GILBERT, AZ, United States | Member Since 2014
This book was just wonderful! It was a welcome adventure and so different for me because I had gotten tired of the formula of REGENCY and even HIGHLAND NOVELS (say it's not so!!!!), without even realizing it. Who knew how exciting a Viking romance would be??!!! This audiobook will pique your interest and melt your heart with Braden Wright's swoon-worthy voice. Wright does such a great job with all of the voices....Well, especially with Alarik's strong, masculine voice. He did well with the female voices as well.
I love learning about cultures, and each moment of this book was somewhat of a suspense because in so many of the circumstances between Elienor of Baume les Nonnes and Alarik Trygvason, I was not sure about how the Hero would treat the heroine because his cultural, value system was unfamiliar. I mean, in a similar circumstance I could assume what an English gentleman or a Fierce Highlander would do....but certainly not a Viking warrior!
Well, Alarik came across Elienor at the the end of a siege where he came in like a flood and plundered Brouillard castle in France. Elienor was of immediate interest to Alarik because, well really, he found her to be the most beautiful woman he had seen....to him she had no equal with her sable hair & violet eyes (well, that makes sense since most Vikings are blonde right?...LOL). She was also of interest because she was betrothed to his French enemy. Alarik decides to take Elienor with him, by force, to his homeland in the north.
THE VIKING WARRIORS ARE NO GENTLEMEN:
Well, regarding the Viking crew, there are not many among them who showed a tenderness for the care of women. Alarik tells his warriors before they set sail home to bring whatever pleases them as their booty. So, Elienor meets this criteria for Alarik, and there is another woman ( a French maid, Clarice) who is captured & taken on board as well. Clarice is injured and is in a lot of pain on the ship during the voyage. The men don't pay the woman a lot of attention. THis shows how impulsive and uncaring the Viking men are. They impulsively wanted the women, but become angry with Elienor when she begins to request water and materials to care for Clarice. The poor ladies were also exposed to the sun as well. The men close to the women mistreat them (more like push them back to the corner). Alarik & another warrior come to their rescue....eventually...
Another interesting finding......If the Scottish culture uses the word, "lass" as a term of endearment for a woman, and the British use the term "lady" for a woman of both higher class and one in high regard; well, the Vikings refer to women as "wenches." Yeah, it doesn't really matter if the woman they are referring to is noble, common or whatever...women are "wenches."
THE LOVE DEVELOPMENT:
I LOVE a relationship that develops among the leads in which the Hero falls in love first and must wrestle his own self-conflicting ideas against love as he risks everything to win the affection of his heroine. And, that is exactly what happens to Alarik in his regard for Elienor.
This man experiences a torturous, passionate, deep, and insatiable love for Elienor. He demonstrates a type of hunger for her and longs to be worthy of her true affection that comes out of her free will. It was humorous to see him struggle, in that, even though he used some harsh words with Elienor, in his mind his thoughts of her are always warm. Of course, his words eventually catch up to his thought process and the man just can't help but adore Elienor!
Elienor, a woman of French and noble descent, has more to lose in this relationship (as it always is with the women..arg). As a French woman, she is brought to this foreign land that she must adapt to. She has immediate enemies in a jealous woman who wants Alarik (Nessa), Nessa's father (another Nordic leader/jarl) and an evil warrior who wants her dead as she is perceived as a threat because of Alarik's love of her. To add on to Elenor's worries, she has a gift of "sight/vision" and sees some impacting future events. She is hesitant to share this part of herself with Alarik because of her fear of being accused of being a "witch" and perhaps meeting the same early, vicious death as her mother (who also possessed the same gift). Ultimately, Elienor does fall for Alarik and develops a deep love for him, but she's more cautious. She learns to give in as he melts her heart, step by ravishing step..... :-)
Alarik is the "jarl" of his clan and is a strong, fierce warrior and leader. He has to be. The Vikings live in a remote, very cold somewhat barren land where only the strong survive and have a place in their society.
Alarik's affection for Elienor becomes evident and very public as he......
