Love the MacKenzie brothers series. "The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie" is possible my favorite book in the light romance genre. This is something of a "spin off" of that series. There were things I liked. Won't attempt to spell the names of the Indian members of the household (the downside of audio books), but the manservant was a truly dear character.
I liked that the relationship moved quickly. The two main characters were childhood friends and more, so there wasn't a lot of hem-hawing around about whether they had feelings for each other. There was some behavior that didn't add up, even considering Mr. McBride's fragile mental health. Won't reveal more, but will just say its always a little unsatisfying when this kind of book tries to tackle heavy subjects like the long term affects of torture. Either write romance novels or write a serious work of fiction, don't try to combine them.
Angela Dawe's style is clear and easy to understand. If, like me you are uncomfortable with her fragmented style of speech, increasing the narrator speed to 1.5 does the trick.
I like Ms. Ashley's other books in my library, but not this one so much.
I like witch stories, so I was willing to be generous. I just couldn't get into the story.
I saw several reviews that bashed the narrator. I didn't think she was so bad. A little over the top sometimes, but the heroine was supposed to be bubbly and overly eager.
The story begins with the ancestor of Iona, the primary subject of this part of the trilogy. The stage is set for the future battle of the descendants and the evil being. Flash forward to today.
There's a charming Irish village that warmly welcomes Iona, the Yank cousin. There is a love interest who just falls into place in possibly the most boring romance ever written.
The evil being who just won't die is laughably ineffective. The story culminates in an epic battle that just isn't. The epilogue ties up the loose ends between Iona and her beau and so you buy book 2. No, I don't think so. Just not interested enough in the characters to continue.
I'm going to stick up for the narrator. Her accents sounded good to me. Maybe just tone it down a bit.
This review is written as I begin book four of the series. I've been deliberating on what to say about this story. Considering the fact that I have continued reading in the series, I obviously find something intriguing, but there are definitely some problems.
Lets's start with the positive. The concept of the story is fantastic! No spoilers here because everything in this review is revealed quickly in the book.
A drug company tests the effects of animal genes on humans. Initially the tests are innocuous and approved by and even partially funded by the US government. Of course, greed kicks in and unapproved, secret experiments create a "New Species" of humans who face cruel treatment and inhumane experimentation. Authortities discover and raid the secret testing locations, freeing the victims of these experiments. Now the New Species have to find a way to survive in a bigoted world as dangerous as the one from which they are delivered. That's where the series really picks up. Told you, great concept right? And now...as I see them are the problems.
Problem number one..the narrator. Its easy to be a critic, but be assured, I am listening in spite of the narration. A little editing would improve things greatly. (ie"The hall was lit with 'scones'". Sconces maybe?)
Problem 2: OK, this is the world of romance novels. The men are expected to be alpha to a degree most of us wouldn't like in real life; but so far the women are capable, self-sufficent women; until... Until they meet their New Species male. Then they become annoyingly submissive.
Problem 3: The too frequent sex scenes interrupt the flow of the story. Yeah, yeah, these guys have animal instincts and drives..we understand, but get on with the story already. Quantity, Ms. Dohner, does not equal quality. Also, there's an offensive quality to the initial intimate encounters between the male and female characters. "No means no" becomes more like "you're only saying 'no' because I haven't overcome you with my manliness" which of course he does. Not a good message for young women.
Problem 4: Maybe this isn't a problem for everyone. The author very skillfully drags you from the last page of each book to the beginning of the next. Notice I said "last page" of the book instead of "end". The books don't have tidy endings. If that bothers you..beware.
An intiguing storyline is hard to find, and this series has that. That's why I recommend this series in spite of these misgivings.
It's difficult to tell for whom this book was written. The female banter in this book is decidedly high school/ college freshman style, but the characters are in their thirties!! Anyone old enough to experience the sexism of thirty+ years ago will cringe to meet Gwen, a dippy, spineless airhead who is led around by whichever alpha male is in the vicinity. Strong men are a integral part of this genre, but sheesh, this is caveman era social interaction with guns and state of the art surveillance equipment.
The story is not bad, it's a pretty complex concoction of drug rings, and DEA agents, private security groups etc. The male/female roles are just insulting. As I mentioned, Gwen is an airhead. She says goofy, sarcastic things at the most inappropriate moments and every unattached male character in the book is taken with her. What a message, just be vapid and malleable and the boys will love you. I read on hoping Gwen would grow some ovaries, but alas, no.
The narrator has a nice enough voice, but made some pronunciation errors that were distracting. Editing?
