You need to suspend disbelief, but it’s still a fun, tough guy story.
A sniper kills five people leaving a downtown office building. Several pieces of evidence point to James Barr a former army sniper. James says “You’ve got the wrong guy. Get Reacher for me.” Coincidentally Reacher comes to town for his own reasons. Reacher saw the story in the news. He knew Barr when they were in the army together fourteen years ago. Some bad guys don’t like Reacher being in town and try to harm him. Of course that’s the worst thing they could do since now Reacher won’t leave until he finds them.
This is one of the better ones in the Reacher series. The bad guys trying to harm Reacher was done well. Reacher’s investigation and solving the mystery was done well. I liked some of the things Reacher did as he was evading the bad guys and the cops. I would have liked a few more fight scenes, but I won’t complain. It’s just one of my favorite things - watching Reacher beat up thugs.
In the early books the author frequently used the phrase “he shrugged.” In recent books, he is not using that phrase as much, but he’s almost overusing the phrase “Reacher said nothing.” Some reviewers complained. I was ok with it.
Narrator: Dick Hill was very good.
Series: This is book 9 in the Jack Reacher series.
Genre: Mystery suspense thriller.
Sebastian is an Earl who is bored, so he investigates crimes for fun. A Bow Street Runner brings him crimes to solve. Prudence investigates ghosts for free. She meets Sebastian and wants to participate in his investigative work. She follows him to a bedroom during a party which does not help. Of course they are seen, so they have to become engaged to protect her reputation. Prudence is a Mary Sue character (poorly developed, too perfect and lacking in realism to be interesting). She is a young single lady running around without a chaperone. Some of her actions are silly and stupid.
There are three or four investigations during the book. The author focused on those instead of developing characters and relationships. There are three sex scenes. There is also a kidnapping and rape scene that is described after the fact. I’m usually ok reading about violence and rape, but this one made me feel sick.
It doesn’t matter to me if it’s historically accurate or not. But I did not care for Prudence’s overly wordy dialogue. Other characters use the word “ghost.” Prudence calls them “spectral phenomena” to imply her supposedly scientific nature. For example, someone asks her if she’s ever seen a ghost. “For some reason the memory of the presence she thought she had detected in the black chamber at Curling castle flashed into Prudence’s mind. “There was one instance where I believed I might have discovered a genuine example of spectral phenomena” she said slowly. “But I was unable to find any evidence to support my conclusion.” Another example “I believe I may have witnessed some significant evidence of spectral phenomena.”
Prudence also used the word “my lord” too much. Here’s an example using the word Tom instead of my lord. Are you awake Tom? Would you like some breakfast Tom? What do you want to do today Tom? I saw my sister yesterday Tom.
Prudence insists Sebastian mend the problems with his relatives. I’ve noticed this author puts family bonds and paranormal in a lot of her writing. They were here.
Anne Flosnik was very good. She used a variety of voices. He male voices weren’t perfect, but they were better than those by some other female narrators. I like her British accent. It was pleasant to listen to.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: historical romance with some paranormal.
I’m not having good luck with Amanda Quick books. I’ve read four and gave them 3 stars or less. However I’ve really enjoyed some Jayne Ann Krentz books (her other name). My favorites of those are All Night Long, Trust Me, Running Hot, Deep Waters, Sizzle and Burn, and Twist of Fate.
I didn’t laugh, but I smiled several times.
This has several short stories. Most or all of them are told in first person. My two favorites were: 1. hamsters in a lower school classroom. When Simon was assigned to feed them for the week, they knew death by starvation was coming. 2. “Sell Out” had an immigrant making and selling pickles. He was advised to hire help, but he didn’t want the expense, so he was told to use interns. He couldn’t believe he was getting 100 applications a day from college students wanting to work as slave labor for him.
Many subjects related to things kids in their 20's think about. And the dialogue sounds millennial because he uses the word “like” so much. For example he says “I’m like going somewhere.”
