I can hardly express how much I loved this telling. Every aspect moved me, emotionally, mentally, and sexually. I couldn't wait to hear how the story unfolded. It was the perfect mix of romance, sex, and drama. Others should take note of how it's done. Erotica doesn't mean that all of your mental and emotional synapses and wants have to be ignored or set aside for a romp in the hay. Hart shows how to mix everything that makes romance and great, raw sex so yummy with characters who are real and have depth.
This time-traveling romance started out great, that is before it became a time-traveling story. I generally don’t like time-traveling romances, so maybe I should’ve stuck with that usual choice to avoid these types of books. But I was drawn in by the listening excerpt b/c the book is narrated very well. And, if you like time-traveling romances, maybe you will like this book more than I did. In it, Celine travels from 1993 to 1300 and meets Gaston.
My biggest complaint is that much of the movement of the book was based on the heroine being “needy” and requiring the hero to come to her rescue. And I don’t mean in physical need, like she needed to fight someone, but emotionally needy. And I can’t stand a whiny, overly-vulnerable and weak female. Everyone has weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but she was too much. And, once it became a time-traveling story, almost all of the movement of the story depended on her neediness. The only thing that kept me listening was there being a hint of strength in her that showed up in small bits at rare times. It primarily came in the form of her complaining about being unused to a man telling a woman what to do, rather, a husband telling a wife what to do and expecting her to obey. So it was barely enough to make up for her constant neediness.
Another complaint is that the author didn’t show how love between Celine and Gaston developed. The trajectory amounted to them accidentally meeting, having an immediate attraction, time passing where, in much of it, they avoid each other, lust growing and becoming more and more apparent, and then, magically, there was love. But you never see the love develop; its presence is a bit of a surprise. Still, w/in their relationship, the story included some very nice romanticism; for some it might be a bit too much, but I didn’t find it mushy. And some of the phrasing is very common to romantic tales, but, thankfully, there weren’t too many of them b/c the sex scenes weren’t over done in this story nor was the romantic dialogue. But the last sex scene—of the two in the story—was very, very drawn out, unnecessarily, but I maintain my statement about no mushiness. Though, some of what is said between the h and H in that scene could rightly be considered over-the-top and certainly eye-rolling worthy to some listeners. Some might even say dumb. The story was also sensual. This is, essentially, another tale about a man changed, softened, surprisingly, by the love of and for a woman. And I think some might consider this a bodice ripper, though sex is not overdone in this story with only 2 sex scenes very spread out in the story and not started at the beginning of this tale. However, it is highly romantic and sensual. So there is kissing and very intimate touching throughout, but the first sex scene doesn’t occur until the story has been going on for about 8 hours. And the second sex scene is about 2 hours before the 15-hour+ story ends.
A third complaint is that Celine too easily conformed to the 14th century from living in the 20th century. She tried to recreate some tools from the 20th century, especially ones used in the kitchen, but she never spoke of having a problem with the hugely different way of living, beyond wanting a daily bath. And she had very little struggle leaving her family back in 20th century America.
And my final complaint is about the use of a word and it’s synonym in a way that far, far, far too many authors fail to recognize and change. And it is high-time that they did. I love the rare times I listen to a story where this error is not made. But, alas, it’s all too rare. The error I’m speaking of is the use of “dark,” “black,” and synonyms of the two words, to primarily or only portray negative and bad aspects of life and persons. You don’t have to be a social activist or linguistic historian to recognize the negative history and, some would argue, present problems surrounding the idea that black, dark = bad. You only have to care. And far too many simply don’t. The English language is full of other words writers can use to talk about negative and bad things. They only have to be insightful enough and care enough to identify and use them. In this story, the author wrote that Gaston was called “Blackheart” b/c of his brutality and that he had a “black soul” as a result. And she also talked about the “black depths of hell.”
On the positive side, I like how the author acknowledged and addressed how Celine’s actions in the past might impact the history of the past that has already occurred and been recorded. And the author did a good job of creating angst and posing two important problems without answers that were too obvious but that were also not surprising and made sense. I correctly guessed an answer to one of the problems but not the other, so the story was not predictable regarding the important questions. You knew it would be a HEA, but you didn’t always know how.
This is another author’s view that, since “sex sells,” writing talent is secondary and sex talk is sufficient for being a successfully writer. And my falling for all of the positive reviews of this story and then purchasing this tale supports that idea, unfortunately. But, unlike the positive reviewers, I strongly regret my purchase of this book. My expectations were not met in this novel. Within 30 minutes of listening, I began to questions this purchase and the great reviews I read. And, by the end of the story, my concerns were thoroughly and horribly justified.
