No topic is safe, divorce, drug addiction, child abuse, to forgive or not to forgive... James manages to touch on all of these topics without leaving the listener feeling depressed. Piers Yelverton, The Earl of Merchant, is a gifted physician in the area of diagnosis and treatment with the added gift of making his bedside insults scathing. Linnet Thynne is the beautiful young woman who finds herself in the unfortunate position of needing a husband to avoid scandal. In between insults they seem to find a happy medium by agreeing they would never suit each other. In addition, the sub plot of Piers’ divorced parents is also captivating. As the listener you will find yourself switching sides throughout the novel as each character’s full story is revealed you will think them justified in their feelings. Set in a castle in Wales, a more realistic scene as compared to that of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the story moves along at a steady pace without all of the repetition usually found in historical romances and with enough twists and turns to leave you wanting to listen.
Imagine if you will a masked vigilante who roams the night to safe-guard the innocent from evil is blackmailed into marriage to a unwed woman from a good family, and even though this action on the part of the vigilante secures the reputation of the young woman, she suspects the masked man is the murderer of the father of her unborn child and has sworn to take vengeance in her own hands after she loses the love of her life and her unborn child. Unfortunately, she is unaware of one small fact…the same vigilante she has sworn to kill, is her husband whom she wants desperately to agree to consummate their hasty marriage after many years of living apart in hopes of having the baby she has craved for years. This is the premise of Lord of Darkness, with the magic of Elizabeth Hoyt sprinkled in for romantic measure. Godric St. James first appeared in the Maiden Lane series, Wicked Intentions, as a wizened, gray haired romantic, hopelessly in love with his deceased wife Clara. Although a mist of mystery surrounded the reliable character, I never thought he would warrent his own book. However, through this listen we see a change in Godric from a man determined to walk in the deathly shadow of his wife, to a man yearning to step back into the world of the living. Lady Margaret, “Megs” is just the woman to do it. Sister of the notorious Griffin Reading, Megs is a strong willed-young woman unafraid to pick-up a pistol or two to avenge her lost lover, even if that means going after the infamous Ghost of St. Giles. This was a wonderful listen with two complex characters thinking neither of them deserve or is good enough to simply ask for or take what they want from life in order to be happy. Godric shows a side of himself that listeners would not have expected from previous novels and even made me wonder, “Was he this type of husband with his beloved Clara?” My guess would be no. Only Megs could bring out that side of desire in a man who seems so much in control in every situation. The narration… well I can’t say it was the best, and it did take me a while to get use to since the last narrator did made the novel come to like so well, but the storyline was wonderful and I got past the narration once I got into the story. . Not to mention Hoyt gives the listener a tantalizing peek at the next installment of the series and for one I am saving a credit for the next one.
What a tangled family tree Elizabeth Hoyt has grown. While one branch yields the ripest most delicious fruit, the other branch yields, the most sour and rotten. The Leopard Prince is an enjoyable listen with enough of the twists and turns fans have come to expect from Elizabeth Hoyt. Harry Pye is a servant, and Lady Georgina Maitland is a lady. These two don’t stand a change unless…well, it’s definitely not what you would expect. Harry Pye is the strong silent type, while Lady Maitland is the curiously chatty lady of the manner. Lady Georgina is filled with eccentric ideals and she holds tightly to her independence, while Harry is haunted by his past and determined to stay in his place despite Lady Georgina insistence to lure him to her way of thinking and her bed. To add to the intensity, Harry Pye is enemy number one to the town’s people as the resent killing of sheep cattle increase and a possible murder to two causes an 18 year-old vendetta to reawaken old fires. With the emergence of a few illegitimate children, the trunk on the family tree hardens. Hoyt fans that are used to the wonderfully cryptic fairy tale told by the narrator will need to adapt to the tale being told by Lady Georgina herself. Although I missed the narrator’s version of the tale, I soon looked forward to Georgina’s quirky telling of the tale of the Leopard Prince which allows the listener to better connect with the personality of Lady Georgina and how she becomes so endearing to Harry. Well worth the credit. Happy Listening.
What happens when you combine the story of a bad tempered earl, who cares nothing for what others think about him, loves agriculture and doesn’t mind getting dirty, with a beautiful young widow whose philandering late husband caused her to distrust any man who claims any warm feelings towards her in any way? Well… throw in a meddling mother-in law, a pair of courtesans, the late husband’s mistress a few blackmailers and you have The Raven Prince. Anna Wren may seem docile on the outside but to the Earl of Swartingham she is the perfect secretary. Efficient, direct, and with a mouth he cannot stop dreaming about. The Earl may be a brut but Anna who has been without a man’s touch for seven years (and her husband has been deceased for six) longs to be with him and when the opportunity arrives she grabs on with both hands in order to embark on the ride of her life with the earl in tow, even if he doesn’t know it is her he is making love to. And let me tell you dear listener he does it well indeed. The intense chemistry between Edward and Anna will have you staring into space with your mouth agape and will require that you give your head a brisk shake to bring your mind back to the reality of your own life. In addition, Hoyt also treats you to another enchanting fairy tale throughout the listen. Definitely worth the time and the credit.
