When I started reading contemporary romance I discovered Rachel Gibson fairly quickly. I didn't read her early books because I was already listening to books and only her newer books were in audio. I've always thought of her as "Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Lite". I thought she had real writing skills but her books often echoed SEP with a little Jennifer Crusie thrown in. I enjoyed her books but never thought she had her own voice.
This first book out though was genuinely good. It was polished, tight and well-written, especially for a debut and it definitely made me appreciate her as a unique voice. I still think the sports team theme was a little too obviously borrowed, but she created a truly unique character in Lexi, Georgie and John's daughter. I loved the character Rachel created and the voice the narrator gave her. Whenever she was in a scene the story really glowed. Georgie was a complex character as well. And just annoying enough to be believable.
My only criticism is that John was not as fleshed out as Georgie, Lexi or even other secondary characters. And the transition in his feelings for Georgie was missing. I sensed the author just decided it was time for him to love her so the book could end. I also wondered if an aggressive editor hadn't cut a little too much out of the story line about Georgie's TV career. That part of the story seemed like it was supposed to be important, then it just fizzled out. I usually think books should be shorter. Another 2 chapters would have been appreciated on this one.
Those were actually minor points though. This was a well written and very well narrated book and I highly recommend it.
I went back and read my review of the author's most recent book. Her freshman effort was far better. I hope she finds that voice again.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is the first book I read by this author and I had no idea what to expect.
This was at its core a story about coming home. And not just for the main character. The author spends the book showing us that you have to come home to learn the truth about yourself and that when you are home, miracles occur. Perhaps not plausible, but one can dream.
I liked the way the recipes were woven into the story and the way the author used food and dogs to express emotions, spirituality, love and the magic of life.
It was a little sappy. But I have to admit that I was happy that Tessa seemed to fall as much in love with Vince's oldest daughter as she did with Vince himself.
The narration was great. I recommend the book. I highly enjoyed it and will read other books by this author.
This book came out to rave reviews. Everyone said I had to read it, including people who's book judgement I usually trust. I've even seen it show up on a couple of those "100 Books to Read Before You Die" lists. Yet after reading the synopsis I was pretty certain this book would not appeal to me. I got so tired of hearing about it that when it went on sale on Audible I bought it. Even though I was pretty certain I wouldn't care for it. Then it sat in my library for about six months until I was at a point between books and I was tired of alternating between fictional fluff and non-fiction. I decided I needed to read something with pretensions to literature. So I listened to it. Or at least all but about the last two hours and then I skimmed through that. And, I hated it.
If after reading I found I just didn't care for the book, I would have moved on and not reviewed it. But it isn't just that I didn't care for the book ... didn't like the genre, the subject, etc. ... I thought the book was very poorly written and terribly dull. This is a great example of an author who thinks - "why use five words when I can use thirty" - on a phrase that can be sufficiently expressed using two. I understood that the circus tents were black and white stripped after only being told that once. I am even OK with the author reminding me of that fact another 10-15 times. But by about the fiftieth time I have to hear about the black and white stripped tents, I've lost patience.
The word that best describes the book to me is - languid. Stultifyingly, painfully, laboriously, dully languid. Unfortunately, I am not the author of the book, so I can't come up with another 30 words to express just how languid I found the pace of this book.
The narrator was great. Unfortunately he had very little to work with.
I've really enjoyed the "Her Royal Spyness" series so I expected to enjoy this series as well. After reading Murphy's Law, the first in this series, I have realized that the narration is what sends the Royal Spyness series over the top.
Murphy's Law is well written but without the humor and warmth of the other series. The characters are not nearly as lovable or laughable. The plots in both series are pretty predictable, but Murphy's Law lacked the off-kilter premise that made the predictability of the plot still wildly entertaining.
The narration was good. But, while she nailed the accents and language styles of the characters, her interpretation of the characters didn't add to them.
This was a well written book. I had no trouble finishing it. I might, if nothing else grabs my attention, read the next book in the series someday. If you love this genre you will like the book. I just can't work up a great deal of enthusiasm for it.
