It's been a few months since I last listened to a Julie James novel and this one reminded me why I just love this author. Her characters are real, the dialog is laugh out loud one minute then makes your chest tighten the next, and the stories make you want to stay in the car until you finish the book. Karen White does a great job narrating, with a perfect sense of timing when delivering a witty phrase. She also does a very good job distinguishing voices, and avoids that annoying gruff whisper that some female narrators use when trying to express a male voice. If I could give this a 6 I would!
This story continues the series surrounding the men of the New Zealand rugby team (the All Blacks), however don't assume it's a fluffy manfest that just serves a backdrop for some steamy scenes. Introduced in the first two stories (Hemi's and Drew's), Koti is a gorgeous, talented, pro athlete who is used to getting his own way and not having to work very hard to get it. He meets a strong american woman who calls him on his 'stuff' and helps him to learn that some things are worth working for. Even without the underlying plot of the stalker ex-boyfriend, the story was so engaging I hated to put it down. It made me laugh out loud, choke up a bit when warranted, and didn't have long, drawn out periods of angst. I loved that Koti didn't just instantly become a perfect, caring, loving man who was simply misunderstood. Ms. James' ability to create characters who are real, but don't put you off is a true gift. The narrator was fantastic. One of the best I've every heard, with authentic accents, clearly distinguished voices, good male as well as female voices, and a perfect sense of timing to pull off the funny parts. I hope that more of this becomes available on audio soon!
I'm always on the lookout for a new romance series that has some humor, keeps things moving along, has likable characters and minimizes the time spent in angst. This story does all of the those things and is in a new venue to me, so I also enjoyed learning about the New Zealander (Kiwi) culture. I would have liked to have seen Hannah get her act together a bit earlier, but it was also nice to have a more realistic timeline to the inevitable commitment to the relationship. Drew was a saint, but if you can't have a gorgeous, sexy, kind and patient man in a HEA where can you have one? The steam level was about that of 2010's Nora Roberts-- just enough to keep your interest, but not enough to make the more sensitive readers blush too badly. The narrator did a great job with the accents and distinguishing voices. She's one of the best I've heard so far, and I've listened to hundreds of books. I hope Audible gets the later books soon. As of this writing, she was up to book 5, with 6 being released in June. Well worth the credit!
I love the Sullivans and Bella Andre's witty humor, but her last few stories have just been about the development of the relationship with lots of internal agonizing. Her first novel in this series had a woman escaping from a crazed ex-husband which kept things moving while the relationship matured. I like her writing enough to keep buying the series, but without the underlying plot line, I just don't devour her books any more.
The story pulls you in quickly and doesn't let go. I didn't like the overbearing nature of the male lead (Ashton) but could still like him as a character. Lila is strong enough to push back on him and has a wonderful quirkiness that really makes her endearing. The narrator did a great job of dramatizing the book, and overall her voices were good. I'm not a big fan of the 'whispered' male voice that some female narrators (like this one) use, but I guess it would be hard to go down an octave for the entire reading. The Witness had you on the edge of your seat more often that this one, but I still found myself wanting to stay in the car to get to the end of a section. Well worth the credit!
The cliffhanger is a good news bad news type of thing. I only gave this book 4 stars because while I liked the characters, there wasn't much 'story' there. However, I can already tell that will change with the next book since this one ended with a cliffhanger, Which is the bad news. You have to listen to the next to find out what happens.
This story pits two lawyers against each other, competing for a partnership in their firm. It's exceptionally well written with characters you care for, a story line that moves along and has witty repartee. I would have given it 5 stars but I personally don't care for a story line that has a lot of conflict in it. This is a PG version of Julie James, not the steamy side you see in her FBI series. I highly recommend it.
When I read the other reviews, I knew this was going to be a story that focused more on the airline industry and the strong woman pilot than romance, but didn't realize it was from a story she wrote in 2005. I really like Robyn Carr, and usually get to know and love her characters. However this book treats three main characters almost equally, so you don't ever get inside the head of any one of them. The very mild G-rated romance of one of the secondary characters (Dixie) is sweet but hardly draws you in, and the expected happily ever after ending for the main character (Nikki) is wrapped up so quickly and neatly at the end that I was left saying, huh? This is a perfectly pleasant read (listen) but if you're expecting Virgin River, you'll be disappointed.
While the Virgin River series just built upon the general relationships, this story was exclusively just a continuation of those started in the Wanderer. It started off with all sorts of things going wrong, and didn't ever reach the laugh out loud, sweet moments I so love with her books. I'll continue reading the series, but they won't be the first thing I download anymore.
I love the Virgin River series, and was hoping this was more of the same. However, unlike Virgin River, I didn't find myself smiling at the characters and situations and there was no steam-- not even hot water. Had I read this book first, I probably wouldn't have tried her others-- what a shame that would have been since she's now my favorite author! Terese Plummer was wonderful as always, but even she couldn't pull out this rather sad, rambling story. It wasn't terrible, but just simply wasn't good. While the VR books use the underlying poverty and crime in the area to highlight just how good the people of VR are, this book just never got there. And given that the romance between June and xxx (don't want to spoil it for those who do read this) didn't really happen until the last few chapters, then ended with 'her clothes fell to the floor in a pile' disqualify this as a romance novel to me. I purchased the second book before starting this, expecting to want to jump right in after finishing as I did all the VR books, but I plan to return it for a credit. I love Robyn Carr, but not this series!
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