Indianapolis, IN, United States | Member Since 2015
Funny, light, and sexy.
The other two books in the trilogy. Listen to them in order to better see character developmemt through the books.
Good character differences in vocal tone. I didn't have to wait for the phrase about who said the line. I wasn't distracted from the story, but rather pulled in by the performance.
The characters were great, the storyline believable, and the performance was very easy to listen to.
Setting: Bayou Breaux, Louisiana, contemporary
Sheriff's Deputy Annie Broussard is very ambitious, with the goal of becoming a detective. She's a very by-the-book and idealistic officer. She is the only female who has patrol duty. Needless to say (but I will), she has to deal with the "boys will be boys" sh*t. She lives in the apartment over the corner store her foster family owns. They fostered her after her mother committed suicide when she was nine. Long story. Anyway, while out on patrol, she finds the mutilated body of a well-known woman from Bayou Breaux.
Sheriff's Detective Nick Fourcade transferred to Bayou Breaux from New Orleans after allegations of planting evidence in a murder investigation. He has a baaaad reputation for his explosive, violent temper. After moving back to the area (he grew up there), he has been trying to get In touch with himself through eastern philosophy (I think a little Xanax added to the routine would have helped). So, he's a cross between centered zen and paranoid maniac.
Everyone at the Sheriff's Office is a mite dissapointed when murderer Marcus Renaude (spelling?) is released on a technicality. A ring found in a drawer during a search was ruled inadmissable. Nick was accused of planting the evidence.
The evening after the ruling, Nick ended up beating the crap out of Renaude. Annie stopped him from committing murder and placed him under arrest. Nick was suspended and Annie became persona non grata with her co-workers. Of course there's an attempt at cover-up, asking Annie to lie, and etc.
Annie has followed the case on her own time, and now she wants to help solve the case (again, on her own time). Unfortunately, Nick has all the notes. Nick wants to solve the case too and they end up working together. Relationships are explored.
I enjoyed the mystery/thriller, but there was a lot of confusion. There was too much time spent on a tangent in the plot and not enough looking at relationship dynamics, and I'm not talking about just Nick and Annie. We learn a lot about Annie's background, but very little about Nick's. I mean, people aren't born angry and violent. The mystery itself keeps you guessing to the end about who committed the murder. Was it Renaude or someone else?
The audio portion is wonderful. It was the author's dialogue, but Karen Peakes hit most of the accents. I've spent extended visits in Lafayette, and most of the people sounded similar to what Peakes delivered.
3 1/2 stars. Above average, but not a book I'll gush about
Setting: London, England
Genre: Victorian Romance/mystery/suspense
Things I liked about this book: I found both female and male protagonists likeable. Ursula Kern is the owner of the Kern Secretarial Agency which provides trained typist/stenographers to individuals. After being widowed and left destitute, she took a job as a companion in a wealthy household. After a scandal in the household, she left her position, re-invented herself, and opened the agency. Aside from her employees, she has no friends or family. She's independent and intelligent. I like that she doesn't default to damsel in distress around men. Slater Roxton is the acknowledged bastard of an actress and a nobleman. He is an archaeologist, but after a harrowing incident on an archaeological mission, he quit to become a recoverer of stolen artifacts. His late father made him trustee of the Roxton estate and guardian of the heir and spare so, due to these responsibilities, he has to give up artifact recovery. He isn't one of those "I can do it better because I have a penis" type of heroes. I found the basic plot enjoyable as well. One of Ursula's employees was found dead. The police said the death was from natural causes, but Ursula believes it was murder, and she thinks it is connected to Ann's assignment working for Lady Fullbrook. She left a one sentence long note in her unique shorthand which led Ursula to Ann's jewelry, steno notebook, and some seeds. Whodunit and why? The answers are revealed over the course of the book.
What I didn't like: There were a couple of tangents that didn't contribute to the forward motion of the plot. They weren't detailed enough to count as subplots. Just episodes that added nothing to the story. There was a secondary character introduced who brought nothing to plot development. Who he is and what he does could be omitted entirely and it would not affect the story at all. This is aside from the characters in the tangents mentioned.
As for the narration, Louise Jane Underwood did a fair job. The only problem I had was the working class accent she gave to Lord Fullbrook's American business partner. Sure, he was a criminal, but it would make more sense that an English nobleman would partner with someone of a higher class. There is nothing in the story indicating that he was of a much lower social position to Fullbrook.
Setting: 1787, 1800 England
Genre: Georgian romance
I kind of fluctuated between a 4 and 5 with this, but I went with a 5 because despite any problems I found, it's still on my re-read list.
