Category: Audiobook

An Audiobook Spotlight w/ Notes | “The House Called Hadlows” by Victoria Walker (Clayton), narrated by Kim Bretton

Posted Thursday, 8 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The House Called Hadlows” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with Kim Bretton on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was wickedly enchanted by my journey
into the Sebastian & Melissa series:

Walker plunges you into this world of mystery and magic with such an ease of alignment, you wonder why you’ve not yet traversed through her lens of enchantment sooner! From the nuanced details about the ways in which she built Sebastian’s world – to the foods his cook prepared for him to the more curious details how his life and world was now co-merging into another world’s dilemma. You found connection through the details but she also encouraged you to think further outside the box of what is unthinkable and plausible to imagine. She acts as the guide to give your imagination good folly to exercise its limits and I love her for it!

As I was listening to the story – I saw moments of familiarity within the story – of how it was being told and some of the entanglements of the magical bits of the world. I felt it had a brilliant cross matching of themes and events which could be pulled straight out of The Neverending Story and Jumanji and yet, I wasn’t sure if those stories were writ first or second to this one. Whichever way round, the beauty of course is recognising certain themes and story threads whilst finding a wonderful new world to entreat inside which plays by its own rules.

As Bretton describes the background of Sebastian’s world you can gather he’s living in a rather bustling community but it is how he absently walks through this towne and how he arrives where he is meant to be rather than where he was intending to be is what gave me the most smirks! As isn’t that just as real and humbling honest about our own lives? We sometimes make discoveries we aren’t meaning to make but still find all the same?! I love how he was walking without much direction and finding himself more in the way of others than enjoying the adventure of being outside. By the time he reaches the old furniture shop memories of visiting antiquarian book shoppes and early attic stores came back to mind! I loved those visitations in my childhood as they were great fodder for an emerging writer – as the objects and items for sale were futile ground for my imagination.

The descriptive details about Sebastian’s discovery of the mirror was pure joy! I loved how Walker leant into the scene to pull us closer to Sebastian’s widening eyes as he drew a more curious astonishment about what he was seeing – you can feel what Sebastian felt in that moment and it was awe-inspiring! Especially as the mirror itself was serving as a portal into a different world as much as Bastian’s book served him. The cat he encounters reminded me of the felicity of finding cats in places I had unexpected to find them and how their nature drew you towards them even if you had other things on your mind at the time.

As Sebastian starts to speak with Melissa, she helps him understand how her world and his can merge together – with one keen exception, she cannot cross into his world! When it came time for Sebastian to enter Melissa’s world I was so caught up in the moment with Sebastian, I, too, had forgotten to notice there had been a shifting of worlds – of where his and hers suddenly had merged together and he had taken such a keen step forward into the unknown! The cat (of course) plays a strong role in how he can make this transition as much as the magical object he hadn’t realised he was in possession over – yet, when it came time to visualise this transitional scene, Walker illuminated it with the childhood curiosity and wonderment you could sense and taste as an adult reader who still has the innocence of youth.

I liked how the story was ahead of its time showcasing the differences in boys and girls – and how girls should be seen on equal grounds with each other. Whilst at the same time, I liked how cheeky the fourth wall was broken in some places like when there is a point in the story where the focus is off of Sebastian and Melissa and the reader is acknowledged. I love how subtle this was done and how well those moments fit within the context of the story itself.

One of the best blessings though is her command of language and phrases – she has such a firm presence of wordsmithing this series into a wonderful display of descriptive narrative and sharp bursts of dialogue – the whole story simply feels alive on its own accord. You can almost feel the leaves which are part of Autumnus and you definitely feel like giving a big hug to each of the Seasonal Guardians Sebastian had met on his journey.

-quoted from my review of The Winter of Enchantment

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An Audiobook Spotlight w/ Notes | “The House Called Hadlows” by Victoria Walker (Clayton), narrated by Kim BrettonThe House Called Hadlows
by Victoria Walker (Clayton)
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Kim Bretton

The sequel to The Winter of Enchantment and the return of Mantari the magic cat.

Sebastian and Melissa would never forget their arrival at the house called Hadlows. The long drive through the neglected park and woodland, the lake glimpsed through trees, the house, with its "thousand windows" looking down on them and the great hall, empty but for the portraits covering the walls. Hadlows held a secret, of that they were sure.

