to the Soul Screamers world and it's characters.



Rachel Vincent's Books

Soul Screamers (YA Series):
0.5) My Soul to Lose (2009)
1) My Soul to Take (2009)
2) My Soul To Save (2010)
3) My Soul To Keep (2010)
4) My Soul to Steal (2011)
5) If I Die (2011)

Unbound Series (Adult Series):
1) Blood Bound ( 2011)
2) Shadow Bound (2012)

Shifters Series (Adult Series):
1) Stray (2007)
2) Rogue (2008)
3) Pride (2009)
4) Prey (2009)
5) Shift (2010)
6) Alpha (2010)



Related Websites

Buy MY SOUL TO LOSE from Audible.com
Rachel's Website
Rachel's Twitter
Rachel's Message Board


Monday, January 16, 2012

TRAILER: Molly Harper's NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE THEIR NEIGHBORS



I can't wait for the release of NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE THEIR NEIGHBORS from Molly Harper on February 28th. There's nothing like miles of taffeta, an over-bearing mother, and fangs to make wedding planning interesting!




Series: Jane Jameson, Book 4
Author: Molly Harper
Release Date: February 28th, 2012
List Price: $7.99
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN-10: 1451641818
ISBN-13: 978-1451641813
Pre-Order from Amazon




Synopsis
Just as Jane Jameson’s unlife seems to be stabilizing, fate sinks its fangs firmly into her butt. Despite her near-phobia of all things marital, her no-frills nighttime nuptials to her sexy boyfriend Gabriel are coming along smoothly. But the road to wedded bliss gets bumpy when a teenage acquaintance is fatally wounded in front of Jane’s shop and she turns him to save his life. The Council pronounces Jane responsible for the newborn vamp until he can control his thirst.

Jane’s kitchen at River Oaks barely holds enough Faux Type O to satiate the cute teen’s appetite and maintain Gabriel’s jealous streak at a slow simmer. As if keeping her hyperactive childe from sucking the blood out of the entire neighborhood isn’t enough to deal with, the persnickety ghost of Jane’s newly deceased Grandma Ruthie has declared a war on the fanged residents of River Oaks. Suddenly,
choosing monogrammed cocktail napkins and a cake that she can’t eat seems downright relaxing in comparison.

Tensions inside the house are growing…and outside, a sinister force is aiming a stake straight for the center of Gabriel’s heart. Most brides just have to worry about choosing the right dress, but Jane fears that at this rate, she’ll never make it down the aisle for the wedding all nice girls dream of…
(from Goodreads)


Book Trailer



Thursday, January 12, 2012

REVIEW: Susan Mallery's ONLY MINE (Fool’s Gold bk 4)




Title: ONLY MINE
Series: Fool’s Gold bk 4
Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: MIRA Books
List Price: $7.99
Published: July 26, 2011
ISBN: 9780373775880


My Ratings

Plot: 4/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Originality of Plot: 4.5/5
Characters Development: 4.5/5
Ending: 4.5/5
Cover Art: 4/5
Likelihood to Recommend: 5/5

Overall: 36.5 /40 = 91%


Synopsis

You can't win if you don't play...

Her town's lack of men may make headlines, but it isn't news to Dakota Hendrix. The beautiful blonde has bigger problems to deal with, such as overseeing the romance reality competition filming in Fool's Gold. Screening eligible bachelors is a difficult enough task, but Dakota hits an unexpected snag when a sexy stranger comes to town.

Finn Anderssen will do anything to keep his twin brothers— the perfect contestants— off the show. Despite Dakota's better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the mysterious outsider. Like her, Finn knows about heartbreak and how a family can fall apart, so she doesn't dare to hope for anything more than a fling. After all, even in the Land of Happy Endings, finding true love is never as easy as it looks on TV. (from Goodreads)


My Review

(Review contains minor spoilers)
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Finn Anderson chased his younger twin brothers to Fool‘s Gold. The twins, Sasha and Stephen, came to town to be on a reality dating show. Finn, who raised both boys for the last 8 years, came to drag his brother back to Alaska and to the family business. Dakota Hendrix was asked by the mayor to help with the filming of a reality television show based on their town‘s man shortage. Dakota has everything she needs: a good job, big family, and wonderful friends. She’s only missing two things: a man and a child. Dakota decides that she really only needs the second, and doesn’t have time for the first. Finn and Dakota both have complicated lives. The last thing either of them need is to get involved, but want and need are two separate things.

