Indianapolis, IN, United States | Member Since 2015
Jamie Donovan is the guy for me! Fun loving on the surface, but with a bit of himself he keeps hidden. He has a lack of confidence you don't see in very many leading males, but to see him gain it keeps the story moving. And Olivia's growth into her true self is a great parallel as well.
I like the setting of the trilogy, perhaps because I've been there and know that Boulder is "24 square miles surrounded by reality". It evokes the college town atmosphere.
Ms Fortgang gives a good performance by differentiating vocal characteristics and atmosphere.
This is a story I'll listen to again - well, once I run out of credits for new books!
Setting: London 1822
This is an uncomplicated novella, which is a prequel to a series. I haven't read any of the series so I don't know how well it fits.
Lavinia Spencer works in her family's lending library. William White is a clerk who has a subscription. For a year he has come in for books on financial management, and to lust after Lavinia. Lavinia has been sighing over William for the past year. When he has occasion to take the relationship further, he does not hesitate to take it. The story is a sweet little journey, with side trips up a couple of sub-plots, to a nice HEA.
Narration was wonderful because Roslyn Landor.
Setting: Toronto, present day
Genre: paranormal romance
This is my first full-length book by Lynsay Sands in this genre. My first exposure to the Argeneau family was in a novella I listened to while I was in my all-anthology phase. At any rate...
I enjoyed this multi-layered story very much. I couldn't go with 5 stars because there were a couple of instances of "oh come on! Can't you see what's going on here?" in the mystery. I did say multi-layered, didn't I? There's a big problem with Lissianna fainting at the sight of blood, which would be a problem for a vampire who is supposed to get her nutrition via blood bags. So, as a birthday gift, her mother kidnaps Greg, who is a therapist specializing in the treatment of phobias. Finding him tied to the bed in her old room, Lissianna takes a sample, thinking that he is her special birthday treat. Greg is understandably upset with the situation until Lissi starts kissing him and finds that he's attracted. And she's attracted to him, beyond his tastiness and purpose. There is the romance, the problem with her phobia, as well as a mystery involving a plot to kill her. The mystery is where I get eye-roll syndrome. Maybe it isn't supposed to be a mystery for the reader? But please! If the reader gets it, why doesn't she? It sort of made me want to grab her and yell, "can't you see what's going on here?" I could see it from its introduction into the plotline.
The biggest problem with this audiobook is the production. Notice I didn't say narration, because Victoria McGee did a fairly good job with the voice and inflection of the characters. It would have been great if there hadn't been huge gaps where there shouldn't have been. I don't mean chapter breaks, which were over-long, but intra-paragraph stops. No, it was that there were breaks within many of the sentences. It dragged me right out of the story. That made me sad. 😭
I do wish this could be re-recorded, which would make it worth a full credit. Otherwise, try to get it on sale and grit your teeth though the production problems.
Setting: England, Regency era
When she was 17, Miss Clio Whitmore was engaged to Piers Brandon, the heir to the Marquess of Granville, a promising young diplomat. They decide on a long engagement, but Clio hadn't counted on 8 years while Piers moved from post to post. Now, she has inherited a castle and she is taking control of her life, starting with breaking her engagement. But Piers is still out of the country, his father died recently, so the only person able to sign the papers to break the engagement is Rafe, Piers' younger brother. Rafe has been estranged from his father and brother for years, so to support himself he became a bare-knuckle prizefighter. He'd been champion for 4 years when he lost right before his father died.
Rafe hates doing all the paperwork associated with his brother's estate, so when Clio shows up asking him to sign the dissolution papers, he refuses. He also tries to remind her of all the reasons she should wait for Piers, who is supposed to come home soon. Clio goes to the castle she inherited and is soon joined by her two sisters and her brother-in-law. The middle sister, Daphne, decides that Twill Castle is where Clio should marry, and immediately starts planning the wedding. Then Rafe and his friend show up to help. Because Clio hasn't told anyone except Rafe that there will be no wedding.
