(This is a review of the audiobook.) I loved this one, narrated by Susan Duerden, who does an excellent job. I’ll be looking for more of her work. Sh
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I loved this one, narrated by Susan Duerden, who does an excellent job. I’ll be looking for more of her work. She is so good with the male (not easy) and female voices and the accents, regardless of the country or the social class. Ms. Duerden is very good at making me forget the book is even being narrated, instead drawing me into the story.
Speaking of the story…granted, there are a few things for which I really should mark off on my star rating; however, I just couldn’t because it was such a joy to listen to. In the opening, the plotting and rationalizations by the heroine’s father and aunt were almost too ridiculous for me to get over. I was rolling my eyes. All they had to do was dress Linnet, the heroine, in a form-fitting outfit and the rumors would be reduced by half. (view spoiler)[The whole go to the prince or a brothel and get pregnant tonight? When she is supposed to be five months along? Huh? (hide spoiler)] The author also throws in some modern day expressions, such as “What happens in Wales, stays in Wales” and “It’s not me, it’s you. No, it’s not you, it’s me…” Ms. James even admits in the author’s note that the hero was inspired by the irascible doctor on TV’s House.
Still, the upshot of it all was just too tongue-in-cheek to resist; I found myself laughing, smiling, and enjoying the tale – a lot!
Plus, I really adored the way the heroine handled the hero, Piers, without resorting to snipping; Linnet used charm, wit, and inner beauty to tame her beast.
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(This is a review of the audiobook.) Whoa. Babe. Khristine Hvam elevated this book – which started out very much a Young Adult Paranormal – to a sop*
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Whoa. Babe. Khristine Hvam elevated this book – which started out very much a Young Adult Paranormal – to a sophisticated, thought-provoking Fantasy with mythological and religious overtones. Her narration is Exceptional, with a capital “E.” She delivers Ms. Taylor’s lyrical prose effortlessly while infusing the voices of human, seraphim, chimaera, and other magical creatures with distinct characteristics and a variety of multicultural accents. Each has a unique voice of their own, making them come vividly to life in the author’s, imaginative, whimsical and darkly parallel worlds. I see why this won an Audie Award.
The story starts out with Karou, a seventeen-year-old multi-lingual art student who is not above a little petty revenge. She lives in the cobblestone setting of Prague, with a host of mythical creatures in a small shop. Only her little cubbyhole has portals to extra-dimensional places and a father figure raising her by the name of Brimstone!
This is a detail-rich book that has clues as to Karou’s destiny everywhere. I know I’ll be listening to this one again, if only to catch them all; however, next time I think it will be as a “buddy read.” There are too many provocative discussions that could arise from this novel. For one, you think Karou is just the typical “beautiful, kick-ass” heroine found in so many YA Paranormals. (view spoiler)[Oh, but she is so much more than that and her beauty is part of a larger plot element. (hide spoiler)] Of course, there is her blue hair, her hamsas** and, well…the whole issue of her true identity being more than an errand girl to a monstrous sorcerer who has a fetish for teeth!
Then there is Akiva, an angel with fiery wings, who believes pity and mercy have been extinguished in him. Nonetheless, his skin comes alive when Karou touches him, bringing him to his knees. She’s instantly smitten, too, though her palm tattoos burn and ache in warning. After all, his mission is to close the doors to Elsewhere, so these two are on opposite sides; nevertheless, this is more than a mire Romeo and Juliette star-crossed-lover formulaic relationship. Ms. Taylor has woven an enthralling love story into a magical tale with an underlying message of hope.
Is there a cliffhanger? Yes, to say the least. I gasped at the ending. Come on September!
*I’d like to thank Pamela (AllHoney) for finding the above picture and posting it on our community “Doors and Windows” Pinterest Board; perfect depiction for one of the portals to Elsewhere.
**hamsas: a palm-shaped tattoo with an eye in the center
(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 fDaisy 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....more
(Review of audiobook.) It is one thing to fight a forest fire and another thing all together to parachute into one; however, that is exactly what
★★★★½ (Review of audiobook.) It is one thing to fight a forest fire and another thing all together to parachute into one; however, that is exactly what the Missoula Smoke Jumpers do. Nora Roberts has decided to write a story that follows several storylines of these select heroes and manages a murder mystery to boot. Rebecca Lowman does an excellent job of narrating this one, keeping the voice inflections varied enough for me to differentiate the multiple characters.