I just adore the Hendrix family, especially the triplets. Dakota is smart, sexy, and knows what she wants…most of all a baby. Her inability to conceive, has left her feeling damaged. My heart broke for her. She felt powerless and broken inside. I cheered for Dakota when she took her fate in her own hands, and made the decision to adopt a child. Even though she was part of a very large family she tended to keep things to herself, but she was able to break down some of her walls and let Finn into her life.

I just want to say that Finn is topping my list of favorite Fool’s Gold sexy males. I may be stubborn, but his hardheadedness comes from a good place. He spent the last several years raising his younger twin brothers, after their parents death. He gave up just about everything for them, so I give him the right to try to hold on to his brothers, even after they have become adults. Just like a parent, some times it’s had to know when to let go.

I also really enjoyed the secondary romance of Finn’s brother Stephen and his quiet dating show partner Aurelia. I was just as touched by their romance as I was with Dakota and Fin. Aurelia’s character growth was spectacular. She started as a shy, doormat of a girl, and become a strong, sexy women. I was happy that Stephen was able to see through the frumpiness to the women Aurelia was on the inside. Their romance built slowly and sweetly. They were just adorable!

I absolutely adore Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series. Most series fizzle out after 5 books, but Susan keeps the series and the character fresh and surprising. I find myself waiting excitedly for the next installment in the series. I love meeting Fool’s Gold’s newest characters, as well as catching up with old favorites. The Fool’s Gold series has a great balance of wit, romance, and charm. Every time I open a new book, it’s like coming home.

ONLY MINE
is a quirky, touching, sexy tale of learning to let go and move on with life. Both Dakota and Finn had tragedy in their past, but were able to finally move past their losses and into each others arms. This book both broke my heart, and put it back together all in one book. This sweet book is a must read for any contemporary romance readers or Susan Mallery fans!


Fool's Gold Series

#1 CHASING PERFECT
#2 ALMOST PERFECT
#3 FINDING PERFECT
#4 ONLY MINE
#5 ONLY YOURS
#6 ONLY HIS


Websites

Purchase ONLY MINE arch
Susan Mallery’s Website
Susan Mallery’s Twitter
Harlequin’s Website


ONLY MINE VIDEO

Sunday, January 8, 2012

NAUGHTY & NICE READS (Jan - July 2012) & CONTEST



Each year, I put together my list of Naughty and Nice reads. I do this as much for myself, as for fellow readers. It's so hard to keep up with new releases and there are so many spectacular books coming out this year. Please feel free to use this as a resource, or even help me with new recommendations to add to my list.

To celibate 2012, I have also decided to give one lucky reader an eBook copy of Jaye Wells' newest Sabina Kane book Silver-Tongued Devil! Scroll down to enter.



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January


3rd - Shadow Heir (Dark Swan) by Richelle Mead
3rd - The Departed by Shiloh Walker
3rd - Raven Cursed: A Jane Yellowrock Novel by Faith Hunter
3rd - Sins of the Demon by Diana Rowland
3rd - Charmfall: A Novel of The Dark Elite by Chloe Neill
3rd - Whispers in the Dark (A KGI Novel) by Maya Banks
10th - Lothaire by Kresley Cole
10th - Copper Beach: A Dark Legacy Novel by Jayne Ann Krentz
24th - Darker After Midnight: A Midnight Breed Novel by Lara Adrian
31st - If You See Her: A Novel of Romantic Suspense by Shiloh Walker
31st - Wrong Side of Dead by Kelly Meding
31st - Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire) by Courtney Allison Moulton
31st - Burned: A Void City Novel by J. F. Lewis
31st - Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones



