LADY OF DEVICES thoroughly captivated me. There's something truly other-worldly yet so completely natural about this blend of Victorian England (with all its social rules) and Steampunk alternative history. I found myself loathe to put down this book, as the plot twists and turns made it a definite page-turner. I found the plot to make perfect sense as the twists happened (foreshadowed beautifully)...but I never saw them coming. The secondary characters added so much charm and wit to the read, and I loved their contributions. Each one was completely purposeful.
I find myself eager to read the second book in the series and delve back into this wold Shelley Adina has created.
This first book in the series did a splendid job setting up the story world, introducing characters, allowing us to see Claire Trevelyan's personality and character. Claire was not the standard 'YA' heroine (thank you, Ms. Adina!). Claire may be barely out of the schoolroom (age 17), yet she is independent, competent, determined, resourceful, KIND, and more powerful than she realized. I found her to be immensely sympathetic and interesting. While this might technically be labeled a Coming of Age tale, it's by far the BEST one I've ever read. I'm pleased to find I've discovered this series late enough that there are MANY books available in the series...so there's no waiting for me-- they're ripe and ready for picking and savoring.
I can't compliment the narrator/voice actress enough. Fiona Hardingham was well-suited to the task; her dialects (so many!) were extraordinarily good. Whether a Lady, a street urchin, an American 'colonist', male or female, of any and every age, each and every voice was consistent with itself and WOWED me! I'll definitely try other books Ms. Hardingham has narrated. Kudos to both the author and the narrator.
Highly recommended to fans of historical novels (particularly Victorian England) and Steampunk.
Congratulations to Suzanne Brockmann--DO OR DIE rocked ALL FIVE stars.
TOP REASONS WHY IT EARNED A FIVE STAR REVIEW FROM ME:
* Patrick Lawlor and Melanie Ewbank are extraordinariliy good matches to Brockmann's writing. Their performance is always 3-D and truly extraordinary-- this book was no exception to that rule.
Amazing, 3-D characterizations that remained true to themselves.
* Tightly interwoven, multiple plot lines and multiple point-of-view characters--and it was easy to follow, and WORKED.
* Beautiful balance of suspense, romance, thriller elements, military aspects.
* Pacing in this action-packed book was ideal....quiet, introspective, share-my-background-with-you-because-I'm-falling-in-love-with-you scenes were offset by action scenes that rocked.
* It was fun to see beloved secondary characters (like Yoshi, Martell Griffin, and Jules Cassidy--even if he was only mentioned in passing).
* Dialogue and tags written like the consummate professional Brockmann is.
* Plot twists and turns that kept me guessing. While events were beautifully foreshadowed, events didn't go as planned, didn't unravel the way I'd anticipated--I liked that!
* Ultra-rewarding comeuppance for the bad guys.
* Hard-won happy endings....and the sense of an optimistic-next-step for the romances. Without an unrealistic "let's get married--right now" kind of wrap-up, I had the complete confidence the romantic couples will be just fine in the future. That's all I need!
* This book is a superb opening to a new series (Reluctant Heroes)...and WOW...did Ian Dunn's story illustrate what a reluctant hero he is!
* For me, this book delivered 100% on its promise...from the book description/blurb, from my past experience devouring ALL of Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series (and even older works). Brockmann just keeps getting better and better.
* Characters face serious conflict, and they triumph by hard work, teamwork, trial and error....and EARNED the solutions.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to fans of Suzanne Brockmann, fans of military romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic suspense....virtually anyone who loves an excellent book.
I adore Eloisa James's writing...and when narrated by Susan Duerden, it's even better! They're a literary match I highly approve of.
I found the interwoven connections between books in this series to be particularly enjoyable. These recurring characters made me want to devour the whole series. These connections raised questions (interest) without making me feel like I'd missed something (other than curiosity)....very well entwined.
I found the romance between Leopold Dautry, Duke of Villiers, and two potential brides (each daughters of Dukes, therefore 'appropriate') to be captivating. The development left me wondering if Villiers would make the smart choice...and the way the plot developed, it was a definite page turner for me.
I highly recommend this whole Duchess series to fans of Eloisa James (and all fans of all Regency and/or Victorian romances). You won't be disappointed!
