GILBERT, AZ, United States | Member Since 2009
I was in the mood for something angsty, and since the Viking series on the History Channel, I've also been interested in reading/listening to something from that era. So, this book delivered on both fronts in this chemical romance through the melting together of Viking Hero, Brant (Lord Blackwell), the Flame, and his "lady-wife" Lady Della, the Cold-hearted.
As previous reviewers have indicated, you will feel a myriad of emotions on this medieval journey of love. It is an emotional, roller-coaster especially for the values of a 21st century listener! Yet, through the many tumultuous emotions that encompassed the experience of this book, overall, I was rooting for a fabulous HEA for both Brant and Della.
This book is about a very conflicted relationship between a couple from different cultures who go through many misunderstandings because they don't share all of their feelings, they speak too harshly and can't take things back due to pride. Della, herself has one of the most sharp-tongues I've witnessed from a heroine. She says awful things to Brant that come very close to fruition. And, even though, most of the time, Brant was the more patient of the pair, he was ruthless in his treatment of his wife (even though he felt remorseful). In this era, it was what was expected. In fact, with all of the brut power and force of the law on the husband's side, it's amazing how much influence and control Della actually held in her manor and with her husband. She is a very strong heroine, despite her shrewish flaws. But, there's always a reason behind the way people act, and Della definitely has a reason for her prejudice and hatred of Vikings. Brant understood this and seemed to really exert effort in making his marriage work.
Despite the tumult, I kept listening because I couldn't stop. Also, the steamy romances between the two was really good. I just wish there was more coverage of the blissful and light moments between the lovers because when they loved it was amazing…..they loved almost as passionately as they fought. Unfortunately, the end felt very rushed and it did not fully make up for the dramatic, violence that preceded it. For this reason there should have been an epilogue. On the positive side, thankfully, there is a resolution to their issues. This story may have a lot of emotionally, crushing moments, but it is very well written. Let me tell you Michelle Pillow really knows how to tell a story, no matter how steamy or chilling.
Lastly, I thought the narrator was excellent. Mason Loyd did a great job in narrating both the masculine, Viking voices as well as the ladies.
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!
Wow! I really liked this one! It was pretty good! I had to get used to the writing style, but after a while I learned to appreciate it. There is a constant shifting between various character's POV by an omniscient narrator. All the characters including the leads (Diego & Raine), Prosper (MC club leader), the many biker brothers (i.e. Reno, Jules), the old ladies (Pinky etc.), and Raine's girl group (Claire & Glory) were awesome. This book always had me anticipating the next scene and each riveting moment that followed.
The romance between Diego and Raine is a bit watered down, but more so in quantity, than quality. It felt like this book was foundational in introducing a whole group of alluring bikers and the women they fell in love with. There was definite groundwork laid for the next books.
Now, Diego is a big bad biker who is rough and tough, but when he meets Raine she makes a lasting impact on him. Raine steps in to cover for her sister Claire who was strung out on drugs and linked to a junkie, bad-news boyfriend who owed the MC. It's a string of events that brings Diego and Raine together to where they revolve in each others orbits. Let me warn that Diego is no prince charming, he's not good with words and he doesn't deal with certain triggers from his past well. Yet, he adores Raine and finds a way into her heart….very caveman style, but intense and real. I really liked Diego and Raine and the rest of the characters. I can't wait till the release of the next audiobooks!
Regarding the cover, well, I really don't know who that red-haired woman is because it's not Raine. Raine was described as a copper skinned, dark haired beauty, with blue eyes. Yes, quite the exotic, so I'm not sure what happened with the cover model. Raine's mother was Native American and I really enjoyed Raine's viewpoint which many times seemed reminiscent of her mother's culture.
Narrators: Jill Redfield was fabulous! OMG, the woman was so animated! Her voice inflections for the bikers and moments of tension were injected with gusto! She did a great job with all of the characters.
OMG, and Will Damron's voice was male perfection….deep, beautiful, smooth male voice…..very, very nice!
When I read the first book in this series, I don't think I understood the author's writing style very well. However, this second book established a bit of a pattern for me, in that, it seems as though Tia Louise wants her readers to become intimately involved with the leads and witness their personal growth and strength firsthand. This book is not only about the hot and steamy love story between Patrick and Elaine, but it's about Patrick's journey to finally get to Elaine. Wow! It was so nice to be in Patrick's head for this book, as it is written from his POV. He is such a nice, wildly attractive guy who was almost haphazardly looking for love.
