★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Susan Duerden has quickly become one of my favorite narrators. In Ransom, o...moreCastle on the cliffs of Scotland
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Susan Duerden has quickly become one of my favorite narrators. In Ransom, one of my favorite Garwood books, she manages to elevate it even more! Awe-mazing.
I’ve read Ransom several times, but it was fun to hear it read to me. Ms. Duerden does a wonderful job on the Scottish accents and inflecting just the right tone for the characters and the situation. I don’t know how she got some of the deep voices for the men. Her pacing and voice level are consistent. It was a real joy to listen to this on audiobook. I’m so glad I didn’t resist getting this newly released version, as I know I’ll listen to it again and again.
What can I say about a classic Garwood Highland Medieval and – at 546 pages, or 16 hours on audio – a “chunkster” to boot? I feel like I’m repeating myself about Ms. Garwood; but, while there were a few LOL moments, what I really found was that I was smiling throughout this book. I like smiling while I listen to a story; it gives me a warm feeling; makes me want to hunker down under my covers and stay there, indulging in a bit of escapism to Garwood’s Medieval Scotland. This writer can get away with a subtle brand of humor that others cannot. The prologue in this one is excellent, and instantly transported me there. Even in the urgency and danger of the situation JG still managed to capture the character and innocence of a young Gillian and make me… well, smile. ☺
Here we get two love stories in one, which some people don’t like, but I found one complimented the other and made the developing friendship between the two women, Gillian and Bridgid, a more realistic relationship. It gave them something to talk about. (Not that there wasn’t enough action, intrigue, and betrayal going on in the story.) This was true for the corresponding relationship between the two long-time comrades and heroes, Brodick and Ramsey. They all got to know each other on a different level, and it is easy for me to see the four of them remaining friends for life.
That said, I felt the resolution of secondary love story was a bit too quick; greedy romance reader that I am, I would have liked a smidgen more. Maybe a wedding? One not on horseback? LOL!(less)
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh, I had to be bad and get this one! I know I only gave the hardcover of this...moreDaisy needs some protection.
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh, I had to be bad and get this one! I know I only gave the hardcover of this one four stars, but it has some of my favorite themes along with one of my favorite authors, so I splurged and got the audiobook. I’m so glad I did, as Deborah Hazlett does a great job narrating. She handles this fast-paced Romantic Suspense with ease and perfect diction, while her pace, volume, and tone do not fluctuate. The male voices aren’t quite perfect, as her voice isn’t deep enough, but such is the case with most female readers. Still, she gets the accent and inflection of humor - and worry - just right; ditto on the accents and differentiating them, too.
Linda Howard has a habit, sometimes, of getting her characters in the sack too soon – for me, anyway. (Maybe I’m turning into a prude in my old age.) Even so, she turns me around every time. The characters are fun together; I can so easily picture them.
Daisy Minor, small town librarian, and Jack Russo, Chief of Police, make an enjoyable and charming couple - though you wouldn’t know they are a perfect match at first. Daisy decides it is time for a major make-over, and she gets in a little too deep with her sexy new look. Good thing there is the hunky, protective man-with-a-badge standing by.
The way it starts, you think it is going to be darker than it is, and certainly the topic of illegal marketing of sexual slavery is no joke. (And, this is probably why I marked it down the first time through.) Given that I’ve read it several times over, and continue to love it, I just have to increase the rating. Despite the topic, there is plenty of humor mixed in with the justice.(less)
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Rosalyn Landor has an amazing ear and an ability to deliver the accents of England’s social strata. This raises her reading of Historical Romances to the upper echelon. There are lots of characters from different class levels in this novel, and her talent makes it that much more fun. She is fast becoming my favorite narrator for this era, though she does modern day beautifully, too. My eyes light up when I want to revisit one of my favorite “comfort reads” via my ears and I see she is the narrator.
It isn’t easy to switch back and forth between male and female voices, especially when they are in the heat of passion; it takes a deft tongue and a sharper mind. She does all this effortlessly and with perfect enunciation; I’m sure because she understands the characters so well; I never find myself being pulled from the story by any blunder.
Of course, it is worth listening to Ms. Landor reading More Than a Mistress just to hear the combination of love, understanding, and gentle reproof in the tone of the heroine when she says the hero’s name, after he makes a defensive comment – born from a mixture of new, bewildering, and hurt feelings – while slipping from the bed where they just made sweet love.
