THUNDERHEAD by Neal Shusterman 🎧

The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.

A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.

As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Will the Thunderhead intervene?

Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?


Title : Thunderhead
Author : Neal Shusterman
Narrator : Greg Tremblay
Series : Arc of a Scythe
Format : Audiobook
Page Count : 13 hours, 2 minutes
Genre : YA Dystopian
Publisher : Audible Studios
Release Date : January 9, 2018

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

I am blown away (again by this series and how it ended). This was the kind of second book that we don’t see as readers very often, the kind of book that exceeds the first book in expectation and enjoyment. THUNDERHEAD took all of my preconceptions from book one and set a bomb in the middle of them, leaving me jaw-dropped to the floor.

THUNDERHEAD itself had much more characterisation in this book and I loved every reveal, every moment of narration from the Thunderhead. I learnt so much more about the workings, ethics and even affection that the Thunderhead had and used to operationalise the world in this age. The scythes, however were an unhinged s**t show. Oh how they unraveled in this story and how I loved reading it all. The usual suspects were there, Scythe Curie, Scythe Anastasia (Citra) and Scythe Lucifer (Rowan). But oh my word, there were some scythe surprises too. I was shook.

This installment introduced the concept of unsavouries which was an interesting depth to this age and Grayson’s character made for interesting reading. We also learnt a bit more about the tonists too.

So who stole the show in this book? Two characters, firstly the THUNDERHEAD themselves and then Scythe Anastasia. I am now left in total suspense for what will happen in the final installment of this excellent series.

If my body is the Earth, then I am nothing more than a spec of dust in the vastness of space. I wonder what it would be like, then, if my consciousness were to someday span the distance between the stars. – THE THUNDERHEAD

The narration was excellent. One narrator, multiple POVS conveyed very well with tonation and mood. If you’ve not started Arc of a Scythe, then what have you been doing with your life?

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris 🎧

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie? 


Title : Behind Closed Doors
Author : BA Paris
Format : Audio
Length : 8 hours, 46 minutes
Genre : Domestic Thriller
Publisher : Macmillan Audio
Release Date : August 9, 2016

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 -4 star review

I don’t read many thrillers these days when once, thrillers were the only thing on my book menu! Anyway, I was in the middle of a book slump and fancied something totally different. Plus, I’m all about reading the backlog. This domestic thriller was told in past and present with a slowly unfurling and creepy story.

The focus of this story was Grace and her meeting, relationship and marriage to Jack. Grace had a sister with Down’s Syndrome and this meant a vulnerability from an exploitation perspective. Jack was the ‘perfect’ man but insidious psychopath; no one on the exterior would guess the depravity to his needs or behaviours. What was interesting to me was the lack of a physical element to the behaviours and therefore the author excelled at being able to convey the cruelty of mental and emotional torture.

It took time to build up to the true picture of what was going on behind the doors of the perfect house and perfect couple. The sceptical part of me remains amazed at any women who will give up their job and own identity for the love of any man. On the one hand, I felt Grace was a bit of a sap before the abuse but once that was in play, she was clearly purely a victim. There were times in this story that leaned towards the incredulous but the author seemed able to pull this back before it became too extreme.

I was surprised where the eventual plot of this book went, having felt a predictability at times, so colour me surprised at the twists. The audio kept me wrapped up in the story and I always wanted to get back to it on my commute and made excuses to myself to finish the audio. The narration was generally good. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and I will defintely read more by BA Paris.

ONE YEAR HOME by Marie Force 🎧

He came home a hero and lost the only woman he’s ever loved…

John
I have no idea how to survive without my beloved Ava. She had no choice but to move on with her life during my six-year deployment and has now married Eric. I hate him for taking her from me. I’d prefer to wallow in my depression and heartbreak, but the whole damned world wants a piece of the SEAL Team leader who helped capture the world’s most-wanted terrorist. I need help handling the relentless requests, and when Ava sends her new sister-in-law to manage the media circus for me, I’m prepared to hate her on principle. Her brother took my Ava. What else do I need to know about her?

