I enjoyed the narrator's take on the voices, so I'm sure I'd actually enjoy the audio version better. I've read some mixed reviews for the narrator, but she did a pretty good job in my opinion.
You know, I have to be honest. I really didn't have a favorite character. This book is just so neutral to me that I have no opinion one way or another. The characters just seemed like vessels to move the story along while not really leaving a lasting impression on the reader. It's still a mildly fun ride, so I don't regret spending my credit here.
This book reminded me - a lot - of 50 Shades of Gray. What I can say about this is that, though the subject matter did seem similar (strong male lead with need for sexual control, docile female lead willing to meet those needs), the characters were far less flipping annoying in this book. Oh, the female lead didn't make me want to gouge my eyes out with a rolled up feminist magazine either, which was a major plus..
As for notable negatives -- There is a lot of sex in this book. I'm not a prude, I swear, but I would have loved to have more plot. Also, there is a lot of graphic language, and before you say "Well, duh", what I mean is that most books like this will use cutesy words to mask the nitty gritty. This book doesn't have a problem letting you know EXACTLY what is happening while using a colorful vocabulary. If that makes you uncomfortable, you'll want to skip this for sure.
Probably not. This book is just so... flat. It's a shame really, because the characters could be very intriguing if the author would have put them in a better situation to display it.
Oh man, this guy's voice... It isn't a -bad- voice, but he actually puts too much personality into the voices. That's a weird thing to say, but it's the best way I feel I can describe it in a sentence. His female voices are almost entirely nasally and cringe-worthy. His male voices are over-the-top. In fact, the only voice I enjoyed was his take on Louis.
At the end of the book, I felt as if I hadn't really gained anything from listening... so unfortunately, no, I don't think so.
It felt as if the author tried -very hard- to create a very poignant and touching book, but his attempts left me truly wanting to skip sections. He would drone on about an event or a memory for pages -- an attempt to offer a deeper insight into a character -- but it just felt so fake and dreamy that it was completely unbelievable for me. There were several times that I thought "Yea, you could have just said 'He's a good guy.' and skipped the attempt at a heart-wrenching back story." It wasn't a long read, but boy did it feel like it at times.
The romance in the story is about as flat as the attempt by the author to make me feel anything. You can barely even call it romance, to be honest. I appreciate that Cohen doesn't try to hide the blemishes of his characters or their relationships, but I feel as if there is only friendship between the characters. And that's fine really, but I was expecting a hint of a romance in there too.
I believe I probably would have enjoyed reading this book in print as opposed to listening to it. The narrator was not bad, but he wasn't good either. He just wasn't very good at varying his voice enough, and his portrayal of a woman's voice was just downright disturbing at times.
I enjoyed the narrator's voice specifically for Don's voice. Unfortunately, I found that every other voice was lacking quite a bit.
I've seen a lot of reviews deeming this book as "difficult" or "unfunny". I found neither to be true. There we're several times that I choked out a laugh at work and got funny looks, and throughout the book, I was impressed with the author's interpretation of the inner musings of a person with non-standard mental function. It seems as if people found it unnecessary to note that the main character counted his schedule to the minute, or could recite a whole book of cocktails, but I think it was, if not entirely necessary, at least a valid inclusion to the book. It was part of who the character was.
Please note that if a dry, awkward sense of humor is not your cup of tea, you'll probably want to skip this one. If you want a book that has a very clear, very easy 'happily ever after' you'll probably want to skip this, too. The ending may seem unconventional to some because the couple doesn't magically fix all of their problems and ride off in to the sunset; it doesn't try to be a gooey romance. It's a romance about a man who doesn't grasp love in the "normal" sense - there's no way to "fix" him and there's nothing about him that needs to be fixed. If you're okay with that, give it a listen.
Characters you'll love.
Jessica was such a fabulous character. It's difficult for me to enjoy most romance books because it feels like there is an overwhelming number of idiotic, self-conscious female leads. Jessica is most definitely not one of them. She is surprisingly smart and witty. She is attractive. And even though she is considered a 'spinster' given the time of the book, she knows that she's a catch.
She is also not afraid to admit that what she has with the male lead is, at first, lust. There is no love at first sight (which is just too darn unbelievable in most novels).
I would love for more female leads to be like this.
Kate Reading is a -fantastic- narrator. I can't stress this enough. She does sound a tad older (and that's hardly a bad thing), but it makes sense given the characters she's voicing.
She did such a great job of bringing the characters to life. She's the kind of narrator that would make me consider listening to a book specifically to hear her voice.
And I'm not exaggerating when I say that my toes kind of curled when she spoke in Italian in Dane's voice. It was... disconcerting to say the least.... But impressive nonetheless.
Hearing Dane break into Italian and beg Jess to stay was pretty moving. It was very well written, and to see such a defiant character break was very moving.
If you like period pieces and romance, this is the book for you. Be aware (and I'm sure you probably are), that there are explicit sexual situations in this book, so if that makes you uncomfortable you should look elsewhere for your entertainment. If that kind of stuff doesn't curl your hair, give it a try. It's definitely worth a listen.
Also, Dane reminds me of Rochester something fierce. And Jess was strong and unbending like Jane, so it appeased my inner Bronte lover. I could hardly take my earbuds out while I was at work and I had to work pretty hard to contain my laughter and squeals of delight.
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