In Roberts’ second book of the Born In series we are back in Ireland at the home of the younger Concannon sister Brianna, who is happily enjoying the winter and peace and quiet of isolation in her B&B on the west coast of Ireland. Brianna enjoyed people but also her quiet time before her winter guest would be arriving – a renowned mystery writer, Grayson Thane, from America. A nomad by nature, Grayson seeks the isolation to write alone, but from the very first, a fire is ignited as he gets to know his beautiful inn keeper.
*** Lord, but I am just loving this series and these irrepressible Concannon sisters, their significant others, neighbors, workers, and even one very self-absorbed momma! Roberts’ characterizations of all her people are just so real - non-perfect people in a non-perfect but very real world. Although, to my mind of thinking Brianna is probably one of the more perfect people who is portrayed as really quite happy with her life, B&B, and meeting all her tenants at the B&B. Brie is truly a happy person with her life the way it is, but of course, like most humans she does have dreams. Those dreams of making a truly loving home – one that was filled with happiness, lots of children and above all laughter. However, that would need a husband to affect that dream.
Enter Grayson Thane, Brianna’s newest boarder who had booked and paid the first month of his stay planning to stay through the winter. After the first few days of Brianna’s cooking - Grayson felt he’d died and went to heaven. A very wealthy and famous author, he’d never settled down and wandered the earth keeping only an apartment in NYC close to his publisher. Partly because he’d never had roots or any kind of stable childhood, Gray had never been close to anyone or let himself grow close - too many memories of abandonment.
With a remarkably deft hand Roberts lets the reader enjoy the romance between Brie and Gray as they both quietly discover in their own hearts the way each others hearts were bruised and needed healing. It was such a pleasure to experience the care and thoughtfulness of two genuinely wonderful people learning to love and trust. And the bigger bonus was seeing the ‘thoughtless momma’ bend just a wee little bit and smile - I think it happened at least once in this book.
Bottom Line: Another remarkable listen to a lovely Irish lilting performance by Fiacre Douglas, who is fast becoming one of my favorite narrators of Irish themed stories. Add to that the excellence of Nora Roberts’ brilliant story telling and bang - you are in for one very big treat!
Marilyn Rondeau, for www.ck2skwipsandkritiques.com
It really thrills me when I get to start a series that starts out as wonderfully as this one. I picked this up via Audible and spent a lot of my time just riding around to hear more. Had I been reading this, I’m sure I would have never put POTENT PLEASURES down - except to heed natures call - and to get something to eat or drink! Naturally as a fan of Eloisa James, this seems to happen each time I pick up one of her books - they’re just that good!
About to make her debut to society, Charlotte Calverstill the youngest daughter of a duke, was given leave to visit Julia, a school chum. Her mama was busy completing arrangements for Charlotte’s come-out ball. Charlottes friend Julia was a bit foolish and always falling in love and Charlotte was talked into attending a masquerade ball to keep Julia out of trouble. Innocents that they were, neither realized it was a courtesans ball and the lemonade was spiked. Julia didn’t drink her tainted lemonade, Charlotte did. So when a darkly handsome young man swept her into his arms Charlotte went willingly and after he relieved her - not against her wishes - of her virginity Charlotte realized she was ruined.
Years later, when Charlotte and the rouge (Alex Foakes) meet again, the still devastatingly handsome Earl does not remember her, yet he is totally smitten and vows to wed her. Charlotte finally knows who he is, and that he is primarily looking to find a mother for his young daughter so Charlotte planned to lead him a merry chase. However Charlotte couldn’t resist the same sizzle that affected him also affected her.
However, while this sets the stage for the beginning of the tale it is by no means the end of the story. I simply can’t give anymore away. The marriage does take place, and the emotional upheavals, the joys, betrayals, and trust issues are all there, making for both joyous and heartbreaking scenes. I found POTENT PLEASURES to be an emotional roller-coaster ride. Charlotte was so precious, so very innocent even after she had been ruined. Her mother the duchess was so very loving, and at times the dialogs between them were actually hilarious! Just remember the term “floppy poppy” and you’ll understand what I mean.
