Format: Audiobook

The Bromantic Comedies by Erin Mallon | Mini Audiobook Review

Posted February 18, 2021 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

The Bromantic Comedies by Erin Mallon | Mini Audiobook ReviewThe Bromantic Comedies by Erin Mallon
Published by Self on January 27, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Humor
Length: 1 hour and 22 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Author
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
0.5 Stars

A paintball battleground. A wrestling mat for sleep-deprived new daddies. A feminine product aisle in the local drugstore. These are some of the places where men connect...at least in The Bromantic Comedies.

A compilation of humorous and heartfelt plays exploring what it means to be "masculine" in a world where men are supposed to be tough.

I love listening to audiobooks, and Erin Mallon is one of my favorite narrators so I was very excited to be offered an audiobook copy to review! And the narrators who perform these plays? I LOVE them all, too: Joe Arden, Jason Clarke, Shane East, Lance Greenfield, Teddy Hamilton, and PJ Ochlan. Unfortunately, this really didn’t work for me and I ended up not finishing it. I don’t usually write DNF reviews, but I took notes during each individual play and figure I wouldn’t let them go to waste. And honestly, I don’t think finishing this would have changed my overall opinion anyway. So here we go!

1. Invasion At Man Camp (narrated by Joe Arden and Jason Clarke) – I actually found this to be offensive and sacrilegious. There were some fun sound effects from the paintball range and the narrators were good. As a religious person, however, the satire made me very uncomfortable. 

2. Domesticated (narrated by Lance Greenfield and PJ Ochlan) – This story is narrated by a recently neutered cat and a fish. Toby the cat is very unhappy that he was neutered, and is bitter and grumpy about it. The fish, named Bubble Eye, prefers to be happy and only discuss the good things in life. He’s so unbelievably positive! I love fish, and this one definitely sounded like a fish to me. His fish-breeding owner recently gave him the opportunity to go on a procreation date (filled with lots of nudges) with a cute lady fish from a few apartments over, and he describes it in detail in the hopes of making his friend feel like a man again. “You’re going to be an uncle!,” he says to his cat bro. Then the cat tells the story of how he snuck out to get together with a feral lady cat… which led to his snippity, snip, snip demise. The fish… he just kept cracking me up. He loves West Side Story. lol. And Toby… so dramatic! I just wish the ending has been different… This story wasn’t bad, but it was… ridiculous. lol.
 
3. Baby Fight Club (Shane East and Teddy Hamilton) – I love Shane East. His voice is all I need in my life. But this story… it’s awful! Teddy’s character doesn’t think babies should breastfeed because no man would be ok with another man doing to his wife’s boobs what a baby does to them. That’s really, really gross. I think it’s really wrong to sexualize breastfeeding like that, even as a joke. Shane’s character seems like a nice guy and Teddy’s is just corrupting him! Leave Shane alone! Teddy’s character clearly hates babies. He thinks the baby is performing sexual acts with its mother. That giving birth and breastfeeding are just a series of orgasms. “A big pleasure fest for her.” I’m just so disturbed. I couldn’t even finish this play.
 
That’s where things ended for me. I stopped play #3 and that was that. This was clearly not my kind of humor. I love to laugh and I love funny books so much, but when the humor becomes uncomfortable and offensive it’s not funny anymore. I have always loved Erin Mallon as a narrator, and I don’t want my review to cause any hurt feelings, but I was asked to write an unbiased review and so that’s what I’ve done. I would not recommend this.

 

0.5 Stars

Flirtasaurus by Erin Mallon | Book Review

Posted February 4, 2021 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

Flirtasaurus by Erin Mallon | Book ReviewFlirtasaurus by Erin Mallon
Series: Natural History #1
Narrator: Erin Mallon
Published by Self on July 15, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 213
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
2 Stars

My name is Calliope and "I bone for a living." Kidding. I am studying to be a paleontologist though. It's the only thing I've ever wanted to be, and I have finally landed the perfect museum internship to make all of my dino-loving dreams come true.

