Chasing the Dollar by Ellie Ashe


I received the audiobook version of this in exchange for a review.

I love a good cozy. I love a snarky female lead. I love a hot man that adds some steam. This book has all three. I listened to this book while on a road trip and there were so many times I found myself paying more attention to the story than the road (ha!). It’s a great story with fun characters and a fast paced plot. I actually stayed in my car a little longer when I got home so I could finish it. The narrator does a great job with the voices and seemed to capture each of the unique personalities.


Miranda Vaughn has spent the last year and a half fighting for her freedom. Arrested for a fraud scheme involving her supervisors, she’s lost her job at a prestigious investment firm, her fiancé, and her reputation. She walks out of the courtroom a free woman, only to find that life has a few more curve balls to throw her way. The jury may have found her not guilty, but Miranda is broke, in debt to her beloved aunt, and can’t find a job because of the cloud of suspicion still swirling around her.
She’s not going to be able to move forward with her life until she finds out who set her up. Buried in the evidence against her, Miranda finds a larger scheme, one involving far more money than the $37 million her boss fleeced from unsuspecting investors. Determined to uncover the truth, Miranda begins her own investigation—leading her to Macau and Belize, and into the arms of one sexy FBI agent, who may or may not prove to be trustworthy. When the danger heats up, Miranda finds herself in a race against time to find the person behind it all. Before he finds her…


Ellie Ashe has always been drawn to jobs where she can tell stories–journalist, lawyer, and now writer. Writing quirky romantic mysteries is how she gets the “happily ever after” that so often is lacking in her day job.
When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a good book, watching far too much TV, or trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends and family. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats, all of whom worry when she starts browsing the puppy listings on
To learn more, visit or sign up for her newsletter at


Onions in the Straw by Betty Mac Donald

Audiobook Title: Onions In the Stew

Author: Betty MacDonald

Narrator: Heather Henderson

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press

Length: 9 hours 40 minutes

Audio Release Date:

Synopsis: The bestselling author of the American humor classic The Egg and I continues the adventure with this collection of tales about life on the fringe of the Western wilderness. Writing in the 1950s, Betty MacDonald, sophisticated and urbane, captivated readers with her observations about raising a family on an island in Puget Sound. As usual, humorist MacDonald is her own favorite target. She manages to get herself into scrapes with washing machines set adrift in rowboats, used cars, and a $25 Turkey Squasher. And then there’s the scariest aspect of island life — teenaged children.

Betty Bard MacDonald (1907–1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children’s books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. Readers embraced her memoir of her years as a young bride operating a chicken ranch on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, andThe Egg and I sold its first million copies in less than a year. The public was drawn to MacDonald’s vivacity, her offbeat humor, and her irreverent take on life. In 1947, the book was made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and spawned a series of films featuring MacDonald’s Ma and Pa Kettle characters.

MacDonald followed up the success of The Egg and I with the creation of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a magical woman who cures children of their bad habits, and with three additional memoirs: The Plague and I (chronicling her time in a tuberculosis sanitarium just outside Seattle), Anybody Can Do Anything (recounting her madcap attempts to find work during the Great Depression), and Onions in the Stew (about her life raising two teenage daughters on Vashon Island).

Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald’s archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first official biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona. 

Heather Henderson is a voice actress and audiobook narrator with a 20-year career in literary and performing arts.  Her narrations include the NYT bestseller (now also a feature film) Brain on Fire;  and Sharon Creech’s The Boy on the Porch, which won her an Earphones award and was named one of the Best Children’s Audiobooks for 2013 by Audiofile Magazine.   She earned her Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Yale School of Drama, and is co-curator of, a pronunciation research site for the audiobook industry.  In 2015, Heather was a finalist for a Voice Arts Award (Outstanding Narration, Audiobook Classics), for her narration of Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I.


The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe

** I received an audio of this book in exchange for a review**

Listening to this story was a little different for me. I liked it when I first started it. Then I didn’t like it because Anna Blanc is a spoiled brat. But then the more I listened the more I realized the author did such a great job developing the character of Anna that to me she felt real. I’ve known people like her. They think of themselves before anyone else. Yet, when they are faced with a life-changing event, they wake up and use their personal determination to right all the wrongs in the world.

