To Marry a Morgan

A new day, a new audiobook, just how I like it. Today I want to introduce To Marry a Morgan (Pathways to Romance Book 1) by Cinnamon Worth, narrated by my girl Megan Green.

  • Genre: Sweet Regency Romance
  • Heat Level:❤️
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Story Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers

Philip Heartford never wanted to step foot in his ancestral lands again after the death of his brother. But as the new lord of the manor, he must return and take a wife. But he can’t just pick any girl at the garden party, he believes he must atone for his sins by marrying the woman his brother once loved, Allison Morgan.

Julia Morgan has always been in her beautiful sister Allison’s shadow and has contented herself with being a spinster, too ill suited for marriage. She would once have married a certain Mr. Heartford, but he made it clear he intends on righting old wrongs by taking Allison to be his bride. So ever the dutiful sister and friend, Julia plays match maker.

Allison despises Philip and Philip is annoyed by Allison’s refusal of him. Yet Julia works hard to unite them, if only to see her elder sister wed before she becomes a spinster too. Entangled lives lead to a mess as the English countryside echoes with wedding bells.

So, this isn’t my first Cinnamon Worth book. I enjoy her short, sweet historicals and the small touches she puts into them to make them believable. They’re all full of balls and gardens and secret meetings between lovers. Her pieces were basically made for the playful voice of Megan Green who has the perfect accent for period pieces like this one.

Phillip is wounded and prideful, too wrapped up in himself to see how he comes off. He bosses poor Julia around and proposes to Allison like, “You’re old and nobody’s going to marry you. Marry me and you’ll live on the country estate alone, taking care of my land while I go have fun in London…wait, where are you going? Why didn’t you accept?” He was a little on the dense side sometimes, but once more of the story is revealed, you see why he’s so forcefully detached and forgive him.

Julia was a gem, and in my opinion. She has a low opinion of herself, thinking she’s too “fat” and ugly compared to Allison, which is why she’s all too happy to buy herself a little cottage to live out her days. Her heart is too big for high society and the pressures that come with it. By the first few chapters, I was firmly on her side and wanted to scream at her to go find her happiness, since out of everyone in the book, she deserved it the most.

Overall, I enjoyed this story, brought to life by the ever talented Megan Green and suggest regency lovers take a peak.

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Ask Me to Marry You

Summer means summer reading and road trips. And for me, road trips mean audiobooks. Actually, I find any reason to listen to them, especially if Meghan Kelly is involved. Enter Ask Me to Marry You by Heather Blanton, a two part book with some familiar faces I know I was excited to see again.

    Genre: Sweet Western Romance
    Heat Level: ❤️
    Story Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers
    Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Part one: Audra is used to hard work and running the show, but the death of her father leaves her with a ranch she can’t run. The ranch hands don’t respect her, and she knows it’s because she wears a skirt. She needs a husband, and the one old man who has his eye on her property doesn’t fit the bill. She’s stuck between a rock and a hard place, but she’s not about to give up.

Dillon is in trouble, and his lawyer has a plan to keep him out of jail. He has to marry Audra for a year, and only a year, to be released. Dillon isn’t thrilled, but sees the upside. He’ll be free after his “sentence” and she’ll get a man to back her up on the ranch. But this mail order husband isn’t ready for what life in a Wyoming small town really entails.

Part 2: Dent never expected to fall in love with Amy, but once he realized how precious she was, he knew he could never let her go. As he makes plans for their future, someone from her past appears, bearing gifts and a few plans of his own.

I’ll start this review by saying you should listen to or read Hang Your Heart on Christmas, the first book in The Brides of Evergreen series. While you could hypothetically just listen to this one, you’d miss out on some world building and characters from the first book, and miss out on how Amy and Dent got together! You can read my review on that HERE. I loved seeing their relationship grow from basic enemies to the couple we see now.

I’ll start by saying I adored Audra. She was witty and strong, even when the odds were stacked against her. While some women might have sold the farm or married someone simply based on their ability to provide, she decided she would only marry on her terms.

As always, Meghan Kelly astounds me with her range. She can be a sultry temptress, a gruff cowboy, a little kid, or a witch at the drop of a had. She gives everyone a distinct voice, making it a breeze to follow along with who’s talking without thinking you missed something.

Overall, this sweet romance has plenty of heart and enough drama to keep any reader, or listener, thoroughly entertained.

The Unseen

I feel like I’ve waited forever for the lovely, talented Irina Shapiro to grace my Audible App with the next installment of Echoes from the Past. This addictive series steeped in history, mystery, and enough drama to keep anyone on their toes has easily become one of my persona favorites. Today, we’ll discuss The Unseen, book five in the epic saga that is Quinn’s life.

