Shade didn’t really do much for me in Pleasure Unbound so I was skeptical about how much I’d enjoy learning about his story. Desire Unchained didn’t blow me away like its predecessor did but it’s still a good read. We finally get to learn about the curse that kept coming up in the first book. The reveal was a tad anticlimactic in my opinion. For me, Gem and Kynan sort of stole the spotlight too. I think I enjoyed their interactions more than what was happening between Shade and Runa. Oh well!
The first half of the book is great. I’m particularly fond of Runa. She went from being a weak, love struck human to a don’t-mess-with-me werewolf. Shade didn’t expect his ex lover to come back for him with a vengeance (and claws!). I liked how every time the seminus demon would try to pull the same stunts he used to pull on the wolf; she’d push back and put him in his place. You don’t survive a werewolf attack without growing a backbone! I enjoyed seeing a character learn from her mistakes for a change. Runa was on the verge of falling into her old habits with Shade more than once only to realize what was happening and then she’d conscientiously take steps to change directions. I admired her knack for dealing with Shade and the way that she overcomes being a victim.
The big bad wasn’t much of a surprise, in fact, his name is mentioned several times in the blurb which I found a little disappointing. Larissa could have played up the mystery a bit more and the same thing goes for Shade’s curse. After finishing Pleasure Unbound, I was definitely curious to learn more about it but I found the truth to be somewhat of a let down to be honest. Ione’s characters and her Demonica world are so well-developed that I expected something similar with regards to these two elements. I just found that she gave the information up either too easily or simply didn’t elaborate enough on them. Maybe I’m just nitpicking but I’d expected more.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some tender moments between Shade and Runa because there are. In fact, I was on the verge of tears more than once which never happened while I was reading about Eidolon and Tayla. Gem and Kynan are amazing in this novel. With the way that things end between them in Desire Unchained, I’m really hoping that they get a book of their own, or a spin-off, or a novella, or… something! Because their story is just begging to be told!
Desire Unchained has many of the same elements that made me fall in love with the first book of this series but on a more subdued level. It’s good but it’s just not terrific. Although, many of my fellow reviewers seem to disagree with my point of view on this; which is fine, to each their own! Wraith’s story is up next and I hope that Larissa nails this book because I think it has the potential to be pure gold. Fingers crossed!
This novel was obviously for all of the ICED haters out there, so if you fall into that category, you’ll probably love BURNED. As for the rest of us, this installment was a tremendous letdown. Karen Marie Moning tried to right the wrongs of book 6 by reshaping several of the characters into more ‘acceptable’ versions of themselves, distracting readers from this story’s numerous plot holes with an outrageous amount of POVs, and taking the easy (predictable) road twist-wise instead of the one less traveled. It wasn’t awful, I still enjoyed the writing, narration, and being back in this world, but the FEVER edge is gone.
I kind of wish that I’d bypassed this audiobook altogether because it completely obliterated the Mac & Barrons of old. Some HEAs should NOT be revisited! Apparently sex has fried Miss Lane’s brain, and she’s now a halfwit unworthy of the nine’s respect more concerned with talking to herself than saving Dublin. Jericho ghosts through this novel, finally avenges his lover, but not really because he doesn’t unleash his beast for her. Their chemistry as a couple is dead, and instead in its wake we’re left with heaps of empty steam. And, the source of this installment’s title was just another log on the fire of LAME.
I don’t have nearly enough fingers to count how many POVs we cycled through. Something definitely needed to be done about Dani’s age in order for this series to continue on its current trajectory, however KMM’s solution was entirely too child-proof. As was her time-saving use of the Sinsar Dubh, and the supposed cliff hanger was a two-bit sneeze in comparison to those from previous books. Ryo underwent a major personality overhaul which so didn’t suit him, and I really wish that the author had built upon the new Unseelie arc. I liked learning more about the nine, Lor’s scenes were fantastic, and Jada showed promise, but they were just duct tape, not a permanent fix.