The world building was even stronger than the character developmental. Even though this is not a make-believe world, it is from so long ago it seems make-believe. I was transferred to turn of the century, Los Angeles. There were so many times I just stopped what I was doing so I could listen to the story. It made me wonder if this is what it was like for people listening to dramas on the radio so long ago.

I can only imagine how hard it is for a narrator to remember how different characters sound, but to remember characters with different accents seems almost impossible. Moira Quirk does a fantastic job. Her voice creations add to the story and enrich the story. It makes for an even better experience.

It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels, but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals. Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself. If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding. Midway into her investigation, the police chief’s son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity, and shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail. Anna must choose – either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She’s currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.






Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself.  Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She’s won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible’s prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”




If I were to cast characters for this book, I would

Anna Blanc- Katherine Watson

Joe Singer- Chris Hemsworth

Wolf- Ryan Reynolds

Madame Lulu- Kate McKinnon

Christopher Blanc- Collin Farrell

Edgar Wright- Benedict Cumberbatch


Occupied by Joss Sheldon

**I received an audio copy of this book in exchange for a review**

The central theme of this book is so representative of our world today. The author does a good job of showing the world of war and refugees through the struggles of his characters. As I  listened to this story, I felt the heartache the young characters faced when their world was completely turned upside down. It is always more interesting to look at life from someone else’s point of view. This book nails that. The narrator adds a believable component to the story. I think he does a great job bouncing around each of the characters and even makes the exposition interesting. My only issue with this book is the second half of the story seems a little flat compared to the first part. Had the quality of the story been consistent throughout, I would have enjoyed reading it more.

Step into a world which is both magically fictitious and shockingly real. Walk side-by-side with a refugee, native, occupier and economic migrant. And watch on as the world around you transforms from a halcyon past into a dystopian future.

Inspired by the occupations of Palestine, Kurdistan and Tibet, and by the corporate occupation of the west, ‘Occupied’ is a haunting glance into a society which is a little too familiar for comfort.


The Hound’s Bite by E.J. Stevens

Audiobook Title: Hound’s Bite

Author: E.J. Stevens

Narrators: Melanie A. Mason and Anthony Bowling

Publisher: E.J. Stevens

Length: TBD

Genre: Paranormal

Series: Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective (#5)

Audio Release Date: March, 2017

Synopsis: Ivy Granger thought she left the worst of Mab’s creations behind when she escaped Faerie. She thought wrong.
In a cruel twist of fate, Ivy has unleashed a powerful horde of Unseelie beasts upon her city, turning her homecoming into a potential slaughter of innocents. Now Ivy must gather her allies to fight a reputedly unstoppable force—The Wild Hunt.
Will the training Ivy received in her father’s court be enough to save her city, or will Harborsmouth be forced to kneel before the Lord of the Hunt? She is willing to risk her own life, but some sacrifices come at a cost worse than death. When an ally is bitten by one of The Wild Hunt’s hounds, Ivy must face the possibility that winning this battle may mean killing the one person she has come to love most.

Buy Links

Buy on AudibleAmazoniTunes


The only thing I get upset about is being left high and dry with no time to make up for the defaulted stop. That makes me look bad and will also make me unlikely to consider working with you again.

About the Author: E.J. Stevens

Jessica Meats is a graduate of the University of York and works in the IT industry. She draws on her experiences as a technology specialist and martial arts student to create a unique and interesting fictional community of combat experts and computer geeks.