Within that brief time, there was a phone sex episode between Taryn, the h, and Errol, the H and her fiancé, that hit all of the right buttons, for what is suppose to be said and done to produce sexual heat, and none of the actual heat. It was actually bland. In it, the author seemed to be working too hard to make it “hot” without any knowledge and understanding that using the “right” words and going through the “right” actions are not sufficient to actually create sexual heat. It was a very inept attempt. By 1hr 20min into the story, there had been 3 sex scenes, not full intercourse, but still too much. Though it happened between a committed couple, it was still a bit gratuitous, and much more attention was given to the sex scenes than developing the rest of the story. And the sex scenes were not done well. The least you can do—if sex scenes are going to be the crux of a story—is make them great. And it continued with that, with 4 sex scenes w/in an hour-and-a-half of the start of the story.
The story was based on Taryn’s insecurities about Errol’s infidelity. Taryn initially handled her doubles about his infidelity by playing immature games and not facing the problem head-on, making assumptions and being too afraid to confront the issue and get answers from Errol. Then, after he Errol chased her, she faced it. Taryn handled her doubts about Errol’s fidelity like a 7th grader, including what she said when she DID finally confront Errol. Once again, it seemed like there was only one adult in that dialogue, and it wasn’t Taryn. Having a man chase a stupid, childish, insecure woman when the main hasn’t done anything wrong does not make for a good story IMO. Too much of the story was watching Taryn go through a “woe is me,” “I’m just not strong enough,” “I’m not the one for you,” yada, yada, yada, please chase me and chase me again storyline. I’m cringing just writing it down b/c I’m reminded of this crap and how horrible it was experiencing it. And, of course, Taryn was portrayed as a trauma victim who has flashbacks where she whines and Errol has to come to her rescue; yes, another needy, child-like woman.
The characters in the story were one-dimensional, over-simplistic cut-outs. And their dialogue matched. The dialogue was utterly juvenile even though it’s a very adult story, with adult scenes. But the characters were extremely immature and, again, simplistic. It didn’t help that the narrator also portrayed Taryn with a little-girl’s voice. It was very disconcerting when Taryn was dialoguing with Errol b/c it sounded like a 12-yr-old girl talking about very adult things with a 50-yr-old man.
The narrator often sounded like she was reading a fairy-tale for children, with over-the-top portrayals, 1 of a little girl, the adult Taryn in this story, and the varying Frenchmen, with clichéd accents and experiences. The narrator’s French accent for Sean Pierre, who works with Errol in France, was deplorable. It was described as a “strong” French accent, but the narrator sounded like a person trying to sound French, not a French person. It sounded like a caricature from Sesame Street or something. And, actually, the narrator did a poor job with Errol’s French accent too. That accent is not her forte’. The narrator made Errol’s voice worse by making a kind of breathing sound at the end of sentences that was an attempt to make him sound sexy. It’s hard for me to explain in words, the kind of breathy hold to an ending word, but you’ve heard people do it before. And the outcome of this breath punctuation makes the person sound creepy instead of sexy. Also there were times that it sounded like the narrator moved her voice away from the recording tool, the mike, or whatever. So it was weird and detracted from the listen. I assume she was trying to make it sound like it came from a distance or something, though I’m not sure b/c it didn’t always occur when a distancing voice would’ve fit the scene. So I don’t know. Altogether, the whole listening experience, the story and the narrator, made for a disappointing experience. This was my first book from this author, and it will most certainly be my last. All I wanted was for it to end. The only good thing I can say about it is that it’s relatively short.
The synopsis of this story is that a man and woman who were bullied, "ugly ducklings" and semi-acquaintances in high school become adult “swans”. Revenge through romance becomes the goal of one of them. The problem is the way the author chose to enact that goal. She created a story whereby a great love between the h and H, Jayne and Malcolm, is formed and conducted solely, solely through great sex. Their relationship was based on nothing else, had no, none, zero substance. Now, generally, I love great sex in a story, but I like it joined to an actual story, a plot, and a fully-developed relationship. Couples do partake of more than sex, generally, when building and sustaining a relationship. In the author's defense, the did try to include a brief phone conversation between the h and H and then martial arts training together. But it was too little. The execution of this story failed, but there were sparks in it that indicated that the story could've been better. The story idea wasn't the problem; the execution was. Then, to make the story worse, near the end, the author used the over-utilized story trope of a negative incident, a painful occurrence to manufacture the couple's closeness quicker and tried to manufacture some depth in the last 20 minutes of the story with wrenching-producing sappiness. As a part of that, in the final moment, Malcolm, at a 10-year high school reunion (to give you an idea of their age), actually said, "I want you to be my girlfriend." Are they 12? So add sappiness and immaturity to a lack of imagine, of anything new, to the problem of the story being over-simplified and boring. I began avoiding the constant barrage of the over-done, unromantic, sex scenes. A full story, one more than 30 minutes or, maybe up to 1 hour, shouldn’t be written as a 30-minute erotica story. When I want that kind of story, I pay less than $5 and get it along with the appropriate expectation about what it is. On the otherhand, when I pay almost $18/use a credit, my expectations differ, of course. But this was a 5+hour story that was more like a $2.75 erotica tale; though, I have to say, some of those stories I enjoyed more than I did this one, and my expectations are, at least, set appropriately from the start. This time I feel duped. I’m so disappointed that I, once again, fell for the great reviews. I started forwarding through the story and was happy when the story was over and grateful it wasn’t longer.
