If you buy this book looking for a romance you will be disappointed, as the *intimation* of a romance is there, but in the end, the actual romance is holding out for the sequel. (So don't be mislead of the Harlequin title -- this isn't sugary-sweet over-the-top romance book, which in my case was a concern, although ever since Poison Study, I stopped judging a Harlequin book by its publisher :-)
The mystery/plot is fine, although there is a little too much deus ex machina towards the end, but not enough to ruin the book for me. The characters don't always play to societal norms, but it isn't as if this book is trying to pass as accurate historical fiction, so it is forgivable. There are a number of interesting side characters, including pets. Overall fairly well-written gothic/Victorian mystery mix -- good, but not perfect.
As for the narrator, I don't think she is British. It wasn't that the accents were off completely, just occasionally, which to my ear was slightly grating, and at times the "class" of the accent didn't match the "class" of the character. I expect most North American listeners won't be bothered, but British listeners might cringe at times.
From me, the romance gets a 2/5 (although the potential for a really steamy 5/5 exists for the next book). The narrator ranges from 2.5/5 to 5/5. The story gets a 3.5/5.
This is chick-lit -- in the vein of Bridget Jones, the everyday girl in various humorous situations of getting ahead in her career, dealing with her too-blah boyfriend, fashion faux-pas, and family dysfunction. Certainly not ground-breaking literature, but lots of fun with giggle-aloud moments. If you like BJones, you will enjoy this book, it is much of the same (the characters, both male and female lead, are very similar in tone).
As for the narrator, she did a FABULOUS job with this book. In fact she pushes the 3-3.5 story to a 4 stars, just for her excellent delivery.
When this book started I wasn't sure of what to make of the depressed, monotone delivery of Tender Branson's autobiography, but it quickly drew me in. Despite the fact that you know things aren't going to ending well, it just draws you in to see exactly how they got this bad. Tender follows a narrow line of puppy-dog-lost and sociopath -- but Palahniuk had me routing for this anti-hero, right up to the end. If you are looking for shiny happy people, this isn't your choice. But looking for flawed and funny people this book delivers and was a great 'listen', although I felt a little Schadenfreude about it :-)
I had a very hard time finishing this book -- more than once I almost gave up. I am not sure if it was because of the narration, but the heroine seemed to whine her way through this book.
I was willing to give her some leeway at the start, she is 16 and thrust into a rushed wedding with an unknown boy, so perhaps some whining is in order. But years later, she still is whining. Listen to the sound snippet, Mallory at 16 is pretty much Mallory at 24. As for the love story (afterall this is a romance, so of course they fall in love) -- I couldn't buy it. It seems as if out of the blue the hero is besotted with his wife, cannot live without her, but I wasn't sure why? He wants to be nagged through life?
I have enjoyed Cathy Maxwell's books in the past, but not this one. Check out The Marriage Contract, that story had more humour, and the heroine was actually feisty, unlike this book, where the heroine was almost obnoxious.
I bought The Diamond Age back in 2001 and have listened to it three times since then -- it is just that much fun!
This is an engaging tale of cyberpunk, nanotechnology and near-future social development, and in particular how these impact the life of Nell, our young heroine, as she grows up into a unique young woman. I loved to watch the evolution of Nell through her activity with the neo-Victorian Primer, but that is only one of a number of plot lines that intersect, and occasionally come together -- all of which are absorbing. However, if you prefer a nice linear presentation to your novels, you might find Stephenson's approach distracting. If you enjoy William Gibson, you will likely enjoy this book and its ideas (although Stephenson's earlier book, SnowCrash, is a little more Gibson-esque.)
Kudos to the narrator who did an amazing job of the various characters and lines of the story. I found the narration some of the best of all the audible books I have listened to.
My only gripe about the book is the ending, it all seemed to stop a little too abruptly -- but even that cannot dim my appreciation of the story overall, and on subsequent reading I have actually appreciated the ending for its open-endedness.
I am very disappointed to see the push of the abridged versions of both this book and SnowCrash (particularly SnowCrash where the unabridged version is no longer available, a big shame since that is an even better book!). These books create a detailed view of future-society, abridgment will just fade the colour of that presentation. My recommendation is to buy the full-length versions (well, not possible for SnowCrash, but still online for DiamondAge!) and enjoy being absorbed.
