As a huge fan of Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, I thought I would give this new series a try. No, it's not quite at the level of the BDB, but its premise and characters show real potential.
By starting off in the Brothers' stomping ground of Caldwell we begin our voyage with unfamiliar people in a familiar setting and even get the small thrills of bumping into characters and places we already know, even if they are only the briefest of encounters. Some places, like the Commodore and the Iron Mask are more central to the story so we spend a little more time there.
The narrator does a great job of bringing the characters to life and providing the right tone for the text.
The three characters who it appears will form the core of this series have potential, although they didn't quite grab me the way characters in the BDB have. While I liked Marie Terese and was rooting for her, I have to admit a bit of a squirm factor when the "good girl" is a prostitute.
Overall, none of the characters are quite as fully developed as I would have liked, but it took me until the second book of the BDB to fully warm up to the Brothers and now I adore them--so there's potential here.
When first released, this book and "Vane Pursuit" of the peter Shandy series were missing the final chapter. Now both are complete--thank you, Audible.
Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy series is always fun, clever, and worth the time invested in reading--and rereading. This one includes many of our familiar favorite characters adding their own unique contributions, but President Svensen and his wife are two of the biggest hoots in the book--owl pun not intended. There are sufficient plot twists and complications and convolutions to satisfy any Shandy fan while our favorite college president has plenty of opportunity to demonstrate why we love him--and his wife. It's always a treat to spend time with Charlotte MacLeod's creations for a bit of clever cozy fun.
When first released this title and "An Owl Too Many" were missing their final chapter. They both now are available in their complete forms--thank you, Audible.
As for this particular title, it was filled with Charlotte MacLeod's usual clever humor and storyline plus a second setting in Maine and a very wonderful new character in the form of Miss Binks. Actually, several new interesting characters were introduced and some of our old favorites, such as Cronkite and Iduna, returned to liven the proceedings. There was lots of action and cleverness on Peter Shandy's part in solving the mystery. It is typical Macleod and worth the listen.
I have been a huge fan of the BDB since the first time I read "Dark Lover" and all the wonderful stories that followed. I've adored J. R. Ward's writing style, sense of humor, and the relationships between the couples, and the narration by Jim Frangione. But I wish with all my heart I had stopped with the eighth book, "Lover Mine" and never reached this latest story.
While I knew who the two members of the couple would be before reading this, and therefore have only myself to blame, I had hoped any sex would be treated discretely. But the scenes between Blay and Qhuin are every bit as explicit as between any other couple in previous books. This is not why I buy paranormal romance books; I'm simply not into male-on-male sex. Not that the heterosexual sex in the half of the book I read were why I read these stories either. Several encounters were mere quickies with anonomous females and one was a group scene as four of the Band of Bastards fed and had sex with a paid vampire female--yick. Now how do I scrub all these images from my brain?
J. R. Ward has the right to write the story she wants and I know many of her fans will follow her. But this is my last new BDB and I plan to return it to get my credit back. I'll miss what might have been if Ward had continued down a path I could follow, but our paths diverge here.
As a first book in a series this one sets up a potentially very good cozy series. MacRae described a town and a number of characters it should be fun to spend time with. Also, she includes a few that we don't want to spend much time with--neither does the main character, Cath--but these add interest, humor, and another reason to come back for a second book with hopes that the twins will get their comeupance. But, like Charlie Brown and the football, I suspect it will be an unlikely but perpetual hope.
I liked the cozily paranormal aspect and wished more had been explored in this first novel. We were given some very tantalizing hints about Cath's grandmother, Ivy, and what she could do, but not enough to know for any certainty what it was. And it may run in the family... but, even with this to intrigue us, we mostly got a long scene introducing the ghost. I have to admit, I really liked the ghost, and I hope to see more of her, even if it's only in a semi-transparent form. One of my favorite tidbits in this story was that Cath thought to entertain the ghost with an audiobook--apparently a heroine with discerning tastes!
Emily Durante did a very good job with the various voices and characterizations, along with good prose reading.
I look forward to the next in the series and hope that the writer and narrator continue their stellar paring.
In the same kind of spirit that infused The Princess Bride, this story of the actual young men behind the generic name Prince Charming is fun, funny, and unexpected. Bronson Pinchot's narration elevates this already wonderful ffractured fairy tale to the same genius level as Mandy Potenkin's Inego Montoya.
The tale not only includes the traditional witches, trolls, dwarves, etc. and action, danger, heroic deeds, etc., but clever humore with twists on all the familiar fairy tale elements. The princesses aren't all helpless maidens or even sweet and generous of spirit. The princes aren't all competent swordsmen or even temperamentally suited to the role of hero. But they all rise to the occasion and entertain heroically to the end.
As fun as the story is, Bronson Pinchot adds greatness with his accents, voices, and delivery. This performance makes it clear why he is a listener favorite.
I often found myself grinning or laughing out loud while listening. It's a story that requires the listner to go along with the premise, but it's so worth the ride.
I might not have written a review, but the ratings for Overall and Story happened through a glitch in my computer while downloading and I don't want to leave the wrong impression. While the performance by Tom Hollander deserves five stars, this is a two star story for me.
I approached this book with nothing but good will for Rowling and an expectation that this would be unlike Harry Potter. What the lame publisher's summary and the pre-publicity didn't say was that it contained significant sexual content and explicit language. It also didn't indicate just how depressing and bleak the story would be.