The narrators were the heart and soul of this audiobook. If I were to rate this listen based wholly on their performances, it would be a resounding five. Phil Gigante’s voice gave me shivers when JZB’s words fell flat, and I loved the subtle variations of his Scottish accents when he was reading the MacKeltars. Natalie Ross did a comparably awesome job of the female characters with her Irish fluctuations, and somehow managed to bring excitement to a story that would have otherwise been boring without her leading the charge. I also appreciated that both narrators gave an echo / cave-like quality to the internal dialogues, it made them easy to spot.
BURNED is an island that would have been better left unexplored in the FEVER realm.
This audiobook was #4 on my most anticipated reads of 2015 list, so it’s with a heavy heart that I give it 3-stars. The dystopian universe created by Kresley Cole in THE ARCANA CHRONICLES that I’ve come to adore was dwarfed by this series’ love triangle, and the plot whittled down to Evie’s boy toy choice. Now, perhaps I’m slightly bitter because she didn’t go with the team that I was rooting for, but in the end that really didn’t seem to matter because the author threw another cliffhanger at us making the heroine’s decision moot.
My primary fascination with these novels stemmed from the world-building’s link to Tarot, and so far we’ve met new cards in every installment, until DEAD OF WINTER. Ok, that’s not entirely accurate because The High Priestess and The Emperor threw their lot in with the rest, and we also learned more about The Lovers and The World’s abilities, however these elements were so microscopic in comparison to the drama between Evie / Jack / Aric that I barely took note of them. I did enjoy the flashbacks to what happened to Death and the Cajun post ENDLESS KNIGHT, but again, I needed more.
This story was all about the love triangle which just plain sucked because the trio wound up working together for the better part of this book, and that in turn lead to angst, angst, and more angst. Subsequently, all of the originality was siphoned out of this series in favour of the biggest Young Adult trope of them all. In the past, I’ve liked the apocalyptic flavour of THE ARCANA CHRONICLES, yet this latest installment was no longer about surviving Baggers, cannibals, and the game, but rather what boy Evie Greene’s heart belonged to. Yes, that quagmire was solved, except no, not really.
Emma Galvin’s narration was like a lighthouse in a storm because without her delivery to keep me listening, I most likely would have finished this audiobook in a week instead of two days. I enjoyed the intensity with which she performed this tale, and the slower pace at which she reads this series definitely draws you in. Jack piles on the French in this novel, and that was unfortunate because Galvin’s mastery of that language really leaves something to be desired, but she tried her best, and this particular shortcoming is only noticeable to francophones, so I let it slide.
DEAD OF WINTER could have been a grand conclusion to THE ARCANA CHRONICLES; instead there will be a book 4.
I enjoyed this installment more than book 1; the narration was much improved, it had chapters (I need order in my reads), and the story showcased countless different types of werewolves. The cast of secondary characters were wonderful as was Dresden's POV. The author's dark humour is catchy, and the action sequences were heart-stopping, especially the one in the police station. Whoa Nelly!
I loved this first glimpse into Ilona Andrews' HIDDEN LEGACY world; the magic was fascinating, the characters were insta-hits, and the plot just didn't quit. Mad Rogan was everything I wanted in a bad boy—a powerful, borderline sociopath with mega sex appeal—and, Nevada was an absolute delight. Renée Raudman's narration was flawless, the family dynamics of the Baylor clan leaped off the pages, and the romantic elements left me anxious to listen to the next installment. 4.5 stars.
This series has been on my to-read shelf forever, so when the first two installments in audio went on sale I just couldn't resist. I'm really glad that I finally gave Harry a chance because I loved his POV, and the fact that his story is told by James Marsters certainly doesn't hurt either. Wizards and male protagonists are uncommon in Urban Fantasy, two definite pluses. The plot was entertaining, I enjoyed Butcher's humour, and the magic system showed promise, although STORM FRONT would have benefited from more development where the latter was concerned, thus my 3 star rating. I look forward to listening to more of THE DRESDEN FILES.
Until this installment I didn’t realize that many of the plots in this series run parallel to each other, so when I found myself back in the midst of the Hie I was ecstatic. It was interesting finding out what happened to Bowen after Sebastian trapped him, and learning more about the witch who cursed him. The two protagonists played a wonderfully devious game of cat and mouse throughout WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER’S NIGHT which made their dialogue hysterically funny, and their lovemaking mercurial, especially when MacRieve accidentally screamed his ex’s name. I had a blast listening to this title; Kresley Cole & Robert Petkoff are a powerhouse of audiobook wizardry!
