LISTENER

Em Jay Reads

Sydney, Australia
  • 15
  • reviews
  • 1
  • helpful vote
  • 15
  • ratings
cover art
  • Length: Not Yet Known
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 1

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Fell short of expectations

  • By Em Jay Reads on 07-08-18

Fell short of expectations

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-08-18

I struggled to understand the author’s intentions with this book. There were several competing themes and I felt none of them were presented in an engaging manner.

As a newly widowed woman, Vivian is slowly learning to live life as a single woman. These parts I found the most interesting. As she slowly sloughed off the layers of her married life, a new version of Vivian is emerging and I was cheering for her ever growing confidence and focus.

Frustratingly, this journey was marred by clonking the reader over the head with the principles of dressing in the supposed manner adopted by the French. As a metaphor for a significant life change throwing out the old and bringing in enough new things into your life works well. However, readers are subjected to the minutiae of culling a wardrobe, selecting outfits, selling items online and dealing with the delivery of packages. It’s unnecessary.

Billed as a thriller, I felt this theme also missed the mark. There is little tension or suspense because Vivian is unaware there’s a threat to her life. She is merrily going along with her life, and who can blame her? During flashback scenes we discover her now deceased husband knew about these threats but even knowing this I was underwhelmed. The threats and incidents occur decades apart. Her husband has been over protective, but she’s had more than enough freedom across decades for someone to get close enough to harm her. Yes, there’s much more action in the latter stages of the book as the “mystery” is revealed but even that wasn’t enough to shock me because the story lacks credibility.

Sara Morsey is the audiobook’s narrator. I understood her voiced clearly, the pacing worked well and motions were well portrayed. The disconnect for me came from the “old lady” voice of the narrator. Sure, Vivian is a grandmother and while I can accept this to be her voice, the croakiness and wobble that some older people exhibit was evident in the voices of all the other, decades younger characters.

  • His Scottish War Bride

  • By: Pamela Ferguson
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Fine
  • Length: 2 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

As a motorcycle dispatch rider in London during World War II, Maggie Cameron faced her share of dangerous situations. Yet none filled her with as much dread as the thought of moving to America to join her GI husband, John MacPhee, after having been separated for six months. Life in the orderly MacPhee household has been completely upended since John’s return from the war. His father’s sudden injury puts John in charge at work and at home, leaving little time for battle scars to heal. Will Maggie forgive him for dragging her away from the country she loves and into his chaotic life?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the story. Great narration.

  • By Em Jay Reads on 08-06-18

Loved the story. Great narration.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-18

What an upbeat story His Scottish Bride is! At just over 2 hours long, there is no time to delve into the many of the issues these characters face, but the story had sufficient depth to feel the fears, hopes and love for each other than Maggie and John felt.

Rebecca Fine’s narration was wonderful. Her character voices felt genuine, and both her male and female voices were done extremely well. The tone and pacing were spot on. I particularly liked the voice of Maggie; she sounded so optimistic even having lived through what were undoubtedly very hard times.

  • Wait with Me

  • By: Amy Daws
  • Narrated by: Erin Mallon, Teddy Hamilton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

When romance novelist Kate Smith suddenly gets writer's block as she's beginning the final installment of her international best-selling erotic Bed 'n Breakfast series, she'll do pretty much anything to get her groove back. Like sneak into a Tire Depot waiting room because her words flow there just like complimentary coffee - smooth, sweet, and scorchingly hot. She manages to fly under the radar until the rugged and charming mechanic, Miles Hudson, notices the quirky redhead slinking in and out of the employees-only entrance. But she's way too intriguing to blow the whistle on.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this! What a fabulous listen!

  • By Kindle Customer on 13-05-18

A great story that's even better in audio!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-05-18

I read Wait With Me upon its release and I have been eagerly waiting for the audio version because I knew with the right narrators, this was going to make a great audio book. From the humour and banter through to the uncertainties and self-doubts, the narrators, Erin Mallon and Teddy Hamilton, do an excellent job in bringing these characters to life.