    Genre: Historical Fiction with Time Travel
  • Story Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

In 2014 Quinn is settling into a routine, trying to juggle her work as an archeologist, being a mother two two children, one of whom is a newborn, being a wife, having a social life, and still using the past to investigate murders from long ago. When she’s brought to a London flat, she finds it frozen in the Edwardian ages, but that’s not the strangest part. There’s a skeleton in a clawfoot tub, hidden behind a secret door. Now Quinn is left to use her special talents to find out who the person was, how they died, and who killed them.

In 1917 aristocratic young lady Valentina narrowly escaped Russia with her life, as being well-born was a death sentence in the Revolution. She makes it to London with her mother and younger siblings without the wealth and prestige she once enjoyed. When a relative named Dmitry offers his help, Valentina’s family accepts without considering the secret cost. Who was once to be their savior soon becomes Valentina’s worst nightmare as the family fights for survival in a new land.

Armed with a Fabergè egg necklace, Quinn dives into the past to solve the mystery of the body left to rot in a London flat for a hundred years. But that’s not the one on her mind. The whereabouts of her long lost twin still haunt her and she’s left to wonder who she will find first, the killer or her sister.

I really identified with Quinn in this book as she tried to find a balance in life with a new baby. It’s nice to see a normal character who doesn’t immediately fall into the role of picture perfect mom who has it all without a care. She puts in the work, as all parents do, and it was lovely to see her overcome different challenges. Although most challenges she’s faced so far like a plot to murder her, the reveal of her birth family, and the fact she can see through time are some many people will ever go through.

Valentina’s story was an interesting one. When we think about the Russian Revolution, we usually think about the lost princess Anastasia and the rest of the Romanov family or the wild death of Rasputin. We don’t see much about the aristocrats that managed to hop trains, flee their homes on horseback, or buy their way to a different land, dressed as a peasant. Her struggle to grieve the loss of her former life and her father and fiancé while trying to keep her remaining family afloat was something I can assume many faced when in a supposed safe place. From page one, I worried what would happen to poor Valentina.

Shapiro did a fantastic job weaving in Russian history and facts into a thrilling drama of betrayal and loss. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising since Shapiro herself was born in Moscow. Still, many authors forgo historical facts to focus more on just the story. She does neither, perfectly pairing the past and present to create a book that doesn’t sacrifice a thing.

I don’t think there will ever be enough praise for this series, which is perfect for lovers of women’s fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, time travel, romance, or just plain good books.

Consumed

If you’ve been following the blog for the past few months, you know I’m a fan of narrator Meghan Kelly. I’ve listened to several of her works and today I have something a little different to share. Consumed by Sara Fields is a super hot book you’ll want to wear headphones for. Trust me.

Genre: Paranormal Erotica

Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Story Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers

Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Undercover agent Kassandra thought taking underworld mogul Marcos into custody would be a cake walk. But the billionaire has been at the game longer than she’s been alive and won’t go in without a fight. And although she tries to break free, it doesn’t matter where in the world she is because Marcos has her twisted around his little finger and wants to show Kassandra what he does to girls who don’t play by his rules.

Marcos isn’t an easy man to please. He has rules and standards one must abide by, or suffer the consequences. His hard hand has made him a master of the boardroom and a devil in the bedroom. The way he weaves himself into Kassandra’s mind and dreams leaves you wondering if he’s more incubus than vampire. It also begs the question of if she will stick around long enough to find out.

While I expected a ton of sex, I was hoping for some more story between the spankings. I have a lot of unanswered questions and felt as if it was more erotica than romance, which is fine, I was just left wanting more. More character development, backstory, and a well rounded ending with no loose ties. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the audiobook is only about four and a half hours long, and for that length, Fields did manage to fill the time with a lot. Maybe one day we’ll get an extra large version with plenty of plot to go around.

With Kelly, I’m pretty familiar with her work and could pick her voice out of a crowd. While I’ve listened to her give life to werewolves, cowboys, and yoga teachers, I wasn’t prepared for Consumed. I’ve never listened to an erotica and she had me blushing! While I’m no prude, I don’t know if I could do her job, which is why I’m such a fan. Writing is hard work, but creating different voices for an entire cast is no laughing matter.

Overall, I dub this book best for readers and listeners that are looking for some darkness and some serious heat in their stories. This is no 50 Shades level fire, this is a whole other level.

Bad to the Crone

I love all things witchy, so when the fabulously talented Meghan Kelly came to me with Bad to the Crone by Amanda M. Lee, I was sold. I’ve heard of the author, but this was my first work by her.

