5 Stars, Ariel Tachna, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Historical Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Nicki Bennett, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Checkmate by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna – Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Audio Gem

Title: Checkmate

Author: Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

Narrator:: Peter B. Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 10 Hours and 18 Minutes

At a Glance: There is never a dull moment and there’s a good pace to this story!

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: When sword for hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.

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Review: Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna did a fantastic job with this old world adventure romance story set in 1624 Madrid, during the Spanish Inquisition. I read this novel in 2012 and enjoyed it then, and was eager to hear it on audio. I was not disappointed. There is never a dull moment and there’s a good pace to this story! Tension, jealously, danger, adventure, humor, love and passion run rampant, and, given the time and setting, there is what I consider to be some mild violence. I would have loved to hear some feisty Spanish music from that era, and some clanking to go along with the sword fighting; it would have been an added enjoyment to the audio, but, alas, we can’t have everything.

Peter Brooke does an amazing job with the narration and the performance of accents and emotions of at least six major characters, the tones and accents so distinct. Christian Blackwood is twenty-three and has an English accent, Esteban is fifteen and Spanish; both have young sounding voices but very different personalities and accents. Teodoro Cieza de Vivar is older than Christian and even though he has a smooth, calm tone at times, it also reflects his maturity and the passion shared between Teo and Christian. Raul is a gypsy and former lover and friend to Teodoro; his voice has a very distinctive accent and expressive tones to match different situations. Gerrard Hawkins, Christian’s former protector, has a gruff, Cockney accent.

Teo is actually a very upstanding character with much pride and stubbornness. He is worldlier than Christian, older, and has served in the war and has killed. He is loyal to the end to anyone he has to protect. Christian is a surprise to Teo. Even though he is young, he’s not as spoiled as Teo thinks he is. He’s smart, generous, passionate and also loyal to his new found friends. It was fun to see the jealousy that first takes place between Estaban and Christian, and Christian being jealous of Raul.

I would also like to mention the beautiful cover by Ann Cain. It reflects the old world feel and the caring of Teo by Christian.

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You can buy Checkmate here:

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Alix Bekins, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Written in the Stars by Alix Bekin – Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Audio Gem

Title: Written in the Stars

Author: Alix Bekins

Narrator: Peter B. Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours and 12 Minutes

At a Glance: Peter B. Brooke IS FREAKIN AMAZING

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Bailey McMillan’s life is a mess. The general public blames him for his former employer’s nuclear pollution, resulting in professional disgrace. Humiliated, he takes a job as an editor at a science magazine run by his best friend, John. That part isn’t so bad; Bailey is fond of John, who seems to find Bailey’s abrasive nature amusing.

Unfortunately, working for John also leads to writing an astrology column in exchange for getting free rein in some op-ed articles—and then being sued over one. The (totally coincidental) accuracy of the column offers opportunity for further professional disgrace if anyone discovers its author—and then Bailey digs himself a little deeper.

In an attempt to prove astrology is bogus, he agrees to an experiment to date someone from each star sign. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bailey’s got a stupid crush on John, who stubbornly insists on a detailed breakdown of every date—bad and otherwise. Bailey’s luck has to improve sometime… right?

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Review: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this story. It is getting harder and harder to find a truly funny and romantic story. This book gave me everything I asked for and more. It was light and fun, but with an incredible depth of feeling and character. Bailey is one of my favorite characters of late, and Alix Bekin made it fun to root for Baily, and go on the journey that he was on.

John was so sarcastic, and listening to the subtle queues of John falling in love with Bailey was incredible. I was truly sad when “The End” came along. The author definitely did a lot of research for this book. The horoscope references were on point, and I loved watching Bailey throughout the dates. I was trying to figure out which date was what sign through the whole book.

Narration: Peter B. Brooke IS FREAKIN AMAZING… This was a first time narrator for me, and his narration made an already incredibly written book so much better. Bailey was a complex genius, and I can’t imagine actually reading this in print after hearing Peter represent Bailey.

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You can buy Written in the Stars here:

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy, Shira Anthony

Audio Review: Blue Notes by Shira Anthony – Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Audio Gem

Title: Blue Notes

Author: Shira Anthony

Narrator: Peter B. Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 47 Minutes

At a Glance: I simply adore Shira Anthony’s writing, and Peter B. Brooke is one of the best narrators in the business.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.

But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.

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Review: I picked this audiobook because I simply adore Shira Anthony’s writing, and I enjoyed Blue Notes the first time, in written word. Jason (Jazz) is such a likable character, a character that you feel deserves a happy ending and pull for from the beginning. Jules is a damaged young man with an incredible heart. All I wanted to do was protect him. I felt truth and passion throughout all of this book. Anthony really wrote an incredible story, but her ability to write the supporting cast was what really made this book stand out for me. The world she builds is one I could and have visited over and over.

Narration: I was also a little apprehensive as most of this book takes place in Paris, and I couldn’t imagine the challenge this would have been as a narrator. I will, however, say that I’ve listened to Peter B. Brooke narrate books in the past, and was extremely impressed with his abilities. I was not disappointed. Brooke is one of the best narrators in the business. When reviewing an audiobook, what you hope for most is the ability for the narrator to define each character. Peter B. Brooke has that ability in spades. He also popped in and out of his French accent so smoothly, and made that accent sound genuine, not forced or fake. Combining his ability with Jules, who, by the way is one of my favorite characters, was unforgettable. I cannot wait to hear the rest of this series.

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You can buy Blue Notes here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Kim

Sound Bite Sunday – Review: Redemption by Fire by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Title: Redemption by Fire

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: Peter B. Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours, 29 Minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Dirk Krause is an asshole of the first degree. His life is a hell of his own making, and he makes everyone around him just as miserable. When he’s injured on the job while fighting a fire, he’s nearly unbearable to the hospital staff, and of course no one from his unit cares enough to visit. Continue reading

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