I enjoyed Rowan Tripp and Gulliver Curry's love story – all fifteen hours and ten minutes of it. Yep, at 472 pages, it’s what you call a “chubby chunkster”. I loved the bantering between these two, and the way Rowen, a veteran of these elite Smoke Jumpers, resisted getting involved with an experienced firefighter – now cast as a ‘rookie’ jumper. Of course, Gull, our hero, not only sets records in training camp, he overcomes Rowen’s resistance to his charms; it is inherently a romance. It was also realistically pleasant to see this kick-ass heroine be less than perfect when her father, a Smoke Jumper legend himself, finds love too.
There are several compelling characters in this fictional account of this small western Montana community, from the firefighters, to the ancillary staff, to the police detectives investigating the murder. There’s plenty of grief, and the ending is brutal; but, there are also precious moments, laughter and love. Some readers felt it had too much firefighting throughout, but I loved hearing about how these daredevils fight the “dragon”. I definitely recommend this read – or listen!...more
(This is a review of the audiobook.) I’ve never heard a performance by Christina Traister – and it is truly a performance she gives – but this won’t ★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I’ve never heard a performance by Christina Traister – and it is truly a performance she gives – but this won’t be my last time. She was fantastic! Ms. Traister does a wonderful job on the southern Louisiana Cajun accents. I am sure they would be much thicker in Real Life, but they do need to be understandable on audio.
I really felt Michelle’s father came alive in the audio, much more than on the printed page. Before, when I just read them, I didn’t appreciate all the subtle humor inherent in his voice for some of his scenes. I think Michelle’s voice as a little girl didn’t sound childish enough, but why quibble? Still, I liked her softening accent as she moved away from home, becoming Dr. Michelle Renard; nevertheless, it reappears when she’s interacting with her family. Especially when they push her buttons! LOL! I think most people do this in Real Life.
I also didn’t even think to put Theo Buchanan, attorney for the Justice Department, with a Boston accent, but **smacks forehead** surely he’d have one. She manages to make him sound cynical, worldly, and sexy.
Overall, Ms. Traister’s pacing, inflections, as well as her differentiation were spot-on, kicking it up a notch, from four stars to five.
I love that Julie Garwood is releasing some of her books out on audio and they are finding such wonderful narrators. Her books deserve them!
Really, these characters came so alive, I just didn’t want this book to end....more
Yes, I know the fashion isn’t right for 1868, but these twins are just too adorable to not post!
(This is a review of the audiobook.) What can I say aYes, I know the fashion isn’t right for 1868, but these twins are just too adorable to not post!
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) What can I say about the wonderful, versatile Rosalyn Landor that I have not said before? Here she surprised me with her Kentucky accent of Lucas Ross, the hero. Granted, I’ve met people from this wonderful Southern “blue grass” state and they speak a lot slower than she delivered Lucas’ lines. LOL! Which is probably a good thing, as it would have taken me forever to get to the end. Nevertheless, she gives us a very good delivery of him, astounding me yet again. Of course, the rest of her reading is perfection. I've read this one before, but she kicks it up a notch.
I’m so happy they are re-releasing JG’s books on audio! While this one isn’t my favorite, it gets better as the story moves along. It seems a little disjointed at first, as it searches for a comfortable setting in which to get cozy - the old world or the new. I was able to get distracted by other pretty bookcovers.
Still, some parts are excellent... the scenes aboard ship, the cute twins, and Lucas’ possessiveness -- once he commits to Taylor. Some think the book’s title is a little misleading, as Lucas is NOT a knight and Taylor is so obviously a lady; he’s a ... well, I’ll let you discover that. Alas, you must remember, Lucas is Taylor’s idea of Prince Charming. He’s mine, too!...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★★★★★ (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! ...more
Weeping Willow Tree, painting by artist Karen Margulis [image error]
(This is a review of the audiobook.) I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about SWeeping Willow Tree, painting by artist Karen Margulis [image error]
★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Susan Ericksen reading another book to me except one of the In Death series by Nora Roberts. However, once I let go of that, I really enjoyed her narration. Her diction is perfect and, as an amateur linguist, she can pull off both men’s and women’s voices smoothly. She has a delightful way of delivering children’s voices, too. Nevertheless, this one seems a little slow, so I increased the speed just a tad.
From the beginning I was pretty sure I was going to give this book three or three and a half stars; however, the last half of the book was just too wonderful and I had to kick it up a notch. I even cried, when I least expected it, not once, but twice. The Romance Master, Lorraine Heath knows how to write a Romance; that is why she can pull off changing a character from an unlikable fellow in the previous two books to a hero in this one. Ms. Heath does an admirable job of bringing the memorable fictional characters from Charles Dickens’ Victorian underworld to RomanceLandia.
Sterling Mabry, Duke of Greystone, isn’t a very likeable character. He hits on Frannie Darling right off the bat. While this is typical duke “sense of entitlement” behavior, which I usually love, I was shaking my head and rolling my eyes here. It isn’t that I loathed him; he just didn’t do “it” for me.