February


1st - Deliver Me from Darkness: A Novel of the Paladin Warriors by Tes Hilaire
7th - Fair Game (Alpha and Omega) by Patricia Briggs
7th - Eternal Captive: Mark of the Vampire by Laura Wright
7th - Shaded Vision (Otherworld) by Yasmine Galenorn
7th - Midnight Enchantment (A Dark Magick Novel) by Anya Bast
7th - Unbroken (Outcast Season, Book 4) by Rachel Caine
7th - Alpha Instinct: A Moon Shifter Novel by Katie Reus
7th - Breakaway (Berkley Sensation) by Deirdre Martin
7th - Dead to You by Lisa McMann
14th - The Nightmare Garden: The Iron Codex Book Two by Caitlin Kittredge
21th - A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, Book 10) by Kim Harrison
21st - Celebrity In Death by J.D. Robb
21st - Fever (Chemical Garden) by Lauren DeStefano
21st - Raven Calls (Luna Books) by C.E. Murphy
21st - Tempted by Blood by Laurie London
28th - Redwood Bend (A Virgin River Novel) by Robyn Carr
28th - Angels' Flight (Berkley Sensation) by Nalini Singh
28th - If You Know Her: A Novel of Romantic Suspense by Shiloh Walker
28th - The Darkest Seduction by Gena Showalter
28th - Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor) by Lisa Kleypas
28th - By a Thread (Elemental Assassin) by Jennifer Estep
28th - Timeless (The Parasol Protectorate, No. 5) by Gail Carriger
28th - Black Howl (Black Wings) by Christina Henry
28th - A Sliver of Shadow (Abby Sinclair, No. 2) by Allison Pang
28th - Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors (Jane Jameson, Book 4) by Molly Harper
28th - Deadly Sins by Lora Leigh



March


6th - Dying Wish: A Novel of the Sentinel Wars by Shannon K. Butcher
6th - Oracle's Moon (A Novel of the Elder Races) by Thea Harrison
6th - Taking a Shot (A Play-by-Play Novel) by Jaci Burton
6th - Waltz This Way by Dakota Cassidy
6th - Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton
13th - Infamous: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon
13th - The Isis Collar (Blood Singer) by Cat Adams
13th - Spell Bound (A Hex Hall Novel) by Rachel Hawkins
13th - The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6: The Compelled by L. J. Smith
13th - The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters: Moonsong by L. J. Smith
20th - The Secret Circle: The Divide by L. J. Smith
27th - Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery
27th - Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood) by J. R. Ward
27th - Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane
27th - Goddess Interrupted (Harlequin Teen) by Aimee Carter
27th - The Cowboy Takes a Bride by Lori Wilde



April


2nd - Pure: The Second Covenant Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout
3rd - Black Heart (Curse Workers) by Holly Black
3rd - Magic Without Mercy: An Allie Beckstrom Novel by Devon Monk
3rd - Hunter's Rise (The Hunters) by Shiloh Walker
10th - The Calling (Darkness Rising) by Kelley Armstrong
17th - The Last Echo: A Body Finder Novel by Kimberly Derting
24th - Sunrise Point (Virgin River) by Robyn Carr
24th - Deadly Descendant by Jenna Black
24th - The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden) by Julie Kagawa
24th - Whisper (Riley Bloom) by Alyson Noƫl
24rd - Under a Vampire Moon (Argeneau) by Lynsay Sands
26th - Frostbite: A Graphic Novel (Vampire Academy) by Richelle Mead



May

1st - Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready
1st - Bitterblue (Graceling) by Kristin Cashore
1st - Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy) by Veronica Roth
1st - Born of Silence (The League) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
1st - Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 12) by Charlaine Harris
1st - Sparks Fly: A Novel of the Light Dragons by Katie MacAlister
1st - Karma (Serendipity) by Carly Phillips
1st - Embrace of the Damned (Brotherhood of the Damned) by Anya Bast
1st - Captivated by Lauren Dane
8th - City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare
8th - Endure (Need) by Carrie Jones
8th - Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers
8th - Until I Die by Amy Plum
15th - Vampire Kisses 9: Immortal Hearts by Ellen Schreiber
22nd - Shadow Bound (An Unbound Novel) by Rachel Vincent
22nd - Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
22nd - Taken by Storm: A Raised by Wolves Novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
22nd - Lucky in Love (A Lucky Harbor Novel) by Jill Shalvis
22nd - The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (The Steampunk Chronicles) by Kady Cross
29th - Summer Days (Fool's Gold, Book 7) by Susan Mallery
29th - Tangle of Need (Psy-Changeling) by Nalini Singh
29th - Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson
29th - Darkness Before Dawn by J. A. London
29th - Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep



