There's nothing really wrong with this book. The writing is serviceable and the characters are likeable if totally predictable. BUt that is the proble...moreThere's nothing really wrong with this book. The writing is serviceable and the characters are likeable if totally predictable. BUt that is the problem for me. I've read this basic plot many, many times, and there wasn't enough here to make it stand out as special or different.(less)
A fluffy piece of fun. well written, with entertaining characters. I thought the descriptions of the games and contestants was well done and often...more3.5*
A fluffy piece of fun. well written, with entertaining characters. I thought the descriptions of the games and contestants was well done and often funny. Like many other reviewers, I'm not a fan of "survivor" type reality shows, but I did enjoy this. One caveat is the misunderstanding- it was realistic in many respects, but still not my favorite trope. Great sex scenes! ;-)(less)
Fantastic set of stories! I hadn't read any of the previous books in these series except for The...more4.5*
Stories varied from 4*-5*--but all worth reading.
Fantastic set of stories! I hadn't read any of the previous books in these series except for The Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook. I loved all the stories and didn't feel I was missing out even without the background. I especially loved the Meljean Brook story (5*) and the one by Carolyn Crane (5*).(less)
This is a wonderful addition to the Iron Seas series! I loved seeing Archimedes and Yasmeen again. Meljean brook just gets better and better with this...moreThis is a wonderful addition to the Iron Seas series! I loved seeing Archimedes and Yasmeen again. Meljean brook just gets better and better with this series.(less)
A very typical JAK contemporary romantic suspense. And that's not a bad thing. While she can write amazing books (Sweet Starfire), she generally write...moreA very typical JAK contemporary romantic suspense. And that's not a bad thing. While she can write amazing books (Sweet Starfire), she generally writes entertaining-yet-forgetable books. I often go to JAK (or another of her pen names) when I just don't know what to read next.
Sharp Edge was entertaining as hoped, but didn't wow me and probably won't last long in my memory. The two central characters were fine, but they didn't generate a lot of chemistry. The plot was decent and the secondary characters were well-done.
Recommended if you like JAK, can get it cheap or free, and need a nice generic beach read.(less)
Medieval isn't my go-to time period for romance novels, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It was an engaging book full of well-drawn characters and...moreMedieval isn't my go-to time period for romance novels, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It was an engaging book full of well-drawn characters and a decent plot. It's a "typical" romance book, yet there were non-typical events and actions, which I appreciated. There is a strong female lead that nonetheless feels at home in the time period and not a modern transplant. I read through it quickly and was happy to pick it up whenever I had the chance to read. That's the measure of a successful book these days! ;-)(less)
I loved Rupert and Daphne. These characters are well drawn and the dialogue was clever and often funny. I also enjoyed the secondary characters an...more3.5*
I loved Rupert and Daphne. These characters are well drawn and the dialogue was clever and often funny. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and the mongoose. The actual plot didn't hold my interest much, and I found it too easy to put the book down. While a lot happens that helps illuminate the personalities of the characters, there really isn't much plot. Also, the viciousness of some of the bad guys and the looming sense of danger was somewhat at odds with the more light-hearted interaction between the leads.
Still, I laughed out loud several times and enjoyed the sweet love story, so overall a success!(less)
I love LaVyrle Spencer's writing and this book didn't disappoint me. Her writing sets the scene as well as any I've read. She immerses you in the...more4.5*
I love LaVyrle Spencer's writing and this book didn't disappoint me. Her writing sets the scene as well as any I've read. She immerses you in the place and time. In The Fulfillment the prose lulled me into the rhythm of farm life, with all it's hard work, joys and sorrows. I was continually amazed at Mary, and all the hard work she did daily just to keep life going. it makes my small amount of work pale in comparison.
