Indianapolis, IN, United States | Member Since 2008
The character of Maggie Concannon is a bit abrasive, but it's part of the defense she has put up around her heart. Rogan Sweeney is a strong, stubborn man. Their story makes for a wonderful trip to County Clare, with side trips to Dublin, Paris and the South of France. The discriptions of the country and personalities of the background characters add to the believablility of the story. This is the first in the Born In trilogy, and these characters show up in all 3 books.
I read the trilogy in print first. Probably 5 times each, in some cases back to back to back. The listen is even more enjoyable because the narrator is able to capture the accents and cadences of the speech of Ireland so well (or at least as I remember hearing them when I visited).
Genre: Steampunk romance
I am really loving this world created by Meljean Brook. The intersection of adventure, romance, alternate history, and a bit of sci-fi is just fascinating to me. She is so consistent with details across books that you don't stop and say "huh?" at any scenes. Her mention of characters from previous stories set in this world are a nice touch without those characters overshadowing the action.
Speaking of action -- Archimedes Fox has figured, in a minor way, in the previous books as an adventurer whose stories are serialized in the newspaper. Something like "Archimedes Fox and the Zombies of Zanzibar", or a title to that effect. Yasmeen, also a minor character in previous stories, is the captain of the airship Lady Corsair, and a mercenary. Her last meeting with Archimedes did not end well, and she's worried that he may seek revenge, or at least ask for her to return the very valuable artifact she had claimed as payment for his passage then. But he has decided to fall in love with her. She wants nothing to do with that because men have always tried to undermine her authority, and she fears that a strong personality like Archimedes will try the same. So... She agrees to return his artifact for the previously agreed upon 50%, plus what he owed her. However, before this can occur, Lady Corsair is attacked, her crew murdered, the ship destroyed, and the artifact stolen. This book is about finding out who ordered the deed and to seek revenge, as well as find the artifact. Adventure ensues.
As I said before, I like the world inhabited by these characters. As for the characters, I like them too. Yasmeen is such a hard-ass, you almost wonder why Archimedes wants her. Archimedes has issues with his past that he deals with by affecting a devil-may-care attitude. But as the story progresses, we see behind the masks these two characters wear, and we see them grow, both as individuals as well as interpersonally. Secondary characters are interesting in that they are written as multidimensional. Antagonists are not all evil, and none of the characters is all good.
Narration by Faye Adele was competent. Her pacing was excellent, and differentiation of characters was good. However, differentiation of genders was not great. And then there were the accents... Some of the characters had Irish accents - sometimes. There was a lack if consistency in that area. But, overall, the narration was pretty average.
In the world Ms Brook built, there are 3 types of people: Buggers are the descendants of the people who were unable to leave England before the invasion by the Mongol Hoard. They were infected with nano agents, or bugs, which allowed them to be controlled by the Hoard - what they did, what they felt, even with whom they mated. They now have self-determination due to the overthrow of the Hoard. Bounders are the descendants of the people who fled England and are now returning to claim their ancestral titles, lands, and ruling seats. Mongrels are the product of a forced mating between a Bugger and an agent of the Hoard. So... Rhys Trehearn is a former pirate who freed England by destroying the control tower. He was pardoned and made the Duke of Anglesley (AKA the Iron Duke), and is much beloved by the people. Even though he was made a peer of the realm, he's still pretty much uncivilized. Mina Wentworth is a Detective Inspector who is the Mongrel daughter of a Countess and a Hoard agent, though she was adopted by her mother's husband and raised at home, rather than being left in a state-run orphanage. She has to put up with a lot of prejudice and hostility due to her racial background. When a body is dropped on the Iron Duke's doorstep, Inspector Wentworth goes to investigate. And so begins the tale which covers England, Europe, and the Ivory Coast, as well as the ocean in between. There are steam-powered cars and trains, airships, and sailing ships. And zombies. A very interesting world, indeed. Aside from the very engaging primary and secondary characters, the plot includes mystery, adventure, political intrigue, and sexual and romantic tension. I love this book!
