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July Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

arctic/Alaska scenic picture with mountains, snow and trees and ocean, and superimposed in the sky of the picture are the lower faces of a white silver fox (or silver bear!) and a younger indigenous man.Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert, narrated by Iggy Toma – B+ I enjoyed Arctic Sun recently, the first book in the Frozen Hearts series set in Alaska and after Caz enjoyed the follow up book, I decided to listen as well. I hadn’t listened to Iggy Toma narrate before but he has been highly recommended so I decided to give it a try.

Listeners were introduced to Tobias Kooly briefly in Arctic Sun but this book stands alone fairly well. Reuben Graham is a white guy in his late forties, going on an Alaskan holiday/adventure for his birthday. He was supposed to go with a couple of friends but they had to cancel at the last minute so he goes alone.

31 year-old Toby is the pilot/guide for his tour. Toby’s identifies his ethnicity as:

“My family background is a mix but mostly Athabascan from Ninilchik and Kenai. Also some Russian, Dutch, German thrown in.”

and it forms a large part of his identity. While I know the author is white, it seemed to me that the representation was done well but as I’m also white I’m hardly the expert here.

Edge by Tiffinie Helmer, narrated by Mia Chiaromonte

EdgeWhy I read it:  I was provided with a review copy by Audible Studios.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  He’s lost his edge….

Photojournalist Cache Calder lives to chase a great story. He’s just returned from the Middle East after surviving a suicide bombing that left him injured and grief-stricken. The last thing he wants is to travel to the wilds of Alaska on a “Where Is She Now” Assignment. But when his editor informs him that his subject is former kidnapping victim, Amelia Bennett who jump-started his career 20 years earlier, he packs his bags.

She lives on the Edge….

Mel Bennett’s carefully maintained control unravels the moment she meets Cache Calder. Attraction flares for the man who seems to really “know” her. No one at the Edge of Reason Lodge is aware she was the young teenager who’d survived one of the most publicized kidnappings in recent history, and she wants it to stay that way. But she starts to question her heart and her sanity when unexplained incidents begin to happen and a deadly threat returns to finish what he’d started so long ago.

Trigger Warning: Rape (of a child, off page. NOT detailed, but mentioned in the story).

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  First, let me say that I’m really glad I listened to this one because, at least in Australia, we pronounce “Cache” with a long “a” (ie Cay-sh) and I just don’t think I could have coped with a hero named after a place you hide things.  Thankfully the narrator pronounced the name in the American way so I heard “Cash” which is just fine as a hero name! (*laughs at self*)

I’ve been a fan of romantic suspense for a long time. Perhaps because I love it so much, I have become very picky about it.  I don’t mind a heightened reality but I want the world building to be consistent.  I prefer more romance than suspense, or at least an even balance, rather than the other way around and I’m becoming averse to “torture porn”.  I had high hopes for this book from a new-to-me author (and narrator as it happens).  While parts of the book didn’t work for me that well, I did enjoy it and, in terms of the mix of romance and suspense, I think the book got it about right.

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