This is an author who loves all the characters in her books, so the reader loves them too (even the villains most of the time). This book is no exception.
Mia is a wildly successful novelist (using a pseudonym) and well-off in her own right. She needs to get married within a year of her brother's death in order to maintain a presence in her nephew's life. Unfortunately, the year is almost up and her eminently suitable fiancé has jilted her on their wedding day. She goes to Evander Brody, the Duke of Pindar, to convince him enter a marriage of convenience, with annulment or divorce after 6 months. He isn't willing, so she shows him incriminating evidence that would cause him to lose everything. Thus persuaded, he agrees, with the proviso that the marriage will be permanent, and he will spend only 4 nights per year in her bed, and only when she begs.These characters have opposing views of marriage, related to events in the past. Vander wanted to put off marriage for as long as possible and disregard love altogether. Mia had always dreamt of a marriage in which love could grow. This isn't the ideal situation for either. Both characters have personal problems. Vander seems to lack social confidence and Mia lacks self-esteem because she doesn't meet the ideal for beauty. The secondary characters of Vander's uncle, and Mia's nephew are delightful, bringing non-gratuitous levity to the story but their roles are also intrinsic to the plot.
Problems? Well, mainly it's the timing. Are these four days consecutive and immediately after the wedding? If so, we get the insta-love that irritates me in so many romances. And how is there time for the events with the jilter to occur? Another problem is that exciting scene toward the end. It is very rocky. Something unrelated was about to happen when, BAM! there was action! There was no lead up to it. It felt very disconnected.
Regarding the audio, it was a definite five star performance. Susan Duerden has never disappointed me, and I think she just gets better over time. I'm glad she has recorded all of Eloisa James' books. She's definitely in my top five.
Overall, this was a great 11 hours, during which I probably should have slept at least a little. Despite the problems I had with it, it's on the re-read list for when nothing else is cranking my tractor (in an "I've gotta read something" kind of way). Eloisa James is an auto-buy for me, and I was so happy to find it in my cloud.
Grrrr! Why can't I copy & paste from Goodreads?
3 1/2 stars as it's slightly better than average.
Setting: Scotland 1848
Though it isn't absolutely necessary to read the rest of the series, it's helpful to read the first generation book that is about this Cynster's parents (Scandal's Bride).
This is the first full length Cynster TNG (the next generation) novel. This one features Lucilla, the daughter of Richard Cynster and Catriona. She is apprentice to her mother, who is Priestess to the Lady of the Vale, a local deity who protects the estate which is, as far as I understood, the Vale itself. In this book we learn that the Carrick lands fall under the Lady's purview as well.
Thomas Carrick is the orphaned nephew of Manachan Carrick. He was raised from the age of 8 by both Manachan and Quentin Hemmings, his maternal uncle who is part owner of Carrick Enterprises in Glasgow. The uncles agreed that, as Thomas was the heir to his father's portion of the business, he would be educated in Glasgow, but spend school holidays with Uncle Manachan. Since he was 8, Thomas has had a plan for how his life would develop: education in business, work at Carrick Enterprises with his maternal relatives, marry an appropriate lady, and have a family. There is simply no place in his plan for Lucilla Cynster.
Lucilla, however, has plans that conflict with his. She has known for 10 years (since they met in the novella By Winter's Light when they were both 18) that Thomas would be her consort in the Vale, as her father is consort to her mother. And she's been waiting for him to come to her for every one of those 10 years. Although Thomas is attracted to Lucilla, he's been avoiding her to the point that he has not visited his family for the past 2 years. That's a pretty clear message, don't you think? Seems like The Lady could have lured a man who would accept his role before Lucilla was past prime child-bearing age. But no, it has to be Thomas.
A letter from a farmer on the Carrick estate expressing concern about seed delivery, then another letter from another concerning the illness of the Bradshaws, bring Thomas back to clan lands. He finds the family very ill and dehydrated, and his clan's healer dying in the kitchen. He sends to the Vale for a healer and Lucilla shows up. She discovers that the illness the family is suffering is not just a common stomach bug. She decides to stick around at Carrick Manor to find out what killed the healer and check on Manachan, who has been feeling poorly for the past year. There is a series of "accidents" that lead to the death of the healer's sister and threaten Lucilla. Thomas tells her to go home, but she refuses. Hey, she's willing to risk death to get Thomas in her clutches.