Alex Foakes, the Earl of Sheffield & Foakes, was a superb hero – a wonderful papa, to his orphaned year old daughter; a consummate lover; and a bit of jerk all at the same time! Ms. James portrayal of the Charlotte and Alex was wonderfully complex and beautifully done. Lessons learned here were how damaging gossip, twisted and turned could ruin lives and cost unnecessary damage.
Bottom line: Eloisa James continues to be tops on my list of authors for remarkable storytelling, her exuberant humor, sensual love making and emotions. At times I would have liked to hit Alex over the head, for his stupidity; and his daughter Pippa will make your heart sing! Excellent read!
The crash of a Dallas-bound jet not only changed the existence of TV reporter Avery Daniels; but altered her entire life giving her a chance to make a comeback in her career. At first it wasn’t something Avery had planned but as the days of recuperation and surgery continued where she could not speak to correct her mistaken identity, she learned of a plan to assassinate her supposed husband, a famous senatorial candidate Tate Rutledge. Following her surgeries and recuperation in the hospital, Carole as she was now being called, was torn between telling Tate the truth or trying to identify the killer. One thing for sure - she knew the killer had to be a part of his immediate family.
One might wonder, why Avery didn’t come clean as soon as she could speak but as the story evolved there were many reasons, why she couldn’t. One, she was beginning to care for Tate, in spite of his private disgust of ‘Carole’; two, she was worried about Carole’s fragile child Amanda; and three she didn’t know who was plotting against Tate. If she confessed, the killer would have to eliminate her.
What more can be said of Sandra Brown that hasn’t already been said? Her plotting, twists and turns, red herrings, deep characterizations and non-stop action rate this author at the top of the plateau of amazing suspense/thrillers. To start a novel by Ms. Brown is to settle in for the long-haul to finish because she writes heart-stopping thrillers that keep a reader totally engrossed with her fast action stories.
MIRROR IMAGE was one of those non-stop reads and seeing as how I listened to this on audio narrated by the always great Dick Hill, one can understand why I always took the long routes to listen longer in my car. If I were to nit-pick just a bit it would be that his interpretation of one of the female characters tended to grate on my nerves – otherwise, I will state that Dick Hill is one of my favorite narrators and I will always gravitate to the audio books he records.
Bottom line: Sandra Brown’s MIRROR IMAGE may be one of her older titles but her mastery of story-telling is exceptional. Highly Recommended!!
The only thing I can say about this latest volume in Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalker Series is that she dazzled me again, and I hope she never stops writing these stories! Her story plotting of what a crazy, immoral and mad scientist puts human children through to create the ultimate soldier are simply amazing! With VIPER GAME - not only has Feehan developed a new strain of DNA experimental children and their mother, but she has also introduced new characters from the Fontenot family, i.e. the eldest brother Wyatt and his team of Ghostwalkers who have presented to my mind, a whole new slew of stories for the amazing talent of Ms. Feehan to develop.
With VIPER GAME we are introduced to Pepper, who was programed and experimented on to be an assassin, albeit as it turned out a very reluctant assassin; so she was listed as a failure and scheduled to be disposed of. However, before that happened she escaped along with Ginger, a small child, who as it turned out was actually her child, born from her egg and - yup - Wyatt Fontenot’s sperm. Just another planned experiment by the madman Dr. Whitley.
Not only did Pepper have the ability to kill with venom secreted in her saliva, but the baby toddler Ginger, could kill with a bite from the venom secreted in her tiny fangs. It was one thing to keep Pepper and Ginger safe from the soldiers searching for them, but then Pepper let Wyatt know that Ginger had two other sisters [triplet little vipers] - and naturally Wyatt and his team had to storm the prison they were kept to rescue them all!
