**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.
You know when you pick up a book with zero expectations and get blown away when you read it? This is one of those books for me. I had not read anything from this author and knew nothing of the series and now the series and the author is on my "favorite" list.
The main characters bring on the tension and angst, but they also bring the funny banter, charm, and sweet romance. Percy is adorable- headstrong and loyal, so much so, that she would risk facing the devil himself to try to save her brother from ruin. She is a genuinely good person with inclinations to adventure and mystique which, in her opinion, make for titillating writing inspiration. Gavin is a historical bad boy with enough brains to have propelled himself into building a fortune. He has a sordid past and holds a fierce grudge. So, when he realizes that Percy can be a pawn in his scheme for revenge, and a tempting little minx to boot, he feels like he'll finally have his cake and eat it too.
This book has all the components I enjoy in a romance novel: well developed characters, witty banter, smoking hot love scenes, and a tight over-arching plot to move the story along.
This was the first book I read in the series and I did not find myself lost or wondering. I have since devoured the rest of the books in the series that are available in audio form and I can say that they can be stand alone books.
Narrator Erin Mallon
Excellent narration. Great tone, pace, and distinction. I enjoyed listening to this through headphones and through the speakers in my car.
Hot, identical twins pining for the same female?
You caught my attention.
Witty banter, likable/interesting characters, tension, and then release?
I'm still listening.
Twist at the end with a mild cliffhanger?
Alright, I'll buy the next book.
I was entertained the entire read. It is an easy CR with some funny dialogues and palpable chemistry between the characters. Bad boys? I guess that would be subjective, but the real reason we love dominant male characters in romance novels is that we truly want to tame them - well to a certain extent.
Narrators: Kate Rudd, Benjamin L. Darcie
There are two narrators for this audiobook as the POV changes from Olivia to Cash and to Nash. Both narrators do a great job with tone, pitch, and pace. The also are great with character distinction and consistency which makes for an enjoyable listen.
I got it, I'm not looking for intellectual conversations when I used- scratch that- wasted a credit to purchase this on audible. I mean, the cover tells me exactly the sort of genre I'll be "reading." However, the raving reviews led me to believe this book was going to be awesome. The story was interesting enough, but the inconsistency in the paranormal aspects were a let-down. Now, I'm not looking for doctorate-level biochemistry within the pages. In fact, with as much science as I'm exposed to on a daily basis, I truly read for fun. The plot just needs to tighten up a bit. The dialogues in this are also dim-witted and dry. They actually go from bearable to ridiculous as the story progresses. Also, the circumstances and the actions of the characters are so unbelievably moronic that I had to keep pausing the recording because I was getting overly frustrated with the story. I persevered on, but I did listen/read not one, not two, not three, but four audios and two e-books in between finishing this book. The bedroom scenes were there (many, in fact), but without the connection with the characters, they may as well have been buttering toast, I was so unaffected.
I did give the book two stars because there are characters that were interesting in the story, but if the subsequent novels are anything like this one, then I probably won't pick another one up.
Narrator: Vanessa Chambers
Played at 1.5x the speed and the narration pace was perfect. Any slower than that and the story dragged even more. The narrator did a decent job with the narration, ensuring each character was distinct from the next. Her pitch was good and the flow of her speaking was agreeable.
I received the audio version for free in exchange for an honest review, specifically regarding the narration.
Revolving around an old Russian teapot, the story unfolds and you realize there is more than just the fruition of romance between the main characters, Maddy and Aidan. This book is about the relationships that didn't work, the love between a parent and child, the blossoming of young love, and the realization of love lost. I have to say, this is not my usual romance (I lean more towards the spicier novels), but I enjoyed listening to the story and seeing it unfold. There are breadcrumbs sprinkled about the story to help keep the reader engaged and a bit of magic to help bring the novel together in the end. Although I didn't really like the main female character because I thought she was immature at times, it wasn't a huge detriment because of an array of other likable characters in the novel.
What makes this romance different than others I have read is that the characters' personalities are both shown and told. You are given reasons for their current state of mind and then shown the effects of those events and their progression. Additionally, although this book lacks the heat [in the bedroom] than the other books I tend to read, this book is not timid. The characters curse in this book, and (not that I advocate for swear words) it made the story feel more authentic.
Narrator: LC Kane
Kane did a fantastic job with this reading. Her voice is almost melodic and sweet which fit well with the story and the characters. She had great character distinction, so I knew exactly who was speaking during the dialogues. Her pitch and tones were perfect and I didn't have trouble with switching from speakers to earphones (sometimes if the narrator varies their pitch too much, I have to frequently adjust the volume because it hurts my ears). Also, she did a great job with intonations during a dialogue, not over-dramatizing the scene, but giving it more than if it was read without.
Main characters: Leo Alvarez & Faith
Faith: A Night Angel, which is a powerful paranormal being who rescues Jackson and goes on the journey with Leo to help save Jackson's life.
Leo: Human male and adoptive sibling to Jackson and Docia, he is unable to reconcile the fact that Jackson and Docia are hosts to body walkers. He feels hatred against nonhuman beings, but his loyalty to Jackson and Docia and his integrity to help those in need wars with him and he is unable to walk away.