The author narrated his own book. B.J. Novak did this with great success. But I don’t think Simon Rich should do it. His east coast accent is too strong and distracts. Part of it might be his voice. Also, he also should have left greater pauses between stories.
Narrative mode: 1st person.
Genre: humorous short stories.
Interesting characters and conflicts. But too many flashbacks.
This could have been 4 or 5 stars, but the frequent use of flashbacks was annoying and kept making me angry. Who is telling authors to use flashbacks?????? It’s criminal. “Stein on Writing” is my authoritative source which says: “Flashbacks break the reading experience. They pull the reader out of the story to tell what happened earlier.”
Here’s how the flashbacks went. When I say current day, I mean April 1927. We have current day, then flashback to Dixie when she was a teenager, then current day, then flashback to Ingersoll fighting in WWI, then current day, then Dixie when she learned to make whiskey, then current day, then Ingersoll when he was a little boy in the orphanage, then current day. This was happening through most of the book. It was unsettling and unpleasant. I might have given this 5 stars if I wasn’t annoyed so much. I can accept a couple of flashbacks, but this was littered with them.
AS TO THE STORY:
This is fiction, but when I first saw it I thought nonfiction – about a flood in 1927. The flood is fact, but it’s merely the setting. This is a good story about fictional characters in a fictional town. Subjects include government agents searching for bootleggers and finding an orphaned baby.
I loved one idea. Ingersoll is not the best looking. He thinks that if he had met Dixie when she was 16, she would not have been attracted to him. Instead she was attracted to good-looking-smooth-talking Jessie, who turned out to be abusive and bad. So Ingersoll thinks Dixie had to go through the Jessie relationship before she could realize what was important and be able to fall in love with someone like Ingersoll. (Awwwwww....... my heart)
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR Brian D’Arcy James was very good. Kathleen on Goodreads said “Agent Ingersoll occasionally played the guitar and sang old folk songs. I wanted the narrator to sing those songs – just a few lines – but he didn’t.” I agree with Kathleen. I would have liked that. There were words written that could have been sung. The narrator spoke them.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: historical fiction with romance.
I was furious at Heather’s insensitivity/cruelty. But I enjoyed other parts.
I enjoyed the relationship, the characters, how they met, and how they acted. But Austin’s guilt was too repetitive and dragged out. In Afghanistan he was unable to save a guy’s life and feels guilty. So he won’t let himself be happy with a wife, child or other good things in life. I was tired of reading about it.
This is a fake marriage for a year. They agree there will be no sex. But within hours of meeting they have sex, and they continue to have sex. But each time they say “That was the last time. We can’t do that again.” But they keep doing it. It made me laugh.
The prenup part was not logical. He asked her to sign a prenup, but she didn’t ask him to sign one. She had a lot more money than he did.
This author is hitting the wrong buttons with me. In the first book (The Navy SEAL’s...”) my anger about Zeke’s debts overpowered the story. In this book I am angry about Heather having a baby and not telling the father for more than 12 years. It’s cruelty to the child and to the father. I don’t mind using Heather as a bad guy. What I mind is there was no emotional satisfaction on that issue. It was not resolved well.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR Emily Cauldwell.
She was good at general narration and for some women, but she’s bad with male voices. When she lowers her voice for men she loses the emotional element. Austin’s voice was low, rigid, un-sexy, and like a robot. There was no desire. She made Mason sound like a girl, due to his tones and emotions. The narrator should try for emotional interpretation instead of trying to raise, lower, or tighten her voice.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance.
1 star for something unfair and unjust. Anger overpowered my enjoyment.
THE SETTING INFURIATED ME.
My background is taxes and accounting which is probably why I had a huge problem. I’m sure others won’t be as bothered. I value authors trying new things and writing about new things. But this just hit the wrong button for me.
