I truly enjoy every book Molly Harper has written. They may not be great literature but they are always great fun. This book was a little short, and perhaps a little rushed, but it still told a great story, was full of characters you would love to meet and I laughed out loud more times per chapter than any other writer I know. Plus I appreciated that the undead and lycan set was absent from this book. While I enjoy her forays into these areas, it seems every other book is now devoted to one or the other, or their close relations. It is getting old.
The thing that I think Harper does better than almost anyone I can think of is she creates the best sidekicks. They are often as interesting as the main characters and every bit as entertaining.
As usual the narration was spot on. I think Amanda Ronconi and Molly Harper go together as well as Davina Porter and Diana Gabaldon or Anna Fields and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
I enjoyed Probst's earlier series. After reading them I expected to have to suspend reality in order to accept the plot line of this book, and I did. It is pretty close to totally implausible. But, this book was light and fluffy. And sometimes fun. Probst has talent and I think she has wasted it so far, but she has enough talent that I will read the fluff she creates.
Again, Maby/Grant is one of my favorite narrators. I always look forward to listening to books she narrates.
While I am not a die-hard Vampire fantasy fan, I have enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse series and the Elizabeth Hunter Elemental series. And I love Molly Harper's Vampire books. So I was pretty open minded when I started this series. I knew it had a huge following so I had high hopes. This series is entirely different from those. These vampires are big, hulking testosterone-laden giants who wouldn't know nuance or sophistication if it bit them in the neck. And that would probably be OK. They don't have to be humorous, or brilliant, or classically good looking. I can deal with stories centered on alpha males who don't profess to be mental giants. But then they had to open their mouths.
Seriously? If I take the most positive spin on the dialog I can assume it was tongue in check and that the author intended that her big, giant heroic hulks sounded like an 11 year old boy's version of "cool" when they spoke. But I am afraid that wasn't her intent. I think that they were supposed to sound like ultra-cool heroic hulks. Instead they sound like idiots.
These vampires don't need fangs to be instantly recognizable by humans. As soon as they open their mouths to speak, once everyone around them stops laughing hysterically about how silly they sound, they would instantly know they must be vampires because no one else sounds quite so, well, stupid. And don't even get me started on the vampire's names.
I found one of the vampire's interesting, so I admit I read the next books in the series until I got through Zs. I had to stop then. Either that or I was going to slap the next person I met who uttered the word "True". Even if they used it in the right context. And each book went downhill from the first.
Two other serious flaws with the book - the author does a good job of creating some of the female characters and then barely mentions them again in later books. They were far more interesting than the males, but they just seem to disappear. And finally, most fantasy series I have read spend an enormous amount of time making the alternate universe their characters inhabit plausible. They create rules and give enough details that explain the unexplainable. They let you suspend belief and think that maybe that universe could coexist with ours and we just don't realize it. Ward makes no attempt to explain how these creatures co-exist with humans, how we are unaware of all the carnage they leave in their wake, where the money comes from that they spend on clothes, booze and drugs, which she describes ad naseum or why on earth anyone would consider them remotely heroic.
Just to be a little more perverse from the diehard fans - I thought the narrator did a great job with a lousy text.
I thought Beautiful Bastard was one of the best books I have read in a long time. Certainly one of the best romance books I have ever read. It was never sappy, the heroine was upfront and said what she meant, even to her own detriment and there was no angst and no prevarication. It didn't wallow in the characters problems,or weaknesses or tragic backgrounds. It embraced their quirks and made their inability to communicate calmly and effectively with each other actually work well for them. It was sexy, had a great hook and most importantly - it was hilarious. Whoever decided love had to be continually sad and angst filled is crazy.
The follow-ups introducing other characters were OK to good, but never lived up to the original. So I was somewhat reluctant to read the continuation of the Bastard's story. I was worried that if it was about their wedding, sap was bound to leak in somewhere.
I am happy to say it never did. It was exactly the messed up, hilarious, sexy, catastrophe that only Chloe and Ben could have. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was so glad to be reassured that these two characters I had grown so fond of would continue on in their dysfunctional but loving way.
My only tiny complaint was this - the ending didn't seem true to the story. Instead it seemed like the story ended and then the author added in one more sex scene. That bugged me just a little. I think this author does a great job of making her sex scene's "fit" the plot and the characters. This is the only time it seemed a little superfluous to me.
This is one of the most unique books I have ever read. A fictional biography of Rudolph Nureyev, it is never told from his perspective and gave you no idea how the man perceived himself. Instead we get snapshots of a life told from several perspectives, often contradictory. One was never certain which observers were real and which were not. Nor could you tell if the views presented actually represented the person credit with them. I had to assume that there was a basis of truth in the narrative. I knew little about the man except what I read in brief newspaper articles throughout his career. So everything included in the book could have been untrue and I would never know. Yet there was an element of factuality to it. To me, even if the author didn't capture the reality of the man, he captured the essence. Something many fictional biographies fail to do.
I am not a fan of multiple narrators but they were very helpful here. Without them it would have been difficult to keep track of which of the observers visions were being shared at any given time.
