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 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.
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.
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