I enjoyed the male and female voices from Erin and Teddy respectively. The tone and pacing was also great. This is an audiobook I will definitely keep active on my Audible shelf to listen to when I need a pick-me-up. Highly recommended.

****
Here's my original review of the book:

Having read about Amy Daws' real life shenanigans at her local tyre store, I've been waiting to see how that experience translates into a book. Now having read Wait With Me, I think Daws did the right thing in setting up shop there because this book was a fun, sexy and swoon-worthy book.

Kate is a great heroine. She's made a few mistakes in her life but her head is screwed on straight...except when she takes unusual steps to overcome writer's block. She crosses paths with Miles, whose curiosity is aroused by this frequent visitor to his workplace. Miles makes a worthy hero. Over a year after coming out of a tumultuous relationship, he is looking only for casual hook ups. And as much as he enjoys helping Kate with her book "research", he can't help feeling more than casual. As these two spend more time together, the further they fall in love. Their adventures are lots of fun and their sexy times are of the scorching-the-sheets variety. .

And if a great romance isn't enough, Daws provides a few extra laughs as she pokes fun at authors and her author self... And I can't believe I fell for it but I did look up "emongry" on Urban Dictionary. It's not there but it should be.

If you need a light book to make you smile and lift your spirits, Wait With Me ticks all the boxes.

P.S. I hope this book eventually makes it onto audio. It would be a great book to listen to. [ <<<< How about that? My wish came true.]


  • Broken

  • McIntyre Security Bodyguard Series, Book 3
  • By: April Wilson
  • Narrated by: Alice Parker
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

As a 22-year-old female professional bodyguard, Lia McIntyre is a rarity in a male-dominated field. She may be a petite, cute blond, but she's a master of martial arts and Krav Maga, and she can render a man twice her size unconscious in just seconds. Lia hides a painful past behind a snarky, take-no-prisoners attitude. She was horribly betrayed by her first love, and she's determined never to let anyone use her or hurt her again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • O M G

  • By carol g on 26-08-18

When lines blur between love and the job

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-18

3.5 stars

Lia McIntyre is 22 years old and has lived through a public humiliation that I would not wish upon anyone. It’s a testament to her strength of character how she has handled it but one thing she has not been able to overcome is her fear of romantic relationships.

Jonah Locke, musician on the rise and the man Lia is assigned to guard, is attracted to Lia from the start and he is willing to work to break down the barriers between them. I enjoyed the slow burn romance between them.

Overall this was a solid read. It’s my first April Wilson book, so I had no set expectations. There are characters from previous books in the series, which I assume fans will enjoy, but at times I felt their continued story overshadowed Lia and Jonah’s story.

Alice Parker’s narration was very good. I enjoyed listening to her voice and her characterisations. However, my enjoyment was greatly hampered by the incredibly slow pace of the narration. The pauses between sentences was much too long. I listen to all audiobooks at 1.0 speed. This was the first book ever that I needed to listen at 1.25 speed (the next available option on my device). Frustratingly, this was a touch too fast for my liking.

  • Autumn at Apple Hill

  • A Moonlit Hearts Romance Series
  • By: Angie Ellington
  • Narrated by: Emily Coupe
  • Length: 3 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Elise Jacobs is ready for a change. Recently divorced, she relocates to her hometown of Landover, Maine, to operate a bed and breakfast she inherited from her grandmother. After growing up with the fondest memories of her childhood being spent there, she relishes the chance for a fresh start and an opportunity to revive the inn. As summer gives way to Autumn, the inn is returning to its grandeur. A handsome guest sets out to challenge Elise at every turn. She knows the type...or does she?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Romance in a small town

  • By Em Jay Reads on 15-04-18

Romance in a small town

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-18

I am a city dweller and given the choice, I will remain one, but there is something appealing about reading small-town romances. Autumn at Apple Hill ticked the box.

Elise has relocated to Apple Hill to open a Bed and Breakfast establishment. She’s divorced and this is her new start. When moody, crabby Luke arrives as a guest, his presence is both frustrating and annoying the Elise. Luke’s attitude is often unfriendly but neither of them can ignore the attraction between them.