~Decides to care for Elienor and treat her wounds on the ship instead of take the helm during a storm (he sends his 2nd in command & his men are almost jealous...lol),
~Keeps her in his chamber once they're on his land. One of the most important things is that he does not force himself on her sexually. He waits until she is ready for his ah-hem... "affections." Now that doesn't mean that he doesn't put a lot of thought into seducing her...because whoa! HE really does!
~is constantly studying Elenor and brings her anything that gives her delight (her puppy...that was so cute).
There are so many more details, but overall this was a fascinating read/listen. The adventure was great & I love how both Alarik and Elienor save each other in the end (in that battle at sea)----THAT WAS CRAZY! The scene in the church at the end (where Alarik proposes, or TELLS Elienor she's going to be his wife, was also very impacting and really different.) It was funny how he wanted to "take her" on the church floor & she's like "no, never here!"...LOL But, the lovely part was how they both shared beautiful words of love & commitment with one another in one of these last scenes. I love how Alarik prayed for Elienor. There were very interesting perspectives on faith and religion in this book, yet this topic was pursued with taste.
The love scenes are steamy and the epilogue was very sweet.
Even after reading this book, I felt like just a little something was missing and I think that was related to the missed opportunity of intimacy between Elienor and Alarik. In that, I wish she would have disclosed her "vision/sight" gift to him personally. He finds out about her gift through another. Eh, just a missed opportunity...that's all.
This was a really fun and enjoyable audiobook! I thought Callie Dalton did a great job narrating and representing the heroine, Iris Taylor well. The story is told through Iris's POV and she is an interesting character. Iris has her own story filled with heartache and tragedy, but OMG she's definitely got fight in her, and I loved that! Iris's thoughts are funny because she can be so crude and tends to hyper-focus on the feeling of throwing up or passing gas during stressful situations...a bit immature, but so funny! I liked the hero, Dex Locke, he had great sex appeal...masculine, brooding, moody, but very interested.....I loved how Iris and Dex clashed at first, but that's where all of the body language came into play. When Iris describes Dex you can't help but feel that his body language was screaming for her. The romance developed very nicely...it felt natural and each moment built off of the previous. When they finally come together, the reader is as fully invested in the romance as the leads because there was so much depth that had been created before they decided on making it a "forever" kind of love.
The plot, conflict, and build-up was nicely employed throughout this book. There was never a time where I was bored or felt that it slowed down. In this book you get a great brother-sister relationship, nicely developed steamy romance, great action and plot filled with ominous bikers, and fun and meaningful, surrounding characters. It's true this is not a traditional biker story, but I'm not complaining. Mariana Zapata did a great job! Her writing was fun and lively. Great audiobook!
OMG, the narration of this book is off the hook! Between the sexy-masculine voice of Ryan West, to the vulnerability brought about by the sweet & sultry voice of Erin Mallon, this duo rocks! I also really liked the continuation of characters from the 1st book because I adored Jonah and Raven, so it was so nice to see their relationship continue to progress and flourish.
Now, in regard to Blake and Layla, for me the romance was a bit labored. You have two very attractive people who have this great 1st encounter that further builds with strong sexual tension along the way. Yet, from the moment they acknowledge a kind of happhazard attraction for one another to finally giving in…it was a lot of work! I'm also having a hard time with the women Blake hooks up with to distract himself from Layla. Those were just douchy moments for Blake, as I hated those moments, as a reader. And, so add to the labored reading, the initial sex portion between Blake and Layla was also labored because of Layla's past history with her ex. So, when things were finally rolling out for the couple…BAM the height of the conflict in this book hits hard! OMG, it's a doozy…such build up & then suffering. After that pounding portion of the book I was finally happy to see the couple in good times, but it was too short and felt rushed at the end. Yet, we definitely get a great HEA for the couple and Layla's wonderful daughter. Wow! What a story!