Can't recommend this one, but wouldn't count this writer out completely, because there was a story in there under all that 1960's testosterone.
This book shares much information with "Wheat Belly" by Wm. Davis and "What Makes us Fat" and "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taub, but Dr. Perlmutter focuses more on the effects of a high carb, low fat diet on the brain. Conditions like diabetes are discussed thoroughly but in the context of explaining how these diseases impact the brain.
This book was timely for me. I adopted a wheat free/ low carb eating plan in April of 2012 after reading "Wheat Belly" and my "set point" weight dropped by 16 lbs in just a few weeks. This was despite the fact that I already had what most would consider a healthy diet. But, because I cook for family members who have not adopted these eating habits, I became lazy about preparing separate foods and saw my weight creep up a few pounds and some of the other health improvements falter in the last few weeks. This book was an excellent refresher course for grain free and low carb eating as well as a jarring wakeup call about the ways eating habits change our brains. Alzheimer's has a frighteningly high frequency among women in my family, so I am encouraged to learn that I have at least some control about the future health of my brain. Dr. Perlmutter's advice differs in a few ways from Dr. Davis. Dr. Perlmutter recommends fasting and recognizes a correlation between low calorie consumption with greater brain health. This book also says it's okay to cheat now and then. Most of the other books caution readers against cheating, likening carb consumption to dependence on addictive drugs. This is the case I have found to be true. Cold turkey for "carbaholics" is easer than relying on will power and moderation.
I like that this audio book is accompanied by a PDF featuring some the statistics, recipes, etc.
If you have read other books on this topic, I recommend reading this book as well because it focuses heavily on the neurological impact of gluten and carbs. On the other hand, if you have not read "Wheat Belly" and "What Makes us Fat", I recommend these in addition to "Grain Brain" as these books go into more detail about the evolution of the grains we eat today and the illogical processes that resulted in much of the dangerous "conventional wisdom" that many health professionals view as holy writ today.
Narrator does a nice job.
Let me just say first, I enjoyed this book tremendously: I like the storyline, the characters, the narration and the ending. Ok, it's not a "thinker" really. You probably aren't going to learn much even though it's historical fiction. It is about a period that is usually overlooked in historical romance novels: the beginnings of the anarchist movements of the late 19th and early 20th century that spread across much of the globe. but the author merely uses this tumult as a backdrop to tell the story. And that's what this book is about....storytelling. It's like grown up story time and it's deliciously entertaining. From princesses in peril to agents and counter agents to a hulking injured hero, it's indulgent and so much fun. The narrator is outstanding. She grabs your attention with her voice inflection and soft tones.
This is the beginning of a trilogy that follows three princesses forced to flee their homeland (I won't even try to spell the name of the principality of their birth) after the assasination of their father and the husband of one of the sisters. This book is about the middle sister, Emilie. She is forced to hide out at a Yorkshire estate in a most unusual disguise. It is the estate of a heroic, maimed veteran of British entanglements in Afghanistan. Unlikely circumstances result our hero knowing Emilie in two different identities, neither are her true identity. Of course this leads to some pretty far fetched complications, but because the story is so well told, I let go of my cynical need for realism and just enjoyed the unfolding tale.
I like to listen to books as I do mindless or boring activities, however, because of the narrator's skill, I found myself forgetting my chores and sitting down or just standing there enthralled. So, maybe don't listen while you're driving....
This is the third book of the MacKinnon brothers series. I enjoyed these stories immensely. Pamela Claire is now one of my favorite romance authors and Kaleo Giffith is my second favorite narrator: second only to the wonderful Davina Porter.
This book tells the story of the youngest MacKinnon, Conner. Conner has been embroiled longer in the war (French and Indian War) than the other two brothers and has been most negatively affected by it. The author has presented us with a most uncommon character in this genre, in imperfect hero. It makes him more believable and my favorite character next to Joseph, the MacKinnon's Native American blood brother. I hate reviews that give away so much of the story, so just let me say that the union of our hero and heroine is one of the most unusual I have found in romance novels. An interesting twist.
I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction of Conner and Joseph in this book. Although Joseph plays an important part in all the books, we see more of him in this installment. It would be nice to see the series continue with Joseph's story. Okay, there's a spoiler, Joseph survives the war. No big surprise. That's why we read romance novels--happy endings reign! One thing I won't spoil is Wentworth's fate.....
I am guessing this series will lose something if you try to pick up anywhere but the beginning. The author does recap the two earlier books, but there is such history between the characters, that you will want to read from book one.