This story was a knock off of J.R. Ward’s black dagger brotherhood books and, to a lesser degree, the formula for Gena Showalter’s lords of the underworld books. Before I get to the copying, there were some other aspects of the book I didn’t like. The author wrote poorly with things like saying a person was “weary tired.” Isn’t that redundant? The description of the other planet was overdone with saying Noah, the H, while on his home planet, SR44, had a mansion, a yacht, an island, and 3-day parties. And it was problematic to me that they showed no compassion for criminals on SR44 and no belief in rehabilitation of people who commit crimes. Those people were called “colonists”. They were ejected from SR44 society forever. 12 of the colonists take on human form and escape to Earth, and therein lies the crux of this story and the problem of this tale. Noah and 5 other pals (Talon, Cowon, Rayner, Jovan, Hudson), all soldiers on SR44, called the “6 saviors”, also take on human form and follow the colonists to earth to capture them and their descendants. These colonists are the worst of the worst. The author states that criminals Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Sadam Hussein were all colonists from SR44 and that the 6 saviors had a hand in ending their reign of terror. I disliked that aspect of the story the most. It didn’t hold together well, the attempt to use these facts in this fictional story. Another problem was that Noah is supposed to be 200+ years old but is also supposed to have been on earth that long too. So the math doesn’t work considering he was an adult, appearing as a 30-yr-old human, when he came to earth. SR44 people live for about 2000 years on average. Another problem was the author’s attempt to use “urban” lingo, like saying that the missile cilo, where the 6 saviors lived, was “pimped out” and having one of the saviors say “back off my grill,” which was used so wrongly. The author also overused the terms ”dainty,” “big,” and “huge.” Big and huge was used when talking about the 6 saviors’ bodies, of course. And, of course, Abby had to be dainty. The natural form of SR44 people was varying hues of a smoke-like substance. So it was quite upsetting when the author said that the colonists, the criminals turned black. The reason for this was either b/c of the lack of sunlight on the island they were exiled to or b/c of “evil in their rotting souls.” The author’s resonance with a horrible racial stereotype was either ignorant, at best, or mean-spirited, at worst.
These are the ways in which this story is a cheap knock-off of J.R. Ward’s black dagger brotherhood and some of Gena Showalter’s lords of the underworld series: the 6 saviors living together in a fortress (a cilo), the importance of music (rock and not hip-hop in this story), cool or unusual names of the guys (Talon, Cowon, Rayner, Jovan, Hudson, Noah), they are rich, the constant presence and use of strong alcohol, muscled-bodies guys, the long lives of the soldiers, having one male group member who works the stock market, one member who likes expensive clothes, and a “resident tech head,” the soldiers’ overuse of profanity as a sign of strength and coolness, their strange eyes or other body part, the author’s attempt at the males being funny, the soldiers driving a black escalade (though Noah drove another car too), the female love interests having a cat and, as the first in the series, also being an unhappy, economically poor, parentless female journalist, using the term “female” for women, and making non-verbs verbs (i.e. “a whole lotta no winning”. Yep. Copying. A cheap knock-off.
There were very few things that I liked about this story. Of those things, I liked that Abby was portrayed as more than just a pretty face. Often Noah said that he liked her because she was generous and kind along with her looks. I liked that it was not a sex-filled story, though I absolutely have no problem with those when appropriate. There was 1 oral sex scene, with it performed on Abby, near the earlier part of the story. Then there was 1 act of intercourse between Abby and Noah near the end of the story. There were about 2 others that were just alluded to later in the story too. The sex scenes were brief, and there was no explicit sexual talk. There was a good balance of romance and mild suspense as the saviors chased the colonists.
The narrator was okay, though his depiction of Talon’s voice was too high. And the ending was a bit over-dramatized and manufactured.