Now, regarding the villains in both the previous book and this one, they have left me intrigued! I found Layla's ex-husband's character to be unbelievable, or perhaps, I didn't understand how a person could be so singularly moved with lust and self-preservation to guide his entire life decisions and relationship, in particular with Layla and Axel. The only way for me to understand both this villain and the previous (Raven's father) is to categorize them as sociopaths---selfish people with no conscience, or sense of remorse.
I'm hoping the 3rd installment is better than the second, but even though I adored the narration, I felt the love story was a bit too labored for my taste.
Dimitri and Jess have suffered with traumatic childhoods, but both have come to cope with these events very differently. Jess was saved by Dimitri's stepfather, and came away with a healthier mindset, while Dimitri felt abandoned and broken which fostered a thirst for vengeance like a malignant tumor---always growing and becoming more deadly.
As in any therapeutic romance with a mentally unstable hero, the heroine really goes through the ringer, and boy did Jess go through it with Dimitri. From dealing with his misplaced anger directed toward her, getting to know him and finding a connection, to dealing with the excess baggage of his previous girl-toy, add on to that a haunting figure from her past who comes to torment her, well, a lot of this book is exhausting. Yet, it's well-written, original, and good. Jess is beautiful inside and out, with a fabulous personality, witty and so funny. Both she and Dimitri engage in banter that lightens him up. Jess really brings in the sunshine to Dimitri's dark existence, and I loved that about her. Dimitri's tough, but eventually he becomes a likable character post Jess-therapy.
Regarding the narration, I was confused with the accent of the male narrator. He sounded middle eastern? I'm not really sure. He was good though. Carmen Rose's voice was feminine and sweet….she did a very nice job as well, but, in my head, I was always caught between two eras: modern and 1800's (because of the pirate theme). I just don't know of modern day pirates who sail openly in the ocean and dock in the U.S. and other countries freely.
In the end, Jess and Dimitri get their HEA, but it seems like there is more to come in their relationship….so does that mean another book is in the horizon? I hope so!
I was one of the fans who bought the 2nd book immediately when it was released. I didn't think I would get the audiobook, but I'm sure glad I did. It was like the difference of watching a film in black & white with no sound, to watching a vivid blue ray on an HD television. Seriously!!! Roberto Scarlato was freaken amazing! He brought warmth and a soft side to Julian, plus add the sexy. OMG, his voice is gorgeous & he did a wonderful job. Now, Shirl Rae, I can't say enough about her narration. She is amazing! She is one of my favorite narrators. These narrators brought this gripping, visceral, dark story to life.
Julian and Nora's story has fully captivated me. Friends have described this book as "moderately dark" and I think that is why I was taken aback by this story, because when the horror of how Julian had ensnared Nora is pulled away, well, at the heart of it, they both want each other. This love story is pretty intense, and I think, "moderately dark" is just about all I can handle (I'm a light weight when it comes to dark romances, I suppose).
This book takes place where "Twist Me" has left off. It has wonderful twists and turns, and very shocking situations that I was NOT expecting…..CRAZY SHOCKING, but the best part of this book was all of the "Julian and Nora" time. Their relationship is still visceral, fire-invoking, and far from traditional. Julian continues with his pain/pleasure sex with Nora. And, there were times I just wanted Nora to give him a smack down for being a psycho with her. (Yet, that is all a part of this story and Julian's progressive development as a character.) In terms of loving-making, he is an outrageously unpredictable lover in the bedroom. At times, he's sadistic and too much, other times he's a sweet, sensual lover. The bottom line is that Nora is lost to him, and Julian can't get enough of her.
They have some issues to resolve with the inequality of their relationship, and I like how Nora did develop more strength in dealing with Julian. I loved how Nora became stronger, as a person, and her level of bravery astounded me toward the end. OMG, she was fierce & badass!!! That fierceness that resided within Nora is what made her a fit partner for Julian-- like a missing puzzle piece. Of course, she still deals with inner conflict about loving a man like Julian, but it's evident, especially at the end of this book, that she adores that man.
