Indianapolis, IN, United States | Member Since 2008
Eric Donovan is very serious, overburdened with responsiblility, and that makes him almost unlikable. In the previous two books in the trilogy, he seems to be almost overbearing. But as his younger siblings grow into their own, he seems adrift. Watching him find himself and love makes this story good. This book also wraps up the underlying storyline from the other two books.
Lauren Fortgang's performance was good and consistent throughout the series.
Setting: London, 1851
It will be the 100th anniversary of Lady Penelope's Finishing School, and in all that time, no girl has attended unmarried in her 4th season. But it looks likely to be a record broken by Lady Olivia Archer, AKA Prissy Missy, one of London's "Least Likely". In her case, Least Likely to Cause a Scandal. Her head is filled with "young ladies shouldn't" rules from her mother who, by the way, dogs her footsteps at every social event, trying to get her a husband. Phinn, having come to London to build a machine to show at the great exhibition and to find a wife, considers half of his mission complete when he sees Olivia. She is quiet, biddable, and totally opposite to his late wife. She won't, he surmises, interfere with his scientific work. He offers for Olivia without even a formal introduction, and she is horrified when her parents accept his suit. He is known as the Mad Baron, rumored to have killed his wife. Before meeting him, she decides to discourage him by taking part in scandalous behavior, which shocks him, but ends up actually engaging his interest. The plot revolves around the mystery of his past and their adjustment to one another. Olivia really comes into herself when she breaks out of the "young ladies shouldn't" mold.
I really WANT to like Maya Rodale's novels more, but I can't say any of them rate more (or less) than average. I get impatient with the whole misunderstanding/lack of communication trope. I know this is used as a plot device in many books, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Her characters are quite likable, so it's too bad they're caught in poorly executed plots.
Carolyn Morris is not in the list of my favorite narrators. There was nothing either terribly irritating, nor exceptional about her performance. Truly, I just finished the book, and I can't tell you whether or not she differentiated characters. I do know that, although Phinn was from Yorkshire, she did not give him a regional accent . That would have cranked her up to high average or even above.
Although this book was slightly disappointing, I'll get the next one just to find out what happens with Prudence, but probably on Kindle rather than using one of my Audible credits.
Setting: London & Scotland, 1880's
Another wonderful installment in the MacKenzie & McBride series
I just love this series. What can I say? Gotta love a Scotsman. This one is Sinclair "Basher" McBride, known throughout London as an eloquent barrister who always gets a conviction. He's being considered for a judgeship. On the personal front, he has been widowed for 7 years and has two unruly children, Catriona (Cat), 11, and Andrew, 8. The children are known for getting governesses to quit the family's employ, post haste. Roberta "Bertie" Frasier is a 26 year old, brown-haired, violet-eyed cockney woman who becomes fascinated with Sinclair as he is prosecuting her friend, Ruthie, for murdering her employer. Bertie starts following him to his work, and to his home (stalking much?), and one day she happens to be around when the kids put themselves in danger and she saves them. The regular governess walks away and leaves the kids with Bertie. Because they behave with her, the rest of the household won't let her leave. Sinclair finds her there and insists she stay until his gilly finds a new governess - though he never actually looks. There's a mystery going on, as well as the development of the relationship. The other McBrides, as well as the MacKenzies, make appearances, but don't take over the story.
I hope this isn't the end of the series, though I don't know what characters Ms Ashley can create stories for in this wonderful Victorian world. I hope she figures something out, though, because I love it there!
The narration is really great. Angela Dawe does an excellent Scottish accent, and her English narrative isn't as laconic as in previous books. There's a good differentiation of gender and age, and consistency in the voices of specific characters across the series.
Genre: "Hollywood" memoir
What's So Funny? could be answered with "Tim Conway's memoir". The book covered the highlights of the comedian's life and career, from birth to the time the book was finished. I really mean highlights, because even a failed marriage was depicted in a positive manner. I don't care what anyone says, life cannot be without some problems. But maybe it's just his personality, which is certainly interesting. My sister and I listened to this on a 13 hour drive from Texas to Alabama, and the audio book narrated by the author made the trip pleasant.
Overall, a fun listen.
Setting: contemporary NY, NY
Genre: YA situation comedy
I enjoyed this book about a too-thin, too-tall, flat-chested 14 year old girl trying to adjust to high school, along with her smart, bossy best friend Lily. Her mother has given her a diary through which the entire story is told. She details her issues of liking the popular boy, being talked down to by his snotty cheerleader girlfriend, and dealing with the difficulties of algebra. Then her life gets really challenging when she learns that she is actually the heir to the throne of a tiny European principality.
I really liked the protagonist, Mia. Other characters were interesting as well, though I wouldn't say any of them were particularly well-developed. Of course, this is the first of a series, so they will likely be fleshed out in succeeding books.