This book picks up right where the last book leaves off. Leo is now safe from the continuous torture he endured at the hands of the Templars, however, he is battling immediate prejudice against all nonhuman beings. When he comes face-to-face with Faith, he is rude and harsh in his accusations even as he is attracted to her. Faith is intuitive to Leo's thoughts and her attraction to him confuses her. Her kind generally doesn't get involved in the war against the Templars and the Politics, but she understands the stakes and helps with finding a way to save Jackson/Menes against an even greater threat than the previous nemesis (even as the body is the same).
What does this book have?
This book is a signature Frank novel, but without the cohesive construction of the plot. The journey the main characters take lead them to a fork in the road where they must decide between a rock and a hard place. This seemed gimmicky to me and down-graded the romance from naturally flourishing to characters fulfilling fate. Without giving too much away, this book is a good continuation of the series, but is not a favorite and will be a forgettable one, IMO. Frank is a talented writer in how she spins a romance tale- sexy, sensual, and with a lot of worthy undertones, however this book just lacked the paranormal magic that I'm used to in Frank's novel. I will be continuing the story because I have read every novel in this series and the other spin-off series and I am hoping to see more of the other beloved characters in this paranormal world.
Narrator: Xe Sands
Consistent in tone and volume. I listened while in the car, through the speaker in my portable device, and through earphones and had no trouble with the narrator's pitch or volume.
Genre: Historical Romance
Main characters:Victor Cale & Isabel Mertens
Isabel: She is meek during the first chapter in the book (when she and Victor first marry), however after years of fending for herself, she has grown a spine and has made a comfortable living with her talents as a jewelry maker.
Victor: In the first book, he finds that he is cousin to a Duke and is now considered a peer. However, his life spent as a working-class citizen makes him uneasy to the privileges and expectations of the upper-class.
Newly weds, Victor leaves his wife, sick in bed, with a promise to return once his shift as a security guard is over. When he comes to collect his wife, he finds she has deserted him. Years later, Victor has not forgotten his missing bride and her deception. When a case surfaces regarding a viscount(?) interested in an older lady who fits Isabel's description, Victor follows the lead and comes face to face with his wife.
What does this book have?
I loved the first book in the series because I enjoyed the banter between the main characters. This book didn't hold the same awe for me and I found it to be okay. What does set this book apart is that the main characters were already married and have spent the majority of their married life apart. They were married young and didn't fully understand each other. When they come together, they are matured and experienced in life and are able to appreciate the better qualities in each other. Although there is resolution to the romance (and a twist in the tale to add to the story), I felt it could have been done better. Overall, I anticipate the next installment as it revolves around Tristan and Lady Zoe and as brief an exchange as these two had in this book, it promises to be feisty and rude with lots of fun banter.
Narrator: Corrie James
Consistent narration with good character distinction and accents. Her pace was good and the tone and volume of the narrator's voice was steady and clear.
Main characters: Cat Crawfield (*ahem, Russell) & Bones (Crispin Phillip Arthur Russell)
The last installment in the Night Huntress series, Cat and Bones are fighting their biggest battle ever. After months of calm, they find an undercover mission that could start an all-out war between ghouls and vampires. Each time they uncover a lead, it only brings them closer to danger.
What does this book have?
Freaking everything! Frost pulls out all the stops in this book and it is probably one of the best PNR books that I have read in awhile. To fully appreciate this book, you need to have read the previous books in the series and it would help to have read the spin-off books (Night Huntress World and Night Prince series, both have two books) because nearly everyone you've previously met plays a part in this fantastic read. Frost comes full circle, giving us glimpses of the first time Bones and Cat met and their adventures along the way. This book is nonstop action filled with gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and breathless moments. Bones and Cat shine in this book along with many of the characters fans love in the series. Ian is larger than life in this book and I hope he gets his own tale (please, please, please!). Lots of twists and turns in the plot that I don't want to spoil for anyone even if you like spoilers! A must-read that you will find occupies your mind even after the credits roll.
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Tavia has read for all of Frost's books (thank you) and as a listener who values consistency in character distinction, I appreciate it a lot. Tavia is perfect for this series. She delivers the lines with enough emotion to add to the scene, but doesn't bog it down to the point of awkwardness.
Genre: Historical Romance
Main characters: Joan Bennet and Tristan Burke
Joan: Independent and willful, Joan is a wallflower, rejected by society because of her fierce tongue and common beauty. She finds pleasure in reading scandalous pamphlets that depict the life of a wanton woman who is unafraid of society's expectations of a female.
Tristan: Wealthy and handsome, his flaws can be attributed to the fact that he grew up without a home. Orphaned as an infant and sent to live with an aunt and uncle who tolerated his presence, he is unaccustomed to upper class behaviors.
Joan runs into Tristan, a long time friend of her brothers and is taken aback by his ungentlemanly-like ways. When her brother ask that Tristan look after Joan when a family crisis arises, it forces Joan and Tristan to spend more time than they would like with each other leading ultimately to their HEA.
