Story- 3.5 stars Narrated by Nicholas Bolton- 5 Star narration
I enjoyed this book very much until the last fourth. Then it was just ok. I felt the paci Story- 3.5 stars Narrated by Nicholas Bolton- 5 Star narration
I enjoyed this book very much until the last fourth. Then it was just ok. I felt the pacing got uneven and there was so much suddenly going on that it felt chaotic. Also, the campaign the British waged against the Irish seems to suddenly not be important in the couples future, even though it played suych a big part in the last section of the book. But overall it was fun and the narration was wonderful!!...more
I meant to write a real review, but time got away from me. I'll summarize by saying I enjoyed this long-awaited book by Rose Lerner. The heroine was "I meant to write a real review, but time got away from me. I'll summarize by saying I enjoyed this long-awaited book by Rose Lerner. The heroine was "plump" and a bit irascible, so she was definitely a nice change of pace for a historical heroine. The hero was an officer in the Peninsular wars, but is now home due to an injury. He is a potential alpha male who is much more "beta" now that he is injured and doesn't quite know what to do with himself. Both main characters make for interesting reading. I like that the heroine wasn't always nice or even rational. I also liked that the hero was both flustered by her, and struggling with his own anger issues due to his circumstances.
I love Milan's writing but I didn't love the characters in this novella. There was something about each of them that kept me from really taking them tI love Milan's writing but I didn't love the characters in this novella. There was something about each of them that kept me from really taking them to heart and caring about them very deeply. Otherwise, it was entertaining and had a good plot twist....more
While The Arrangement is entertaining, it doesn't sparkle. I've come to expect more from Mary Balough, and this doesn't quite deliver. The charactersWhile The Arrangement is entertaining, it doesn't sparkle. I've come to expect more from Mary Balough, and this doesn't quite deliver. The characters are well-developed and likable, but somehow they lack animation or believability. I never once felt swept up in the book or the characters. I never forgot I was reading a book. The characters and the plot are all too predictable.
At the same time, Balough writes beautifully and her prose helps mover the story along nicely. Since the hero, Vincent, is blind, there seems to be an excuse for the descriptive passages, where Sophia describes his surroundings and the people. I liked that, actually. The descriptions from Sophia were meant to engage and amuse, and as I reader I found myself engaged and amused.
Balough fans will want to read this, but I don't recommend this as a place to start with her. Try almost anything else to get a feel for how well she can write a story. This one is merely good, but she does "great."...more
I love the way Milan writes and this book is no exception. The female lead is unfashionably tall, non-willowy, overly loud, socially unskilled, an4.5*
I love the way Milan writes and this book is no exception. The female lead is unfashionably tall, non-willowy, overly loud, socially unskilled, and likes flamboyant clothes. The male lead is a bespectacled, red-headed, illegitimate son of a Duke. The story is an interesting look at social conventions and class-based (and gender-based) power structure. While Milan ties the loss ends up just a little too neatly, this was still a wonderful book....more
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 andMedieval 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! ;-)...more
I loved Rupert and Daphne. These characters are well drawn and the dialogue was clever and often funny. I also enjoyed the secondary characters an3.5*
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!...more
The World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World Fair of 1893, is the backdrop for this wonderful story. The author’s research is evident in the writing. The book is so steeped in the time, place, and culture that the setting becomes another character. It Happened at the Fair is worth reading for the history and setting alone, but that isn’t the only reason to read. The characters are well drawn and sympathetic, and the plot is engaging.
Cullen McNamara attends the World’s Fair in hopes of selling his design for an automated sprinkler system. A farmer’s son and part time inventor, Cullen is spurred to invent the sprinkler system after his mother is killed in a tragic fire. He reluctantly goes to the fair when he discovers his father has prepaid all his expenses. Cullen’s partial hearing loss is made much worse by the loudness in Machinery Hall, where he has his exhibit. When he realizes his inability to hear may be losing him potential clients, he convinces Della Wentworth, a teacher of deaf students, to teach him to lip read. Della is hesitant at first, but they eventually start working on the lip reading while visiting fair exhibits, and they come to enjoy each other’s company. As they become close, Cullen confuses Della by putting emotional distance between them. Unbeknownst to her, Cullen has a childhood sweetheart at home in North Carolina, and he knows he needs to figure out what he wants before someone gets hurt.