I've read several books in this genre. And come to a couple of conclusions. First, many authors who write about dominate men, men who treat women in a sexual way that society still finds somewhat offensive, try and overcompensate for the male behavior that might be labeled "bad" by making the man a cross between Lancelot, St. Francis, Jeeves the Butler, and a college English professor. They may dominate in the bedroom but everything else about them screams chivalrous, well mannered, saintly, unerringly patient and always grammatically correct. If it weren't for the whips and chains, they would be perfect gentlemen. Other authors in this genre have decided that if the guy isn't going to be a saint inside the bedroom, then he has to be the best looking, wealthiest, most successful and most egotistical man in the world, who never questions his decisions, his lifestyle or his choices - until he meets the one - and then we get to see just a hint of insecurity.
This author opted for the first version of the dominate man in this book. I was pretty sure he rescued kittens from trees and old ladies from burning buildings when he wasn't busy building homeless shelters, ending famine, stopping global warming and beating his girlfriend. Oh, and he used perfect grammar as well.
Most guys are guys, regardless of their sexual preferences. Those preferences don't automatically make them courtly or saintly or insanely wealthy or successful. But authors in this genre feel a real need to compensate. Which makes me wonder if they really are OK with the lifestyles they write about. Especially when most heroes in these books come across as if they do what they do to "help" their partner, who obviously had some problem in her past that made her this way, not because they just like doing it. And that might be the real problem. Relationship stories are about people, not heroes. So stop trying to give them heroic traits.
The author did a pretty good job creating female characters that seemed believable, but the primary male character was nothing but a cardboard cut out of a man. A very boring cardboard cut out at that.
This is not an enjoyable book to read. But it is a very well written book and definitely worth the time and effort. And it did take real effort sometimes.
On the plus side, telling the story via the main character's psychiatric sessions was ingenious. The story jumped back and forth in time continuously and it is usually difficult to do this without the reader getting lost. By allowing the story to be relayed as a narrative in her weekly appointments the reader can stay in one "time zone" but still relive what happened in the past as it was happening. I was also impressed with the way the author created Annie's state of mind. I have no idea how I would react in her situation, but her state of mind and her reaction to the events engulfing her seemed very believable to me, up until perhaps the very end. I also really appreciated the fact that the book wasn't full of lost opportunities for escape that Annie didn't take advantage of because she was too stupid to do so. A great example of this was the book Consequences, every bit as terribly written as this book was well written. That character was held hostage by her profound dimwitted-ness, not by the protagonist. There was absolutely nothing sympathetic about her. Annie tried her hardest to escape and took the first opportunity afforded to her. Annie was to me a very sympathetic and almost entirely believable character. I also liked the lack of development of the Freak. There was no attempt to make him attractive or sympathetic, no effort to try and make the reader like a totally unlikeable person. He represented evil. And that was really all one needed to know about him.
On the minus side, I've read several books meant to be suspenseful, with the main character in real peril for a prolonged period of time. In order for me to become engrossed enough in the story to feel the suspense, the peril needs to be consistent and sufficient. When these books fall short it is usually because the author doesn't push the peril enough. They don't want the reader to think that the character won't eventually come out physically and mentally OK in the end, so there isn't a sufficient enough sense of terror that the reader could ever think - "we'll maybe she won't live through this."
In this book, the author went just a little too far, at least for me. Suspense and fear is in some weird way entertaining to us, when it is fictional. But the truly appalling experience that Annie went through - and I don't mean the kidnapping and being held hostage - was so heart and mind-breaking, I don't know if I can believe Annie could have come out of the situation as well as she did, if she came through it at all. The penultimate act of evil perpetrated by the Freak was one step over the line for me.
The only other negative was the ending. Not the ending of the real story - Annie's fight for survival after being kidnapped, held hostage and escaping - but the ending tacked on to tie up some loose ends. At least I assume that is why it was added. I sensed that the author felt she spent enough time surrounding Annie with unsympathetic characters (in addition to the Freak) that before she stopped writing she felt like she had to justify why they were so unsympathetic. I am just not sure it was necessary. It detracted from the quality of the book overall.
The narration was superb. And in spite of my two criticisms, this book was very well written, believable and well worth reading. I highly recommend it.
I enjoyed the first book in this series, On Dublin Street, a great deal. I was impressed with the depth of the characters, the layers of problems that made the main character a complex, difficult yet compelling, woman to love. I bought Down London Road as soon as it came out, but for some reason I put off reading it. I think I put it off because the main character in Down London Road was a secondary character in On Dublin Street, and not a particularly interesting or sympathetic character at that.
