A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Manuel Pombo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was a fairly short audiobook but it was long on enjoyment.  A different take on shifters, Charlie Cochet brings us tiger shifters (of course—big cats are her favorites!), but they are from a different world—a world of magical creatures and warriors who defend humanity from the darkness. 

Riley Murrough is just a regular guy and as he’s going about his work one day he’s suddenly in a life or death struggle with demons. Who knew?  When the battle is over and he realizes he’s been helped by a group of tigers who shift to human form, he’s sure he’s dreaming.  But the tattoo that has appeared on his arm matches that of the king of these creatures—the Soldati King, and Riley is his Prince, his lifemate. 

No insta-love here, however, as Khalon, the king, denies his connection to Riley.  He has his reasons and though Riley finally faces facts and realizes he needs to accept the rejection, the magical realm has different plans for them. 

This was a lively adventure, a bit too short to get into a lot of detail, but certainly enough detail to whet my appetite for more.  I’ve already moved the next book in this series to my TBR.   

The narration was good, though it could have been better. Manuel Pombo had a very pleasing voice but his narration was quite fast—almost as if he was rushing to finish by a short deadline.  And the differentiation between the two MCs was sometimes noticeable, and other times not. I think over time, I will come to like this narrator, especially if the narrative is slowed down a bit.

The story itself was interesting and the characters engaging, including the secondary characters, two of whom will be featured in book two.  They were both very positive, upbeat and often humorous throughout this story so theirs is one I must read.  Overall, this was a nice treat and I recommend it to lovers of paranormal and fantasy romance. 

Cover art: L.C. Chase.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 2nd Edition
Published January 10th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 25th 2015)
Original Title The Soldati Prince
ASINB078TLPLJ1
Edition Language English
Series Soldati Hearts #1

An Ali Audiobook Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane and Narrator: Gomez Pugh

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven Harry to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

This was an interesting book for this author.  She doesn’t write a lot of paranormal and this is the first one I’ve read by her.  The blurb does a fairly good job explaining the plot of the story.  There’s a lot going on here.  Angels and shapeshifters with magic and daring rescues and some romance.  It was a unique plot line and the adventures were fast paced and entertaining.
 
The problem for me I think was the romance vs plot ratio.  This read much like an urban fiction or fantasy story where a lot of time is spent on world building.  That’s fine with me if I know that going in.  I went into this thinking it was going to be more romance based.  Although this is not marked as being in a series I think it might be.  There seemed to be some romance building for Harry’s brothers.  I enjoyed this enough to check out the next books if it does in fact turn into a series.
 
The audiobook was narrated by Gomez Pugh who I thought did a very good job.  His voice was really good for all of the characters which is saying a lot because there were a lot of characters in this book.  They each had unique voices and I always knew who was speaking.
 
Overall I enjoyed this and would recommend it.  I would especially recommend the audio version.
 
Cover:  The cover was done by Reese Dante and I thought it was nicely done.  It does a good job of representing the plot and main character of the book.
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published October 20th 2017)
Original TitleFamiliar Angel
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Foxling Soldati (Soldati Hearts #2) by Charlie Cochet and Manuel Pombo (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Foxling Toka has served the Soldati king for centuries, and now he attends to the kingdom’s cherished Soldati prince. It’s a position of honor, and as Toka helps the once-human prince adapt to their magical realm, he finds joy in their friendship. He also grows bolder in his encounters with Rayner, Soldati warrior and the king’s second. But the laws are clear: servants and Soldati are not permitted to mate. It doesn’t matter that Toka lost his heart to the dashing cad long ago.

Rayner never imagined he would fall in love with a servant, but the clever and beautiful foxling has ensnared him, and he resents the regulations keeping them apart. When an arrogant and spiteful king visits from a neighboring realm, Rayner is in danger of losing everything. But Soldati warriors don’t surrender, and he intends to fight all the harder to keep Toka where he belongs—in Rayner’s arms.

This was a nice continuation in this series.  Rayner has spent centuries admiring Toka and just as he begins to admit what he feels he is torn away from him.  And since it threw me a bit I think there should be a warning of attempted rape.

I really liked Toka in the last book, he was just do sweet and that doesn’t change in this book, you can see him willing to give his happiness in order for Rayner’s.  I could feel Rayner’s pain and determination to get Toka back when the king takes him away.  This story really gave some more depth to the world they live and it’s left open to more stories in this series.