  • Heat Level:❤️
  • Genre: Paranormal, Cozy Mystery
  • Story Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Scout’s origins are a mystery. After being left as a toddler at a fire station with no memory of her parents, she’s taken in and given a name. As she grew, it became apparent that she had a special set of gifts. She feels it’s her duty to use her powers for good and joins a biker club called the Spells Angels to fight evil. It means a nomadic lifestyle, loose roots, and the chance to find out where she came from.

When she rolls into Hawthorn Hollow, it’s quieter than she expected and Scout can’t imagine what dangers the small town could possibly hide. It’s so little, she doesn’t even need her bike to get around. But it turns out evil likes small and quiet, the kind of cozy places where neighbors trust one another and never lock their doors.

With a team of powerful witches, including a broody, handsome Gunner, Scout fights to keep her new post as monster-free as possible. But questions about her own past and getting to know the ins and outs of her new crew makes for a complicated time for our witchy heroine.

I wish the actual Spells Angels bikers played a bigger part in the book. It had great potential and I thought a witch on a motorcycle was such an awesome idea, but once she’s in Hawthorn Hollow, Scout’s biker crew is just, well, a crew. It would have made more sense to just make it a coven instead of build up the biker stuff in the beginning just for it to fall a little flat. Since this is a series, I’m hoping the next books have some serious Harley vibes.

Scout was a fun character and I really want to know the rest of her backstory. Strong female leads who don’t take any back talk are some of favorites and her sassy comebacks were always welcome. Perhaps Gunner might be strong enough to take her on, but who knows what their idea of romance would be! Knowing them, it’d be rounding up some varied and hitting the biker bar for some wings.

The narrator Kelly couldn’t disappoint me if she tried. This particular cast of characters was wild compared to the traditional romances of hers I’ve heard in the past. The range of her voice is always impressive. She’s gone from a sweet school teacher in the Midwest to a werewolf king to a strong biker witch and have none of them sound the same. I like to think I could identify each of the books she’s worked on with nothing more than a character clip! Maybe I’ll try that one time and put my possible skills to use.

Overall, Bad to the Crone was a fun, light listen that’s squeaky clean, making it safe for fans of all ages.

Hang Your Heart on Christmas

It may not be Christmas anymore, but New Jersey is still completely freezing, meaning that books with a winter feel get first dibs on my list. This lovely Friday, I have the sweet audiobook Hang Your Heart on Christmas, written by Heather Blanton, Narrated by Meghan Kelly.

Genre: Sweet Western Romance

Heat Level: ❤️

Story Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Dent wasn’t always a stone cold killer. Granted, a steady shot and a way with a noose has made him one of the best US Marshall’s in the west, but with each dead outlaw, he loses more of himself. And until he finds the man who killed his father so many years before, he won’t hand in his badge or hang up his guns.

Amy just moved to Evergreen, Wyoming to be the sleepy town’s new school teacher. She fled her home for her new post with a few scars that left her scared of men, the dark, and the unknown. She was promised the quiet life, and intends to heal with the help of her adorable students and a new place.

They’re so different, they immediately butt heads. Any thinks Dent is surly and abrasive. Dent thinks Amy is dull and too bookish. But you know what they say about opposites attracting. And when the towns new mayor and a mystery from the past invades Evergreen, the marshall and the teacher might have to join forces.

I thought this book was adorable. The romance was sweet with a nice, slow burn that really built up over time. It allowed me to get invested in Dent and Amy as characters without the “insta-love” some stories have. They had their own identities outside of the romance, which I loved. It wasn’t just a man and a woman, it was two individuals with complicated feelings and pasts that weren’t just slapped on a page.

The action in the book, which I won’t go into so I don’t spoil anything, also added a nice layer. Sometimes with sweet romances, it’s easy for me to get bored. But with murder, crime, and mysteries to keep things spicy, I was fully invested. The one thing I felt was missing, was the Christmas. They were carving pumpkins, not decorating for the holidays, so I would have liked to see more Christmas from a book with it in its title.

Finally, how is it that Meghan Kelly seems to get more talented with every book? Really, I was impressed with the first, but it’s like she keeps surprising me with the range of her voice. I think by the next one, I’ll be able to identify each character by tone alone! Between the light accents and the inflections unique to each character, she does a lovely job.

Blinded

Today I have another book/audiobook for you. Blinded, Elkridge Series: Book #1, written by Lyz Kelley and narrated by Meghan Kelly.