Genres: Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade Fantasy, Portal Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781906123024

ASIN: B08D26C1X3

Also by this author: The Winter of Enchantment

Also in this series: The Winter of Enchantment


Published by Victoria Clayton Limited

on 22nd July, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 5 hours and 34 minutes (unabridged)

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The Sebastian & Melissa series:

The Winter of Enchantment by Victoria WalkerThe House Called Hadlows by Victoria Walker

The Winter Enchantment (book one) | see also my review

The House Called Hadlows (book two)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions

as well as #KidsLit, #ClassicFantasy, #MGFantasy or #MiddleGrade and #Fantasy; #PortalFantasy

About Victoria Walker (Clayton)

Photo Credit: Kim Bretton Photo is being used with permission.

Victoria Walker was twenty-one when she wrote The Winter of Enchantment in 1968. A second story about Sebastian and Melissa, The House Called Hadlows, was published in 1972. In 1973 she went to Cambridge University to read English and married immediately after finishing her degree. Two children followed and two decades passed before she began to write under her married name of Victoria Clayton. She lives with her husband in Northamptonshire.

Photo Credit: Kim Bretton

(photo is the original illustration by the author on behalf of her series)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 8 October, 2020 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade Novel, Portal Fantasy, Self-Published Author

An #INSPY Book Spotlight with Notes + Extract | featuring “Set the Stars Alight” by Amanda Dykes

Posted Monday, 5 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I positively LOVE reading INSPY Lit and when I find an author has combined two of my favourite styles of story “Contemporary and Historical” in a lovely time shift, I dearly sit up and take notice! This particular novel I discovered a bit ahead of the blog tour being announced which is why I jumped at the chance to be on the tour itself – as I was sorting out which new books were being released by this publisher as I wanted (at the time) to see if I could get ahead of the pub dates and potentially seek out the stories via my local libraries (either in print or audiobook). I had good intentions but as the course of the year went the way it had for all of us, I admit, I lost track of which stories were releasing and when they might reach my libraries.

Ahead of my tour stop today, I happily found out the audiobook is available through my regional library via their audiobook catalogue on CloudLibrary!! Eek. I was overly excited finding this out as I am listening to more audiobooks lately as with all the migraines I’ve been plagued with from May-August and with September being a wickedly horrid month all the way round (from my parents health emergencies to my excessive migraines) you could say reading all the way round for me has been a bit more adverse than usual! Audiobooks and larger print books are easier for me to enjoy whilst I’m re-transitioning back into reading after a long nightmeric run of migraines and having this lovely so easily available was a bit of random joy for me recently!

I wasn’t able to get too far into the story but as I have it checked out, I’m hopeful I can finish it this October as you’ll soon find out why I enjoyed the hour I listened too! I love finding new authors and it is a delight of mine to be featuring some INSPY authors via this blog tour company as INSPY has long since been a cosy comforting branch of literature for me. I’ve been a hybrid reader (ie. mainstream and INSPY) since I was quite young and I oft turn to INSPY whenever I want to tuck offline into a story I know  will find a positive lift of joy to be reading! Most recently, I related my immense joy in listening to ‘Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish’ whilst ‘Magnolia Storms’ was one of my top favourites during a recent INSPY readathon this past August. You will find a healthy gathering of INSPY stories in my Story Vault as well!

Today, I am wicked thankful I can bring you a short extract from “Set the Stars Alight” as I love helping my fellow readers and book bloggers find stories they might love as much as I do! I look forward to conversing with you about this story in the comments! Especially if you think this might be a wicked good fit for you as a reader, too! I’d be keen to know what attracts you into time shift narratives (or time slip!) as much as why you love dual perspective novels which combine both modern settings with the historical.

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An #INSPY Book Spotlight with Notes + Extract | featuring “Set the Stars Alight” by Amanda DykesSet the Stars Alight
by Amanda Dykes
Source: Borrowed from local library's CloudLibrary

Lucy Clairmont's family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it's Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she's discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers--and the healing--they so desperately seek.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Time Slip and/or Time Shift


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764232671

ASIN: B0857HL9MJ

Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 30th June, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 12 hours and 36 minutes (unabridged)

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Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #TimeShift, #HistFic, #INSPY or #ChristianFiction
as well as #SetTheStarsAlight & #BHPFiction

About Amanda Dykes

Amanda Dykes (Photo Credit: © Michael Pettrey)

Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. She's a former English teacher and the author of Set the Stars Alight and Whose Waves These Are, an INSPY award winner and a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, as well as three novellas.