About the Narrator: Melanie A. Mason

Melanie A. Mason holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in performance and a Master of Science in Information Science with a Graduate Academic Certificate in storytelling. Her expertise is bringing characters to life, either through performance or direction.  For more than 20 years, Melanie has worked in the performance and voice over industry, including commercials, audiobooks, documentaries, film, and anime. She is currently the voice of Ivy Granger. You can also hear her as Marl in Funimation’s Fairy Tail and Mrs. Shimura in Kodocha.  Learn more about and connect with Melanie on Twitter, IMDB, and at


About the Narrator: Anthony Bowling

Anthony Bowling is an American voice actor who has provided voices for a number of English-language versions of Japanese anime films and television series. Some of his major roles include Ukyo in Samurai 7, Shiro Ashiya / Alciel in The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, Shin Fukuhara in Baka and Test, Orito in Is This a Zombie?, Aoi Torisaki in Absolute Duo, and Jun’ichirō Kagami the title character in Ultimate Otaku Teacher.  Learn more about and connect with Anthony on Twitter, IMDB, and the Anime News Network.
TwitterIMDB Anime News Network






Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: A Psychologist’s Memoir

**I received a free audio copy in exchange for a review**

Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: A Psychologist’s Memoir by Annita Perez Sawyer, narrated by Annita Perez Sawyer

Memoirs are hard for me to read, but I get so much out of them because the authors are just normal people, but have overcome incredible odds. There is so much to learn from them. This one is no exception. Even after listening to this book, I have a hard time imagining the struggles this author went through. At a young age, she wrote in her journal that she wanted to kill herself. Her parents took her to a hospital and she began her lifelong struggle with overcoming mental illness. It wasn’t until years later that she began to understand the consequences of a flawed system.  The author tells the story in a very straightforward manner but manages to entertain and educate. If I have any issues with the book it would be that I think it is a little long. There were times when I wanted to skip ahead to hear about the next stage of her life.

I applaud the author for writing about such a personal and private part of her life. She needs to be given even more accolades for narrating herself. I think that takes a lot of guts.

Annita Sawyer’s memoir is a harrowing, heroic, and redeeming story of her battle with mental illness, and her triumph in overcoming it. In 1960, as a suicidal teenager, Sawyer was institutionalized, misdiagnosed, and suffered through 89 electroshock treatments before being transferred, labeled as “unimproved.” The damage done has haunted her life. Discharged in 1966, after finally receiving proper psychiatric care, Sawyer kept her past secret and moved on to graduate from Yale University, raise two children, and become a respected psychotherapist. That is, until 2001, when she reviewed her hospital records and began to remember a broken childhood and the even more broken mental health system of the 1950s and 1960s, Revisiting scenes from her childhood and assembling the pieces of a lost puzzle, her autobiography is a cautionary tale of careless psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, both 50 years ago and today. It is an informative story about understanding PTSD and making emotional sense of events that can lead a soul to darkness. Most of all, it’s a story of perseverance: pain, acceptance, healing, hope, and success. Hers is a unique voice for this generation, shedding light on an often misunderstood illness.


Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

**I downloaded the audio of this book from Scribd.**

I heard of this series awhile ago, but my TBD list is always long. With the audio, though I can read it while I exercise. However, this book is so good I read it even when I wasn’t exercising. The idea of a vampire personally assigned to the Office of the President is very creative a new twist on vampire literature. I liked how the author weaves in flashbacks as well as informational narrative. It helps advance the story without boring the reader.

Bronson Pinchot is the narrator for this book. At first, I found it difficult to forget his sitcom days. However, he does a great job of bringing these characters to life. Each character (and there are a lot) was a unique creation. It amazes me how narrators can keep track of the different voices they use. As if often the case when I listen to books, he will always be the main character and the main character will always be him from now on. I can’t wait to get the next one.

Zach Barrows is a cocky, ambitious White House employee until he’s abruptly transferred out and partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the president. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant. Bound 140 years ago by a special blood oath, Nathanial Cade is a vampire. On the orders of the president he defends the nation against enemies far stranger-and even more dangerous-than civilians like Zach could ever imagine.

Buy Links:


Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert

I enjoy this series so much I didn’t wait for the tour to get a free copy. Instead, I used my Audible credit so I didn’t have to wait. Now all I have to do is wait for the next story (insert me with arms crossed, tapping my foot).

Maggert created a unique twist on time travel and spells. This propelled me to keep reading until I finished it. I had to know what was coming next. This was one of those stories where I wanted to forgo all my responsibilities and just listen to what happened. Since I normally listen to audio books when I walk, my dog and I walked a lot that week. Once again, the ending wasn’t expected and I am curious what direction the author will take.

