Missouri | Member Since 2008
**If you haven't read the previous books, then this has spoilers for those books**
Another excellent addition to the Maiden Lane series. This still remains one of my favorite series of all time. I can't wait for "Duke of Midnight."
We first met Godric St. John's in "Wicked Intentions," the first novel in this brilliant series, as the scholarly friend of Lord Caire. At the time, Godric was suffering through his beloved wife Clara's illness, standing by helpless to do anything about it. Her inevitable death pushes him into further isolation from those around him and he is eventually content to live out the rest of his days serving as the Ghost of St. Giles.
We are introduced to Margaret Reading in "Notorious Pleasure" as the spunky younger sister of Griffin Reading. In the last book, "Thief of Shadows," her clandestine affair ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the death of her lover, putting Lady Margaret in a difficult predicament.
To spare her the social repercussions of being an unwed mother, the ever resourceful Griffin blackmails Godric into wedding her. Because he has no choice on the matter and because he felt that the marriage would remain a contractual one, Godric acquiesces.
Fast forward two years and Margaret, who was sent to live in their country estate and who has since miscarried her first child, travels to London to see her husband so that she could convince him to consummate their marriage in hopes that she will become pregnant again.
I loved the way this story unfolded. Margaret and Godric are so emotionally scarred by the loss of their beloveds that they feel a huge sense of betrayal at the prospect of sleeping with each other. Although their characteristics contrast each other, their emotional despairs bring them in alignment and allows each individual's strength to aid in the other person eventually reconciling their loss. Margaret's fierce determination once her mind has been set and Godric's gentleness and compassion leads to the eventual happy ending that both characters deserve. This story is beautiful, heartfelt, and passionate.
I loved seeing the other characters, although I have yet to see Charming Mickey since the third book and I'm beginning to lose hope, but Hoyt makes up for it with recurring cast members that have yet to shine in their tale. I can't wait for the next story. Artemis has always intrigued me with the subtle way she defies her nauseatingly superficial yet entertainingly funny cousin, Penelope. Also, it's about time the brooding Maximus find a match and although it would be hilarious to pair him with Penelope and see that relationship unravel before it had a chance to begin, I like the idea of the quiet yet strong Artemis and Maximus more.
Narrator: Emma Taylor
I have to say that I may be biased because the whole reason I found the Maiden Lane series was by looking through the other books narrated by the talented Ashford McNab. Needless to say I was sadly disappointed to find another narrator reading the Maiden Lane series and it did dampen my experience a bit.
Although Taylor does a fine job with accents, her pace was off and inconsistent. I generally listen to audiobooks at 1.5x speed and she was either too slow at normal speed or almost too fast and choppy at 1.5x speed. Also she kept pronouncing Godric's last name incorrectly; splitting the name into two words "Saint John" as opposed to "SIN-jun." Overall, I don't think other people would notice or mind.
There are some great elements in this story. Although it is a work of fiction, the author does such a superb job with the research to support this novel that it enhances the reader's experience.
The story is about a chance meeting between Amanda and Mark in which Amanda rescues Mark from what could have been a fatal event. Pulled towards each other by an unforeseen familiarity that nags at each other, Mark convinces Amanda to undergo past-life regression therapy in order to determine where the sense of deja vu lies. Set in modern time with glimpses of a life long passed lived, the novel flips back and forth in a seamless movement that takes the reader through a tale of past lives, soul-mates, and the fear of loss. Samyann is a master at description, cleverly using words to portray each character, the situation, and the location of the story, she gives you the right amount of details, but not too much to saturate the scene. I enjoyed this part of the story, however I would have given it a higher rating if I didn't find the main character, Amanda, difficult to relate to. I have never experienced loss like she had and maybe this is where the disconnect lies, but I felt that a strong leading character would have been written where I could somehow empathize with the individual. Amanda was immature and reluctant in ways that made my head-spin and roll my eyes. She had a huge character flaw she needed to overcome, but the progression was slow and painful and I had trouble bringing myself to listen to the tale when I knew I was going to be greeted with more silliness from her. I liked Mark and his dominating, take-charge attitude, however. He was the best part of the tale except he was almost perfect especially in contrast to Amanda's flaws. I also enjoyed the supporting cast of Amanda's aunt and Mark's partner as they added color and humor to the story.
