Indianapolis, IN, United States | Member Since 2008
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: Paris, France and Devon, England 1828
Kate Reading performed this book very well. Her vocal range is good, allowing for excellent differentiation between male and female, and each character has his or her own voice.
Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain is, by his own definition, a big, ugly brute. He knows he's ugly because his mother left when he was 8 years old, and he thinks it was his fault. He thinks that if he had been better, if he had been more lovable, she would not have left him behind. His father was a stern, cold man who offered no affection at all, and essentially abandoned him to school after his mother left. Sebastian has a sort of internal dictionary which helps him define people and events around him. When he meets Jessica Trent, he has to keep editing his dictionary because she is unlike any other female with whom he has associated. Jess is a 27 year old no-nonsense spinster who helped raise her brother and nine sons of cousins, so she knows how to deal with boys of any age. She is a strong willed, intelligent lady. But Sebastian does not like dealing with ladies. One of them had tried to trap him into marriage in the past,mso between that and his mother's abandonment, he has little respect for the species. He would rather deal with casual, purchased women, because they will hang around no matter how ugly he is. Jess sees Sebastian as a big, gorgeous, strong man. She hates that she is attracted to him at such a very animal level, but she can't seem to shake it. The attraction is mutual and, as they try to resist it, they become a spectator sport for the gossips of Society in Paris. Both Sebastian and Jessica have reputations to protect, and their attraction isn't helping.
The humor in this book is just wonderful. You will laugh at both situations and dialogue as you get to know these two, but you'll also feel for them as they work through their issues. There are no instances of gratuitous tear jerking, and the points of view stay mainly with the protagonists. There's also more show than tell in the writing style. I think that this is one of the best romances I've ever read. It could be used as an example for aspiring writers to study.
Definitely worth the credit.
Setting: England Prologue is 1834, otherwise 1848-49
Genre: Romantic suspense
Angele Masters provided a good performance of this interesting book, the third in the Fraternitas Aureae Crucis series. Her delivery was smooth and differentiation of characters was well-done.
Apparently, there is some sort of paranormal element to the series, but it wasn't really an important part of this book. I didn't listen to or read the first two but, except for some references and appearance of the main characters of the other books, this wasn't dependent on them for enjoyment.
The plot was interesting, with enough twists to keep you listening. The hero, Rance, was somewhat standard in that he was gorgeous, had a shady past, and is somewhat still a bit twisted. The heroine, Anisha, was a bit unusual, more exotic than the standard English rose. She is the daughter of a Scottish Company man living in India who married a native woman of high caste. She is also the widow of an Englishman (also with the East India Company) and has two sons from that marriage. The plot revolves around Rance and Anisha trying to clear his name and restore the family honor.
The book has a slow start as the author felt the need to explain how English and Scottish men would sometimes marry native women. I don't think that was necessary because we're smart enough, as readers, to get that. So, regarding the mystery/suspense, there are some events and people you need to keep straight in order to "get" it, but it's good nonetheless. And there is a strange obsession Rance has with a newspaper reporter that gets weird, especially when he gets introspective about it. But no worries, you'll get it, especially when you consider the spoils of war and the need men have in showing dominance.
Overall, worth the credit, whether you read the first two or not.
Setting: England 1788
Genre: Romantic Suspense/ paranormal
I continue to have the same problem with Ashford MacNab as I had in the previous book; an unfortunate lack in differentiating between characters.
The characters and main plot were interesting. We find the hero in a brothel where his friends have purchased him a virgin sacrifice fantasy prior to his betrothing himself to a wealthy heiress. He finds Penelope tied spread-eagle on the bed and feels an all-engaging lust for the first time in his life. He has approached all his previous liaisons with mistresses as simple exercises in meeting a biological need. She is there after being snatched off the street, and is high as a kite from the drug the madam gave her. She tries to tell him who she is and how she came to be there, but he doesn't believe it. Just as he is set to do the deed, her younger half brothers arrive to help her. So the plot revolves around finding out who snatched her, and what happened to the girl whose ghost she'd seen at the brothel. Overall, a better plot than the first book. A bit more suspense, but stretched out over a couple of sub-plots. Once again, there is very little to indicate the time period. If you've read Eloisa James' Desperate Duchesses series, you can tell how it could have been anchored in that era. The world-building is loose, as not many characters from the first book are brought into the story, but seems to getting better - though not as good as Julia Quinn's Bridgerton or Smythe-Smith world. Again, the book has several points of view, which can be disconcerting. There's a bit more paranormal, but not as much as I would like.
If you liked the first in the series, though they don't have to be read in order, you'll like this a tad bit more.
Setting: England 1788
Genre: Romantic suspense/paranormal
The narration by Ashford MacNab was at the lower end of average. There wasn't enough differentiation between characters, so it was difficult to tell who was speaking without going further into the sentence/paragraph to the he said/she said.. This took me out of the action enough for me to notice that. Since this story was told from several points of view, it was problematic.