Erin Spencer narrates this story as she has with all the other ones. I think the author needs to make sure she always narrates each of the books. In my mind, she is Carlie. I can hear her actions in her voice. She adds to each of the characters and helps them come alive.

digital composite of Wooden table with library background


Audiobook Title: Halfway Bitten

Author: Terry Maggert

Narrator: Erin Spencer

Publisher: Terry Maggert

Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes (unabridged)

Audio Release Date: Nov. 10, 2016

Synopsis: Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time.

Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie’s spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:

  1. Don’t complain about the diner’s waffles.
  2. Don’t break the laws of magic.
  3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.

Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire’s curse without burning the waffles?

Buy on AudibleAmazoniTunes


Sunstone: A Steampunk Reality by Holly Barbo

I wanted an audiobook to listen to as I exercised. This book on Amazon was a great price, and then adding the audio was an added bonus. I chose this book because of the reference to steampunk in the blurb. I am interested in the punk genre as a whole and wanted to read more.

I chose this book because of the reference to steampunk in the blurb. I am interested in the punk genre as a whole and wanted to read more. At first, I was a little nervous because this world is very unlike the one I know. I struggle reading books where I have to always remember what the new things are. However, after about 5% of the book, I realized that author did a fantastic job of making this imaginative world real and I was not going to need a cheat sheet or glossary to understand all of it. That made it way more enjoyable. And when I am listening to this as I exercise, which I really don’t like exercise, it has to be good.

The characters are solid and well developed. The conflict soon becomes symbolic of what we face in our world today. It moved the story forward. I wanted to keep walking to know what happened next (my dog was a little annoyed by that).

I stumbled on this book and I am glad I did.

Before there was a history, the sun goddess Navora visited a moon within her realm that held primitive ocean life. She dipped her staff of power into the primordial sea and stirred. Pleased with what she had wrought, she departed, not at all troubled that a divine spark had touched two small dying sea creatures.

As centuries pass, life on the moon develops into a geothermal steam-powered industrial age. A triumvirate of politicians, banks and corporations bring strain and suffering to the masses they rule over. Unbeknownst to the people of the moon, there may be help. With the gears of time ever moving and trouble spiraling to a crisis point, can three individuals and a handful of fossils prevent a violent revolution?


Halfway Bitten: Halfway Witchy, Book 2 by Terry Maggert narrated by ErinSpencer

** I received a free audio copy of this book in exchange for a review, but I liked it so much, I bought the ebook edition. This post has an affiliate link**

I have fan-girled for this series~~BAD. The main character is just so damn spunky and snarky. For a young heroine, she seems sure of herself and her role in life. She does have slight issues, but it is refreshing to see a main character who accepts their faults and moves on- no whining.

This is book two from the Halfway Witchy series. It continues the story of Carlie and her grandmother working to keep everyone in Halfway safe from the things that go bump in the night.


You gotta love a book that opens with clowns. Happy or not, they always seem to be creepy in one way or another.

I will say the ending made me sad, but it made for a great plot twist in book three. If you’d like to see my post of book one, find it here, and my review for book three will be coming at the end of the month.

Erin Spencer narrated this book again. She does a fantastic job. In fact, I declare she will forever be Carlie and the author can never use anyone else!

The circus came to Halfway, and they brought the weird. When clowns, vampires, and corpses start piling up in town, Carlie has to break away from her boyfriend, Wulfric, to bring her witchy skills to the table- or grill, as the case may be. When the body of a young woman washes up in the lake, it unleashes a spiral of mystery that will bring Carlie, Gran, and Wulfric into a storm of magical warfare. Spells will fly. Curses will rain. Amidst it all, Carlie will make waffles, protect her town, and find out if a man from the distant past can join her in happy ever after. With love and honor at stake, Carlie has no peer.

Audible/ Amazon

I also got to interview the author again.

Tell us a little about the bar you owned. Did you get some of the ideas for your books while working there? It was a pub with live music, but more importantly, it was my introduction to a couple critical items:

Lifetime friends.

Bluegrass music.