On that note, in terms of Julian's feelings for Nora, you can see that his need and obsession for Nora is something that he is processing continually, and trying to improve. I love that Julian is faithful to Nora and his need/love for her is singular. He still struggles to categorize his feelings as "love" since he is not a good man. In fact, Julian can be a monster. So, getting into that......How to describe what kind of man Julian is--Well, what is the level that comes above an "alpha male?"--Because Julian is in a total different pond when it comes to alpha males. In fact, he's a friggen shark in the ocean when it comes to defining his power, strength and dominance. Julian is an independent arms dealer, creator and manufacturer who has both good and bad relationships with nations in the world, and an enemy in Al-quadar (a terrorist network) that proves to be his only challenge, but a close to deadly one. In that respect, if you have hated Julian along the way, well you might feel his outcome was a just consequence for the type of life he lives, but let me say that I was shocked!! I won't say more because that would give a bit away!!!
I will be waiting very impatiently for the release of the final installment. I did love the alternating POV's of both Nora and Julian and I hope the next book is the same.
Anna Zaires did an incredible job with this installment, and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for Julian and Nora.
I loved the idea of this book because it was so original, and when I listened to the narration of Carmen Rose, I was hooked! Carmen Rose narrated beautifully. She has a lovely voice with such a nice English accent that I enjoyed the way she brought this book to life.
At the heart of it, this book illustrates Stockholm Syndrome with a woman who falls in love with her captor, and vise versa. But, that dark aspect makes this read intriguing and visceral. Captain Hendrix (a pirate) scoops up Indigo and her friend Eric from a raft at sea, as they escaped a yacht explosion with their lives. Yet life in captivity is a pretty scary thing, and there were times in which Indigo's erratic behaviors made her an unlikeable heroine. I chalked down her teetering from selfless to selfish as part of her fight-flight responses and adrenaline rush, as a captive. However, Indigo, overall, was a brave woman who pushed through her circumstances hoping for something better. Well, Captain Hendrix is ruthless and completely unlikable at the beginning, but along the way his humanity breaks through and with many twists and turns in the plot, and reappearances of impacting people in Indigo's life, well you have one exciting adventure.
Was this story believable?---Absolutely not, but it was enjoyable. There are a lot of questions that come up, like why did Indigo rent a yacht to sail across the pond from the U.S. to the U.K., and why does the narrator have an English accent when Indigo lived most of her life in the U.S…..well, those questions get answered somewhat. But, you have to just read this book for fun, and not for realism.
Oh, the love scenes progressed from simply lusty to steamy and emotional. There is dirty talk and graphic detail in the scenes. One aspect I thought was somewhat comical was how Hendrix referred to Indigo as "Innocensia (innocence)"---yet, this innocent girl really knew something about finding a man's g-spot….OMG…crazy! LOL
I can't wait to read the next book and find out more about Dimitri and Jess's dark romance, as well as find out what new developments spring forth with Hendrix and Indigo!
I adore MMA fighters & novels about their lusty romances, but this one was a little tweaked. In general, it seems as though this series is will be more about Dominants who are fighters...equally dedicated to both of these lifestyle commitments even though the Dom qualities were focused on more than the fighting aspect. I have to admit that I'm a sucker for incredible cover photos/models & this one is pretty awesome, but the book felt a bit disjointed.
The meeting between MMA fighter Rafe Wesson and sexy lawyer, Katy Marks was pretty potent and I thought it was the start of a great book. But, as things progressed I felt strung along just as the relationship between these two. Between lengthy internal monologues about Rafe feeling guilty about not revealing this DOM side and Katy wondering if Rafe was gay, and that was why he didn't move things further along...well the whole thing became rather stifling. The stalker was the guiding force behind Rafe and Katy staying close together, as Rafe insisted on protecting her. Things get dragged out until past midway, in the book, where Rafe's DOM qualities are finally revealed. When that aspect was explored I felt my woman sensibilities being challenged when Rafe wanted to push the DOM/SUB relationship into more arenas, aside from the bedroom (or sex club). At that point, it kind of felt like a chauvinist revival. However, Katy was able to negotiate that aspect well. Both were open about each other's comfort levels and how far to take the BDSM qualities, so at least you had that as somewhat of a relief from Katy becoming a complete doormat, or invisible woman.