1. Zeke owns a ranch. He’s a loser. He’s been stripping the ranch for money -- selling appliances, furniture and even the fencing. It’s a small town. So why do a dozen locals lend him money which they know he won’t repay? If they were helping a friend fine. But if they expected to be repaid by Zeke’s relatives, that is unjust and unfair. After Zeke died, the locals went to Mason the nephew to collect. I was so angry! How would you like it if someone came up to you and said your uncle owed me $2,000 and I expect you to pay it? And there is nothing in writing. They could be making this up. Mason barely had enough savings to stock the ranch with cattle and horses. But finding the ranch in disrepair was a huge financial set back. He just got out of the military. He wasn’t rich. And then to find he was expected to pay off Zeke’s personal debts on top of that? Plus, where’s the respect and honor for our military heroes? The locals were fools to loan money to Zeke. But if they’re going to go to someone, it should be Zeke’s son or the aunt, not Mason. Mason was being honorable and paid the debts. It made me sick to my stomach.
2. The ranch should have been sold with proceeds used to pay Zeke’s debts, including probable estate taxes. Zeke had no will so it gets even murkier as to why the land would go to Heloise, and other tax issues. But I won’t go into that. I was willing to suspend disbelief about the tax things. The part about Zeke’s personal debts is my problem.
In summary, I don’t mind Heloise requiring the nephews to get married, stock the ranch, and other things. I don’t mind the nephews finding the ranch stripped down requiring them to spend a lot of money to fix it. Those were ok plot devices. But I did not like paying Zeke’s debts. The plot did not need that. It’s already got the downer of financial burden.
AS TO THE ROMANCE STORY:
I enjoyed the way the couple met, how they got to know each other, their conversations, how they reacted to the ranch, the things they did, and how they fell in love. And I was delighted to find there was no big-misunderstanding-separation. How nice to skip that formulaic device.
Because the author did the romance part well, I immediately bought the second book - thinking: at least the Zeke debt subject is done and I won’t have to read that again. But I had a different problem with the sequel “The Soldier’s E-Mail...” I felt there was too much repetition and dragging out about the hero’s guilt. I gave it 3 stars, but again I enjoyed the relationship part.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR – Cassandra Livington.
She sounded like she had a stuffy nose. Her voice was not as clear as other narrators. She used a southern accent for some of the women which I don’t think was accurate for Montana people. I didn’t mind it, but I kept wondering about it. Otherwise her narration was good.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance.
but the book could have used something more. I’d like a different author to do it.
The greatest thing about this book is the character David Stirling and the unbelievable things he and his guys did. David conceived the idea of the SAS and got permission to train a group of men to go behind enemy lines, onto enemy property, and blow up planes, trucks, and supplies. This book is about the SAS in northern Africa in 1941-1942. I believe it was written from interviews and correspondence with SAS veterans. It is nonfiction enhanced with dialogue. Dialogue from recollections is fine with me. I would not want to read it encyclopedia style.
I love these guys. I can’t believe the things they did. Their truth is stranger than fiction. They bluff, lie, and sometimes charge their way through German and Italian roadblocks. Many times they are shot at but they get away. David has unbelievable luck. He leads dangerous missions where others die and he gets shot at many times, but he never gets hit, and he survives all of it. Makes me wonder if part of it is making his own luck. Part of his success is that what he does is so outrageous and unexpected that enemy soldiers are not suspicious because they would never do it themselves. For example a group of SAS are lying on the ground behind bushes hiding. A German soldier sees them. One of the SAS makes a loud drunken snore. The German walks away doing nothing.
The SAS are driving a truck full of explosives. The Germans are chasing them but they get away. Then one of the fuses ignites from going over a bump, so they jump out of the tuck. It explodes and they are stranded in the desert. And they laugh.
The SAS remind me of fearless mischievous teenagers, seeking danger, excitement, adrenaline, and dares. David has just returned from one raid. He hears about a target and says to his men that sounds fun, who wants to go?
I’d like to see a different author do this book. This was published in 1958. I would hope there is more material that could be researched and added. And maybe add more about David’s personality and character outside of the SAS. I know that he incurred large gambling debts later in life. That fits. He had to be a gambler to do the things he did. I believe he was a poor student in school. I wonder if he had something like ADD. I’d be happy with a longer book and to read more about some of the other characters.