This story lies squarely in the paranormal genre. Metaphysics are a fun addition to a story, but I prefer them as garnish, not the meat of the book. This book is comprised of three short stories, so they move quickly without as much character development as I like. You get plenty of Celtic/Nordic lore: banshee, berserkers, faeiries, and Druids. If you choose books for their paranormal content, you will like this better than I.
Three sisters are brutally murdered by fire. Their mother is seriously burned, but survives.
The stories of this book begin with the sisters' afterlives as banshee. The mother's story line is mingled with her daughters', but is unclear and doesn't seem to go anywhere.
Because these are short stories, everything happens abruptly. The written-in-stone paranormal rules that govern these creatures just conveniently fall away when it's time to conclude each story. In retrospect, these stories seem more like a prologue to some epic Highland tale than a stand alone book. Maybe that's the plan. The author has assembled these powerful creatures into one clan through marriages, now the real the story can begin??
The narrator has a nice voice but seems to be getting as tired of the story as I by the end and some later segments sound a little robotic.
So, again, if you choose books just for paranormal content, you will like this selection better than I. If you choose books for a complete story or for romantic exchanges, you may be disappointed.
The first book of this series introduced me to author Pamela Clare and narrator Kaleo Griffith. I enjoyed both so much, I downloaded this second book the day it was released. It did not disappoint.
Most romances set in this period tell the story of the French and Indian War from an English perspective. The heroine Amelie is the daughter of the commander of a French fort, so we experience events through Gallic eyes.
The heroes in this series are pretty standard romance novel fare; something torments them, they're big, handsome, nearly indestructable, yada yada. Its the supporting characters I find intersting. The women have interesting stories. The Native American family members add interest and inhabitants of the forts provide context for more complex story lines.
I anxiously await the third book. But then we' ll be out of MacKinnon brothers!
This was a treat. I like longer books with lots of detail and respect for the reader's need for a plausible story. If an author wants to send me through time or into another dimension, then I want at least a fair explanation of how that happened. I'm one of those unfortunate people who can't suspend my understanding of reality and just go with a story...give me something to let me think the strange circumstances MIGHT happen. This story does that.
The publishers' summary gives you an idea of the plot. I don't like reviews that retell the story, so I won't do that here. Here are the pros and cons as I see them.
Cons: The author seems to have an ax to grind with pretty people, Only one character who I would classify as "good" gets to be attractive; a female magician who befriends the heroine. All the other favorably portrayed characters are plain, disfigured or elderly (not that older people aren't still beautiful). I get that it's nice to read a book about romance between characters that aren't unrealistically handsome and beautiful. But this story goes a step further; almost implying that real aesthetic human beauty does not exist, but rather is always an illusion.
Men don't fare much better. The hero is surly and sour and killed his first wife. (no spoiler here. This information is provided early.) There is a handsome knight, who is pretty dim and "dismissable". There again, pretty can't have anything else going on.
My last con: This is the beginning of a series? trilogy? I knew that going in, but this book doesn't end, it just stops, mid story. This isn't so bad if the next installment is in the works and can be expected in a reasonable amount of time. Let's hope the author doesn't operate on a timetable similar to Harkness (A Discovery of Witches) or Gabaldon (Outlander Series). While I understand the amount of detail and research I love takes time...three year cliff hangers take away from the enjoyment of the story. (IMHO)
Pros: This is an interesting take on magic and travel between other versions of our world. The descriptions of the heroine's life in this strange world are rich. Magic is treated as any other area of study: the student might have aptitude for a subject, but hard work and practice are the key ingredients. Don't get me wrong..we're talking magic here. Some smart theories about how it works, and even the implementation of good old Algebra are utilized, but the basis of the story is the ability of many of the character to cast spells and enchant others. So it's escapism..but with some thought required.
Others reviewers have said they wouldn't put this book in the romance genre. While there's no bodice ripping or endless declarations of love, there is no denying this is a love story. A complicated and unfolding one. I like that too. Love is complicated and messy, and the author does a remarkable job presenting it as such.
The narrator is good.
So, if you like shifting between worlds, magic, a slow burn love story, patient character development, and yes, a little Algebra on the side, I recommend this book. Be prepared to want to scream with frustration at the end of the book, and realize it might be a little while before you get to pick of the story again. If you can deal with that, it is a great way to spend 26 hours.
While this book was not what I was looking for. I won't give it a bad review. It was a cute book. It would be a fun listen for a family car trip. There was lots of wit, no real violence and a number of interesting characters. "Pirates of the Carribean" influence is easily recognized, but this story has some of its own charm.
I would classify this as something other than romance. Adventure or young readers catagories?
The narrator was good.
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