This book is about a young, smart inexperienced but not emotionally fragile woman who meets a world-savvy, sexually experienced, rich man. In the beginning they misunderstand and dislike/distrust each other and themselves, but a deep relationship ensues nevertheless, with each opening up about secrets and relationship needs along the way. Sound familiar? If you enjoyed the self-exploration and relationship-unfolding aspects of 50 shades, you will like it in this book, too.
In the case of Gabriel's Inferno, imitation is not only flattery, it is successful for the most part. The characters and story are vastly different than 50 shades despite the similarity mentioned above. Another major difference is the absence of explicit sex scenes. There is plenty of longing and sensuality, but don't get this book if you want a sex scene to read every few chapters -- you're going to be disappointed and have to make it up in your head. I don't think I would have listened to this book had I known that from the start but I enjoyed it nevertheless. It had everything else but that.
The story seemed longer than it needed to be. Not that it was boring (it was not) but I kept thinking, "Ok, THIS will be the plot turning event" but that never happened. Rather, there were small moves forward here and there as the story unfolded. Lots of little raised and resolved plot aspects as you got to know the two of them. Maybe a bit too much like a lot of teasing only to be let down at just the right moment, if you know what I mean. It's not that THAT isn't also fun, right, and then there is a great ending.
The narrator bothered me a little in the beginning because his sensual voice occasionally sounded more smarmy than inviting. Of course, that's to my ears, and yours might love it. On the other hand, Gabriel is an unsavory character at that point in the story, so maybe it is fitting. As the story went on, I found the narrator to be expert in his ability to capture and express all kinds of emotions from all the characters. Even without intense and explicit sex scenes (which I would love to hear this narrator do!), the narrator made Gabriel's expressions of love, need and desire extremely, uhm, worth listening to!
Many people complained that the writing in 50 shades was poor and everyone was just reading it for the explicit content. I never agreed with that and felt it was a solid piece of romance story telling, better than most. I would say the same for Gabriel's Inferno. It gets great marks from me for character development and for exploring the way that our personal experiences create obstacles for us and we need to learn to open up and trust that one person in order to grow. Is it great American Literature, no, but it is not junk.
Overall, I'm glad I took the time to get to know these characters and I am definitely going to get the next in the series. I'm not sure if this was the first book or not, but if not, the first wasn't needed at all for me to get involved with these characters.
In fact, I prefer coffee, or in this case, it's best to say that I prefer paranormal romance and sci fi to historical fiction. I don't remember what it was about the description or reviews that made this sound like I would like it, or perhaps it was on sale.....In any case, it was a great find.
It is, mainly, a story of two young women serving in WW II in England. It is about how the war brings together these two people who, if not for the war, would have traveled in different social and geographic circles but whose souls were "meant" to meet and serve each other (the story is not about that, it just seems a fact).
The story is told separately, part 1 and part 2, by each of the main characters. The telling overlaps in important ways that you cannot even guess when hearing the first part. It is necessary that you do not know the part 2 point of view because part 1 is of a prisoner of war and you are made to feel her suffering, sans other perspectives. The ending is absolutely not what I expected and was entirely fulfilling to the plot/story line.
I think if you have a heart, you will love this story. Note: War does play a somewhat gruesome role in the story, not gratuitous at all, but may bother some young or sensitive readers.
Sex right off the bat, falling in love at first get-together, no relationship conflicts, only inner conflict (for one of the characters), everything works out just fine in the end, no surprises. Other than that, the writing is not bad at all. As for the narration, he sounds way older than the two lovers who are both in their 20's and also he uses a fairly foppish style for the early general narration and one of the character's voices, which detracted from picturing them both as hunky, adorable men for me (a woman). However, he does a great job in acting out the emotions as written by the author. A short, fairy tail (no pun intended) romance. Worth full credit price, probably not. Worth a few hours' listen, sure.
It's rare when books in a series get better and better after the author's initial foray into the characters, but not so for this series. This 4th (and so far, last) installment delves deeper into Cole's reaction to the fatal shooting of his former lover as well as his need for and commitment to Jae-min. The narrator brings so much to the story, I can't imagine what I would think of the books, how Cole would sound in my head, if I had read them instead of listened to them. I sure hope there are plans for more of this sexy series!
I enjoyed the "Dirty" series very much and so I looked forward to this other series but after listening to this first one, I don't plan to listen to the rest. I found the "Dirty" books sexy, funny portrayals of great characters in realistic story lines. I found Sinner's Gin to be schmaltzy, predictable and one-dimensional. It's not that I hated it, it just wasn't as good, and so, by comparison, it sucked. Like the "Dirty" books, there is one character with an accent, one skinny Asian loverboy, one strong cop type and a sympathetic female. As with that series, the murder mystery in this one is secondary to the relationship building of the main characters.
Also, the biggest issue MAY have been the narrator. Since I found him awful, I was never sure whether the lack of sexual appeal and the overall baseness of the story was simply that he couldn't (for me) portray these characters adequately or give them any realistic life. The characters are 25-30ish and the narrator's voice sounded 50. The story has a cop with an Irish accent and one with a Latino one. The narrator does the accents well but he sometimes talked in one accent when it was the other character talking (and sometimes did no accent when it was a character who had one). He did not alter his voice to portray the emotions of a situation, with the exception of a few crying moments. The sex scenes? He read them as he read every other word, sentence, paragraph, not sexy at all!