Spencer took on an especially difficult topic with this book. I've seen, and even read books with the same topic, but they ended up mostly feeling tawdry, or, in the case of Sandra Brown's Play Dirty, the motives were completely different. Jonathan, sterile from mumps, decides to ask his brother Aaron to sire a child with Jonathan's wife, Mary. Both are appalled at the idea, but the suggestion brings up ideas and feelings long ignored and held at bay. Here Spencer shines, showing the change in attitudes, the stiffness, the awkwardness and embarrassment as the three try to return to their normal routine with the "elephant" now let loose to live in their house. As the book progresses, I'm amazed at how well Spencer gets the details and changing emotions of each character. It's compelling and bittersweet.
There are no villains or heroes here. There is a plain story told with surprising compassion for all involved. There are many ways the story could have ended, but as a romance I guess only one really works. I both wanted, and didn't want the ending to come.
The book would have been 5-stars if Spencer could have kept the tension and pace going to the end. Unfortunately, the book loses some emotional tension once the ending looks pretty certain, and while I still enjoyed it, the last few chapters felt a little like necessary filler. Still, this is highly recommended.(less)
I enjoyed this romantic suspense book by Laura Griffin, as always. I didn't care for it quite as much as some because the romance between the lead...more3.5*
I enjoyed this romantic suspense book by Laura Griffin, as always. I didn't care for it quite as much as some because the romance between the leads didn't work for me. Gage was physically attracted to Kelsey, and obviously fond of her, but not until the end did it feel like there was any real commitment. That was too little--too late for me to readily accept.
The suspense was good except that last twist was a little over-the-top, especially that Gage, Kelsey, etc., would figure it out so quickly.
Anyway, fun and definitely worth reading, but more ordinary than many of the other books by Griffin. Still, she's such a dependable author and I enjoy her writing style so much. She's one of the few authors that I can actually say I've read everything she's published.(less)
I'm somewhat on the fence about this book. It was definitely engaging, but somehow not completely satisfying. I think it's a good thing I hadn't read...moreI'm somewhat on the fence about this book. It was definitely engaging, but somehow not completely satisfying. I think it's a good thing I hadn't read the first two in the series recently, because Heiress for Hire is a favorite of mine and I don't think this stands up to that one. Seeing is Believing lacks some of the believable angst and the charming humor of the other book.
It's 15 years after Heiress for Hire and Brady comes back to Cuttersville after losing his job in Chicago. Piper is still there, now teaching school and living with her parents while she finds a place to live. Brady immediately notices what a lovely woman piper has grown into, and Piper is just as aware that she still has that long-time crush on Brady.
Piper suffers some PTSD due to her early childhood, and Brady has issues of his own. I felt like neither of those things were explored enough. I also felt the ending was a little abrupt and left us guessing about a few things (although not he HEA).
On the other hand, McCarthy does a good job of showing both Brady and Piper as well-developed characters, with flaws and good qualities. the "mystery" was interesting if easy to solve, and the relationship between Piper and Brady was sweet.
This is a good quick beach read, or a book to cleanse you palette after a difficult or angsty book. Worth reading and enjoyable, but not the best book by this author.(less)
I know going into it that a Harlequin Present book has certain requirements for a story: -billionaire alpha male (check) -virgin heroine(check) -often s...moreI know going into it that a Harlequin Present book has certain requirements for a story: -billionaire alpha male (check) -virgin heroine(check) -often set in foreign country (check)
HP's don't generally appeal to me, but I've read some that I have enjoyed, plus I like this author. So when I saw this one for free I got it. All I can say is I'm glad it was free. The plot makes little sense and the heroine Jessie has even less sense than the plot. She is an idiot. Jessie immediately decides everything Silvio does for her is because he's embarrassed by her, or trying to buy her, or he feels sorry for her. Anything and everything except maybe he likes her?! Obtuse woman! "He's buying me a beautiful dress to wear to the party! Oh NOES! He must think I'm a hick and is trying to dress me up! I should flee!!"
Silvio isn't a great character either, but he mostly follows the HP mold. Dashing billionaire who has dragged himself up from the streets to oversee an empire while really being this great guy who helps others. He's brooding, he's dangerous, and he's inexplicably drawn to this mealy-mouthed woman.