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance and Suspense
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️
  • Story Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

A terrible accident as a teen robbed Mara of her parents and her sight. Now she lives above her flower shop with her trusty seeing eye dog, often visited by her older brother, who now has a life and family of his own. It’s taken years for her to be completely independent and she still mourns the life she once dreamed of–romance, a family, maybe even a musical career. And when a blast from the past shakes things up, her dreams threaten to turn into nightmares.

Joey left his small town as soon as high school graduation was over, and never looked back, building a life in Seattle as a detective. But when his older brother is found dead, and the deputies at a loss for what happened, he takes a week off work to bury his sibling and search for clues. When he steps into the local flower shop to buy something for his mom, he finds Mara right where he left her so many years ago.

He thought she got married and had no idea the accident left her blind. She never thought he’d come back into their small town. Joey’s flight leaves soon and Mara isn’t interested in having her heart broken again. But some bonds are unbreakable.

Mara’s blindness was a topic that could have gone very well or very poorly. I was pleased to see that Kelley created a character that wasn’t defined by her blindness, but it was just one layer in a very complex young woman with strength and passion. The small “tells” were there as well, like Mara’s wording to her seeing eye dog and the way she spoke of her therapy after the crash. The author did a lovely job of not just sticking the word “blind” in a book, which is very important when it comes to embracing characters in literature.

The mystery aspect was strong as well, a true “who done it” that makes you think as you listen. I appreciated that the crime plot line wasn’t cut and dry, tied with a pretty bow after an hour like a TV cop show.

Meghan Kelly was already a pro when I came across her work, but she’s really outdone herself with Blinded. From a kid nephew to an old, angry Italian man, everyone has a distinct voice that never wavers. She gave this thrilling contemporary romance with and edge a life.

Rescued by the Sea Nymph

Narrator Megan Green has just introduced me to the Little Mermaid retelling I didn’t know I needed. Well, calling it a retelling is unfair, since it was much more than that. There are gods and goddesses in disguise, Demi gods on the loose, and a host of rules for both the land and sea. So before I give too much away, here’s Rescued by the Sea Nymph (London Mythos Book 1) by Rebekah Lewis, narrated by Megan Green.

  • Genre: Fantasy Historical Romance
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • Story Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

James is merely the third son of a viscount, a position where he won’t inherit a title or a fortune, so he sets off to make his own. While the majority of his work as a ship’s captain is legal, he has been known to smuggle a bit, something that could send him to the gallows. One night, he taken hostage by a band of men who want his ship and his beautiful sister. When he defies them, they cut off his hand and toss him into the sea.

Ione has drifted along in her underwater kingdom for years, the outcast of her flashier sisters. She wants more out of life than to breed with a human male and then send him to his grave. And when one in need of her help floats into her ocean, she can’t help but go against every instinct she has, just to save his life.

Poseidon is feeling generous and gives James a hook for a hand and Ione three days on land to decide her future. But when the men that attacked James are still at large and everyone in the ton wants to know more about the mysterious beauty on his arm, three days might feel like a lifetime.

First of all, I love the gods and goddesses in London theme. They pop in and out of mortals’ lives, sometimes doing good and sometimes tossing them to the Kraken. I’m really into the theme and I’m going to look into the rest of the books in the series to get my fix.

Ione is charming, funny, and practical beyond words when it comes to silly human rules like not being able to ride in a carriage with a man and not dancing the waltz too often. She is a modern woman in a mermaid world who doesn’t need a man to be happy, but she wouldn’t mind taking one for a spin. The whole book, I was rooting for her to get her guy, get her legs, and get everything else in the world she wanted. Sure, James is great too, but Ione is a smart mermaid with a quick wit, so she’s my obvious favorite.

It’s always so funny to me when a narrator goes from one extreme to the other without pause. The first work of Green’s I listened to was a squeaky clean romance with a few pecks, but this book has a lot more steam than that! But I guess that’s what’s impressive about voice actors, they need to have a certain kind of flexibility to allow them to cover so many different kinds of works.

Overall, this book is funny, interesting, different, sexy without being erotic, and a must read…or listen. I’m really not picky, as long as you grab a copy.

The Earl of Sunderland

I’ve been in a true historical romance kick lately and I recently listened to The Earl of Sunderland: Wicked Earls’ Club by Aubrey Wynne, narrated by Kevin Archer. It was sweet, uncomplicated, full of longing glances and turns about the room, and something nice to listen to while cooped up inside from the snow.

  • Heat Level: ❤️
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Story Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narrator Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Military man Kit was the younger twin, born shortly after his brother, who was first in line to become the Earl of Sunderland. But when his newlywed brother dies shortly after his wedding, Kit returns to his childhood home to take on the title. However, the new widow is expecting a baby and puts the future in limbo. If she has a boy, Kit is back to his old life, but if it’s a girl, he can keep his title and change his life forever. And as they wait for the baby to be born, someone steps into his world that he hopes never leaves.

