Missouri | Member Since 2008
After a slew of not-so-great romance novels that forced me to flush their memories out with some great science books, I was reminded by a new friend on GR about this series.
I enjoyed this book because it was set-up a little different than most romance novels that I've read. For one thing, the main H/h are already married, however, due to some wrongdoings they are separated. The story reveals their scandalous beginnings and their heartbreaking experiences that lead to their separation with flashbacks while the two characters begin their journey to mend their broken marriage. I like the growth that both characters went through in this novel. Although not overly complex or sophisticated, it was right for this sort of novel and my mood. It was interesting to read about a couple's troubled marriage that didn't stem from infidelity or falling out of love, but rather an inexperienced love. I also liked the banter between the two characters and I realized that was what was missing in the other romance novels that I read before this; the fun and witty banter that make the characters real.
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Dawe does a great job with the accents and the voices. Her voice is clear and her pace is good.I read this book at 1.3x the speed and I thought it was perfect speed.
A great depiction of forensic science at the time of the great depression, speakeasies, and Ginger Jake, this story highlights an era when we knew very little about chemistry, physiology, and toxicology as they intertwine in the human body. Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler, along with their team of scientists, work tirelessly to further our understanding in the field, setting the foundation and paving the way for modern-day scientists. Cyanide, arsenic, mercury, radon, and methyl alcohol are amongst the poisons discussed in this book utilizing various crimes as a stage.
Toxicology, like any science, is an ongoing study. Even with as much data we've collected on chemicals once thought to be safe, there are still compounds, new and old, that we have little to no research on their long-term effects. We hope our government, with its current laws and regulations, are able to keep us safe, but constant vigilance is a must especially when there are so many factors involved. Factors such as the lack of long-term research, the desire for monetary profits, or the desperate need for physical enhancements can contribute to detrimental health.
Narrator: Coleen Marlo
Stories like this requires a narrator that is neither too animated nor too dull because the contents of the tale is not heavily dialogue driven but more factual information being presented. Marlo was easy to listen too and she added some dramatization to the various individuals depicted in the novel which helped add variety and interest to the story.
We meet Yasmeen and Archimedes Fox in The Iron Duke and even with the miniscule interaction we see between them, these characters set the pages on fire!
Yasmeen is captain of the ship, the Lady Corsair. She is tough, ruthless, and takes no crap from anyone, but she is loyal and fair. Archimedes Fox is a treasure hunter, and after seeing Yasmeen, he is smitten by her and wants desperately to prove his worth to her. Used to risking his life for the treasures he acquires, he will risk that and so much more for her heart.
This story was DYNAMITE! This story rocked from beginning to end. It starts out with letters going back and forth from Archimedes Fox and his sister, showing you a glimpse of their funny and heart-warming relationship. It really sets the stage for the type of character Archimedes Fox is and he is adorable! Yasmeen is a tough cookie! She is fierce because she has to be. She has fought all her life and as captain of a mercenary ship, any show of weakness and she can have a mutiny on her hands. Her tale comes out as the story progresses and you feel for the captain. There is a lot to like in this book. So many details that if I write them all down, this will turn into a really long review with spoilers, and truly, the journey through the tale is a huge part of the fun! Rest assured the story is solid. More is revealed on the world Brook has created, some new characters and some old. It is bloody and unabashedly fierce with harsh and bitter events, but it has love, kindness, friendship, and trust.
Like I said in my review for the Iron Duke, there is a lot happening in this book, so in audio form, you need to not drift too much or you can get lost, fast.
Narrator: Faye Adele
Excellent performance. The pace, tone, character distinction, and accents were spot on in what I imagine this fabulous world and the characters in them would sound like. Adele is easy to listen to and consistent in her readings. She makes it easy to follow an intricate story like this in audio form.
Mina Wentworth is an English Detective Inspector and a damn good one. Her distinct features tells of her Horde heritage which keeps everyone except her family at arm's length. Summon to a case at the Iron Duke's residence, she finds herself catching his unsolicited attention. The Iron Duke is relentless in his pursuit of Mina, but when his actions bring her terror, he steps back and allows her to come to him on her own terms.