The narration by Faye Adele is fair. Her male voices aren't the best, but differentiation of characters is excellent and the accents are great.
Overall, this was a wonderful use of time and money.
Elena Klovis (AKA Ella Cinders) misses her chance at Prince Charming because he's only 6 years old. It looks like she'll live out her days as the abused servant to her wicked step-mother and selfish step-sisters. But they skip town on their creditors, leaving Elena behind. The creditors take everything left in the house, so Elena decides to try to find a job serving in someone else's household. But no one will hire her because, by law, as an un married woman she still belongs to her step-mother. Along comes her fairy godmother, who takes her on as an apprentice. And so follows a retelling of some fairy tale traditions.
The biggest problem with this book is that the author felt the need to explain and define every little thing. It was almost like she thought her readers had never been exposed to fairy tales, so she needed to explain how they work in order to diverge from the form. I skipped a two hour block and felt like I missed nothing. I also checked FB, caught up on GR, and referred to my Audible wish list while I was listening. I listened with "half an ear" and still understood what was going on.
Narration was average. There was a bit of over-emoting, but it's a fairy tale so perhaps understandable. I had heard this reader's narration of the Sophie Katz mysteries and enjoyed her performance. Sometimes a narrator can't really switch between genres, but I think Ms Zackman was able to do so.
I got this on sale, and I suppose it was worth the money. Not so much the time.
Setting: 1858 London
Lady Grace has seen her 6 younger sisters wed to the men of their choosing. Now she wants to avoid marriage to a hypocritical, sanctimonious, perverted man by being able to tell him she's not a virgin. She hopes to return to the country and just run her father's household (but who do you suppose set her up to marry the perv?) Vincent has already lost 2 wives in childbirth and has vowed to never marry and condemn another woman to a similar, agonizing death. Grace goes to a brothel run by a childhood friend to get hooked up with a stranger to take her virginity, Vincent get's conned into doing the job, but then realizes Grace is no prostitute. He also realizes, the next morning, that he failed to take his usual method of birth control (damn that passion!). So the story is about the couple getting beyond the anger, fear, guilt, and despair, to love and their HEA. There are a couple of villains involved.
I wasn't able to get through the entire book. I skipped chapters at a time and didn't lose anything by it. You know how, back in the day, you could watch a soap opera for a while, leave it for a couple of years, and when you watch again not much has changed? Yeah, like that. The author was so heavy handed with the foreshadowing, there wasn't much tension. The characters were one-dimensional. This was a great premise poorly executed.
The narration probably made the whole experience much worse. Vincent sounded constipated, and Grace sounded insipid. Secondary characters, other than male/female pitch, sounded the same. And all of it was overwrought and melodramatic.
This was on sale and it was STILL overpriced.
Setting: NY, NY present day
Clare Cosi is a 39 year old New Jersey divorcee who has been lured back to manage The Village Grind, a coffee house in Greenwich Village. The day she moves into the apartment above the shop, she finds Annabel, the assistant manager, unconscious at the bottom of the basement steps. It is ruled an accident, but Clare believes otherwise. With the encouragement of the detective who was originally assigned to the case, Clare and her ex-husband Matt investigate. This is a continuing series, and a couple of characters I assume will be regulars were introduced into the story line, including Clare and Matt's daughter, and his mother.
The plot is entertaining enough, and the characters and their relationships are interesting. However, the minutiae about coffee and the different ways to prepare it got in the way. There was so much internal monologue, it felt as though Clare needed to be hurried along in what she was supposed to be doing.
The narration, by Rebecca Gibel, was passable. The accents were okay, but there were times when character differentiation was not as crisp as it should have been.
Overall, this was an average listen.
