Tag Archives: Free audio books

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Book review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Listening Length: 7 hours and 19 minutes (186 pages), ASIN: B000N85TWI

Kitty, a vain and shallow young woman, marries Walter, a serious, bacteriologist for all the wrong reasons.  Although Walter loves and adores Kitty, she is bored with Walter and their life together in Hong Kong.  As a distraction, Kitty has an adulterous relationship with the handsome, dashing and married Charles Townsend. Once Walter discovers what his wife is up to, his heart breaks and to help both his heart and their relationship to heal he takes Kitty away to the interior of China to give aid dealing with a cholera epidemic.

The Painted Veil was written in 1924 and originally released as five instalments in Cosmopolitan magazine. Subsequently it has been made into a movie three times, in 1937, 1957 & 2006. This story is a drama and it is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, a young woman whose name is Kitty. Mr. W. Somerset Maugham wrote numerous plays and novels; his best known work was Of Human Bondage.

I was intrigued from the first page. The story pulled me in immediately. I was curious about the characters and what drove them. Mr. Maugham does a superb job of showing us who Kitty, Walter and Charles really are, with well drawn characters. This book is truly a tale of transformation.

This is a standalone book and although the ending is sad, it is satisfying. The story is original and keeps us guessing right up to the last page about what will happen. Although the book revolves around the marriage of Kitty and Walter, it is not a romance; instead the focus is more on Kitty’s personal journey through a difficult time.  I recommend this book.

To Purchase: “The Painted Veil” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Kate Daniels Series

Book Review: 1 trash can
Kate Daniels Series, Book One
Publisher: Tantor Audio, Program Type: Audiobook, Listening Length: 9 hours and 6 minutes, ASIN: B001PLND3E

Kate Daniels, a mercenary who can wield magic, becomes a temporary member of the Knight of the Order of Merciful Aid when she investigates the murder of her mentor and friend. Kate wields a magic sword and has magic in her blood. During her investigation she suspects that the Masters of the Dead or else Curran, the beast lord, are the most likely suspects, but are they?

Ilona Andrews is the pen name for Ilona Gordon and Andrew Gordon, a husband and wife writing team. There are currently nineb ooks in the Kate Daniels series, a contemporary fantasy series where magic and technology are continually at odds. When magic is flowing, technology doesn’t work and vice versa, with each power source continually in flux. Monsters roam the streets including naked, sinuous and bloodthirsty vampires who are controlled by necromancers.  Ilona Andrews has also written three books in the The Edge Series and two in the Kinsmen Series. Magic Bites is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, Kate Daniels.

The Kate Daniels books have quite a large following and some of the books have even ended up on the New York Times best selling list.  I can see how some of the original ideas, like the portrayal of the vampires and the way magic and technology are at odds can be appealing.  That is why I decided to give this series a try.  However, after reading, I could not understand why anyone would enjoy this book, I did not. Perhaps the quality of the writing improves as the series continues. I thought the dialogue was cheesy with a confusing story that jumped around without much flow while following a weak plotline.

Although this is a standalone book and the story resolves by the end of the book, the journey was painful.  I do not recommend this book.

 Question to ponder: Has anyone read all or any of the books in the series and if so, is the writing in the later books an improvement over the first book?

Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Alpha and Omega Series, Book 2
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks, Listening Length: 8 hours and 25 minutes (304 pages), ASIN: B002MVI0XY

In this universe the Fae have already come out to the world at large and The Marrok feels it is time for the werewolves to come out as well. But what would happen if a supernatural group, that may or may not include the European werewolves, did not want the world to know? There would be lots of strife and bloodshed, but can Charles and Anna contain the damage?

This is the second of two released books in the Alpha and Omega series. There is also a novella that introduced this series and was published in On the Prowl. The third book is expected to be out in March 2012. This series takes place in the Mercedes Thompson universe but it revolves around different characters, focusing on Charles, the Marrok’s part Native American werewolf son and his new mate, Anna, who just happens to be an Omega. Patricia Brigg has also written several other series which fall into Paranormal Romance, High Fantasy, and Fantasy. She has written numerous short stories. This series is considered Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy. The books are told in a first person narrative with Anna’s voice and thoughts.

