★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) This is the second time I’ve heard Amy McFadden narrate, and she does a nice job here. She has some nice in...more
★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) This is the second time I’ve heard Amy McFadden narrate, and she does a nice job here. She has some nice inflections, as well as her differentiation. I wasn’t wild over Dean Prescott’s Texas accent, but I wasn’t put off by it, either. There is something uplifting about her voice. Like the first two, I hope she finishes off the series.
I don't know why I like this series so much. I guess the word I think of is “pleasant,” when I think of it. Again, nothing new here, but I really enjoyed it. Not as fast-paced as the first in the series, but it had a nice flow. Made me smile a few times, as well as frown. I wasn't as attached to the heroine, Katie Morrison, as I was to Jessie in the first book. She didn’t do everything the way I would. Still, Ms. Bybee’s characters can’t all be carbon copies, or I would get bored. It was very pleasant to listen to while I set-up my June challenges on GRs.
★★★☆☆ – Audio Performance ★★★★ ½ - Novel (This is a review rant of the audiobook.) Emma Taylor gives a very inconsistent performance and I don’t think...more★★★☆☆ – Audio Performance ★★★★ ½ - Novel (This is a review rant of the audiobook.) Emma Taylor gives a very inconsistent performance and I don’t think she was the right choice for the reading of this wonderful book. I had an inkling I was in trouble when a character was suppose to hiss her words, and instead they came out regular. Or worse, called out a hiss in a high-pitched falsetto instead, which you can hear in the sample of the audio recording. Forget about when one is supposed to deliver a threat sotto voce.
Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series is certainly not one that a person can pick up in the middle and read as a “stand alone.” That said, I think this could very well be the Big Reason as to why Emma Taylor doesn’t elevate this story in any way. She doesn’t seem to know the story, let alone understand the characters. I’m convinced she hasn’t read or listened to the previous four books in this delightful series.
There are many returning characters, and she doesn’t get them right, sounding way too “stuffy” for my taste. I love English accents, but not ones that all sound like that, most especially the heroes and heroines. She speaks like someone who is trying to impersonate an English accent and only knows to give it a “snooty” delivery. Irregardless, her voice of Sarah, Godric St. John’s sister, is very inconsistent. Speaking of which, I believe that “St. John,” in the United Kingdom, is pronounced as one word: “SINdzin” or “SIN-jin” with stress on the start of the word.
I don't have much heart to go on about her male voices. **sigh** Except to say that the delicious Lord Caire, from Wicked Intentions, the first in the series, has turned into a stogie, pompous old fart, instead of the sexy beast we know he is destine to remain. Abysmal.
The only voices I did like were some of the new characters, as when she was reading the letters from Godric’s first wife. Clara’s voice she delivered with a young, fresh, and happy tone. Odd, since the first Mrs. St. John was dreadfully ill for the last nine years of her life. Nevertheless, I’ll give Ms. Taylor the benefit of the doubt as to their having been written before her infirmity.
While I thought her readings of the Legend of Hellequin at the beginning of each chapter were quite nice, unfortunately, Ms. Taylor’s pacing is off elsewhere; fast at times and too slow at others. I’m used to adjusting some narrators to fit my ear, and love that my iPod/Touch even has the half speeds in between, but I’ve never had to adjust a speed so many times. I don’t put the blame solely on Ms. Taylor, as I would think, with all our modern technology, the director would note this and have her adjust accordingly. She left me wondering, “Were her recordings done on caffeinated and uncaffeinated days?” If so, all the Legend of Hellequin recordings must have been done together.
I feel like I’ve gone on a long enough rant here, and am feeling quite harsh. So, let me justify myself by saying I truly love this series; it ranks as one of my very favorites. Maybe that is why I feel so disappointed. Still, I felt honor bound to listen to the whole book on audio; however, I didn’t enjoy it until I took periodic breaks and went to my Kindle version to re-read sections.(less)
Images of Friday Harbor, Washington. [image error] [image error] ★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh! I’m so relieved. I read a couple of negat...moreImages of Friday Harbor, Washington. [image error] [image error] ★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh! I’m so relieved. I read a couple of negative and hesitant reviews (although not about the audiobook) of the latest release in Lisa Kleypas’ Friday Harbor series, Crystal Cove. Let me reassure you; I loved this one also.
