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  • A Cold Dark Place

  • Cold Justice, Book 1
  • By: Toni Anderson
  • Narrated by: Eric G. Dove
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

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

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Romantic suspense at its best

  • By Susan on 16-04-19

Romantic suspense at its best

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

Reviewed: 16-04-19

This is a really good example of romantic suspense at its best. In a world where nothing is black and white, and nothing is what it seems, Alex Parker is an ex CIA agent who has been coerced into becoming an “off the books” assassin for an unofficial governmental organisation, whose members have decided that it is easier to assassinate serial killers and paedophiles, rather than deal with the cost and inconvenience of a trial which messily requires evidence and proof to convict someone. Mallory Rooney is the FBI agent who has been assigned to uncover him and his sources within the FBI, while also trying to solve the abduction of her twin sister 18 years previously, and help with a serial killer investigation that may or may not be linked to her missing sister.

The attraction between the two is unwanted, and is resisted by them both. However they are both upfront and honest about this attraction, with both being aware of the pitfalls of any connection between them, even when failing to resist that connection.

This story never lags and never stops developing, with several plots that all come together at the end. In the final chapters, the reader gets the POV of someone who was previously just a side character, asking those questions that the reader will be asking, in a situation where it is impossible to decide what is right and wrong, because there is just no “right” answer.


  • Marriage of Inconvenience

  • Knitting in the City, Book 7
  • By: Penny Reid
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe, Stephen Dexter
  • Length: 16 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy. Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing end to an excellent series

  • By Susan on 08-04-19

Disappointing end to an excellent series

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

Reviewed: 08-04-19

This is the last in the series, but you do need to read the previous books to understand many of the side characters and their individual quirks. Unfortunately I did not warm to the h in this book. In previous books she was depicted as shy and withdrawn, but in this book her internal monologues were depressing and immature, and she often created silly “issues” in her head which caused pointless conflict.

The H in this book is fantastic, but he made an assumption about the h that was so strange that it seemed implausible that it took two years for the mistake to be realised. The first half of this book could have been covered in one chapter if the couple had just sat down for an hour and had a decent conversation, but instead every interaction between them is strung out with work/friend “interruptions”, and the story dragged.

The second half of the book had lots of “almost” sex, thinking about sex, practicing sex etc etc (yawn), due to the sudden disclosure that the h has a wierd sexual hang-up, which seemed contrived simply as an excuse to put in long extended chapters of sexual foreplay. This focus on sex took away from the anticipated corporate fraud plotline, and we are expected to believe that running a billion dollar company just needs a couple of days attendance per month to learn the ropes, and a group of friends who conveniently have all the required expert knowledge (and spare time) to untangle the wrong doings. I yearned for the Alex/Sandra/bitcoin book where the reader was credited with some intelligence, instead of an implausible kidnapping plot which, I agree with other reviewers, felt more like a Scooby Doo cartoon.

I really loathe giving a bad review to a Penny Reid book, as this writer has brought me so much joy in the past with her fabulous characters and unusual romances. But this book dwells too much on sex, and not enough on proper adult interactions and a fraud plotline that has some teeth.

  • The Hookup

  • By: Kristen Ashley
  • Narrated by: Lance Greenfield, Stella Bloom
  • Length: 12 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

When the new girl in town, Eliza "Izzy" Forrester, decides to hit the local drinking hole, she's not ready to meet the town's good, solid guy. She's definitely not prepared to engage in her very first hookup with him. Then Izzy wakes up the next morning in Johnny Gamble's bed, and good girl Izzy finds she likes being bad for Johnny. Even so, Izzy feels Johnny holding her at arm's length. He's in love with someone else. Someone who left him and did it leaving him broken.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Throughly enjoyable

  • By Yvonne on 02-01-18

Disappointing with too many unfinished plotlines

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

Reviewed: 25-03-19

The unbearably nice h in this book has a farmyard of cute animals, and birds who perch on her shoulder. She merrily breezes through the days effortlessly holding down an executive position (with two hour commute) while tending to her land, horses, dogs, birds, along with gardening, making her own vodka, being a master of upcycling and a brilliant cook. She is, of course, stunningly beautifully, extremely sexy, but at aged 31 unaware of her perfection, and so sugary sweet that she got embarrassed when she enjoyed great sex. She was always “cute” or “adorable” even after sharing 8(!) bottles of wine with 2 girlfriends, and even, apparently, when she fell asleep while minding an unrestrained baby in a public park, and didn’t wake when the baby was removed.