Trouble is, everyone wants me to be a gentle, loving sort of creature, but I'm more of the T-Rex type by nature - the kind who is determined to stomp and tear her way through any obstacle in order to get what she wants.

But when a sexy, rumbly-voiced astronomer plummets into my orbit and threatens to break open my hard little heart, my career and my whole way of looking at the world is suddenly on the line.

The dinosaurs didn't see their asteroid coming.

And I sure as hell wasn't prepared for mine.


Erin Mallon has become one of my favorite audiobook narrators, so when I saw that she had written and narrated her own romantic comedy that included dinosaurs (one of my favorite things) I knew I had to give it a listen! While is was a little over the top and cringey, I was entertained. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. The meet cute at the very beginning of the book was really fun. Calliope is stuck in an elevator at the museum on the first day of her new internship, and she “meets” a guy by yelling at him for help through the elevator door. He decides to wait with her and chat until someone arrives to help her, but then they separated when the fire alarm goes off. She can’t hear his name or where she’s supposed to meet him after she gets out of the building, and that’s that. They miss meeting. Luckily, they both work there so it’s very likely they will stumble across each other soon. What a cute way to begin a story!

2. Calliope… is a very annoyingly neurotic character. She had her moments where I really liked her (like when she communicated her love of dinosaurs and science), but for the most part I pretty much couldn’t stand her. She clearly feels that she is better than everyone in the world. She’s so easily offended and goes off on these long, ranty dialogues without even realizing what she’s saying and who might be hearing her. She’s quick to tell people off when she assumes she knows what they mean. Sometimes she was right but took her rant too far, and sometimes she was wrong and had to backpedal and apologize for her behavior. She’s quick to open her mouth and insert her foot at the worst times, and gets herself into trouble frequently. She just doesn’t come off as a strong, educated, professional woman and that bothered me because female scientists already don’t get enough respect. I wish she had fit the role of a respectable one instead of just further perpetuating antiquated ideas about women in science.

3. Ralph is great! He’s really sweet and caring and I love his quiet, strong personality. I hated the voice style choice for him in the narration, though. He sounded incredibly whiny, and my face actually scrunched up listening to him sometimes.

4. There’s a couple side characters that I liked. Otto is an elderly man who hangs out at the museum sketching the creatures on exhibit. He’s a sweet, funny guy that gave me quirky grandpa vibes. Mabel is an entomologist on staff there, and she’s… so odd that you can’t help but find her to be endearing. I can’t even begin to be able to describe her, though. You kind of have to read her to believe her. She’s one of a kind, but sweet at her core.

5. The humor tries way too hard. I was literally cringing. There’s a scene involving psychedelic drugs and clumsy fooling around near a dinosaur skeleton and Calliope is convinced that that dinosaur is winking at her and cheering her on as she fumbles around before grasping Ralph’s *ahem* anatomy with both hands and pretending to swing from it like Tarzan. George of the Jungle scream and all. I’m sorry, but that was just too much for me. People are not really like this.

6. I’m sure that this book was written with an audiobook in mind because there is so. much. dialogue. I was fine listening (well, except for the fact that Ralph sounded very unappealing), but I think reading it would have been exhausting. I can see that it might be hard to tell who is speaking at times because it sounded like I was listening to a movie instead of a book. 

7. I think I like Erin Mallon as a narrator more than an author, and I feel really bad about that because she seems super nice.

All in all, this was fluffy, mindless entertainment. I’m not sure if I would have stuck with it if I were reading it, but it was fun to listen to while I was doing other things. It’s cringey, but I’m already interested in listening to the next book, Lovebug, because it’s about Mabel, so… I don’t know what that says about me and my opinions right now. LOL. I just have to know how that works out for her because she’s so… unique!