The book examines Charles and Anna’s relationship and delves into both their characters on a deeper level. I did not enjoy this book as much as the first book. I found the story to be a bit repetitive and it was not as captivating but I still enjoyed reading about Charles and Anna.

Hunting Ground is a standalone book with a much stronger ending than beginning or middle. I have not yet decided whether or not I will read the next book in the series when it is released.

To Purchase: “Hunting Ground” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Trout Lake Media, Listening Length: 4 hours and 40 minutes (180 pages), ASIN: B002T5U202

A mysterious young man frequently holds extravagant parties for the rich and chic crowd in what is known as East Egg on Long Island. Nick, his neighbour, is soon invited, which we learn is due to Nick’s connection to Gatsby’s long lost love. This is a story of love, lost honour and the cruel nature of some people; it also shows how the past influences the future.

The Great Gatsby was released in 1925 and is a drama that takes place just after the end of World War I. The story is told in a first person narrative by Nick Carraway, but he is not the protagonist, only the narrator. He is chronicling Jay Gatsby’s story. Gatsby is the protagonist and the story is his life as observed by Nick. The author, F. Scott Fitzgerald has completed four novels and numerous short stories; he is also considered one of the great American authors.

The first page of this book is intriguing and summarizes what the story is about, a non-judgemental view of Jay Gatsby’s life. Throughout the book, Mr. Fitzgerald is examining society and exploring the difference between “old” money and “new” money. This is a sad story about some awful people. Initially, we know little about Gatsby, but as the story unfolds his character is drawn with skill and precision until we come to fully understand the man and his motives.

This book is a great character study and certainly worth the read.  It examines an earlier time and gives us an interesting view into the past.

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To Purchase: “The Great Gatsby” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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Imitation in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 19 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 19
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Listening Length: 12 hours and 44 minutes (320 pages), ASIN: B0019ZWM4C

Someone is imitating famous serial killers and performing copycat murders.  The same person is leaving a note at each gruesome death scene addressed to Eve.  Lieutenant Eve Dallas is a tough, smart, likable homicide detective, and she is being taunted to find the killer before she becomes the victim.

To date there are 42 books in the In Death  series, with one more expected to be released in February of 2012.  These books are crime drama, suspense and romance because they focus on the case Eve is currently working on as well as her and Roake’s personal relationship. This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2059 in New York City. The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, but at times the story is also told through some of the other characters including the murderer. They are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

This was an enjoyable installment in the In Death Series. There were numerous possibilities as to who the murderer was, we knew it was one of them but not which one. Robb kept us guessing right up to the end. The side story on Peabody was intriguing; she was studying to write her detective test while helping Eve solve the case.

Imitation in Death is a standalone book with a good exciting story which developed with a good pace up to an exciting ending.  If you enjoy a good crime drama then you will enjoy this book, it is also a great addition to the In Death series.

To Purchase: “Imitation In Death” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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Portrait in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 18 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 18
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Listening Length: 11 hours and 32 minutes (320 pages), ASIN: B0019ZWM4M

Young vibrant adults are being murdered for their “light” and the murderer is reflecting it in pictures of these dead youths. Eve sorts through the clues hoping to find and stop the killer. Meanwhile, Roarke has some really touching and emotional revelations about his mother.

To date she has written 42 books in the series, with one more expected to be released in February of 2012.  These are crime drama, suspense and romance because they focus on the case Eve is currently working on as well as her and Roake’s personal relationship. This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2059 in New York City. The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, but at times the story is also told through some of the other characters including the murderer. They are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

This was a fun book to read, I enjoyed the banter between Eve and Peabody. Following Eve as she solved the case was its usual interesting trip.  There is an intriguing side story surrounding Roake’s childhood, particularly details about his mother which were very touching and sweet.