Until you get his history, watch his character development, see him open up to heroine and his environment. Then he became good enough for the kindhearted Frannie Darling.
In this third installment of Lorraine Heath’s Scoundrels of St. James series you learn just how kindhearted Frannie truly is. At one point her forgiveness quotient made me cry unexpected tears.
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Susan Duerden has quickly become one of my favorite narrators. In Ransom, one ofCastle 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!...more
★★★★★ (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:
Audio Review Note: While well narrated by Simon Vance, even he couldn’t save the first part; however, he was veryLeptospermum rubinette ~ Desert Snow
Audio Review Note: While well narrated by Simon Vance, even he couldn’t save the first part; however, he was very entertaining for the rest and does a good job differentiating the voices.
★★★★✩ I have made several aborted attempts to read this international bestseller without success, so finally, when it became Book of the Month in one of my GoodReads groups, I decided to listen to it on audio. Ha! I still ended up referring to the paperback copy so often that now I feel as if I’ve read the book twice. There were Vanger Family Tree flowcharts, time lines, chronological order lists, and back and forth emails that do not transfer well to audio, IMHO. In addition, the difficulty I had in getting into the story was not only with the foreign names and characters; there were the corporate world vernaculars and political implications that bogged the first part down for me. I had to really concentrate on this story and I didn’t find the beginning very exciting. GoodReads friends told me I had to persevere through the first part to get to the great middle. And, they were right. There is a great mystery in the middle of this book.
Stockholm, Sweden Warning: There was a brutality toward one of the characters that I wasn’t expecting, but luckily it was short-lived – and she gets delicious revenge! The protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, while not 100% loveable, is well-developed with a realism that is rings true. I certainly was cheering for spell-binding outcast, Lisbeth Salander, all the way. I’m glad I stuck with this mystery and I will definitely go on with the Millennium series. Why not? I have all the paperbacks and my library has all the audiobooks. Plus, I want to see what happens to these characters!
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Ari Fliakos does a delightful job in narrating this quirky – or should I say QWERTY – mystery just perfect for b
★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Ari Fliakos does a delightful job in narrating this quirky – or should I say QWERTY – mystery just perfect for booklovers, puzzle aficionados, computer nerds, and game geeks, a like. A little something for everyone. He does a great job convincing me he is the “everyman” for the new millennium, Clay Jannon, putting him on my prospective Top Ten Narrators I Discovered in 2013 list.
Clay is a young man in the near future who is riding the razor’s edge of eBooks verses the dead tree version of ancient tomes and other reading material. Oh, and audiobooks. ☺ Mr. Fliakos does an excellent job on the voices for the rest of the amazing characters appearing in this novel; from Clay’s boss, Mr. Penumbra; to his best friend, Neel; to the ominous Corvina; and even the clever female, Kat. He gives us wonderful pacing, enunciation, and nuances. I’ll be checking out more of his readings.
Not to worry, it’s not too deep. This is an enjoyable mystery that had me hooked long before the oxymoron “festina lente” or any mention of a mysterious codex vitae makes an appearance. It was a lot of fun to do as a “buddy read’ – though Real Life and other commitments caused me to fall behind – and everyone had a theory of what is happening or going to happen next. I don’t know why some felt this was a great big ad for Google; I thought it had a lot of ‘tongue-in-cheek’ moments.
I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I’ll certainly check him out again....more
& a W.O.W! (This is a review of the audiobook.) I feel like a parrot, because I keep saying this, but this series just keThirty pieces of silver.
★★★★★ & a W.O.W! (This is a review of the audiobook.) I feel like a parrot, because I keep saying this, but this series just keeps getting better and better. This is certainly due, in large part, to Susan Ericksen’s excellent narration. She knows these characters so well and is so versatile with the voices. Love the rugged, poetic Irish lilt of Roarke’s voice; the friendly airiness of Mavis’s; the professional, dependable, but decidedly sassy Detective Delia Peabody’s; and the insightful, intelligence, serene, upper class New England accent of Dr. Charlotte Mira’s.
Still, I have to give Ms. Robb (AKA Nora Roberts) major kudos. It is hard to maintain a series and keep it fresh and interesting – and have the two main characters married! Each book contains a well-developed mystery, plus continues with an evolution of her passionate, powerful protagonists and her amazing secondary characters. It is fun to get to know them all, and neat to see they do something totally in character – yet somehow surprising! It takes a deft hand to do that.