From casual hook-ups to finding the love of his life in Elaine, there is a lot of ground to cover on this journey. We also get Melissa and Derek as some of their story from book one, parallels Patrick's romance with Elaine.
I really enjoyed this book. I appreciated how well the hero and heroine got along. Patrick and Elaine were crazy in love and found all sorts of ways to express that love. I liked how the majority of the conflict in their relationship came from outside sources, as opposed to conflict within the relationship. It was enjoyable and full of unexpected outcomes, chiefly in the epilogue. OMG, that was the most unconventional epilogue ever! LOL! This book doesn't really end.....it seems to flow right into the next. I'm excited to continue with this sweet and sexy series.
Narrators: Christian Fox has a gorgeous voice, and Lucy Rivers performed well too. Overall, a very good audiobook.
Well, my disappointment with this second installment was a bit of a surprise since my first impression of this author was so favorable. The problem is not with her writing, but it's with the bitchy heroine she created, and it didn't seem as though the author was leaning in a direction to change Kate's behavior and attitude.
Usually, when a couple breaks up well, you look forward to the make-up sex. This time it was horrific! I stayed around for not just the first main love making-scene, but also the second to see if it got any better before finally giving in and making this a DNF. I just couldn't invest any more of my energy on this book because the heroine, Kate Hart who was SO DAM OPPOSITIONAL. I mean the girl questioned, fought, bickered with Dominic at every stance, ESPECIALLY in the love-making scenes. IT WAS EXHAUSTING!!! I really didn't know how both of them could even follow through with the "intimate acts" when they were arguing pre- and mid-coital experience. What the???? I felt bad for Dominic since he always seemed careful to walk on eggshells around her because her temper lit like a fuse! When you have to exert that much energy to NOT offend someone, their presence becomes less enjoyable, as did Kate's.
What was sadder was to see the perspective of all of the surrounding characters in Dominic's life who were so stunned with his devotion to Kate. Dominic is typically a man-whore and doesn't stay longer than a few hours with a woman, but he treated Kate with reverence and such devotion, it was a shame it went unappreciated by Kate since behind closed doors she was a bitch! It was as though Kate de-masculinated Dominic in the bedroom. I mean who doesn't appreciate a man who is experienced and takes charge in the bedroom? Well, apparently not Kate. She had him begging, apologizing, grobbling, and always threatening to leave......The woman had his balls in a sling, and that was unfortunate. Just as unfortunate as the time I spent listening......
It was so refreshing to read about intelligent leads. I loved the expression, vocabulary and intelligent (not just witty) conversations and banter between Dominic Knight & Kate Hart. Dominic is a self-made billionaire and master of his universe, that being a global tech empire. He is a man who always gets what he wants and does not accept "no" as an answer from anyone. And, with Kate, he is relentless but smoothly so, and let me say, I love a powerful man in pursuit! I was also happy to find such a strong heroine in Kate, who has these mad skills in cyber-forensic accounting. The description of her work in her perspective was actually enthralling, as she described her work as giving her an adrenaline rush. Perhaps, that is how she connects with Dominic, as they both are thrill seekers.
This author is really good and I enjoyed her style of writing. It's written with an omniscient narrator which reminded me of Tolstoy's style of writing in Anna Karenina. It was interesting to get the perspective of surrounding characters, especially in Dominic's life, showcasing how different his pursuit of Kate was. Initially, Kate was largely aversive to Dominic's domineering approach, but you got to see Dominic soften and bend to win Kate over, and win her over he did!--At least in the bedroom. For that reason, there is a lot of sex. The plot builds mainly around two strong personalities trying to meld together.
The only time this book got tedious was when Dominic and Kate were moving from "vanilla" to "kinky" in the bedroom. Kate was almost ridiculous in her argumentative nature toward Dominic. It was actually tiring because she had this green light/red light thing going on with Dominic. It was "yes," then it was "no"--her signals were all screwed up. It was almost manipulative on her part. Anyhow, as seems to be the pattern in trilogies, this one doesn't end well. So it's on to the next book to find out how Dominic is going to get Kate back!