The problem is that this is the kind of story I usually avoid at all costs. I find no enjoyment in vicariously suffering with others. There isn't a single individual in the story for whom I found a true sympathy--sympathy in the sense of making a connection and pulling for them rather than feeling sorry for them. I read books for enjoyment, entertainment, to learn, to be uplifted, or even to escape. My life contains enough stressors of its own not to need to find more of them in my reading material. I am not entertained by the misery of others . Perhaps as a school psychologist I am more aware on an everyday basis of the various conditions of life described in this book, and need no primer on poverty, drugs, violence, sexual assault, child abuse, bullying, poverty, neglect, weakness, and self-absorbtion of others. I certainly don't desire to fill my off hours wallowing in such miseries.
The two stars I would have given the story are for its being well-written--for what it is, rather than what I wished it to be--and the clear-cut characterizations. I don't think I would want to actually meet any of these people, but I did feel I had a clear view of who they were.
I wish the publicity had been a little less coy about revealing the true tone of this work so that I might have been more prepared. This sort of story simply isn't my cup of tea and I will be far less likely to buy a book by J. K. Rowling in the future. I had hoped to like this book and had been willing to accept something completely different from the author of Harry Potter, but this is outside my ability to enjoy. If this is what Rowling feels the need to write, she's perfectly entitled to do so. I'll exercise my right and not read it. Perhaps her future books will be less grim, but it will take a lot of convincing before I try another one.
I finally read this classic because I wanted the background on the character when reading "The Game" by Laurie R. King as part of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. What I got was a stunning and fulfilling experience that I wouldn't have missed for the world!
Not being an expert on Indian dialects, I can't say if Sam Dastor's narration is technically correct, but it is perfect for enhancing the listening experience. I came to know and love the many characters as though they were real people, and Dastor's performance was what brought them to life.
The story itself was one that the summary didn't really prepare me for. I had at first thought that this tale of wandering through what for me is an alien culture wouldn't be something that could involve and capture me on a personal level. But I discovered that some things are truly universal, regardless of the cultural trappings, and I was captivated. Like so many in the tale who came to love him, Kim is one of those characters who somehow worked his way into my heart and I will carry him with me for many years to come. The same must be said of Kim's holy man. Other characters have written themselves in my heart as well.
I am so glad, whatever the outside motivation, that I finally read this book and had the opportunity to meet and love Kim and all of those around him. My only regret is that I deprived myself of knowing Kim for so long.
There are only two things I would do to make this novella better: make it longer and put in more more more of Oberon ;)
Kevin Hearne gives us lots of humor, interesting backstory , and lots of action. Luke Daniels gives us the wonderful voices we fell instantly in love with from the first time we read "Hounded".
Whether this novella is intended as just a filler story, or it merely didn't fit into the next novel, "Trapped", it still provides the kind of fun and inexplicable god behavior Atticus has been dealing with for 2100 years. It has plenty of the Morigan--don't ask her for any favors, trust me--a very Celtic style tale regarding the origins of Eterna-Tea, and a meeting with powerful enemies that probably sets up Atticus' role in the future.
There is too little Oberon--Note to Kevin Hearne: Next time, give us a novella of all Oberon, all of the time, with a few French poodles along the way ;P--but what we did get was classic Atticus/Oberon interaction.
Whether as mere filler or as a bridging short story to explain background information for the next book, Kevin Hearne and Luke Daniels have paired again to give us a fun and fulfilling experience.
This story and performance were middle of the road, seeming more like a movie of the week than a cute or clever book. The overwrought emotion in Guinevere often reminded me of a Loretta Young B movie rather than a smart and sassy modern business woman. The plot wasn't quite obvious, but the clues telegraphed the conclusion far ahead of the heroine's comprehension of what they meant. I did like it that the professional was actually professional enough to figure it out ahead of her though.
This book wasn't bad, but it wasn't engaging enough to make me want to buy the next in the series--there are way too many better stories out there to invest my credits in.
Even while listening I kept thinking maybe someone had switched books, because it was far more interesting than many reviews led me to believe. Perhaps it was my lowered expectations, but I found all three stories to be interesting and clever in the ways they managed to bring the other authors' characters into therapeutic contact with Dr. Morgan Snow, sex therapist.
Having a background in psychology, I wasn't surprised or offput by what some others apparently saw as graphically sexual or trading on the Fifty Shades band wagon. This stuff is stock in trade for sex therapy and not merely recently invented by an author.
I am only familiar with Jack Reacher, so my approach to the other stories was that of an outsider understanding there were some inside references and a whole back story I didn't know. But neither did Dr. Snow, so it was interesting mutual discovery. I thought the story with Cotton Malone was the most clever in its setup and it gave just enough background to make me curious to know more about this character. Ditto with John Rain, whose resolution was clever and demonstrated his unique skill set in a sympathetic way. The Reacher story was less complete in terms of whether or not the bad guy got caught, but it was Reacher and that was fun. While I know Lee Child read and approved of the story, two apparent errors crept in. Reacher told Dr. Snow to call him Jack--nobody, not even his mother, called him anything but Reacher. Second, there seemed to be a story attributed to Reacher in which the male protagonist got his nose broken while trailing some bad guys during his military days. Everyone who knows Reacher knows his nose wasn't broken until after the events in "61 Hours", the last book published at the time this story was written. Come to think of it, maybe it was better I didn't know anything about the other two heroes ;P
All of the narrators did a good job capturing their famous alteregos' voices or reading the text narrative. It never works to have a different voice coming out of Reacher's or Rain's or Malone's mouth and these were all skilled and great vocal artists.
Another good reason to get this book is that all proceeds go to David Baldacci's organization to promote literacy. Thank you M. J. Rose and Audible for the gesture.
My advice on this book is to get it and sit back to accept the premise and enjoy characters that may or may not be familiar to you in a setting/situation that is likely to be unfamiliar to you but which provides a whole new way of looking at these rough tough competent men in a way that doesn't demean them but does provide unexpected insights into one aspect of their characters.
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