Bottom line: Classic Ghostwalker adventure, hot and sizzling sex, and the most amazing characterizations that come from the creative mind of Christine Feehan! Fabulous as always!
He was the son of one of the most notorious serial killers, and whether that had decided his career choice, homicide detective Thomas “Veck” DelVecchio, Jr. had grown up in the shadow of evil. Today, he balances between good and evil as he tracks another vicious serial killer, and battles his subconscious to arrest, saving the state the bother of a long trial, or just kill the slime himself. After tracking him down, Veck seemed to blackout then found his quarry mangled beneath his feet. Veck was totally confused but did the right thing and called 911 – not sure whether he had ripped the man apart or not.
Assigned to monitor Veck is Internal Affairs officer Sophia Reilly, who is fighting her professionalism with the fact that she finds Veck blindingly sensual. While both fight a damaging professional attraction, another complication enters into the mix; Jim Heron, a mysterious stranger with another agenda that has Veck teetering on the edge of eternal damnation unless Heron can help him make the right decision.
Once again, Ms. Ward has penned another delicious entry into her Fallen Angels series as angel Jim Heron fights for souls in a contest of good vs. evil. So much is at stake and the action and story is fast and palatable keeping the reader/listener on the edge of their seat. The good people, angels and humans are wonderful, and the evil forces are chilling and very sinister. Ward is a master at this game and the plotting, writing, characterizations, and the twists and turns were as always amazingly good.
Having a vast library of Audible tomes, I must also congratulate the narrator Eric Dove on a fabulous job of mastering all the voices involved and the pacing of the telling of this story. This was again a most fantastic listening experience to the fabulous writing of Ms. J.R. Ward. Outstanding!
Surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper for the last six years has struggled mightily to heal both body and soul. Benedict retained his legs despite the doctors never expecting him to walk again, but he has struggled and in pain and perseverance has managed to surprise everyone. After the yearly reunion of the Survivor’s Club the men and woman have left to return to their lives. Benedict choose to visit his sister who was recuperating in the country, never realizing that in doing so, he would meet a beautiful woman who would give him purpose.
Samantha McKay has dutifully cared years for her ailing husband, another mishap from the wars, until his lingering death. For months she has been bound to her house by the oppressive presence of her prudish and spinster sister-in-law whose outlandish ideas of proper mourning are suffocating Samantha.
Meeting Benedict who made a horrendous first impression actually turned out to be very fortuitous for Samantha, once he apologized and introduced his sister, Samantha’s neighbor to help bring some sunshine into Samantha’s closed off world. While both Samantha and Benedict gave each other the benefit of doubt to one another, they formed an easy alliance and when Samantha was ordered to return to her miserable in-laws, she remembered a property that was left to her in the wilds of Scotland.
What follows is the memorable journey Samantha and Benjamin took to her new home, and a journey of discovery for both Ben and Samantha as only Mary Balogh could have depicted with the most sensual and exquisitely sumptuous writing that offered an almost surreal quality to it. Couple that with the amazing performance by esteemed narrator, Rosalyn Landor and you will find yourself totally suspended in time as the story unfolds in a most exquisite way.
THE ESCAPE is totally worth the credit and the time to listen to this wonderful tale.
Dr. Charlotte Stone was no stranger to murder and madness. As a young girl she witnessed the horror of seeing her best friend and friend’s family slaughtered by a madman. Today as an expert in the psychology of serial killers, she faces some of the worst of examples of human monsters. The one thing that makes her unique, be it a gift or curse, she has the ability to communicate with the spirits of those who die violently – a skill that has helped the FBI bring such monsters to justice.
Anyone who has read the first two books of Ms. Robards Dr. Charlotte Stone series will thoroughly enjoy HER LAST WHISPER, Book #3. Once again, Charlotte “Charlie” is so dedicated she is ready to put her life on the line when a call comes in from one of her FBI pals, Lena Kaminsky when Lena’s sister disappears and it looks like another serial killer is operating in Las Vegas.