Why two stars instead of one? Because Morgan's writing is good enough to make me want to finish the book and see how Silvio finally makes Jessie she the truth. Since I was compelled to finish the book, I give the author two stars. I'll definitely read Morgan again, but I may choose a little more carefully. ;-)(less)
This is a funny, enjoyable short story/novella, just as expected from Molly Harper. The audio version was offered for free for Audible members around...moreThis is a funny, enjoyable short story/novella, just as expected from Molly Harper. The audio version was offered for free for Audible members around Valentines Day and I picked it up. I love Harper's humor and enjoyed this narrator even though it wasn't Amanda Ronconi, the usual narrator for Harper's books.
My only complaint is that Sam didn't seem to understand his actions towards the end or how they hurt Tessa. He rationalizes rather than apologizes in my opinion. Sam needed to man up with his ex-wife. But overall this was a very funny story.(less)
Molly Harper and Amanda Ronconi equal good time with audiobooks! I'm excited about this series and after enjoying the starting novella (Driving Mr. De...moreMolly Harper and Amanda Ronconi equal good time with audiobooks! I'm excited about this series and after enjoying the starting novella (Driving Mr. Dead) and this one, I can't wait for number three.
The book is chocked full of snappy one-liners and laugh-out-loud dialogue. Recommended for anyone who wants a good laugh without sacrificing quality writing and narration.(less)
Karen Robards does not like for her characters or her readers to be bored. Her suspense stories...moreReviewed for Audiogals.net.
Narrated by Shannon McManus
Karen Robards does not like for her characters or her readers to be bored. Her suspense stories generally have the hero and heroine scrambling at break-neck speed from one close call to another with barely an in-drawn breath. Shiver doesn't disappoint on that score. Samantha and Danny meet when she interrupts his torture and murder to repo a car-- and from there things start to get hectic. Danny Panterro is an undercover FBI agent posing as Ramon Marco, a former member of a drug cartel now turned informant. The real Ramon is carefully hidden away giving evidence while Danny tries to divert the cartel's attention by becoming the target. The problem is, even the U.S. Marshalls that are holding Danny don't know who he really is. The cartel's henchmen succeed in capturing Danny, and thinking they have Ramon, they torture him for the whereabouts of a large sum of money. Danny is then stuffed in the trunk of a car when the interrogation gets interrupted. Samantha "Sam" Jones is a young single mother of a 4 year old son, Tyler. She owns a run-down tow-truck and is barely making ends meet repossessing cars at night while a neighbor watches Tyler. On this night, she tries to collect the car with Danny in the trunk. Instead she ends up inside with him. Let the adventure begin! Sam is a heroine I can enjoy. She's strong without being "spunky," and although she doesn't always make the best choices, her reactions seem believable for someone in her situation. Since Danny, who Sam not-so-affectionately calls "Quasimodo," can't tell her who he really is, she doesn't know who to trust. She does her best to break free from him, the bad guys, and the Marshalls in order to get back to her son. When the cartel's men trace Sam to her house using information printed on the side of her tow truck, Sam finally allows the U.S. Marshalls to protect her and Tyler by keeping her with Danny/Ramon. Danny is a fairly typical romantic suspense hero—tough and definitely not looking to settle down. One of the best things about this book is the snappy dialogue between Danny and Sam. Shannon McManus has a pleasant reading voice and generally keeps the characters voices distinct. Her men sound like men and even 4 year old Tyler is well done. McManus has a tendency to pitch her voice down at the end of a phrase or sentence, which makes the narration feel somewhat flat. It would be fair to say the writing also contributes to the uneven narration. At times Robards uses convoluted sentences, making the narrator work hard to get the meaning across. McManus is not entirely successful choosing which words or phrases to emphasize in these overly complex sentences and that can confuse the listener. As with many suspense books, it is recommended you suspend disbelief when reading Shiver. The sheer number of close calls the hero and heroine experience stretches credulity. The last calamity they survive is over-the-top, and Sam and Danny fall in love in just a few days even though she thinks he's a crook. And, yes, the narration could be better. But Shiver is still an enjoyable edge-of-your-seat escape for romantic suspense fans. (less)
Heartbreaker - Julie Garwood Narrated by Tanya Eby
I read Heartbreaker in print a few years ago and thought it was an average, but enjoyable, book. Then about a year ago I listened to Heart of Fire by Linda Howard and was impressed with Tanya Eby's narration. When I was offered Heartbreaker to review it seemed like a sure thing. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
A killer calling himself the Heartbreaker is stalking a young lady named Laurent. Laurent's brother is Father Tom, a Catholic priest. Heartbreaker tells Father Tom during confession that he intends to kill Laurent and sends a recording of the "confession" to the police, thus nullifying the seal of confession. Father Tom then contacts his best friend and FBI agent, Nick, for help. Nick moves in with Laurent to be her full-time bodyguard and together, they try to lure the Heartbreaker into showing his hand and hopefully making a mistake.