Although this book was set in the Georgian period, there wasn't much to indicate it. There is mention of the men wearing their hair in queues and eschewing powder, but not much else to put the plot in that particular era. But the main characters, Chloe and Ashton, were engaging, and the general plot is interesting. The suspense was not, however, well-developed. There really wasn't all that much use of the paranormal in the development of the plot, which disappointed me. The world-building shows promise, with several secondary characters who are sure to show up as leads further into the series.
I don't know what other stand-alone or series books this author has written with suspense in mind, but I hope she gets better, or changes genre in this series to romantic adventure. I have either read or heard some of her Murray series, and they were better than average.
I would say that this book is worth the credit if you don't mind the growing pains, and if you are used to Ashford MacNab's narration. I was engaged enough with the characters that I purchased the second in the series.
Setting: London 1823
Performance was better than average. Emotions were well-expressed, though the range wasn't great. When the dialogue involved 3 or 4 women, it got a little difficult to differentiate, but I don't think many could have done it better, and many, many could do worse.
This novel is third person singular from the POV of both protagonists. Is it still third person *singular* if it comes from two points of view? I don't remember as school was a long time ago.
Lady Julianna Somerset is A Lady of Distinction, the London Weekly's gossip columnist. She is also the young widow of an unmitigated rake. At 17, she ran away to Gretna Green, wildly in love, only to have her dreams dashed almost immediately by her husband's drinking, gambling, and womanizing. To make it even worse, her late husband left the bulk of his estate to his mistresses and bastards, leaving Julianna a house and very small annuity, so she must work to survive. Can you say bitter and suspicious? Then there's Simon, Lord Roxbury, another unmitigated rake. Julianna, as the Lady of Distinction, saw Roxbury backstage removing men's clothes from someone. In her column, she wrote that though it was possibly an actress who had been dressed as a boy in the play, or could it be that, as he has gone through the ladies of London, perhaps he has now started on the men? This, of course, ruins his reputation, and no one will receive him. He goes to the newspaper office where he sees Julianna and figures out who The Lady of Distinction is. He knows he can ride out the scandal eventually (provided the gossips leave him alone), but his father has issued an ultimatum: marry within a month or lose everything. Angry with his father and perhaps more with Julianna, while drunk, he decides to serenade her all night with a bawdy song, and she shoots him, therefore having to bring him inside to treat his wound. She is ruined and no longer welcome in Society, so she loses her job.
The plot revolves around these two wary individuals: Simon, whose late brother told to "be your own man", and Julianna, who has lost the ability to trust and love. How can they get beyond their personal obstacles? The story is an interesting exploration of these two, and it is well done.
I believe it is worth the credit.
Setting: London and environs, 1799
Narration was great, because...Susan Duerden.
Tobias "Thorn" Dautry, the bastard son of the Duke of Villiers, is looking for a wife. He's made his choice, Laetitia Rainsford, a beautiful well-born lady. Now he just needs to get his new country estate in order. Lady Xenobia India St. Clair is the one to do just that. At the recommendation of his step-mother, Thorn hires her to do her magic in decorating, staffing, and organizing Starberry Court.
India, as she is known by family and friends, is smart, beautiful, and talented. Her talent for organization came out of a very disorganized childhood. She is the only child of a probably mad marquis and his wife, who were known for their flakiness. They forgot to pay bills, didn't keep a governess on an ongoing basis, and sometimes even forgot to feed their child. They died in a carriage accident when she was 15 years old, at which time India went to live with her godmother.
We met Thorn in A Duke of Her Own when he was a 12 year old mudlark. He was rescued from that life when his father took him away and installed him in his own. Thorn played a relatively large part in that book, as the Duke of Villiers tracked down all of his offspring. As a bastard, he had no place in society, so he became a man of business, buying and fixing factories. He wants a lady of the nobility as a wife so his children will have more consequence than he has.
This novel shows the growth of both characters over the course of the three weeks India is setting his household to rights, and through the house party to which his intended and her family have been invited. There are letters between the two that are quite amusing, as well as increasingly amorous face-to-face meetings. All of Thorn's plans are complicated by his gaining custody of the five year old daughter of his childhood friend Tom. While Thorn recognizes his friend in Rose, everyone else sees him in her gray eyes. So he has to keep Rose out of sight until he has Laetitia betrothed to him.
This is a most wonderful novel. The main characters are three dimensional and substantial. Thorn is as strong in character as he is physically. India is independent with the strength born of hardship. Laetitia is timid and agreeable, but with a growing sense of self. Laetitia's mother, Lady Rainsford, is a bit shallow, but that is appropriate for her. The plot is believable and compelling. It draws emotion out of you through both action and dialog.