Thus far, we’ve become versed in the intricate Lore surrounding this author’s Valkyries, vampires, and werewolves, so you’d be right to infer that my expectations vis-à-vis her witches were through the roof. Mariketa’s also part fey which means that Cole had heaps of awesome new material to work with, and rest assured that none of it was wasted. I loved discovering the powers related to the five casts, exploring the specifics surrounding the Awaited’s prophecy, and the captromancer powers were just plain cool (and creepy!). Other than a bit of glamour, and a couple of secondary characters, the fey elements were negligible which I’m assuming was intentional, and will be explored in a future installment.
I liked how dissimilar the two protagonists were; Mari is only twenty-two years old, hasn’t been frozen into her immortality yet, and is the embodiment of a modern young woman. In comparison, Bowen is ancient, has already found & lost his mate, and is prejudiced towards witches. Also, their relationship really got off on the wrong foot what with Mariketa cursing the werewolf, and MacRieve entombing her with crazed incubi. Watching these two attempt to bridge the gap was an exercise in futility, but when they finally give in to their baser instincts their chemistry was as clear as day. The twist at the end was exquisite, and I adored how it all came together.
With only three IMMORTALS AFTER DARK installments under my belt, and still ten left to go (plus novellas), I risk repeating myself with regards to Robert Petkoff’s narration; however for the time being I’ve no shortage of positive adjectives to use when it comes to his delivery of this series. His sinfully dreamy Scottish accent was back for a second lap, and in addition to it he unleashed Bowen’s beast with a guttural werewolf voice that succeeded in doing naughty things to my insides. I’m sure that Petkoff captured Mari’s character beautifully as well, but for some strange reason all I can remember is MacRieve. RAWR!
WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER’S NIGHT’s title is self-explanatory or in other words… hot, hot, HOT!
I’m used to the events in series installments taking place a few weeks, if not days apart, so I was a little disconcerted by the fact that FAIR GAME jumped two full years into the future. In HUNTING GROUND Bran was still contemplating bringing the werewolves out to the public, but in this audiobook it was a done deal, and Anna & Charles are now dealing with the fallout. As a result, I experienced some mild growing pains while getting up to speed; luckily I had Briggs’ MERCY THOMSON series to help make the drastic shift in gears less jolting. I was chagrined to learn that one of my favourite werewolf couples were no longer in a happy place, however the decade’s long murder spree, and smoothly crafted fae mythology proved to be satisfying distractions.
Up until this point, Charles & Anna have been flying solo with regards to their investigations, so it was a hoot watching them join their efforts with various federal organizations in order to stop a killer. Latham was Cornick’s designated handler, and the outcome was quite comedic as you can probably imagine. I especially liked Anna’s list of do’s & don’ts around her mate, and the PR tangent was good for a few laughs too. As previously mentioned, these two have hit a rocky point in their relationship, mostly because Charles’ enforcer role is beginning to wear on him thanks to stricter penalties towards misbehaving werewolves. I love how even when this couple is at their lowest they still continue to communicate, and resolve their problems angst free.
The fae have always played an active role in Briggs’ universe, and I was excited to finally learn the real reason why they retreated to their reservations in her MT books. I never realized that such an important segment was missing until this newsflash roared to life, and forced me to revisit everything that I’ve learned to date in both worlds. This author sure knows how to give her protagonists a deserving foe while also ensuring that all of the secondary characters have a big impact on the overall story. I liked how Leslie’s plot thread popped up throughout the novel when you least expected it to, and I really hope that she makes an encore appearance in this series.
The moment I hear Holter Graham’s voice, I immediately slip back into the ALPHA & OMEGA frame of mind. He’s brought something extra to every installment, and in this latest one it was his Boston accents. His attention to detail never ceases to amaze, from the consistency of the protagonists, to the slight differences between Charles and Brother Wolf’s tones. Several new characters were added, and he made it easy to identify each and every one of them. Graham’s delivery has improved a great deal when compared to the first audiobook which I still adored, and as a result, he’s now among my top three male narrators.
FAIR GAME was an experience that bears repeating; I don’t do re-reads very often, but this series is worthy!