As you can probably tell, I don't like these characters. Lucilla is manipulative. Even though Thomas has told her his life plan, she disregards it and continues with her machinations. She doesn't come right out and tell him that she's known he was to be her consort for 10 years, but since he can refuse, she continues her manipulations . Thomas wants Lucilla physically, but is unwilling to pay the price. Does he reiterate his plan? No, that might bring the incentives Lucilla is doling out to a halt, and he really enjoys them. This goes further than the usual miscommunication trope that I'm not fond of, and there are scenes that border on the "stupid used as a plot device" which I hate even more.
The mystery of who is perpetrating the murders and the accidents that seem aimed at Lucilla is mildly interesting, but there's not even an allusion to it in the last quarter of the book until right at the end. Also, By Winter's Light was a sort of prologue to this book, but the Thomas in that book doesn't resemble the Thomas in this one. There are set-ups in that novella that didn't get follow up. And, as with many of Laurens' books, it could have been tightened up and a couple of hours shorter.
As for narration, Brenher is inconsistent, not so much from book to book in the series, He just doesn't have the range and pacing of some other narrators. Oh, and the accents! Every character spoke pretty much standard British English, even though all of them were born and raised in Scotland. Oh wait, I think a very minor character had a line or two, and he spoke with a country Scots accent.
Okay, I have a bit of a complaint about this series. Most of the books are from a male Cynster's point of view, so a male narrator is appropriate, perhaps preferred. [ I honestly have nothing against male narrators reading romance, nor females reading books with a major male point of view.] But with this series, it would have been so nice to have those books that have a female Cynster focus to have a female narrator. That's, I think, 6 books of the 21 in the series. It would have been a lovely difference. But that's just my opinion.
Setting: Alternate reality Houston, TX. Contemporary
Genre: Urban fantasy
This is the first in a new series and it's doubtful I will read further. The heroine, Nevada Baylor, is so whiney I just couldn't care about her. She's very frightened, and like an animal pushed into a corner, she lashes out. The hero, Connor "Mad" Rogan is much more likable, but he's nowhere near being three-dimentional either. And then there's the villain, Adam Pierce, who is a caricature of a spoiled rich kid who has stumbled into radical philosophy. He does things that move the story (very slowly) along, especially in the first half of the book. Then he takes a backseat and Nevada's low self-esteem and hostility become a sort of secondary villain. The plot centers on Adam's psychopathic actions and his family's desire to have him returned to the fold. MII, the company that holds the mortgage on Baylor Investigations, calls on Nevada to do this dirty little chore, because they are pretty sure it's impossible, but want to be able to tell the family that they put their best subsidiary company on the job. When she tries to refuse the job, MII threatens to call in the loan. She starts her investigation, then Mad Rogan gets involved because his cousin's son was involved with the first big crime Adam pulled, and he promised her he would find the kid. There's attraction between Nevada and Mad Rogan, but she's too scared to follow through on it. She is washy-washy on the whole issue of the attraction, and whether she will work with him. I spent a lot of the time listening to this book being pissed off at her. Whatever barriers she saw to working with him or following through on the mutual attraction, I could not see.
The plot moved very slowly, and the characters were so one dimensional and unlikable I'm surprised I was able to finish the thing. This is definitely not Kate Daniels - the attitude and humor are missing. I really think the authors should have let this idea germinate a while longer.
Renee Raudman gives an excellent performance, which is standard for her. I have no complaints about her work on this or any other book I've listened to.
Setting: St. Lucia, contemporary
Genre: romance, paranormal/sci-fi
Errrm.... Poor Christian. He didn't get a good story at all. Marguerite Argeneau Notte meets Carolyn Connor at the resort where she and her husband, Julius are honeymooning. Marguerite recognizes that Carolyn is the life mate of her son Christian, so she arranges for him and his cousins to be the replacement band when the contracted band can't play. Carolyn is a 40 something soon-to-be divorced woman who is embarrassed by her attraction to Christian, who appears to be in his 20's. She tries to avoid him until his cousin tells her that Christian is gay and needs a "girlfriend" to hide his preference from the rest of his family. This will allow Carolyn to get to know him in a non threatening environment. Carolyn's most-used vocal response to anything directed at her is "errm" which makes her come across as intellectually challenged as well as socially inept. Truly, the witty dialogue is on holiday in this book. The whole story revolves around the guy getting the girl. There is no apparent sub-plot to provide tension, though at the end there is a disclosure that seemed to be apropos of nothing, because there were no clues that something was going on. The whole book is pretty flat. Even the critical revelation is "eh" . So I'm really disappointed for Christian and sorry I used a credit for this.
The narration of this book was at the high end of average, and better than most of the narrators for the other books in the series.
