Imagine my joy when I saw Audible add this book!
First I will stipulate that I'm an old and devoted Laura Kinsale fan. I have been reading romance for over 35 years, and this book, along with another Kinsale wrote called "Flowers From the Storm" are two of the best, and most memorable books I have ever read. I snatched this up right away when I saw it had been released, and even though it was a well loved, well remembered re-read, I was loathe to put it down.
Laura Kinsale is a scrumptious author. She an intelligent romance writer, and I don't think there's anyone out there who writes romance quite like her. She doesn't follow the common tropes. The heroine isn't always a virginal dilettante` (or even likeable at times), the heroes aren't always noble (nor are they always all that heroic), and love isn't always at first sight. The characters are built into real people by her talented pen, and the relationships grow before your eyes, or rather "your ears" since this is an audiobook.
Which brings me to the narration. This was my first time listening to Nicholas Boulton, but I was not in any way disappointed. His accents were very good, his delivery was smooth and his tone stayed faithful to the mood of the material he was reading. He did a fantastic job, and I will admit I was very worried that one of my favourite books would be given to a narrator who couldn't do it justice. Thank goodness, Nicholas Boulton came through with flying colours.
The story is, in as small a nutshell as I can cram it, the story of a girl whose whole family is killed by a religious cult. In the early aftermath of her grief, she wants revenge on the leader of the cult. So she seeks out a fabled highwayman to help reach her goals. She finds him, but he's not quite what she expected. There's plenty of action to follow, but Kinsale uses the action cleverly to also move along (or in some cases, hold back) the relationship aspect of the story. As the two work toward resolving their feelings about each other, they also have to look inward as well. The sex scenes in this book are all meaningful, each for a different reason, and they blend in nicely but, compared to some current bestsellers, are a bit rarer and tamer than what some readers might be used to.
I will be perfectly honest and tell you that if you are looking for an instant relationship, gratuitous sex scenes, or an easy bunch of literary tropes strung together to make a book, you shouldn't read this author. If you are looking for something outside of the box, characters with serious emotional and/or physical flaws that behave in a way real people might, then you will be stunned and pleased by Laura Kinsale.
First of all, I loved this book! And make no mistake, even though there are 3 parts, parts 1, 2 and 3 add up to one book. It's not a trilogy. It's not 3 separate books. It's one book broken into 3 parts. The conclusion to the book comes in this instalment, which is why I'm writing my review here.
I don't know if Kresley Cole wrote this book before or after the BIG FSoG phenomenon happened, and I don't really care. Chances are though, it was published, and published in this 3 part serial version, because of the FSoG craze, perhaps trying to make it look like a trilogy. While I generally avoid all the BDSM books that have came out since, I will read anything KC writes, so here I am.
I wasn't a big FSoG fan. I found the heroine too immature and the hero a bit too stalker-ish for my taste. To each their own. This book, however, had a smart heroine who knew her own mind, a hero who was dangerous, handsome, loyal to a fault. He was just sex on a stick with a cherry on top, and loads of hotter than hot scenes that nearly melted my headphones.
In some fascinating way, even though Natalie is the submissive, it really reads as though she has all the control. When Sevastian buys clothes for her, it appears thoughtful, not controlling. Even though the story is being told from Natalie's point of view, it's Sevastian's pain you feel the most. At no point does KC let her hero venture into real "jerk" behaviour, but she keeps his razor sharp edge throughout. He's domineering and possessive and all that stuff, but in a perfectly perfect way. KC nailed this one.
I do wish this hadn't came in a serial form. After reading other reviews, I chose to wait until all 3 sections were available and purchased to start reading them (thanks reviewers!!), since I get frustrated with cliff hangers. So for me, it was less frustrating, and that's what I'd recommend to others as well. Or, as others have noted, wait until it's released on one volume, which I'm sure it will be eventually.
I absolutely loved the first book in this series. I liked the second book a lot. This book didn't quite reach the level of the previous two books, and for me, that problem had more to do with the main female character than anything else.
Shaya is a half shifter, and she has been hurt before. Now her true mate has rejected her. Her wolf is a submissive. She believes that her true mate has rejected her solely because her submissive wolf couldn't handle the role of alpha female to his pack and would be in danger from dominant female wolves who would challenge her position. With the help of her pack, she moves to another town in an attempt to hide away from him.
