I've listened to all of this author's books in audible. But this new series doesn't have the same rawness in sexuality and depth that her Hell's 8 series does. I've listend to the 1st 3 books of this new series hoping it was just me and things would get better. But no. So I don't think I'll be buying the 4th one. I hope, at some point, that Sarah McCarty returns to her same formula she used in the Hell's 8 series. But it's just a matter of taste, I think. If you want less of an erotic feel and much more tamer reading, then this new series is probably for you.
Regarding the narrator, I prefer those from the Hell's 8 series 2. But she certainly does fine with what she's working with. And does nothing to add or detract from the overall effect of this new series.
First, let me get out what I disliked in this story. Nothing. Now, to what made it great. I very, very, very rarely give any books 5 stars. And this one is more like 4.5 to me, but it was hard for me to put a 4 b/c it was better than that to me. Unlike other stars that have earned a 5 from me, this story won't continue to resonate with me b/c it provided me with some new insight or ideas to continue to ponder. This also explains why it's more like a 4.5. But, it's beyond a 4 b/c I eagerly awaited my return to The Darkland when I wasn't listening to it. It really drew me in and made me care about its characters. Admittedly, the narrator played a large and wonderful part in creating this type of positive experience for me. Any narrator who can play two female twins who talk in tandem, with one finishing the thought of the other, and do this in a way where I can tell the slight difference in the twins' voices, all-the-while stating info as though it's one sentence from one person, is AMAZING! Also, this book put a smile on my face so often. And the story was smart. It flowed and made sense. There were no contrivances to make things pan out a certain way or disregarded key aspects that result in gaps in the plot or logic of the story. Also, the characters were flawed, which I love. Most of all, I love that the h, Mara (though her sister, Micheline, was a main character too, with a significant part of her story told too) was not the timid virgin and that the H, Kirk, didn't require or desire her to be. She was still a virgin but not the needy kind. At the same time, she was a strong heroine but with faults. She was beautiful but not perfect. And the love story, the coming together of Kirk and Mara, made sense and came together beautifully but not without struggle. And I think there were only two romantic, non-explicit but somewhat detailed sexual encounters between Kirk and Mara. Additionally, sex between Edmund and his step or half-sister Joanne was alluded to a few times. Lastly, though there were happy-ever-afters, sadly it wasn't the case for all of the side characters, which added depth and realism to the story. I will look for other books from this author. I encourage you to do so as well.
This is an okay, short, implausible tale, though the setup of the story is quite plausible. What occurs and, especially, the Barbie-like vision of the h, is where implausibility comes in. She was described as the quintessential librarian male-fantasy come to life, down to the glasses, pencil skirt, button-down blouse, and hair pinned up with two pencils. Of course, as the “most stunning” woman the H had ever seen, she had streaked “golden hair,” that the H admits might come from a salon. The tall h also has “long, dark lashes swept over ivory cheeks,” “softly curved hips,” “delicate feet,” “muscular” and “curved” calves, “lush” lips, and a “firm but rounded ass.” Is that over-the-top or what? In turn, we get almost no description of the H except that he has quite a “package” in his pants, nice shoulders and is sexy. Still, the characters seemed likeable. It’s not that I don’t believe in love or lust at first site; I do. But the way that the sexual encounter, without a condom, goes down is a bit farfetched for me. The writing flowed well, and the narrator did an okay job with the story. Though, for my own taste, at times, she sings her words when portraying a female character, which is one of my pet-peeves.
The opening was intriguing with a splash of humor to enliven things. Overall, this is yet another story about beings who require sex to stave off “madness”; they are the bred. It’s the bred vs the born, with the born running things. Eventually, there are also cyborgs. They all live in a world created “after the world stopped spinning.”
The narrator takes a bit of getting use to. She is so mild that it can sound like she’s unemotional. But she isn’t—exactly. Her mild tone sorta adds a hint of romance and sincerity and reduces the rawness of explicit terms (i.e. pu**y) in a good way.