Regarding the narrator, Elena Wolfe, she performed masterfully. I loved her sweet voice for Kate, and she did a good job with the masculine voices, as well.
The premise of this book was really good. There's this kind of ominous excitement with heroine, Lily Frazer breaking into Calder Cunningham's estate in order to convince the billionaire to not renege on his late father's promise of monetary contribution to the Frazer Center for the Arts (owned by her father). It was a series of unfortunate events (or fortunate for this budding romance), which included a storm that kept Lily in Calder's mansion for days. Both Calder and Lily have good chemistry and although they are at odds, they have this nice sexual tension building up between them. However, with Lily's selfish, fickle, moodiness and attitude of entitlement, she was kind of a turn off, not to mention a nitwit. Watching Lily's thinking process was like those commercials that make fun of the characters in horror films who make dumb decisions. For instance, "OK Lily, so you're hiding in the dark waiting for Calder to find you with a wager in the balance so you can win back this huge contribution for your father's center, and you forget to turn off your cell phone????….DUH!!! I liked Calder a lot more than Lily. He was brooding, sly and mysterious. He also had patience with Lily and her antics. Even though I thought the premise was interesting, I began to get bored half way through. I was expecting some more excitement and build up in the games, also I thought this romance lacked heart. However, there is a turning point at the end, especially for Lily, as she re-evaluates herself (how refreshing!!!) and I think I may just push through to the next book. I certainly want to know more about Calder….
Natalie Duke did a very good job in her narration.
One thing I love about Kristen Ashley is that she knows how to move your emotions, as a reader. She makes you FEEL…she makes you think. With that in mind, I kept thinking about sayings like, "you don't choose who you fall in love with." Well, that saying was fitting for Zara Cinders. I mean, who would have chosen to love a man, and give him 5 years of her life, who was not only a man-whore, but a roamer, all while BEING with HER!! Where was her self-worth? That is probably what kills me the most, especially when you learn about her family background, then it makes sense that she would allow herself to become emotionally latched on to a man who wasn't able to give her commitment. I think that's the worst part of Graham ("Ham") Reece. When he was present, he was good, he was interested, he was connected, but it was clear that there was no room for Zara to request more from him than the scraps he gave her. I hated that. I wouldn't want that for any woman.
For me, this story took more energy than it gave me. It made me angry and it put me in a bad mood. Ham is a hulking, handsome man, but he had issues with women. You just knew his backstory was going to be horrific because it was like someone poured acid on his emotional connections and his ability to establish roots with Zara. When he finally had a chance to be with Zara (9 F-in years later), he regretted walking away. But, I hated that even when he came back to win Zara over, he was a shitty communicator, and he had a kind of "no-nonsense" or "no-tolerance" policy regarding her questioning him, in particular, about February Owens. February Owens is a woman HE mentioned to Zara in a fight saying pretty much that of all the women he has slept with only February and Zara were kept in the same category (meaning he kept coming back to them). So OF-FREAKN-COURSE- Zara is going to feel some insecurity about February. And, sorry, but when he finally felt fit to give her an explanation about February, and what she meant to him, it was shit. I hated that Zara caught him talking to her on the phone and called February "beautiful" and throughout the book referenced Zara's looks as "dam pretty." Well, guess what???? Every woman KNOWS THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "beautiful" and "pretty." So, when he described Zara as "beautiful" only on their wedding day, well, that just wasn't good enough. Even though Ham said Zara was the best woman he ever met, well it's still shit knowing there was a very, VERY close runner up who he still laments not having a closer relationship with her (since her man won't allow it). I don't know…maybe I should read February's book in order to understand Ham's connection to her. But, due to Ham's emotional distance and lack of tolerance for Zara's emotional output, well he never was good enough….even after everything he did to win Zara back. When it comes down to it, the bad times overshadowed the good times toward the latter part of the novel, and weighed the whole book down for me. It's one of those stories where love is the only explanation because everything else is just jacked up.
I know this review became more of a rant, but MY GOODNESS, I'm still fuming from reading it. The positive aspect of Ham and Zara's story is that KA delivers a very REAL type of love, but it's not ideal.