In this one, she concentrates on the relationship between Roarke and Eve and all I can say is “O.M.G!” repeatedly. Ms. Robb pushes the envelope, takes them to a new level, and makes it work – all while entwining them in a compelling mystery that is the catalyst of their evolution. In Death series in correct reading order. *
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Man-oh-man-oh-man-man! This one is so well narrated by Robert Petkoff. I hope he is doing them all. I placed him
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Man-oh-man-oh-man-man! This one is so well narrated by Robert Petkoff. I hope he is doing them all. I placed him at the top of my Top Ten Audiobooks for 2011 with his delivery of A Hunger Like No Other. Looks like he is trying to win that slot again.
Robert Petkoff is wonderful at infusing life and emotions into Ms. Cole’s amazing characters. Oh, he is certainly Delicious with the Scottish accent. Not only that, he differentiates the member of the Lykae clan, all Scottish, so that you’re not confused when Bowen and Lachlain are in a conversation together. Nevertheless, one scene I just marveled at was when Mariketa was mimicking Bowen’s accent. Too funny! How did Mr. Petkoff manage that? LOL!
Mr. Petkoff also made Cadeon Woede, with a lovely English accent, sound yummy, too! I can NOT wait for that one (#6) to be released.
My heart always ached for Bowen MacRieve; having lost his mate over two centuries ago, in the previous installments of this wonderful paranormal series he pretty much didn’t care if he lived or died. However, with an opportunity to bring his intended mate back with a prize won in the Hie, he has a mission. Watch out for a Lykae on a mission!
Then he runs into Mariketa the Awaited – or Mari - a pretty little redheaded witch he is sure has been practicing magic on him, since he is wildly attracted to her. Bowen, believing she has toyed with him, enthralled him, does the unthinkable and traps Mari and a few other Hie competitors in a Guatemalan tomb with some swarming incubi! Eep!
But that is just the start of it. Mari really does put a spell on him just as he is making his exit, and what a spell it is. Oh the twists and turns in this one are great! Only Ms. Cole could write Bowen out of all the mistakes he makes.
The fourth in the Immortal After Dark series is one of my favorite. Love Bowen and Maiketa’s story! If you need a refresher on what happened in the past books, why not listen to it on audio? Pure fun! ...more
I love this series! If anyone is looking for a good serial “buddy read,” this is the book for your group. That is, if everyone can commi [image error]
★★★★½ I love this series! If anyone is looking for a good serial “buddy read,” this is the book for your group. That is, if everyone can commit to sticking to the reading schedule and not jump ahead. In that case, you’ll get a lot of this in answer to your Discussion Questions: “Sorry, I can’t answer; I read ahead.”
Like most of my other “buddy read” members, I liked, not loved the main characters. Nevertheless, I truly appreciated that the author presents us with unique individuals for this, the fourth in the Pink Carnation series, instead of the same cookie-cutter H/h. Like the rest of these novels, the plot and the pacing are spot-on – and I think the suspense may even be better.
Special Note: I spent half my time reading the paperback, half listening to the audiobook. Kate Reading, the same narrator as the first three, does her usual excellent job.
(This is a review of the audiobook.) You know a narrator is good when a secondary character starts speaking and you know who it is right away, withou★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) You know a narrator is good when a secondary character starts speaking and you know who it is right away, without other clues. Pilar Witherspoon gives such a performance in this wonderful, sweet romance. Her enunciation, pace, and tones are all perfect for every character. I’ll definitely look for more of her readings.
What a lovely romance. It is certainly “one-foot-on-the-floor” – but still, there is plenty of heat between the hero and heroine. And there’s plenty of action in the storyline. I loved Travis and Meredith’s love story. Both characters come alive in Karen Witemeyer’s book. While I’ve certainly noticed her books before, due to the lovely covers, I’ve never read anything by her. That’s about to change; I definitely will be reading more of her work. Also, the religious aspect of the book is not shoved down your throat, but done in a heartwarming, realistic way for time, place, and situation. ...more
Hadrian's Wall in Scotland, built by the Romans around AD 122
(This is a review of the audiobook.) I’ve never hear Matthew Brenher narrate before, butHadrian's Wall in Scotland, built by the Romans around AD 122
★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I’ve never hear Matthew Brenher narrate before, but I liked his reading of this first in The Cynster Sisters Trilogy. He enunciates nicely and has a great Scottish accent, where applicable. Sometimes he needs to pause a bit, as he seemed to drone on at times, but I think that was due to my having read so many of this author’s books and she gets repetitive. It isn’t easy for a man to read me the love scenes, especially in Historical Romances (as opposed to PNR or UF), but he gave a very nice performance and his female voices weren’t falsetto deliveries.
I was surprised I enjoyed the story-line in one as much as I did. Ms. Sanders has a template she uses for her long running Cynster series, but in VBttR she gives the reader a little something different here: a kidnapping right off the get-go.
