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!
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...
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.
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