What I didn't like about the book is the poor role-model Mia makes for girls. Am I being too much of a feminist when I cringe at her problems with math and how it takes a boy to help her understand? Or that her algebra teacher bumps her grade up to a D because he is dating her mom? I totally understand the adolescent angst of dealing with social anxiety, coupled with the horrors of finding out that she has to learn to dress and act like a princess. What I don't understand is why Ms Cabot felt the need to go stereotypical with girls and math. It would have been just as funny, if not more so, had her school difficulties been in geography. At any rate, aside from that issue, this was a fun listen that provided lots of laughs, and Anne Hathaway's performance was excellent.
Genre: Not sure. Sci-fi, adventure, a little rom-com
Regardless of genre, this was a great book. Nate is a minimum-wage temp doing mind numbing data entry. He has to leave his apartment due to a change in roommate situation. He hears about a low-rent studio, and after his application is approved, he moves in. Things are pretty strange there. Things are strange in the whole building. Nate's curiosity is piqued, and he starts asking other tenants about it. What the story comes down to is a motley crew of people investigating the oddities of the place, and finding some strange and scary stuff. I found the plot fun and the characters enjoyable. In fact, scenes were so well described, I can imagine it as a movie.
The reviews for this book on GR and Audible are favorable, but I didn't read them before purchase. I got it based on the premise alone, and I'm glad it was so well-executed! Most of the reviews I read before writing this referred to it as horror, but I will refrain from that label because I hate horror. Plus, even though there are mutants and references to H. P. Lovecraft, I didn't have to sleep with the lights on. I classified it mostly as sci-fi adventure, and filed it on my "made-me-laugh"'shelf. The dialogue between Nate and Veek is lively and amusing. The thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars is a writing issue that is really bothersome for me. It really pulls me out of the action when a book in 3rd person POV jumps between characters. I just see it as laziness on the part of the writer. That jumping around is so much easier than getting info across while staying with a truly singular POV. Most of the book was from Nate's point of view, but to make it easier to show what was going on outside of his line of sight, the action would switch to some other character's point of view. I can handle it when a book is broken down into discrete sections shared by a couple of different people, but this wasn't like that. Oh well, I know this is probably just me...
The narration was good. There wasn't much difference in pitch, but pacing , accents, and style helped differentiate the characters. I'd say Ray Porter's performance was a bit above average.
Genre: Paranormal, steampunk, romance
Setting: London 1880s
This is the 5th in the Darkest London series, and my favorite. In the 4th book Holly Evernight, an Elemental with an affinity for metals, was kidnapped by a demon and forced to make a clockwork heart to keep him alive. Because gold had failed in his previous testing, she made the heart of platinum. Then the demon decided Holly needed to test it on a living subject, so he captured Will Thorn, a vampire and an important secondary character in the series. Will was totally aware of what was going on, and feeling every bit of pain, up to the point when his living heart was removed for Holly to replace. Even though she was under threat, Will hated her and her emotional detachment from what she was doing to him.
In Evernight, it is almost a year after her rescue, and Holly still hasn't gone back to work. In fact, she hasn't left her home. One night there is a break-in and Holly finds Will, almost totally turned to platinum, trying to kill her. He is in horrible pain as the metal takes over his body, and crazed as it invades his brain. He hates her. I know I mentioned that, but really, he hates her. She is cold and aloof, seemingly detached from the messiness of emotion. At her touch, Holly is able to relieve Will's pain and reverse the change, but only temporarily. In exchange for his not killing her, Holly agrees to research ways to reverse the change permanently. Over the course of the book, the relationship between Will and Holly develops from antipathy and fear, to desire and love. Will manages to get Holly to leave the house as they try to find out who is trying to kill her. They grow as individuals as well as in a partnership.The author did such a good job of making Holly and Will multidimensional, with strengths and weaknesses. The plot was well-rounded, though a bit scattershot at times with a fair number of secondary characters. There was a continuation of a secondary plot that began in, I think, the first or second book. At any rate, the author manages to make all the action move the plot forward and come together. There is a bit of a cliff-hanger, but it isn't the type that will worry away at you until #6 comes out (which I hope is soon anyway).
The narration by Moira Quirk is great. While the timbre of male and female voices didn't vary much, her use of accents and pacing to differentiate characters was excellent. Holly is from Ireland, and the accent was true - an appropriately upper class Irish accent. Will is described as being from the north of England, and Ms Quirk gives him a wonderful Yorkshire accent. One of the secondary characters is from the American South and the accent is perfect for him. This narrator is just wonderful. You could listen to the entire series back to back without finding a difference in character voices from one book to the next.
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.
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