Steampunk genre always feels like you're thrown into the mix, grasping desperately at any detail in order to navigate your way through a story you just happened upon. This was no different. There is a lot happening in this book, so in audio form it sometimes can be difficult to get the full grasp of all the details in the story especially since it is harder to scroll back if you miss something. However, when all was said and done, I didn't end up with too many holes in the story because of the intricate descriptions of scenes, mechanics, and characters that helped shape the story. Also the narration was superb and that aids a lot in character distinction in a scene.
I really enjoyed this tale. The world building is solid and the characters are well constructed. The action sequence keeps the readers on the edge and filled with intrigue while the romance is both heartbreaking and tender.
I am off to read the next book in the series and I suspect, I will enjoy it even more than the first.
Narrator: Faye Adele
Excellent performance. The pace, tone, character distinction, and accents were spot on in what I imagine this fabulous world and the characters in them would sound like. Adele is easy to listen to and consistent in her readings.
Vicious confrontations between Aryal and Quentin has put both Sentinels on the hot seat, but when one of their encounters places little Liam at risk, Dragos forces the two Sentinels on a mission away from the territory. Banished from their homes and tasked to check on the Elven land of Numenlaur, Aryal and Quentin separately make a silent vow that only one of them will come out alive. Unbeknownst to the two, a powerful force is on the hunt for a mystical object and Aryal and Quentin may just be collateral damage.
I love stories where the main characters are at odds with each other at the very start and with Aryal and Quentin's animosity brewing since the last book, along with both character's dominant nature, this story was explosive. Throughout the series Aryal has always had a difficult personality and this book really showcases her finer qualities such as her loyalty and heart for those who are weaker. Quentin, we got to see on the surface in the previous books and this book showed him to be just as loyal and oh-so dominant. You can expect humorous banter between the main H/h, edge-of-your-seat action scenes, and heart-stopping sex play in this tale, but also brace yourself for a difficult scene. I really liked the nice balance of tenderness, heart-ache, and triumph in this book and I can't wait for the next installment.
Narrator: Sophie Eastlake
Another fabulous performance by Eastlake, delivering quick and witty banters perfectly and with great character distinction.
This book reminded me of how much I loved the dynamics between Dragos and Pia from the first book in the series. Pia is still adorable and ridiculous with a solid heart of gold while Dragos is even more intimidating and autocratic, but he loves Pia with a strength that knows no boundaries and it shows. At the beginning of the book, Pia, pregnant and mated, is off to elven territory to mend the relationship between the wyr and the elves. What was originally supposed to take no more than a week to complete, quickly turns into a poop-show, placing Pia and the little Peanut in harms way and sending Dragos in the midst of the battle.
The book is fast-paced with bursts of intimacy between Dragos and Pia displaying their growing relationship and the alterations each individual makes in the relationship. The banter between them is priceless and it allows the reader a glimpse of what can be with this unstoppable and powerful couple. We also see more of the previous characters as well as new ones such as Eva, the alpha of the guard unit sent to protect Pia. Eva and Pia form a special bond, their verbal and telepathic exchanges forcing me into bouts of laughter. It is the makings of a true friendship and it was nice to see Pia have someone else she can trust and care for other than a select few who sometimes are too busy for her.
The events in this book are connected to those of the last novel in which the Oracle of Louisville tells Dragos a prophecy that includes him. There is a battle at the end of the tale and a huge and sad alteration for the Elven people has occurred. We see the winners of the Sentinel games and although it wasn't much of a surprise, it will still be a lot of fun to read about each of the sentinels in future books. The end of the novel was a surprise to me and to the characters in the story as well, but it ended in such an uplifting note, placing a smile on my face.
Overall, a fantastic story; entertaining, humorous, and exciting. I can't wait to start on the next one!
Narrator: Sophie Eastlake
Eastlake is perfect as the narrator in this series. She delivers the quick and witty banter perfectly and she distinguishes the voices of the characters pretty well. I hope she continues to narrate for this series.
This book starts off with a bang as we witness angels falling from the sky, but then the story somewhat plateaus as it weaves through trying to set the stage for the huge battle that ensues at the end of the novel. I must admit that as much as I love this series, I didn't really love this book. Although it was nice to see Raphael and Elena's strengthening relationship, it seemed to have a lot of redundancy in this story from the previous books. Elena is still struggling with the same issues: concerns about her immortality and how that affects her human friendships; her ongoing struggles with her relationship with her father; and her role as Raphael's consort are all inner obstacles that she faces and will probably continue to face (hopefully in the background) as the series progresses. The book really doesn't pick up until the very end and after it was done, I had more questions than answers.