Add to that the issues Charlie has with her resident ghost Michael who is having issues staying on this earthly plane. As much as Charlie tries to convince herself that she is not in love with a ghost, Michael is not easy to forget, or ignore. Charlie knows that FBI special agent Tony Bartoli is real, handsome, and longs for a relationship, and a perfect match for her, he doesn’t light up her life the way Michael does.
Robards doesn’t slow the action down and from the first page to the last, the action is non-stop with danger, humor, and adventure. Going from the demons from down under who are trying to drag Michael to ‘ghoul city’ to the real human monsters amidst the lights of Las Vegas who are snatching young women never to be seen again. The action is fast, and the villain is hiding well in plain sight. And of course, Charlie ends up in the cross hairs, with only Michael who in his uncorporeal form is of no real help. Will this be the end, for Charlie, or for Michael.
Bottom Line: Wonderful narration on another fabulous entry in the Dr. Charlotte Stone series. I will never tire of this series and hope (PLEASE) that author Karen Robards continues this series forever! Obviously, I HIGHLY, HIGHLY, recommend HER LAST WHISPER and this entire series!
Branna O'Dwyer fully embraces in her life and her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, in County Mayo which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna's special touch.
It is Branna's strength that holds together her close circle of friends and family - along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. However, there's a single missing link in the chain of her life: love… Once she had it all. Her love for her childhood friend Finbar Burke was all she had hoped for until the day their murderous foe Cabhan, marked Fin with his brand. Branna and Fin's relationship had been strained ever since. Now all they had was the knowledge of love that offered them both comfort and torment. And as they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin's power, loyalty, and heart that makes all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries.
This third and final book in The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy comes to a fabulous conclusion for Ms. Roberts marvelous series combining witches, romance and fantasy while tying up all the loose ends. The romance between Branna and Finbar was so magical one has to read it or listen to it to get the full enjoyment and magic of one very hot and sensual romance and love affair. Finally Branna was able to let loose and take what was offered without guilt but with pure pleasure for good or ill, knowing that the upcoming battle with Cabhan would be the last.
Written with Ms. Roberts trademark excitement and action, sensualness and emotion, the whole story culminates with everyone from books one and two, coming into play to support Branna and Fin. All knowing how dangerous and life-altering the battle would be. The only thing missing I could see AND would have liked to see was the three weddings that would ultimately take place between the cousins and their loves.
Bottom line: I haven’t read a series or a book by Nora Roberts yet that didn’t deliver pure pleasure and excitement. God Bless this author for giving her fans such enjoyment over the years.
Audiobook review: For those following this series in order, we have seen a lot of interaction between Qhuinn and Blay, from the very beginning before their transition with them being the very best of friends. While LOVER AT LAST does focus on the relationship between Blay and Qhuinn anyone familiar with this series realizes that Ward will never just touch on one story but will engage the reader in the lives of the other brothers and introduce new characters into this magnificent series.
After reading other reviews, I understand that some readers want to just see the progression of B & Q’s relationship, I personally like the way Ward engages and teases the reader with other secondary stories by picking up with the newer character’s i.e. Assail; building a more significant background with Trez and his brother; and a little bit more depth on Xcor, the leader of the Band of Bastards. In my opinion the cut-aways are a break and just build more interest on the main story of B & Q’s story. AND, I really love learning more background and depth of interest on the side story characters. Naturally, Ward does not hold back on the sex, and it is hot and steamy (both the actual, and the dreams of the leads!).
LOVER AT LAST also gave a new and interesting level of what will be one very BIG star-crossed lover relationship involving Layla who is carrying Qhuinn's young. One can see the writing on the wall for this and I can’t wait for Ward to give the reader more on this storyline because it seems almost impossible for a happy ending. We’ll have to see.
