Indianapolis, IN, United States | Member Since 2008
Setting: England 1885
I have never been disappointed by a performance by Susan Duerden. She engages the listener in this lighthearted romance.
I quite enjoyed this story about Lady Veronica, whose goal is to break out of her straight-laced widowhood by taking a lover, and Sir Sebastian, whose goal is to leave behind his footloose past by taking a wife. She refuses his marriage proposal and he refuses to make her his mistress. He gives in so he can convince her she should marry him, and takes her to his new house for the holiday. Then his family descends on them uninvited and misunderstanding ensues. This is a good farce that will have you laughing out loud.
Yes, I'd say it's worth the credit.
Setting: California, England, and New York. Contemporary
Well, I'm trying to review this on the merits of the story. The premise is one that's more common in regency romance: Filthy rich Duke must, because of stipulations in his father's will, marry by his birthday on Wednesday. It's Monday. He goes to a matchmaker, but decides to marry her instead of the candidates she provided. Sound familiar? Anyway... This author didn't come close to knowing how noble titles are passed. Yes, a personal fortune can be passed to someone other than the heir to the title, but entailed properties cannot. That entailed estate may be debt-ridden, but it still cannot pass into the hands of the next guy in line. Well, it can happen, but generally, dad has to declare his son a bastard, and dad isn't around to do that, being dead and all. Oh, I also have a problem with the afore-mentioned filthy richness. This Duke was so greedy he had to have it all? If he didn't get it, half was to go to charity, a quarter to be shared between his mom and sister, and the cousin to get a quarter. Needless to say, I found the whole execution of the premise simplistic and unreasonable, especially in a modern setting.
I have listened to, and enjoyed, many narrations by Tanya Eby, but this is not one of them. While this is a contemporary American romance, many of the characters are British, and Ms Eby does not do that accent well at all.
So, bottom line: Don't spend a credit for this. If a marriage of convenience trope in a contemporary setting intrigues you (and you can't find something that does it better), get this one on sale.
Setting: England, Victorian era
This is the second in the Lady Emily series of mysteries. I haven't read the first yet, though I read (listened to) Star of the East, a novella set later in the series, as my first exposure to Tasha Alexander. Forgive me if my lack of taking this series in order negatively affects this review.
Lady Emily is in London for the season, which is, as usual, abuzz with gossip and the happenings of the nobility and upper class. Lady Emily is facing a few challenges. Her childhood friend, Ivy, is having marital difficulties; her American friend, Margaret, is having a disagreement with her parents about Oxford; her family friend, Isabelle, is having issues with suitors; and Colin Hargreaves is still asking Emily to marry him. Added to all this, a series of thefts of items with a French connection in common begin among Emily's acquaintances. And then there are two murders that may or may not have been committed by the thief. Lady Emily knows these things are related, she's just not sure how, and the life of the maid accused of the murders is on the line. It is up to her, with the clues provided, to solve the mysteries.
I liked Emily and the supporting cast of characters. I almost put this on my romance shelf, as well as mystery, because of the low-key relationship development between Emily and Colin, but that is definitely in the background. The star of this show is most certainly Lady Emily and the mysteries presented. The story had me changing my mind about whodunit more than once, and it wasn't until the end that all was revealed.
This reminded me of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries, as they are also first person narratives set in the Victorian era. There were, however, enough differences in characters and style to keep me from going there after my initial observation. I did enjoy the writing. It was so refreshing not to have to edit grammar in my head as I went along, so I was able to stay in the story. I assume the bulk of Lady Emily's character was developed in the first book in the series, but not having experienced it didn't detract from this story. In fact, unless you just have to have things in order because that's how you roll, this book could stand alone. Yes, there were some things, like some of Emily's relationships, it would have been nice to see before this book, but only because the interaction would seem more organic. But I could guess at these comfortably.
I have this in both ebook and audio mediums, which provided some amusement for me. There was a character whose name the narrator pronounced "lettuce". I thought, really? someone would give her daughter that odd a name? Then, when I went to the ebook for a bit, I saw a character named Lettice. Ohhh. THAT'S Lettuce! I would have put the accent on the second syllable... Normally, I love Justine Eyre's narration, but Lettuce? :-)
Setting: Small town America, contemporary
Just when this book was getting good, it was over. Libby is a humiliatingly unemployed event planner newly returned from Chicago to her small town and back in with the parents. Tom is a widowed contractor with a surly teenager. The two meet when Libby's retired father decides to renovate an old building.This book was slow and felt incomplete, as though the author had the bare bones of the premise and was working on filling it in when she hit deadline. Seriously. This could so much have benefitted from a little more to the plot and characters. Where were this woman's beta readers?
Okay, so the premise is a woman moves back home and meets a man who needs to, emotionally, move on. While not terribly original, it has potential. The characters were pretty much one-dimensional, and the story sort of went in fits and starts, going in interesting directions, then petering out. I was left with so many what-ifs, I have decided that I just need a whole 'nother book altogether.
So, what did we get? To me, it felt like an outline that needed to be fleshed out and edited. There were so many ways this book could have gone to take it above more than an average read. But hey, the grammar and spelling were great!
I generally like Angela Dawe as a narrator, but not so much with this performance. It just comes off as amateurish, without much differentiation between characters. I thought maybe this was an early performance, but that isn't the case. Well, I guess everyone's entitled to an off day every once in a while.
Setting: England, contemporary
Genre: Holiday feel-good story
Milly's boyfriend dumps her right before advent. Christmas time is her favorite time of the year, so this is especially horrible for her. She had such plans. Anyway, the family tradition is for the kids to write to Santa with a list of what they want, then it is sent up the flue on the heat of a match, but without burning. Her nephews insist the adults make lists too. Milly does so, without much enthusiasm. But she soon finds the things on her list being granted, though not necessarily as she would expect.