I just wanted to mention: I love romance novels, but I tend to gravitate towards the romance novels that are more risque in content, if you know what I mean. This novel is not my normal romance read. A lot was left to the readers interpretation of what happens behind closed doors. So keep that in mind those of you who share my taste in romance novels;)
Narrator: Darlene Allen
I listened to this book at 1.3X the speed and I think that may have distorted my opinion of Darlene Allen's narration. She would pause for emphasis, but it would come across as interrupted flow in the narration. Also when she read Amanda's line she sounded almost child-like (especially the scene where Amanda was drunk, it was detrimental to my perception of Amanda). Otherwise, he distinction between characters were great.
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.
This book snagged me from the start and it was difficult to put down. I loved the witty and sarcastic alpha female; the major alpha male with the dirtiest bed-talk I've ever heard; and the supporting cast members with a knack for bad one-liners, pathetic grudges, and horrible parenting.
I think what made this book even more wonderful is that I had no expectations. I randomly picked it while audiobook shopping on my tiny little phone. What a treat. I love it when things like that work out so well. I can't wait to read more about the other pack members.
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Redfield did an excellent job with the narration. There was a lot of dialogue in this book that needed just the right inflection and animation to deliver the lines and she was perfect.
Rating 3.5 star
Annie is spunky, fearless, naive, and a hopeless romantic who wants to be married to the man whom she almost succeeded in eloping with. She is back in London and under the watchful eye of Lord Ashbourne who has been tasked to ensure she doesn't do anything stupid like get hitched while her sister Lily and Lily's new husband Devon is on their honeymoon.
Lord Ashbourne, for reasons even he is unclear of, takes the task as Annie's guardian seriously. He sees her naiveté on the matter of love and courtship and tries his best to protect her from making mistakes that can ruin her reputation or place her in a marriage where there isn't true love. However, the stubborn little chit resists him at every turn and the tension is making him want to shake and/or kiss her.
I was anticipating this installment because it featured the spit-fire Annie and the sarcastic and humorous Lord Ashbourne as the main H/h and they were such great supporting cast members in the first novel. Although the book started with a promise of all that I hoped for, it sort of went wrong 3/4 of the way through and didn't improve from there. Let me start off by saying the two characters have chemistry in the beginning and while it does continue throughout, I felt like it was forced and sloppy as the book progressed. Also, there wasn't a whole lot of sarcastic dialogue or humor from Jordan that made him appealing to me in the last book. I also felt like Annie had a lot of emotional growth to cover and it was as if 3/4 of the way through, the author had to ensure that Annie had found true love so there was this epiphany that was not believable. She also deceives him to get what she wants and this particular instance I felt like she was playing dirty and not in a good way. Lord Ashbourne's character development didn't fair any better as I felt it was weak and inconsistent. I kept thinking "where did Lord Ashbourne from the last book go?"
I shouldn't be overly critical because this is a romance novel after all, but I think because it had potential with good foundation laid out for these two characters, the end of the book was a bit disappointing.
Narrator: Justine Erye
Erye is fantastic with the accents and the distinction between characters. It is smooth reading and just enough inflection to not distract or confuse
This series was one of the series on sale at audible.com and after reading reviews for it and the synopsis I was sold. The pace of the book was right on keeping me engaged almost the entire time. The story was layered and complex however the narration of the book made it easy to follow and the science fiction elements were believable and not difficult to understand. The author does a good job of giving just enough so that you understand processes or key points important for the plot.
The thing I did have trouble with is more the fact that I listened to this installment rather than read it. As a step away from my normal romance genre or fact-driven science or medicine genres that I tend to gravitate often to, I really had to pay attention with this book while I listened. I found myself rewinding a lot just to be sure I understood the scene. This is in contrast with my usual reads that I can skip through seconds or minutes of the narration and understand the main elements. So I would advice that this book may be best as a read and not an audio because many details might be lost to get the full experience.