This is apparently the third book in a series -- there is no need for you to be familiar with the previous books to enjoy this one (I wasn't). The recurring theme is that of eligible men wagering to remain unwed and each succumbing to marriage. This is the romance between American-in-London self-made Daniel Sinclair and his romance with ton-bred Lady Cordelia Bannister.
Neither the hero or heroine want to marry, but have been thrust into potential marriage by their business-oriented fathers who see a benefit in the union. I rather enjoyed the ensuing farce when both hero and heroine decide to masquerade as another person to gather information about their potential intended, and perhaps even to wheedle out of the unwanted commitment. Unfortunately it seemed to go on for too long, and when it resolved it was all a little too pat and a little rushed. The writing was occasionally lazy (repetitious vocabulary), but these lapses were redeemed by some humorous dialogue which kept my attention. I also appreciated that our heroine was smart and independent. I felt a little indignant on her behalf for that being misinterpreted as spoilt and selfish by her family (in particular the male members), but such were the times.
The narration was fairly good -- although the higher pitch voice of the American hero took some time to get used to, almost effiminate, which was a little disconcerting.
I feel this book was almost on the verge of 4 stars, but sadly never quite lived up to potential. I will give this 4 stars, but with the reader-beware that it is at best a 3.5 (but one cannot issue half stars). That said, that puts it above a number of titles I have listened to recently!
For readers of Ms Alexander's books, there is a charming little epilogue that took me awhile to understand as I am not familiar with her titles -- it is a imaginary tea party with the author and her past characters. A cute little thought-scape.
I almost gave up on this book, but since I actually paid for it (ie not a credit) I felt bound to finish.
It wasn't that the story was terrible, it was just pat and predictable. It seemed to take forever for the story get going, so long I almost didn't care what happened to the characters, I just wanted the book to end. The writing seemed lazy with repeating phrases and vocabulary. There were a couple amusing scenes, but I had to listen to a lot of drivle to get to them. As for the rake and his reformer, the romance between them was rather aseptic. The potential for passion was there, but it all seemed to fizzle with the exception of a token couple of romance scenes.
Ms Chalfant does add to the reading, by characterizing her voices, but at times her accent was grating. Most listeners will probably not be bothered, but if you are very familiar with British accents you may occasionally cringe. Not to take away from her talent, but I have to wonder, is it really that hard to get actual British born narrators to read British based historical romances?
I give this 2.5 stars, and an additional half-star for Ms Chalfant's attempt to make the characters sound interesting. It did deliver a standard Regency romance. If that is enough to make you happy, then buy away!
But if you like a little substance to your plot, then steer clear of this one, there are more engaging historical romances out there.
This isn't great literature, but it is a nice, fun, even occasionally laugh-out-loud, romantic read. A little predictable, particularly if you have read SEP before (in particular to 'This Heart of Mine', which I do NOT recommend reading too close to this one). But that said, the book delivers what one expects: guy and girl at odds (humorous situations occur), guy and girl work through personal baggage, guy and girl get together. Happy Ending. Some laughs, some quirky secondary characters, and you have an SEP novel.
This is part of her series of books with heros from a football team. These guys are buff and hard on the outside, but soft and sweet on the inside. Kind of cute. For the record, I don't like or watch football -- no matter, thankfully an appreciation or understanding of football is NOT required to enjoy this contempory romance. And thankfully, no dumb jocks.
Our herione is a committment phobe, who is perhaps a little more loose-screwy than I usually like to see in a leading lady -- but she is an artist, so I will mark it up to 'artistic temperment'.
I decided to buy this book after listening to the free snippet. It is a pretty fair taste of both the narrator, and the entire style of the novel. Give the sample a listen, if you think the snippet is funny and engaging, you will likely enjoy the book.
This is another installment in the Bridgerton family series.
You do NOT have to read the preceding books to enjoy this book. It stands alone.
This is probably one of the weakest of Ms Quinn's books, who I have come to count on for witty repartee (Audible, please publish her earlier books). There are some moments worthy of a laugh or two, but not to the usual level. I actually bought this in paper quite a while back, and even a mediocre Quinn book shapes into a decent historical romance. But obviously it was not that memorable, since I bought it again on Audible as I couldn't remember reading it.