The audiobook needs a pdf file with pictures and maps. There are maps in the book but none for the audiobook. I think a glossary of some of the military terms would also be good (put in the pdf).
This was narrated by Robert Whitfield aka Simon Vance in 2001. He did a good job, but at times he spoke a little too fast for me. I wonder if he was shortening the time for cd purposes.
Narrative mode: 3rd person, plus readings from letters and journals.
Genre: historical nonfiction, WWII.
instead of showing details.
I’ve enjoyed other books by this author, but this was not good. It’s all internal pondering and telling - not showing. Examples: 1. She says “there had been rumors that...” We don’t hear the conversations of who said what in the rumors. 2. The author skipped a conversation and wrote “Jack said all the right things.” 3. The couple is together doing something or going somewhere, but instead of talking, Jack is thinking in his head thoughts like: He knew if this happened in the future, she would do this. If that happened she would do that.
I was so bored. I read more than half and then did the last two chapters. The ending is happy for the couple. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be done.
There might be sex in this book, but there was none in the parts I read. This is a Harlequin Super Romance book.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR India Plum.
I did not like the narrator. She read as if she were not interested in what she was reading, like she was bored, as if she never smiled. I did not like her interpretations making some lines bratty, abrupt, or dismissive. I would not have read them like that. She used different voices and emphasized different words, but the overall feel was monotone. She has a heavy Australian accent.
I enjoyed the following books by this author: Hot Island Nights and The Other Side of Us.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance.
I wanted more meat. Audiobook narrator made it worse.
Cleo runs a small hotel/inn. Her parents were killed a few years ago. A small group of friends work at the Inn. They call themselves a “Family.” This book takes the prize for using the word “Family” more than any other book I’ve read. Max arrives. Because he was a friend of Cleo’s friend, she gives him a job at minimum wage doing maintenance. He also gets room and board. She tells him he is now part of the “Family.” He likes this because he was brought up in foster homes. In one part Max wasn’t able to do something and thinks he might leave, but Cleo says it’s ok if you don’t succeed when you are part of the “Family.” (By the way, Max is wealthy and recently worked as a corporate executive. But Cleo doesn’t know that.) When talking to a bad guy Cleo says “you’re a product of a dysfunctional family.”
Someone is threatening Cleo. Max hires O’Reilly a PI to investigate. As soon as O’Reilly arrives, he and one of the women have an instant attraction. He is now also part of the “Family” and will walk a young woman down the aisle at her coming wedding. Max and Cleo had an instant attraction with a marriage proposal that was too soon for me. Their relationship needed more time. It felt thrown in.
This was mostly people puttering around the Inn, interacting, and getting along with each other. That was pleasant and kept my interest. But I’m marking this down because the suspense parts of the book were weak. There are three mysteries/subplots: 1. Where are the paintings that are supposed to be in Cleo’s possession that she knows nothing about? 2. Who is threatening Cleo? 3. Max used to work for a large hotel chain. They want Max to come back to his old job. Things get resolved at the end but not in new or different ways. It’s like the author just ended things the way she always does.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR Richard Ferrone:
I did not like his emotional interpretations for both the hero and heroine - like he made someone sound whiny or like a little girl. He was not sexy doing Max. He overacted when doing the villain art dealer Spark. He had an awful voice for Sammy the little boy. At times I heard his breaths which were annoying.
This author is hit and miss with me. I liked her following books. All Night Long, Trust Me, Running Hot, Deep Waters, Sizzle and Burn, Twist of Fate.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance with some suspense.
I also had problems with the audiobook narrator.
HERE’S THE SETUP:
Lena is traveling with Trig. She is mugged. They take her wallet. She is unconscious. Trig tells the hospital that she is his wife so they will quickly treat her and talk to him about it. She is not his wife. They are friends.