Sex, as full intercourse, was rare, so the story had a plot and purpose. In fact, it dealt with some meaningful issues like freedom, oppression, and selfhood. The story included about 2 acts of female masturbation, 1, barely detailed, male act of masturbation, one act of oral sex male-on-female, and several times sex was talked about as a past act and sexual desire spoken of. And intercourse occurred near the end, when there were about 45 minutes left. I liked everything except the end where it turned into this Aesop’s fable sort of thing with an afterlife agent telling the h about a lesson she needs to learn. And the epilogue opens the door for a sequel, though this book, thankfully, has a closed ending.
As a frequent listener of romance and erotica, I don’t buy these types of books often. And my taste might make it harder to interest me. But this book did it with no problem.
Like Patterson’s Zoo, this story left me looking over my shoulder. I think this crap could actually happen based on the way this author formed this story. It’s almost too plausible, which was both great and frightening. The start of this book got me interested very early on, though I was irritated with the date and time-stamp chapter introductions. Eventually, that info sort of faded into the background for me and, a few times, it helped me to get a clear idea of how long people had been engaged in something. So I begin to appreciate it a little, though not always. I liked that this very smart book also had sly humor and had no unnecessary wordiness or details. And, as a smart book, the unveiling of the guilty folk confounded me, and I loved it. The author’s ability to seamlessly move from hint after hint to the slow reveals was beautiful. I enjoyed feeling like a dufus It doesn’t happen often enough in the book I listen to/read. I also loved how the humanity—both the good and the bad sides—were honestly shown and made relevant to the acts of the characters. It had great plausibility and depth to this story. It was crazy amazing to see the adaptation of the characters/beings in the story. It helped me to remember this was fiction b/c it was frighteningly plausible at times.
Near the end of the story, there was a bit too much love-drama between the wealthy, American mastermind of the zombie conspiracy and his Middle Eastern, married, female co-conspirator, but it was a rare negative in this book. Near the end, it was also a bit irritating how Joe managed to survive an especially difficult attack of several zombies against one person, him. But, the story detailed his great skills early in the story; in fact, that’s why he was chosen. So it was plausible, even if I was left thinking “Really?!”Also, some listeners might be irritated by the interjection of tactile acts or skills, explanations of why a certain move worked or won’t work. But it didn’t detract from the story for me. I don’t know whether that info is right or not, so it just seemed to prove the author’s knowledge about fighting or killing skills. This story continues.
And as great as this story is, the narrator is just as great. It’s a perfect combo.
This love story on the moon (though Ava is from earth) between a 20-year-old woman and her dad’s 32-year-old half-brother will be uncomfortable for some due to the distant biological connection between the H (Nicolas) and the h (Ava). It wasn’t for me. This story occurs in the 22nd century. The two didn’t grow up together or really even know each other prior the meeting that resulted in their love affair. This type of relationship didn’t seem strange in their culture. Some of Ava’s statement showed her youth, which was annoying at times, while also realistic, so…. I really enjoyed how the author addressed issues of classicism between the “elite” and the “commoners”. It didn’t come across as though the author had an “agenda.”
Once Ava and Nick got physical it just seemed to be like any other relationship. Their biological connection was forgotten. Ava was the one to initiate it at first. And, initially, Nick fought his attraction and acting on it. But, once revealed, the first reason given for him fighting the attraction was dumb. But that was soon fixed by them talking about the realities of them being together. That very realistic moment made up for some of the more dull or dumb parts of this story.
The sex scenes were too quick and a bit boring. I don’t know if it was how the scenes were written or how the narrator depicted them, but, either way, they didn’t work for me. And I think it was a bad combination of both.
Then the story ends abruptly without any type of closing. More than once I checked to see if I had skipped over something. Even now I’m still wondering if there’s an error with the recording b/c I just can’t believe that ended as it did. If that ending is an attempt to get people to buy a sequel, I am unlikely to be among them. The beginning of the story was better than the middle and the end.