Then there is also the mysterious Highlander, and trying to figure out not only his intent, but also if he is potential hero material for a future book in this series, or truly evil. When Ms. Landers stuck to that, I was thoroughly entertained. That, and the first love scene worked for me. I thought it was going to be a five star read for me.
However, she lapsed back into the same old theme of the heroine not wanting to marry the hero until he says those three little words. There are so many good things about LS’s writing, but this theme she falls back on too many times. Maybe she’s of the view that she wants to stick with the sure thing, for her books have all been very successful. For a reason. I always enjoy parts of them a lot and still re-read Devil's Bride once a year.
Nevertheless, June, in our “buddy read” of this one in Romance Lovers for the Challenge Impaired, put it best: “I'm not a big fan of a woman that demands a love declaration, but has no courage to tell her man that she loves him.” I agree. Especially each and every time... and for too, too many chapters.
Love the trek through Scotland, though.
*Picture Credit: Public Domain found on Wiki....more
The Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. One can see why these mountains got their name.
(This is a review of the audiobook.) KhristineThe Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. One can see why these mountains got their name.
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Khristine Hvam continues the narration of Amanda Stevens’s eerie mystery series. She does an excellent job reading this in first person POV as Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer. Her Southern accent is perfection, as well as her cadence, tone, inflection, enunciation, and her ability to different voices. There is a reason Ms. Hvam was on my Top Ten Audio List of 2012; so far she's on there for 2013, too!
This time Amelia has ventured outside her Charleston home when she goes to restore Thorngate Cemetery in the eerie and atmospheric Asher Falls. Or is that a dark enchantment in the air? Whatever, Amelia feels drawn to the mountain community, with it ghostly man-made Bell Lake.
Just who commissioned Amelia to do this job, anyway – and why? Was it really Luna Kemper, Real Estate Agent extraordinaire, with an unusually youthful sultriness? Or one of her cliquish friends? Could it be old man Pell Asher, bound to his wheelchair, but still wielding great power? His arrogant son Hugh, with his ‘unnervingly perfect’ features? Or Hugh’s young wallpaper wife, Maris? How about the creepy guy at the cemetery who slithers under and around? Certainly not the scarred Police Chief Wayne Van Zandt; he wants her gone. Though John Devlin is sorely missing, there is the seductive Thane Asher who is attentive to Amelia; does he have ghosts haunting him, too? And what could be his motives for wanting Amelia’s presence?
In addition to an underwater cemetery that casts a pall over Asher Falls, there is a reclusive neighbor, a history of several suspicious deaths, something evil in the woods, a really neat dog named Angus, plenty of ghosts, rebellious teenagers, romantic entanglements – with the resulting jealousies – and a ‘whole lot of mendacity going on’ in a dying community.
We get some answers in The Kingdom, which should make readers happy; however, it is a certainty that the tale isn't complete. I can’t wait for the next one!
Mountain Streams With its stunning view of the Blue Ridge and woods full of rhododendrons, mountain laurel and wildflowers, Keowee-Toxaway State Natural Area is truly one of South Carolina’s pretty places.
mountain laurel in South Carolina [image error]
Natural Bridge at Keowee-Toxaway State Natural Area, 12 mi. N.W. of Pickens, South Carolina. Photo by John Burns.
Anne dares to go out with only her cloak on over her nightgown. [image error]
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Excellent narration by the always veAnne dares to go out with only her cloak on over her nightgown. [image error]
★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Excellent narration by the always versatile and elegant Rosalyn Landor, who certainly kicked this up a notch. I will admit that I had to increase the speed from 1X to 1.25X, as it was just a tad slow. Though secondary characters, I loved the banter between all the Smythe-Smith cousins, Elizabeth, Harriet, Frances, and Daisy; Ms. Landor manages to keep them all sounding different.
I don’t want to say this is standard fare for Ms. Quinn, because it isn’t. She goes a little darker this time round, but that’s still not terribly dark. Alas, Anne’s history is just all too conceivable. Still, I gobbled up this second in the Smythe-Smith Quartet in one sitting. How can I miss with Ms. Landor delivering Ms. Quinn’s tale? When does the next one come out? ...more
"California Poppy Field," by Granville Redmond circa 1926.
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Story = Narrator’s Performance = Overall =
I enjoyed T"California Poppy Field," by Granville Redmond circa 1926.
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Story = ★★★☆☆ Narrator’s Performance = ★★★★☆ Overall = ★★★½☆
I enjoyed Therese Plummer’s narration of the first in Robyn Carr’s Grace Valley Trilogy. She differentiates the characters nicely, her pacing is good, and you can tell she has some fun in spots with her tone and inflection.
