I just started reading the Temperance Brennan series this summer. I devoured the first fifteen, and was eagerly awaiting the release of "Bones of the Lost". It is difficult to assign this installment a specific rank among my favorites, but I will definitely re-read it, probably more than once. The only other books I've looked forward to re-reading so enthusiastically have been 206 bones and Bones to Ashes.
In this installment we see a stronger, more resilient Tempe. Just when I thought the character was growing somewhat stagnant, Reichs delivers a dramatically complex plot, complete with a myriad of professional and personal pitfalls Tempe must navigate. In the process, she reveals several new avenues that this series could explore, and, as usual, delivers one terriffic mystery!
Don't let the publisher's summary fool you. While Tempe's divorce from Pete does figure into the plot, the author focuses more on the challenge she faces disentangling the small details of her life from her long-time spouse than she does on the "will she or won't she sign?" question. The big interpersonal challenge Tempe faces in this novel is conveyed more by the absence of a certain familiar detective from active participation in most of the book--but when he does eventually show up, watch out!
Is this book the pinnacle of literary creativity and story-crafting ingenuity? No, not really. But is it a fun, fast-paced book that will leave you waiting for the next novel in the series? You bet!
Thoughtful, sweet, unique.
This one's for the girls. For every smart woman out there who has ever felt that her intellect somehow diminishes her lovability. For every woman who has struggled to conceive a child or maintain a relationship. This is a tremendous book. The romance is touching, the characters are well drawn, and the humor sparkles, but that's only part of the story here. The emotions are raw, and you'll feel every bit of what Violet is feeling. This is a book that's mostly about the triumph of the human spirit, and the ability of women to succeed even in a world that doesn't acknowledge their successes. I can't say too much more without giving away key plot elements, but this is a glorious tale.
I've been a Liz Carlyle fan for nearly 15 years. And we're talking the kind of fan who has had to replace copies of her paperbacks because the spines have fallen apart from overuse. I fell in love with her work because, in addition to creating complex, suspenseful, believable, steamy hystorical romances that always have a healthy dollop of mystery, Carlyle's characters were unforgettable and her dialogue was clever. However, for the past few years, as she has spun out the tales of the Fraternitas Aurea Crucis, I have found myself picking up each new installment with a sigh, and the hope that I would once again feel the old magic. If anything, the plots were so complex that they detracted from the story, and the characters felt increasingly difficult to relate to, steped as they were in mysterious powers and/or resentment, rage, fear and a host of other emotions so negative that in my opinion they detracted from the enjoyability of the books.
And then came A Wicked Man. Since Ned Quartermaine's backstory is tangentially related to the stories of the Fraternitas Crucis, I put off reading this book, afraid I would find another well-written but difficult to love disappointment. Instead, I was delighted to discover a likable, intelligent, witty heroine who is easy to relate to and someone I might actually want to know in real life. Add to that a disreputable but still honorable, lonely man who is terribly easy to fall in love with and a skillfully drawn cast of supporting characters who help bring each scene vividly to life, this story was easy to enjoy, and will be fun to re-read. It's a simple tale--there is very little in the way of mystery, although there are a few clever twists that showcase the author's talent for plot development. If you're in the mood for a complex, thrilling murder mystery, this isn't the Carlyle for you, but if you want a warm, almost sweett--but undeniably still sexy!--novel, this is a great read.
A note about the narrator: Overall, I enjoyed Carrolyn Morris' reading. It was well-paced, and she differentiated the voices well. She also did a great job with the erotic content, which not every reader can pull off. My one complaint: She mispronounced several words! If this sort of thing doesn't bother you, then I appologize if I sound like I'm nitpicking. However, if you're a stickler like me, be warned!
It's finally unabridged! This is one of Heyer's best. If you're new to her books, start here. remember, Heyer wrote in the early to mid 20-th century, so her books are not full of passionate sex scenes. However, if you're looking for witty, frequently hilarious dialogue, well-developed, unforgettable characters and a story full of detail that still manages never to be tedious, you'll really enjoy this novel.