Overall, the author succeeded at making this somewhat “taboo” relationship quite plausible and only mildly problematic or “taboo” as the listener.
This is similar to all of the other romances about a man and woman who were together when they were younger, then apart, then, surprisingly, back together after years apart. In this case, Lisa and Cash were together for 3 years 8 years ago. Now they have accidentally met up again when Cash returns home. The way this transpired was okay. But having sex immediately upon seeing each other and doing so without a condom, after 8 years apart, was just plain stupid. The sex was barely, barely erotic. He used the word pu**y, and fluid was spoken of once or twice. But I don’t think that amounts to erotica IMO; but for some people it might be too much. Also, these scenes were all quite short. There were two conflicts in this short story, and both were fixed a bit too easily. Though, I’m happy that Lisa gave a bit of a fight, kinda. But there was no real struggle. Finally, the author gave inadequate attention to the small things that make a story plausible. Like, how did Cash get to his car from Lisa’s apartment when she drove? The story goes from him leaving her house to him driving home. What?! And there’s more of that. Similar to these oversights, the author wrote, “She cried through her tears.” Does that make sense? I don’t think so. So, overall, the story wasn’t bad or horrible, but it didn’t hold together enough for me nor ignite any real fire. And the narrator didn’t help. I hated the narrator’s voice for Lisa. His voice is too deep for female voices apparently. And he was overly dramatic at times, which was yuk.
This story is a contemporary, plausible story of a male-female, mixed-race couple (barely noted) in their early 30s, I believe. They are, for sure, not the youngsters so common to many of the romance and erotica books. It was a delight to read about professional, older adults. As such, these two people were both dealing with a physical handicap due to amputations and the emotional and mental aftermath of that, specifically as it relates to feeling and being sexually desirable. The story was good but not great. One bad part was that the narrator’s version of the H didn’t match his description. But she was great otherwise. Her sexy voice really added to the story-telling. The novella is quite sexual but not explicit in detail or language/terms, at least not to the point of erotica IMO. And I’ve listen to plenty romances that were more explicit than this one. But it was quite sexy with a warm romantic undertone. These two adults were not into playing games but were open to and looking for love, even if one of them didn’t really believe it possible. This is a good buy. It’s more like a 3.5 overall.
This was your basic story of a guy, Brant (the H), falling in love with his best friends’ younger sister, Darcy (the h). The story was predictable, didn’t quite flow, and didn’t always make sense or failed at being plausible. Early on, within an hour of the start of the story, we see that Brant’s actions towards Darcy makes absolutely no sense, which really made me want to call this listen quits. This significant inconsistency and action with no logic or ability to understand was not addressed by the author at all, so it was treated as though the author was unaware or didn’t think it mattered. In my opinion, both are huge failures for a writer. And they were certainly a detriment to me enjoying a story. The author failed to attend to important details. Too, I’m so tired of stories wherein the H threatens to spank the h for “being bad” and even more tired of the h responding with some sort of purr, be it externally or internally. Do women like that really exist? Whether they do or not, I would think there is more than one way to write about that threat and the ever-present warming response. If a new way of writing this exist, this author certainly didn’t use it. But that’s not a surprise, since so much of the story seemed to just be a rehashing of other good aspects of other stories, though done poorly here. For instance, for the repetitive and, eventually, boring sex scenes, it’s like the author’s goal was just to use all of the common sex phrases or sex statements found in more sex-focused books today (i.e. I need you now; Milk me with that sweet…; You’re so tight, etc.). Also, realism was dropped when the considerably older male, around 40 years old, was able to become erect again within seconds (this is not an exaggeration) of having an orgasm. The least the author could do is keep it real on some level even while writing fiction. And while keeping it real, could the author recognize the need and, generally, the desire to bathe after sex. In this story, Darcy got dressed and went on an investigation trip without bathing following sex with Brant. In fact, neither of them bathed. Darcy went from the bed to her clothes to the car to the historic Indian site and back to the hotel. Yuk and geez! And, like too many authors, Darcy was written as though she was simply a sex object. This story was written with Brant’s almost entire focus—with very, very few exceptions—interest and appreciation of Darcy being based on her body and her acting as though she agreed with that perspective. It grated on every female nerve I have. Darcy and Brant actually had sex in the middle of an investigation that was focused on saving girls who were running out of time all because Brant “needed” to. I wish he would’ve “needed” to do his job and “needed” to save those girls more. Can you say irresponsible and one-track mind?! Grow-up already. The two worst parts were that the explanation for the incident in Brant’s first marriage not meshing at all and being clearly a failed attempt at adding drama and explaining Brant’s consistent view that love doesn’t exist but that he needed Darcy’s love; it made no sense. And, worst of all, the author actually said someone was shot and that the “bullet bounced off his head.” Seriously?! Overall, this story didn’t flow, make sense, or hold together well. Since it was quite predictable, I started forwarding through the story and was happy when it was over.