Nevertheless, this book is billed as a “romance” and it doesn’t quite live up to that claim. I’m not talking about the “one foot on the floor” love scenes. (That didn’t disappoint me at all.) I mean the amount of time devoted to the romance between the heroine and hero. This is June Hudson’s story; her daily life and dedication to Grace Valley and its inhabitants; the sound of her “ticking biological clock” in the background. The hero seemed to be almost a footnote. While I liked their “meet cute” and the idea of how to handle their budding romance, (view spoiler)[considering his occupation, (hide spoiler)] I was less than impressed with the amount of time they spent together.
Miss Carr is great at sucking me into her story-lines with her variety of believable characters - both good and bad - and sub-plots within a small community. However, these didn’t pull me in like the Virgin River books have done. While Miss Carr seems to focus on one main issue in her books, here there was a little too much domestic violence and poverty for me. Though I don’t expect my protagonist to be perfect, I didn’t feel like the good doctor, nor the sheriff, showed the kind of judgement I expected of them.
One thing that would bring me back for more would be the Angel Pass story-line.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Could this be Mercy’s new gold sheep necklace? The original one can be found at www.maxandchloe.com - however, not with the emerald for the sheep’s eyCould this be Mercy’s new gold sheep necklace? The original one can be found at www.maxandchloe.com - however, not with the emerald for the sheep’s eye; I added that. ☺
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Lorelei King delivers her best narration yet in the seventh installment of the Mercy Thompson series. It is like she’s right there with all of us adoring fans of these novels, and is just as enthusiastic to find out what happens next to our little coyote - and her world - as we are. This makes for great pacing in her reading.
There are many returning characters this time around and, therefore, many voices. (As Sara in GoodReads’ Who’s Your Author? group said, it is like a Reunion Special!) Ms. King keeps them all straight and seems to kick them up a notch, too. Werewolves, vamps, ghosts, feys, humans, whatever. Or maybe that is just because the book is so great! I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I love her Italian accent for Stefan (a vampire); it has kind of an “I want to drink your blood…” cadence to it, but Ms. King totally gets away with it.
I’ve also said in the past that Ms. Biggs writing is simple, but that doesn’t really convey her talent. I don’t mean bland, as she is far removed from that boring fare. I mean she doesn’t have a lot of superfluous words in her books. Some authors sound like they are writing with at thesaurus open beside them at all times. She’s all about the story - and she knows how to deliver an excellent one. Plus, she loves to slip in a vital little tidbit of information when you least expect it, so you’d best pay attention.
Ms. Briggs gets her point – and her plot - across in an economically elegant style. For example, when a certain someone apologies:
“Hell must have been experiencing some climate change.”
See? No fluff or $64 words, but you know it is a momentous occasion because of the characters’ history. Still, she does throw in a high-rent word here and there, like at this point:
“You will eat this and go to sleep, so your pronouns get their antecedents back.”
Nevertheless, there is one scene, which had me cracking up:
“Obstreperous, ‘huh,” said Tad. “I see you’ve been using that Big Word of the Day calendar I got you last Christmas.”
“That is irrefragable,” I told him solemnly.
Of course, there is also a lot happening: Eep! The wolf pack has been kidnapped! Is it just political? A consequence of the cliffhanger at the end of Fair Game - third in the Alpha & Omega series? Or something else entirely? There are several nice twists, which put me on the edge of my seat throughout.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, there seems to be more humor in this one, if I’m not mistaken, and it is pitch-perfect, although some of it I’m afraid the younger generation might not get: In the opening chapter? With the car Mercy is driving (her VW Rabbit), Jesse’s question (don’t want to spoil it for you), and the whole “rabbit died” connotation? That was just too, too clever! LOL!
Yes, Ms. Biggs is so smart. I wasn’t a “Team Adam” member when Mercy had a choice between him and another, but we actually get a couple of chapters with his thought-processes; he has completely won me over. He remains his über-alpha male self, leader of his wolf pack; however, we get the added treat of finding out what is going on in his handsome head and earnest heart. It is neat to discover his thoughts on his brave little coyote mate, his deep love for her, his need to protect.
All in all, I can’t recommend this one enough. Mercy is not only a clever, kick-ass heroine; she is brave, loyal, compassionate, and filled with common sense, plus her own brand of magic.
P.S. If you don’t read Urban Fantasy, this is the series with which to start. Before you know it, you’ll be drawn into Ms. Briggs’ world. Do you need to read Alpha & Omega series along with this one? No. But, you’ll have a deeper, more rewarding reading experience, if that one is read, too. Luckily, http://www.hurog.com/* has a neat visual timeline for the reading order of these two wonderful series.