IMHO, the plot of this story could have been told in the periphery of a different couple's main tale. Elena and Raphael's story was not strong enough to carry the entire book, mostly because there really wasn't anything knew about their relationship. It would've been nice to see the unfolding of a different main character's tale, one that has not had their story told yet, as we learn of the events that occurred in this book. I hope the next book features someone other than Elena and Raphael because as much as I really like that couple, there are so many intriguing characters in this series that need their time in the spotlight.
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Speed: 1.25-1.5x speed
Eyre has read for all of the Guild Hunter's books and I love the consistency in character voices that this brings, but there were times when I had trouble hearing her. I generally listen to audiobooks while commuting and with this recording, I found it difficult to hear her through my car speakers. However, when I increased the volume, her pitch was high enough where it pierced and hurt my ears. I ended up playing the file through my iPhone speakers and placing my phone near my ears, concentrating the sound which helped tremendously. Other than that, Eyre does a good job with character distinction and accents.
Juliana St. John, all dressed up and ready to utter "I do's" has been stood-up by her spineless fiance. However, Juliana, poised and self-assured is more concerned about the scandal rather than the heartbreak of losing her betrothed. Elliot McBride, the brother of Ansley, Juliana's closest friend, is catching a quick snooze in one of the church pews at Juliana's wedding. To his surprise, he is startled awake by the weight of none other than the bride herself, sitting on him in an attempt to collect herself before she announces the runaway groom.
I really enjoyed this book. It is simple in its construction, but the characters are so well formed that I loved reading about the interactions between them all, including and especially the supporting cast. Juliana is perfectly matched for Elliot. She is calm, organized, and logical, carrying around a list of to-do's that she uses to meticulously uses while her untamed, spontaneous, and broken husband runs amok. It helps the believability of the story that the two main characters where childhood friends because their loyalty to each other became steadfast quickly and with the events of the book, it needed to be otherwise the relationship would have failed. This is one of the best parts of the story, the loyalty and trust between Elliot and Juliana. That being said, there are a few twists in this tale, giving the novel a lot more substance than just a romance with a HEA. Also, as with all the other Highland Pleasures books, this one has the Mackenzie's and their growing brood around to lend a hand. I love that about this series, being able to see previous characters and a small update into their lives.
Narrator: Angela Dawes
Another excellent performance by Dawes. She reads for the entire series and I am loving the consistency of the voicing. Dawes is great with the accents, the distinction of the various characters in this novel and the pace. Her tone and volume make it easy to listen to through speakers of earphones.
Another installment in the brilliant Maiden Lane series, this book depicts Maximus Batton, the Duke of Wakefield and Artemis Greaves, a lady's companion. We first meet Maximus in "Notorious Pleasures" as the brooding and unyielding brother of Lady Hero Batten and we first meet calm and collected Artemis Greaves in "Scandalous Desires" as the lady's companion to Lady Penelope Chadwicke. Maximus is powerful and stubborn which is a very dangerous combination. His fierce determination to avenge his parent's death along with his guilt-stricken conscience force his every move, but his encounters with Artemis chips away at what he always felt was the "right" path for a Duke. Past events have redirected Artemis' path in life and now she must ensure her survival and that of her brother by any means possible. As her brother's situation becomes desperate, she stops at nothing to save him, going as far as blackmailing a Duke.
Artemis and Maximus' personalities clash, making their "courtship" fun to watch. Maximus is so used to being in control and to have his motives and actions questioned or even being told "no" is not something he is used to. Artemis, on the other, is in a position of servitude, but that role has not taken away her wit or her fortitude and she meets him head-to-head. As always with Hoyt's stories, the romance is sweet and spicy (the Duke talks dirty in bed) with strong lead characters. I gave this book a 3.5 stars because it felt like this was a transition novel. One where the over-arching plot that was carried through several books is now resolved and a new one is being established with new characters to continue the series. I am definitely not opposed to this as I adore the Maiden Lane series, however, I just didn't feel like this book was a strong one especially with the books and characters that preceded this one.