I adore this book! Mary Balogh is one of my favorite authors and this is one of my all-time favorites “comfort read.” Jocelyn Dudley, Duke of Tresham, is a brilliant combination of rake, haughty arrogant duke, and dangerous wounded hero – marvelously unaware that all he needs is love in his life. He has been callously and efficiently molded to perform his aristocratic duty, but Ms. Balogh’s heroine breaks his stiff reserve. Jane Ingleby delightfully stands up for herself, but manages to stay true to the Regency era. She calls Jocelyn on his male chauvinism with lady-like grace, all while keeping her secrets close to her chest.
P.S. I love this musical CD cover picture, which I think nicely depicts Jane and the room she decorates. It is easy to image the above painter’s easel within this Regency setting:
★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I don’t know how many times I’ve read this book; it just resonated with me, back in the day, as I tried to...more★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I don’t know how many times I’ve read this book; it just resonated with me, back in the day, as I tried to imagine being in Violet’s situation: her identical twin doesn’t want to marry the man with whom Violet is secretly in love. It is shortly before the wedding, so Violet makes a rash decision and steps in. Implausible, true, but fun in some ways.
Still, while the narration by Bianca Amato was very nicely done -- she’s surprisingly great with the male voices and I’ll seek her out again -- only some scenes still held my attention. I also didn’t like the ending as much as I once did; now I remember, the last time I skim-read it I spend more time re-reading the middle.
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) When someone wanted to do a “buddy read” (which you know I can’t resist!) of this...moreEnglish woodsman’s cottage
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) When someone wanted to do a “buddy read” (which you know I can’t resist!) of this one, I decided I’d listen this time, even though I’m not a big fan of Simon Prebble’s. (I just couldn’t get into an older man reading the love scenes to me. However, now that I’m older, he isn’t so bad. LOL!) Nevertheless, Mr. Prebble does an admirable job of this one. The old biddies of the ton are hilarious and the duke is sufficiently arrogant. I definitely got caught up in his telling me the story again.
Why do I love this book so much? I read it at least once a year. **sigh** I think it is because I’m definitely one of ‘those’ readers. You know the kind that the marketing people just adore – who loves a duke in the story! I also love books with “bride” in the title. Combine these two, and my book budget is shot to hell.
This is the first book in Ms. Laurens’ Cynster series and it is one of the best, IMHO. The 6th Duke of St. Ives, Sylvester “Devil” Cynster is the leader of this notorious pack of handsome, aristocratic rakes. He certainly is the one with the most sense of entitlement and he feels entitled to Miss Honoria Prudence Anstruther-Wetherby, finishing governess extraordinaire. Caught in a compromising position, these two have a battle of the wills when Devil decides she’d make a perfect duchess for him.
Ms. Laurens wastes no time getting these two together in a plausible set-up, which also provides a nice little mystery. Not a great mystery, mind you; but, a nice one, that leads us in the right direction all along. She’s not trying to trick the reader; it is a romance, after all. I love that Honoria puts herself right in the thick of the investigation.
However, I love the romance, too! Devil thinks he has his feelings all under control, but he’s in for as much of a surprise as Honoria. The love scenes are pretty hot, especially if you haven’t read the other books. (Alas, this author does tend to repeat the same phrases in her other books.) She also has a couple of funny scenes that still make me smile. (view spoiler)[Sulliman, Devil’s horse eating the scones; and when Honoria goes to Chillingworth’s townhouse. LOL! (hide spoiler)]
I also zipped through all the rest of this series (before it broke off into the Cysters Sisters Trilogy), back when I first discovered this author and “OD’d” on this storyline. Still, this one holds up for me, along with several others. Mr. Prebble narrates a few in this series, but not all. I’ll probably be very bad and purchase a few more. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Vanessa Huxtable Dew in her green Regency dress, who is decidedly prettier when she smiles. Artist: Gilbert Stuart, circa 1802-1804*
★★★★½...moreVanessa Huxtable Dew in her green Regency dress, who is decidedly prettier when she smiles. Artist: Gilbert Stuart, circa 1802-1804*
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Again, Anne Flosnik does a nice job of narrating in this, the first of the Huxtable Quintet. She doesn’t sound as stilted as she sometimes did in The Prize, by Julia Garwood. Nevertheless, she isn’t great at differentiating the voices, but more than acceptable in her inflection, pacing, cadence, and enunciation. I love this series by the wonderful Ms. Balogh, the Queen of Regency “marriage-of-convenience”; however, I wouldn’t say that Ms. Flosnik elevates this book with her reading; so, ★★★½✩ for narration.
