As the title suggests, this is the beginning of a series. While an incomplete story is expected, I find most authors find a way to give the ending a sense of completion while still enticing the reader to continue with the series. This one lacked a sense of completion. It might as well have had "To Be Continued..." at the end. Also, I usually like a little sex thrown in with a story, but I found these sex scenes tiresome and unexciting. Fortunately, the overall story had just enough interest to it that I think I may buy the next in the series--though with some hesitation. The slightly better reviews for the second release are enticing me. The narrator did a nice job. It kind of cracked me up that she used such a serious voice. Talking about shape shifters and secret government experiments is serious business, people! It didn't take me long to get over that and just to get into the fun of it, and she definitely brought the characters to life. If you've never read/listened to other shape shifter fiction, there are better options for a newbee. If you listen to audible books a whole lot and are exhausting your options, this is not a bad choice.
I wish I had known these two things prior to investing in this series. 1) the narrator, especially in the first book, speaks really slowly. I listened to the whole thing on 1.25 to 1.50 speed which, while annoying, was less annoying than listening at normal speed. Take a careful listen to sample first. Narrator did have good emotion and distinct characters. 2) the over-arching story doesn't come anywhere near getting resolved. I'm guessing you'll have to listen to all 5 or 6 books before you see the head bad guy get his comeuppance -- whoever that is because I still don't know. I think I was expecting that solving this one crime would band the friends together again, and then maybe they'd start their own business. I was thinking each book would be a separate crime and a new relationship. I'm feeling a little mislead but reluctantly pulled in. Felt a little like a bait & switch. I thought I was buying a complete story but what I got was a fairly complete romance and about 1/6th of a crime novel. Grrr...
An easy listen. Cute. Not too deep. A well done light weight romance. I always appreciate when an author can take an implausible story line and make us forget how unlikely it would be for any of us regular people to meet up and have an immediate love connection with some bigger-than-life famous person. The narrator did a nice job differentiating characters without getting overly dramatic. I'd listen to another book from this author.
I keep thinking I'm done with this series, then I get hurried & bored and make another impulse buy. I have two main gripes. 1) Each new book is presumably about a new couple, but it's really not. It's half a new story and the other half of the prior characters' story from the previous book--which is how she keeps you on the hook. You're always only half way through someone else's story. You must read the next book to really get that sense of completion, but then you get sucked in to a new story that starts to get told. 2) I could probably live with that sneaky device, but the over-arching story just isn't progressing fast enough for me. Getting bored with the Lessers? No problem, we'll just create a new group to battle. These BDB dudes are stuck on a hamster wheel and don't even know it. Other minor issues: The Brotherhood lingo. It grates after a while. You dig? Sitch instead of situation. Natch instead of naturally. It's a weird "combo" of shortened words and 70's Mod Squad-like turns of phrases. Groovy. Also, I guess I'm the lone dissenter, but I'm not a fan of the narrator. He does a lot of quick inhalations that distract me, and the biggest distraction is he likes to emphasize the vowel sounds of most single syllable words. Who knew variations of the word "ease" could used so many times in one book, except it's not "ease," it's, "eeeeeaaaasse."
I initially detested the first book in the series. At first blush it seemed so cheesy, like a cheap dime store novel. But, every time I went to get a new book to listen to I'd see everyone's overwhelmingly positive reviews to JR Ward and I finally decided I must have been in a bad mood. I re-listened and changed my stance somewhat. I think what cheapens these novels is the narrator. Again, at first listen he seems smooth and dramatic, but he actually ended up reminding me of Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise -- not in the way he sounds, but in the overly dramatic delivery. I started obsessing with how he said anything to do with the word "easy." He says "eeeeeased, eeeeeasier, eeeeasy. Who knew the word ease, easy, easier, eased could be used so much within one book? If it's a single syllable word, expect the vowel sound to be draaawwwwn out. Enough about the narration. The story line is initially intriguing, but I'm not sure where the over-arching story is going, starting to feel a little soap opera-ish. I'd say I'm adequately entertained, the pacing and such seems good, yet occasionally I'll fall asleep listening at night, and I'll pick it up 4 hours later not feeling like I missed a thing. It's fair to say I'm no longer a hater, but I don't see what all the hullabaloo is about. The series is okay.
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.
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