4.5 Stars, Anne Barwell, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell – Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

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Amazon

Title: Shades of Sepia (The Sleepless City: Book One)

Author: Anne Barwell

Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 59 Minutes

At a Glance: I have now read the book and listened to the audio, so whichever you choose, I think you will be pleasantly entertained.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.

Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans.

One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Flint, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home.

After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target.

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Review: Shades of Sepia is a novel set in modern times, where we meet Ben Leyton in Flint, Ohio. He meets Professor of History, Simon Hawthorne, which leads us to the introduction to Boggs Castle. The castle is home to Detective Jonas Forge, Coroner Lucas Coate, and Boggs, an old southern gentleman. There they live and try to coexist with each other, which is humorous and serious at times, but they all remain friends, no matter what.

This audiobook is narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo, and I thought he did a really good job with the different emotions and voices for each of these characters. I liked his English accent for Simon, and the slight New Zealand accent for Ben. I also felt he did great with Boggs and the old southern gentleman’s drawl. He did a fantastic job with John’s vocals too, as you can just feel the evil dripping off this character. I felt Ferraiuolo narrated the story at a good pace and with the creativeness inspired by Anne Barwell’s storytelling. He really brought the story and characters to life. I have listened to other narrations by Michael Ferraiuolo, and I am becoming a fan.

Jackie’s review of this e-book was posted at TNA in March of 2014, and I think it’s right on the nose, outstanding and a series worth following. I have now read the book and listened to the audio, so whichever you choose, I think you will be pleasantly entertained.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy Shades of Sepia here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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3.5 Stars, Anne Barwell, Dreamspinner Press, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: On Wings of Song by Anne Barwell

Title: On Wings of Song

Author:  Anne Barwell

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 110

At a Glance: Places where the pacing of the story seemed rushed, but a sweet story about two soldiers who reunite after a devastating war

Blurb: Six years after meeting British soldier Aiden Foster during the Christmas Truce of 1914, Jochen Weber still finds himself thinking about Aiden, their shared conversation about literature, and Aiden’s beautiful singing voice. A visit to London gives Jochen the opportunity to search for Aiden, but he’s shocked at what he finds.

The uniform button Jochen gave him is the only thing Aiden has left of the past he’s lost. The war and its aftermath ripped everything away from him, including his family and his music. When Jochen reappears in his life, Aiden enjoys their growing friendship but knows he has nothing to offer. Not anymore.

Dividers

Review: I’m a sucker for historical fiction, especially historical romances. And there’s something about books set during World War I or II that appeal to me, maybe because there’s so much that is bittersweet and forbidden. This isn’t my first book to deal with a British soldier and a German soldier who meet during the war, and find each other again after the fact, but that didn’t detract from the experience.

First a word of warning about this novella: if reading about characters drinking coffee or tea makes you crave those same beverages, I highly recommend stocking up on tea for this story. 110 pages later, I’m three cups of tea down.

The story is not always happy, but one wouldn’t expect that when the story is set during WWI. It would just be unrealistic. The characters have to lose something, struggle a bit, before they find each other again. And they do. Told in alternating perspectives, the author does a good job of making Aiden and Jochen’s voices distinct. I cared about each of them both during the war and after, and hoped that all would work out for them. As a lover of literature myself, seeing them initially bond over books was heartening, especially when all the other soldiers were playing football (soccer for the Americans reading this review). After all, I am a sucker for happy endings, no matter how bleak it might seem, and any books with book-loving characters is right by me.

There are places where the pacing of the story seemed rushed. I felt like an entire chapter was missing between seven and eight and really hoped to see more between Jochen and Aiden. I wanted to watch their relationship grow and see how they managed to get around the fact that it’s a very dangerous time for two men to love each other. Perhaps there’s another book? I certainly would read it.

If you’re looking for a steamy read, this isn’t it. However, if you want a sweet story about two soldiers who reunite after a devastating war despite the odds being against them, then look no further.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

You can buy On Wings of Song here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Anne Barwell, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Jackie

Review: Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell

Title: Shades of Sepia (The Sleepless City: Book One)

Author: Anne Barwell

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.
Continue reading

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Anne Barwell, Dreamspinner Press

Shadowboxing by Anne Barwell

War is hell.

And finding love amidst the chaos of war is nearly impossible, but that’s precisely what Anne Barwell’s characters do in Shadowboxing, the suspenseful and action packed story of romance and danger set against the backdrop of Nazi run Germany during World War II.

Kristopher Lehrer is the brilliant scientist from a socially prominent family who is working to invent the A-bomb, though he’s operating in a need-to-know situation in which his superiors believe he doesn’t need to know that he’s little more than a cog in their war machine. Kristopher’s ignorance of his part in the Nazi’s plan, entirely unaware the formulas he’s manipulating will ultimately be used to a devastating end, leaves Kristopher dumbfounded once he understands his role in its creation. His duty to the Fatherland becomes inconsequential when compared to his conscience and compassion. They will, under no uncertain terms, allow him to support the führer in his insane bid for genocide and tyranny, especially after having recently lost his friend David, a Jew who disappears under mysterious circumstances, though not before the man delivers a grim and prophetic warning to Kristopher.

Escape is not a viable option but becomes Kristopher’s only choice as the thrilling race begins; the race to thwart the Nazi agenda, the race to save his own humanity as he steals the blueprints but is threatened time and time again by the Gestapo, who are determined to carry out Hitler’s mad bid for dominance.

Kristopher has help along the way, help from Michel, the Frenchman masquerading as a German soldier, as well as from the German Resistance and British and American allies. As the cat and mouse pursuit unfolds in dramatic fashion, the Gestapo always seeming to be one step ahead of the game, small battles are won and lost in the whole of the fight to outrun and thwart the enemy.

Parallel love stories run as an aside to the action and suspense as Michel and Kristopher, along with two American operatives, Matt and Ken, fight to overcome so many obstacles—including their own doubts and insecurities—to attempt to carve even the smallest bit of happiness from the impossible odds stacked against them. Their connections allow dreams of a future within a scenario of waking nightmares, offering a modicum of peace amongst the chaos.

There are no guarantees in life. In war, there are no guarantees of life beyond the next hour, the next day, and nothing pinpoints that fact as much as the way the author chose to end this book. Who knows whether these men lived to love another day? Who knows if either couple managed to carve a life together out of the rubble of a war that destroyed so many millions? Anne Barwell wisely chooses to allow the reader to finish the story and to imagine that life did indeed go on for these men in spite of the near insurmountable barriers they must overcome.

It might not be a wholly satisfying ending for some, but it worked for me, due in large part to the way the author drew me into the lives of her characters and made me want that happy ending for them, even if it’s one I have to imagine for them on my own.

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