2 Stars

One of Those Flings by Lauren Blakely | Mini Book Review

Posted January 17, 2021 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

One of Those Flings by Lauren Blakely | Mini Book ReviewOne of Those Flings by Lauren Blakely
Published by Audible Original on August 31, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Get ready for the virtual vacation of your life with this scripted multi-cast rom-com by number-one New York Times best-selling author Lauren Blakely!

Skyler’s breakup survival plan is simple: Swear off men for a year and celebrate her man cleanse with a solo tropical vacation to Hawaii. Snorkeling, sightseeing, zip lining, and leisurely dinners by the sea are just what the doctor ordered to mend her broken heart.

That is, until she meets a hunky adventure tour guide who makes her want to break all her own rules. Handsome, funny, and exciting, Caleb is by far the hottest local attraction. Will a romantic island fling lead to more heartbreak - or a new beginning?


I have been loving Lauren Blakey’s audiobooks during the last year, so when I saw this one in the Audible Plus catalog I jumped on it. It was fun and entertaining, but not the kind of story I’ve come to expect from Lauren. The sound effects and background noises were cool, and the voice acting was well done. I loved all the narrators. It kind of felt like I was playing an episode of a TV show I’d seen before in the background while doing chores. The story just didn’t flow well, and there was a significant lack of depth (most likely because it was so short). Really, it was practically too short to be able to even form an opinion. For a free offering, it was worth it.

3 Stars

The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward | Mini Book Review

Posted December 9, 2020 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward | Mini Book ReviewThe Christmas Pact by Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Published by Audible Original on December 5, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Length: 2 hours 54 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Add to Goodreads
4 Stars

Heat up the holidays with this sizzling new novella from New York Times best-selling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward!

Riley Kennedy’s emails keep getting crossed with her colleague, Kennedy Riley.

The infuriating man forwards them along with his annoying commentary and unsolicited advice. At least she never has to see him in person since they work in different locations…until they come face to face at the office holiday party. As luck would have it, Kennedy turns out to be gorgeous…though still a jerk. Yet somehow he’s able to charm her out on the dance floor—and convince her to participate in his crazy scheme: He’ll go home with Riley for a Christmas party and pretend to be her boyfriend if Riley agrees to be his date to a wedding.

It sounds easy enough. But little by little, the act they’re putting on starts to feel like so much more than a Christmas pact—and Riley’s about to learn there’s more to Kennedy than she ever imagined.


This was such a fun listen! I love a good fauxmance (as you know), and this one was delightful. The two main characters share a name, but in reverse. He’s Kennedy Riley, and she’s Riley Kennedy. They also work for the same company, and keep getting each other’s emails. She politely forwards his along, but he gets nosey and reads them all… and then forwards them along with his comments/thoughts/musings. He annoys the crap out of her, but it’s not until they meet at the company Christmas party for the first time ever that they realize there’s this attraction there. And he’s a lot less annoying than Riley thought. He talks her into coming to a wedding with him and, in turn, he says he’ll go home with her for Christmas and pose as her boyfriend. Sneaky, huh? Everything unfolds in a pretty predictable manner, and I loved it a lot. The narrators were fun to listen to! And yay for my blushing self, there were no sex scenes! I cannot listen to sex scenes being read to me. It’s just too embarrassing. Things are mentioned… and sex happens, but it’s not described. The story is told from two different points of view. Kennedy’s thoughts had a little more swearing than I would have liked, but that faded away as the story moved on. All in all, a very fun listen!

4 Stars

A McMillan Christmas by Bethany Claire | Book Review

Posted December 7, 2020 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

A McMillan Christmas by Bethany Claire | Book ReviewA McMillan Christmas by Bethany Claire
Series: Morna's Legacy #7.5
Narrator: Lily Collingwood
Published by Self on December 14, 2016
Genres: Holiday - Christmas, Romance, Time Travel
Length: 3 hours 10 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

Morna’s magic returns in this new Holiday story sure to warm your heart and make you believe in the miracle of love.