Regarding the sex scenes, the first half of the book is all about their personal masturbation sessions since they aren't with each other. So, yeah...not good there....Then, for the latter half of the book, well they explore different sex scenes and scenarios both at home and at this sex club (which incidentally the whole fight club belongs to...OMG). Yeah, there were parts where I thought my face was turning 50 shades of red.....seriously embarrassing...Uh, I'm not sure how I feel about this series....it seems like it will be about DOM/MMA Fighters falling in love with vanilla women and turning them on to their lifestyle. Um, I think that's succinct enough, as an explanation....LOL
The end was too rushed for me, but that seems to be the norm nowadays with novels.
The narrator performed the male voices better than the female. Her female voice sounded like 2 generations back....like I was listening to a grandmother narrate for Katy..LOL...it was weird.
I really enjoyed this audiobook. It's written in 3rd person and periodically switched from Mick and Tara's perspective. The sexual chemistry between Mick and Tara is pretty instant, and Mick moved into Tara's fantasy sphere right away. I mean of course he would fall within the fantasy category right away as a football star with drop-dead, good lucks and a charming personality. The issue is that Tara is a single mom, owns her own event coordinating business, and doesn't have time for a distraction as potent as Mick. Yet, when Mick pushes into her life, wanting more from her than a 1 night stand, well this book took on a rather fabulous turn.
In this book you get football, graphic, but sensitive sex scenes (I mean the sex scenes are thankfully NOT mechanical...they're pretty good), dirty talk during sex (boy, could these two talk dirty to one another!!!), and connecting with family along the way.
I really liked Mick. He was so patient with Tara and was understanding of her concerns. Tara was guarded, but with good reason. I thought her concerns were valid and she always looked after the well-being of her son first. Even though Mick and Tara don't hold back in the bedroom department, the question of whether their relationship can be long-term always hangs in the balance. The relationship was further tested by Liz, Mick's aggressive, lady agent. Now, regarding LIz, I had a problem with her. Right away I knew she was going to be the heroine in the next book simply by the way she was described as gorgeous, polished, having an incredible body, and overall described as a sex goddess each time she had a scene. OMG, it was nauseating...seriously. The descriptions for Liz were over-the-top!!! But, the problem is that Liz is a bitch and I'm really not interested in reading her story with Gavin, Mick's self-absorbed brother.
The main conflict in the book is resolved with some work on Mick's part. I thought Tara had good reason to be upset and to create distance. Yet, I have to say that even though their reunion was great, it was too rushed. All of a sudden, everything in their relationship came together, but way too squished in at the end. Maybe it's just that I'm a greedy reader, I wanted more Mick and Tara time when everything was perfect. If I read the second book, it will only be to get more of Mick and Tara, and tidbits of their HEA because unfortunately their romance did not feel complete.
The narrator, Lucy Malone performed well. Overall very good audiobook!
The male lead, Gage Grendel is a douche bag, scum-bucket, and A-hole, and I think maybe that's why I didn't enjoy this book so much. Eliza Smith, is sweet girl who is a virgin with a traumatic childhood of abuse she experienced in her mother and step-father's home. She's 21 years old and now living with her father, the manager of the Fire Nine band. I liked her dad, but I questioned his wisdom for his inexperienced, lost daughter to pressure her to come along on a tour with a bunch of man-whore, rockers, with booze & women. How would that be helpful for her, aside from infiltrating her life with stress and pressures with the wrong type of guys?
Well, due to all of the favorable reviews I kept waiting for things to get better, but at 5 hours, well the relationship between lead rock star singer Gage and Eliza was just terrible--Too angsty for my taste. I just can't get my head around a male lead who pressures the virgin-female lead to be with him, yet delivers on a constant flow of double messages. He whored around in front of her with his "girlfriend" and tons of random girls, yet wanted Eliza to be with him? What the????? My feeling on the matter was that he was emotionally abusive to her. And, well from the reviews of the book 2, the womanizing will still be an issue…sorry, I'm out! Too bad, because it seemed like it could have been a really great story.