I was left with mixed feelings when I finished CHARMING a few months ago; I liked John’s character, Roger Wayne’s narration, and the author’s quirky writing style, but the love interest, and info dumps were definite cons. However, when I read DARING’s blurb and discovered that the werewolves were going to be front-and-center in round two, I just knew that this series deserved a second chance. And, even though I didn’t love this installment either, it was more along the lines of what I’ve come to expect from Urban Fantasy, and my issues with this one were vastly different that its predecessor, so at least it was a step in the right direction. The story was darker, the humour more subdued, and I did struggle to see the links between the four parts, but it all came together in the end which made this novel marginally better than its predecessor.
The prelude was a hoot, James shared a list of the ‘top ten things that people who didn’t read the first book really ought to know’ which served as a good recap while also turning a boring necessity into a fun intro. The opening section was my favourite because it not only explored John’s past as a Knight, but provided some much needed clarification about his insta-attraction to Sig, and set the tone for the rest of the story. The second part was somewhat of a mixed bag; I liked learning more about this universe’s werewolves, although certain aspects were a little overly touchy feely for me—too much zen, not enough predator. The final two were the meatier pieces with plenty of action, unanticipated twists, and an ah-ha ending. The world-building was also greatly muted which made this installment more about the journey than the magical rules which was a welcomed tweak.
DARING was nowhere near as funny as book 1, but given the nature of this tale, it fit. That’s not to say that I still didn’t crack a couple of smiles while listening because I did, however the overall tone was much heavier. I was disappointed that the majority of the secondary characters that the protagonist formed connections with previously were for the most part MIA, although they were replaced with new ones, so at least the author found a way to fill that void. Sig’s role was minimal which made me exceedingly happy because she was my main problem with CHARMING, so I liked that the Valkyrie was pushed to the back burner for the time being. John’s POV continued to delight and entertain; I loved how he talked directly to the reader, and his keen wit and sarcastic dialogue are the main reasons why I am diggin’ this series so much.
As expected, the narrator delivered another winning performance which was why I had no qualms about pre-ordering this audiobook. His voice is well-suited for James’ writing style, and he absolutely nailed Charming’s first person POV. The hero gets his butt handed to him on multiple occasions, and Roger Wayne helped to add authenticity to that fact by slurring his words as though he himself had gotten punched in the teeth. He also showed adaptability as a narrator by taking a step back from the first installment’s snark, and adopting the more somber tone that this tale demanded. It normally takes me a week on average to listen to nine+ hours, but in this case my listening time was cut in half thanks in large part to Wayne.
DARING is proof that werewolves make everything better!
Going into POISON PRINCESS I couldn’t help thinking Young Adult—this is going to suck, but Kresley Cole’s writing quickly won me over to Evie’s side, and then Emma Galvin sealed the deal with her mesmerizing narration. And now, here I am, completely committed to this series, and putting my stamp of approval on book 2. The characters show a level of maturity that I never expected from this genre, and there was even a sex scene in this installment. Yes folks, don’t let these teenagers fool you, this is grown up YA at its best. The author does such an amazing job of making readers dislike Death that when the love triangle began to develop I was convinced that nothing could sway me from Team Deveaux. Well, now I’m eating crow because Aric was so skillfully fleshed out that the Cajun is just a distant memory. Jackson who?
For a girl that doesn’t want to play the game, Evie sure is racking up Arcana symbols! I love how far she’s come from that scared young woman refusing to accept her new, albeit harsh reality, to the ring leader of an unlikely alliance of Arcana. Greene shows mercy when the situation calls for it, and still believes that more than one power card can survive the coming battle, but when he friends’ lives are on the line, she doesn’t hesitate to do what must be done. I enjoyed witnessing the Empress embrace her powers in ENDLESS KNIGHT; her abilities may be the complete opposite of Death’s, however life can, and does annihilate just as easily. Evie continues to surprise me at every turn from how she deals with the teeth (carnivores), to certain characters’ two-facedness, to Aric’s unexpected past. The Red Queen is no pushover!
