NARRATION: poor editing! There were at least 3 repeated sentences and an entire paragraph missing. Then there were words replaced by a different one or left out completely though you'd have to be reading along with the ebook as you listen to catch it. I've learnt to do this after I realized many audiobooks contain missing sentences and paragraphs. Unfortunately, most listeners are driving or doing mundane chores and don't have the luxury of listening and checking the print book simultaneously.
THE STORY: Started off well but degenerated into horrific absurdity. This is one of those soap opera-type books that have everything, including the kitchen sink. I lost the courage to finish the last couple of chapters in case the kitchen sink claimed to be pregnant, too. The most entertaining bit from this sorry mess was when the two cowboys made out in the outdoors and prayed the poor horse with one guy's cum.
This is a cowboy romance, btw.
The suspense thread was good and could have made this book a winner for me but the poor romantic subplot spoilt it, as did the narrator. Characterwise, the heroine was more like a nervous adolescent handling the opposite sex and navigating the perilous waters of dating. Even an innocent 'meet with friends' dinner is something that scares her. The hero's no alpha - which is fine - except putting these two together, more time is spent with mental hand-wringing than moving forward and focusing on the serial killer. It is stories like these that made me avoid these category romantic suspense books, with the rare exception being Adrianne Giordano's The Prosecutor.
The narrator was not good. She made the teenage girls sound old and there was no differentiation between her characters. Everyone sounded the same and this just made a so-so book a chore to listen to.
I loved this trilogy when I first read it back in 2005 in mass paperback and was excited not only to see it out in audio but with a male narrator! I prefer my romantic suspense to have male narrators so I snapped all three audios up.
Sad to say, I am disappointed with Pendleton's narration. He's very monotonous in his narrative and becomes overly dramatic in some dialogue so it made for very uneven listening. I don't care for the British accent despite the pronunciation of words being American. It's a very odd mix. If the narrator is going to narrate in a Brit accent then go all the way and pronounce words in US English, except for when the character happens to be a Brit (Ferris, for example).
Storywise, I did feel the dialogue is a bit dated and hackneyed so I'm on the fence as to whether this is worth paying for in audio if you've already bought the paperback on ebook. For me, personally, I regret the purchases as I paid full price and kept falling asleep from Pendleton's narrating. I must have "rewound" five times. Thank God I've already read the book and have it as reference or I'd be absolutely lost.
This review is for more about the narrator, than the story but the writing itself is also poor even if the plot could have been good. I dnf'd it after less than 2% listening because the narration was rather poor. Perhaps not as bad as JP Handler, whose audio I won't buy, but apart from not giving any expression, Pauley doesn't even bother to give pauses when the sentences are too long.
And on those long sentences, the author is also to blame for the narrator's poor performance. An experienced narrator could have known how to insert a pause, or someone who had read the story first in order to prepare for the job. In Pauley's case,he's either not the former or did not bother to prepare. That said, the only pause Pauley could have done would have been to pass out from lack of oxygen after reading one of those long paragraph-long sentences!
Some fiction books just aren't suitable for audio because the authors weren't conscious of how their writing would SOUND as opposed to being read. This is one of them. A fail here for both writer and narrator:(
The male narrator's female characters left much to be desired (they sounded like aging drag queens!) but his pacing, inflection, etc, were good.
The 5 stars, then, is for this surprisingly engrossing tale of a woman's quest to free her wrongfully-accused brother, now facing 25 years in jail for murder. Sounds straightforward and the story, being a category title, isn't complicated. BUT, Giordano's writing is so good, this felt like a full-length latest Sandra Brown. I could have done without the slight TSTL scene where Emma goes into the dark alley, telling herself only stupid women did that but other than this, the story unfolded at a good pace, allowing all the characters to be nicely fleshed-out. Great hero, likeable heroine, excellent tension as Emma and Zac close in on who the killer really was.
There's a good balance of romance/suspense, a proportion that falls within my pleasure zone - I do not like my Romantic Suspense to have more romance as it detracts from the suspense. Giordano hit the right ratio for me in this well-written thriller.
This felt like listening to an adolescent's badly-written journal. I couldn't make sense of it despite this being only 2 hours long. I bought this because it's the prequel to the couple's story but it is so badly written, disjointed, and most parts irrelevant to the storyline that I had to conclude there isn't one.
The narrator's voice is masculine and sexy but his narrating needs polishing. Not enough expression so a boring story is made even worse. I bought the sequel together with this and I hope that's better.
Calmes is better than this. Much better. This felt like Calmes decided to write a piece of fanfic about characters from a totally new tv series no ones ever heard of. We are thrust into the lives of two US Marshalls, Miro and Ian, at a point when the fanfic author has decided to make the unrequited love/lust mutual. Sort of like an NCIS Gibbs/Tony slash, except NCIS fans would already have the advantage of knowing the two men's history, their quirks and familiar fanfic tropes.
Not so in Calmes story. You'd think making her MCs US Marshalls would mean you can expect a suspense/action plot. It doesn't. It's just a profession she slapped on. They could have been a pair of insurance agents or used car dealers.
It's not a bad story. Just not up to Calmes standard, that's all. Throwing in a Sam Cage sighting doesn't cut it with me. I was pissed that one my favorite gay MCs was so cavalierly exploited.
I was pleasantly surprised - and relieved - how good this was, following the dismal All Kinds of Tied Down. This jackal shifter story has everything - solid plot, moving romance, MCs that resonated with me, and hot sex.
Definitely goes to my Keeper and Comfort Listen shelves!
The story was pleasant. Not great but something nice to listen to when you're in the mood for a plain ol' contemporary romance between 18 year-olds; ie, no serial killers, cops or Feds, just first-time, relationship-centered. It's well-written and flows smoothly.
But Tyler Stevens. He was surprisingly excellent! I was expecting him to make the two MCs sound like flaming queens but no, Stevens' voice, while still sounding effeminate (to my ears) was fluid like soft, warm honey. His performance was definitely 5 stars - great pacing and expressiveness (unlike the dreadful Jeff Gelder) and none of that gasping for breath before each sentence that most male narrators are guilty of.
This was one of my favorite JAKs and the narrator ruined it. Why do they pick a narrator with such an old-sounding voice for a contemporary romance? Ferrone may be great for non-fiction, but definitely NOT for a lighthearted romance.
I couldn't get past the first couple of chapters. First thing the heroine says to the hero whom she's meeting the first time is "Who the fuck are you?". Granted she thought he had no business being in her missing friend's house but...
And so said "intruder" (who wasn't an intruder) decides to act the jerk by making coarse sexual come-ons to scare the heroine off the property. There's a place for the word "fuck" and for pretend-jerks. This is not the type of book for them. I have not read Ms Hoags new books, the non-romance ones, but if this is how she writes her heroines in her romantic suspense, it's no wonder she's now writing pure suspense.
Unless, of course, her 21st century suspense heroines are still rough as guts as the one here.
Joyce Bean is as good as always, though.
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