Our couple have a few ups and downs but the more time they spend together, the more they get to know one another and the barriers between them lower. This was a light story and was an easy listening experience.

Emily Coupe narrates the story quite well. I did find there were times I was uncertain which character was speaking. I am unsure if this was a flaw in the writing or narration. There were several mispronounced words that frustratingly jarred me out of the story.

  • Evanthia's Gift

  • The Gift Saga, Book 1
  • By: Effie Kammenou
  • Narrated by: Emily Lawrence
  • Length: 17 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An engaging story with excellent narration

  • By Em Jay Reads on 15-04-18

An engaging story with excellent narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-18

I really enjoyed listening to Evanthia’s Gift. Emily Lawrence does an excellent job narrating this story and I felt she brought extra depth and emotion to an already engaging story.

The story captured my attention on so many levels; it’s an absorbing family saga with great insight into traditions and the role tradition plays in decision making. I learned about some historical events that I was not previously aware of. And it was a trip down memory lane recalling the fashions and music of the 70s.

Some chapter ends feature Greek recipes. This was an unexpected treat but they’re somewhat superfluous to an audio book as the times I listen to audio books, I am not in a position to transcribe the recipes to paper.

Effie Kammenou’s writing is tight and the story is well plotted. I look forward to listening to more of her stories.

  • Spring in Lilac Glen

  • A Moonlit Hearts Romance
  • By: Angie Ellington
  • Narrated by: Essie Heart
  • Length: 2 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

Julianne Baker seemingly has it all. Working for a nationally published nature magazine in Manhattan and leading a glamorous life in the Big Apple...or is she? Julianne returns to her hometown of Lilac Glen, Georgia to complete an article on family-based nurseries and floral businesses; something she already knows plenty about. Julianne meets Tucker Case, a handsome investor and real estate manager who is trying to fit in as a farm owner in the town he now calls home. As days get longer, and spring starts to reawaken, will flowers be all that bloom?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A pleasurable, easy listening romance.

  • By Em Jay Reads on 20-03-18

A pleasurable, easy listening romance.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-03-18

Essie Heart’s narration of Spring in Lilac Glen kept me entertained during my daily commute. Her voice was lovely to listen to and her male voices sounded quite natural.

This was a short book to listen to but the I felt the story was quite complete. Julianne Baker is a nature photographer and I enjoyed listening to the descriptions of her excursions in the wild – and not so wild – to obtain the perfect photos.

I enjoyed Julianne’s trip home and her observations of her home town as well as the people there. She is definitely fond of the place and people but she is savvy enough to not romanticise small town living either. It’s not all about rocking on a chair and admiring a view while sipping tea.

Tucker Case is the hero in this book and while I wish we got to know more about him, what we did find out was sufficient for the story.

I also appreciated that while these two were attracted to each other, there was a natural progressions in their relationship. For the sake of brevity some authors rely on insta-love and that is not the case here.

The Moonlit Hearts Romance series is a great choice when you’re in need of an uplifting romance.

  • The Darcy Monologues

  • By: Lory Lilian, Caitlin Williams, Joana Starnes, and others
  • Narrated by: Harry Frost
  • Length: 14 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

In this romance anthology, 15 Austenesque authors assemble to sketch Darcy's character through a series of reimaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times - from faithful narratives to the fanciful. In The Darcy Monologues, the man himself reveals his intimate thoughts, his passionate dreams, and his journey to love - all told with a previously concealed wit and enduring charm. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great anthology. Worth a repeat listen or three.

  • By Em Jay Reads on 16-02-18

Great anthology. Worth a repeat listen or three.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-02-18

The Darcy Monologues is a wonderful anthology and Harry Frost does a wonderful job of bringing all these Darcys to life. Whether set in Jane Austen’s time, the current time or any time in between we find a new and interesting iteration of Mr Darcy. At times he’s the strong stoic man we first meet in Pride and Prejudice. At other times he’s smitten and unsure how to act. Every time Harry gets it right with his tone, pace and emotion.

Where to start? Well, none of the authors in this anthology are familiar to me so I had no idea what to expect.