Manuel Pombo did a great job narrating this story.  I could easily feel of the characters’ emotions while listening.  The different voices he used for the characters helped me keep up with what was going on.

I love the cover art by LC Chase is nice and gives a nice visual of Toka.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 4 hrs 3 min
Published: Aptil 20, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Soldati Hearts #2

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven Harry to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Familiar Angel by Amy Lane might be one of those “its not you, it’s me” things.  I’m in totally unfamiliar territory here (no pun intended) because I’ve never felt less connected to a story than I did here with that of Harry and his angel Suriel.  It’s been bothering me to no end to get to the heart of why because first it’s Amy Lane (insert surprise face emoji).  That’s never happened before. I felt such a detachment towards a story that had so many elements that should have had my had my emotions all caught up,  zip tied and locked in.

There was child trafficking, child prostitution and abuse, magic, demons (yes, I absolutely find them far more interesting than angels) and the potential for love  forever lost.  All great!  I did zero in on the angel aspect as part of my issue with the storyline.  Angels are not high on my list when looking at plotlines, not until they fall, and then they have to do some scrambling to draw my attention. Usually I just avoid the heck out of them.  But Amy Lane?  I don’t avoid her…  ever!  So into Familiar Angel I dove.  I dunno.  I think the angels won here.

I found Suriel whinny and his explanation as to why he couldn’t be with Harry full of holes.  I liked Harry but honestly wished he could have moved past his initial “angel worship” because their interactions and dynamics got old and repetitive. Harry’s two other ‘brothers’ and their chosen mates I found far more fascinating than the main couple here.

I liked the family that the author created to surround Harry, Edward, and Francis.  That goes for the evil that’s chasing the boys and the way in which he gets dealt with.  Francis and Edward especially seem to have so much depth and promise, that I can’t wait to read their stories.  At least I think that’s where Amy Lane is heading here.  Francis deserves to have his HEA so I hope the author gives him one.

Other readers will pick this story up and love the romance between Harry and Suriel.  They might find it sweet and magical and, just what they are looking for.  But for me…I’ll look backwards to those stories I loved and forwards to the new Amy Lane

Cover art by Reese Dante.  Something about that cover is off just like the story.   The cat should be more alleycat, leaner, harder like Harry.  Again, it’s me, not you.  *Shakes head*

Sales Links;  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 20th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635339468
Edition Language English

A Lila Release Day Review: The Foxling Soldati (Soldati Hearts #2) by Charlie Cochet

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Foxling Toka has served the Soldati king for centuries, and now he attends to the kingdom’s cherished Soldati prince. It’s a position of honor, and as Toka helps the once-human prince adapt to their magical realm, he finds joy in their friendship. He also grows bolder in his encounters with Rayner, Soldati warrior and the king’s second. But the laws are clear: servants and Soldati are not permitted to mate. It doesn’t matter that Toka lost his heart to the dashing cad long ago.

Rayner never imagined he would fall in love with a servant, but the clever and beautiful foxling has ensnared him, and he resents the regulations keeping them apart. When an arrogant and spiteful king visits from a neighboring realm, Rayner is in danger of losing everything. But Soldati warriors don’t surrender, and he intends to fight all the harder to keep Toka where he belongs—in Rayner’s arms.

The Foxling Soldati is a perfect combination of longing, love, and sweet nothings. All the encounters between Toka and Rayner showed how much they cared for each other, even before they realized the depths of their love. It was refreshing to read how they interact, not only with each other but we those around them–including those that wanted to harm them.

It’s not often that a sequel is better than the first book in the series, but in this case, it is true. Perhaps because we already know the world, their customs, and the characters making it easier to concentrate on the plot and the romance instead of trying to place the story.  All the extra details just add to a well-built world.

The story has excruciating moments in which the reader fears for Toka, Rayner, and the future they want to build together. But the author did an excellent job keeping the scenes to the point and the overall plot simple and intense.

The ending fits the romance and the drama in the story. Overall, this is great short to read between stories–with lots of aww moments and cheering for the underdog. A very cute love story.

The cover by L.C. Chase is beautiful and perfect for the story. Toka’s depiction matches the characteristic mentioned in the story well. The colors matched the previous book and we get to see Toka’s and Rayner’s shifted forms too.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook, 102 pages
Published: August 16, 2017, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781635336597
Edition Language: English

Series: Soldati Hearts
Book #1: The Soldati Prince
Book #2: The Foxling Soldati