Setting: Present day AL
Genre: Romantic suspense
Sarah Stevens is a butler/bodyguard working for a retired judge. She foils a robbery and one of the detectives who comes to the scene is Thompson Cahill. They are attracted to one another, but each has a reason to avoid interpersonal relationships, so they go their separate ways. They meet again when Cahill comes out to investigate the murder of the judge. Sarah is under suspicion, but her name is soon cleared, leaving Cahill free to date her. They get involved, then her new employers get murdered, and Cahill is all like "what the heck? Is she a murderer? Did she fool me?" He has trust issues. There's suspense in the plot as in who's doing the killing and who will die next? Then there's suspense in regards to the relationship between Sarah and Cahill, after he gets all suspicious of her again, and she's all hurt about it.
I liked the plot because even though bits of it are through the villain's point of view, I didn't know who it was. I also liked the development of the relationship between Sarah and Cahill. Even though they were attracted, they didn't give in right away. Then they actually dated before they had "hot monkey sex" as Cahill calls it. The writing itself flowed well, without superfluous points just to make it longer. It was an enjoyable story, told well.
The narration by Susan Ericksen was great. The rhythm was good, and she did an excellent job with all types of characters - male, female, adult, geriatric. And she did so well with the villain with his quiet smoothness.
I definitely enjoyed the time I spent listening to this novel. It was not so suspenseful that it kept me awake, but it was interesting enough that I wanted to get right back to it in the morning.
Setting: San Francisco & Marin County (?), CA. Present day
Genre: Paranormal romance
I like Sophie Eastlake's narration of this series, and I imagine she would be as good reading any well-written book in this sub-genre.
Tess is a Human on the run from her former employer who is really, really mad at her for ruining his plan to fleece a Senator's son. So, even though she fears "monsters", she auditions to become a Vampyre's attendant. She gets hired by Xavier del Torro and spends the first half of the book being afraid of him. I wanted to slap her. You know, if you can't handle the requirements of a job, don't take it. It's like someone with acrophobia hiring on as a roofer. Anyway, Tess trains in all manner of martial arts and weaponry, and Xavier attempts to get her beyond her fear of giving blood in the Vampyre way - though she will allow it to be drawn medically. Tess' growth and the development of the relationship are satisfying, as is the plot. At the end, there's a set-up for the next novel and I'll be really upset if it isn't forthcoming soon.
Definitely worth the credit to add this to your series.
Setting: Bermuda, contemporary
This was a cute novella. I enjoyed the treasure hunt, the pirates, and the Peanut's adventures. It was fun to see Pia and Dragos in a less formal setting, and watch the Peanut explore his environment and find trouble - and discover that lizard tails are tasty.
Setting: Elven land of Numenlaur in the Otherworld, contemporary
Genre: Paranormal romance
Sophie Eastlake is a good narrator for this series. I think she's getting better as she goes along. She's good at carrying voices through the series. Dragos sounds like himself. Even Quentin, who was introduced in the first book of the series, still sounds like he did then. Good job, Sophie!
This was not my favorite book of the series. I didn't like Aryal in any of the previous books, and I didn't find her much of a sympathetic character in this one. I was neutral on Quentin at the beginning and pretty much felt the same way at the end. I do have to admit that the characters gained something over the course of the book. Aryal learned to see the Quentin who lived behind her prejudice and hatred. Quentin learned to accept the feral animal hiding behind his urbane persona and see Aryal as more than just a hateful woman. The plot involved these two enemies being assigned by Dragos to investigate what was happening in Numenlaur. What they see and find is mildly compelling, and the antagonist and her minions are nicely evil. As for it being kinked? Not so much.
This could be an interesting addition to the series, but if you skipped it, it really wouldn't matter.
Setting: New York and North Carolina, contemporary
Genre: Paranormal romance
Sophie Eastlake is a good narrator for this series. She's good at differentiating characters from one another, and she does male/female voices well. Her pacing is very good.
I liked this book better than the first 4. Lord's Fall gives more of the relationship between Pia and Dragos, and explores his challenges with dealing with others. He does have those personality issues. These are wrapped in a compelling plot that will keep you listening. It's an excellent addition to the series.
Definitely worth the credit.
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