This book is more 3 1/2 stars. The plot is cute, there's no stupidity as a plot device used, and the dialogue is witty. But there were places where it was slow, and others where a little more information would have been beneficial. I really like the hero & heroine. Clio is shedding all the expectations of Society. Her mother had drilled her in all areas of life which would benefit her husband, but she's ready to use all that knowledge for her own benefit. Rafe is strong, physically, and he's very focused on his career. But he has a vulnerability about him that makes him accessible. He has some baggage around his past relationship with his family, and he lacks confidence in areas other than fighting. Rafe's friend, the "wedding planner", who is actually a fight promoter, provides some of the comedy. Sir Teddy, Clio's brother-in-law also contributes to the humor. Phoebe, the youngest of the Whitmore girls, doesn't figure a lot in the story, but is appropriate for where she is. The main secondary character is Clio's sister, Daphne, who is married Sir Teddy. She is the most irritating character I have run into in a long time. I wanted to slap her! She just runs over every one around her, and she's very judgmental. I got a irritated with Clio for not shutting her up.
The narration by Carmen Rose is average at best. Her differentiation of secondary and tertiary characters was poor, and she's very nasal. I must have been feeling very charitable with her narration of the first book in the series, or she'd gotten worse.
An anthology of 5 contemporary holiday romance stories. I can easily say that this was a high average listen. I enjoyed checking back in with Drew Evans in It's a Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol by Emma Chase. The narrative style Chase uses is very engaging, and Sebastian York gives a great performance. Searching for You by Jennifer Probst is entertaining. The chemistry between the protagonists is hot, and so is the sex. Saving Grace is about a sweet klutz who falls for a smooth operator. It is well-written, and the narration was good. Safe in His Arms by Melody Anne was sweet, but very compact. Rekindle the Flame by Kate Meader was my least favorite. The premise and characters were great, but the narrative was too passive for my tastes. The narration was great.
Overall, this was a good listen while decorating the tree and wrapping gifts.
Genre: paranormal/urban fantasy, romance
This book was my intro to John Charming, though there are at least 2 novellas that precede this story. I just got all the novellas available for my Kindle, and they are there, waiting for me. I have this book in both electronic and audio formats, but mostly, except for some character clarifications, I stuck with the audio. The narration by Roger Wayne is good, and Tantor provided it's typically excellent production. Anyway...
A Valkyrie and a vampire walk into a bar (oops, I mean pub)... So, this guy is working at a pub (decorated in authentic hey y'all SW Virginia style) in a small university town. He's living under an assumed name and a curse. His name is John Charming, former member of the monster hunter Knights Templar who happens to be a monster himself. Anyway, he ends up teamed with the Valkyrie and a motley band of folks who aim to kill some vampires. What follows is humor, action, and a touch of romance. And it is so well-written that it's easy to get involved in the characters and plot.
The story is told in first person, as though John is talking to his audience, though that aspect isn't really in your face. You know what he looks like (black hair, blue eyes, 175 pounds and 6" tall) because he tells you through comparing his actual looks to the license of the dead guy whose identity he has assumed. His personality is revealed through actions and how others interact with him. The author does not wander into the POV of other characters, and they are revealed as John sees them, colored by his impressions and preconceptions. I admire (practically worship, actually) any author who can tell a story without jumping into a bunch of character's heads in order to make things easy. James has a wonderful vocabulary, and knows how to use it to get the best emotional reaction.
Not having read other installments of John's story, I still get the impression of a supernatural Jack Reacher, Lee Child's suspense thriller hero. Just from what he reveals through the narrative, I think he must go place to place to stay ahead of the monster hunters after him while he deals with the monsters he comes across. I guess I'll learn more about the character as I read, and I'll see if James can keep Charming fresher than Child has done with Reacher.
Setting: California, England, and New York. Contemporary
Well, I'm trying to review this on the merits of the story. The premise is one that's more common in regency romance: Filthy rich Duke must, because of stipulations in his father's will, marry by his birthday on Wednesday. It's Monday. He goes to a matchmaker, but decides to marry her instead of the candidates she provided. Sound familiar? Anyway... This author didn't come close to knowing how noble titles are passed. Yes, a personal fortune can be passed to someone other than the heir to the title, but entailed properties cannot. That entailed estate may be debt-ridden, but it still cannot pass into the hands of the next guy in line. Well, it can happen, but generally, dad has to declare his son a bastard, and dad isn't around to do that, being dead and all. Oh, I also have a problem with the afore-mentioned filthy richness. This Duke was so greedy he had to have it all? If he didn't get it, half was to go to charity, a quarter to be shared between his mom and sister, and the cousin to get a quarter. Needless to say, I found the whole execution of the premise simplistic and unreasonable, especially in a modern setting.
I have listened to, and enjoyed, many narrations by Tanya Eby, but this is not one of them. While this is a contemporary American romance, many of the characters are British, and Ms Eby does not do that accent well at all.