June


1st - Blue-Blooded Vamp (Sabina Kane) by Jaye Wells
1st - Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance) by Larissa Ione
5th - Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton
5th - Undead and Unstable (Undead/Queen Betsy) by MaryJanice Davidson
5th - Arise by Tara Hudson
5th - Accidentally Dead, Again (An Accidental Series) by Dakota Cassidy
5th - Chaos Burning by Lauren Dane
12th - Rapture (Fallen) by Lauren Kate
12th - Serpent's Kiss: A Witches of East End Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
12th - The Taken: Celestial Blues: Book One by Vicki Pettersson
19th - The Golden Lily: A Bloodlines Novel by Richelle Mead
26th - Darkness Devours: A Dark Angels Novel by Keri Arthur
26th - Once Burned (Night Prince, Book 1) by Jeaniene Frost
26th - At Last (Lucky Harbor) by Jill Shalvis
26th - Summer Nights (Fool's Gold, Book 8) by Susan Mallery
26th - Before I Wake (Soul Screamers) by Rachel Vincent



July


1st - Tempest's Fury (Jane True) by Nicole Peeler
3rd - Grave Memory: An Alex Craft Novel by Kalayna Price
3rd - Night Seeker (An Indigo Court Novel) by Yasmine Galenorn
3rd - Samurai Game (Game/Ghostwalker) by Christine Feehan
24th - Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong
31st - The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper
31st - Gunmetal Magic: A Novel in the World of Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews
31st - Shadows Before the Sun by Kelly Gay


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I'm pretty sure I've missed a few books. I keep adding new favorite authors all the time, so it's hard to keep up. Stay tuned, I'll be posting Part 2 of My Naughty and Nice Must Reads for 2012 later in the year. Happy reading everyone!!!


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ENTER TO WIN: SILVER-TONGUED DEVIL BY JAYE WELLS


Enter below for the chance to win one an eBook copy of Jaye Wells' newest release: Silver-Tongued Devil. The contest closes January 22, 2012 at midnight. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have FIVE days to respond & claim their prize! Since I'm gifting this eBook through Amazon.com, the winner must be have a US amazon.com account set up to receive their prize.

Here is what you need to do:

  • In the contest entry box below, please leave your first name/last initial and e-mail address
  • Follow this blog for bonus 2 points! (button located on left-hand side)
  • Follow my twitter for bonus 2 points! (button located on left-hand side)
  • Link contest via Twitter/Facebook/Blog 5 point for each link provided. (15 total bonus points total, 5 points for each website )
Rules and Legal Disclaimers:
  • I will use random.org to choose the winner.
  • Contest is open to readers in the USA only.
  • The winner has FIVE days, from the day I e-mail them, to claim your prize. Failure to contact me result in forfeit of your prize. At that time, I will choose either to re-award the prize to another entrant or not.
  • These rules are subject to change and may be modified without prior written notice.
  • Contest is void where prohibited.
  • By entering this contest you are agreeing to our terms of entry.
(Scroll down in the box to fill in contest information)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TOP BOOKS OF 2011: Audiobook Edition



For me, 2011 was the year of the audiobook! For the first time ever, I probably listen to more audiobooks, then I actually read. My busy lifestyle and crazy travel schedule, makes them the more sensible choice. Whether I'm driving to work, getting ready in the morning, or cleaning, I almost always seem to have an audiobook playing in the background. It's been a year to say goodbye to old series, and making room for new ones as well.

I have gotten together with a few narrators and bloggers to talk about the best audiobooks of 2011!