The short tempered H, meanwhile, gets upset whenever the h fails to read his mind, or dares to do something “manly” (like moving a chair!). He spent three years moping after his ex (nothing about that scenario made sense), and the reader is constantly reminded how much he had loved his ex, and how “destroyed” he was when she left him. He expects the h to fall into line with his needs, (especially, unlike his ex, always putting him before family) and she willingly obliges by being a complete doormat who resists only until he kisses her, and then swoons into his arms, and appeases him by doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

This book has a lot of over-the-top graphic sex. Waaaay too much. They also talk about sex. A lot. The endearments and nicknames were awful, and the fabulous KA alpha male has gone all new-age and is now comfortable nappy changing and childminding, but feels his manhood is threatened by feminine décor or sitting on “fancy” chairs.

The reader was teased with potential plot strands (ex girlfriend back in town; stalker ex boyfriend; the absent father; the sister’s ex) but nothing developed any further until a random kidnapping plot is plucked out of thin air and was over almost before it began, and which, strangely, was all about the sister. In fact there was so much of the sister’s drama in this book I cannot help feeling that the upcoming story about her has already been done.

The epilogue had a lovely emotional scene, but unfortunately it was between the H and his ex-girlfriend - who was actually very likable. Then we had more about the sister’s romance. And the H and h had more sex because that’s really all their relationship was. Sex. All the time.

I had high hopes after the excellent “Complicated” that Kirsten Ashley had got her mojo back after the awful “Honey” series but….nope. This was a cookie cutter book, with every romance cliché thrown into the mix, stirred around and then left uncooked. Maybe she has a ghost writer?

  • Just Say (Hell) No

  • Escape to New Zealand, Book 11
  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Emma Wilder
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 12

Marko Sendoa isn't a beach man. He's not an Auckland man. He's a hard man. Born Basque, raised in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Alps, and bred on hard work, discipline, and getting the job done. It's not easy for a rugby flanker to make it to age 32 at the top of his game, but he's done it. Next year is the Rugby World Cup, and he'll do whatever it takes to be on the field in the black jersey when the anthems are sung. He doesn't need a kitten. He doesn't need a pregnant cousin. He definitely doesn't need a too-short, distractingly curvy, totally unimpressed Maori barista.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best romances I can remember

  • By Susan on 15-03-19

One of the best romances I can remember

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

Reviewed: 15-03-19

Rosalind James’s books can be a bit hit and miss, but this is definitely one of her best, and probably one of the best romance books I have ever read from any author.

The narrator’s kiwi accents were perfect, so there is a distinct difference between, for example, the accent of a Northland Maori compared to a South Island teenager. Her pronunciation of the Maori phrases was spot on and it was obvious she did a lot of research and preparation to narrate this book.

The storyline is a relatively simple romance, but thrown into the mix is a teenage pregnancy, some family problems, hints of racism, and, of course, rugby. Not sure how Ms James managed it, but she also successfully depicted the stress, tension, excitement and exhilaration of a closely fought rugby match.

I enjoyed this book more than any other I have read in a long time. So much so that at one stage I stopped listening to it, because I just didn’t want it to finish. I only regret is that it is not possible to award six stars

  • Beard in Mind: Winston Brothers, Volume 4

  • By: Penny Reid
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe, Chris Brinkley
  • Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30

All is fair in love and auto maintenance. 

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually. 

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone's favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston's charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • when's the next one please

  • By Ruth on 17-12-17

Weak addition to a great series

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

Reviewed: 01-03-19

I really wanted to love this book as much as the previous ones in this series but I struggled to finish it.

The h in this book is fascinating as she has serious OCD issues, for which she is finally getting therapy after acknowledging the damage it causes to her life and her family. Unfortunately only a few (wonderful) chapters are from her POV, and we learn little about her past life and problems: How did she become so technically skilled and artistically famous? Why had she started adopting pets? Why did her family fail to recognise she had real issues? How had she managed to have past lovers/relationships? How did she cope with the social atmosphere of art school? How old is she? Ms Reid was brave to give us such a flawed h, but I did wish she was further down the road to recovery/coping, as I thought this would have been essential before she could develop a healthy romance.

Unfortunately, however, most of the book was narrated from the POV of the H, and I found his head to be quite a tedious place to be as his thoughts rambled constantly, in every direction. Annoyingly, most relevant information about his background was explained in previous books, and in this book he accepted the issues of the h with unrealistic ease. He often attributed qualities to the h (brilliant, good, strong, caring, loving) on absolutely no evidence, because in reality the h’s behaviour made her seem the opposite of these attributes, as much of the time she was openly rude and insulting. However once their romance started this was deemed quirky rather than unpleasant, and she soon mixed with his family and attended events with relative ease, which seemed a little fantastical after a lifetime of antisocial behaviour and solitary living.

