It's been a while since I've read or listened to straight up romance and I had forgotten how formulaic they can be. This one is on par for an old style Harlequin-like romance which is to say it's neither terrific or terrible. It's fine for what it is. If that's the content you're looking for, no need to look further. But...be warned about the performance. I found it utterly distracting and almost didn't continue past the fourth chapter. The reader starts the beginning of each sentence with a deep, strong, almost masculine delivery and ends each sentence with a soft, feminine voice that trails off with a hint of entreaty. Every sentence. For at least five chapters. Whether it's called for a not. Ugh. This problem became less exaggerated as the book progressed. Nevertheless, be prepared for the voice the reader has assigned the heroine. She comes across as ridiculously and infuriatingly helpless which I do not believe is how the author intended and wrote.
The publisher's summary leads one to believe this is a story about an undercover DEA agent falling in love with his innocent mark. Au contraire! That's just the short prologue. The reader gets to check in after all the good stuff has happened. We check in at the point where she's brought in for questioning, forgives him, then decides to give the relationship a try. The story is really all about how two people make a relationship work when they both have crazy ex-spouses bent on mayhem, meddlesome family and friends with tons of baggage, and their own terrible life experiences to contend with. I think the story would have been way more interesting if we got to be there from the get-go, right when the deception started. We didn't even get glimpses of their early relationship via flashbacks. I felt gypped! I also felt the f-bomb was extremely over-used. I'm not against the f-bomb when it fleshes out a character and makes sense within the context of the story, however; this was just f-bomb ridiculous! And f-bomb distracting! Plus, I found the sex scenes boring. I made good use of my fast forward button. Finally, the narrator decided a lot of the characters needed to have Joey the Thug, I hang out with Snookie on the Jersey shore accents even though we're in Colorado and nobody was an east coast transplant--another distraction. 2 stars seems a little harsh, and I almost gave it a 3 star rating, or an average rating. After all, I finished it without having to force myself. The characters were likeable and I did want to see them get their HEA. I'd say this one fell just a pinch short of average for the genre.
Everything about this series is just average. The over-arching story is more compelling than each individual story which is probably why I've kept listening. Well, that plus I've had some really long car drives and about 30 seconds to make a quick purchase. Sometimes, I feel the author has the character verbally over-explaining their position in a very unnatural way. Thoughts that the average person would just bounce around in their head gets explained via dialogue to other characters ad nauseam. The result feels very juvenile, like either the character is dim-witted or the author thinks the reader is dim-witted. The narrator has improved over the series, though I don't understand why the fanatics all have southern accents, the criminals all have Jersey accents, and a female species character who learned to speak from scientists talks like an air-headed valley girl. Ah well, I think it's safe to say this one is the end of the line for me. The over-arching story has stalled out, I fast forward through the boring sex scenes, the plot it utterly predictable, and I just don't care anymore. This series is not a waste of a credit, but it's not a keeper either.
I've enjoyed this entire series and I've re-listened to all of them. I'm sure I'll re-listen to this one as well. While hugely enjoyable, Macrieve seemed not to have as much nail-biting tension as the previous releases--not as action packed perhaps. I was wondering if the author was distracted by her work on the new Poison Princess series. It's plenty satisfying nevertheless. As usual Robert Petkoff did an outstanding job with narration. He delivers the story exactly as how I'd hear it in my own head if I were actually reading the story. The conclusion was really the introduction to the next book in the series which really does nothing but annoy me because I want instant satisfaction! I want the next book now! Her previous releases wrapped things up more neatly, so I found that a bit disappointing. Kresley Cole sets the standard for paranormal romance. If paranormal romance with lots of action is what you're looking for, you've found the right author.
Lots of sex from the get go. I never really felt like I understood what motivated each character (other than the physical), so I never really felt invested in their intimacy. I kept waiting for an explanation of the male character's hateful behavior, but it never really came together convincingly for me. He was mostly just a jerk. Late in the book I felt like we started to get to know both characters better; I just wished the author had spent some time developing that aspect earlier in the book. For the amount of sex, they were pretty conventional about it. The taboo came from engaging in intimate activities in socially unacceptable locations, i.e., his office, his parent's bathroom, etc. The narrator did a solid job. The story is told from each characters' first person perspective. Occasionally, when the author was speaking from the male perspective, she'd fail to deepen her voice enough and I'd lose track of which character's thoughts I was listening to--mostly that was my fault for not paying enough attention. Nevertheless, she did a very good job with bringing the characters to life. Overall, it was mildly entertaining and kinda cute. I won't listen to another book from this author, but I'm not disappointed that I purchased this one either. Sometimes lots of sex and little story is just the thing, so if that's what you're in the mood for...go for it!
