This was an enjoyable book with likable characters and some humorous moments. The overall plot of "be my pretend fiance" is eye-rolling, but the author does manage to give that a new twist, so I went with it. The book isn't as sharp-edged, or as funny, as the first book in the series, but it also doesn't have characters I wanted to put hits out on. ;-)
It doesn't get a better rating because, all-in-all, not that much happens in the book and too much time is spent in the characters heads while they repeat the same thoughts over and over. So, a book worth the time, but not unique.
Narration on the audiobook is quite good.
Envy an amazingly well-crafted suspense story with a multilayer plot and perfect pacing. Sandra Brown creates a solid sense of place for every setting, whether it's a big city, a college frat house, Key West or an obscure Georgia island. The book consists of two story arcs that eventually intersect. One story arc starts with Maris, a publisher, tracking down a reclusive author. Parker Evans is the author who submits an unsolicited manuscript to her publishing house. The second arc is the book Parker is writing, titled "Envy." The intertwining of these two plots is well done, with Brown doling out the backstory contained in the manuscript in tantalizing installments. In addition to the mystery in Parker's book, there is intrigue and betrayal going on in the present day story of Parker, Maris, Maris's husband and her father. The twists and turns are wonderful and the timing is superb. Brown also manages to write a compelling romance, even with such unlikely circumstances.
Victor Slezak voices all the characters well, but he has a special knack for the southern accents of Parker and his assistant, Mike. Slezak's voice for Parker is deep, rough, and perfect. Slazek doesn't use a high voice for the female characters--no falsetto here-- but he still manages to soften his voice and differentiate between the genders with no problems. I can't think of any way to improve the narration of this book.
The narrator has a nice, strong voice and does a fine job with the story. I usually listen to audiobooks while I occupy myself doing chores or walking. However, this time I simply listened to the last 2 hours of the book while sitting quietly with my eyes shut. It was a great way to experience the story, being immersed in it. I felt the anxiety of both Linc and Daisy as they came to grips with their feelings while trying to understand what best to do about them. Linc turns out to be a great hero, and Daisy is equally wonderful.
This book is different than the other lighthearted contemporaries I've read by Jennifer Crusie, although Bet Me had some serious moments. The Cinderella Deal is certainly humorous, even laugh-out-loud at times, but the humor is laced with poignancy. This story about two mismatched people trying to work things out could have been simply another zany tale of opposites attracting, clashing, and finally getting it right. But for Linc and Daisy, getting it right was at times a painful experience. Both struggle with who they think they are suppose to be, and who they think the other person is. I've read several fun books with the basic "pretend fiance/spouse" plot line, but I've never gotten so caught up in the characters or their feelings. This book may be a fairly short, easy read, but it certainly has depth.
The audiobook is narrated by the talented Robert Petkoff. His voicing of the many accents and his ability to do both male and female characters well makes him a perfect choice for this series. He differentiates the characters very well, even when voicing two males with Slavic accents, or two Valkyrie sisters. His timing and inflection when reading dialogue is excellent. He delivers humorous lines with the right "punch" and is good at knowing just the right inflection needed for the context. My only caveat, and this is a small one, is that the love scenes are delivered a little too dramatically for my tastes, and Kaderin sometimes ends up sounding too breathy. Overall, however, this is an enjoyable story made even better by an excellent narration.
I'm so glad I listened to the audiobook instead of reading the book. While I would have liked the book in print, I can't help but think the narrator increased my enjoyment quite a bit. Narrator Laura Lefkow's unusual delivery worked perfectly for the heroine. The reader felt the distracted way Sweeney's mind worked, complete with her vagueness and social unease. It was very well done.
Although I figured out the killer early on, I still enjoyed the mystery. The characters, from Sweeney and Richard to the secondary characters, like the police detectives, were well fleshed out and enjoyable. The dialogue was well written and made sense, something I always appreciate!
Beautiful writing, clever dialog, great story and well-developed characters--everything you can expect from a Bujold book. Add Gardner's excellent narration, and you have an unbeatable combination. I enjoyed this book even though I haven't read any of the Vokosigan books except Shards of Honor, which was also incredibly good. I will be going back now getting the entire series.