On this second trip through the book I was struck by the cookie-cutter language Garwood uses to describe her characters. I still like the main characters - I thought both Laurent and Nick were a little different than the usual FBI agent and his charge, but I cringed at some of the descriptions. Instead of showing her characters' personalities through their actions, Garwood tells her readers how kind, wonderful and helpful Laurent is, and how honorable, good, courageous and loyal Nick is. In fact, the author goes into that kind of description with all her characters. The "old ladies" next door are gruff and nosy, but they're really just sweeties at heart. The best friend is wise and always understanding. Stephen, the man who wants to bully Laurent into marrying him, is an overgrown spoiled child. The book is full of stereotypes.
Tanya Eby does a good job with the character voices, but how she chooses to emphasis words in a sentence didn't work for me in Heartbreaker. I'm not sure how else to describe what bothered me. I feel she doesn't get the characters emotions quite right. Her voice for the killer was a bit too demented at times, making him feel cardboard rather than real. But honestly, I'm not sure Eby is much at fault. Most of the problems are in the weaknesses of the writing, which is more noticeable when listening to the book. Eby, while a solid narrator, isn't a miracle worker.
The suspense plot in Heartbreaker has an interesting basic concept and a clever twist at the end. There are a few holes and a few unanswered questions, but overall it is satisfying. The relationship between Nick and Laurent has some pluses, as well. Nick's professional integrity keeps him "hands-off" while Laurent is his official charge, for example. But too much time is spent inside the characters' heads while they think and rethink thoughts about each other, mostly with incorrect assumption. While Nick and Laurent play at being in love, they forget to have a 10 minute adult conversation about their true feelings. (less)
Return to Me is a decent book that somehow failed to grab my interest. It was too easy to put down. Part of the problem is the emphasis is on the roma...moreReturn to Me is a decent book that somehow failed to grab my interest. It was too easy to put down. Part of the problem is the emphasis is on the romance instead of balancing the romance with the suspense plot. I also had the suspense plot figured out very early on, so there wasn't much to hold my interest. While Simon and El tried to figure out their relationship (El loved him and he figured he was bad for her), they had sex. Lots of sex. LONG sex scenes that went over many pages. I found myself skimming the sex scenes to get back to the meat of the story, which was would Simon quit being a douche to El and would they figure out where Gus hid the evidence he alluded to in his email? (view spoiler)[ Can anyone tell me why neither Simon nor El never sat down and tried to figure out what Gus meant when he wrote that Simon's mother (who was dead) was guarding the evidence? It seemed crazy to me that they never considered looking for it. (hide spoiler)]
Although I felt like the sex scenes were fairly well written, I was pulled out of them by the things Simon said. The author puts words in this tough guys mouth that no man would ever say. I would say the sex scenes, while not erotica, certainly qualify as romantica instead of mainstream romantic love scenes. I'm finding that these types of love scenes are not my favorite. I enjoy hot sex scenes, but there is a certain style of language I don't find sexy.["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Cockermouth Mail is a very engaging traditional Regency romance. I'd like to thank whoever recommended it, but I can't remember who that was. So,...moreThe Cockermouth Mail is a very engaging traditional Regency romance. I'd like to thank whoever recommended it, but I can't remember who that was. So, forgive me, dear anonymous benefactor. I do wish to thank you because this book was worth hunting down at used book stores. The story is sweet without being sappy, and full of dry wit that didn't battle with the sometimes serious emotions of the characters. The author sets the scenes very clearly, including the forbidding nature of the Lake District in winter, without spending too much time on detailed descriptions. The characters' personalities are shown by their actions rather than by the author's descriptions. The story unfolds in an unhurried manner, with as much patience and dignity as it's heroine.