Regency Period & Ireland [image error][image error]
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh! This parallel time warp series just keeps getting bettRegency Period & Ireland [image error][image error]
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh! This parallel time warp series just keeps getting better and better. Luckily, it looks like the fabulous, talented and versatile Kate Reading narrates the whole of this series. She does a wonderful job on the male and female voices – of all ages. (Eloise’s grandmother sounds a little like an elderly Katherine Hepburn.) She’s good at differentiating the voices within the same sex also. Regardless of whether the characters’ agendas are nefarious or benign – Ms. Reading gets the tone and inflection just right and gives nothing away – if their intent was part of the mystery. And **gasp** most of the book takes place in Ireland!
I am NOT a big admirer of the ‘hero-in-love-with-the-sister’ theme, yet this author pulled it off. Forced into a marriage-of-convenience with the younger, ‘less desirable’ sibling, would I believe the hero worthy of heroine? Would they have a ‘plausible’ HEA*? I guess my rating puts those questions to rest. And **gasp** most of the book takes place in Ireland! In addition, there are plenty of clever twists in the plotline; I was gobsmacked more than once.
I also want to say, that when referring to the hardcopy version to write my “buddy read” questions, I was captivated by Ms. Willig’s writing style. Not only is it well edited, she chooses just the right word and expression, causing the scenes and century switches to flow seamlessly, making it all a pure pleasure to read. I got caught up in the story all over again!
Special Note: I went looking for the paperback copies of this series as references for the “buddy reads” I am doing of the Pink Carnation series. It is no surprise that I didn’t find them in the “Romance” section but in the “Fiction”. Book stores are still a bit snobbish when it comes to tagging a book a “Romance”. Though, I agree that they are “sophisticated” romances – and at least in the upper echelon of the genre; nevertheless, that doesn’t make them any less deviously, deliciously FUN!
(Review of audiobook.) This fourth installment of Mercy Thompson’s series is very well narrated by Lorelei King. Ms. King certainly haswalking stick
★★★★✩ (Review of audiobook.) This fourth installment of Mercy Thompson’s series is very well narrated by Lorelei King. Ms. King certainly has cemented her voice as Mercy’s in my brain and she delivers nicely for this first person narrative. Love her Italian accent for Stefan, who features prominently in this volume.
As far as the story, it is so great to hear Mercy “rise above” what had happened to her and do so realistically. (I was pretty upset after Iron Kissed. I wanted to give the series a rest because yes, I’m a wuss! The third one drew me into it so deep! With what is going on in my life right now, I didn’t want to deal with Mercy’s “recovery.” Thus, I was a little leery.) However, I was lured back to this marvelous series by people wanting to do a “buddy read” – only to have them have crises and other Real Life commitments take them away after the first four chapters!
Well, if Mercy can be brave, so can I. Therefore, I persevered on my own; so glad I did! I should have known the wonderful Ms. Briggs, with her nifty storytelling capabilities, would handle it with just the right touch of humor. Here Mercy also reinforces her relationship with her chosen mate. We also get vampires, werewolves, fae, ghosts, humans, and – zombies! In addition, we get a couple questioned answered too, which is quite neat.
A couple of noteworthy comments:
◈ Man-oh-man! I detest Marsilia. I know we are supposed to, but I really, really hate her. Ms. King voices the Vampire Queen B!tch of the Universe with a perfect sneer in her accented tone, making me hate Mistress Marsilia all the more.
◈ I was very worried when Mercy’s necklace went missing. I can be a little dense when it comes to the Urban Fantasy genre, so if someone could tell me (view spoiler)[who took it; who retuned it? Did the young ghost John, on command from James Blackwood, AKA, The Monster? (hide spoiler)], I’d appreciate it.
◈ Ms. Briggs isn’t very explicit in her sex scenes, but man can she convey the heat between couples. Don’t you agree?
◈ I had a small medium-sized beef with one thing (view spoiler)[ a ghost can drink blood? WTH? (hide spoiler)], but that really was the only one.
◈ I have to figure out how to space out the next two books so that I am not sitting on the edge of my seat for book #7.
*Thanks to all of you from various groups who voted in my poll for what the necklace should look like. Several people agreed it was more three dimensional than this one. But I think this won because, as Sandra (from SOS) said, “I just pictured something cute so the vamps wouldn't think anything of it.”
In truth, I fell into the category of one of those devoted readers who said a big “WTH?!” in the middle of th★★★★½ James Marsters’ narration was fantastic!
In truth, I fell into the category of one of those devoted readers who said a big “WTH?!” in the middle of this story. The whole thing threw me for a loop and I thought Butcher had gone off the deep end. Way, way off. Like, into the swampland around the loony-bin. Seriously, man?