Narrator: Claudia Harris
I am a bit bias because I love it when the same narrator (provided it is a good narrator to start with) reads for the entire series. This is now the third narrator for this series and I remember reading somewhere that this narrator is fairly new. She did an okay job with the overall narration, but I did have a few things that I didn't enjoy while listening to this novel. The distinction between the characters' voices and thoughts were not always evident. When listening to audio books, it is very important for the reader to differentiate between dialogues, narrations, and character thoughts by means of the narrator's variation in pitch, tone, inflection, etc. There were times when I needed the context of the scene to help figure out who was speaking. Sometimes when I would imagine someone speaking it would turn out to be incorrect at the end of the scene, throwing me off. This was my only complaint, otherwise, her pace and volume was exact, her accents were good, and she was easy to understand. I just hope we don't get a new narrator for the next installment.
This highly anticipated book picks up almost immediately after the events of Insurgent. Questions surrounding the happenings of the last book is revealed, with key players, reasons, and circumstances being laid out and explained.
The difference between this book and the last two is that we are also given Four's POV in this story. At first I was slightly peeved because I liked how the last two books just had Tris' POV. As the reader we could follow Tris on her journey of discovery and it was pleasant to view Four through her eyes. However, as the story progressed, it made sense why Roth had to write in Four's POV. I didn't like it as much because it humanized him, showing how fragile and unstable he actually was, but it could've also been the route Roth took in unwinding the tale. Four and Tris are in stark contrast to each other in this installment. It is evident and it is saddening, but their love grows deeper because of it. As can be expected, this book is filled with a lot of action and as the reader you also take many emotional hits. I really did not expect Roth to do what she did with this story. In shock and in disbelief sums up how I felt at the end of the book. It will be a relief to discuss this book once more people have read it as I'm not sure if I feel sad, disappointed, or content. I think I'm still trying to process it.
Narrators: Emma Galvin & Aaron Stanford
Emma Galvin does a superb job narrating for Tris and Aaron Stanford is a prefect sounding Four. I don't normally like having two different narrators for the same story, but this had to have it because of the set-up of the novel. Both narrators were really good with distinction, pace, inflection, and volume.
This book is a signature Frank novel in that the construction of the story and world in which it is set in is unique and clever. Imagine a place that exists along side of our world in which strong emotional feelings can be harvested and used as fuel for a humanoid species. Sexual release or rage can be used as energy for an entire village if it can be harvested correctly and this is what our main character, Julian, does. He is a Gatherer.
There is a lot to like in this story. Julian is a selfless male, serving his starving colony by gathering energy from human females. Asia is a prickly, rough and tough female who doesn't take crap from anyone. Put them together and see anger rise, tensions build-up, and sparks fly. These two characters start off on the wrong foot and it will take time to ease the mistrust and skepticism between them. I know many readers have commented about how Asia annoyed them with her brutish attitude towards Julian and normally that would annoy me too, but in this case, I believe she was justified in her feelings and actions. There are also some interesting characters that make you want the series to continue so you can learn more about them. However, I believe this series only has two books out and no more are in the pipelines. So after reading both books and jonesing for more, I suggest Frank's Nightwalker series, if you haven't read them already.
I gave this book a three star because it did fall short in a few places. The villains in this story are ruthless, but their actions seemed more out of a selfish and misguided nature rather than pure evil as compared to Frank's other novels. Also, the story moved quickly even though the characters and the world building needed time to truly flourish and in a 5hr and 15min audiobook (roughly 200+ pages) it was difficult to get the full impact of what Frank intended. The ending was also rushed, IMO, ending in a way that was more convenient rather than insightful.
Narrator: Xe Sands
Sands reads for the majority of Frank's novels, if not all of them. You have to get used to her voice especially when she reads for female characters because she tends to sound broken when she does a distressing scene. It sounds almost whiny and quivering which can be really annoying and hard to understand what is being said. I gave her a higher rating because she has improved. In other recordings, she would not only have that quivering voice, but she would drop her tone down and then have it rise abruptly which would be painful to my eardrums. Now she keeps her tone consistent which is helpful.
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