This is a difficult book for me to rate. For much of the story, I was uncomfortable with the actions of both lead characters. I was also frustrated by their lack of communication. As the story unfolds, you understand the characters better, and even sympathize, but both Whitehorse and Leah are very flawed and stubborn individuals and not always likeable.
Johnny Whitehorse, as introduced in the beginning of the book, is selfish and opportunistic. His relationship with Delores is self-serving (for both) and put me off. The entire restaurant scene with Delores and Johnny, and Leah and her date is weird and unsettling. And I guess that's the watch-word for the entire book: it's unsettling.
Sutcliffe gets on a few soap boxes during the novel, mostly about the plight of Native Americans and the needs of children with cerebral palsy. The monologues are informative and even moving, but feel forced.
My last complain is the abrupt ending of the book. I'm not a big epilogue fan, but there is absolutely no denouement after the final climatic scene.
On the plus side, the writing is excellent, and the author does an marvelous job giving the reader a sense of time and place. The descriptions were detailed without being wordy, drawing the reader into the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions. The main characters, while not always likeable, are very real, flaws and all. Some of the best scenes in the book are between Leah and her son--very beautifully done.
Kate Reading's narration is excellent!
The world-building was interesting and well done. After finishing the book I do have some questions about the psy-net, but overall the descriptions and explanations for the world were excellent. Lucas and Sascha were likeable, well-drawn characters who grew and developed as the story moves forward.
I had a few, albeit minor, problems with the story and the writing. For one, the author tends to be repetitive. The reader endures Sascha thinking about her brokenness and the possibilities of death or rehabilitation a couple of dozen times, for example. Of more import was the conclusion of the suspense plot toward the end. Without giving spoilers, I can only say it was less than satisfying for the majority of the action to take place "off camera." The summary of events felt like an afterthought. I'm assuming the fall-out from that event will be part of the successive stories of this series.
The narrator, Angela Dawe, has a curious lack of tonal inflection in her delivery (she rarely drops her voice at the end of sentences) which took some getting used to. However, her character voices are excellent and I never thought "Oh, that's a woman reading a man's part." Overall 4 star narration.
This is a very difficult book for me to rate. On one hand, Singh has written a complex world and a multi-layered plot. On the other hand, there were many repetitive phrases and thoughts, especially in the first half of the book, that got old. On top of that, the book is stuffed full of really sick torture and scenes of cruelty.
So, while I appreciate that Singh can be a creative and skilled writer, I do not enjoy her characters or her stories. There was no one to like in these books, except perhaps Elena and a few of her Guild friends. The angels and vampires, especially the archangels, are almost without redeeming features. They are casually cruel, jaded, careless of life, and after centuries of living, need ever increasing stimuli to feel anything, making them especially prone to torture for pleasure.
The slow reveal of Elena's nightmare was disturbing and revolting. Really, there wasn't much to like here, at least not for me.
I will not continue with the series. I was very tempted to give this 2 stars, but will concede 3 stars based on the quality of writing...or the potential, for I felt like Singh wasted pages on repetition in this book.
The narrator, Justine Eyre, is quite popular, but her voice and delivery didn't work for me. The entire book is delivered in an emotionless, almost monotone, voice. I can understand using that voice for the angels, especially the archangels, but not for Elena or even the vampires. Eyre does distinguish well between the characters, but they all had the almost identical flat tone.
There was nothing and no one in this story to make the reader actually care. Juliana is, in a word, pissy. Webster is appealing except for this one huge lapse in judgement--for some unknown reason he falls head-over-heels in love with Juliana--who, as I think I mentioned, is pissy.
Then there is the part at the end where I think she makes him grovel way too much.
I generally like Brockmann's non-Troubleshooter books, but this was a general fail for me.
I've listened to Patrick Lawlor perform several audiobooks in the past and I like his voice and delivery. I particularly enjoyed his reading of Brockmann's Infamous. In this case he didn't have much to work with. I do think his delivery of love scenes to be a bit too enthusiastic. A more subtle approach would make the scenes more sensuous
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