As with the h, I was also left with many questions about the H: Previous books portrayed him as a charming womaniser, but in this book he has been celibate since college, with no decent explanation why, but still managed to be a skilled lover. He had a super rich best friend who ran a strip club and sent him strippers (sooo sleazy) and expensive gifts ($50,000 watch, a house….!) for reasons never really explained. We get all sorts of hints about past events and family problems, but no proper details. Facts about other family members are dropped into the story but just muddle the plot unless the reader is familiar with the previous books, and the book finishes unexpectedly with several unresolved issues (the h’s visit back home, her unresolved family problems, the H’s newly discovered mother, his father’s prison release…). Even the epilogue left me confused – As a final romantic gesture the H gives the h part of something he had himself received as a gift! (Side note for art lovers: Kintsugi does not use solid gold, it used gold leaf, or gold dust!)

I do feel that Ms Reid missed an opportunity here to show a real, mature and complicated love story (like so many of her previous books). I don’t feel the H ever really comprehended the severity of the h’s problems, and the book fizzled out into a “love would conquer all” sort of story.

  • At Peace

  • By: Kristen Ashley
  • Narrated by: Olivia Porter
  • Length: 23 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 59

Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that's when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan. She wants to deny it, but Violet can't beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi's hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent - mostly!

  • By Susan on 19-02-19

Excellent - mostly!

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

Reviewed: 19-02-19

This is one of my all-time favourite kindle books, but I did not enjoy the audio version quite so much, probably because with kindle I tend to skim over bits I don’t like!

This book is still an excellent five star read - just a few parts I would rather avoid: The whole mafia/family angle was an overdone stereotypical cliché. Also overdone is a lot of focus on a couple who get their own book later, with an unappealing “H”, who treats his casual sex partner like disposable trash, and treats his future “h” in a similar fashion.

I was also a little uncomfortable with the whole Mike/Cal/Vi love triangle. I appreciate that she was genuinely torn between two very different men, but to date one, spend that night in bed with the other, but then keep dating the former, was a little difficult to stomach. I also found her TSTL actions in the last chapters illogical - she had coped with so much in her life, but suddenly seemed to lose the ability to think rationally and does some really stupid stuff – would she really run out of the house in a t-shirt upon hearing her boyfriend was captured? Not even pause to phone her cop neighbour, use her personal alarm to notify someone, or even put on shoes and grab a coat? Later on, she only actually escaped because another woman was there to guide her - and then only because the bad guy put them in a ground floor room with an unlocked window (seriously?).

For all my criticisms, this is an excellent book, but it is very long and I really think it would be better with deleting some of the superfluous chapters and just focusing on the main characters, particularly in the final chapters, where the climax of the story is observed mainly thru the POV of side characters, and left me feeling I had missed out on what the H and H themselves actually endured.

  • Seconds to Live

  • Scarlet Falls, Book 3
  • By: Melinda Leigh
  • Narrated by: Cris Dukehart
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

Wildlife biologist Mac Barrett avoided his hometown of Scarlet Falls for years - too many bad memories. But when he receives the news that his father is dying, he rushes home only to discover he's too late. Shaken, Mac retreats to his remote cabin seeking peace and solace. Instead, he crashes his jeep to narrowly avoid running over the naked body of a woman lying in the road. Even more disturbing, when he regains consciousness, the body is gone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great series of books

  • By Susan on 30-01-19

Great series of books

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

Reviewed: 30-01-19

This is the last in the Scarlet Falls series and it was just as good as the first two. There are references to events and characters in previous books but they are quickly explained and this book could easily stand alone. It was brave of the writer to feature a less than perfect hero, who had a drug problem in his teen years and had let his guilt about this separate him from his family. He returns to his home town and faces problems with his old gang, along with getting involved in investigating a murder with the h, who was a newly promoted police detective. Really good to find a competent and intelligent h who is fully capable or doing her job and does not need constant rescuing or hand holding from the H. Also good to see that the H realises this, accepts it and admires her for it. A decent romance where both H and h admit their developing feelings with honesty and face their situation head on. Mixed in with a good murder mystery that was a little gruesome at times in its detail, but kept me guessing to the end. My only slight criticism is the boss of the h who is the stereotypical ignorant police boss more concerned with public relations than actually getting the right person convicted, but he did redeem himself in the last chapters by waking up to his mistakes.