Coles’ dystopian world-building marched forward in this installment with the Hierophant, Devil, Tower, Strength, Judgment, and World cards. I liked learning more about their tableaux, calls, and powers as well as the characters that they represent. I also developed a soft spot for Scarface, Cyclops, and Maneater—Lark’s wolves. The plot line was uncomplicated: escape Death, and when that fails, survive him. I enjoyed the showdown leading up to Evie’s capture, and her time with Aric was enlightening to say the least. I was happy that Jackson was finally clued in to the game and ecstatic when he and Evie found a brief respite in each other’s arms. But of course, just when Greene decides to trust him his deception comes to light.
This novel took so many turns that I did not see coming, and oddly enough, I found myself rooting for the bad guy! Like most other readers, love triangles are the bane of my existence, but the one in ENDLESS KNIGHT is so far removed from what is typical of this trope that I wasn’t the least bit upset by it when it eventually surfaced. I’d mentioned in my review of book 1 that Emma Galvin’s narration carried that installment, so I was relieved to see her flying solo this time around. I’m not knocking Keith Nobbs’ delivery, but I prefer to give credit where it’s due. Galvin excels at bringing THE ARCANA CHRONICLES’ dark tone to life while still doing the youthful characters justice with a YA authenticity that so many performers in this genre lack.
ENDLESS KNIGHT concluded with one heck of a cliffhanger, but that’s a recipe for success as far as pre-orders of DEAD OF WINTER go because you can bet I’ll be glued to my earbuds come hell or high water on January 6th, 2015.
I’m a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s THE WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS trilogy, and I recently listened to SINNER in audio which is what prompted me to give this series a whirl. Well, that and the fact that I won a copy. The author’s lyrical writing style that I’ve come to know and love was out in full force, I connected remarkably well with all of the characters after only one installment, and I also really liked that this wasn’t your typical paranormal listen in that it doesn’t feature the usual supe suspects. However, I found that the lore was a lot to take in—I had to listen to several chapters more than once in order to grasp all of the intricate details—and, I wasn’t completely sold on the narrator’s delivery. But, I remember not having instantly clicked with SHIVER, so I’m more than willing to give THE DREAM THIEVES a chance, I just won’t be downloading a copy asap.
The first few chapters were kind of meh because all of this series’ players were introduced, but Stiefvater didn’t connect the dots until three hours in which caused THE RAVEN BOYS to have a rather slow start. Then all of the symbology, Tarot aspects, and Welsh lore kicked in, and I was once again swept again by this author’s masterful world-building skills. Readers are left with way more questions than answers, however that’s to be expected from a debut installment, so even though it was frustrating, I was still pleased with the end result. I’m infinitely curious about the corpse road, ley lines, Cabeswater, Glendower, the dreaming tree, and what it all means because at the moment there seems to be many MANY pieces to this puzzle, and I don’t have two clues as to how they fit together.
I took an immediate liking to all of the characters; from Adam the trailer park trash trying to make it on his own, to Gansey the wealthy adventurer that attempts to be middle-class but fails horribly, and Blue the only non-psychic among a family of fortune tellers who just wants to be special too. The prophecy surrounding Sargent’s true love added an extra layer to the intrigue, then there was Whelk & Neeve’s individual motivations, and the whole possibility vs reality angle. And, just when I thought that I was beginning to figure the story arc out, Stiefvater goes and drops the Noah bomb on me, followed by multiple visions of likely outcomes, and a semi cliff hanger ending about a ghost’s dreams and a raven named Chainsaw. Colour me thoroughly confused!
I liked Will Patton’s narration, but I didn’t love it, and there were a few reasons why. The main one being that he whispered a lot, and although I found that it fit this novel’s darker tone, it also made him difficult to understand. The whole time I was listening, I thought that Cabeswater was actually caves water, and this happened for several words that I later had to look-up in order to write an accurate review. This also may have been what caused me to have to re-start several chapters rather than putting all of the blame solely on the author’s complex world-building. I really disliked the voice he used for Persephone, and for the most part, he felt too old for a Young Adult book. However, after eleven+ hours of him streaming through my earbuds, he did grow on me, so I’m not prepared to write him off just yet.
THE RAVEN BOYS made me go WTF way too many times to count, as all good mysteries should, so mission accomplished Maggie Stiefvater. We will meet again in THE DREAM THIEVES!
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