So, bottom line: Don't spend a credit for this. If a marriage of convenience trope in a contemporary setting intrigues you (and you can't find something that does it better), get this one on sale.
Setting: England, Victorian era
This is the second in the Lady Emily series of mysteries. I haven't read the first yet, though I read (listened to) Star of the East, a novella set later in the series, as my first exposure to Tasha Alexander. Forgive me if my lack of taking this series in order negatively affects this review.
Lady Emily is in London for the season, which is, as usual, abuzz with gossip and the happenings of the nobility and upper class. Lady Emily is facing a few challenges. Her childhood friend, Ivy, is having marital difficulties; her American friend, Margaret, is having a disagreement with her parents about Oxford; her family friend, Isabelle, is having issues with suitors; and Colin Hargreaves is still asking Emily to marry him. Added to all this, a series of thefts of items with a French connection in common begin among Emily's acquaintances. And then there are two murders that may or may not have been committed by the thief. Lady Emily knows these things are related, she's just not sure how, and the life of the maid accused of the murders is on the line. It is up to her, with the clues provided, to solve the mysteries.
I liked Emily and the supporting cast of characters. I almost put this on my romance shelf, as well as mystery, because of the low-key relationship development between Emily and Colin, but that is definitely in the background. The star of this show is most certainly Lady Emily and the mysteries presented. The story had me changing my mind about whodunit more than once, and it wasn't until the end that all was revealed.
This reminded me of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries, as they are also first person narratives set in the Victorian era. There were, however, enough differences in characters and style to keep me from going there after my initial observation. I did enjoy the writing. It was so refreshing not to have to edit grammar in my head as I went along, so I was able to stay in the story. I assume the bulk of Lady Emily's character was developed in the first book in the series, but not having experienced it didn't detract from this story. In fact, unless you just have to have things in order because that's how you roll, this book could stand alone. Yes, there were some things, like some of Emily's relationships, it would have been nice to see before this book, but only because the interaction would seem more organic. But I could guess at these comfortably.
I have this in both ebook and audio mediums, which provided some amusement for me. There was a character whose name the narrator pronounced "lettuce". I thought, really? someone would give her daughter that odd a name? Then, when I went to the ebook for a bit, I saw a character named Lettice. Ohhh. THAT'S Lettuce! I would have put the accent on the second syllable... Normally, I love Justine Eyre's narration, but Lettuce? :-)
Setting: Small town America, contemporary
Just when this book was getting good, it was over. Libby is a humiliatingly unemployed event planner newly returned from Chicago to her small town and back in with the parents. Tom is a widowed contractor with a surly teenager. The two meet when Libby's retired father decides to renovate an old building.This book was slow and felt incomplete, as though the author had the bare bones of the premise and was working on filling it in when she hit deadline. Seriously. This could so much have benefitted from a little more to the plot and characters. Where were this woman's beta readers?
Okay, so the premise is a woman moves back home and meets a man who needs to, emotionally, move on. While not terribly original, it has potential. The characters were pretty much one-dimensional, and the story sort of went in fits and starts, going in interesting directions, then petering out. I was left with so many what-ifs, I have decided that I just need a whole 'nother book altogether.
So, what did we get? To me, it felt like an outline that needed to be fleshed out and edited. There were so many ways this book could have gone to take it above more than an average read. But hey, the grammar and spelling were great!
I generally like Angela Dawe as a narrator, but not so much with this performance. It just comes off as amateurish, without much differentiation between characters. I thought maybe this was an early performance, but that isn't the case. Well, I guess everyone's entitled to an off day every once in a while.
Setting: England, contemporary
Genre: Holiday feel-good story
Milly's boyfriend dumps her right before advent. Christmas time is her favorite time of the year, so this is especially horrible for her. She had such plans. Anyway, the family tradition is for the kids to write to Santa with a list of what they want, then it is sent up the flue on the heat of a match, but without burning. Her nephews insist the adults make lists too. Milly does so, without much enthusiasm. But she soon finds the things on her list being granted, though not necessarily as she would expect.
This is another story I wish had been in an anthology. It was sweetly average, with average narration.
Setting: Vermont, contemporary
Widowed Christine takes her son, Tyler, to Vermont for 10 days to recharge her life. She meets John, an ambitious professor from the local college, and his dog Mason. Hot chocolate, sledding, Christmas and cold feet follow. This is a very sweet little novella. And I do mean sweet. There is one kiss.
Narration is average. I'd probably have to hear more of Susan Soriano's work to judge her adequately.
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