I was so disappointed with this latest from Sandra Brown. The prologue and first couple of chapters were fine though, like Dawson, I couldn't care less about the what happened to the baby of the terrorists. It had no relevance to Dawson (nor me the reader) at the time but I trudged on certain that Ms Brown would trigger some interest on my part.
Instead, the ensuing chapters read like Women's Fiction, focusing on a divorced Amy and her home life which revolved around her kids and an unlikeable Steph, her kids
nanny. It took too long for any suspense or real mystery to kick in and by then I was bored to tears.
I found this a very unSandra-Brown book.
Stephen Lang's narration didn't help either. I didn't care for him in Chill Factor but I think he's worse here. While I like that he softens his voice for the female parts, in general he is boring and doesn't bring life to the characters or the scenes. I hope, if the author continues to write, that she will return to her previous style where there was drama, suspense and romance - and that the audio producers can get Slezak or Phil Gigante. Anyone else but Lang though Lang is still better than any female.
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.
First, the narrator has a high, nasal voice which makes it hard to tolerate for long periods. Beresford didn't improve in this third installment and I ended up aborting the audio and just reading the ebook.
Even that proved difficult because the author got a lot of details mixed up, which disrupted my reading as I had to keep going back to check if I remembered wrong or the author was making mistakes. It was the author. The obvious lack of quality editing plus the unpleasant narration made this a dismal experience.
This is one of my enduring classics by Sandra Brown. I know a lot of SB fans who read and listen to her oldies over and over again. Cash Boudreaux has never left my memories of bad-boy heroes and steaming Southern romances. His name is one of the two that readily comes to mind when I'm asked for a favorite hero (the other is JD Robb's Roarke) even though Cash is rough, uncouth and brimming over with passion. He made SiH into a contemporary bodice-ripper that send my bosom heaving, indeed.
The narrator has never been a favorite of mine. Hill's voice and narrating style always conjures up the image of an old man in his armchair with a pipe.
This is a very poor copy as the voice is not smooth. It's clearly a technical issue as I stopped to listen to another audiobook to compare. Hopefully, Audible will correct this.
McKenna's voice is rich and compelling but, unfortunately, the story gets boring after a promising start. The scenes between Rock and Carter are repetitive and as a listener, I was stuck with that. At least with an ebook or hard copy, I can skip those parts easily. Not possible with an Audible audio because I don't even get chapters and it's a pain to get to where I want, or return to my last spot.
There are heaps of better rent-boy/hooker stories out there.
I went in knowing this was New Adult, that it was about couples aged between 20 and 25. No prob with that. My gripe is that the teenaged characters that appear in some of the romances or romantic suspense I normally read come across with more character strength and attractiveness than these two MCs. Drew is a good-looking quarterback but sounds like a dweeb no girl would be caught dating.
Luke Daniel made Drew Callahan's father sound like a feeble old lady. I don't understand why Mr Callahan was given such a high, quavery voice. Instead of the successful businessman who made his money in the world of finance, he sounded like an elderly spinster aunt. Daniel's voice is lovely so it's so strange that he chose to make the elder Callahan sound the way he did.
Anyway, this turned out to be a dud for me and the genre will go the way Chick Lit and Women's Fiction did for me.
The author has not changed much in the six years since she published Trial by Fire. The hero is still introduced to readers as having nothing but sex in his brain right in the middle of work. This time, though, Shane gets a better deal than the hero in TbF. Howard, I think his name was, was obsessing over the heroine's breasts right in the middle of fighting a fire and rescuing the trapped victims. At least Shane wasn't right in the middle of a crime scene but still, it's a police squad room and work is in progress but we get a whole paragraph detailing his sexual thoughts about Daisy. Puhlease.
I felt bad for Sean Crisden because he's one of my fav narrators and I wish he were narrating the Karen Rose books. Or the other serious romantic suspense titles, not this piece of nonsense. Sworn to Protect was not worth even the Whispersync price because I had to buy the Kindle first.
This was a good story but the audio production is poor. The narrator already has a rather weak voice and is the wrong choice for a suspense/action romance. The entire experience was made worse by the muted, woolly sound which is the result of poor quality control in the production dept rather than the narrator's fault.
I tested the other two books and the productions seems better. Hopefully, it will help minimize the weakness of the narrator's voice.
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