Beyond that, any bar atmosphere is a fountain for writing. You see every kind of human, and a wild array of hilarity. Bars are a lot like the internet: if you can imagine it; it’s there. Or it will be shortly, just wait a moment. You want a pet squirrel on a customer’s shoulder? Coming right up. A demure church lady drops a massive sex toy from her purse while paying for a grilled cheese sandwich? No problem. We’ve got it all, baby.

You majored in history. What is your favorite time period?

Rather than say favorite, let’s say, “Time period that makes me thankful I live now.” That would be the fourteenth century. The entire fourteenth century. I’m not kidding when I say if time travel exists, we should make certain that era isn’t on the dial, so to speak. It’s surreal how bad life could be, and yet some of the most breathtaking art was created. That means humans are either incredibly dumb or resilient –or both. I’ll go with both, since I know myself, and I’ve found that those are two of the requirements for being a writer. Well, those and caffeine.

What other ways do you showcase your creativity?

I don’t. I’ve been asked not to sing in public, and while I’m an enthusiastic dancer, I’ve never been accused of being graceful. I’m also responsible (while I was a teenager) for some truly dreadful poetry. I apologize for all of it.

Food is an important component in your Halfway Witchy series. You also mention being a pie lover. What’s your favorite pie and why is food/cooking important to you?

Ok, so our family restaurants were named Ted N’ Peg’s Pie Stand. You understand this is a love that’s genetic– also, it makes a lot of sense. Pie is a food group. Ergo, I cannot commit to one pie as a favorite because that verges on blasphemy. However, I will give a top ten in no order, which reflect what I’m most likely to eat, although all pie varieties are, to me, wonderful.

  1. Blueberry
  2. Chocolate
  3. Apple
  4. Strawberry Rhubarb
  5. Coconut Cream
  6. Pumpkin
  7. Cherry
  8. Mincemeat
  9. Sugar
  10. Sweet Potato

And, as far as the role of food– it’s both necessary and social. I had a restaurant, my family did, too; I’ve worked in them in every capacity. Food is culture, and culture makes characters real.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that made you proud?

In direct contradiction to what I mentioned earlier, it was a poem. My ex-wife and I lost a kid, and I was a shallow human who didn’t know how to process that, at all. How could I feel such loss for someone I’d never met? I was a kid myself, it made no sense. I wrote a poem about it and it was the first honest thing I’d put to paper in my whole life. It’s here if anyone wants a look– warning, it’s not pretty, but it’s honest. Poem from 1998.

I think, looking back, that was when I knew I wanted to write. That’s the moment. In something ugly, I found something I loved.

What do you feel you need to work on as an author?

Slowing down. I just get too excited. I lean into my books, sort of the way I do life. I’d love to write a hundred, or even two hundred novels. I haven’t figured out how to avoid sleeping, but I’m working on it.

What is your writing routine?

I have none. I might write at 5 AM or, recently, in the car waiting to pick up my son from elementary school. I write in chunks (1000 words or more), but I’ve always got one gear in my brain thinking about books. I use this as an explanation for my terrible math grades in high school.

That must be it. Of course.

What writing tools (electronic, app, notebook, etc.) do you use the most?

Two: laptop and green notebook. I use the laptop to type the actual book, and the green notebook for odd ideas that flitter around. I’m left-handed, so being in a vague dream state at all times comes naturally to me. I overcome said dream state with coffee. Buckets of coffee.

What is the most frustrating part of the publishing world?

The most fatuous notion in the world is that someone else can tell you what you should enjoy reading. To those people, I say: Bye. You love what you love, and the traditional publishing world is collapsing as I type this. Good. They did it to themselves. They treat readers like children and authors like minions, and they’re not only losing, they’re in danger of becoming irrelevant.

I have a few rules in life, and they include:

  1. Don’t tell people how to raise their kids.
  2. Don’t tell people what they should read, listen to, or eat.
  3. If someone loves a book, thank them for reading.

10.  How does someone join your street team?

Right here, and thanks for coming on board! I love my team members– we see each other at events all over the country, and they’re like cool cousins who love books the same way I do. Street Team Super Secret Code