I enjoyed each story and was keenly listening to words and situations from the book. All the authors have done an excellent job with their take on the inner thoughts of Mr Darcy.

The highlights for me were Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams. The crisp, tight prose was a delight to listen to. Being inside Darcy’s mind was a novel experience and I really enjoyed listening to his thoughts and feelings.

For its humour and biting sarcasm, From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft deserves a mention. Darcy’s thoughts as he labours over his letter to Elizabeth is very clever.

And lastly, The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland has some laugh out loud moments as Darcy contends with a drunk Elizabeth.

None of the stories are long, so it’s the perfect anthology when you want to dip into Mr. Darcy’s world for a short time.

Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Christmas in Fair Bend

  • A Moonlit Hearts Romance
  • By: Angie Ellington
  • Narrated by: Amanda Stribling
  • Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

Lacey Myers is on the fast track to success. Living in Boston, working for a major retailer, and up for a promotion. Fate intervenes and sends her back to her hometown of Fair Bend, North Carolina. She hasn't spent more than a few days back home in 10 years. Will sparks fly when she runs into Mason Peters, the man she left behind? When faced with the choice to stay or go, which path will she choose this time?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Christmas in Fair Bend

  • By Deedra on 02-07-18

A sweet, second chance holiday romance

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-02-18

This book definitely falls under the umbrella of a seasonal holiday romance and it could easily form the basis for a movie on the Hallmark Channel.

It’s a light, sweet read set in small town USA and, with an audio time of approximately 3 hours, offers a good dose of entertainment without needing a lot of time invested; time being at a premium during the holidays when readers turn to books like this.

What I particularly enjoyed about this second chance romance is that it was two people whose lives cross a second time, which proves to be the right time for them both. Both Lacey and Mason made choices that were right for them 10 years ago. And now, it’s a rediscovery of each other as somewhat new people. There is some melancholy about lost chances but overwhelmingly it’s a story about knowing when to stay, when to leave and when to reassess your course in life.

A special mention goes to Alexia, the popular, sometimes ‘mean girl’ from high school, who shows that people can change and are worth getting to know the second time around...or maybe that only happens in fiction?

Amanda Strebling does a good job of narrating both male and female voices. There’s some mispronunciation of a couple of words but nothing that impacts the overall story. Alexia again shines through in the narration.

  • The Reluctant Bride

  • Brides Along the Chisholm Trail, Book 1
  • By: Maxine Douglas
  • Narrated by: Evelyn Grace
  • Length: 3 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

Roseanne Duncan witnesses her employer push his sickly wife down the staircase. Fearing she’ll have to testify against a prominent man in town, she answers an ad for a mail-order bride in Dodge City. Believing this is a way for her to escape the possible danger of her employer, she travels to Dodge City and marries under the name of Abigail Johnson. Rose hadn’t expected the handsome man waiting for her to be a bartender with a six shooter on his hip and a badge on his chest.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this book!

  • By PATRICIA on 29-07-18

Pleasant story let down by audio production

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-12-17

I find the concept of mail order brides interesting, especially as a means to outrun trouble. The ease with which people could assume a new identity makes me wonder how you could trust anyone. These brides were travelling to an unknown future but you’ve also got to feel for children, like Logan’s daughter Abby, who were handed over and expected to accept a new mother without question.

With the audio version running at just over 3.5 hours, this book is quite short. Taking that into consideration there’s a good balance in terms of both story and character development. We get to understand both Rose and Logan’s motivations for seeking a spouse, and being privy to their internal thoughts/monologues helps with the plot progression. The part that felt most rushed to me was Abby’s acceptance of Rose.

What lets this audiobook down is the poor quality production. Often the sound echoes and in the latter stages there is even an intermittent buzzing that while very low, I found distracting. Further the editing makes some of the speech sound robotic and stilted at times. Evelyn Grace, who narrates the book has a pleasant voice to listen to but it’s let down by the overall production quality.

This book ticks the boxes if you’re after a concise, sweet historical romance. I think reading the book will offer a better experience when compared to the audio version.

*****
I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of the author