A Time For Second Chances

When the worst snowstorm of the century hits the Scottish Highlands just in time for the Christmas holiday, Harper knows she must seek shelter from the storm. With her grandparents’ home still hours away and the roads growing more hazardous by the minute, she is left with no choice but to take refuge in the one place she swore to never return— McMillan Castle—the home of the only man to ever break her heart.

Christmas only serves to remind Kamden McMillan of all that he’s lost. As he settles in for yet another holiday spent alone, he is stunned when his ex-girlfriend breaks into his home to escape the snow. With the storm projected to last for days, Kamden sees this time alone with her as a chance to make things right.

Just as they begin to get reacquainted, Morna’s meddling magic sends them back in time, and both are forced to reconsider what they thought they knew about the other. Will returning to the year their relationship ended allow Kamden and Harper to mend the hurt between them? Or has history already sealed their fate?


I saw this little story on Hoopla while I was looking for a short Christmas read, and thought it would be a great way to check out Bethany Claire’s writing. I’ve been interested in the Morna’s Legacy time travel series for quite some time now, and this was a very magical and festive introduction that I really enjoyed. I love it when a snowstorm plays matchmaker, and that’s what happens here. Harper is on her way to spend Christmas with her grandparents, when this snowstorm forces her to quit her drive early and seek shelter at the McMillan Castle, which is supposed to be empty right now. Harper used to work there and knows where the secret key is stashed. So she lets herself in and comes face to face with Kamden, the man who broke her heart. Forced proximity makes hearts soften, apparently. Morna’s magic (which I’m thinking pops up a lot to make people fall in love) sends Kamden and Harper back in time to the year they broke up to see if a little clarity can help mend those hearts and bring these two lovebirds back together.

I loved this, and I think I would have loved it even more if I’d read the other books in the series leading up to this one. The time travel aspects and Morna and some of the characters might have been less of a mystery to me. Still, though, I really enjoyed what I got and am eager to jump into this series now. The writing was really well done, and I enjoyed listening to this narrator. I also liked the strong message of forgiveness. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a magical Christmas story set in the snowy Scottish Highlands.

5 Stars

Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely | Book Review

Posted June 4, 2020 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely | Book ReviewLucky Suit by Lauren Blakely
Series: Sexy Suits #1
Published by Lauren Blakely Books on July 1, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 129
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

Kristen Leonard is done with setups. She’s not interested in your son or your nephew or your butcher or the guy who mows your lawn, thank you very much, grandma! After all, she’s a modern woman—she’ll take her chances on the algorithms of online dating to find her ideal man. Before long, she meets a man who might just be the one—he’s hilarious, quick-witted, and full of heart. And when she meets up with Cameron in real life, he certainly looks exactly like his profile picture…but something’s not quite right.

There’s really no telling what brought them together and all bets are off as to whether or not they can trust their hearts over their heads. After all, can you fall in love with someone you’re not sure you really even know?


Lauren Blakey might be one of my new favorite authors! After reading Lucky Suit and its sequel, Birthday Suit, in less than a week’s time (and giving both of them 5-star ratings) I’m eager and excited to read more from her! Lucky Suit was a free Audible Original about a year ago, so I grabbed it because I’m a huge lover of romance (as you know). This one was short and sweet, just how I like them sometimes!

What I Liked:

  • I loved the narrators. Andi Arndt and Zachary Webber have both rocketed their way into my very favorite narrators ever. They were both so much fun to listen to, and really brought the characters to life. I’m going to keep an eye out for books read by both of them in them in the future. Andi’s got this sassy, sweet voice and can really bring the snark and sarcasm. And Zachary has this swoony, sexy voice that made me totally fall for Cameron. He’s also great at infusing personality into the character.
  • Kristen and Cameron are both such great characters. I love Cameron for how sweet he was with Kristen’s grandma, playing online poker and talking fancy cars with her. I can just picture him winking and humoring her, and I love guys like that. He’s also funny and charming and so sweet!
  • Kristen is super relatable. She’s skeptical of dating and finding the right guy, and I totally agree with her. She’s very smart and completely analytical about a lot of things.
  • Jeannie, the grandma, is a HOOT. I love her so much!
  • The pranks in this story are top notch. No spoilers, so I won’t expound on this!
  • No sexytimes, which I appreciate because they make me blush on audio!!