Tanya Eby returns to narrating this enchanting series and does a nice job. I realize most women can’t do the sexy baritone I hear in my head for all my heroes; nevertheless, there was something I just did not particularly like about her delivery for gaming millionaire Jason Black. It was as if she was pushing the sound too far back in her throat, making it come out almost “doofus-like,” if that makes sense.
I also think, now that my fears are alleviated, I’d enjoy this one much more on a second listen. I did really like Ms. Eby’s voice for the hexed Justine Hoffman, the lovely proprietor of an inn in Friday Harbor, so kudos to her. I kind of shrugged off the southern accents for some of the characters; I thought TB made them sound a bit too ignorant, but I tolerated them.
This one wasn’t my favorite in this wonderful series; however, I did enjoy it. Justine finds out there was a spell cast on her, so that none of her romantic relationships work out. While not as adorable as her partner, Zoe, she is no less deserving of love. Jason is an intriguing male, but he didn’t hold the devastating allure and power that Ms. Kleypas usually provides in her males. There are certainly more than a few scenes in this book that made me smile, and the BDSM scenario that I worried so much about was fine.
This one is more Paranormal Romance than Magical Realism that the previous books in the Friday Harbor series fall into; however, it was light, not heavy-handed, and flowed easily. It was nice to see Ms. Kleypas stretch her writing prowess into this area. I did have one or two little quibbles with plot points, but nothing major. Still, as I said, I should probable read it again to see if I feel differently about it, now that I know all is alright with Mr. Black’s kinky preferences in my version of Romancelandia.
By the Way: There is an Abridged version, that is only 5 hours and 42 minutes instead of the Unabridged version at 8 hours and 52 minutes, which is the one I heard. (less)
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh, I love the Maiden Lane series and this one is so well narrated by Ashford MacNab, who als...moreHarlequin Mask
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh, I love the Maiden Lane series and this one is so well narrated by Ashford MacNab, who also does the rest of the series; thus, it is all the more pleasurable. Her accents and tones were very well done, making them discernible individual characters.
As far as the story, it is hard to follow on the heels of “Charming” Mickey O’Connor and Widowed Silence Hollingbrook, but Ms. Hoyt pulls off the telling of the sainted Winter Makepeace and willful Lady Isabel Beckinhall’s love story.
Winter, long suspected by many of being the Ghost of St. Giles, has to finally face his ultimate dilemma: lust and desire for the beautiful and alluring Isabel, or remain focused to his cause. Will he give up his monk-like existence, his protective nature toward his orphans, his night-time rescues? Will she want him to? After all, she has secret yearnings of her own. Will she accept (view spoiler)[her biological limitations, yet allow herself to develop the loving, maternal side of her nature? (hide spoiler)]?
Of course, when I got to the part where they were trying to (view spoiler)[oust Winter from his own orphanage (hide spoiler)], I was irately saying to myself: “Why? Why? Why are Temperance and Hero out of town now?!?”
This author is pairing the working class with the aristocracy in her progression of novels, which have a delishiously Gothic feel to them; yet, each couple is unique. It is always a sign of a great series, by a talented writer (as opposed to a lucky one), if she can make you fall for heroes who are so completely opposite of one another, as are Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, from Wicked Intentions; or gin-selling Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, certainly a less than ideal hero at the beginning of Notorious Pleasures; then to ruthlessly “Charming” Micky from Scandalous Desires; and on through to pious avenger Winter in this one! “Bravo!”
★★★★★ & a Wow! It took me awhile to write this review; the fabulous Ms. Patricia Briggs had wowed me beyond words. Dare I say this is her best wo...more
★★★★★ & a Wow! It took me awhile to write this review; the fabulous Ms. Patricia Briggs had wowed me beyond words. Dare I say this is her best work to date? I guess I can’t, since I haven’t read everything she’s written – yet! But, I’m willing to place that bet.
With the third installment of her Alpha and Omega series, Ms. Briggs has proven she is a master of her craft and draws us completely into her paranormal milieu of werewolves, fae, vampires, ghosts, witches, humans, an occasional zombie, and now serial killers, with subtle skill. How does she do that? Unsurprisingly, right from the start! No splashy opening for her. Nope. It is a subtle seduction, a peep into her world in the opening prologue, where she grabbed me and didn’t let go until the very end. Actually, I’m still enthralled. Her amazing characters – paranormal or human, virtuous, average, or twisted-sick – held my attention and continued to maintain my enthusiasm for this series.
