The rhythm was slightly off. The whole package is not quite tight. But all in all it is worth the time to listen.
I really liked Phin, and I came to care about Sophie. I thought the setups for some of the sexual interludes were less than believable, but believability is not a priority with Crusie's stories.
The book was fun. Not her best, not her worst.
This book was SOOOOOOOO good!
At first I was impatient for the author to finish getting all of the characters on the stage so that something would start happening. The characters were all so emotionally dishonest and closed off and everyone was in such sad places.
Then when all the characters did start interacting with each other, the drama got even more heartbreaking!
So why am I recommending this tear jerker of a story? Because it was so GOOD. The characters were great, the emotional tension was taught, the worlds we were introduced to (both the urban stable yard and the French riding academy) were exotic and previously unknown to me.
Julie Franklin communicated the action and drama very well, but the voice she created for Mack was a little coarse and did not lend itself to Mack's tender moments. I probably would have preferred a younger sounding reader, but I certainly enjoyed the story as Franklin performed it.
This is my first Hannah Howell book. The characters spoke an antique English, so it is a little hard to tell if my relatively positive impression of her writing is all based on substance or a little on style.
The female lead, Storm, is strong willed with a biting wit. Most of the humor comes from her temper and her talent for putting men in their place. The male lead, Tavis, suffers from the timeless character flaw of having walled off his heart because he was hurt by his first love. Not original, but clearly a theme many readers come up against in modern times. He is a self-centered brute - and it is a little hard to figure out what Storm sees in him.
The best character was Storm's Irish cousin. His wisdom became increasingly unbelievable (so much insight from such a young man), but he was still the most likable character in the book.
The historical details were often out of sync with reality. I am not a stickler for historical accuracy, but I did find myself taking note of the anachronisms when they appeared. Some readers might find them annoying.
The narration was fine. It did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book.
The book is definitely flawed: in historical accuracy, in the development of characters, in the plotting of the story. The further I got in my review the more faults I recognized, so I went back and took away a few stars. Wow, that is a new one for me!
The first book in the series, "Animal Magnetism", was MUCH better than this second book. This book's leading characters, Dell and Jade, were both more interesting as secondary characters in the first book. They are not nearly as cute in this book...and the abundance of playful scenes that made the secondary characters so much fun in the first book are missing in this book.
In my review of the first book I wrote, "The three lead male characters also expose a lot about each other in the way they tease each other. The nicknames they assign to each other, the way one will respond to being teased by the others. We learn a lot about the characters by the way they joke with each other." The teasing and the nicknames were almost completely abandoned. Brady appears hardly at all in this book...and Dell's interaction with Adam does not add much to our understanding of either character.
Karen White's narration is annoying and distracting. She is so busy being breathy and trying to make the sex scenes sound exciting that she forgets to actually read. The love play would be much more natural and exciting if she would just stop gasping and read!
This trilogy is vintage Nora Roberts. The characters are all interesting and I was interested to see how things would play out.
Because it is the third in the series, I was already invested in the core characters. I already liked them and could anticipate how they would behave in certain circumstances. And I like the comfortability that comes from reading a trilogy.
Fiacre Douglas' performance did not add to my enjoyment of the story. He is not the best I have ever heard..and considering Nora Roberts' status in the romance genre, I am surprised that the producers don't find the very best narrators for her works.
I loved this book and the performance really added to the charm.
It was a new sort of production for me because they had a different narrator for each of the four main characters. The book was crafted for this style because each chapter was written from the point of view of one of those four characters. It was not like the narrators were engaged in dialogue...but rather that each of the characters took turns describing the unfolding of events as they experienced them.
The charm is all in the way the relationships develop over the course of this oddball group of people driving 500 miles from the southern England to northern Scotland. Your emotions are engaged as the individuals begin to open up to each other and especially as the children begin to come out of their shells.
The kids are WONDERFUL. Tanzie is so loveable! She is a geek little girl with no guile, only passion for maths. Nickie is an odd but loyal brother who grows into a real hero. Norman the dog's personality consists mostly of sloth, drool and flatulence for the first three-fourths of the book, but his loyalty and inner hero also emerge in the final few chapters.
The love story between Jess and Ed is also warm and engaging. They helped each other face uncomfortable realities in their relationships with exes, parents and siblings. They also help each other get in touch with the things that are truly important for happiness.