Julianne
It takes five seconds to realize Ava’s ex is going to be the most complicated and difficult client I’ve ever had, but the opportunity to represent the most celebrated man in the world could make my career. I’m determined to do the job, even if I dislike John from the moment I meet him. And I like everyone. So much so that my brothers worry about me being exploited by those who would take advantage of my unwavering love for others. But John… He’s in a class by himself, and his bitterness is a festering wound that I begin to wish I could somehow fix for him. The more time we spend together, the more our mutual disdain morphs into something that feels an awful lot like desire. There’s no way I can want this man, or so I tell myself, and when Eric finds out I’ve developed feelings for the man causing trouble in his new marriage, well…
That’s going to be a hot mess.


Title : One Year Home
Author : Marie Force
Series : Navy Captain John West #2
Format : Audio
Length : 8 hours, 37 minutes
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : HTJB, Inc
Release Date : August 20, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

If you were left after FIVE YEARS GONE (book one) satisfied like me, you might question the need for a second book. Ten minutes into this listen, I realised that this was the sequel I didn’t know I needed and I could quickly see I was in for an emotive and angsty ride.

I knew this story was going to centre on John, broken, battered and bruised both outwardly and psychologically. This reluctant hero, thrown into fame and fortune he didn’t want or seek, made for compelling reading. After FIVE YEARS GONE, I felt sorry for John but I still wasn’t his biggest fan, I wanted Ava with Eric so…yeah. Coming at this story from John’s POV meant everything from an altered perception and I became his cheer team.

John’s story included accurate and compelling narrative about recovery from amputation to shrapnel, PTSD and sepsis. I challenge anyone not to be pulled into the journey. Yet, most compelling was John’s mangled heart and broken soul. The story of John connecting to Julianne was fast but not too fast, and I devoured the story.

So you think you know where this review is going? Colour me surprised when this isn’t just John’s story but it was very much back to Ava and Eric. I didn’t know how I felt about that and what was happening with this very new HEA; it was a rollercoaster. I was just glad we had four fantastic narrators along to present the ride to the listener.

This duology has been one of my favourite and most memorable military romances. I don’t often seek out this kind of story but Navy Captain John West series is one you should read if you’re a fan of this sub-genre or if you’ve never tried it before. This duology has made a Marie Force fan of me and I am eager to try my hand at her other kinds of romances and in 2020, I will.

STILL by Kennedy Ryan 🎧

I’ll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.

The promises people make.
The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.
Emotion tells us how we feel, but life…life has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.

For Grip and Bristol,
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?


Title : Still
Author : Kennedy Ryan
Narrators : Jakobi Diem, Maxine Mitchell
Series : Grip #2
Format : Audiobook
Length : 13 hours, 12 minutes
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Tantor Audio
Release Date : September 18, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

What a boom! of a completion to this series, which I think is my personal Kennedy favourite so far. My love for this series stems from the decency that is Grip. He’s no saint but he’s good guy born and bred. My second love of this series is the flawedness and loyal Bristol. She has been a growth of love on my part and growth in character on Kennedy Ryan’s part.

The strength of this tale, this instalment, lies in the timeline. There is no rushing, it jumps and then it focuses in on hours and days and I cannot tell you how well that worked for me. Taking this approach just enhanced my connection to these characters and their lives, I felt like family.

There were some difficult storylines but when things were basically peachy at 70%, I smelled a rat and knew that I was about to take a dive off a cliff with these two. What I didn’t expect until I saw it coming, was that this would go into my work -life expertise. I cringe and worry when a story delves into writing these topics because I’ve seen it butchered. Yet, I remain conflicted because I want to see these topics make the cut in books. Kennedy Ryan narrated this emotive topic with sensitivity, research and excellence. There was some medical detail that was spot on but on the whole, she concentrated on the emotional narrative that had this person with a PhD in the subject with waterfalls down her face. You rocked this, Kennedy and I am beyond impressed.

