I had read a few audiobooks and had even joined Audible. But until I read this book I did not understand the magic of the format. Before reading this book I had no interest in1) romance 2) science fiction or fantasy and 3) time travel genres. I'd heard enough about the series that it piqued my interest because I loved historical fiction. Especially the period of time I knew the book covered. And I always found the challenge of tackling a big book rewarding.
This book changed so many of my perceptions of genre and reading format. While I still argue that though there is definitely a romantic and sexual relationship at the books core, it was only one part of the adventure. It still doesn't fit the romance genre to me, but it did such a good job of weaving romance and sexuality into the adventure it made me curious to read more traditional romance novels and see if they handled the topic as well. They didn't, but I discovered other good books I never would have tried of not for Outlander.
Likewise, other than Anne Rice's Vampire series which I had read many years ago, this was one of my very rare ventures into fantasy-science fiction. Setting aside my understanding of reality to accept someone else's is always difficult. But reading Outlander and the subsequent books in the series, I found myself trying to work out in my mind how this might have happened. It encouraged me to explore this genre more thoroughly as well. Even more surprising, it made me evaluate my perception of "time", what it means and how it works. I found myself paying more attention to physics and the study of the time and space relationship.
The twists and turns of the plot kept me turning the page just like the best mysteries I read. While reading the book there were enough unanswered questions, clues and short glimpses of scenes or events that caught my attention and made me store them away to remember "when all was revealed." But all was not revealed at the end and I found myself turning over these clues and snippets, trying to determine their significance, what I thought they meant and what their purpose was. One requirement of a great book is that you cannot get it out of your mind after you turn the last page. This book met that criteria. I thought about it for weeks.
Most importantly I learned that other voices can bring a whole new level to the reading experience, if it is the right voice for the right book. I would have enjoyed this book regardless, but if I read it myself and heard my voice in my head the characters would never have come so alive as they did in Davina Porter's voice. This is a perfect marriage of book and narrator. I was so surprised when I later discovered more about Porter's age, experience and background. She made a 21 year old Scotsman come to life. Her voice is Jamie to me. She handled each character wonderfully, although it is the first and only time I have ever listened to a book or series of books and thought a woman narrator did a better job on the men's voices than she did on the women's. I have loved hearing how the narrator has aged the character's voices throughout the series. You hear the young Jamie in the middle aged Jamie's voice, but you also hear the growth and maturity. I have accepted the narrators in the Lord John series, even when the book includes Jamie and actually think they are narrated well. But I am not certain I could accept another narrator for future Outlander books.
Finally, my initial interest in this book was from a historical fiction viewpoint. A good historical fiction novel, by Bernard Cornwell or Sharon Kay Penman sticks to as much historical fact as possible but presents it in an engaging and relate-able format. It makes you interested enough in the times and events that you will endure the dry-er, less lively recitation of facts of that same event or time in a nonfiction book, just to learn more. Outlander and this series delivered that in spades.
Yes, this is erotica. It is very hot. It is also edgy. Too much so for many people's taste. But the author has a very unique voice and for that alone she deserves to be heard. Her stories are larger than life. They almost remind me of the early Ann Rice books where the big questions and the important answers about life and death, philosophy, religion, good, evil, heaven and hell were all buried deep within an interesting story about a couple of vampires.
It is truly difficult to describe her writing style, her characterizations, her plotting. But she has the ability to make you care a great deal for people that on paper you should find totally unlikable and nonredeemable. She reminds you that no one is exclusively good or totally evil. That everyone is flawed and sometimes those that are best at hiding their flaws are the most flawed of all. You know the world she has created exists solely in the pages of her books. And you know that if it really did exist you would likely never have the nerve to exist in it yourself. But it would be nice to know that it was out there, that Nora and Soren and Kingsley and Griffin exist and maybe someday you would gather your courage and ...
I liked the first book in this series, but found this one far more satisfying. It focused far more on what I thought were the strongest characters from the first book and didn't waste time on the weaker characters
This book does a very good job of capturing life at the court of the Sun King. It not only focuses on the brilliance of the court and the king but also his disappointments, his failures and his losses. And he lost a great deal, especially in his later years.
An incredibly important historical figure, the Sun King was so much larger than life it would be easy to create a caricature of him. Ms. Fraser avoids the easy road and makes us realize that someone, who in his time was revered and reviled on the same level as God and the Devil, was also a human and his life was shaped by very human tragedies.
Sometimes the authors biographies read almost like fiction. She can glamorize and idolize a person to the point that you know it cannot be accurate. She doesn't do that in this book. Perhaps because it would be hard to conceive of Louis being portrayed as more glamorous and more idolized than he actually was in real life.
This was a light breezy piece of fluff. Even when it touches serious subjects - a teenager learning who her father is and that her mother had lied - it is still fluffy. And the initial meeting that resulted in the daughter was never really explained. It seemed totally implausible. But it was readable and an easy way to relax and pass a few hours.