Nick, the true mate in question, decides that her moving away is unacceptable to him, so he tracks her down and basically camps out on her doorstep. He has his reasons for having rejected her, and they are good ones, but he doesn't want to tell her what they are. He decides he'll just woo her and eventually wear her down.
For her part, Shaya is angry, and she shows her anger by behaving like a jilted teenager. In the first half of the book, I became seriously frustrated with her petulant, childish, manipulative behaviour. Yes, she has her reasons. And Nick, to some degree, deserves a bit of a set down, at least from Shaya's point of view given the information she has about the situation. However, some of the things she does are just, well, childish.
This cat and mouse game goes on....and on....and on... for the first half of the book. Take heart though, because it does get better. There are seriously mean human extremists in the town where Shaya has moved to, and a mysterious pack, and everyone seems to be wondering why Nick, an alpha, is in town. Then Nick's mom and sister show up, as well as the healer from Nick's old pack who has obvious designs on Nick. As the situation comes to a head, the couple confesses their secrets, the relationship drama dies down and the action picks up. At this point, the book gets much, much better.
In hindsight, the book wasn't a waste of my time, but the first half was almost painful to get through. However, the second half made it worth the effort. It still had much of the humour that made the first two books in this series so much fun, but that was tamped down a bit by all the emotional angst in the first part of the book.
The narrator did a very good job. I can't fault her performance in any way.
First, let me get the bad business over with. The reason this story got four stars instead of five was that it contained a bit more flowery prose than I'm fond of. Others might feel different, but for me, it was annoying enough to drop a star.
The story itself was great. I thought the male lead, a gargoyle no less, was sexy. I even liked when the author mentioned his "claws" in intimate scenes. I'm not sure what that says about me, but it worked. Our heroine was delightfully clueless, brave only when completely necessary and charmingly naïve. The authors choice of a girly girl heroine was spot on for this story.
There was plenty of action to keep the story moving along. There were plenty of other characters (and other races of magical beings) to fill out a complex world. I absolutely adored the idea of the "Great Collision", an event that occurred 26 years before this book takes place, when there was a rip in the dimensional fabric and the world of magical creatures joined the world of man.
Tavia Gilbert never fails to deliver a great narration. Her rendition of this work was wonderful, and for me, she added dimension to the characters.
It appears this book is the beginning of a series. I will certainly get the follow up books as they are realeased. Danielle Monsch has certainly created an interesting new world to explore, and I really like the fact that even the gargoyles can find love. It was worth my credit, that's for sure.
This book is erotica on steroids, and it veers into erotic arenas that aren't really to my taste. It's not that I "disapprove", it's just that we all have a different concept of what is erotic, and for that matter, what is erotic romance, and I can only judge according to my own tastes. My concept of erotic romance is a man (or 3) who are solely dedicated to 1 woman. They are exclusive and possessive. This book featured the hero and heroine in orgies, a couple of f/f scenes, 2f/1m bedroom scenes (the "wedding night" no less), and it was sort of "anything goes" for both of them so long as there wasn't any actual intercourse other than with each other (after the consummation of their vows at any rate). The idea was "you're in another culture now and this is how it's done", but the blatant infidelity (as I saw it) bothered me more than anything else in this book. Maybe it was culture shock. Undoubtedly though, it's not what I like in my romances, erotic or otherwise.
The world building was pretty good, and the "culture building" was complex. Some of the expressions used were almost laughable, as another reviewer mentioned, but they didn't bother me too much. The secondary characters were fleshed out well, with the exception of the villain, who was your classic evil stereotype. Overall, the writing wasn't bad. It was just the premise that didn't sit well with me.
The narrator did a splendid job and I would happily listen to others books that she reads.
You know how sometimes a character does something and you're tempted to throw your book at the wall? Well, with audiobooks, that can mean expensive equipment replacement, so I controlled myself. Now this may sound like a bad thing, but in reality I suppose it means I really got emotionally involved. The down side of this was intense frustration with the lead female character in this book, Emma. Being more than a bit older, I kept having to remind myself "She's barely 20 something, she's barely 20 something", because there was many tempting 'throw it at the wall' moments in this book, and most of those moments (not all, but most) were instigated by Emma.
The relationship between the two lead characters (Emma and "Guy") was at times endearing, at times maddening, and at times totally baffling. Still, with the exception of a few monumental bad decision moments (on both sides), it worked for me.