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) It was pure pleasure to return to the first in Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaways series and the wonde...morePooka at Midnight
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) It was pure pleasure to return to the first in Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaways series and the wonderful Rosalyn Landor, the narrator, brought it to life all over again. She does an excellent job of discerning these unforgettable characters’ voices with their multiple accents and distinct personalities. She helped me remember why this quirky family tugged on my heart strings the first time around. You can hear Cam and Amelia discover a tender, lasting love. **sigh** In addition, Ms. Landor coveys the aching emotions of Leo’s grief for his lost first-love. (I had forgotten she was also Amelia & Win’s best friend!) All this happens while the loving Hathaway family tries to settle into their new home and elevated social standing. I delighted in Merripin, Win, Poppy, and Bea and experienced the family bonds with love, tears, upsets, and laughter as if they were my own.
★★★★★ (Review of audiobook.) Good Gravy Beans, I LOVE this book. I’ve read it over a dozen times; so, of course, when the opportunity...moreLuke [image error]
★★★★★ (Review of audiobook.) Good Gravy Beans, I LOVE this book. I’ve read it over a dozen times; so, of course, when the opportunity arose, I just had to do the “buddy read” of it with Jill (BTW, expect spoilers in that thread!). Since I had the brilliant idea of listening to the audiobooks of this series this time ‘round, I’ve been worried that one (or all) would let me down. No need for doubts here; I’m really happy I chose to “re-read” it with my ears.
Emily Durante is the narrator for this third installment of Ms. Kleypas’ Travises series. I had to get used to her reading, but that didn’t take long. I must admit I found subtle, unrealized things in the book when it was read to me. There is one spot where Ella apologizes to Jack; I always thought she should have done a better job of it. However, on the audio, Ms. Durante makes her sound quite contrite. Very nice.
Who am I to argue with Lady Jayne? She said, Auntee’s GoodReads review is the best, and I agree (though, I think I liked Ella better from the start than most people do). Auntee also has the best picture of Jack. **sigh** I always saw this picture as Joe, but since Ms. Kleypas tells us Joe is a younger version of Jack, I’ll happily go with it. (BTW, Auntee’s review has a larger picture. In case you want a close up. ☺)
Auntee wrote: “Just add some chest hair, and this could be Jack…”
The 2000 paperback publication has long been one of my favorite Li...moreReview of Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas
★★★★★ This is a review of the audiobook.
The 2000 paperback publication has long been one of my favorite Lisa Kleypas books and I can see the hero, Zachary Bronson, as the archetype for so many other Kleypas heroes to come: a rough, self-made man with endless determination to get what he wants, and he wants Lady Holland Taylor. (Talk about a man in pursuit!) Only here he is set in an era where dukes ruled the day and he is, alas, without anything approaching a title. But that is not deterring him. One of my favorite early scenes is between Zachary & Holly:
“I suspect if someone were drowning in quicksand, you would extort all manner of promises before throwing him a rope.”
He shrugged philosophically. “My sweet, that's the entire point of having the rope.”
Needless to say, I was a tad worried about listening to it via audio, but my fears never took flight. Rosalyn Landor does a great job of bringing this book to life; her narration is spot on for Lady Holly ー and the scene-stealing little Rose, Holly’s button obsessed daughter. Ms. Landor’s voice is more than acceptable for the large, rough, masculine Bronson. Even her gasps during the love scenes are perfectly paced.
Marchesa Marianna Florenzi, by artist Heinrich Maria von Hess, 1824
While not the sexy, sumptuous red evening gown that devilish Zachary commissions to entice the widow, Lady Holly, into making her entrance out of her extended mourning, the above may be one he has designed later in winter, when he wants to keep her safe and warm. The background could depict the entrance to the garden, where the delicious epilogue takes place. (While ZB has no taste in architecture, his gardens are beautiful.) Plus, the face and expression on this model, with her secret smile, are what I envision when I think of Kleypas’ shy, patient, heroine who is the epitome of a gentle lady seduced by a dangerous rogue. (less)
★★★★★ I've read this mulitple times; just had to listen to the audio. No suprise - it's great too! What follows is the same review I did of the hardco...more★★★★★ I've read this mulitple times; just had to listen to the audio. No suprise - it's great too! What follows is the same review I did of the hardcopy.