I LOVED this first book in a new series by Molly Harper.
MY BLUEGRASS BABY is SO Molly Harper, I would've known who had written it, even if her name wasn't on it. It's snarky, sarcastic, hilarious, fun, entertaining...and all of this is done so incredibly well by Amanda Ronconi, I see why she's the voice actor of choice for all of Molly's books.
This intro to a new series is contemporary, without elements of paranormal (which Molly does very, very well). I found myself empathizing painfully well with Sadie (though I don't have the same job, lifestyle, connections, profession, or even state of the union). Molly is a master of writing empathetic characters, whose emotions resonate with readers/ listeners. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the war between Josh Vaughn and Sadie Hutchins escalate and morph and include the obvious attraction. It was so rewarding watching them fall for each other....and with the tale told entirely from Sadie's point of view, it was great SEEING Josh's motivation, choices, dilemmas through Sadie's eyes.
Highly recommended for fans of contemporary romance, fans of Molly Harper's work, and everyone in between. Enjoy!
I enjoyed listening to LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON. I believe it was my first experience with Alison Packard's writing, and Gia St. Claire's narrations.
So many things deserve complementary feedback:
* Believable, sympathetic characters, completely 3-dimensional, and remained true to themselves from start to finish.
* Characters responded in very real, believable ways. Reactions were just right!
* Excellent balance between the romance, the suspense, internal thought processes
* Excellent dialogue
* The narrator did a great job with female voices, accents (for the most part), legitimately tried with the male voices (though not my favorite--can't have everything, I suppose, except with a very FEW narrators/voice actors).
* Believable peek into Hollywood and the set of a soap opera.
* Characters grew and changed over the course of the book.
* Length seemed just right to tell the story (without unnecessary scenes, time wasted, etc.)
* Set up a (please?!) separate story to come...between Matt and Kelly (secondary characters in this book).
* This is a TRUE ROMANCE: the central plot line, the whole arc of the romance developed thoroughly, came to a very satisfying conclusion after the conflict brings out both the best and worst in our characters. I'm confident that Shawn (Shaun? Sean?--when listening, it's impossible to tell) and Kayla will be just fine in the future--I do love happy endings! (particularly when the gray moments and black moments are severe enough.)
* The characters' baggage and pasts had everything to do with the resolutions, conflict between the two, and what kept them apart during gray and black moments.
Reasons why (for me, a single listener) this book rates 4 stars (rather than 5):
* The narration is a key, and significant element, of the Audible experience. The narrator did a good job, but not a WOW job. The male voices were a disappointment, especially when compared to other female voice actors who DO it so very astonishingly well.
* While I enjoyed the book, it was easy to put down. Yes...the plot and subplots all pulled through neatly, but the suspense wasn't edge-of-my-seat-can't-look-away kind of suspense. I never feared for Kayla (heroine) enough that I had to keep listening. I listened when driving (then put it away upon arriving wherever), listened while folding laundry (and put it away), over and over and over. Probably took me close to 10 days or 2 weeks to finish listening to it. Sad but true.
* I was content to read (in print) many other titles while listening to this book. (Again, the suspense element wasn't that captivating.)
All in all, an enjoyable read. I recommend it to all fans of contemporary romance.
THIS DUCHESS OF MINE was incredible! Just finished listening to it, and I recommend it wholeheartedly. Eloisa James did an outstanding job creating a larger world with this series, intertwining the romances of several couples, with ongoing story lines I find compelling and enjoyable. The more books in this series I read or listen to, the more enamored I am with the series and with Ms. James's writing.
Susan Duerden does a phenomenal job performing this book (and the series in whole). Her performance of male voices (each unique and easily recognizable--even before the tag identifying the speaker) and female voices are simply amazing. Her reading of this book increased my enjoyment many times over.
Note: I accidentally listened to these books out of order, with Leopold and Elinor's story jumping ahead of THIS DUCHESS OF MINE. Savoring them out of order caused zero disappointments...just helped to fill in some occurrences I'm really glad I got to experience.
Listeners cannot go wrong with any performance by Susan Duerden. Fans of Eloisa James will find this book (and its series) completely worth the time, credit(s), and investment.