The story was a good premise, and I enjoyed the theatrics. The part of the story about reincarnation was good. But there were some aspects of the way the story was told, that irritated me. First, the author used repetitive phrasing, like “My dad always told me….” And there were too many close calls, too many times we got right up to the time of death, with all of the anxiety and lead-ins, only to have it, AGAIN, pass by, for the H and others to be saved. And the story was a bit predictable, though not to the point of certainty. Still, I liked that the story was not long-winded. It was compact, and every aspect played a critical role w/o being overdone or overplayed or just adding unnecessary material. And I really liked the ending. Just when you think you’ve got it all wrapped up, then…. Things are not wrapped up neatly, which I liked. The main questions are answered, but you’re left guessing a little bit about what the future holds. Good ending, though I’m still unsure if I understood it.
I loved all of the voices and dramatization. I especially liked having more of a child's voice during the children's parts.
This love story about Garrett and Mia was a good one. The romance was good, and it had me rooting for them. There were sad parts to their story but nothing that made me cry, and there was a hard-fought-for happy-ending. It was good that everything didn’t come easy to them. It made it all seem more real. The story flowed well and made sense. I really enjoyed having two narrators. And some of the side characters were great additions. Mia and Garrett came together in a supportive community. That was the easy part of the story. The angst and struggle was almost entirely between Mia and Garrett only.
The one aspect I didn’t like was that Mia’s financial ability to buy a house was not explained. And listeners are told she had a “substantial” down payment for an expensive fixer-upper in Virginia, I think. And that she refused to use money from her parents. She bought the house at 26-years of age with money she saved while working as an accountant in Atlanta since graduating college. So the money for the house purchase is barely explained. And that lack of detail and explanation was problematic for me.
Other than that point, I enjoyed the story and didn’t identify any other lapses of continuity. Still, the story was just okay for me. Though I enjoyed some of Mia and Garrett’s joking banter, found their warmth and sexual desire and expression for each other endearing and great to watch, it all remained at the okay level for me. I think it’s because their story always felt like it was about very young people. Most of the story occurs 8 years after they graduate high school. So, presumably, they are about 26 years old. Nonetheless, it often felt like, sounded like, a story about 19 or 20 year olds. The story swings between the present and the past which may have contributed to the story feeling like it was about very young adults. And you have to really be listening to know when the story swings back to the past. I would’ve liked some indication or warning when this was occurring b/c it was confusing to me the first few times. But I finally adjusted, somewhat, and other times, I had to rewind to be sure.
I’m 44 years old. And I prefer stories about more mature—either in age or action or both—characters. So this story might appeal more to a much younger listener.
This was an ok suspense tale. But the romance part took a backseat to the suspense and was not as developed or attended to. But, when it was the focus, the romance part was okay too. The sex scenes, of which there were about 2-3 detailed acts, were done well. They were sexy and somewhat romantic but not what I would call explicit or erotic. But there was enough detail to be steamy. However, if that’s not your thing, they are so rare that you can forward through them.
Overall, the book was just mediocre. It was nothing I couldn’t stop listening to. Simultaneously, it was also not a story that I couldn’t bear listening to or had to fast-forward through parts. So that’s a good thing.
The characters were likeable. Clarissa, the h, was smart and strong, even more than Erik, the H, at times and admittedly. I generally don’t like stories based on the character getting amnesia, but it wasn’t the primary trope used in this story and was temporary. So it worked out okay. As a result of Clarissa’s amnesia, the story swings between past and present, but it’s not done constantly and not for lengthy portions.
The suspense part included shootings, but there was no gore or detail in the violence. And the main characters didn’t seem to revel in their violence. So much of the story skimmed the top of life, making it an ok story that was not light fare but nowhere near being deep or having any real depth at any point, either. But that was not the attempt. Therefore, I think the author achieved what she sought in this story.
The end comes together a bit too prettily after several struggles to survive and have a desirable end together, but it was also plausible. And the struggles all made sense and took the story beyond the basic light tale where everything seems to be great and happens so easily for the characters. Some outcomes depended on good luck and happenstance but not so much that I viewed the story as implausible. So, again, overall, it was okay. But I prefer a bit more romance than suspense in these types of stories.
This story didn’t work for me, and the narrator didn’t help. Though I’m unsure which was the biggest problem for me, but I think it was the story. Still, I must add that the narrator’s tone and cadence didn’t work well for this story. But I grimaced much more often at the story, at what was said and not how it was said.