There are no great surprises in the story, but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of this well written tale of love.(less)
I picked up With This Ring (Book 1 Vanza series) on sale and recently, when I needed a good comfort read, I started listening. I realized then that I’d never listened to a book narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. Within the first 15 minutes I was completed enchanted with her style. Without sounding forced, Rosenblat imbues personality into every spoken line. She voices the characters with understated humor and dry wit. I’m sure I would not have gotten nearly so much of the humor in the book if I’d read it in print. The recoding isn’t perfect. Rosenblat pauses here and there in the reading where no pause is needed, plus the chapter breaks feel a little too long. A few listeners have criticized Rosenblat’s audible intake of breath at times, but I didn’t find it distracting at all.
I like a sure thing. I can’t remember ever waking up in the morning and thinking, “Gee, I’m tired of coffee! I want something different.” Some things I always look forward to—coffee in the mornings, London broil on the grill, homemade biscuits with honey, and an author who consistently delivers a comfort read.
The Amanda Quick books are the most consistent of all the pen-names for the writer Jayne Ann Krentz. Usually the books include an interesting suspense story, along with a woman making it on her own, an often irascible hero, witty dialog, and a satisfying romance. In With This Ring we meet Beatrice, a capable and independent widow who is looking into her uncle’s death. Beatrice has an alter ego – she is the very successful “horrid novel” author, Mrs. York, a fact she keeps very quiet. Leo Drake is known as “The Mad Monk of Monkcrest.” He is somewhat reclusive, but he’s also a noted expert on antiquities. It is for this reason Beatrice seeks him out. Rosenblat’s voice for Beatrice is wonderful and droll, while her voice for the gruff Mad Monk is just right. She does all the character accents well and her pacing is excellent, except for the occasional pauses mentioned before.
Beatrice and Leo both have secrets related to their previous marriages, and both are wary of falling in love again. They circle around each other as they attempt to solve a mystery involving some ancient artifacts called the Rings of Aphrodite. Beatrice’s Uncle Reggie reportedly bought the fabled rings just before he died, using virtually all of his money. The rings can’t be found and Uncle Reggie’s daughter, Arabella, may lose the chance to marry the man she loves since she’s now without a dowry.
In true Amanda Quick fashion, Leo and Beatrice spend a great deal of time bickering, but the banter is witty and enjoyable. The suspense story is very satisfying and takes several interesting twists. There is plenty of humor to be found in the story, such as a gentleman’s club called The House of the Rod and a drink called The Elixir of Manly Vigor.
Anyone familiar with Amanda Quick will see where the story is going early on, but that doesn’t lessen the enjoyment of getting there. Like comfort food, sitting down with an author you know can deliver an uncomplicated and satisfying story is good for the soul. When you add an outstanding narrator like Barbara Rosenblat to the mix there is every reason to go back for “second helpings.” I’m going to look for more Quick/Rosenblat books for future listening pleasure.(less)
this is the story of a man who is a leader in his high-powered career who not only learns he is attracted to men, but also that his likes the submissi...morethis is the story of a man who is a leader in his high-powered career who not only learns he is attracted to men, but also that his likes the submissive role in sex. The book is decently written and has a nice story. it's a basic contemporary romance and you could just as easily have written this story about a m/f couple as a m/m. The sex scenes are good and the story relatively light and somewhat predictable.