Grace became the lady of the house at fifteen when her mother died in childbirth after finally producing a male heir. The small family grieved, but Grace threw herself into raising her little brother and running the estate alongside her father. She convinced herself that love and marriage was not for her, but when she visits her recently widowed and pregnant cousin and meets Kit, she may just change her mind.

Squeaky clean, this listen is for all ages. Kit and Grace share a few kisses and brush hands, but nothing more. However, their attraction is very physically based in the book, which was confusing at times since they would later think how great their off page conversations had been. I would have liked to witness their deeper chats and expand on their connection. Although their personalities on their own were very well fleshed out and you did want them to work out, if only to let Grace have her cake and eat it too by way of having a permissive husband who would probably also allow her to stay home.

The subtitle of Wicked Earls’ Club made me wish there was actually more of the bawdy crew in the book! One would think the wicked earls would be, well, wicked. Sure they gambled and cavorted with “ladies of the night,” but that was off page and skimmed over. In fact, no one was wicked. They were all perfectly nice, accommodating, and they should have been called Sweet Earls’ Club instead.

It’s been ages since I’ve listened to an audiobook narrated by a man, but Archer was perfection. His tone and passion really worked for the book and I can’t believe I haven’t listened to him before! His narration work was so convincing, it’s easy to get lost in the world of Grace and Kit.

Overall, it was a cute book, a fast listen, and what a sweet, historical romance should be.

A Gypsy’s Christmas Kiss

I adore audiobooks. I listen to them in the car, while cleaning, while doing graphic design for work, basically whenever I can. It’s a great way to get my hands-free reading fix. So today I have a short but sweet one entitled A Gypsy’s Christmas Kiss, written by Dawn Brower and narrated by Megan Green. By the way, this is the 6th book in the Connected by a Kiss series. While I always recommend getting a series in its entirety, this book is a stand-alone in a collection of stories by different authors.

  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Heat Level: ❤️
  • Story Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Finley, the Duke of Clare, isn’t the warm and fuzzy type. The Battle of Waterloo and a few personal tragedy hasn’t exactly made him open to love and everything that goes with it. But while out feeling sorry for himself, he comes upon a shop and meets a mysterious young woman.

Lulia is the daughter of a Romany princess and a disgraced English nobleman’s son. Her mixed heritage means she doesn’t fit anywhere, and when she’s left orphaned, she relies on her few friends to keep her company. Teaching fencing lessons pays her bills, as does telling fortunes. When a sad young man with a chip on his shoulder comes into her shop, she might see more than she plans.

Years later, Lulia has slipped into English high society, spending time with her pupil turned friend, Diana. But she carries many secrets, even from those closest to her. One secret is the strange bond she felt with the young man she met so many years ago. And when the same young man steps back into her life, will her hidden past ruin everything or will the pieces fall into place just in time for Christmas?

This instalove story is what I like to call “Grammy Safe.” I can listen to it with my grandmother in the car on my way to drop her off at mass with no worries. I can also listen to it on my way to drop my daughter at ballet class. The sweet story is driven mainly by emotions and unexplainable ties that draw Finley and Lulia together. Of course they’re both very attractive, but a few chaste kisses are all this late Georgian era couple share on their way to happily ever after.

I do wish this book was longer and a little deeper where the story was concerned. When I say it was instalove, I mean they were completely fixed on each other after ten minutes to the point where even after ten years, they were still mad for each other. I would have liked to see why they loved each other without the vague “he’s perfect” and “she’s strong.” Lulia is such a vivid character with such different parents and Finley has such an interesting past that I’m sure has many stories, that I’m left wanting more.

But the story was short and sweet and great for a little feel-good diversion that makes audiobooks so special. It certainly helped that while listening, it was snowing in my area, mimicking the flurries Lulia and Finley saw in England.

This is my first listen to a piece Megan Green lends her voice to. She has a certain inflection to her tone that really gave an exotic feel to the book. Lulia’s accent was distinct, making it clear who was speaking when she was sharing a moment with Diana. Even the men had a slightly different tone and everyone’s voice was consistent throughout the work. While consistency doesn’t sound like something to be applauded, I have listened to some audiobooks where a character loses their accent midway through!

Overall, I enjoyed the story and wished that the rest of the series delved into it more, particularly where Lulia is concerned. How did her parents meet and fall in love? What’s it like being a Romany princess? Did she have to give up fencing? Will she try for the Romany throne? Dawn Brower, if you read this, I would like more Lulia, please and thank you.