MY TOP AUDIOBOOKS OF 2011

(in no particular order)



#1 IF I DIE by Rachel Vincent / Narrated by Amanda Ronconi / YA Paranormal / This book has me in tear from chapter one and from there on out I couldn't put it down. As per usual, Rachel Vincent doesn't shy away from controversial topics and realistic teenage issues. She also has a knack of turning her fictional worlds up-side-down, and making them all the better for it. Things happen that I never see coming. She has a way of finding unique and ingenious solutions to problems. This always keeps me guessing. Kaylee, through out the series, has become a strong and caring heroine thinks of others even at her own detriment. Amanda Ronconi's narration style is fitting for this story. She talks like a teen, not like what she thinks teens sound like. She also has a knack for conveying the heartbreak and devastation in this book.


#2 DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE by Jeaniene Frost /Narrated by Tavia Gilbert / Paranormal Romance / I have a massive weakness when it comes to Cat and Bones. I just can't get enough of their true love and adventures. Their relationship is the heart, not only of this series, but of this book in particular. Cat had to learn the hard way to fully trust her husband and know that he would be there for her no matter what. This book contains one of the most gut wrenching break-up scenes I've ever listened to. Plus, Tavia Gilbert narrates this series with a spectacular range of character voices. She really brings the series to life for me, and is Cat and Bones to me!


#3 HARD BITTEN by Chloe Neill / Narrated by Cynthia Holloway / Sometimes you love and had a book equally! I laughed, throw my headphones against the wall, and sobbed uncontrollably, while listening to this book. Chloe Neill took a real chance when writing this story, and it's all the better for it. Merit has become a strong Sentinel of Cadogan house. Her relationship with Ethan is as always on shaky ground. She has also teamed up with a guard from another house to solve a problem haunting the entire vampire race. Cynthia Holloway's narration of this series is perfect. She has a wide range of both male and female voices. She is able to convey deep and sometimes tragic moments in this story.


#4 PALE DEMON by Kim Harrison / Narrated Marguerite Gavin / An elf, a witch, avamp, and a pixie walk into a restaurant. No this isn’t a joke, it’s Pale Damon, the ninth book in Kim Harrison’s Hollows’ Series. Rachel Morgan, shunned witch and paranormal bounty hunter, is on the road-trip from hell with her business partners Jenks and Ivy along with everyone’s favorite sexy elf Trent Kalamack. I absolutely adore Marguerite Gavin’s narrations of The Hollow’s series. She is The Hollows to me. Even when I read this series, I can almost her reading the story to me. She does such an amazing job narrating the many Hollows characters that span different cultural backgrounds and eras. Her voice really draws you into the story with her emotional narration.


#5 GREEN-EYED DEMON by Jaye Wells / Narrator: Cynthia Holloway / Paranormal Romance / Vamps and Mages and Weres! Oh my! Sabina travels to New Orleans with her sexy mage partner Adam and her demon Giguhl, to find her twin sister who was kidnapped by their grandmother. Sabina has come so far since book one of this series. She is a strong, smart heroine, who finally learns to rely on her friends to back her up. Cynthia Holloway’s narration of this series is one word, brilliant! She is actually one of my favorite audiobook narrators, and the main reason I picked up this series on audiobook rather then eBook. She has a great variation in voices for each character, and really draws the reader in. Plus, no one does sexy like Ms. Holloway!



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Name: Lorelei King (Audiobook Narrator)
Blog: www.loreleiking.blogspot.com
Website: www.loreleiking.com
FB: www.facebook.com/LoreleiKing
Twitter: @LoreleiKing

A busy recording schedule means I don’t have the chance to listen to as many audio books as I would like, so I’m afraid my ‘favorites list’ includes some of my own!

Top Audiobooks of 2011

#1 Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru / Literature / I have a small part in this book, which is an ensemble recording – it was a privilege to be included among some fantastic narrators, including Kerry Shale and Rupert Degas. The book is a multi-layered, following several stories and several timelines. Eerie and gripping.

#2 My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young / Wartime Romance / A moving wartime love story set in London, Paris – and on the Western Front. It’s read by the incomparable (and rather dishy!) Dan Stevens – unmissable. Have a hanky ready!