Photo Credit: © Michael Pettrey

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Posted Monday, 5 October, 2020 by jorielov in Astronomy, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Love Books Tours, Space Science

#EnterTheFantastic an Audiobook Review during #RIPXV | “The Winter Enchantment” by Victoria Walker (Clayton), narrated by Kim Bretton

Posted Thursday, 1 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “A Winter of Enchantment” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with Kim Bretton on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why this series left me curious to listen too:

As one of the co-hosts of @WyrdAndWonder every year now for the past three years (2018-2020) I have been attempting to seek out Classics in Fantasy – especially Classical Children’s Fantasy stories as I would like to establish a better foundation for a genre I have loved since I was seventeen. I grew up loving the films within The Neverending Story series whilst I hungered after more Fantasy films ever since I first saw Pete’s Dragon (the original). There was a mysterious enchantment about those stories – about how magic was interstepping through our world and how sometimes the magical was just round the next corner in our own  individual journeys.

Knowing what I know now about my preferences for reading Fantasy, it shouldn’t have been such a keen revelation to realise I would learn to adore and become passionately enthused by reading (or listening) Urban Fantasy and/or Portal Fantasy. In this particular series, the two are interchangeable because it is partially within an Urban Fantasy framework as Sebastian must cross into the realm wherein Melissa has been living in confinement whilst Sebastian lives in our own world. Yet it is a beautiful Portal Fantasy wherein certain objects act as the transportation and teleportation channels of travelling through both worlds.

I was hoping this series might help me re-align into reading (and listening) to more Fantasy this Autumn. I’ve been attempting to get back into Fantasy since Wyrd And Wonder ended our third year in May; after a series of clustering migraines and other life adversities took me out of their stories. I fought hard during Summer to win back the joy I had in May and in some bursts of readerly blissitude, I had reattained that happiness I had felt in May but it never held. My migraines were a blustering nightmare this Summer and I am thankful as October has finally dawned I am hopeful they will start to lessen their hold on me.

I knew I would immediately connect with Ms Bretton’s voice but what surprised me so happily is how anchoured I felt inside this world of Sebastian & Melissa!! It is a world that is so engaging as you first start to read (or listen) to it – wherein you feel as if this isn’t your first foray into its world. Every turn of the story is a new chance to see something quite fantastical and there are creatures and sweet dialogue inside this story that warms your bookish heart, too! It is a charming representation of Classical Children’s Fantasy and the innocence of their journey together is what I loved most!

Thereby I was lead by earnest curiosity to listen to this series and through that curiosity I have found myself re-aligning back into a genre I love dearly! I am so thankful to be on this blog tour and to have found a new author whose artful crafting of Fantasy has become a new beloved favourite!

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#EnterTheFantastic an Audiobook Review during #RIPXV  | “The Winter Enchantment” by Victoria Walker (Clayton), narrated by Kim BrettonThe Winter of Enchantment
by Victoria Walker (Clayton)
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Kim Bretton

A magic mirror enables Sebastian to travel from his Victorian world of winter snow and Mrs Parkin to a magic world of Melissa, Mantari, and wicked Enchanter and many other exciting people.

This wonderful audiobook follows in the great tradition of the E. Nesbit magic books. Since its first publication in 1969 it has proved its appeal to children of every age. Long out of print until republished by Fidra Books in the UK and Purple House Press in the USA, it received praise from respected children's authors. The sequel to this book is called The House Called Hadlows.

Genres: Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade Fantasy, Portal Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08B4645R9

Also by this author: The House Called Hadlows

Also in this series: The House Called Hadlows


Published by Victoria Clayton Limited

on 15th June, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Sebastian & Melissa series:

The Winter of Enchantment by Victoria WalkerThe House Called Hadlows by Victoria Walker

The Winter Enchantment (book one)

The House Called Hadlows (book two)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions

as well as #KidsLit, #ClassicFantasy, #MGFantasy or #MiddleGrade and #Fantasy; #PortalFantasy

About Victoria Walker (Clayton)

Photo Credit: Kim Bretton Photo is being used with permission.