However, I took a break and then I re-read the story (or should I say I redid my combo of “listening & reading,” even though it isn’t available in Whispersync, yet) and I had to marvel at his **coughevilcough** genius and raise my rating. (view spoiler)[Even if he left Thomas out of all the “fun” of the heist. (hide spoiler)]
There is a great story here, and JB’s writing is excellent, as is his world – as usual. He brought back a villain who I didn’t think was possible to loath more than I did previously. He answered some questions, made me worried about the direction he is taking with a couple of the characters, and devilishly left me pondering a whole new set of questions and qualms. Butcher made me gasp more than once and was cruel at times – to Harry & me! – and had me yelling the word out loud to him over one scene in particular.
But most of all, he gave me a lot of surprises and left me with a strong desire to find out what happens next.
Thanks to the ladies of our “buddy read” in RlftCI who came up with Discussion Questions and Answers to make me think: ShoSho, Joann, Lauren, & Gisela! As in the past, you all made it more enjoyable.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Yay! The talented Ashford McNab is back narrating this one - and the next! ★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Yay! The talented Ashford McNab is back narrating this one - and the next! ...more
The fabulous Marlene Dietrich in Agatha Christie’s wonderful “Witness for the Prosecution,” the play Roarke and Eve go to see.
& a Wow! & a WThe fabulous Marlene Dietrich in Agatha Christie’s wonderful “Witness for the Prosecution,” the play Roarke and Eve go to see.
★★★★★ & a Wow! & a Whoa! (This is a review of the audiobook.) Susan Ericksen narrates these characters as if she wrote them instead of J.D. Robb, she knows them that well. Her narration lets us know them better, too!
Loved this one. Adore all of them, actually, but this one was extra-extraordinary. I think it is one of the best in the series. The homage to Agatha Christie was spot-on; especially Roarke’s thinking how much Dame Christie would love Lieutenant Eve Dallas. We get to see deeper into these characters. The dialogues between Peabody and Dallas are revealing, taking them to a deeper level of intimacy. The scenes with Roarke are H.O.T., funny, and tender. In Death series in correct reading order. *
[image error] (This is a review of the audiobook.) How is it possible that Robert Petkoff keeps getting better and better with each one of the release[image error] ★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) How is it possible that Robert Petkoff keeps getting better and better with each one of the releases of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series? I mean, Good Gravy Beans, I already had him as my Top Ten Narrators for two years running. I've pre-ordered every book in this series when it becomes available, stalked Ms. Cole’s and audible.com’s websites waiting for word of the next release so I can mark my calendar, and I’ve sought out books in other genres just to listen to him. So, what more does he want me to do?
Here he does to perfection the voice of one of my favorite heroes in this delightful series: Cadeon Woede, a rage demon, in love with a human named Holly. One of the things I love about Cade is his sense of humor – and Mr. Petkoff infuses that readiness to laughter into his delivery of this Lore hunk’s voice. He does a wonderful job with the female vocalizations of Holly, Nïx, and Regin, too, rarely relying on a falsetto. And his voice for Groot? Delicious! Having the right narrator is imperative to an audiobook and Mr. Petkoff has nailed it every time, impressing me with his versatility with accents, pacing, and inflection. Plus, I swear, I swooned every time he said Holly’s name. **sigh**
To say the least, Cadeon is a big disappointment to his older brother, Rydstrom, deposed ruler of Rothkalina. Cade wants to prove himself by restoring his sibling to his rightful throne. How? By obtaining a mystickal sword from a metallurgist named Groot, which will kill the usurper of Castle Tornin, the sorcerer Osmort. What does he need? Well, that would be a huge spoiler, and I would NOT want to ruin for you.
Cade is a primal male hero from Medieval times; known as a brutal mercenary, he’d prefer to live in the moment, but feels bound by his Princely duties to his brother. Holly is a new millennium spectacle-wearing geek, on the verge of completing her PhD in Mathematics, with bad case of Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder. This installment puts them on a “road trip” together, another favorite setting of mine, with check-points along the way. I’m not big on bickering couples; nevertheless, I love bantering ones, and there is a difference. These two fun opposites pull off the later, while maintaining the chemistry and sexual tension between them.
I can’t recommend this one enough.
P.S. If you need a “zombie-like” character for a challenge, I think the cannibalistic Wendigos qualify: “corpse-eaters insatiable for flesh” and “ravenous for blood.”
Out So Far on Audio (Note: Only the last five are narrated by Mr. Petkoff.)
*The picture was found on Pinterest and is from the Dark Castle game, by Vimark....more