Charles is burning out and Anna, who is definitely coming into her own as Omega, appeals to her father-in-law, Bran Cornick, to listen to her. Charles needs a break from being his father’s assassin, especially since his duties have dramatically increased after the werewolves went public. Bran refuses, so she appeals to Asil, that wily old werewolf, who knows the way to make the Marrok listen to what he already recognizes. When the FBI calls, asking for help in Boston, Bran realizes he has the perfect reprieve for Charles – and himself – because he sends the pesky Anna with him.
King’s Chapel, 18th century structure at the corner of Tremont Street and School Street in Boston, Massachusetts.
King’s Chapel boasts the oldest graveyard in Boston.
As you know, where sociopathic serial killers go the FBI is sure to follow, and this novel becomes, to a large extent, a procedural for a murderous villain, who metes out rape and torture to the human, fae, and werewolf communities, regardless of paranormal ability or gender, so it is not for the faint of heart. Now the question becomes not just why – but by what means? And how cool is it to bring a 300 pound werewolf to a crime scene? On a leash with a flimsy plastic collar? That’s what the unflappable Anna does with Brother Wolf, and it is a memorable scene just for its audacity. It is neat to see the two of them work this case together (when he isn’t indulging his wife by playing tourist with her).
Regardless of the gradual, pulse-pounding escalation to an adrenaline-rush climax, it is at heart a romance between fated mates, Charles and Anna, as they find a way to make him completely hers again and not brokenhearted and tortured by his personal demons.
All in all, a GoodRead!
By the way, I loved the hardcover copy. Is it red? Is it bronze? Depends on how the light catches it. Cool. They have finally gotten these last two covers right, this one perfected down to sweet Anna’s freckles.
★★★★¼ I loved this one, the second in the Runaway Brides series; however, not as much as the first. Keep in mind, I’m not a big fan of “second chance...more
★★★★¼ I loved this one, the second in the Runaway Brides series; however, not as much as the first. Keep in mind, I’m not a big fan of “second chance at love” themes – or reconciled relationships. However, it may just be your cup of tea; and it is very well written and well edited. (A delight after a few too many self-published books in a row.)
The best parts were found in Maddie, the strong yet gentle heroine with a dollop of spunk and a passion for photographing the new American West, while falling in love all over again with Ash, her Scottish war hero husband. We also get to see the continuation of Thomas & Pru's interracial romance, as well as a lot of scenes with the previous characters from the first book. This author writes people and animals that come alive on the page and in your heart. Love this series! Looking forward to the next one coming out in June of this year (2012).
Note: I won this book, free of charge, on author’s Facebook page contest; doing so had no bearing on my rating this novel.
Edited March 4, 2012 to include my review of the audiobook, narrated by Tanya Eby. See below the ❀✿❀✿❀✿❀✿❀✿❀✿. I also wanted to add our RLfoCI “buddy...moreEdited March 4, 2012 to include my review of the audiobook, narrated by Tanya Eby. See below the ❀✿❀✿❀✿❀✿❀✿❀✿. I also wanted to add our RLfoCI “buddy read” tee-shirt montage worn by Sam and Lucy, The Scream, and a picture of the Afterglow Mausoleum (all below).
Friday Harbor, Washington Lime Kiln Lighthouse (Credit: Laura Boulton)Ferry leaving Friday Harbor
★★★★★ I have a friend who received an ARE of the amazing Ms. Kleypas’ second in the Friday Harbor series, and was kind enough to lend it to me. I loved it! Gobbled it down in hours, to the detriment of my sleep. It has some sad parts, though. Ms. Kleypas can make you feel her protagonists’ ache of love – whether it is the beginning, the end, or the disillusionment in between.
Ms. Kleypas is branching into “magical realism” – and I love it. It doesn't overwhelm the book, but makes a few appearances at critical times. And it all takes place in the lovely, enchanting setting of Friday Harbor, Washington. Can't wait for the next in the series!
Update March 4, 2012 on audiobook.
I recently did a “buddy read” of this book; as it was my second “reading” of it, I decided to listen to the audiobook, and I’m glad I did. It is well narrated by Tanya Eby (though she does **gasp** lisp the author’s name!). Still, I thought she elevated Lucy, the heroine, from what Megan, in her insightful review, wonderfully described it as having a “palpable sorrow, and quiet dignity.” In the audio, Ms. Eby made Lucy sound lighter and brighter, especially in the second half of the book, than I felt about her my first read-through.