When I finally did read this book, I was very glad I did. Like On Dublin Street, it is at its core a contemporary romance. But again the depth of the character makes it much more than that. The aspects of Jo I found unsympathetic and uninteresting in On Dublin Street were explained and she suddenly became a very strong, brave and sympathetic person. I think the open animosity against her expressed by her eventual love interest made the reader defensive and protective of Jo and suddenly she was a character worth knowing. The character of her younger brother matured throughout the book and the closeness between the two main characters was portrayed realistically but felt very genuine.
I thought the narrator did a very good job with the book.
I highly recommend this.
If I read this book on my e-reader I likely would have finished it but it would not have made an impression on me. There was nothing that truly set it apart from many of the fluffy period romance novels written by far less high-brow authors. The story was OK, not quite good and certainly not great. I must admit I expected more. The characters didn't seem fully developed and were presented inconsistently. The silly plot (which isn't a criticism, it was supposed to be somewhat silly and exceeded at that quite well) was wrapped up abruptly and in a way that seemed unplanned.
Katherine Kellgren breathed life into this book. She is one of the few narrators that I either love (Her Royal Spyness Series) or she sets my teeth on edge (Blackout). I loved her narration in this book. Like the Spyness series, the characters in this book were made just for Katherine Kellgren's voices.
As long as she is narrating, I will eventually read the other two books in this series. If it was not for the narration, I would have stopped at this one.
This book was so much harder to listen to than the first book in this series, Dark Secret Love. Tyler states at the beginning of each book that while they are fiction they are highly autobiographical. So I approached them both from with a level of seriousness. While the narrator on Dark Secret Love wasn't one of my favorites, she did a credible job. Her narration gave the book weight. She took the content seriously.
The narrator of The Delicious Torment sounded like she was reading letters to Penthouse. She had the whole "I'm trying really hard to sound sexy, but I just sound incredibly silly" thing going. And she sounded silly all the time, whether the text warranted it or not. I assume since Ms. Tyler goes to great lengths to tell her readers that much of the plot reflects her own life, she would like the book to be taken somewhat seriously. But with this narrator, that won't happen. Rather than hearing an author's honest exploration of her somewhat unique sexual lifestyle, we got someone auditioning for Girls Gone Wild or to be a phone-sex worker.
Putting aside what I thought was a totally inappropriate approach to narrating the main character, Ms. Falcon also does a terrible job with the male voices.
I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the first book in this series. I think I would have, with a different narrator. As it stands now, if you want to read this - get it on your Kindle and avoid the audiobook.
A very powerful book. I stumbled upon the first book in this short series, Code Name Verity. I was terribly impressed. It seemed well researched, extremely detailed and highly engrossing. Even though it was dealing with a time in history and events that are well known, it still managed to surprise me.
Rose Under Fire was a more difficult read and at first I did not think I would like it. The heroine was a little to perfect and perky to be believable. Then it seemed to settle down and I became immersed in the story. The perfection and perkiness soon slipped away. While the first book definitely had dark segments, much of Rose Under Fire was downright bleak. So bleak that it was sometimes difficult to continue. No matter how many times you read of the atrocities of the second World War, they can still hit you hard. Especially when told as compellingly as this book.
I loved the periodic insertion of both Millay's and "Rose's" poetry. If you are not a poetry fan, that might make the book a little more difficult to push through, but I thought it only added to the context of the story and she used the alliterative aspect of poetry to further the plot line.
I thought the narration was extremely well done. The voice of Rosa, a Polish prisoner was a little grating, but I think it fit the characters age, experience, personality and situation.
I heartily recommend this book.
Enjoyable book. I liked that it was told from the man's perspective. Since the author was female I have no idea how accurately it reflects a man's perspective, but it was funny, engaging and an easy read. Sebastian York is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators, in fact I would have rated the book a little lower if not for the narration. It was spot on.
It reminded me quite a bit of the Christina Lauren series - especially the first, Beautiful Bastard. Tangled wasn't quite as funny or fast paced, but if you enjoy the Beautiful series you will enjoy this. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
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