OMG, the dual narration on this audiobook was super hot...like steaming hot, and very intimate. It took me a while to get used to the intimacy of the dual narration style on this book. It almost felt like intruding on a personal story/conversation. But, with time I got used to it. There were some background noises, at times, but nothing overly disruptive. Some of the sounds such as the gasps, whispering, and moans were a bit over the top, at some parts, but overall the narrators were really good--super sexy for sure!
When I read novels with a BDSM-style romance, well it's because of the sexy adventure that is so alluring. But, I notice that I also expect there to be an emotional depth & growth between the leads that compliments their sexual activity. So, even though Dr. Jaxx Gavin and Ramsey (Aries) Taylor had sizzling chemistry, I found their relationship to lack some emotional depth throughout the book. Aries always seemed to have an upper hand in the relationship. I wouldn't have minded complete domination in the bedroom, but I thought Aries had unrealistic expectations imposed on Jaxx, as he demanded her complete trust, with no explanations on his part. He didn't bother to explain the presence of certain women in his life, and he didn't even want her to question him about this topic--Ugh, I didn't like that at all. There was definitely an inequitable balance of power in this relationship, as Aries never seemed vulnerable (even when you'd expect he would have).
Jaxx and Aries meet as he's assigned to her counseling group, by the court, to address his anger management. However, even though both Jaxx and Aries share hot chemistry, witty banter, Jaxx, as a therapist was not believable. And, it wasn't just that she ALWAYS seemed out of her depth with Aries. When she recounted her schooling as 4 yrs. in junior college and 4 yrs. in regular college----UMMMMM, what the hell does that mean? "Junior college" typically is in reference to community college or trade school, not an undergraduate program...What the???? So, was "regular college" supposed to be a graduate school program? That was just weird. The only time Jaxx was really good, as a therapist, was when she psycho-analyzed Aries. I thought she did well then, otherwise, the way she failed to set boundaries in her personal life with her mother-figure didn't seem like any of her training generalized to her personal life. Anyway......
Jaxx and Aries do get to their HEA, and there is a cute & funny epilogue that brings everything together.
Even though I enjoyed the first book, this second one was slow for me. With the aftermath of book 1, you have Porter and Ella reaching toward one another to try and figure out a way to make their romance work. I don't want to give anything away, but because of the condition of the heroine, the reader revisits Porter and Ella's relationship anew. That weighed down the romance for me, because stages they had already experienced had to be forged through again. Also, there was a lot of forging through when it came to the mundane daily tasks that got boring for me. Ella working in her store, Porter driving 2 hours to visit her, Ella finding a new apartment, Porter traveling 2 hours to visit her, Ella having lunch with her sister, Porter traveling 2 hours to visit her…(oh then Ella travels 2 hours to visit Porter) LOL----That's how the setting felt to me--back and forth.
The danger and mystery brought about from Kyle, the ex-boyfriend, was completely frightening. How scary it must have felt to find out that the man you lived with for 4 years presented a complete farce in the way he felt for you. Even though Porter and Ella still have to figure out their living situation, and figure out a life together, they shared a sweet kind of love.
This was a good book for people with a lot of patience…..
Overall, this was a sweet one! Ella Sinclair is the kind of girl that every woman will root for when it relates to love. Mainly, because her 4-year relationship with her boyfriend Kyle came to a devastating end as Ella caught him with another woman…UGH! How awful! So, you really feel for Ella when she goes ahead with her plans of a romantic beach getaway sans ex-boyfriend. But, then she meets this handsome man, Porter, who helped her when she found herself in a rut and in the rain.---Well, Porter and Ella's romantic entanglement ensued from there, at a nice pace, I should add. Even though one would anticipate that getting involved with another guy just a few days after you break up with your boyfriend is a bad decision, well, it just wasn't for Porter and Ella. I mean they had this "HEY I JUST MET YOU AND THIS IS CRAZY, BUT I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT YOU-CALL ME MAYBE" chemistry…LOL Porter was very sweet and quite the hero with Ella. The issues arise when they have to figure out the logistics of a long-distance relationship. Yet, the crushing part comes at the very end with the cliffhanger that threw this book in a totally different direction than I anticipated…..WOW! Just crazy! With a cliffy like that, you just need to plow through immediately to book 2!
Narrator: Romy Nordlinger's voice has an odd quality to it, that I can't really put my finger on….her voice is not my favorite, but I got used to it soon enough.
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