#3 The Lowdown: A Short History of the Origins of the Vietnam War by David L. Anderson / History/ This was fascinating to record and so educational. I’m not big on history, and find that audio is a great way to study it relatively painlessly!

#4 A Tiger’s Wedding: my childhood in exile / Memoir / Written and read by Isla Blair. This autobiographical story moves from India, to Scotland, to swinging 60s London, and is engaging all the way. The writing is beautiful, and Isla Blair’s voice is just luscious. Couldn’t stop listening.

#5 Explosive Eighteen / Crime Fiction / I can’t let a list of favorite audios go by without including something by the fantastic Janet Evanovich. I’m lucky enough to narrate the Stephanie Plum series, and I’m also a huge fan – this book didn’t disappoint. Lots of Lula and Grandma Mazur, two of my favorite characters – and who doesn’t appreciate a bit of humor in the dark days of winter!

Favorite Audiobook Cover for 2011


There were so many great covers this year, but I particularly liked the cover of ‘The Sisters Brothers’ by Patrick deWitt. Striking, witty, and works well in digital (so important these days!).

Favorite Audiobook Series of 2011


I am lucky to narrate some fantastic series, all of which I love – Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson and Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta – so it’s very difficult to say which is my favorite! But having recorded Darynda Jones’s First Grave on the Right in 2010, I was thrilled to be asked to do Second Grave on the Left in 2011, as it means that Darynda’s fantastic heroine, Charley Davidson (Grim Reaper), now has a series. I’ve just finished recording Third Grave Dead Ahead, which will be released in 2012 - so I think, as it’s the newest, this paranormal romance is my favorite series of 2011. It has humour, suspense, romance – and terrific characters.


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Name:
Karen White (Audibook Narrator)
Blog Address: http://karenwhiteaudiobooks.com/
Twitter Address: @KarenWhitereads

Caveat: Because I am 1) a mom of 11 and 8 year old girls, 2) a narrator and 3) an audiobook director, I really only have the opportunity to listen to audiobooks appropriate to kids for pleasure (at least this year!). So my choices are affected by my circumstances.


Top Audiobooks of 2011

#1 NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT, by Gennifer Choldenko. Children’s 8+. Published by Listening Library, narrated by Becca Batoe, Jesse Bernstein & Tara Sands. I directed this audio and got the meet the author, but it’s my favorite because it’s a book that doesn’t condescend to kids. It’s a fun listen (Tara Sands’ Mouse is one of my favorite characters ever!) but it makes you THINK. We are still talking about it in my household.

#2 THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST by Anna Jean Mayhew. Literary (possibly Historical?) Fiction. Published by Blackstone Audio. I narrated this book, but I was a fan of the book before I worked on it and was SO excited to do it. This is a first novel by the author, who has had a fascinating life, and is a brutally honest account of racism and family disfunction in the early 1960s in my home state of NC that somehow manages to be hopeful due to it’s feisty young heroine.

#3 EVERYTHING THAT RISES MUST CONVERGE by Flannery O’Connor. Classic Fiction. Published by Blackstone Audio. I’m also a narrator on this one but am honored to be included in it. The other narrators are masters: Mark Bramhall, Bronson Pinchot and Lorna Raver. O’Connor’s work is wrenching, georgeously written and darkly hilarious. I can’t speak for my work, but the other narrators truly bring these twisted characters to life.

My favorite Author/Narrator Combination


Wendy Mass and Kathleen McInerney: Our family loves Wendy Mass for her ability to write engagingly for the middle years of 8 – 11. Although we loved EVERY SOUL A STAR narrated by Jessica Almasy, Ali Ahn and Mark Turetsky, our perennial favorites are 13 GIFTS, FINALLY, and 11 BIRTHDAYS all narrated by Ms. McInerney. She has a gift for creating characters of all ages, and her narration is especially engaging.

Favorite Authors I discovered this year


Hilary Jordan: I read her first novel, MUDBOUND, this summer and quickly followed it with WHEN SHE WOKE. Completely different books in style, setting and tone, but I just love her writing. Dense and juicy.