Oh dear reader I was one of many who waited with baited breath and saved a credit just to wait for the “pre-order” link to appear for this novel. Once it did, I eagerly pre-ordered the book, set my alarm and woke up with its chime to download my new present to myself only to find I was nervous about pressing play. “What if it’s horrible? What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations?” Let me assure you all of this anxiety was truly wasted. Lover at Last is absolutely brilliant! Given the main characters of the book are not your “typical” M/F roles, please do not let this deter you from this download. The love story of Quinn and Blaylock has been building for some time, and true fans of the BDB series would not dare skip over this book simply because of a matter of a gender shift in the main characters sexual preference.
Lover at Last takes you to places in your imagination you did not expect to go. One minute you may be vacuuming you living room while listening to your audio book and the next you will find yourself sitting down on the edge of your couch in tears pleading the Quinn to just tell him. From the listener’s point of view there are too many favorable and emotional scenes to pick a favorite and too many raw emotions from both Quinn and Blay to not want to step in be their therapist.
JR Ward also sets up ambitions side stories with Layla and Score, (such a tender moment when he disarms himself to approach her) the shadow brothers Trez and the laid back IAM and Assail with his possible love interest Marisol. The Lessening society even seems to have some new tricks up their powdery smelling sleeves. I know many readers are looking forward to a particular couple in the next book, but I am hoping to still hear about them all even if only one is the focal point.
WARNING: For those of you who want to jump into this series, Lover at Last is not the place to do so. I plead with you to go back and listen to the earlier audiobooks to get your background primed and ready. Stepping in at this point would be like attending a family reunion with so much drama unfolding and you have no idea what is going on until afterwards when someone has to explain everything to you.
If you have read the previous books in this series and wondered what would ever become of poor Evie, wonder no more. Who knew Evie had a spine of steel hidden behind all of that stuttering. Evangeline Jenner, daughter of a lady and a the notorious owner of a gamming establishment realizes after years of mistreatment by her mother’s family she simply needed to embrace the shadier side of her father's life to live on her own terms. When she seeks out a marriage of convenience she knows she has found the perfect rakehell in Viscount St. Vincent who in his own way is looking for a purpose in life as long as it does not interfere with a wicked reputation that he has spent years cultivating. Devil in Winter tells the wonder of how stuttering Evie shows she is more of a woman who can tame any rogue, no corset needed.
Of course none of the males of the Bar Cynster are alike and why should they be? In this story, the listener is treated to a clear characterization of Vane Cynster, Devil Cynster's second in command. This story takes you on a wonderful journey wrapped in a hint of mystery, passion, and love. Vane is a typical Cynster male, while his female counterpart, Miss Patience Debbington shows you don't have be born a Cynster to make others bend to your will.
This audiobook is absolutely wonderful! If you have followed Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series and daydreamed about what would happen when Charming Mickey and Silence Hollingbook finally got together, your daydreams could not compare to their actual story. The storyline will keep you riveted to whatever device you have selected to hear your audiobooks, and the realness that both author and narrator create in Charming Mickey's dialogue makes him more endearing. Other characters from previous books are mentioned, but Silence and Charming Mickey are definitely the focus. Hoyt also does a wonderful job in enticing the listener to want to hear more of Winter’s story in her next installment. The twists and turns and cliffhanger moments will take you on an emotional journey that will leave your mouth hanging open in surprise, and tears threating to fall as you begin to wonder if you will get the happy ending you want for Silence and her Charming Mickey. Oh yeah, and of course, the “Ghosts of St. Giles is revealed. Listen to find out if your suspicions as to his identify are correct.
Best in this series so far! Although Lady Hero can be a bit overly stubborn, Griffin is depicted as a true "man", speaking his mind while doing and taking what he wants. As you listen you will want to yell at Hero to "just tell him already", but given Griffin's way of persuasion you can see why she holds out. Of course there is another glimpse of the famous, "Ghosts of St. Giles", and a much welcomed surprise and Hoyt hints to his identity.
I have been listening to the series of books from this vein by Amanda Quick and found this to be the best one yet. Quite a few LOL moments and great to see a heroine who can take care of herself for the most part. Many of her other women characters seemed to lack down right good judgement. Many reviewers did not like the narrator, but I found her to be just fine. Well worth the credit.
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