Also, this book has a lot of foul language and there is a fair amount of killings, tortures, and bone-breaking fights, however, I didn't find the book to be too graphic or feel that the author mindlessly threw bad words around to be distasteful. It fits the story, the characters, and the situations. This book also contains a couple of sex scenes, but again I am familiar with romance books so they didn't bother me, but if you are sensitive to that, this may not be a good choice.
Narrator: Todd McLaren
I disliked the way he narrated the female characters. It sounded mocking and juvenile like an older brother teasing and although there were some distinction between characters, it wasn't enough to get the variety of characters in the novel. Also the accents that he made were terrible, slipping in and out of them so easily while reading for the same character that I really needed to pay attention otherwise I wouldn't know who was talking. Also, his inflections were only existent when the sentence blatantly described it and most of the time he would over exaggerate it so that it felt out of place.
Set from the point of view of Layla, this book takes place after the events of the first book. Layla is still Vlad's lover, however she is no longer content with the set-up, wanting more from Vlad than the arms-length that he keeps her at. After an unfortunate confrontation, Layla decides to make a few changes, sans Vlad, and goes back to her life before she met the infuriating vampire.
It's one event after another as Layla's return results in fatalities, deception, and heartbreak with the focal point being Layla. Someone is out to kill her and her powers are acting freaky. Add in a love-sick body guard, a sister with an unfiltered mouth, a fun little cameo from Cat and Mencheres and you have a dynamite read.
I absolutely enjoyed this book. You definitely see the unfolding and reshaping of a relationship after the infatuation has dwindled and hard decisions need to be made regarding where to take it. Layla is strong and fights for what she believes is the better choice whether it hurts her emotionally (or physically) or not. She loves Vlad, but his seemingly stand-offish and austere attitude towards the relationship is not something she wants to live with. Vlad, on the other hand is ruthless and fierce in all ways, even when it comes to love. Their interactions were fantastic and I love the little nuances in this story even though some are explained. A lot comes from Vlad because of the type of person he is.
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Tavia has read for mostly all if not all of Jeaniene Frost's books and I love that publishers keep the same narrator even through spin-off series. Gilbert does an excellent job at reading the characters. She's very expressive. Sometimes almost too much so (think, love scene), but it fits and it fits well.
This book provides the reader with the accounts that lead to the discovery of streptomycin and the events that occur afterwards. If you are someone who enjoys reading about the development of things that have a heavy influence in science and in our daily lives than this is a great story. If you are someone who wants the more technical aspect of scientific discoveries, you probably will be disappointed as this book weighs heavily on the unfair battle between a professor and his graduate student on the basis of who discovered streptomycin and who was just a mere human with hands.
This story was devastating and it continues to be. Even in this day and age with information right at our fingertips, websites have incorrectly credited Waksman as the sole discoverer of streptomycin. The heartbreaking fact of this untold story is the sorrow that Albert Schatz had to have endured as he struggled to keep the records straight and also understand his mentor's deception. Waksman may have done many things in favor of science by donating the thousands he received from the royalties of streptomycin, but he did the most unforgivable thing as human being and that is to strategically take the credit for the work he knew he did not do all the while publicly degrading the individual who did. Of all the publications Waksman has had in his lifetime, how could he have written and edited all of that and still find time to run experiments? The simple answer is that he didn't. He facilitated the work of his graduate students and Albert Schatz was the unlucky chap whose research spawned the cure to TB making it the golden ticket to Waksman's ideas of obtaining grandeur.
Narrator: Daniel Goldstein
Performance: 2 out of 5
Goldstein narrated as if he didn't know he was supposed to do a reading. I remember thinking that maybe he didn't get the script to practice or something. His pace and the inflection in his words were inconsistent and sometimes distracting. I switched from 1.25x speed to 1 speed thinking that would make a difference and it didn't. Luckily this book is written in the third person with a few quotes so there isn't the need to follow a dialogue.