Portrait in Death is a standalone story and it built up to an exciting ending. This is a must read for fans of In Death. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

 

To Purchase: “Portrait in Death” from Amazon, click here or on picture above1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Macmillan Audio, Listening Length: 10 hours and 18 minutes (400 pages), ASIN: B003LTOIK0

The Russos have the perfect marriage, or so it seems from the outside. A young boy is badly burned. Each family is facing a crisis and how they deal with it determines their true character.

Emily Griffin has written five books and they all fall into the chick-lit genre.  Matters of the Heart is told in a first person narrative alternating between the two main protagonists.  Tessa Russo is the wife of a prominent pediatric surgeon.  Valerie Anderson is a single mother, who becomes involved with Dr. Russo after her son is badly burned.

This story has great character development, all the characters are likeable and I could understand where everyone was coming from. I was totally engaged from the first page. A story which revolves around a young boy, who is seriously burned, peaked my interest immediately and tore at my heart. I have read some of Ms. Griffin’s other novels, and I was intrigued with the connection to Something Borrowed. Tessa’s brother and sister-in-law are the same Dex and Rachel who are featured in that novel.

This is a standalone book. The story kept me guessing right up until the end.  I found the situation touching and it brought tears to my eyes several times  If you enjoy a good book in the chick-lit genre, then you should definitely read Matters of the Heart.

To Purchase: “Heart of the Matter” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Alpha and Omega Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Alpha and Omega Series, Book 2
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks (January 15, 2009), Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 10 hour(s) and 6 min. (320 pages), ASIN: B001QVHR1C


A rogue werewolf is terrorizing people in the high country of Montana. Bran sends his newly married son, known as his enforcer, out to investigate. This gives the married couple a chance to spend some time together, and allows Anna an opportunity to realize what her Omega powers entail, but little do they know what really awaits them.

This is the second of three released books in the Alpha and Omega series.  The fourth book is expected to be out in January 2012. This series takes place in the Mercedes Thompson universe but it revolves around different characters, focusing on Charles, the Marrok’s part Native American werewolf son and his new mate, Anna, who just happens to be an Omega. Patricia Brigg has also written several other series which fall into Paranormal Romance, High Fantasy, and Fantasy.  She has written numerous short stories.  This series is considered Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy.  The books are told in a first person narrative with Anna’s voice and thoughts.

The story hooked me from the first page.  We are introduced to the characters and learn a bit about each of their back stories. Once Charles and Anna are up in the mountains, we realize that a black witch is behind these rogue attacks. The story is captivating and the excitement builds all the way through to an exciting ending.

This is a stand alone story with interesting characters. I already liked the universe and I am wondering what else Anna and Charles are going to get up to, so I am going to read the next book in the series.

To Purchase: “Cry Wolf” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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City of Night by Dean Koontz

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Frankenstein

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Frankenstein Book 2
Publisher: Random House Audio, Listening Length: 8 hours and 29 minutes (400 pages), ASIN: B000ALAL5S


The creator of Frankenstein is creating and enslaving his own private race of super beings. The only problem is he is crazy and his beings are starting to break down. It is now current day and police detectives Carsen and Michael with a little help from Deucalion are trying to stop this insanity, but Victor’s influence is causing the evidence to disappear and no one believes there is a problem.

Dean Koontz has written numerous books, primarily suspense thrillers, but City of Nights falls into the horror genre, it is the second of five books written in his Frankenstein series. He co-wrote the first novel in this series with Kevin J. Anderson and City of Nights with Ed Gorman.  It is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the various different characters in the book.

Victor is the ultimate in evil. In the original he was a good guy and suffered greatly at the hands of his creation. But 200 years of power has corrupted him, or perhaps the adjustments he did to himself to prolong his life have caused him to become insane. His creations are all self destructing but there’s no real explanation as to why and why now. We get an inside view of some of the characters that Victor has created.  There was some amusing banter between Mike and Carsen and they are both great characters.

There is still no conclusion to the story, this novel is more like the end of a part than the end of a book.  It definitely falls into the horror category with some pretty gruesome scenes but it also had lots of action and an intriguing story. I am wondering how Carsen, Michael and Deucalion are going to stop Victor.  I will be reading the next installment to see what happens next and how this tale unfolds.

To Purchase: “City of Night” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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