That said, it makes a better book to *listen* to than to *read* -- a real credit to the narrator. I was a little concerned to start - he is a older male voice - but he read the characters skillfully, and really gave "flavour" to the book -- an excellent reader (although the whole sex scene seemed, well -- I had to turn down the volume on my MP3 player as I expected shocked stares from others on the bus ;-)
Our heroine is intelligent and strong (although the way she is described, she borderlines being a shrew) from a loving and large family. Our hero is a reforming rake, with a seriously dysfunctional relationship with his nasty father. Hero and Heroine are thrown together while attempting to solve a mystery (the mystery was not that engaging, but that is fine, I didn't buy this for the mystery). There is the holding back of secrets, that impedes the relationship between our hero and heroine, it is eventually (of course) cleared up. The story was stronger at the start, a little rushed at the end, their relationship happened a little too fast, but overall it was a fine romance.
This book is not Julia Quinn's best, but still a solid, albeit a little predictable, historical romance. It gets 3 stars (3.5 stars for the parts that make me laugh/smile). The narrator pushes it to 4 stars (I am going to look for more from Mr Prebble!) Recommended.
A woman on the streets of an Arabian market is accosted and abducted by a man running away from police. While being held against her will, her first thoughts aren't self-presevation, but rather that her abductor "possessed a dangerous facination that was seducing her". Keep in mind, this is about 5 minutes into our story -- too soon for a romantic relationship. Heck, too soon for Stockholm Syndrome. Apparently she unable to decide if her body is trembling in fear, or rather because "she was sharply aware of the male hardness of his muscular thigh". She seems to be finding this abduction a real turn-on. Creepy. Then, he kisses her into silence so her little scared sounds aren't heard by the police, and she is overcome by an "surge of primative female reaction". This disgusts her, but she decides all the same to get her tongue involved. Virginal hussy.
This pretty much sums up the first 12 minutes of the story. Our heroine seems to be on sexual-repression overdrive, whose actions in real life would have got her raped or killed, but luckly this is Harlequin fiction, so it leads to a passive-agressive romance, true love and sexual gratification. If you like subservient female posturing with male controller then this could be your cup of tea. If you accept that our heroine must be proof of Creationism, as there is no way she could have made it to twenty if Natural Selection were at play, then this story gets better about 2.5 hours in -- well, at least the sex gets better.
This book was unintentionally funny at times, and sensual at both expected and truely bizarre points. The narrator was fine most of the time, but terrible when trying to speak with an accent (apparently that was a British accent our heroine has -- I am letting you know now, as it comes across as Kiwi-meets-drunk Southern Belle). This gets two stars for being something to listen to while I did my taxes. (For the record, the taxes were about as enjoyable)
Abridged novels are annoying -- they are missing plot (by default), and situations evolve a little too quickly for my taste. But I think this is only part of the problem here.
BAD things: this is definitely one of a series book (of which I have read none, which probably tempers my review). Significant time is spent discussing people and backstory with which I was not familiar, at one time a scene juggled 20 or so characters, the vast majority of whom had nothing to do with this particular story, but came with a litany of recap-history. Smacked of soap-opera. There were entire subplots started with characters which went nowhere in this book, perhaps interesting to those who are following this series, confusing and a little annoying for myself. As well, our hero (who has the smoldering good-looks and tortured thing going, which I do like), turns out to be quite the wimp. This guy is supposed to be 100s of years old and fighting the forces of darkness regularly, but he manages to get himself into almost-lethal situations three times in this book. If these dark-hunters were really that inept, I would expect them to all be dead by now!
GOOD things: some funny dialogue/situations (our heroine is allergic, literally, to her beau). I rather liked our lead lady, but she evolved from reporter to warrior woman a little too conveniently. In fact, she seems more kick-ass than our hero. The narrator does a fairly good job (particularly considering the number of characters she has to manage).
Overall: 2.5/5. The romance evolved too quickly for this to be considered a romance novel, and the fantasy was too episodic for it to be a stand-alone fantasy novel. A weak recommendation if you need something fast and light to fill four hours, but be prepared to feel slightly ripped-off story-wise once it is done. If you are a Kenyon fan-girl/boy, then this book probably rates higher.
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