Courtney J. Sullivan: I read MAINE and then COMMENCEMENT and loved them both. Again, very different novels, but she excels in both with her complex female characters.

Jo Ann Beard: Recently finished IN ZANESVILLE: A NOVEL, one of the best coming of age books I’ve read in a long time and I can’t wait for her next book. I felt as though I were completely immersed in the teen narrator’s world and thought processes.


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Name:
Therese Plummer (Audiobook Narrator)
Website: http://www.thereseplummer.com/






Favorite Audiobooks of 2011

#1 Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

#2 Faith by Jennifer Haigh

#3 The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

#4 Firelight by Sophie Jordan


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Name:
Audiobook DJ (Audiobook Reviewer)
Blog Address: http://www.audiobookdj.com
Twitter Address: @audiobookdj



Top Audiobooks of 2011


#1 The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex, narrated by Bahni Turpin, 10 hours, 38 min. Listening Library, 2011. Science Fiction. Even if this had not won the 2011 Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adult, I'd still give this a top pick. When Earth is conquered by aliens, twelve-year-old Tip Tucci travels cross-county, accompanied by a runaway alien named J.Lo, to find her mother. The way Turpin handles the voicings for both Tip and J.Lo is nothing short of remarkable.

#2 The Girl in the Garden, by Kamala Nair, narrated by Anitha Gandhi, 9 hours. Hachette Audio, 2011. Fiction. A family secret lies hidden away in a secret garden in a village in India. This grabbed my attention because it has such a sense of place - you can almost feel the humidity, smell the flowers, and taste the curry. You can hear the many characters because the narrator does such a lovely job with the delicate and refined Indian accents. The story takes you to a different place and time.

#3 Don't Eat the Marshmallows... Yet! The Secret to Sweet Success In Work and Life, by Joachim De Posada and Ellen Singer, narrated by Michael McConnohie and Dan Worren, 2 hours. FonoBook, 2011. Non-fiction -- Self-help. An interesting look at self-discipline and how the ability to delay gratification can be a predictor in success. Both narrators do a fine job, but Michael McConnohie voice is really perfect for this piece. You may say, oh yeah, I've heard all the self-help clap-trap I can handle. I sort of thought the same thing as I started, but am very glad I gave a listen! I'll confess I've already used one of the tips to make a big change in my outlook for the New Year.

#4 The Bite Before Christmas, by Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost. Narrated by Paula Christensen and Tavia Gilbert, 6 hours, 50 minutes. Harper Audio, 2011. Paranormal Romance. The two short stories in this novel offer an introduction to the uninitiated of what paranormal romance is all about. For those familiar with the authors' work, it's a pleasant dip into familiar territory with a holiday twist. I especially enjoyed the Jeaniene Frost title, along with Tavia Gilbert's narration. For a short story, I suspect the cast of characters kept her plenty busy!

#5 The Hum and the Shiver, by Alex Bledsoe, narrated by Emily Janice Card and Stefan Rudnicki, Blackstone Audio, 2011. Horror. I enjoy hearing both of these narrators and to get to hear them perform together is a real treat. Bledsoe offers an incredibly ingenious take on the isolationism of the Tufa, a back-woods clan from Appalachia. No one knows much about them, but they claimed the mountains as their home long before any white settlers arrived.

Favorite Audiobook Cover for 2011


Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - this makes me laugh every time I see it!


Favorite Audiobook Series of 2011

Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. Harper Audio, 2011.

OK, only the first title has been published - the second is not due out until 2012, but if you're in the mood for steampunk and great narrating (by James Langton) then you'll be hooked after the first title and ready to listen to the next installment as soon as it's available. The website is very cool and includes short stories to keep your interest in the ministry in tip-top shape before the next release.

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I want to not only thank all of the authors, narrators, and fellow bloggers that have been involved with my TOP BOOKS OF 2011 posts. I couldn't have done this without them and their support!

I hope everyone had an amazing New Year's Eve. And here's to finding new books, authors, series, and narrators in 2012!