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Honestly, I just wish the story was longer. I wanted more romance, more online chats, more Jeannie antics, more everything! But it’s a favorite of mine just as it is, so I’m not that upset!

Additional Thoughts:

  • Definitely read this one before you read Birthday Suit. Even though it’s tiny, and basically a novella, Cameron shows up in Birthday Suit and I was excited to see him again. You appreciate him more in BS if you’ve read LS, at least in my opinion. Although, I’m pretty sure Lucky Suit takes place DURING Birthday Suit because we never hear about Kristen, just a “mystery woman”. But anyway! Do it for Cameron.
  • Must find more books read by Andi and/or Zachary!
  • Must go browse Lauren Blakely’s other books and find more swoony stories!

All in all, this was so much fun and I highly recommend it! If you can listen to it, do it, because I think it made me love it even more.

5 Stars

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware | Book Review

Posted May 21, 2020 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 5 Comments

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware | Book ReviewThe Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on August 6, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 337
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.


I really love books set in creepy buildings… and I love them even more if isolation is thrown into the mix, so The Turn of the Key had my name written all over it. And Riley Sager, author of my favorite creepy building book: Lock Every Door, recommended it to me when I reached out on twitter so I was EXCITED. And I was so engrossed. I quickly became very addicted to the story and could not stop myself from reading long into the wee hours of the night.

What I Liked:

  • I listened to the audio, and Imogen Church is an amazing narrator.
  • Ruth Ware is SO GOOD at the atmospheric, suspenseful feelings. This book is eerie and dark and tense in a very subtle way that works itself into your very being. I’d read about a creepy sound and then feel sure I’d just heard that sound in my own house. I was afraid to run across the hall to go to the bathroom at 2 AM. I wouldn’t say the book is scary, it’s just got this underlying sense of foreboding like anything could happen at any moment.
  • The Turn of the Key is written as a letter from Rowan to a solicitor she hopes will represent her in her murder trial. I enjoyed reading a book in this format, and felt it brought some added intrigue to the situation. Rowan is currently in prison for murdering one of the girls in her care, but she swears she’s innocent. I loved unraveling her story and trying to figure out what really happened. 
  • The setting was exactly what I hoped it would be. I was so creeped out and uncomfortable reading about this isolated smart home with cameras and voice controlled everything (and I mean everything). Lights turning on on their own, doors locking themselves on their own, secret locked doors with who knows what behind them, a do-I-trust-him-or-not groundskeeper who seems to be very nice but might actually be a serial killer. I was so unsure of everything.
  • During the day Rowan and the girls explore the grounds a little bit, and discover a bit of the house’s history. CREEPY. I’d love a prequel book to get the story of the original inhabitants of the house in more detail. 
  • All the previous nannies could not handle living in Heatherbrae House, and I really loved trying to figure out the mystery of why. This book was really one mystery within another, and I liked all the layers that gave me to work through. I was never bored.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • I feel like we never get a heroine who is strong and level-headed in a Ruth Ware book. Unreliable narrators are a Ware hallmark, it would seem, and sometimes I don’t love it. Rowan put herself into some pretty sucky situations and then didn’t trust herself enough to be able to handle them. She never stuck up for herself. She never put the bratty, misbehaving girls in their places. I got a bit annoyed at how spineless she was, and how quick she was to believe that’s she’s going insane instead of the victim of someone other than herself.
  • The ending is VERY unsatisfying. So much is left up in the air and, after everything I had gone through as a reader, I wanted more answers. Be prepared to Google for other readers’ theories or find someone to chat with when you’re done (I’m happy to DM on twitter if you need someone to listen to your theories or discuss things!).