I waited to experience this book by audio, having loved Grip this way. The narration brought this story and the emotions to life. These narrators epitomised Grip and Bristol.

Fiction is just that but excellent fiction takes reality and carves a life story. Kennedy Ryan wowed me from the first to the last page and I love that I was able to get this series signed in London recently. Read this series and feel from your heart to your soul, I did.

LOVE HACKED by Penny Reid – reread 🎧

There are three things you need to know about Sandra Fielding: 
1) She makes all her first dates cry, 2) She hasn’t been kissed in over two years, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably. After one such disaster, Sandra–near desperation and maybe a little tipsy–gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better, must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.

This is a full-length, 110k word novel and is the third book in the Knitting in the City series. All books in the series can be read as a standalone.


Title : Love Hacked
Author : Penny Reid
Narrator : Devra Woodward
Series : Knitting in the City #3
Format : Audiobook
Length : 13 hr 56 min
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Audible Audio
Release Date : March 2, 2014

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


This was a most intriguing story from Penny Reid; it’s full of mystery and fun. Alex is the most curious hero, a waiter who is clearly something more but that’s the big mystery. What or who is Alex? I’ve liked Sandra from the knitting crew but not really had the measure of her character properly until now. Sandra was a smart, witty lady, often found being sarcastic or self deprecating. I really liked her. Her lack of love life was hilarious and she was the woman who made men weep then get therapy.

The direction of this storyline was unexpected, unusual and had me reaching for the Internet to do some research. That’s not to say that background isn’t explained adequately, I just found myself curious as to the reality of the story context and it’s grounded in fact. Penny Reid bring her signature wit and intelligence to this series but I found this book a little hotter than previous books in the series. this was a slow burn connection with all the heat boiling to a frenzy; such a delight to listen to.

I drank in the connection between Alex and Sandra. I swallowed my frustration with Alex at times. I revelled in what could be. Most of all, I sat back and enjoyed almost every minute of this book.

This was a re-read by audio and second time round, it was a dream. The audio was a single pov, single narration audio and Devra Woodward did a fantastic job in general but also with male dialogue. She captured the snark and humour so well and brought these characters alive.

You can totally just listen to this as a standalone but to appreciate the full knitting crew, start at the beginning with Janie.

GRIP by Kennedy Ryan 🎧

Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out. I know. I’ve been doing it for years. 

I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary. And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary. 

Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key. All that’s left is friendship and work. 

He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true. I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart. 

It’s wild, reckless, disobedient. And it remembers all the things I want to forget.


Title : Grip
Author : Kennedy Ryan
Narrators : Maxine Mitchell & Jakobi Diem
Series : Grip #1
Format : Audible Audio
Hours : 14 hours 49 min
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Tantor Audio
Release Date : August 8, 2017

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Well, it’s beens about two years since I read Flow (the prequel) but I remembered Bristol and Marlon’s connection well. Anyway, Grip (the book and the man) came into my life and kind of took over. This was a book that built and built into an explosion of intense feeling that was a brimming cup of emotion.

No matter how ‘hard angles’ Bristol came across as in this book, I admired her. She was a women who was driven but she cared deeply. She had all the high walls around her heart and I totally got why, but her loyalty blew my mind; I loved her, even when her reticence irritated me.

Grip was a man with his heart on his sleeve and he was all beautiful talent with a genuine personality. Despite his rising fame, Grip was a man who was grounded and he was grounded in Bristol. These two together were frustrating but all bubbling attraction and emotion.

I found the second half of this book so damn addictive and as the book built, my attachment to the characters grew. The second half was everything and Kennedy Ryan is the master of the sexual tension crescendo.

The narration for this audio was overall fabulous with dual POV and narration. At first, I was unsure of Maxine Mitchell as Bristol but she grew on me and her ability to translate male dialogue was superb. Jakobi Diem rocked the role of Grip. I need to read Still but I am totally waiting for the audio to drop in September because I need more of these two in audio format.

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