We have come a long way in our understanding of human anatomy, pathophysiology, and biochemistry since the time of Domagk's Prontosil. There are now nearly 5,000 medications available in the US and nearly 18,000 medication products available for use today. We have a federal agency (FDA) that monitors, approves, and regulates drug manufacturers and we have a generation of people who grew up taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection. All of this can be attributed to the discovery of sulfa drugs in some shape or form.
I enjoyed this story on so many levels. The timeline of events itself, amazed me. 1935 was when Prontosil hit the market for popular consumption and before then there really wasn’t a safe (relatively) and effective method/drug for curing a bacterial infection. Aside from the risky and expensive serum treatments our only hope of overcoming a bacterial infection was to pray that one’s immune system was hardy enough.
Domagk and his team of scientists created not only a miracle weapon against bacteria, but they opened the doors to many of the procedures used in drug testing and animal trials that we employ today. In addition, it changed the way chemist now looked at molecules to cure human diseases and the collaboration needed with scientist in other fields. Keep in mind that this was a time when there were very little therapeutically active medications on the market. Aside from digoxin and porcine or bovine insulin the only drugs out on the market were herbs or useless and sometimes harmful concoctions (either created deceptively or with plain old ignorance). Physicians and pharmacist alike didn’t understand the mechanism of action of a drug or its pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. In fact, Domagk and his team of scientists didn’t fully understand how Prontosil work; they just knew it did base on their controlled animal studies and the effects on the human population they sampled on. With the miracle drug at hand, it was no wonder the world went a little sulfa-crazy. People were taking it for any infection they had, viral or bacterial and they were also using it as a prophylactic drug, taking it before they were intimate with someone. After realizing that sulfa was the active component in the molecule and that it was virtually impossible for Bayer to patent all forms of a sulfa compound, manufacturers jumped on the band-wagon and began making and selling their own form of the sulfonamide antibiotic. Unfortunately, this lead to a devastating outcome when a chemist used diethylene glycol as a solvent unaware that DEG is poisonous to humans and thus resulted in the death of over 100 people. After this incident, many felt the need to have tighter regulations on drug testing and manufacturing and thus increased and strengthened the reach and responsibility of the FDA.
As a budding pharmacist, I found this book fascinating and interesting. As a reader, I enjoyed the story telling and I was compelled to learn more about the progression of our successes and failures in medicinal science.
Just a side note, there are many drugs today that we don’t know the exact mechanism of action. However we are a lot more knowledgeable than we were in Domagk’s time; and hopefully 80 years from now, that generation will say the same about us. Finding our drug research in the fields of genomic pharmacology or biopharmaceutics primitive and yet enlightening.
Even though I've been married to my soul mate for nearly ten years, I found this book insightful and interesting. I received a copy of this book for free from audible.com during a Valentine's day promotion and having no previous knowledge of the book, I expected it to be more of a scientific approach to relationships based on the title. However, this book was more of a self-help book rather than a dissection of the psychological workings of how and why we chose the partners we do. Just to be upfront, I haven't read very many self-help books (less than a handful, if that) and even less regarding relationships (this is my first on the subject) so my knowledge is limited. That being said, I liked that the authors broke relationship personalities into anxious, avoidant, and secure rather than men versus women. The information they presented was clear and made a lot of sense. The book goes through the three different relationship personalities and explains their strengths and weaknesses. It also describes which one is more compatible with the other and why, as well as which one generally gravitates to the other and why. They give suggestions on what to do in certain circumstances and what to expect and they provide these explanations with helpful scenarios that engage the reader.
From the length of the book, I did wonder "could it be that simple" and I think the answer is yes and no. Readers may find it helpful to obtain additional reading on the Attachment theory for an in depth knowledge on the subject, however I believe this book provides a great foundation for romantic relationships especially for those who aren't as intuitive when it comes to their significant other. I would recommend this book to anyone in a relationship or looking to be in one. This can save you a lot of time and heartache in the end, however I realize it is always easier said than done.
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