This is decently written but very predictable and ordinary. A typical HP with angsty never-going-to-fall-in-love billionaire and virtuous hard-workingThis is decently written but very predictable and ordinary. A typical HP with angsty never-going-to-fall-in-love billionaire and virtuous hard-working woman who has a bit of a martyr streak. ;-) Worth reading for fans of HP and Sarah Morgan....more
Elec Monroe is a 25 yr old rookie race car driver more comfortable out of the limelight than in it. While attending a fundraising event, Tamara Briggs bumps into Elec, literally, and spills her wine all over his shirt. Tamara is the 32 yr old widow of a stock car driver who died in a crash. Busy getting over her grief and raising her two children, Tamara has stayed away from the racing scene for the past two years. She’s also stayed away from dating for the same reasons. Tamara is surprised when the brief encounter with Elec rouses her dormant libido. Later, Tamara realizes she’s lost her purse and keys and, without them, has nowhere to stay. Ryder, a friend of her late husband, offers Tamara his travel coach for the night since he is staying elsewhere. When he sees Elec leaving for the track and his own coach at the same time, Ryder asks Elec to makes sure Tamara gets there safely. In the taxi, the chemistry between the two starts to sizzle. Once at the coach, Tamara breaks her two years of abstinence with a smoking hot night of what she tells herself is “only sex.” Elec is quickly smitten with Tamara and starts a campaign to change her mind about the “one night stand.” Tamara balks, pointing to their age difference, her father-in-law’s feud with Elec’s father, her children, the crazy schedules that make seeing each other difficult, and her rule against dating drivers. Elec is just as certain their physical attraction, their affection for each other, and their shared interests make the future possible. Elec is a good example of a beta hero, and narrator Emily Durante gives him the right vibe. Durante’s voice reflects our hero’s relatively young age as well as his laidback personality. Elec’s brother Evan sounds a little too much like Elec, but the other male characters are more distinct. Overall, Durante’s male voices are well done. It took me a while to warm up to Durante’s voice for Tamara, but I quickly came to appreciate the portrayal. Tamara is a worrier, and Durante brings out Tamara’s insecurities and hesitations clearly. Tamara’s emotions come through in her voice and that makes the character more sympathetic and enjoyable. The pacing of Durante’s narration is well done, and the timing of the dialogue feels natural. Durante not only seems to get the characters, she seems to like them. She even does a good job with Tamara’s children, which can be such a challenge. My only complaint is Durante’s habit of giving a fake laugh when the characters are laughing while speaking. While a relatively small thing, it was distracting and tended to jolt me out of the story. Erin McCarthy describes Tamara’s life as a single mother with realism. I like that the children don’t magically, and conveniently, disappear every time Elec and Tamara want to be together. But while there are obstacles to their relationship, most of the conflicts here are internal ones. What little external conflict there is seems to be easily smoothed over and doesn’t produce much depth of emotion in the listener, and the internal conflicts don’t create much more suspense than the external ones. There are no surprises here, but Flat-Out Sexy is a pleasant way to spend a few hours. ...more
Steampunk has recently become a popular offshoot of science fiction, even though it isn't new--thiReviewed for audiogals.net.