Victoria Walker was twenty-one when she wrote The Winter of Enchantment in 1968. A second story about Sebastian and Melissa, The House Called Hadlows, was published in 1972. In 1973 she went to Cambridge University to read English and married immediately after finishing her degree. Two children followed and two decades passed before she began to write under her married name of Victoria Clayton. She lives with her husband in Northamptonshire.

Photo Credit: Kim Bretton

(photo is the original illustration by the author on behalf of her series)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 1 October, 2020 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade Novel, Portal Fantasy, Self-Published Author

#SaturdaysAreBookish Audiobook Review | “Jesse’s Girl” by Tara September, narrated by Verla Bond

Posted Saturday, 19 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Starting in August 2020, I started hosting for Random Things Tours as a new book blogger working with them to either review and/or host guest author features on behalf of their authors. I was thankful to join their book blogger team and look forward to joining the tours which are highlighting the stories I actively enjoy reading and discovering. I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Jesse’s Girl” from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why “Jesse’s Girl” felt like a good fit for a Contemporary Romance:

I love second chance romances and stories of redemption – I have a preference for slow burning romances and getting the chance to have a new relationship repair the angst of a past relationship which seemed to be the case with ‘Jesse’s Girl’ as Gwen was finding her life completely erased from the life she had with Jesse once Jesse left her and his daughter for a fling with a colleague.

What appealled to me the most was the shortness of the story itself – as this was an audiobook under five hours and I felt that was a good length for me at this time to listen too. The shorter audiobooks are fast becoming my new ‘favourites’ and when it comes to Contemporary Romances, I am still navigating the genre to root out who my new favourite voices are for this genre. Having said all that, as you will see on my review, I reached a point in the narration where I could not move forward and what I had hoped to have found in the story was not quite the experience I was given. Despite that, I have some strong observations to relate to my readers who can hopefully discern if this is a romance better fitted to them and their readerly habits.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Audiobook Review | “Jesse’s Girl” by Tara September, narrated by Verla BondJesse's Girl
by Tara September
Source: Direct from Author via Random Things Tours
Narrator: Verla Bond

“I wish that I had Jesse’s Girl”

Successful Texas lawyer, Reade Walker, curses that damn song every time it plays, all too aware of the irony of its lyrics. After all, he has been secretly and painfully enamored with Jesse’s girl, Gwen, for nearly a decade. It was love at first sight for him, but sadly she’s not his girl. She belongs to the one man who betrayed him and knows Reade’s hidden family secret. Yet Reade can’t seem to love anyone except the one woman he can't have. Or can he make her mine?

When Gwen Clark’s senator husband runs off with his intern and all their money, the ensuing scandal turns her life upside down. Deserted, penniless and desperate to provide for her six-year-old daughter, Gwen has no one to turn to but Reade Walker. The one man her heart desperately wants, but her pride dreads having to ask for help. Despite welcoming them into his home, it seems like Reade can barely stand being in the same room with her anymore, let alone under the same roof—in the same bedroom. But Gwen is determined to get her life back on track. It is past time to rediscover her own dreams…if only she can keep her aching heart from breaking all over again.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Short Story or Novella


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
three-flames

ISBN: 9781093176131

ASIN: B07XBWTWNJ

Published by Plus It Up

on 6th September, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 3 hours and 37 minutes (unabridged)

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Published by: Plus It Up

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomCom or #Romance and #JessesGirl
as well as #audioreads, #audiobook or #loveaudiobooks

About Tara September

Blogger and former PR executive for The Walt Disney Company, Tara holds a Master’s degree in journalism & communications from New York University. She also spent a semester abroad during her undergrad at Queen Mary University in London. For over a decade before publishing, Tara has penned a popular lifestyle, travel and parenting blog at TaraMetBlog.com.

Always an avid romance reader, she has been daydreaming about being an author since school. Dozens of bad dates, four cities and adventures later, she still finds it impossible that she met her husband on a New York City subway. They now live in sunny Florida with identical twin boys and four cats underfoot/on her laptop/everywhere. Fueled by an IV of green tea and sometimes Champagne, she's finally writing the happily ever after tales she's been dreaming about.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 19 September, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Random Things Tours, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Vulgarity in Literature