After 3 bored and questioning hours into this story, I was finally convinced that this story was not really going anywhere, and I was, unfortunately and unbelievably, bored. And, after 15 hours and 54 minutes--the entire story--I realized that was the feeling that I was going to be left with.
I loved The Wolf Gift, and couldn’t wait for the sequel. It was so disappointing to realize that this was it. I continued to listen only b/c I had so enjoyed the preceding book in this series. Otherwise, I think I would’ve given up. It felt like Rice had no goal or direction in the story. And Reuben, the main male character, often sounded childish and whiny. I don’t know what the heck happened. All of the great words and sentences in this story came together to showcase little mini-dramas, some of which were dropped in a somewhat unfinished fashion never to be picked up again, leaving me wondering what happened. And these mini-dramas dripped with an over abundance of sentimentality all of which came across as great pronouncements instead of just a story, a story of people’s/werewolves’ lives. All of the sentimentality centered on the many paranormal folk living together now in great and absolute harmony, added to the boring-ness and came across as unbelievable and, most importantly, uninteresting.
Sadly, I won’t try another story in this series, if there are more. And I’m very, very unlikely to purchase any more books by Anne Rice. I’m afraid something is occurring in her writing that can’t be undone and will be part of all of her future writings. This book doesn’t seem even remotely connected and similar to The Wolf Gift beyond the same characters, and I just don’t get it. I could barely finish this book. And the only reason I did was b/c I thought and was seriously hoping that it would improve. It never did.
This historical erotic romance was great. This was my first from this author, but it, likely, won’t be my last. The story came to sensual life with the words of this author and the great narrator. There was a perfect balance between the two. There was a lot of sex, once they got started, which wasn’t long into the story. But the sex was not gratuitous. If it bothers you, you should know that the explicitness was in both the description of the sexual encounters, somewhat, and in using the terms f**k and pu**y (not puffy!) but nothing else. Again, it was more sensual than purely erotic. And, because of the romantic undertones, it came across with warmth and not sexual rawness alone. During one sexual encounter there was a small bit of control play. Another aspect of this story that I liked was that the mystery in Andrew’s life was revealed slowly and in the right way and time. It easily held my interest and spurred me to continue listening. In fact, I didn’t want to stop listening. Finally, I liked that this story is a telling of how a couple comes together and grows and how a woman, Lysandra, grows too, not a weak, whiny woman. And the story is just the right length, no extra or frivolous parts for length and not substance.
In historical novels, the historical accuracy doesn’t matter to me much, so I can’t really address that aspect beyond stating that nothing seemed glaringly out of time to me. Also, as was common then—as well as now, unfortunately—the story included class warfare and issues of power and sexism where the woman, albeit at the hand of another powerful man, wins. Still, I love it.
The only reason I don’t give this book a 5 is that it will not stay with me long past the end of this story. After all, it is a HEA romance that was obviously that from the beginning. It also didn’t provide some kind of new or interesting insight to me. So, on my scale, it didn’t make it to a 5. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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