The characters! There are a lot of them, and each one is so skillfully drawn that you'll never get confused, or find yourself wondering, "now wait, who is that again?" Some, like Tom and the governess, are lovable, and some, like Fatherby, are detestable, but each one is a literary gem. If you're familiar with Heyer's work, you'll recognize some recurring character types, but in my opinion that's part of what makes her work so excellent--you may recognize some of the elements, but the story as a whole stands out and is uniquely unforgettable.
Every scene with Sylvester and Phoebe. This story is about as far as you can get from being a "boddice ripper", but there is no lack of passion between these two. Their interactions sparkle (even when Phoebe is deliberatly trying to prevent it!)
I suppose that some people might feel like the first few chapters drag. I disagree, because I think all those initial details help make the story richer. But even if you're not convinced at the outset, continue reading! You'll fall in love.
I would definitely listen to parts of this book again. As usual, Sherrilyn Kenyon has woven threads of an overarching, and very complex, storyline in among the details of Styxx's life. I have a feeling I'm going to need to re-read just to get the details straightened around in preparation for the next book--which was foreshaddowed at the end of this one.
However, I won't deny that the first half of this story really seemed to drag. Of course, Kenyon had to go back and retell the entire story of Acheron's human life from Styxx's POV in order to explain everything we saw in that book, and redeem Styxx's character. She does a fantastic job of providing plausible explanations for evrything that goes on--it just takes a really long time, and while I appreciate her attention to detail I did find myself getting rather bored. The second half of the story picks up the pace quite a bit, and if youc an stick it out to the end you'll really appreciate the careful and intricate crafting of the book as a whole.
I read once on Kenyon's website that she didn't want to give Styxx his own book until she could find a way to forgive him for what he supposedly did to Acheron. In this novel, she not only transforms Styxx from a villain to a tragic hero, but also shows us some of Acheron's own character flaws in a completely credible way. In this world of gods, demigods and other supernatural beings there are no one-dimentional characters. The most malicious can be kind, and the most benign can cause devistating harm. While Kenyon's world has rules, it is never static, which usually makes her books pageturners and full of surprises.
I also appreciated the fact that Kenyon didn't put us through pages and pages of back and forth sniping between Styx and Bethany, which to often happens in romances. They pretty much fell in love at first sight and stayed that way, which allowed the story to develop around their love in stead of being distracted by their interpersonal antics.
It probably goes without saying, but do not, do not, do not read this book if you haven't been following this series from the beginning. There are way too many characters and way too much backstory--you'll miss the best parts of the story if you're scratching your head going "who's that guy?" If you've been following this series, I really think this is one of the better books, despite the rather slow start. Stick with it, and you'll really enjoy.
This book contains the three elements that are always the key to a good read, in my opinion;
First, dynamic characters. Though due to the nature of Kaleb and Sahara's backstories, it takes a while to get to know them well enough to be truly invested in their happily ever after. Especially Kaleb, because with his past, and his motivations shrouded in mystery, he comes across as a morally ambivalent (at best!) character for most of the book.
Second, an intricate plot. Singh introduced Sahara's abduction waaaaaay back in Visions of Heat, but the mention was so brief you would almost certainly miss it. Is it possible she has been planning this storyline for several years? She has definitely been developing the mystery around Kaleb for the last few books. And even as far as halfway through the novel I was still not quite sure what-all was going on--a nice change from so many books where everything is laid out in the first three chapters and you spend the rest of the book just waiting for the characters to figure it out.
Third, an amazingly complex, evolving world to provide backstory, conflict and infinite possibilities. Without crossing the line into providing so many details as to be overwhelming, Singh has created a futuristic world to serve as a backdrop for this series that is vibrant, fascinating and unforgettable.
AD is a fantastic narrator. She has narrated the entire series and has kept her voices and character interpretations consistent throughout. Her pacing is good, and she dramatizes dialogue without overacting, which is always appreciated!