This is one of those books that it's very hard to write a brief description of without spoilers, so I'll simply say it's a love story between an ancient god and a young woman who has spent her whole life listening to him talk in her head. She understandably questions her sanity, and in an attempt to find the real flesh and blood person behind the voice (and answer the question of her sanity...or lack thereof) she sets out on a course that will lead her through a series of adventures on the pathway to love.
There's lots of fast paced action, lots of frustratingly bad decisions, lots of miscommunication, outright lies, and manipulation on both sides. The writing is witty. There's humour throughout, even in the most tense situations.
If you are looking for erotica, look elsewhere. That's not to say, however, that there aren't sexy scenes, but they are few and far between and not quite as explicit as some books are these days. On the flip side, I wouldn't recommend this book to someone offended by sexual situations either. It's not "that" clean.
The narration was outstanding. I recently gave Helen Wick a less than flattering review for her reading of another book, mainly for her use of somewhat feminine voices for the male characters, but in this book, she has no such problems. Reading humour can be difficult for some narrators, but Helen Wick's performance was spot on. Bottom line, she nails it. Well done Ms Wick, well done!
I love Lora Leigh's Breed Series, and since this one sounded similar, I thought I'd give it a try. I'll be honest. This book is so much like LL's Breed series, I'm a bit shocked the author got away with it without someone shouting "plagiarism". For fans of LL, the only difference that I can find is that the "New Species" were created for drug experimentation, while LL's Breeds were created as weapons. Otherwise, the setting, background story and plot development tools are strikingly similar.
Having said that, I still enjoyed this book. The premise is one I enjoy, and you gotta love these alpha males.
The sex is frequent and explicit, so if that's not your cuppa tea, beware. The emotional part of the story was done very well. The plot moved along well, and even though some of the "conflict" seemed a bit contrived, all in all, it flowed smoothly. There was enough action to keep you listening, then periods that focused on the couple's relationship and allowed my nerves to settle down.
The narrator wasn't all that great. She had a pleasant enough voice, but she did have some pacing and pronunciation issues that were a bit distracting.
If you're a paranormal/erotica/romance lover, I reckon you'll like this book. I certainly plan to read more books by this author, and more in this series.
I had read one print book by Delle Jacobs before and thought I'd give this one a try. Overall, I wasn't disappointed. While there was nothing about this book that made me want to rush out and tell all my friends, it was a nice solid story and a polished audio performance.
This book is a historical fantasy romance that takes place during the rule of William the 2nd, not too long after his father, William the Conqueror won England for the Normans. The setting is in the north of England, in the borderlands with Scotland. What really impressed me was that the author used real historical figures. Indeed, William II (aka Rufus or the Red King) and Robert DeMowbray, Earl of Northumbria are both real historical figures and both were major characters in this book. Given this is historical fantasy, I was awed at how she was able to keep her history so accurate while working in the fantasy elements.
The romance, on the other hand, comes off as just a bit cheesy, but perhaps that's just because the author tries to stay true to the language of the time. Leonie is half fae, but also a great heiress with many holdings in this critical area. Phillippe is a widower, and is one of the king's most trusted knights. He lost his wife in a battle with a sorcerer, and believing himself cursed, has vowed to never wed, or even bed, again. It's hard to tell more without spoilers, but there are fae, shades, sorcerers, magical hounds and all sorts of fantasy elements included in the book, and it made for a fun read.
The narrator had the perfect cadence and accent for this book, and the result was a professionally done performance.
Ever read a book from the Fantasy/Romance genre that has terrific world building, loads of great fantasy, and barely any romance? Or similarly, a Fantasy/Romance that oozes romance from every page but the fantasy element is more a fantasy setting rather than real fantasy world building? Well, in The Source of Magic, you get both in equal measure, and the result is, well, magical.
Jillian is whisked through a magical portal to another land full of magic and danger by Prince Alvarr. Prince Alvarr is actually looking for her mother, who is a "source" for his magic. A source is a person who can feed power into a mage, replenishing or strengthening the mages power supplies (called kira), but cannot perform mage magic. Alvarr needs her help to fight a enemy who is threatening his kingdom. She needs him to help her find a plant that will hopefully heal her mother, and send her back in time before her mother dies.
I won't say more, because this book is full of twists and turns and surprises, and I don't want to give anything away. But if you are looking for a great magical fantasy romance, look no further. It's very well written. Cate Rowan has a way of making words flow naturally on the "page" and the fantasy elements and world building are done very well. The story is exciting, so much so that towards the end, I had to turn my ipod off a few minutes, calm down, and remind myself that it's just a book.