This was not an easy book to read. In fact, because of how it was written it was easy to pick up and put down. I read a couple of other books at the same time. But that does not mean it had no affect on me. I find myself still thinking about it weeks later. The vision of the Soviet Union during its height were sobering and thought provoking. The glorious madness of the 1970s and 1980s, still came across as glorious even though we now know what happened to so many people at the center of the madness.
I am always fascinated by people with a single minded intensity to excel at one thing in their life and completely ignore the rest. The intensity of their every moment is amazing to observe - safely - and from a distance. This book allowed me the chance to do that.
If I only read this novella, I am not sure I would have rated this quite so highly. But this is a prequel to The Girl I Left Behind, which I read immediately after. The Girl I Left Behind was complete enough that if I had not read Honeymoon in Paris, I would have still been able to follow the story. But reading Honeymoon first, gave me great background information that did fill in a few blanks in The Girl I Left Behind. The only disconnect was, the newlywed groom in Honeymoon was evidently a far better husband than he came across in Honeymoon. He comes close to sainthood in The Girl I Left Behind.
The two narrators did a great job. It was easy to follow the shifts in time. This is a lovely little book and I highly recommend it. If you have not yet read The Girl I Left Behind, I definitely recommend reading Honeymoon first.
But not quite. And my issue is tiny enough I can still recommend this book quite highly.
Ms. Moyes does a great job of taking a controversial issue and helping you see it from a fresh perspective. The issue isn't quite as intense as assisted suicide, as she tackled in her most recent book. But it is still polarizing - repatriation of illegally obtained valuables and personal items during a time of war. This book takes a fresh look at the issue and the perspective she crafted was quite ingenious. She takes a step backwards from the more common storyline of evil Nazis and the pillage they committed during World War II and sets the events in motion during World War I.
The story is told from two perspectives, almost 100 years apart. Two women who are terribly different - one who continues to fight and to hope long after everyone around her has stopped and one who seems to have stopped fighting and hoping a long time ago. Through the artwork they share, the strength and righteousness of Sophie gradually becomes imbued in Liv.
The narration was wonderful, especially Sophie's voice. But both narrators performed multiple characters and accents beautifully.
Here is my one tiny complaint. I will try and express it without giving the ending away, but the resolution in Liv's story has one too many last minute reprieves to me. I felt like I was brought to the bring of resolution, only to find out it wasn't once too often.
I finished the book terribly satisfied. It is the 3rd book I've read by this author. I will definitely read another one and I recommend this one highly.
The Grand Sophy is regarded as one of Heyer's best. I was so excited that it was finally available on Audible. It is a very good book by any standards, although it is not at the top of my personal Heyer list. I liked the main characters and enjoyed their plans and machinations. But Heyer shines best with understated characters. Those that quietly evolve into the character they are meant to be without a lot of fanfare. Sophy was a little too boisterous for me, at least for Heyer's world.
There was also less finesse to the romance than you typically see in her books. Even though there is often no romantic interaction between the main characters until the very last page of the book, it is usually easy to recognize the attraction and chemistry between the two main characters, even if they never kiss. In the Grand Sophy I knew that ultimately Sophy and Charles would be together because I had read a plot synopsis. They didn't seem particularly interested in each other in the book and that made the ending seem contrived to me.
However, Sophy and her complicated plots and plans were always entertaining and the secondary characters were eccentric and generally lovable, as one would expect. So while this is not my favorite Heyer book, it is definitely worth reading.
And the narrator was annoying. I read a recommendation of this book somewhere. I've really enjoyed some time travel books I've read. I got about 1/3 of the way through it and it felt like if the hero would finally believe that the heroine was not his intended and loathsome bride the plot might kick in and it might get interesting. But after one more incident of him almost believing her, and then not, I gave up.
I do not recommend this book.
I swore after I read the last book in this series I was done with it. If The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie had not been one of the best books I ever read, I would never have read the second book in the series. Each subsequent book has been less interesting than the one before it.
I read a detailed synopsis of this book and reluctantly decided to give it a try. The main character seemed off-beat and troubled enough that I thought the author might be able to recreate a little of the magic of Ian Mackenzie's book. Unfortunately she did not. This plot was flat, the two main characters seemed to have nothing in common and no spark between them. It was never explained and never clear why they cared for each other, what in their history showed that they were meant to be together or why we should care about them. The author barely used any of the most interesting characters from earlier books and while the secondary Indian and Scottish characters were interesting, they were hardley developed.
However, in case it isn't evident, I really enjoy this narrator. And I probably would have listened to this book even if I knew it would disappoint me, just to listen to her.
This ranks up among the best of Georgette Heyer's books. I was excited to find it finally available on Audible. As usual her characterization was great. She takes a character who has a well entrenched but totally off-base view of themselves and gradually and sweetly turns them into the character they always meant to be. The struggle Sylvester went through as he shed his preconceived ideas of himself and his flawed notions of an ideal mate and turned into a fully formed man was fascinating to read.
Heyer's books are often dismissed derogatorily as "silly romances". I see her compared as often to Barbara Cartland as Jane Austen and nothing could be more unfair. Her characters have both flaws and depth, her plot revolves around more than two lovers finding each other and she captures a time and a place better than almost any author I have ever read. She has had a couple of "misses" in my opinion, but Sylvester isn't one of them. I recommend it.
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