This is another story I wish had been in an anthology. It was sweetly average, with average narration.
Setting: Vermont, contemporary
Widowed Christine takes her son, Tyler, to Vermont for 10 days to recharge her life. She meets John, an ambitious professor from the local college, and his dog Mason. Hot chocolate, sledding, Christmas and cold feet follow. This is a very sweet little novella. And I do mean sweet. There is one kiss.
Narration is average. I'd probably have to hear more of Susan Soriano's work to judge her adequately.
Setting: Italy, Morocco, England, and at sea. Dec 1818 - Jan 1820.
Lia is sold into slavery by the men her aunt had hired to kill her. Ren buys her in a slave auction in Morocco. She stays in his friend's harem while she recovers from her ordeal. They have sex. Ren agrees to help her rescue her brother from the evil aunt in exchange for her marrying him and providing an heir. They sail back to Italy. They have sex on the ship. When they get to Italy, they liberate her brother. Ren wants Lia to keep her side of the bargain and marry him, elevating her to the rank of Duchess. She says no because she is TSTL, and they have sex. She tries to escape and Ren catches her. Why? Probably because she cost a lot of money. Slavery was abolished in England in 1807, so if he wants to keep her he has to marry her. Marriage was legal slavery. They sail back to England and have sex on the ship. What follows is the whole trust/mistrust plot device. And sex. Lots of sex. Then there is danger! A death, resurrection, kidnapping, and rescue! Alas, no more sex. Not even in the epilogue. Frankly, I went to the Kindle format for a lot of this so I could skip ahead. Who knew so much sex could get boring?
The narration was +/- average, but still the best part of this experience.
Setting: England, December 1813
This novella is part of the Tenacious Trents series.
Lady Madeline is visiting one of her brothers and his wife, along with another brother and their mom. She hears, by accident, that the marriage between her parents wasn't legal. She goes for a walk to think about the ramifications of her being a bastard. Meanwhile, the snow has delayed Lachlan Grant, the Marquess of Brachton, from going to Scotland. His intention is to go to Edinburgh to find a Scottish lass to marry, then go on to spend the rest of the holiday with his family. Madeline wanders onto Lachlan's land and falls through the ice on his lake. He saves her, carries her inside, undresses her (and dresses her in a nightshirt), and warms her - by getting into bed with her. When she introduces herself as Maddie (because she assumes she is no longer a Lady) and says she was traveling with Jordan Trent, Lachlan assumes she is Jordan's mistress. He knew Jordan at school, and they always competed over women. So, how far will Lachlan go with "Jordan's mistress"? What will happen when her family finds her at his home, where the only other people are his valet and cook?
This was a sweet, entertaining story. The characters and plot were well-rounded and it felt complete. Jane Charles has a true talent for the novella. I've read/listened to other novellas she wrote and was very satisfied.
Narration is great, because Marian Hussey.
Setting: Maryland, contemporary
Genre: Sweet holiday romance
Typical early sweet-romance Nora, with laughs and tears. The protagonists are relatively well-rounded for a short story. There are nice people as the backdrop, and there's no villain. The twins, serving as the impetus of the action, are sweet little caricatures. I do wish this had been part of an anthology, but that's my thought on any of the stories I'm reading this season.
Genre: Contemporary romance
I picked this up cheap under a search for Christmas. Did I ever waste money on this! The ratings at Goodreads were high, so I wonder if I'd have liked it more in a different format - and free. The story and characters are pretty one dimensional, but what can you expect in an hour? It's a sweet little story, but probably would have been better in first person POV. It was definitely too short for 2 points of view, which this had, jumping from heroine to hero. I think it would be better received in an anthology, but only with a totally different narrator. I don't think I've ever heard worse. This is one that would definitely be better in ebook format!
Setting: Contemporary San Francisco
Genre: Comedic Paranormal
Jody is a 26 year old Stanford drop-out serial monogamist refugee from a Carmel, CA middle class life. On her way home from working late at her customer service job in SF's financial district, she is attacked by a vampire. She wakes the next night with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and no memory of what happened. But she has super strength, can hear and smell everything (ewwww), and can see in the dark. She's also starving. She goes home to her stock broker boyfriend, who doesn't want to hear about anything except where she's been and tell her she no longer fits the image he wants to project. She tries to eat, but can't keep anything down, but notices an insatiable desire for blood. After having a drink of the boyfriend (she accidentally knocked him out), she leaves. While wandering around wondering how she's going to deal with being a vampire, she decides that she needs a minion. C. Thomas Flood (the C doesn't stand for anything, but he thinks it sounds important) is a 19 year old aspiring-writer, night stocker at Safeway escapee from a union-slave future in Indiana. Jody asks Tommy to move in with her to do daytime chores and be her boyfriend - and provide occasional nourishment. He agrees, and they move in to a nice loft with a bedroom without windows. Everything is good, until the murders start. All the victims have been drained of blood and had their necks broken. So the story revolves around this mystery, as well as the relationship developing between Tommy and Jody. The dialogue is witty, the situations comical, and the characters are great. Besides Jody and Tommy, they include the Animals (Tommy's co-workers at the Safeway, where he continues to work the overnight 11-7 shift), the Emperor and his "men", and the two detectives investigating the murders. All this makes Bloodsucking Fiends an amusing listen. Susan Bennett does a pretty good job giving voice to the people of this book.
Report Inappropriate Content