What does this book have?
This book is a sweet romance with some naughty parts. The thing I enjoyed about this book is that the romance was bearably slow, making it believable and the interaction between the main characters was entertaining. I liked the way Tristan kept calling Joan "the fury," because of her sharp tongue and quick temper. I also liked that Joan realized she liked the rough edges of Tristan and not a polished bore. Overall, this book was fun to listen to because I could let it be while I mentally unplugged from my day. If I drifted, no problem, I can pick up where I left off without missing a beat.
Narrator: Veida Dehmlow
Great job with accents and characters distinction. The pace was perfect while I listened at 1.25X the speed. I found the narrator's volume consistent and easy to listen to in the car and with headphones.
Genre: Erotica Sci-fi Romance
Main characters: Megan and Ice
Megan: Human female who monitors the workings of a whorehouse located in space. Although against the rules, she secretly watches Ice and his sexual antics and fantasizes about him. She is intelligent and caring and becomes protective of Ice.
Ice: Male Cyborg who frequents the whorehouse and is, unknowingly, the star in a human woman's fantasy. He has a dominant personality and exhibits a kind heart.
Megan can admire from afar, but when a drunken captain smashes his ship into the floating whorehouse, she must find a way to escape death by exploding spaceship. As fate would have it, Ice and his other cyborg friends attempt to save as many sex-bots as they can (they have monetary value if returned as well as, well, other positive attributes *ahem* while in the cyborgs care). Megan runs into them, pretending to be an android so she can be saved as well (she believes cyborgs will kill a human on sight). Because Megan is a girl who makes the best out of any situation, she reprograms the sex-bots to respond to any of the other cyborgs except Ice, leaving herself to be the only one able to service him.
What does this book have?
The plot thickens and is more developed with this installment. The main characters are both under the impression that they are fooling the other, but it's no surprise that they end up falling for each other. This story is as fast-paced as the first (I skipped books) and the sex scenes are just as smoking hot.
As a series, the previous characters are mentioned, however, if there is interaction, it is minimal. I think these books could be read out of order. The advantages to reading them in order is that the events of each book overlap. So the ending of one book, told from the POV of the main couple in that book, is then revisited in the beginning of the next and told in the POV of the new couple. Additionally, like any other series, you are introduced to the characters in the previous books so it helps the reader understand that character more when their book comes around. Lastly, you get a better foundation of the world in which the series is written in. That being said, if you didn't read one installment the next one will introduce the events and you won't be lost. Also, from the story, you can deduce what the world is like as the writer does a good job of mentioning it with out belaboring the idea.
Narrator: Mindy Kennedy
I like the consistency in the narrator and this narrator does a good job. She reads the human characters with an American accent and the cyborg characters along with other mechanical voices without emotion. I listened through my car speakers and with headphones and found her voice transitioned nicely to both.
Genre: Erotica Sci-fi Romance
Main characters: Mira and Flint
Mira: Human female, she is strong-willed, but it is directed at ensuring a monogamous relationship more than anything else.
Flint: Male Cyborg and captain of the Star. He is highly dominant and very possessive.
In some alternate time and space, humans created cyborgs to be stronger and more resilient than themselves. However, humans didn't factor in the probability that cyborgs would become sentient beings, demanding autonomy and equality. Instead of receiving such, cyborgs were ticketed to be exterminated. Some cyborgs escaped that fate, however, and they formed a society of their own on a planet similar, in atmosphere, to earth. Unfortunately, their race is low on females and when Flint sees Mira and is instantly attracted to her, he takes her for his own in hope that he may form a family unit with her.
What does this book have?
You have to take this book at face-value. There isn't any complex sci-fi plot happening here. The story is a romance with a twist in that the main female is kidnapped and forced into a relationship with the main male, but the story is not as rigid as that. Mira takes the idea of being kidnapped, forced into a marriage, and taken away from her home rather well. The thing she is not okay with is sharing her man (to each his own, I say). The story is quick-paced and interesting enough to keep the reader engaged and the bedroom scenes are smoking hot. The cyborgs take things literally when said and that made for entertaining dialogues between a human and cyborg.
I started this book because I thought the concept was interesting and I read the reviews that suggested reading the books in order. After reading this book, then jumping to the fourth book, and then the fifth book, I would disagree that this series needs to be read in order. The advantages to reading them in order is that the events of each book overlap. So the ending of one book, told from the POV of the main couple in that book, is then revisited in the beginning of the next and told in the POV of the new couple. Additionally, like any other series, you are introduced to the characters in the previous books so it helps the reader understand that character more. Lastly, you get a better foundation of the world in which the series is written in. That being said, if you didn't read one installment the next one will introduce the events and you will not be lost. Also, from the story, you can deduce what the world is like as the writer does a good job of mentioning it with out belaboring the idea.
Narrator: Mindy Kennedy
Great job with the narration. The narrator reads the characters with an American accent and she also reads the Cyborgs or any of the mechanical voices appropriately, i.e., with a lack of emotion. I listened through my car speakers and with headphones and found her voice transitioned nicely to both.
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