  • Cold Fear

  • Cold Justice Series, Volume 4
  • By: Toni Anderson
  • Narrated by: Eric G. Dove
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5

When old evidence turns up on a fresh corpse, ASAC Lincoln Frazer is determined it won't delay the execution of a convicted serial killer. But when more young women are brutally slain, it becomes clear - this new killer is intimately familiar with the old murders.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another great book in this series

  • By Susan on 18-01-19

Another great book in this series

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

Reviewed: 18-01-19

A realistic romance mixed with a murder mystery that had me guessing right up to the last chapter. The couple in this book are not perfect, they make mistakes and they mess things up. Toni Anderson has pretty much nailed the romantic suspense genre with this book. Excellent plot development, action which moves along at a decent pace, intertwined by a developing romance that is neither simple nor smooth going. We get the POV of several characters, including the murder victim in the first chapter which makes for a chilling, but absorbing beginning to the story. This is part of a series of books, but can easily be read as a standalone.

  • Moonlight on Nightingale Way

  • By: Samantha Young
  • Narrated by: Elle Newlands
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Logan from Echoes of Scotland Street is back with his own smouldering story as the best-selling On Dublin Street series returns.... Logan spent two years paying for the mistakes he made. Now he's ready to start over. He has a great apartment, a good job, and plenty of women to distract him from his past. And one woman who is driving him to distraction....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Potential not realised

  • By Susan on 04-07-18

Potential not realised

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

Reviewed: 04-07-18

Hmm. “Used to it regular”. This was how the H described a lunch time “booty call” to an ex, after he had been close friends to the h for months, and we had been led to believe that they both were developing strong feelings for each other. Only few days after this “booty call” he has unprotected sex with the h, but was insulted when she followed this with a sexual health checkup! Up until this stage I had been really enjoying this “neighbours to friends to lovers” romance. But after super hot sex in her kitchen, he says he knows she has feelings for him but it was all a mistake, cannot happen again, and he is not “in the right place” for a relationship. I guess I just did not feel the love between these two, and as he was “used to it regular” could not help musing that this reluctance for a relationship meant he would now have to go back to the ex for his “regular”! The book was told entirely from the perspective of the h and it was really difficult to get a clear picture of the H, or what he was feeling. Sometimes it felt that the H was in this relationship just because it was convenient to his new living situation, and the frequent graphic and very vocal sex felt forced and over-the-top, particularly when an apparently mature group of adults seemed so openly aware of the sex lives of the others in their friendship group.

The ending of this book was disappointing. The h, and her seriously twisted family issues, were mixed up with a plotline carried over from the previous book so neither problem was given proper attention. The h had multiple issues because of her family but it felt like they were thrown in at odd places to create conflict and never given proper focus. Instead the end of the book jumped all over the place with POVs from characters from past books which was just weird and ensured that anyone who had not read the previous books would have been completely confused.

Some reviews commented on how unlikable the teenager in this book was, but I though she was a perfect depiction of a teenage girl – moody, unpredictable, lovable, self-absorbed, affectionate, needy, secretive – all tied up in a girl/woman package guaranteed to drive any adult crazy.

I do think this book could be really good if given some serious editing to the plot direction and a lot of the side issues were cut out to allow the reader to focus on the H and his daughter, and the h and her family issues, because these alone created a really absorbing plotline, which only ended up being diluted among so many other plot strings.

  • Rock Chick Reawakening

  • A Rock Chick Novella - 1001 Dark Nights
  • By: Kristen Ashley
  • Narrated by: Susannah Jones
  • Length: 5 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloan - one of Denver's most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground's most feared crime bosses - into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Short but sweet

  • By Susan on 03-07-18

Short but sweet

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

Reviewed: 03-07-18

This is a short book and I had already read this on kindle so I knew it would be good. This is the story of Marcus, who operates his business on the “wrong side of the law”, and his Dolly Parton lookalike ex-stripper wife. These two glorious stereotypes have appeared often in past Kristen Ashley books and like many readers I was fascinated by them both and how their relationship formed. It is typical of Ashley’s superb skill as a writer that two side characters can grow and develop to such an extent that the readers need to know more.

This is a love story about the meeting of two “soul mates”. Both are products of tragic childhoods and both fought hard to get away from poverty, using unconventional means that were the only avenues available to them. Their meeting and subsequent relationship starts with tragedy, but their path to happiness is fabulous to read and makes the reader really fall in love with both these characters. The epilogue and ending is Kristen Ashley at her best, but I do wish she had skipped the part where she roll-called every past couple from every previous book in the series. It was unnecessary and just drew the reader away from the magic bubble that we were enjoying with this very unique couple, because all I could think from this scene was where on earth did they manage to get last minute baby sitters for 17 kids???