Additional Thoughts:

  • I really want to read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James now and see what the original story is like!
  • Imogen Church has to mimic a creaking floor in her narration, and oh man. It gave me goosebumps.
  • I never, in a million years, would have guessed the ending. Ruth Ware always tricks me and I never get it right, so that’s obviously one of the main reasons I keep coming back for more! She’s a very entertaining storyteller and a great writer.

All in all, The Turn of the Key was creepy and atmospheric and so engrossing. The ending drove me insane and I still think about it all the time, but I guess that serves Ruth Ware well! She’s always marinating in the back of my head. I keep telling myself I need to stop reading her books because I always come away slightly frustrated, but perhaps that’s her goal. And… I know I’m going to read more of her books. lol. So great. More torture on the horizon for me!

4 Stars

A Tale of Beauty and Beast by Melanie Cellier | Book Review

Posted January 4, 2019 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 2 Comments

A Tale of Beauty and Beast by Melanie Cellier | Book ReviewA Tale of Beauty and Beast by Melanie Cellier
Series: Beyond the Four Kingdoms #2
on November 26, 2017
Genres: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 295
Format: Audiobook
Source: Gift
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

Lily has managed to save the duchy of Marin, with the help of her twin, Sophie. But now Sophie faces an even greater threat. Can she save the cursed kingdom of Palinor from its beastly prince?


I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and after really loving the first book in this series I was even more excited to get to this one because I knew it would be amazing. Be careful reading any further, as this review will spoil who won the Princess Tourney in A Dance of Silver and Shadow!

The Princess Tourney is over and, as its winner, Sophie sets off on a curious and magical journey to Palinor to meet her betrothed: the beast (aka Prince Dominic). Since she’s the narrator this time, readers get to finally know Sophie better. I really liked her, and I felt I identified more with her than I did with Lily in the first book. Sophie arrives at the castle after a long journey in a carriage driven by an invisible force through a wintry wilderness, and finds it to be empty of people even though it looks taken care of. After some exploring she begins hearing voices of people she cannot see. She calls out to them, startling a whole staff of people who work there. They were not expecting her to be able to hear them. Dominic is not invisible, but he cannot speak to her and communicates through abrasive notes. It’s pretty obvious the kingdom has been placed under a curse and, of course, Sophie is going to try to break it and save the people she’s begun to form strong bonds with. The romance also begins to blossom and thrive as time goes on and we learn more about our tortured beast.

There are numerous ties to the original tale of Beauty & the Beast, as well as the Disney version. Melanie Cellier does find unique ways to make the story her own, however. Lily is still a part of the story, although the kingdom is quite isolated. I loved the secondary characters (the wait staff), and their interactions with Sophie. They look out for their master even though he’s kind of a jerk, but they also validate Sophie’s concerns and sympathize with her plight. I loved the relationships she formed with them. I really loved Melanie’s writing, too. Really my only complaint is that the female narrator did a pretty awful job portraying Prince Dominic’s voice. I felt the same with her portrayal of the male characters in the first book, too.

All in all, this was a very nice retelling of Beauty & the Beast! I love the writing, and I enjoy listening to these books even though the narrator bugs me a bit at times. I’m excited to read more from Melanie.

5 Stars

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

Posted November 2, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 1 Comment

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan | Book ReviewReign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Series: Reign of Shadows #1
Published by HarperTEEN on February 9, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.


This is not your magical, light and fluffy Rapunzel retelling! Reign of Shadows is dark and creepy and intense and so unbelievably exciting. Luna, the lost princess of Relhok, has been sequestered in a tower with her guardians for her entire life to protect her from those who would do her harm. She’s the rightful heir to the throne, and the current king is making life miserable for the members of his kingdom. The land is also ruled by evil creatures (dwellers) who delight in killing anyone who crosses their path.

