A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: The Solstice Prince (Realms of Love #1) by S.J. Himes and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This is a very sweet, angst-free story about a young healer who was rescued from slavery and the prince who sees beyond the servant to the heart of the man beneath.

Jamie Buchanan was sold into slavery when his father passed away with tremendous debt. When the slaver’s ship takes on water, it makes port in the kingdom of Pyrderi, a kingdom totally opposite his homeland. This country is ruled by a kind king and his sons are no different, so when Prince Maxim spots the scars made by the chains that bound him, he tries to help the young man but instead scares Jamie away. Until circumstances make it clear that he is the young healer who has been reported missing from the academy and Jamie’s good fortune begins.

As the winter solstice ball approaches, Jamie and Maxim become closer and it’s very evident that the young prince wants Jamie by his side forever. Honestly, there was no conflict in this story at all. It was like listening to a fairy tale, especially given that it was told in the inimitable voice of Joel Leslie. I could listen to him for hours—and I have, many times! This time, he told Jamie and Maxim’s story beautifully and, of course, they did get their HEA.

There’s really not much more to be said. It’s a sweet romance, and I gave it 3 stars because it wasn’t highly complex and there were quite a few misplaced modifiers that I think I would have cringed at if I had read the book, but Mr. Leslie smoothed over them nicely and I was so caught up into the sweet romance that I just kept going. The additional ½ star, making it 3 ½ stars overall, is due to his outstanding narration.

Those who love a sweet, easy listening story should definitely pick this one up in audio. Heartwarming and recommended.

The attractive cover is done in bright colors with caricatures of the two principal characters: the prince and the healer. It depicts the story and grabs attention.

Sales Links: Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Length: 6 hrs and 1 min

Audible Audio
Published April 30th 2018 by Tantor Audio (first published November 24th 2017)
ASIN B07CGRWH98
Edition Language English

A Lila Audiobook Review: The Servant by Mary Calmes and Narrator Greg Tremblay

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Servant audiobookAfter saving his younger brother’s child, Daemon Shar is cursed by a witch and runs far from home, a stray who will seemingly never be anything more. But destiny is hard to outrun, even for a man who is now more cat than man beneath his robes and cowl. A chance battlefield meeting between he and Ehron, a foreign lord, gives him purpose amidst the darkness of his accursed life. Soon Daemon finds that his true nature cannot be corrupted no matter the form he inhabits.

As Ehron’s consul, Daemon plots and plans to shape his new lord’s future so that he may leave it blessed when he runs away yet again. But he never counted on his soul hungering for Ehron’s brother Gareth or for his past to catch him by the tail at last.

The Servant is an excellent interpretation of an old fairytale. The world-build was extensive for such a short story. But at the same time, it allowed the reader to see the battles, the characters, and the extended periods of time in context. The story has a medieval feeling even when it’s a strong fantasy environment.

The opening scene was difficult to follow at times, especially the audio version. It took time to get used to all the characters and their voices. Plus, the story arc starts with Daemon using his real name and the servant taking part of the battle with him isn’t the one the book is named after. There are several POV changes during the story, and it was overwhelming in certain areas, and others lacked importance, but overall, every narrator added to the story.

Daemon’s and Gareth’s relationship can be considered insta-love.  Gareth falls for Daemon’s qualities since he couldn’t see his true form under the robes and cowl. In Daemon’s case, he’s attracted to Gareth’s kind heart and his devotion to his brother & their family.

The story moves slow, and it’s very detailed. Everything from Daemon’s clothing to Ehron’s future is important to the romance and suspense plotlines. Like most fairytales, the ending happened quickly, and the resolution felt rush. We get a lot of information that solves all the open questions within a scene, and on the next one, we get a HEA. I wanted a little more time for Daemon’s identity to be revealed and for him to enjoy Gareth. Even so, it was a lovely tale of family and devotion.

As always, Greg Tremblay delivered an outstanding listening experience. The fluidity of the voices and the details he added to each character simply added to an already good story. He’s one of the best narrators in the MM genre.

The DWS Photography cover is a variation from the ebook version which was produced in 2011. It worked at that moment, but now, it makes the book look outdated. More than a re-invented fairytale, the picture in the cover makes it look like an old children book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length:  5 hours and 8 minutes

Published:  March 18, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01D3T777I
Edition Language: English

An Ali Review: Keys (City of Keys #1) by Amber Kell and narrator Derrick McClain (audiobook)

Standard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
KeysAUDMy name is Octavius Septimus Stalk, but my friends call me Oss. I live in the City of Keys, a town of gears, keys, locks, and wonder. Our forefathers banished magic long ago, bolted the doors and locked everything up tight to keep people out and the town’s secrets in. Four Lock Lords control what information is left, and everyone else is left struggling to survive.

Despite what Thorne, my naïve lover, thinks, I was an orphan, but not a victim. When I walked the streets at the age of twelve, I learned fast where to steal the best food, how to use my daggers, and where to hide my would-be attackers’ bodies. No one suspected me of such violence. No one knew then or now that I have magic inside me.

Now, power hungry men intend to release the magic for their own benefit—at the expense of the rest of the city. We will stop them, even if Thorne must battle his own kin, even if I must reveal my hidden talents and the role I seem destined to play.
 
I really loved the world this author created.  It’s a fantasy world where all locks are controlled by the Key Lords and key keepers.  As a result they control the entire city and it has created a dramatic separation between the rich and the poor.  Oss and Thorne are on opposite sides of this divide yet still love each other.  The imagery was well done and I could envision the shop owners waiting every morning for a key keeper to arrive to unlock their business.  The two main characters were enjoyable and I liked both of them.  I also really liked that they were an established couple when the story begins.  There was also a host of side characters that were interesting and the set up for the next two books was good.  My only real complaint is there are many parts, especially at the beginning, where the prose is very purple.  It is ridiculously flowery and overly descriptive.  I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to like the book because of that but I ended up liking the world enough to over look it.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.
 
I did this on audio and I enjoyed the narrator a lot.  I thought he did a good job on all the voices and I will probably do the next one on audio also.
 
Cover by Anne CainI like the cover a lot.  It’s simple, yet it captures the mood and feel of the story.  

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | iTunes | Audible | Amazon

Book Details:

Narrator Derrick McClain
Length 6 hours and 48 minutes
Categories: Audiobooks,Amber Kell, City of Keys by Amber Kell
Book Type Audiobook
Other Formats :eBook,Paperback