MOST OF THE STORY (with sort of Spoilers, but they are predictable due to the romance formula):
Lena has selective amnesia and asks Trig all kinds of questions about their marriage and relationship. Trig tries to do the honorable thing and not have sex with her until she regains her memory. But Lena insists on kissing and seducing him. She also makes him buy wedding rings saying it will help her memory. She insists that he get down on his knees and give her the proposal speech again. She asks questions like: Do you love me? Did we often have fights? What was sex like for us? She talks about the kind of house they should buy and their future kids. Then there is the predictable-big-separation-conflict when she regains her memory. She is angry with Trig saying you lied to me, you let me make a fool of myself. So she leaves him. Then she grieves and misses him and is lonely.
THERE IS NO PLOT OUTSIDE THE ABOVE:
The book blurb mentioned special ops and a secret mission to Istanbul, so I thought romantic suspense. But it’s not. The plot was supposed to be about finding Lena’s missing brother Jared. There was no action or development of that. It was solved with phone calls.
Most of the book was during her amnesia. It was not interesting. The conflicts were predictable. You knew there would be conflict when her memory returned. You need to suspend disbelief because Trig should have told her they were not married early on, but he didn’t. She was not in a precarious medical situation. She could have handled the truth because she was so pushy with so many other things. No fragility there.
I had two problems with India Plum. 1. She spoke in a bland-dull-flat-tone, like she was bored. 2. She has a heavy Australian accent. It’s interesting to hear, but I often found myself thinking about how she said things instead of what she said. The accent was hard for me, but it might be ok for others.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance, amnesia.
Also I did not like the flashback method of writing.
I don’t want to read books about sorrow and the ugliness of man – painful and heart-wrenching. That’s what this book is. But some readers are in the mood for that.
Technically there is a happy ending, but it did not feel good enough. I would not call it romance. I’d call it a tragic love story with a brief happy ending. A black man and white woman grew up together as best friends. As adults they were in love. But this was the South in the 1940's and they would be killed if that was suspected. When they were teens, a gang of whites beat up Isaiah because Angel smiled at him. The book is about three things. The pain of staying away from each other, depressing events in the Jim Crow South, and horrors done by Nazis in Europe.
WHAT DID I LIKE?
The one part I liked was a ten minute description at the end. It was like a footnote to the story. See Spoiler.
The short ending said the couple survived and left Texas together. But there was no story showing them being together. I didn’t get to see them during the journey to a new place, or living and working in a new place, or creating and parenting children.
I DID NOT LIKE:
1. Most of the time I was depressed. Pain to any white person who was friendly to blacks. The locals wanted Angel to get married and have a husband run her store. They said women should not have jobs when there were men who needed work. Because she did not want to marry the local bully, the townspeople hurt her and shunned her. Of course the whites killed blacks without justice. I was surprised that a lot of time was spent on the Nazi horrors in Europe: descriptions of dead bodies and concentration camp survivors. One part mentioned dead pets and zoo animals. There was a lot of talk about the morality and horrors of war.
2. The book is full of flashbacks. Most of them are letters written during WWII. I was ok with flashbacks and back stories during the first part of the book. But I was annoyed with them during the last half. They were interruptions. I wanted to continue with the main story – Isaiah and Angel in 1946 and how they ended up as a couple. The flashbacks created cliffhangers. For example, Angel is walking home and hears drunk men breaking glass. Then the scene switches to prior years. Later we return to the breaking glass and learn the men are destroying her store while Angel watches and hides nearby.
3. In the above scene, Angel was hiding in a tree house in the woods. The next morning she went to the sheriff to report the damage. He did nothing because he said he needed a witness before he could arrest the men. She did not tell him that she was a witness, because she did not want anyone to know her tree house existed. It was her secret hiding place. So the men were not charged and no one would be paying money to repair her store. That was stupid of her. She could have said she was hiding BEHIND a tree and saw them. She didn’t have to say which tree. The following phrases mentioned there were many trees nearby. “The thicket of cottonwoods and pines that hid the store...” “The flickering shadows of trees could have hidden a dozen men.” I was angry at the stupid reason for not telling the sheriff.
Natalie Gray did an excellent job. I liked her pleasant generic accent instead of using a fake southern one.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: tragic love story, racial historical fiction.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.