Ariana Westfield did a pretty good job with the narration. There were, however, a very few places where you could hear her draw breath, pause and regroup. Perhaps that's more the audio producers fault, since the errors were so few that they could have been corrected fairly easily with good production editing. Overall, however, Ariana Westfield had a lovely voice, just right for reading this type of material, and I wouldn't hesitate to listen to another book where she's the narrator.
This was a very nice easy paranormal romance listen. There's time travel, a handsome hunky warrior, a damsel in distress, a fairy queen, a fairy kingdom, magic and an evil mage. It had all the elements of a classic fairy tale, and I must admit, it some respects it almost "read" like one. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's not the sort of paranormal romance to get your heart pumping. It's more a easy listening, feel good piece. Not that there wasn't action and adventure, just that you were never in much doubt of how things were going to turn out.
Megan, a modern day socialite and heiress, is engaged to the abusive and greedy Roger. She decided to break off the engagement. When she goes to their meeting place, she is hit by lightening and sent back in time to the dark ages before she has a chance to break the engagement. Here, magic is real and fairies exist. She finds a cave to hide in, but the cave is also the home of a hunky half-fae warrior known as Kenric of Blackstone. It's their destiny to join in a final battle with an evil mage who wants to rule the land of fairy and the land of man. The question is, will they win the battle, and will Megan find a way back to her own time? If she does, will she want to leave Kenric behind?
I quite enjoyed this book. There is sexual scenes, but they are brief and more to the point than some of the steamier books out there. While I don't mind, and even sometimes enjoy, explicit scenes in my romances, there's been this trend lately towards erotica in the romance genre, to the point that I'm fast forwarding through sex scenes because frankly, after a while, it all becomes a bit redundant. Not so with this book. It was rather crisp and to the point where sex was concerned, without many "blush-worthy" details. It made for a welcome change.
The narrator did a really great job, but she did mispronounce several words. It wasn't too off putting, but it kept her from rating 5 stars in my opinion. Still, her voice was pleasant, her pacing was excellent and overall it was very professionally done.
Ian and Beth work. This is a romance that makes you feel the love. Two flawed people who find in each other exactly what the other needs to make life worthwhile. A simple premise to romance really, but in so many romances I have read in the past, I finished the book with the vague sense that the featured couple in the book just really didn't seem to belong together. That was not the case with this book. If there has ever been a couple who belonged together, it's Ian and Beth.
Beth is a product of an unfortunate union between a well bred girl and a French con artist. She's seen the seedier side of life. She spent 3 years in her late teens in the workhouse, but was saved by a kind young vicar and became his wife. There's was a happy marriage until he dies and leaves her a widow. She's then taken in as the companion of a grand and wealthy lady, who eventually dies and leaves Beth her fortune.
Being a new heiress, she ventures into different social circles and stumbles upon Lord Ian MacKenzie. Ian is the youngest of the MacKenzie brothers, and by todays standards, would have been labelled autistic. His father, a duke, had him committed to an asylum, but as soon as his father died, his eldest brother, now the duke, gets him released and brings him home. Ian has a phenomenal memory, and helps his brother in certain business and political tasks.
There is a wonderful love story. There is a neat (though a tad predictable) mystery. There is a good deal of humour. What's really special about this book though is the hero and Jennifer Ashley's portrayal of his autism. For the most part, she stays true to the stark truth of the disorder that afflicts Ian, and the effect it has on those around him. Still, she doesn't make him into a victim. Instead he's a strong, brilliant man who has to work within the limitations of the autism.
Never mind his disability, I reckon Ian is one of the sexiest heroes in literature. How the author made it happen, I'm not sure. It sort of snuck up on me. There is no doubt, however, before I was halfway through this book, I was head over heels for Ian, and I see by other reviews that I'm not alone in my adoration.
I have read several books by Jennifer Ashley, and this is the best one by a mile. Her characters are endearing without being too "sweet", her jokes were funny, and the action was paced perfectly.
Angela Dawe is a tried and true narrator, and I always have faith that she will deliver wonderful performance. She certainly didn't let me down here. I loved the way she softened Ian's voice. Her Scot's accent wasn't the best I've heard, but I found it credible. It certainly didn't make me cringe. I thought she delivered a solid performance.
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