Concrete Evidence by Rachel Grant, narrated by Meredith Mitchell

Washington monument at night in the left foreground with a man kissing the neck of a woman in the right background.Why I read it:  This one is part of the #AudibleRomance package.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Accused of stealing artifacts from a 500-year-old shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. She’s concealed her past and taken a job certain to give her access to the buyer of the missing antiquities. She’s finally closing in on her goal when she’s distracted by a sexy, charismatic intern who makes her want something other than revenge.

But Lee Scott is no intern. He’s looking for the lead conspirator in an international artifact smuggling scheme, and Erica is his prime suspect. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her trust and get her to reveal her secrets, even seduce her.

As Erica and Lee struggle to conceal their real agendas, the one thing they can’t hide is the attraction that burns hot between them. When Erica’s quest puts her life in jeopardy, Lee must choose between old loyalties and a woman he never expected to fall for.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I believe Concrete Evidence is Rachel Grant’s first published book. Having recently listened to her most recent release, Firestorm, it is obvious that her skills have only grown since then. In some ways this listen, so close on the heels of the other was a strange juxtaposition. Concrete Evidence is somewhat dated already and, while entertaining, romantic and pacey, it is also not to the same calibre as Firestorm (then again, not many books are).

July Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

A white man in his mid to late 20s stands against a door. He has short dark hair and is wearing a dark gray t-shirt and his arms are folded across his chest. Only his upper torso and head are visible.Marty and the Pilot by Harper Fox, narrated by Chris Clog – B- This book is part of the #AudibleRomance package. It’s my third Harper Fox book narrated by Chris Clog in a very short space of time (about 2 weeks and the last two were back to back). I’m definitely a fan of this narrator.  This book wasn’t quite the success of Priddy’s Tale and Driftwood – but it was nevertheless still worth my time. Marty and the Pilot isn’t quite a melancholy as the other two books I’ve listened to and as such it didn’t quite have the mood I enjoyed so much in the earlier two books. I also didn’t quite trust Devlin (Marty’s pilot) and the story was a bit too fast to entirely convince me he was in a place to really commit to a relationship. This is somewhat strange because Flynn (from Driftwood) was arguably more messed up but I believed him. Maybe it’s because Tom and Flynn were both messed up. Marty here is pretty much together. He likes himself and the life he’s built. He knows what’s important. In some ways, he’s a “Marty Stu” (and is perhaps very aptly named) but he doesn’t have the same journey that Devlin has.

Priddy’s Tale by Harper Fox, narrated by Chris Clog

Muscular dark-haired man wearing only a sand-coloured towel, looking down as he fastens it around his hips, against the backdrop of a brick wall with a quartered window.Why I read it:  I downloaded this one with the #AudibleRomance package.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  What doesn’t kill you sometimes makes you wish it had…

Priddy’s a lost soul in a part of Cornwall the tourists don’t get to see. He’s young, sweet-natured and gorgeous, but that’s not enough to achieve escape velocity from his deadbeat village and rotten family life.

He’s a drifter and a dreamer, and self-preservation isn’t his strong suit. An accidental overdose of a nightclub high leaves him fractured, hallucinating, too many vital circuits fried to function in a tough world. When a friend offers him winter work in a lighthouse – nothing to do but press the occasional button and keep the windows clean – he gratefully accepts.

His plans to live quietly and stay out of trouble don’t last very long. A ferocious Atlantic storm washes a stranger to Priddy’s lonely shore. For a shipwrecked sailor, the new arrival seems very composed. He’s also handsome as hell, debonair, and completely unconcerned by Priddy’s dreadful past.

Priddy has almost given up on the prospect of any kind of friendship, and a new boyfriend – let alone a six-foot beauty with eerily good swimming skills – out of the question entirely. But Merou seems to see undreamed-of promise in Priddy, and when they hit the water together, Priddy has to adapt to Merou’s potentials too, and fast. His lover from the sea might be a mere mortal from the waist up, but south of that line…

Far-flung west Cornwall has a hundred mermaid tales. Priddy’s loved the stories all his life. Now he has to face up to a wildly impossible truth. Merou’s life depends upon his courage and strength, and if Priddy can only find his way in the extraordinary world opening up all around him, all the ocean and a human lifetime needn’t be enough to contain the love between merman and mortal.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  While I have many Harper Fox books on my TBR, I haven’t read most of them. I remember enjoying Life After Joe after it was first released – way back in 2010 now. What sticks in my memory is how well Ms. Fox writes melancholy. There is a way she writes which is poignant and sweet and sad but not tipping over into emotional torture porn or OTT melodrama. Like Nora Roberts, Ms. Fox makes me care about characters quickly. And in Priddy’s Tale, I cared so much about Priddy almost from the start of the book. He’s young and a little lost, recovering from an accidental drug overdose which has derailed a life which was already difficult because of an abusive father. When Priddy’s best friend, Kit, leaves town to attend university, Priddy feels very alone.

Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely, narrated by Grace Grant & Richard Armitage

shirtless dark-haired hot guy lounges on a sofa. Superimposed over the image to the right is a postcard from Paris featuring the Eiffel Tower against blue sk with white fluffy clouds behind it.Why I read it:  Wanderlust is included in the #AudibleRomance package. Plus: Richard Armitage.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he’s the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I’ve ever heard.

My mantra is simple — Don’t mix business with pleasure. I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say — that I want him to take me back to his flat — tonight.
Except there’s a catch…


One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure…

And it involves the toughest work ever — resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we’re spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I’ll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing…unless one of you is leaving.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Wanderlust was written for audio – or, at least, it was first published as an audiobook. (It’s out in print now as well.) The introduction is about how Joy is a sucker for accents – and British accents are her kryptonite. So it’s a very aural book and I expect it works best on audio. This is particularly so because Richard Armitage narrates the sections from Griffin’s point of view.

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