The narrator was good, too bad this was such an emotionally nauseating listen.
I'm one of the fans of this series who had been anxiously, but patiently awaiting the release of the 4th installment, and it met all of my expectations, as I loved it! Sylvia Day dedicated this book to the fans, and I felt it. This book does not necessarily provide additional plot developments, but the focus is on relationships: those that need to be cut off, those that need to be re-vamped and those that deepen. And, for Gideon and Eva, this was a love-fest of epic proportions. They loved hard, played hard and fought hard and I loved every minute! Reading/listening to this book was like getting on a very cushiony & sustained roller coaster ride. Both Gideon and Eva's love for one another is solid, despite the many challenges they face and the people of their past who want them apart. Yet, as a reader, one never has to feel insecure when they're working through their issues because these two are freaken grounded and irrevocably immersed and saturated in their love affair! The sex was wild, passionate, emotional and at times, kinky, which was quite a treat. They go through rough patches, but come out of this book at another level in their relationship.
Regarding Gideon Cross, I wanted to say thank you S.D. for creating every woman's conscious or subconscious fantasy of male perfection. The man dominates in and out of his work environment, and protects Eva at all costs. I mean the man is crazy-in-love with Eva, his wife. It was funny how he would deal with her past. Some might deal with their lover's ex's by erasing previous memories with a new fresh ones. Well, he did more than that when he obliterated previous buildings and sold properties that might bring Eva memories from her past that he didn't want. Haha!--Talk about a man with unlimited resources (well just about!). I also loved how Gideon is not shy to get in a fight to defend Eva, that might not be right, but it still did something to me. Gideon is just hot, and so appealing!
Now Eva, well she is dealing with her own aspects of growing into her relationship with Gideon, and I totally sympathized. I mean Gideon is the type of man who can swallow you up, and I appreciated her thoughtfulness in not wanting to rush into working for him right away, as a measure to protect her individuality. Even though I really like Eva, it got on my nerves how she seemed to justify her best friend, Cary, no matter how wrong he was. It also got on my nerves how she was always drooling about how gorgeous everyone in her inner circle was…yeah that was annoying. Otherwise, Eva's just one lucky lady who was just as wild for Gideon, as he was for her.
Lastly, the narrators were lovely. Jeremy York inspired a strong & sexy voicing for Gideon Cross, and Jill Redfield was sweet and sultry--perfect voicing for Eva.
Now it's wait time for the final installment. Since this book focused mainly on relationships it was rather slow in plot developments and action (or twists, or something), I'm hoping the next book provides a nice combination of love and excitement.
There is something so sweet and HOT about a very strong, disciplined man like Derek who falls in love…like madly-helplessly-effortlessly in love with a great woman like Melissa. And the listening experience from this audiobook was effortless. This is a continuation in the romance between Derek and Melissa, as well as their best friends, Patrick and Elaine. Consider yourself getting a 2 for 1 deal with the parallel romances.
Let me say that I LOVE Derek and Melissa together. They make a beautiful couple. Throughout Melissa's pregnancy, Derek is so tender and gentle with her and you could feel the weight he carried on his shoulders to make sure she was kept safe from her dangerous, vindictive ex-husband. Derek and Melissa both have quite a few things they are still working through in their relationship as they move forward to a more permanent place for their growing family, and it was endearing. The love scenes were lovely--they were emotional, intense and erotic. This book ends with some really somber issues that Derek has to make sense of, and many other unfinished situations for the other couple that will make the next books something to look forward to.
I liked how the surrounding characters introduced from the previous books were brought forward and expounded upon, like previous escort Toni, Kenny (baby momma), and Sloan (Melissa's crazy ex-husband).
I can't wait to continue to follow the romances of both of these sweet, yet insatiable couples…..
Narrators: Lucy Rivers and Christian Fox were wonderful. WIth such great vocal talent, this listen was quite a treat!
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