Yes.I'm a huge fan of Scottish romance and this is a nice short story that incorporates the selkie myth into the story.
Develop the characters more.
The story is a quick read, but lacks the depth that I normally like to sink my teeth into. But, I recommend this story if you like fantasy, but are looking for something other than a vampire, demon, werewolf or witch story. :)
The Selkie Enchantress by Sophie Moss is a wonderful follow up to the first book in the Seal Island Trilogy, The Selkie Spell. The story centers on Caitlin and Liam, who are Dominic’s (the bar owner in Selkie Spell) best friend and his brother who works in Galway as a professor. As the story unravels, we learn that Caitlin and Liam were romantic as teenagers. While they remained friends over the years, they rekindled their romance starting on Tara and Dominic’s wedding day. After months of long-into-the-night conversations, Liam decides to move back to the island. But, on the ferry ride back to Seal Island, he meets Nuala, who casts him under her spell, making him forget all about Caitlin and his decades-long love for her.
The Selkie Enchantress far exceeded my expectations and was better than the first story in the trilogy. It is a wonderful mix of fairy tale and mystery. It’s a blend of Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid. Like in most fairy tales, you can’t help but sympathize with Nuala, who attempts to steal Liam for herself. Like Caitlin, Nuala made some bad decisions when she was a teenager. I’d love to know what happened to her!
As with the first book, Hollis McCarthy did an outstanding job narrating. Her lilting Irish accents accentuated the story, giving it a fairytale quality. Hollis had differing voices for all of the characters, and her narration flowed naturally and kept the story moving. I can’t wait for book #3 in audio!
The Selkie Spell by Sophie Moss is a wonderful mix of fairy tale with a real life horror story. The story centers around Tara who is a doctor from Dallas who faked her own death to get away from a physically abusive husband. She escapes to Prague, and then to a small island off the Irish Coast. While on Seal Island, Tara immediately feels an ethereal pull to local pub owner Dominic who recently turned his own wife into the authorities for drug smuggling, making him very wary of off-islanders.
One of the things I liked most about The Selkie Spell is the colorful secondary characters. You have the seaworthy professor entranced by folklore, the lifelong best friend to Dominic who just happens to be a girl, the local artist who sees visions, and the former lawman turned private investigator who has a knack for finding things that do not or should not be found (like “dead” wives).
Hollis McCarthy did an outstanding job narrating. Her narration had a fairytale quality to it and I found myself entranced by her reading. She had differing voices for all of the characters, which flowed naturally and was easy to listen to. Bravo!
The Naked King by Sally MacKenzie is a funny, lighthearted, and thoroughly entertaining historical romance. The story centers around Lady Anne Marston, who at 27, is a spinster well on the shelf. Never experiencing a London season herself, she is the obvious choice to chaperone her 17-year old sister with her introduction to society. Thankfully, Anne's dog leads her into the path of Stephan Parker-Roth, The King of Hearts.
Being 30-years old with a younger sister and brother both married, Stephan is desirous of a wife. He admires Anne's gumption and forthrightness, which are obvious qualities from their first meeting. So, when a cat crosses the path of Anne's dog, who trips Stephen and in turn falls on top of Anne, he has no choice but to marry the girl (and buy Anne and her sister new wardrobes).
I listened to the Audible version of this book narrated by Pearl Hewitt, who did an outstanding job. Pearl provided distinct and consistent voices for all characters, young and old. She has a spunk and sassiness in her readings that make listening very enjoyable. Plus, she enunciates with British sophistication with the best of them. Most excellent!
If You'd Just Listened to Me in the First Place is another extremely entertaining short story by Barbara Venkataraman. It's a comical look at how one can meet a future spouse in the unlikeliest of places - like at a summer job working at a marina scrapping barnacles off of boats. What I like most about Barbara's writing is her easy banter between characters. It's as if I'm sitting with my sisters or my BFF where I can be candid, a little quirky, and still affectionate without being mushy.
Carrie Lee Martz did a great job narrating with a southern accent. She reads with enthusiasm and spunk, and has differing voices for both male and female characters. Great job!
Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson is a very unique historical romance set during the romantic era, which is loosely based on the life of Felix Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny.
The story centers on impoverished Clara Becker and her family. She is a brilliant and very talented composer whose family depends on the sale of her compositions for the food they put on their table. Because women were mere possessions back in 1830s England, her brother had to lend his name to her masterpieces to sell them to the publisher. By chance, one of her compositions lands in the hands of the much celebrated Master Violinist, Darien Reynard. Darien, energized by the melodies of the music, will not rest until he convinces the believed-to-be-composer to go on tour in Europe with him and continue writing such breathtaking music. It goes without saying that Clara ends up going on tour with Darien and her brother. Inevitably, sparks fly between Clara and Darien, which only fuels the creativity and sweet music between them.