I adore Romantic Suspense. I love Military Romantic Suspense even more. I was very hopeful that this book would meet my (relatively moderate) expectations.
Many things worked:
~I believed that Nate and Rachel loved each other
~I believed her embarrassment about how their relationship began, "last January"
~I liked the premise
~much of the dialogue worked beautifully (in print...the narrator spoiled much of it)
Many more things simply fell flat (or were unbelievable, even in fiction):
~Nate is a former Navy Seal....but so much of his behavior fell short of that history (he easily could've been a police detective, and then every bit of his action, choices, would've rung true).
A) Nate sneaks into the compound and gets caught (Seals can "ghost" in and out and no one would see or hear a thing).
B) Nate enters the compound near the end of the story, Lone Ranger style...no backup, no weapons brought in with him, no communicating with the Mother Ship. I just can't see a Seal doing that.
C) Alpha Military types act first, and take care of emotional support (even of "his woman") later....get her to (physical) safety, FIRST. Too often, Nate was the non-military man who was more concerned if she's OK, feeling good about things when she's in immediate danger.
D) The list goes on and on, but I'll zip it right now.
~much of the plot fell flat....where there was next to no suspense (perhaps it was because we always knew what was happening from the Bad Guys' scenes). I wasn't ever worried for the characters, never felt anxious about how they were going to get out of any messes. It was almost as if the threat wasn't that great and therefore we never got to see their crime-fighting skills, and never any Spec-Ops Warrior skills.
~The narration was well below average. This female voice actor simply didn't have what it takes to do Nate's point-of-view (or voice) justice. I so would have preferred to see either both a male voice actor and a female actor...or simply have a man read this one. Some women's voices simply can't do the alpha male voice believably....and it grated on me. The narration dragged down the "overall" rating THAT much. While the story, by itself could've been a solid "3" on the rating scale for me, I simply can't give it even a 3 overall due to the narration.
My biggest regret? I've already purchased books 2 and 3 (same day as this 1st book in the series)....and now I don't even want to listen to them. I feel like I've wasted my credits for nothing.
I've loved the whole series...books one, two, and three. Eager to dive into book #4. Jim Butcher is an incredibly talented writer...and James Marsters does an outstanding job performing. I'm completely sold on this series, and highly recommend them to all fans of fantasy, suspense, mystery, and more. Very, very well done. Butcher does the most amazing job creating the world Harry Dresden lives in....and I'm only tickled PINK that the series is long and I have so many more to enjoy.
Amanda Ronconi is the PERFECT narrator for Molly Harper's paranormal books. So glad she's STILL the performer! As always, Ronconi did a superb job with this title.
This short is obviously a placeholder, a gift to readers waiting for the next installment in Harper's Half Moon Hollow series of paranormal romances. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with familiar, beloved characters in their over-the-top Christmas celebrations. The story gave teasers of the future that Gigi (main character in this short) has gotten herself into with the Vampire community...and the new adventures her love life WILL experience (who is that mysterious vampire whose kiss melted her bones?).
While it had a complete story arc as far as Christmas celebrations went, including her first time back home after sister was changed into vampire, there were so many minutes of the audiobook devoted to setting the stage for an upcoming book that it left the short lacking. Plot holes...because it wasn't meant to be completed here. Just part of an ongoing story. With that said, it did do the trick; I'm very interested in listening to the rest of Gigi's story...whenever it comes out. I'll definitely watch for it.
Thank you for the FREE audiobook, Molly Harper! I thoroughly enjoyed your Christmas gift!
First, I'm immensely pleased I discovered THE DRESDEN FILES series this late (after all, they've been available quite some time). Luckily for me, this means I can enjoy them one right after the other without a waiting period.
Fool Moon was every bit as captivating and enjoyable and QUALITY as was the first book (Storm Front). Engaging plot, powerful secondary characters, enough suspense to keep me listening (avidly), characterization of Harry is consistent in every way. I'm incredibly impressed.
James Marsters does an outstanding job performing the book. I LOVE his narration. I've already purchased #3 in the series and have every intention of buying and devouring every last one.
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