Magical Realism or Not?
Yes, I do think Kleypas 'blew a kiss toward' magical realism in Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor in the first toy store scene (an enchanted place for everyone) (view spoiler)[when Maggie gives Holly the shell and tells her she can talk into it and it may help her to speak when she’s ready. I loved that scene, especially when Holly does speak and Mark, who’s telling Maggie he doesn’t believe in encouraging a child’s flight-of-fancy, starts to tell her to not interrupt. Magic is all around us and we are often too busy or preoccupied to notice. Or maybe too full of denial for the sake of political correctness. (hide spoiler)]. It brought a smile to my lips.
There are a lot of other subtle things. The majority of the book takes place on an island, evocative of an exotic locale. I can almost smell the sea air and feel the breeze. The smooth, warm taste of roasted coffee Mark has made from his own labors. Sam valiantly works the soil while tending his vineyards, with a Victorian house - often a time period for magical realism - in the background. And Alex desperately needs some sort of mystical intervention. The magic of the season (both Halloween and Christmas). The letter to Santa.
But most of all, we know this is a HEA novella, so there is a sensual aura of exploration and driving force of destiny whenever Mark and Maggie interact. Yes, LK just gave a tiny nod to the genre, but it was well done and done so sweetly.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
★★★★½ I had to “re-read” this one via audiobook, it was that good. Ashford MacNab does an excellent job of narrating this one. Here is the link to My...more★★★★½ I had to “re-read” this one via audiobook, it was that good. Ashford MacNab does an excellent job of narrating this one. Here is the link to My GoodReads Review of the Paperback.(less)
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I know I gush over Rosalyn Landor every time I listen and review one of her narrations. If you haven’t hear...more★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I know I gush over Rosalyn Landor every time I listen and review one of her narrations. If you haven’t heard her read before, Lisa Klaypas’ enchanting Wallflowers books are the series with which to start. Ms. Landor transforms her voice to fit the characters, doing a wonderful American accent for Lillian Bowman; managing to sound brash and “freethinking” – but innocent when the time is right. Then there is her evil, snide inflection for Countess Westcliff! Are her Lords Westcliff and St. Vincent perfect? No, but close enough. Of course, I love Daisy even more on listening to Ms. Landor piping up with her, “Why?” and “Tell me.” Can’t wait for her story.(less)
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Good Gravy Beans...this book is good. I've been having a few major problems with my house remodel, and this...more★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Good Gravy Beans...this book is good. I've been having a few major problems with my house remodel, and this book - always my favorite of the Wallflower series, saved my sanity! I popped this book in my ears b/c it was loaded on my iPod and it has helped me get through a rough couple of days. LOVE Simon & Annabelle's story. Love how Simon is attracted to Annabelle at the beginning, and pursues her...but also comes to truly love her. Love how Annabelle resists him (she's a product of her era), but slowly comes to deeply love him. Delish! And Rosalyn Landor's narration is great! (less)
★★★★★ What can I say about this story other than a classic Julie Garwood book still delivers? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this o...more ★★★★★ What can I say about this story other than a classic Julie Garwood book still delivers? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this one; thought I’d try the audiobook this time. The narration, by Rosalyn Landor, brings this book to life. I’ll be seeking out more of her audiobooks. (less)
★★★★★ I LOVE this book! I have the full novel in the commemorative pictorial, the DVD, and now the audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Campbell Scott....more★★★★★ I LOVE this book! I have the full novel in the commemorative pictorial, the DVD, and now the audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Campbell Scott. Ms. Hillenbrand has researched her topic well, but she brings it to the page with insight, humor and an emotional depth that make it additive. You want to find out more about these three misfits – excuse me, make that four misfits, including Seabiscuit – and find out how they won the love of a nation in the midst of the Great Depression. There is never anything dull and tedious presented here and it is full of surprises.(less)
I loved the cover of this book. The couple on the front actually look like they are described in the story. Good story too! I gave it four stars, like...moreI loved the cover of this book. The couple on the front actually look like they are described in the story. Good story too! I gave it four stars, like the rest in the series, but it is really more toward 4 1/2 stars.(less)
May, 2012 Update Read this last May and had to read it again for 2012! Loved it! With all the recordings of less-than-desirable books from the 80's &...moreMay, 2012 Update Read this last May and had to read it again for 2012! Loved it! With all the recordings of less-than-desirable books from the 80's & 90's, why can't they put this one on audio?