Hollis McCarthy did an excellent job narrating. Her narration flows naturally and was easy to listen to. She had different voices for all characters, male and female. She really contributed to my enjoyment of the book that I found myself sitting in my car in the garage so I could listen to just one more chapter. ☺
The Beauty Bride is the first in The Jewels of Kinfarlie Series and it is simply one of the best historical romance stories I've read or listened to in many years (not an easy feat considering I average about 100 books a year!). It's an enchanting story set in Medieval Scotland and Wales.
The story centers around Madeline, who at 26 years old is yet unmarried with no intension of doing so anytime soon. The new Laird of Kinfarlie, her younger brother Alexander, is desperate to marry her off (and four other younger sisters) due to the estate's meager financial situation and disastrous harvest. Alexander and his uncle devise a scheme to auction off "The Jewel of Kinfarlie" to the highest bidder from among the Scottish noble without letting Madeline or her sisters know about it. At the auction, everyone is outbid by Rhys FitzHenry, a Welshman known for being a traitor of the king. Rather than be intimidated by Madeline's outspokenness, Rhys admires her feisty nature and indomitable spirit.
The rest of the story focuses on Rhys and Madeline's journey to their new home in Wales. They face many obstacles before arriving: a runaway bride who faces a would-be rapist, a greedy aunt who wants Madeline to join the abby, family hunting them down (Alexander regrets selling her and wants to give Rhys back the money), a former fiancé who wants to marry Madeline, and bandits who want to kill them and overtake Rhys's estate.
Saskia Maarleveld’s narration is magical. She gives each character their own distinct voice and has appropriate tones for differing emotions. My favorite was her characterization of Rhys, with his Welsh accent and rhythm for each of his enchanting stories. Outstanding!
Dangerous and Unseemly: A Concordia Wells Mystery is a captivating story written by K.B. Owen. I have to admit that at first I wasn't sure what to make of the story and it took me a couple chapters to get into it. I'm so glad I kept with it! There are several layers to this story and there are several mysteries solved. It's the mystery book that keeps on giving until the very end!
The story centers on the title character, Concordia Wells, who is a college professor at an all womens college in 1896. She not only teaches several classes, she is a live-in chaperone to a bunch of college students, and directs the senior play. From almost the beginning of the book we know the college is experiencing money troubles, mean-spirited pranks, and the apparent suicide of the college's accountant. If that were not enough, there is arson, the suspicious death of her sister, and two potential suitors for Concordia's affection.
I listened to the Audible version of this book narrated by Becket Royce. Beckett did a fantastic job, keeping me entertained throughout. She has different voices for each character, both male and female, and her characterizations were very engaging. Great job!
He Taught Me to Hope: Darcy and the Young Knight's Quest is a delightful alternative telling of how Elizabeth and Darcy meet and eventually fall in love. The story starts with Elizabeth marrying a young man of a wealthy family at age 17. Soon after, Elizabeth is widowed and 9 months later she gives birth to a healthy baby boy whom she names Ben. Flash forward five years when Elizabeth returns to Longbourn after the death of her father-in-law. At the behest of her father, Elizabeth becomes engaged to Mr. Collins out of a sense of duty -- to provide a future for her mother and sisters, and to secure a father figure for Ben.
Ben is simply adorable! He's imaginative and wise beyond his years. Ben's favorite past time is exploring the woods around Longbourn. On one such exploration he meets Mr. Darcy. Ben introduces himself as Sir Lancelot and Darcy plays along and says that he is King Arthur. Darcy's relationship with Ben is endearing. He lets Ben be imaginative, and basically falls in love with Ben before he realizes that Ben is Elizabeth’s son.
Like in Jane Austen's book, Darcy and Elizabeth meet at the Meryton Assembly. Their eyes meet across the crowded room and both of them feel an instant attraction. Throughout most of the book Darcy tries to persuade Elizabeth that Mr. Collins is all wrong for her, and after her broken engagement, Darcy persuades her to marry him. Darcy's feelings for Elizabeth never waiver and are steadfast.
I listened to the Audible version of this story narrated by Pearl Hewitt. She did an outstanding job, providing distinct and consistent voices for all characters, young and old. Pearl's narration certainly contributed to my enjoyment of this book. Great job!
Mr. Darcy's Dogs is a very cute, tongue in cheek update on the classic Pride and Prejudice novel by Jane Austen. In this retelling, Lizzie Bennet is a doctor (presumably from earning a Ph.D.) who is working as a dog psychologist. Our first glimpse of Lizzie is at a Westminster-type Dog Show where she is known as a "dog whisperer." Mister Darcy hires Lizzie to train two basset hound pups to fox hunt and mayhem ensues.
Karen Krause’s narration is simply fantastic. She really brings the characters to life, using a variety of accents and giving each character their own distinct voice. She is also able to switch genders and generations with ease.
Time and Again is a great story that draws you in immediately. The ending will leave you eagerly anticipating the next story. Thankfully there is!
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