Narrated by Alison Larkin
Steampunk has recently become a popular offshoot of science fiction, even though it isn't new--think Jules Verne, or The Wild, Wild West. Steampunk is essentially historically-based science fiction with anachronistic technology. The Victorian era is a popular setting for steampunk novels, and the genre derives its name from the use of steam for power. But steampunk can be set just about anywhere and anytime with the right handling. Meljean Brooks places her story in a cleverly constructed alternative history, where the Mongols develop advanced nanotechnology and proceed to take over much of the world. Riveted is set in the same world as the first two books, The Iron Duke and Heart of Steel, but has no characters in common. Riveted is about Annika, a young lady from a remote, and secret, all-woman village in Iceland. At present, Annika is a crew member on an airship traveling the New World while searching for her sister, Kalla. Kalla was exiled from the remote village five years earlier after taking the blame for something Annika did. Annika meets David when he boards the airship as a passenger. David is a volcanologist traveling to Iceland for research. He is drawn to Annika in part because of her accent, which is exactly like his late mother's. He is searching for his mother's birthplace in order to fulfill her final wishes. The book is filled with people of many nations, so the character voices are particularly challenging. The Icelandic women sound very Nordic. The other accents included French, English, and Scottish. Alison Larkin not only has to distinguish the accents, but also keep the voices straight for a large cast of characters. She meets the challenge admirably. I was not sure about Annika's voice at first, but I came to appreciate it, and now feel it reflects the character quite well. Larkin has a knack for the male voices, as well, not too gruff or too feminine. Larkin's voice is very pleasant and she paces her reading well—not too fast or slow. There are many wonderfully clever gadgets and machines in Riveted, as in the other Iron Seas books. Brook uses the technology she's created to great advantage here. We encounter flying machines, mechanical whales, and steam-powered trolls. But the wonderful setting doesn't detract from the characters and relationships in the novel. There are many relationships explored here, between parent and child, siblings, friends, co-workers, and lovers. The somewhat slow-building relationship between Annika and David is very satisfying. Both characters have to grow and change to adapt to the relationship and the author presents the wants and needs of both as equally important. Meljean Brook succeeds in writing a story that is very different than either of the first two books in the series. Annika is a strong heroine, but nothing like either Mina or Yasmeen from the previous books. The two previous heroines, though different from each other, were both in positions of power and authority. Annika is clever and capable, but has different strengths and ambitions. Riveted brings up some modern day issues of women's rights and homosexuality. The issues are discussed with a refreshing frankness, and without a pushy agenda. . My only quibble is the cover art. Annika is described as "dark skinned" in several places and David is half Native American (or what we call Native American- there is no America in the books). But while the different cover designs do a great job with the costuming, they get the skin color and ethnicity wrong. Perhaps someday we'll see more covers that actually reflect the characters within. Riveted could be a good place to enter the series for those who aren't into SF world-building. There is less of that in this book than the others. Since I've read all the books and short stories in the Iron Seas series it's difficult for me to know if Riveted would stand alone. However, I do know that Brooks is a great believer in giving her readers enough information to jump into her any of her series wherever they want. Her website is a wealth of information and background on the characters, events, and settings in her novels. For the Iron Seas series she even has a map! More authors should be this considerate of their readers. Even those of us who read the series start to finish enjoy refreshing our memories before a new book comes out. http://meljeanbrook.com/books/the-iro... ...more
When North and South is mentioned these days, it is most likely in reference to the BBC miniseries based on the book, rather th Narrated by Clare Wille
When North and South is mentioned these days, it is most likely in reference to the BBC miniseries based on the book, rather than the book itself. That’s not a bad thing, because the miniseries is superbly done. It takes a complicated story of love and life in industrial England in the mid-19th century, and makes it accessible to the modern viewer. But no matter how well done the TV adaptation is, the book is a gem worth pursuing for a patient reader, or better yet, a patient listener. Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing can be described as somewhat melodramatic, sentimental, and at times wordy, as was common for early Victorian writers. But the dated mode of writing doesn’t have to detract from the beauty of the writing or the enjoyment of the book. In fact, the style helps to immerse the reader in the time and place. North and South was, after all, written as a contemporary novel, and so shows authentic details, such as the language, dialects, and descriptions of daily life. The audiobook is read by Clare Wille, whose ability to manage not only the language of Gaskell, but also the many characters and dialects, is nothing short of amazing. Wille not only has to distinguish the male and female voice of the many characters, but she must voice the different manners of speaking between the social classes in the northern industrial town, as well as the differences in dialect between the characters from the south of England and those of the north. She does all this with skill and realism. The story is both simple and complicated. When Margaret Hale’s father, a vicar in the Church of England, decides he can no longer serve the church due to differences of faith, he moves his wife and daughter, Margaret, from the slow moving life of rural southern England to the industrial north, there to hopefully find employment as a tutor. Margaret, being raised on edge of gentility, finds the close association with manufacturers and “shop keepers” to be repugnant. She also finds the town of Milton to be dirty, noisy, and rough. There she meets both the successful manufacturers, such as Mr. Thornton who comes to be tutored by Mr. Hale, and the millworkers, such as Higgins and his two daughters, Bessie and Mary. Gaskell was heavily influenced by Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when writing the romance within North and South. The story of Margaret Hale and John Thornton parallels that of Elizabeth and Darcy on many levels. There is arrogance, ignorance, misunderstanding, and finally respect and understanding. Like Austen’s book, North and South shows the complicated lattice of social interactions and how class restrictions influence relationships and limit choices. Unlike Austen, however, Gaskell’s tale takes on the social problems of the day. The industrialization of England is elevating the middle class and straining the class structure of English society. Along with the changing social structure, Gaskell also explores the plight of the millworkers and struggles of the mill owners to stay competitive in a volatile market. Gaskell’s romantic notions go farther than getting the main couple together in the end. She also sets about getting another “couple” together-- the mill owner, Thornton and the union supporter, Higgins. As complicated as the misunderstandings are between Margaret and Thornton, they are nothing compared to the wall of prejudice and mistrust between the mill owners and their workers. Gaskell ideal was to see the two sides finally acknowledge their interdependence and work together to better the lives of the workers and the profits of the owners. It should be noted that religious faith plays a large part in the book. Several characters struggle with faith and belief is openly discussed in several conversations. Even so, this is in no way an “inspirational romance.” Gaskell instead explores the different approaches to faith at that time, using the experiences of each character’s life to illuminate their struggles. The part religion plays in the book is very much in keeping with its importance in the culture of the time, and is there for debate rather than for proselytizing. Clare Wille’s narration of Gaskell’s enduring story of love and struggles in industrial England is a rare treat. If you’ve enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and have a little patience with a writing style that is out of fashion, you will be rewarded with an awe-inspiring listening experience. Gaskell’s beautiful language and emotional story-telling coupled with Wille’s perfect narration is truly not to be missed.
Maybe I shouldn't have read this book so soon after Heat Rises. I didn't enjoy this book as much, but I think I was tired of the writing and to some eMaybe I shouldn't have read this book so soon after Heat Rises. I didn't enjoy this book as much, but I think I was tired of the writing and to some extent the characters.
In Frozen Heat the serious, very serious, suspense storyline didn't mesh well with the attempts at lighthearted banter. I felt like the author(s) wanted to keep Rooks character consistent with the other books and perhaps the TV show's Castle, but they should have found a way to make him a little more serious this time. Also, I thought several times Heat acted out of chracter, avoiding the necessary (and obvious) question about her mother's past and then getting mad at Rook when he stepped in to ask them. I also got really tired of the subplot wit hCaptain Irons. It wasn't funny as I think the author(s) hoped and felt just irritating.
I also simply lost interest in the book and found it too easy to put down. All that added to a non-ending "ending" kept this book from working as well for me as the previous books. Which is a shame, because the plot was actually the best one yet.
I will probably read the enxt one, if only to see what happens next....more
I liked this even better than the first two. The writing seems somewhat tighter and the suspense story was more interesting. I enjoyed the humor a3.5*
I liked this even better than the first two. The writing seems somewhat tighter and the suspense story was more interesting. I enjoyed the humor and the references to the show scattered throughout the book....more
Another enjoyable installment from the fictional author, Richard Castle. I'm not giving it a higher rating because it was too easy to put down in theAnother enjoyable installment from the fictional author, Richard Castle. I'm not giving it a higher rating because it was too easy to put down in the first half. Also, I realize the fictional character of Rook, although charming, doesn't come across as winsome as Nathan Fillion does as Castle in the TV series. Fillion has a little-boy charm about him that makes the self-centeredness and cluelessness come out all right, even if it earns him an eye-roll. But in print, the same characteristics, cluelessness, etc., aren't as easy to over look. While I like Rook, I don't like him as much as Castle.
Nikki, on the other hand, comes across quite well in print and I like her almost as well as Dec. Beckett.
The story reads pretty much like a TV script for the show, which means it's light and fun, but well done and interesting. I'll go on to book 3 of the series....more