If you have time and credits/money to spare, this book really isn't that bad, but if you are getting it just because you loved the author's other books (on audible) I suggest taking a sample listen before buying, or just passing this one up for something else.
Rhys Ford has such a way with words and, more than that, with using them to put you into the story. This installment was similar to the former two, no better, no worse. Definitely worth a credit if you have enjoyed those!
As I said in prior reviews, the reader has a peculiar lilt to his reading, but it fits the character and is easy to get used to. In this book, I thought he did a particularly good job with an emotional Jae-Min.
The story is the same every time: going to talk to all these people to figure out the crime, being in the wrong place at the wrong time a few times, and then the killer coming in from left field, being someone you could hardly have suspected due to what the writing does/does not let you see. But, hey, it works. I'm not reading this series for the mystery. I don't even like mysteries. I like good characters and love stories, and get that here!
That doesn't sound like the best headline, unless you know these stories and this reader, in which case you know you will get a detailed account of a few months on the lives of Jamie, Claire and their friends and family, read by a reader whose character voices put you right into the story. This book involves some marriages, some coming to terms with who you are and some more info on how the time travel aspect may function (still not a lot of real info on that topic). One review I read before purchasing said the book had too much of reviewing plot developments in former books. It did, but for me, that was welcomed as I tend to forget things. If you've enjoyed all the other books in this series, you'll enjoy this one. If you haven't yet read/listened to them, you should start at the beginning.
This is the second book in the series that I read and I did not enjoy it nearly as much as the first, Dex in Blue. I really felt for Dex and his lover but Ethan's story did not grab me as much. Both of them are soul-searching young adult men coming to understand their place in the world, how to be adult men who can get and deserve what they want, and I loved that aspect in both books. However, I really understood Dex and his reasons for having reservations about accepting himself whereas I didn't resonate with Ethan's I'm sure that is just me and my own, personal, psychology or experience and that it may well be the reverse for other readers....which is to say, I don't thing the writing fell short.
My same criticism of the narrator applies to this book as well: His voice is more mature than the characters' and he at times adapts a childish voice that is just wrong for him and makes the character sound silly. He is a fine reader, gets the inflections and emotions right, but he makes the other main character, Ethan's lover, sound like a pimple-faced nerd, which makes is not easy to the attraction for Ethan, let alone allows you to feel the depth of that character's already-adult feelings about himself (so he can be a guide and light for Ethan).
For those who like to know, there are explicit sex scenes. I found them to be sexy, important to the story development (not just gratuitous) and one of the reasons to keep listening to an otherwise just ok story.
The story is about a young gay man who comes to understand who is he and what it will take to get out of life what he wants and deserves. It is not a heavy or deep story, but accurate and meaningful in terms of the feelings and growth involved. You will come to love both the main characters as well as the background ones, who each have their own book in the series.
My only criticism is the reader. His voice seems more mature than the characters' ages are supposed to be. At times he adopts a childish lilt/tone to account for that or differentiate between different character's voices. Also, one of the main characters has an LA Mexican way of talking that the narrator can't quite pull off (mainly to the aforementioned childish lilt, which makes the character sound like a whiny child). I did, however, get used to his voice and found that it didn't detract so much as it left me just wishing it were different/better.
This is the first book in this series that I listened to. I don't know if it's the first in the series or not, but it was not a problem coming on board with this one. For those who wish to know, there are explicitly written sex scenes and I found them well-done, grounded in the story-characters (not gratuitous) and exciting.
I gave Dirty Kiss only 4 stars in all categories but moved it up to 5 for this book. Was it really that much better? No. I think I just got more into the characters. That, however, is no small achievement, since many times the later novels don't live up to the first in the series.
I found some parts of this story to be a little more dull than the duller parts of the first novel but the emotional scenes (and not just the sex scenes, which ARE emotional and not gratuitous at all), cut much deeper than in the first, so it's a fine trade-off.
I can't wait for the third, and I haven't read even a 2nd book in my string of purchases in a long time. Great characters, great social commentary (subtly included), great narrator.
The author has crafted a well-written novel that is more of a week-long slice of life story than simply a m/m romance. There is, however, a sparking beginning of a relationship here..... you know: that time when you've just met and you get weak knees and can't think about anything else. And sexual relations of a fairly explicit nature are part of that, for sure, but these scenes are merely part of what's going on in the days and nights of the main character in this first-person narrative. They fit into the entirety of the book seamlessly and are exciting.
The narrator purrs these scenes out rather then merely reads them. He also does a great job with the accents, not that I know what a Korean accent really sounds like, but the narrator gives the various people different voices, plausibly Asian.
As for the mystery aspect, I am not a mystery-genre person in general, but the mystery in this story took a back seat, again, to the slice of life aspect, so it worked for me. I don't want to figure out "who dunnit," I just want a good listen and that's what I got with this book.
I often don't order the second book in a series even when I enjoyed it because I want to sample around. however, the follow up to Dirty Kiss is downloading as I write this. I think it's due to the excellent writing and likable characters. The only reason I didn't give it 5 starts all around is that I reserve that for the books you want to read over and over, the ones that are destined to become classics in your personal library.
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