If Harlequin did paranormal in the '80's, this would have been it. I think I was expecting more nail-biting drama, but overall I was adequately satisfied with this fully fleshed out, somewhat lighthearted tale. Maybe lighthearted isn't the right word. There was conflict and suspense after all, it just never really gripped me in a way that had me emotionally invested. I'd give it a weak 4 stars or perhaps a strong 3 stars, just slightly better than average. I was concerned about the narration because I read one review that said all the characters sounded like surfers from Southern California even though the characters reside in New York. Born and raised near the beach in Southern California, I did not think I could handle that for 16 hours--had enough of that, thank you very much. But, seriously, they did not sound like So Cal surfers, except for maybe the character Tricks. To me, a lot of the characters sounded more like bored socialites. Maybe not from New York, but definitely not surfers from So Cal either. (I mean, seriously, I would like, you know, totally know.) The narrator did an average job. There was not enough distinction between characters to warrant any more than an average rating for narration. She didn't necessarily detract from the story, but she certainly didn't add. I might listen to another in the series. I just need to reset my expectation level.
A light weight, easy listen that ultimately left me unsatisfied. Going in I understood this was the beginning of a series. I listen to a lot of those. I get that you're left with teasers so you'll want to continue with the series. Usually, however, many of the initial mysteries or conflicts from the beginning of the book are somewhat resolved with new issues cropping up near the end so that you'll be enticed to continue the next book. This one didn't really resolve those early questions and didn't really introduce new mysteries near the end either. Consequently, it feels a little incomplete, and I feel a little ripped off. I'm admittedly curious about some of those unresolved issues, but not enough to get strung along lackadaisically. It starts to feel a little soap opera-ish when books do that. As for the narrator, she was fine. She did a solid, middle-of-the-road job. I wouldn't mind listening to her again. The bottom line: If you're looking for a series that will keep you occupied for a long time but won't be too mentally absorbing, this book promises a series that will definitely fit the bill. If you want high drama and a definite conclusion, keep moving.
I've listened to 1-5 in this series. This first book was my least favorite. The good news is that it only gets better from here, and this first one was an enjoyable listen. Overall, this author really knows how to deliver a well-paced, action-packed romantic adventure. The problem is I didn't particularly like either character in the beginning. He's a bit of an un-evolved caveman. She's a bit of a wuss. I wasn't fond of the dominant/submissive tone of their relationship. Fortunately, I hung in there. As the characters develop further, he loses some of his caveman act as he works out his inner strife, and she discovers her backbone. Some people might be too turned off to hang in there long enough to witness the shift. If you're not into seductive "rape" scenes but do like romantic action adventures, you could easily skip to book 2 and not miss much. Don't give up on this author too early. She does deliver good entertainment. Robert Petkoff, the narrator, is generally ah-may-zing, but the falsetto that he chose for this heroine was a little grating. I'll forgive him as he does everything else so well.
Kresley Cole delivers what I'm looking for when I want to read/listen to a romantic paranormal adventure story. Action, adventure, drama and comedy are delivered in just the right dose. This is not a light weight, fluffy romantic comedy. Fully suspense packed, I found it difficult to turn off. I just had to know what happened next. If you've listened to books 1-4, you know what you're getting. More of the same -- and that's a good thing! The narrator, as usual, does an amazing job. His range is truly impressive. I'd buy a book just because he's the narrator, he's that good. If you've read and enjoyed Jeanine Frost or Dianne Duvall, you'll most likely enjoy Kresley Cole, especially if you favor the action-adventure component. So, why only 4 stars? I get a little tired of the relationship back & forth, two steps forward, three steps back, over and over. A small criticism overall.
What a sorry surprise. Reminded me of a two-bit crime novel purchased off the clearance shelf at the local five & dime--sometime back in the '70s, no less. The vernacular evoked memories of afros, boom boxes and bell bottoms. The narrator added to that strange '70s effect with his oddly monotone yet overly dramatic delivery. Also, he would make these quick little inhalations before just about every sentence. After a while I became obsessive-compulsively distracted by the sound. The plot had all the right components, even the pacing was okay--just okay. It's just that the foul smelling fluff and filler stuffed around a basically solid idea resulted in, well, a stinker. I did finish it, otherwise it would have earned 2 stars, but it was a near thing. Definitely listen to the preview before you purchase. Also, make sure you're into the words, ya dig, brotha?
Other reviews indicated this book was way more than a young adult book which is why I went for it. While I think it was certainly an entertaining listen, I still felt the young adult vibe. Teenagers tend to like stories about the post-apocalyptic world, and this one certainly delivered. I, not being a teenager, discovered that I'm a little weary of apocalyptic story-lines. Also, as a mom of teenagers I just couldn't get over how self-sufficient these kids were. It kind of made me laugh. A lot 16 year-olds in a real world apocalypse would probably come close to starving just because they couldn't figure out how to use a manual can opener -- just saying! Nevertheless, the paranormal, post-apocalyptic theme is hot, hot, hot right now with teens and this one delivers a better story than most. If you're a young adult and you like these themes, you'll like, no, probably love this book. The pacing of the plot was a little slow initially but picked up big time just before my patience started to thin. It stayed on fire until very close to the end until I thought there was an odd jump forward in time that felt a little, I don't know, incomplete, gimmicky, rushed? A small criticism overall. Finally, the narrators were awesome. Both totally made the characters come to life and made a really good book even better. I don't know that I'll continue with the series, but I'll certainly give it to my daughter whom I know will love it.
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