Audiobook · book review · mystery · romantic suspense · series · thriller

Audiobook Tour ‘n’ Review – Stolen Obsession (The Annalisse Series – Book One)

WELCOME FROM THE AUTHOR

I’m so excited you’ve dropped in to visit the AUDIOBOOKWORM PROMOTIONS ANNALISSE SERIES Tour!

Author: Marlene M. Bell

Narrator: Katina Kalin

Length: 9 hours 38 minutes

Publisher: Ewephoric

Released: Nov. 28, 2018

Series: Annalisse Series, Book 1

Publisher: Ewephoric

Genre: Mystery

People die, but legends live on.

New York antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury recently lost her best friend to murder. The killer’s identity may be linked to her friend’s expensive missing bracelet, a 500-year-old artifact that carries an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a matching necklace at a Manhattan gallery opening. She begs the owner to destroy the cursed piece, but her pleas fall on deaf ears, despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act. Desperate, Annalisse enlists the gallery owner’s son to help, even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart.

Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns, until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. When the killer changes tactics and goes after Alec behind Annalisse’s back, can her plan to rescue Alec’s mother save them all?

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Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer and acclaimed artist as well as a photographer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News, to name a few.

Her catalog venture, Ewephoric, began in 1985 out of her desire to locate personalized sheep stationery. She rarely found sheep products through catalogs and set out to design them herself. Order Ewephoric gifts online or request a catalog at TexasSheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg, reside in beautiful East Texas on a wooded ranch with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, along with Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats that believe they rule the household—and do.

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How could I not be drawn to this story? Cursed jewels, murder, European travel – you’re talking my language. Not that I’ve murdered anyone … yet! 😉 but this struck me as super intriguing with all the elements of a great story: I was not disappointed.

For Annalisse, one tragic event after another seems to be occurring in her life. First, the death of her best friend, Sam, and now a murder at the gallery where she works. What do these deaths have in common? Annalisse is convinced the jewels are the connection, as both victims were around them at the time of their death. (As an aside, Sam’s murder is mentioned in the book a lot, though it does not feature as an event itself, but is instead part of Annalisse’s backstory. If I’m honest, I’d love to read more about that too!)

So, back to this story: Annalisse cannot ignore the connection of the jewels to both deaths and, to prevent yet more tragedy, she feels she has to get to the root of the problem and destroy the jewels for good. But someone is interested in them. Annalisse is in the way, and they do not take kindly to obstacles and will do whatever it takes to get the jewels.

Annalise has, unwittingly, placed herself in danger and even slipping away to the Greek Islands with the gallery owner’s son (Alec) is no escape. Hunting her down, the jewel thieves think nothing of inflicting more pain on Annalisse and Alec, even when it involves another murder and kidnapping.

It becomes a race against time to prevent the murdering thieves from getting their hands on the jewels whilst also keeping everyone safe. Not everyone survives the ordeal, and the quest is fraught with tension and drama. It’s a well-paced read, combining action with a slow-burgeoning romance as Annalisse and Alec grow closer during their quest. Tragedy has a way of bringing them together.

A fascinating mystery with the added intrigue of a curse, plus drama in the quest to keep the necklace safe, and evolving relationships that cover the spectrum of emotions …all set against a stunning European backdrop of Greece and Turkey.

Annalisse is a determined woman, who is more than capable of holding her own. She is savvy, thoughtful, empathetic, and spirited. She does presume a lot and demand everyone trust her instincts not realising sometimes her instincts are a tad bizarre. Alec comes across as a playboy initially – maybe more to do with his perceived lifestyle than his behaviour – but he proves to be a kind, thoughtful and intelligent co-star for Annalisse.

The narration is clear to follow, natural and convincing. The story blends action, suspense and romance effortlessly and the narrator effectively conveyed the mood at all times.

I’m looking forward to the next instalment already!

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Marlene M. Bell. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Guest Post

Why Book Covers are So Important
By Marlene M. Bell

The key to choosing a cover is knowing your genre. Choosing your cover isn’t necessarily what you want for a cover. It’s more what the reader who reads in your genre is expecting. If you try for new, groundbreaking cover art, you may find yourself with no book sales. Readers want to be visually grabbed, but only if they can understand your story—in your genre—from your cover art.

If you can swing a professional book cover designer, I highly recommend that source versus a basic ready-made cover. Stock photos are so common and easy to slap together, but what does that say about your book? Stock images are ho-hum boring! I’ve seen a few photos that have worked well for the author as long as there are interesting elements added to a standard photo. Only a few creative designers can pull that off well, however.

I personally used a husband and wife team from Australia who design all elements on their covers from start to finish. I found them after I fell in love with one of their winning covers in a contest. I wasn’t disappointed with my cover for Stolen Obsession. The extra money spent on a fully designed cover was well worth the effort. The cover for Stolen Obsession won the 2018 Independent Book Award for Best Cover in the Fiction Category! I’m going back to them for the rest of the books in the series.

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