The story is made more complex and interesting by the details of the fair, but also the details of the prejudice most people of this time feel towards the deaf and hearing impaired. There is an ongoing, and often heated, debate over whether deaf children should be taught sign language, or only lip reading. The debate spills over and affects Cullen and Della as well.
It Happened at the Fair is categorized as an Inspirational Romance, but if I’d been handed the book without that knowledge it wouldn’t have jumped out at me. Since some readers seem to avoid inspirational romances, I wanted to be clear that this book isn’t about proselytizing. One character says a prayer when seeing a tragic fire, but I didn’t feel like that was an unusual reaction to the situation. There are other brief mentions of God and beliefs, but nothing out of character for the time period and nothing preachy. There is sexual tension in the book but the only sex scene fades to black. I would categorize this as a “clean” romance (not a word I particularly like, but useful) suitable for teens and older.
To my knowledge, I have never before listened to narrator Amy Rubinate. At first I wasn’t sure if her style of delivery was going to suit me. I tend to be sensitive to the cadence of narrations, the rhythm with which they speak. This unfortunately makes several very popular and talented readers difficult for me to listen to. However, I realized early on that I wasn’t hearing the narrator at all. I was simply enjoying the story. Other than reading a little more slowly than I prefer, Ms. Rubinate is a complete success for me as a narrator. Her pacing is even, her character voices are consistent, and the emotional reactions she conveys match the dialogue perfectly. I’m happy to add her name to my list of go-to narrators.
Whatever you do, when you finish this book make sure you listen to the Afterword. It’s fantastic, funny, and gives an insight into the heart and mind of the author. She quickly details where her writing differs from historical accuracy, and does so in a very winsome, lively manner. It is worth every moment of the 5 or so minutes it takes....more
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 the4.5*
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....more
Although compared to the works of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, A Little Folly shared none of Austen's dry wit and subtlety, and none of Heyer's spAlthough compared to the works of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, A Little Folly shared none of Austen's dry wit and subtlety, and none of Heyer's sparkle.
This interesting little novella is best read as a prequel to the larger work to follow,A Spear of Summer Grass. Here we get to know the male lead3.5*
This interesting little novella is best read as a prequel to the larger work to follow,A Spear of Summer Grass. Here we get to know the male lead for the next book, Ryder. Ryder is a Canadian now living in Africa where he is a business man but also a hunter of problem cats, such as man-eating lions. The writing is a little uneven, but some of that might be the fact that the reader jumps into the middle of the story and you figure it all out as you read. There is a short plot arc here, but not a really completed story. It's definitely a teaser for the book. And I am definitely "teased." I'll be reading A Spear of Summer Grass to see what happens next. ...more
This is an excellent book full of wonderful characters and lots of emotion.There are many good reviews here on Goodreads, so I'll just add that I loveThis is an excellent book full of wonderful characters and lots of emotion.There are many good reviews here on Goodreads, so I'll just add that I love the quality of the writing and the care Balogh has taken to make her characters believable, and to make the characters' actions and reaction feel so realistic. ...more
I loved this book. It's a quiet book. And while it's about finding love, it's mostly about personal growth and gaining understanding about people andI loved this book. It's a quiet book. And while it's about finding love, it's mostly about personal growth and gaining understanding about people and life. Susan changes and matures as life deals her one difficult and unfair event after another, mostly perpetrated by her own family. When Susan seizes control of her life she finds she's capable of things she never imagined. Definitely recommended....more
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,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, 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....more
This was a mostly enjoyable, sometimes humorous, story of a marriage across the strict social divide of regency England. There are some3.5* Grade B/B-)
This was a mostly enjoyable, sometimes humorous, story of a marriage across the strict social divide of regency England. There are some similarities to Heyer's book, A Civil Contract, although A Christmas Promise is more light-hearted overall and with an HEA solidly planted in Romancelandia. One of the things I like about A Civil Contract is the believability of the emotions and the fact that, in the end there is a comfortable contentedness about the marriage. Here we get all the passion and one usually expects in romance novels.
Balogh is an excellent wordsmith, so reading her books is always a pleasure. A Christmas Promise is entertaining and light, if somewhat forgettable. It's a nice Christmas story, perfect for the season....more
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....more