The military suspense part of the story was ok. But the romance aspect, which comprised most of the story, was bad. The phrasing was the biggest problem, which means the writing was the big problem. Like saying that a kiss “opened more than her lips; it opened her soul.” And, after looking at his eyes, “she knew she could heal him.” This was after Christy knew Kyle for less than a day. And Christy actually said, “Take me; I’m yours,” twice. REALLY?! And there were many, many more examples. I got so irritated I stopped listening. I could only finish the book in tiny bites at a time. Then I finally gave up and fast forwarded to the last chapter of the book. I made it through 7 agonizing hours of this story. I actually frowned while listening to their first sex act, and I NEVER have a problem with sex in the stories I listen to. I actually think that was the first time that happened to me. The romantic relationship seemed entirely based on loneliness. And Kristy—who I refuse to refer to as the h, or heroine—cried 2x on her first date and during the subsequent sex act with Kyle, the H. The tears were juvenile and inappropriate and very poorly timed. The first tears weren’t explained and happened during sex. And the second cry seemed to be pity-me tears. She was a whoosy, needy female character, which I hate. She cried several times during the story, almost always in front of Kyle, and all of the times were like the tears of a spoiled child with a scary sense of undeserved entitlement. Kristy spoke of loving Kyle after 3 days and not as though she was contemplating being able to love him. No. She said she did love him. Plus, she actually went looking for him when he didn’t contact her after their 2nd sex act, I think. It might have been after the first time. She pursued him and acting in ways that are reminiscent of a person who is mentally unstable relationally. There’s so much more I can say about how very bad and unhealthy Kristy acted and how, therefore, poorly contrived the romantic relationship with Kyle was and was portrayed. The only positive thing I can say, in relation to their relationship was that the sex scenes were pretty good. The exception to that statement is that there were many times when the description of the sex act, their positioning, was quite confusing. So, try this book at your own risk. No more of this author for me. Geesh!
This story of paranormal detective Victor, is about equally focused on a crime and on romance. Though there’s no mushy stuff with it between the male romantic characters, not really. It was an okay crime mystery, but I had some problems with some of the political points of view that were hidden in several comments. For one, Victor referenced his sexual orientation as a “lifestyle” in comparison to a hetereo person as though being gay is just a choice of how to live instead of an inborn preference. Victor’s wisecracks—presumably the author’s attempt at light humor or some levity—didn’t quite work for me either. And he told a ghost to “talk to the hand” with no acknowledgement of this being a very outdated statement.
Victor is somewhat likeable except for his failing witticisms. He’s not a player, not super hot, just a dedicated paranormal cop w/o friends and family who’s hoping to get laid while keeping his sexual orientation a secret at work. And he lands it with non-paranormal cop Marks (Jacob Marks) who is the opposite of Victor and is also very dominant. Marks treats Victor fine but doesn’t seem to be a nice guy, a caring guy, but, instead, is a power-hungry guy, one who gets off on having power as an authority figure. They work on paranormal detective teams.
The story is listed in erotica but is not full of sex, though the sex scenes are somewhat explicit, especially the last two. There are three sex scenes, and none of them include actual intercourse. The sex scenes are written very well; they are not the same-o-same-o. The author paints a vivid pic of what’s going on, which is great. Similarly, the author has a knack for writing common concepts in new ways. Like it was very interesting that the perpetrator—which is a relatively common type of paranormal creature that I can’t name w/o spoiling things—was described in action in this wonderfully bizarre and strange way, which was cool. It's not clear what it is initially. And Victor saw ghosts who were newborn as well as adults, which was a twist on the “I see dead people” thing.
This lightly, barely erotic book is not a romance, and it is nowhere near a finished story. The main characters are married couple Ewan and Lilliane and Ewan’s medical doctor friend, Phillip. Side characters include a French Canadian maid and friend of Lilliane and Ewan’s butler James. And almost all of the action occurs at Ewan’s Draper Estates.
The story seems to be a lite and partial take on the movie “Hysteria” that tells of Mortimer Granville creating the first vibrator. It’s a story about dealing with Lilliane’s “affliction” with the help of Phillip in order to avoid institutionalizing her. The only potentially problematic aspect of the story is the question of whether or not Lilliane’s “treatment” causes her emotional and/or mental distress that’s really harmful. In the end, that’s in the eye of the beholder and might bother some listeners.
The story ends very abruptly and without any sense of closure. But it is a good story that is told well. It’s not a rehash of the old, which is great. It flows well, makes sense, is plausible on the extreme side of life, and the narrator does a fine job with it.
Don’t look to this story for pristine adherence to Victorian language. But, from my little knowledge, the story seems to do a very good job of adhering to the social and marital views of that time as it pertains to females and marriage, especially. I hope part 2 of this story will come to Audible.
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