This book did bring renewed focus to an epidemic that, if you read many chick lit books you are well aware of, the sheer number of professional athletes who unknowingly father children during brief one night stands, don't discover they fathered the child until the child is at least 5 or 6 years old or older, and then, at the point they discover the existence of the unknown offspring they discover that the one night stand is also the love of their life, Too bad they didn't figure that out sooner. I can list at least 5 or 6 books with the exact same story line. Some tell it better than this book. Others tell it worse.
The weird thing is I liked this book when I first started reading it. The first hour or so was fine. Then it just seemed to be devolve into another retelling of "life in the typical Italian-American family". And that was too bad. The plot and characters were worth learning more about. More than their ethnic background.
The only un-stereotypical thing about the book was that it wasn't about a crime family. But ... "hey, at least there aren't any mafioso in it" is hardly a ringing endorsement.
I am sure there are fascinating quirks about Italian-American families, or Irish-American or African-American, but there is also a lot of commonality. And I get tired of reading books that as soon as you know the ethnic background of the family of characters you can start writing the dialog yourself. But that probably doesn't bug me nearly as much as it bugs someone actually in that ethnic group.
Usually when a plot line is as over the top as this series by Tiffany Reisz, it is difficult to get your emotions committed. It may an entertaining or enjoyable read, but when characters are so far out of my definition of "believable" it is hard to empathize with them.
I can't imagine living the life of these characters. Maybe there are people out there that are this far out (and not just in their own imagination). But I found I could still relate to them. The emotions and angst that drove the behavior and actions of the characters was totally understandable, even if the characters themselves were not. That seems like a good definition of good character development.
The third book in the series delves much more into the history of Kingsley and Soren and they are both tragic characters on the scale of a Wagner opera. I might not believe these two characters could exist in the real world, but I kind of wish they did, and if they did, I would like to know them. It also spent more time on Wes, who to me is the weakest and least interesting of the group. He doesn't seem interesting enough to ever catch Nora's attention. But that is just a little quibble.
Her books aren't for the faint hearted or the squeamish, but Ms Reisz is a great story teller. She has a unique style that I thoroughly enjoy.
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.
This is the first book in a series that on the face of it appears to be another attempt to take advantage of the 50 Shades hype. But it is not a 50 Shades wannabe. It is a good book. A very good book. The writing, pace and characters are all better developed that 50 Shades and definitely better than any of the 50 Shade clones.
It is formulaic, but it works and it includes an element that seems to be lacking in the angst-filled batch of erotic romance novels published lately. It is funny. There are some laugh out-loud funny lines. The characters take their relationship seriously, but they are also having fun. No brooding stares, no meaningful silence. The hero doesn't have an unbelievable medical condition that makes him violent in his sleep, he isn't obsessed with a medieval author to the point that he almost channels him and he is not the most wealthy, wildly successful, way too young for his success, handsome man in the entire world, or at least the Pacific Northwest. He is rich and good looking, but not the richest and best looking. So he comes across as more real than the heroes of several recent books.
It passed my sure fire test with flying colors. When I was done reading the book I wanted to know what happened to the characters next. I wasn't ready to let go of them. If a book makes me feel that way, I can forgive a lot.
If you like this genre I really recommend this book. You will not be disappointed.
Not really worth reviewing. Certainly not worth reading. Can't think of much else to say. Just do yourself a favor and don't. You will be disappointed.
I enjoyed other books in this series more, but this was a nice introduction. There were sibling characters I would like to have learned more about but later books jumped to another branch of the family so the interesting characters in this book didn't develop.
The author skillfully let you get to know the characters gradually. At times the plot seemed a little forced. But overall it was an easy read.
The narrator did a good job. She is well suited to the series.
This started with a good premise. The original meeting between the two main characters was sweet and unique. And the background story about the murder case and trial was interesting and kept the plot moving along. But a good plot was brought down by the most commonly seen villain in romances - a hero or heroine who came across as so vapid that you alternately want to shake her or slap her. As soon as a character starts agonizing over a choice that is so painfully obvious to everyone else, they lose me. It was obvious that the author was trying to redeem the "old" love after initially making him a jerk. After all if he stayed the same person he was when we first met him, the book would have been about 1/4 as long as it was. The heroine should have walked away and never looked back about 30 pages in. Unfortunately, in her attempt to redeem Jeremy it seemed like she either created an entirely new character that was completely unrelated to the original Jeremy, or he had multiple personality disorder.
The romance that Michael was ending was much better written and much more believable. And once Juliana sees the light and gets over her past, her courage in taking time to depend just on herself relieves me of my desire to slap her for her early foolishness ... at least a little.
I've listened to several books by this narrator and while she isn't in my list of absolute favorites, she is seldom annoying. The voices of a few of the characters in this book were annoying. Not one of her better efforts either.
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