The casting of these readers was inspired. The actors bring so much energy to the portrayal, and because each actor plays a single person - they are really able to inhabit the characters.
A gentle and warm book made better by the actors that read it. Choose the audiobook over the printed book and you'll be glad you did.
Did you watch "All My Children" in the early 1990s when Dixie did not know that Tadd had survived the explosion? That was all I could think about as this story unfolded. Dan going up the elevator when Andrea is going down. Andrea driving out of the parking lot right as Dan run out to catch her. The story drew out way longer than my patience.
Mediocre, not worth the points.
This story was better written than Shalvis' Wilder Series. The Wilder characters were distinct and entertaining, but these are stronger. Their qualities and values reveal themselves not only in the way they treat people, but in the way they treat animals. That might not communicate to everyone, but it communicates to me.
The three lead male characters also expose a lot about each other in the way they tease each other. The nicknames they assign to each other, the way one will respond to being teased by the others. We learn a lot about the characters by the way they joke with each other.
Lilah is interesting. I don't come off quite as impressed with the strength of her character as Brady does, but I am drawn to the loyalty she inspires from members of the community.
There is one question of continuity that bothered me throughout this book. That was the amount of time Shalvis allotted for various activities. She would say that it was a half mile walk from Lilah's kennel to the vet clinic....but then she would say that she could run home, take a quick showed and be back in 20 minutes. Everyone was always running across one field or another to do something--and then returning in a matter of minutes. If these locations were more than a few yards apart, Shalvis should have allotted more travel time.That is an odd complaint, even for me!
The narration is a little breathy, but Karen White did a good job of creating both male and female characters.
I recommend this book.
The premise is very cute, and Jennifer Crusie could have made a great romp out of it. Unfortunately Donna McDonald turned a great concept into a mediocre manuscript.
Sabine is likeable, but not adorable. Todd is likeable but not believable. The voice the narrator created for him sounds as if she is trying to affect a foreign accent. Hey, Hawaii is part of the United States. His voice does not need to sound like English is his second language.
The twist in the drama is set up so that Todd must be willing to risk exposing his deepest vulnerability to win Sabine, but when it plays out there is no tension. There is nothing in the performance that give us reason to believe that Todd is really risking anything important.
This book is okay, but don't go into it with expectations of a great romp.
This story is fundamentally flawed because the only time the two main characters interact is to have sex. There are no opportunities for the reader to learn anything about these people, their histories or their quality of their characters. Then we are supposed to believe that they fall in everlasting, soul-mate love as an outcome of their "one week stand." It just does not track. The author spends all of her time describing sex scenes and no time describing the characters. Her dramatization of the sex is not that exciting either, so this book really has nothing to recommend it. Save your credits.
I really like this series. I like the main characters, I adore the supporting characters, I like the places they go and the things they do. I like the way the characters reveal themselves by the way they behave/react in experiences that are unexpected and unfamiliar.
The way Koti is described, over and over and over again by every single character in the book, had my mind searching for someone whose physicality might compare. Is there an actor as cut as Koti (Matthew McConaughey?) or one with a face as beautiful (young Paul Newman?). I'll never know.
I didn't expect to admire him as much as I did Drew (Book 1), but he definitely revealed himself to have more substancial values than his skirt-chaser image would belie. However, Kate tears into him for not having the guts to dig deep and work hard for the things that don't come easy to him. Unexpected and thought provoking, this was a character flaw that I have never seen an author confront. In the end it turned out to be an interesting trait for the story to hinge on.
The first book in the series was a travelogue for New Zealand. Rather than describing the scenery, this book explores and explains the culture. I learned so much about the history and heritage that make N Zed different from any place else on the planet. That richness alone would be reason to listen to this book.
The narrator, Claire Bocking, is a conundrum. Her reading MAKES these books. She infuses each sentence with the emotion and inflection that the writer heard in her head as she put the words to paper. She succeeds in making each character distinct. Her male voices are as successful as her female voices. And her accents are spot on.
The conundrum? She has a LISP! Every word with an S exposes her speech impediment...but only when she is speaking with an American accent. It isn't evident with the Ausie accents!
Regardless....she is a magnificent reader. There was no sentence or paragraph in her performance that failed to convey exactly what was happening, being said or being felt. She is 100% present in each moment of this story.
I highly recommend this book and this series.
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