This is a fantastic book, worthy of Singh's talent and the grand scope of this series. However, be warned; do not read this book if you are only going to be able to lend it half an ear--you really need to concentrate, because the story moves quickly and there is a lot going on in every chapter. I tried to listen while grading my students' math tests and finally had to give up and rewind because I kept missing things!
Also, this story is not a light-hearted romantic comfort read. It is quite dark in places, as both protagonists have tortured pasts which effect them on every level. This novel is also distinctly short of those cute, amusing, funny pack interactions we are so used to enjoying in many of the other Psy-Changeling books. Be warned! You'll love the story,but this is definitely not the book to start if you're in the mood for a fluffy summer romance.
The characters! Ward's BDB universe is filled with lovable (and loathable) characters of every description, and this book features a full caste of familiar faces and new creations. Blay and Qhuinn's journey is, of course, the primary focus of this story, but we also get further insights into Xscore, Layla and Assail, not to mention the shaddow brothers Tres and Iam. At times the constant switching back and forth between characters and storylines gave me literary whiplash--and to be honest, I felt like Assail (whom I hav so far found to be a completely unsympathetic character) got too much air time. But as always, Ward managed to draw me in with her vivid descriptions, frequently hilarious dialogue and the ever-shifting political and interpersonal currents that bring this world to life.
LAL resembles most closely the last few books in the series because the plot weaves several storylines together and jumps back and forth between them. Also, I was getting some serious Suzanne Brockmann vibes at points--If you like her Jules and Robin storyline you'll probably enjoy this book. The circumstances of the characters are very different, but their emotional struggles are similar.
As always, I appreciated his ability to bring the characters to life, to give them personality, while both staying true to the authors' descriptions and avoiding overdramatization. There were some noticeable recording glitches in this book--some areas where the tracks didn't blend seamlessly, and some places where the text seemed to contain errors. I blame that on the editors though, not the narrator.
If you’ve been rooting for Qhuinn and Blay for years, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re already a little in love with Xscore (or at least, feel some sympathy for him), you will see him begin to make some interesting character shifts. Nothing spectacular, of course, but there is definitely some development there. If you like Tres and Iam, you’ll be further entertained by them and get to know them better. And as for Assail—the jury is still out there. He gets a pretty significant sub-plot, but I have to say I didn’t find those parts of the book as compelling as the rest.
Bottom line: if you’re a fan of the series, keep reading! You’ll have a good time. If not, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this one. There is a lot of back story you need to be familiar with in order to fully relate to these characters, and since in my opinion the characters are what make the book, I’d recommend beginning the series from the beginning for maximum enjoyment.
Larissa Ione's books don't usually end up on my re-read list, and while this one is one of the better ones I don't anticipate rushing back to read it again any time soon. If you're a huge fan of the series though, and tend to give it 5 star ratings, then I'm sure you'll want to read this one over and over.
The main characters are both likable, with believable baggage. The story contains some fun, steamy scenes, as well as dialogue that is quite amusing in places. I think my favorite aspect of this story is that Ione doesn't simply sweep away the accumulated problems of the past four books. She handles the horsemen's re-introduction to Resef in a very credible way. She also ties up some loose ends from the series while opening the way for more stories, and there is a Harvester-related plot twist that I just loved.
This one has the complex plot construction and tangled web of characters of all the Horsemen books. It's not a simple, fluffy romance that just happens to feature a demon--Ione has created a complex world that is always exciting to revisit.
Her voice is very dead-pan. She does an ok job differentiating male and female characters, and her reading isn't completely lacking in emotion, but there were definitely places where I thought a little more animation would have contributed to the feeling of drama the author was obviously trying to create.
Not really. There was one plot twist (see above) that made me go "Oh!" but the rest was pretty much as expected. Resef's reunion with his family was difficult to read, because as much as the discerning reader in me appreciated the believability of their initial reaction to the fact that he wasn't dead, I felt bad for him!
I've read all the books in this series, and I'm glad I have, because if this had been the first I would not have tried another. The narrator is fine, I have no complaints there, it was just that the story itself didn't really interest me until more than halfway through.
