This feature is for short reviews, reviews of books in a series where it might feel repetitive, or (as Michelle suggested) books I was too lazy to write a “real” review for. Today’s books I read recently and just had a fun time with.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Pride and Papercuts by Staci Hart
Narrator: Aiden Snow, Mia Madison
Series: The Austens #5
Published by Tantor Audio on March 23, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Romance
Length: 8 hours 53 minutes
Hate is a strong word.
Depending on the company, loathe is a good substitute. Abhor might be a little fancy, but it gets the job done. But the word that really sums up how I feel about Liam Darcy is, without question, hate.
He doesn’t seem to think much of me either. The second he lays his fault-seeking eyes on me, he sets out to oppose me. Everything about him is imposing, as if he consumes the nearby air to power the rise and fall of his broad chest, and it’s clear he resents my presence on his advertising team. Every idea I have is shot down. Every olive branch I offer is set on fire by nothing more than the blistering coals he calls eyes.
In return, I light him up with my words.
It’s not as if he can dismiss me, since I work for his client, Wasted Words. Instead, he’s forced to tolerate me, which seems the closest we’ll ever be to friends. Fine by me.
I can be civil and still hate Liam Darcy.
But if there’s more to him than his exterior shows, I won’t be able to hate him at all.
I might stumble over that line between love and hate and fall right into his arms.
I’m drawn to pretty much anything that refers to Jane Austen and most especially Pride and Prejudice, so this was a no brainer to pick up for me. I read the first book in the series (a Emma retelling) and liked it well enough. Even though I skipped 3 books, I was never lost – they have overlapping characters, but stand alone really well.
That it’s a retelling of Pride and Prejudice is obvious from some unmistakable characters – like Liam Darcy and his sister Georgi (spelling? hazardous of audiobook reading!), Wickham, Caroline, Catherine de Bourg and even a Mr. Collins equivalent. But there are some notably absent characters/changed characters as well. Instead of a bunch of sisters, Laney Bennett has a host of brothers. Most notably, Jane has been replaced by her brother Jett. So instead of the Bingley-Jane romance, we have Georgi and Jett. Little differences like that abound and even as a super fan, they mostly worked for me.
The one challenge of these small changes for me was that without the sisters, the Wikham situation wasn’t as extreme. And while there was a situation for Darcy to step in and save the family – because of his love for Laney – it didn’t feel as big as Darcy’s actions for Elizabeth in the original. And The Letter came pretty close to the end, making for a less complete reversal, in my opinion.
But really, I doubt any retelling will ever measure up for me and this is one of the better retellings, for sure. I enjoyed the characters quite a a bit and their placement as rivals in an advertising campaign for the bookshop/bar was a lot of fun. I will definitely read more books in this series eventually, since my favorite measured up so well.
This was narrated by Aiden Snow and Mia Madison. I enjoyed both their styles and would happily listen to more from both of them. They worked well together as well, very complimentary voices.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hollywood on Tap by Avery Flynn
Narrator: Charlotte North
Series: Sweet Salvation Brewery #2
Published by Tantor Audio on April 6, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 5 hours 2 minutes
For years, Sean O’Dell has hidden his past as a Hollywood heartthrob from everyone at the Sweet Salvation Brewery. However, the arrival of nosey efficiency expert Natalie Sweet threatens the status quo. It doesn’t help that with her glasses, buttoned-up sweaters and always pulled-back hair that she’s uncovered one secret already: His attraction for hot librarian types.
Natalie has had enough of the strong-and-silent Sean submarining her efforts to change the brewery for the better. She’s ready to do whatever it takes to make her vision a reality, even if that means taking down the pig-headed and too-hot-for-his-own-good brewmaster.
Sizzling attraction battles stubborn determination as Natalie and Sean go head to head in a battle that’s anything but business as usual.
I read the first book years ago and have always planned to continue the series, so when I saw that Hollywood on Tap was coming to audio, I decided to give it a go. It was a fun, light, quick read and I’m glad I was able to continue with the Sweet sisters.
Natalie is a very likable character for me – we’re extremely similar. She likes order – she imposes it as much as possible with her spreadsheets and multi-step plans. I understand that need to order your chaotic world to cope, so I felt a kinship with her. I liked Sean well enough, but I would have liked to see a much deeper side to him. He’s dealt with quite a lot and I felt like it didn’t really come through in his personality. I felt like for all he’d done in his life, he seemed extremely ordinary – like his experiences hadn’t actually changed him.
I enjoyed watching them continue their fight for the brewery – this time against an unknown saboteur – and I think the mystery was well done. I had suspicions but was thrown off the trail plenty, which is what I like in a mystery. The romance between Natalie and Sean was steamy, but also felt like it sprung out of nowhere. I would have like some more build up and growth in their relationship so that the steam made more sense.
Charlotte North is a narrator I’ve listened to several times and I really enjoy her performances. She does a great job with voices and bringing the characters to life. If she narrates the next book, I’ll be happy to listen to it as well.