This book is one I shall revisit in the future.
Setting: London, no date given, but sounds regency
Genre: Romance? Mystery? Depressing character study?
Narration wasn't bad. Average. I would not avoid a book because Rebecca Rogers read it, nor would I seek her out when I'm in an "I'm not sure" mood.
Ariadne "Aria" Whitney is the 20 year old daughter of a rich and famous antiquarian/archeologist. On his last mission, Mr. Whitney went missing and everyone but Aria is ready to give him up for dead. So, going off a list of investors, she begins to investigate what happened in Egypt. she gets caught in a Duke's bedroom by Adam Willoughby, the Earl of Merewood. There's a lot of misunderstanding between Adam and Aria, of course. He thinks she is snooping around trying to unearth a family secret (the Duke whose bedroom she was in belonged to his future brother-in-law). Because he is acting so evasive - though I didn't get the sense that he really was - Aria is convinced he's the one who can answer her questions. They end up betrothed because she followed him into his house in the middle of the night and they get caught alone. So she fesses up to what she's doing and despite reservations, he agrees to help her. Of course a relationship develops, but it's really subsumed by the mystery, so what's supposed to be the HEA is more of a "oh, okay," It's almost like this was Ms Ruesch's first novel, but it wasn't. It was her second. The first, Something about Her, is not available at Audible. But from the ratings at Goodreads, which varied from one to four stars, you should get that one from the library. Not a bad idea for this one either.
Why did I say it might be a character study? Well Aria changes in the course of the novel. As she responds to turns in the plot, the novel gets darker and darker. She becomes more fragile and conflicted. Like I said, not exactly a HEA. She doesn't think it is, so why should I? Reading it was sort of depressing.
I used a credit for this, and that's depressing. But the book really isn't bad. I had to keep backing up because I had missed something in the plot, so it's probably better to get it in print.
Setting: England 1832
Josephine Grant, known as the Bawdy Bluestocking (or BB), plays piano in a seedy brothel called the Sleeping Dove. Her body is not for sale, but her conversation is. When Elias Addison, Duke of Lennox is dragged to the Dove by his friend, he spends his time with the piano player. They meet again, accidentally, at the book shop she owns. Elias, already interested in her Dove persona, is further fascinated by her. Especially when he finds out she is a political radical. Josephine has a scandal in her past and will not reveal who she really is.
The premise of the story is interesting, but the execution is average to fair. I think it could have been tightened up. And while the characters are okay, I just couldn't care that much about them. They're like acquaintances you enjoy talking to when you meet them, but they don't occupy your thoughts when you move on.
The narration was average. Could have been better if pronunciation of certain words hadn't pegged my cringe-o-meter. I would love to talk to a couple of these narrators to find out where they mis-learned the pronunciation of relatively common words. If you've got any French and a bare modicum of Latin, you know how to pronounce many of the words without any problem. Most of us do have the ability to pronounce unfamiliar words (thanks, Hooked on Phonics), or have the impetus to look them up.
Totally unrelated, but did you know that phaeton (you know, the sporty 4 wheel horse drawn carriage often mentioned in Regency romances) is based on Phaethon, the son of Helios, god of the sun? He drives his father's sun-chariot and crashes it. Kind of explains all those crashes in books (usually with the rake's brother holding the ribbons, his death making our hero the heir). Anyway, there are online dictionaries that provide audio pronunciation.
I paid $7.95 and it is definitely worth that and the time spent for the listen.
Setting: London, 1815
Narration wasn't the worst I've ever heard, and it didn't 't detract from the story.
This is a lovely book. Lady Jocelyn comes across as a bit hard-edged, but her softer side and her vulnerabilities are shown over the course of the story. Major David Lancaster doesn't seem to have any hardness at all, so the only change/growth is the love he develops for Jocelyn. She, however, is madly in love with a Duke who has been raking his way through the bedrooms of every willing widow and discontented wife in the ton for his entire adulthood. He is not the marrying kind. His interest in Jocelyn comes forth only after she arranges the marriage of convenience with Major Lancaster. The conflicts of the story are David's health and Jocelyn's devotion for another man. There is a subplot, which is David's sister's animosity toward Jocelyn and a developing love interest of her own.
Setting: contemporary Manhattan
Genre: Paranormal romance
Everything about this was average. Probably, if you're totally enamored with this kind of plot, it may be tolerable. Or not, depending on your previous experience. I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to the genre, because it may turn you off before you find the really good paranormal stories, both light and keep-the-lights-on scary. I got it because there were no more Molly Harper books to bring out the laughs, and I wasn't in the mood for a spine-tingler. It may have been a buy-one-get-one, so I had incentive to try it. Whatever...
Worth the credit? Nah. If you want it, get it on sale.
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