While exploring one day, Luna stumbles across three people and saves them from a pack of dwellers and brings them back to her tower. These are the first strangers Luna has ever met. One of these people is a handsome archer named Fowler, who captivates and excites Luna. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they set out on a journey together in search of a safer place to live. As they journey together across a barren, dark wasteland that has been ravaged by the dwellers, they learn to depend on one another. Together they have a unique set of skills that aide them in heir survival.

I liked both of these characters a lot. Luna is so sheltered and comes across as being very helpless, but she has spent her life developing and refining her ability to survive. She’s unassumingly strong and courageous despite her lack of exposure to the world. She’s able to trust in spite of the murder of her parents, and she’s able to love regardless of the fact that he family was ripped away from her as a baby. Fowler is damaged and has hardened himself in an effort to avoid more pain. Those he cared about are long gone, and it’s easier for him to be alone than to risk losing someone he cares about. He has no interest in being a part of Luna’s life, but he also has this deep sense of loyalty and honor even though he doesn’t really owe anyone anything. I liked that about him.

The romance is pretty swoony, and very slow building. I like romances that take a long time to develop, though, so I was totally on board with this one. I also like romances in life or death situations because there’s a lot of tenderness and need in addition to pure trust and dependency on one another.

I don’t want to say too much and spoil the book for anyone, so I think I’ll leave it here. Reign of Shadows is filled with little story elements that made it unique from the original tale of Rapunzel. I’ve always loved Sophie Jordan’s writing, so I had a feeling I’d enjoy this book. I listened to it on audio, which was very well done. All in all, I really loved the story.

5 Stars

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan | Book Review

Posted October 19, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 0 Comments

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan | Book ReviewA Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan
Published by Blink on August 14, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling
Pages: 313
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?


I’ve always been fascinated by mythology, but I’ve read very few retellings of mythological stories. When I learned of this retelling of the story of King Midas from his daughter’s perspective I was immediately intrigued. In the original story of King Midas, the king is granted one wish from the god of wine, Dionysus. The king wished that everything he touched turned to gold, making him the wealthiest man in the world. Everything is fine at first, but then he tries to eat and can’t because his food turns to gold. His daughter, seeing his dismay, throws her arms around him to console him and turns to gold herself. Obviously the moral of the story is to not be greedy and to value family more than wealth.

A Touch of Gold picks up where the story of King Midas ends, so it’s not exactly a retelling. It’s close, though. In A Touch of Gold, King Midas’s daughter, Kora, survived the touch and is alive and human once again. However, she has suffered permanent side effects. Her skin has a gold sheen to it, and anything she touches turns to gold. She can also sense gold, and it calls to her constantly. This side effect in particular is kept a secret. The King has also suffered long-lasting side effects. He cannot be too far away from the remaining items that he turned to gold himself. They are stored in a room in his palace, but someone breaks in and steals them one night. The king begins to get very sick and slowly deteriorates. In an effort to save his life, Kora goes on a journey by ship to find and return the gold to her father before it gets so far away that he dies. A handsome duke offers to take her on his ship, and the adventure begins.

A Touch of Gold is filled with action, adventure, betrayal, and a bit of romance. I flew through it pretty quickly because it was such an entertaining story. Some other mythological stories and woven into the story of King Midas, and it was very interesting to see how the author chose to do that. I liked the characters, and the twists and turns that they were involved in.

I can definitely see room for a sequel or a companion novel, and I hope that Annie Sullivan writes more mythological stories to expand this world that she has created in A Touch of Gold. Her writing is lovely and flowing, and I really enjoyed my reading experience. I wholeheartedly recommend this story to those interested in mythology and adventures on the high seas. There’s strong characters and just a hint of romance, so I think there’s something in it for everyone.

5 Stars