I knew and liked the characters from previous books, and some of the dialogue and descriptive passages are really quite funny, which was the only reason I kept reading after the first fifty pages or so. The entire first half of the book doesn't really seem to have much plot. Pia is driving, morning sick,arriving, complaining, stressing, talking, and Dragos is working, thinking, grumpy, talking... You get the idea. It's only after they arrive in the elvin wood that anything happens that could actually be called a plot. The last hundred pages or so are fast-paced and fairly intense, with a climactic battle scene that is not terribly epic but reasonably good.
The book did have some good love scenes, I suppose. This volume of the series revisited the protagonists from the first book, which was fine,I usually enjoy when authors do that. However, most authors also include a secondary romance in stories like this. Thea Harrison does not, which in my oppinion made the story less interesting--it's not like anything terribly new and exciting happens between Pia and Dragos here--their relationship deepens and matures a little, but not enough takes place on that front to justify an entire novel.
I get the sense that this was a transitional book--Thea Harrison seems to have set the stage for several more stories here, and has perhaps made room for some fundamental changes in the fabric of the world of the Elder Races. I will probably read the next one, but I'll save a credit for it and not pay full price, that's for sure.
The ending was fine. the last two sentences or so actually effected me more emotionally speaking than the rest of the book combined.
She does a good job differentiating the voices, and reads the humor comically, instead of staying completely deadpan. This series isn't one of the best ever by a longshot, and quite frankly, if it wasn't for this narrator I might not have bothered to go past the second book.
If you've read and enjoyed the rest of the series, sure, read this book. But don't expect too much, and either use a credit or get it on sale. Don't pay either the full or member price. Also, if you're planning to take this on a long car or plane trip, make sure you take a back-up, just in case you find yourself getting frustrated by the marked absence of plot that plagues most of the book.
My print edition is dog-eared from frequent re-reading, so when I saw that this book had FINALLY been released in unabridged audio I couldn't wait to drop a credit. This story is well paced, with enough action that you won't be bored.
Dylan is a likable hero who is dominant without being domineering--sometimes Laurens' male protagonists are just a little too omnipotent and omniscient. Dylan, who we first met in "A Rogue's Proposal", is a character with a tainted past, and his own awareness of his previous mis-steps helps make his moral dilemma both easy to relate to and reasonably believable.
If you can excuse the somewhat hairbrained nature of her initial scheme to rescue her brother, you'll probably come to really enjoy Priscilla. she is a quick-witted woman who learns from her mistakes and spends the majority of the novel working to resolve her problems rather than bemoaning them.
The love scenes are some of the best in this series, in my opinion. One of the things I always enjoy about Laurens' books is that while she may re-use some phrases in her novels a bit too much--(if I read one more "whirling and twirling" ballroom scene I might throw something)--she almost always writes creative, steamy sex scenes that don't make you roll your eyes or press fast-forward. She also steers clear of bedroom cliches--you know the words and phrases I mean!
This novel has similar themes to "A Rogue's Proposal", and takes place some 10 or 12 years later in Newmarket, where that book was also set. Of course, it's a Cynster novel, so there are plenty of recurring characters including Barnaby Adaire. Priscilla is one of the more savvy heroines--more on a par with Alathia from "A Secret Love", than Felicity in terms of worldly experience, while Dylan is only a Cynster by marriage, so he's not quite as much of a loving tyrant as some of Laurens' other heroes.
You've just got to love that voice! Smooth and cultured and so well paced. Unfortunately, I got the sence at several points during his narration that Prebble wasn't really into the story all that much--which you can't really blame him for, after reading God knows how many romances. However, if I get even the flicker of a feeling that the narrator isn't really taking a book seriously, that somewhat lessons the listening pleasure for me.
If you're a fan of this series, definitely get this book! If you're new to the Cynsters, you can certainly read it as a stand-alone, but I think the story is made more rich by the context of the series and the readers' familiarity with the characters.
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