Setting : London 1825
Poor Iris. Of all the Smythe-Smith group, she had the roughest time getting to her happily ever after. First of all, she would forever associate meeting Sir Richard with the cacophony otherwise known as the annual Smythe-Smith musicale. He is in attendance for the express purpose of getting an introduction to her. He is in need of a wife in very short order, and he has heard that she is in desperate circumstances, as she is getting close to being on the shelf. She will accept his proposal of marriage with alacrity. Won't she? We're talking about the plainest of the quartet, and the one with the abrasive personality. Plus, there's not much of a dowry. But we're also talking about the girl with the ascerbic wit, who prefers to stand in the corner watching, observing the failures and successes of others. Hard to fool this lady. So after a week long courtship, when he asks for her hand and she asks for time, he compromises her. After the marriage, he takes her to his far-away estate and proceeds to confuse and hurt her, though he is kind and solicitous. Sir Richard has a secret he can't share with Iris just yet, because for a little while he want her think we'll of him. And he is sure that the revelation will make her hate him. There are points in the plot that bothered me, but since the lack of communication was central, I just had to get over that "why doesn't she" or "can't he" outlook. It never got to where the plot point made me think either character was TSTL.
The characters in this story are well rounded. Although both are likeable, they also have flaws. I will admit to never liking Iris through the other books in the quartet. That abrasive, acerbic personality was just not lovable. Quinn had a rough row to hoe to make this lady an appropriate heroine as far as I was concerned. Of course, the curiosity of how she would do this pushed me to want to listen. It turned out to be a nice story worth the time I spent with it.
Rosalyn Landor is one of my favorite narrators for this genre, though she does make me think of Lisa Kleypas. I had to remind myself a few times that I was listening to Julia Quinn. I guess it's because it seems that she has narrated every LK historical romance I have. Regardless of that, I enjoyed her performance of this book.
Overall, this is very worth the credit, with no qualifiers.
Setting: England and Italy - contemporary
Genre: Paranormal romance
This was a fun little paranormal romance, with lots of sex, mystery and suspense. The characters were close to fully fleshed out, and the plot was intricate without being confusing. This story is taking place at the same time as the book preceding. Marguerite Argeneau is on her first case as a trainee private detective with her trainer Tiny. Christopher Notte hired the pair to find out about his mother because his father won't tell him what he wants to know. There are murder attempts, and the mystery becomes who is trying to kill them and what is the connection to Christopher's mother. Margeurite and Tiny are joined by Christopher and his father, Julius. Julius wants to stay close to Margeurite because she is his true life-mate. The romance develops as the group follow the mystery. The mystery was interesting and compelling. I didn't figure it out until the last little bit of the story.
This was a fun story, and worth the time and money if you are reading the series.
Setting: Toronto, Canada
Genre: Paranormal romance
This is about a blood-thirsty vampire who faints at the sight of blood, and a psychologist who specializes in treating phobias. For her birthday Lissianna's mom kidnaps this guy, thinking he can cure her. Unfortunately, Lissiana's case isn't an easy one, so they keep him around longer than they planned, then they discover that he is her life-mate. Meanwhile, someone is trying to stake her.
This is an average story taken to a lower average by narration. Hey, I've discovered another name to my buy-the-Kindle-instead list. The best thing I can say about Victoria McGee is that her performance is uneven between books.
If you like light paranormal romance AND can deal with the narration, this is a good book, though you should get it on sale. On the other hand, if the story sounds good, get it from Kindle.
Setting: Los Angeles contemporary
Genre: Paranormal romance
This was a story about a vampire being hunted unsuccessfully by an unstable person, and a woman who was turned into a vampire against her will. The sanity-impaired guy keeps trying to kill Etienne who in a couple of instances shows up at the morgue for post-mortem examination. He heals himself before Rachel, the coroner on duty, can cut him in both cases. In the second episode, she saves her recently revived patient by taking an axe in the chest. She's dying quickly, so Etienne decides to change her into a vampire. The story revolves around catching the murderous flake, and Rachel dealing with her vampirism. There was no nail-biting suspense, but there were a few laughs. I did get pissed off at Rachel, because she was all up in arms about being changed against her will. What? She'd rather have bled out on the floor of the morgue? The story here was a high average if you like a light paranormal romance. Dracula this is not, so skip it if that is your preference.
The narration brought this to the high in average. Angela Dawe is uneven in her performances. Some are good, some not so much. This was one of the good ones.
In regards to this series, I do wish they'd find a good narrator and stick with her (or him) throughout. Ah well, that's not to be the case...
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