★★★★★ Five full stars! It has been 21 years since I last read Duncan’s Bride and it is still holds up to the ravishes of time and my fickle changes in reading material. I love Linda Howard at her best and I found her here in this quick-read of a Silhouette Intimate Moments publication. Ms. Howard has the ability to show us the magic of stubborn people falling in love whilst dealing with the everyday realism of daily life. The dialogue is believable, yet held my interest. The characters interesting, the setting beautiful, the love scenes intimate.
He leaned against the kitchen cabinet and crossed his arm. “Are you scraping the house?”
“Don’t pull that Gary Cooper routine on me. I want it stopped right now.”
“The routine or the scraping?”
“The house can’t be painted until the old paint is scraped off,” she said reasonably.
“I can’t afford the paint, so it doesn’t make any difference. And I don’t want you climbing around on a fourteen-foot ladder. What if you fell while I’m out on the range?”
“What if you got hurt out on the range by yourself?” she retorted. “I’m careful, and I haven’t had any trouble so far. It shouldn’t take too much longer.”
“No,” he said, enunciating carefully. “I can’t afford the paint, and even if I could I wouldn’t let you do the scraping.”
“You don’t have time for it, so who else is going to do it?”
“For the third time,” he yelled, “I can’t afford the paint! What does it take to make you understand that?”
Yes, Reese Duncan is a “bold and arrogant and quick-tempered” Montana rancher, but Madelyn Patterson is just the New Yorker to calm him down while conversely stirring his blood to fever pitch. Reese is determined not to give his heart a second time and Madelyn is just as determined to win it. Some of the best scenes, the ones that made me giggle with glee in the back of my throat, take place in grumpy Floris’ café, provided by her acerbic nature; however, it is the Duncans, in the end, providing the area’s best entertainment for miles around.
4 ½ stars. Others didn’t like this book while I loved it and have read it several times. I use it as a “comfort” book to wash the taste of some unsavo...more4 ½ stars. Others didn’t like this book while I loved it and have read it several times. I use it as a “comfort” book to wash the taste of some unsavory books from my palate. It doesn’t have any big breakthrough story line, or fabulous H/h, or even an ahhhh moment. It is just a pleasant little read with a bit of a mystery with characters I enjoy.(less)
I like a good historical romance book where the heroine becomes the hero’s mistress and this story is one of my favorites; I have read it several time...moreI like a good historical romance book where the heroine becomes the hero’s mistress and this story is one of my favorites; I have read it several times. In this case she is not forced to become his paramour but offers herself to secure her father-in-law’s estate. Other things I like about this book: Lauryn comes from a loving family (this is actually part of the Applegate Sisters series, but IMHO is one of the best, and works well as a stand-alone).
Because he’s no dummy, Marcus figures out why she has consented to being his mistress early…but that doesn’t stop him from accepting her offer. As a widow, Lauryn isn’t a blushing virgin (one of the reason’s she seeks him out is because she hears he is a good lover); but, neither is she a trollop. While she’s listing the things she wants in exchange for becoming the Earl’s mistress (a small estate) she is smart enough, and has enough self-esteen, to ask for a new wardrobe too. Yet, she doesn’t seem greedy - as evidenced by later actions. The previous woman in his life becomes a fun part of the story and is not painted as typically bad just because she is a possible rival for the hero’s attentions (though he never thinks or acts so), (view spoiler)[and in the end she becomes a friend (hide spoiler)].
Lauryn is intelligent, quick thinking in a crisis, and still feminine. Marcus is strong and gentle and it fun to see him discovering he is coming in touch with never before felt emotions. I can see these two individuals falling in love as the pages are turned. Before any typical misunderstanding can take over the storyline there is a well-done mystery to be solved and Lauryn and Marcus are off on that adventure. Hopefully the enjoyable younger brother, used as cute comic relief, will have his own book once he matures.
Revised March 27, 2011["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)