Add to that, Trez and Assail’s issues with women they have become attracted to, along with the impossibilities of happily ever afters, these two storylines seem like 'mission impossible' and Ward is going to be very busy building stories around these unimaginable pairings. On the flip side - I was brought to tears at the wonderfully descriptive scenario’s where B & Q came to discover truths about themselves, especially Qhuinn’s revelations of who he truly was.
Bottom line: This series just gets better and better and the fabulous performance by Jim Frangione’s interpretation, and voice over’s make these books and the characters come to life! Anyone who has not read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is totally missing out on such a wonderful experience!
Marilyn Rondeau, for www.ck2skwipsandkritiques.com
Emily is a sweetheart, happy and waiting for her husband, Sandy Portman to arrive after work. He made a point to tell her he would be home after work so she happily prepared his favorite meal in anticipation. Unfortunately, on his way home to meet Emily, Sandy was struck and killed in a tragic accident. Before the funeral was even over she received the shocking news that her in-laws were making plans to evict her from her Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building. But nothing was more devastating than slowly uncovering the truth that she never knew Sandy at all, that her entire marriage with him was made up of lies.
*** I originally picked up this audiobook at the suggestion and praise of a friend, who being a dog person like myself, thought I would find it a wonderful audiobook. Naturally, the dog on the cover also helped me to make the selection.
I didn’t know quite what I was expecting, but it was quite a journey that Emily took in discovering a lot about herself and the man she had been in love with. Suffice it to say that I found myself not liking Sandy Portman very much at first, although he did begin to grow on me after he began to understand himself after he was given a second chance at life.
During her grieving, Emily found some comfort in the adoption of Einstein, a rather scruffy looking dog at the pound which Emily had been volunteering at. Through the caring of Einstein, Emily could sob all her heartache out, and it almost seemed as if Einstein understood all that she was going through. As it turned out, by taking Einstein out to the doggy park Emily meets a very handsome and gorgeous young man. A young man Emily tried her best to smother her budding interest in only to find that they were actually neighbors in the Dakota.
Bottom line: EMILY & EINSTEIN was a delightful story both emotional and touching, with several laugh out loud moments coming from Einstein. Fun and very entertaining.
Marilyn Rondeau, for www.ck2skwipsandkritiques.com
Rachel Blake is somewhat of a misfit, yet has found peace and quiet on Rainshadow Island with her dust bunny companion. That peace would be shaken when Harry Sebastian, the descendant of a notorious pirate, arrives to investigate strange developments in the privately owned woods known as the Preserve. Rachel has the ability to see ‘aura’s’ and senses a darkness in him, but more importantly she feels a desire within herself.
Before finding sanctuary on Rainshadow Island, Rachel knew monsters existed, where before she came to the island she encountered one daily, namely Marcus Lancaster at the Chapman Clinic where she had previously worked. Unfortunately, the administration at the hospital didn’t agree with her prognosis that he was a psychopath, hence her return to Rainshadow. Unfortunately, Marcus was not the only monster in Rachel’s life as she had nightmares of the bizarre creatures she had encountered the night she was lost in the mysterious preserve on the island. One thing she does know is that Harry Sebastian, a self-proclaimed monster hunter may be the only one who can both vanquish the monsters and save her from her lonely existence.
*** Being a fan of Jayne Castle aka Jayne Krentz aka Amanda Quick one has the ability to read many different genres and of course, be totally enthralled with whatever this amazing author dreams up. One can always expect dry humor, action, romance, and unusual twists and turns whenever you are fortunate enough to settle in with one of Ms. Castle’s novels.
As with most of her books, in THE LOST NIGHT, she has paired a couple of misfit lonely protagonists who ultimately fall in love after a series of starts and stops. Her characters generally have a fleshed out background in the type of worlds she creates which are filled with people with unusual psychic type gifts and backgrounds. Castle’s gift is the fact that she can not only imagine all these characters, but make the reader believe and dream of having some of these special gifts for them selfs. Imagine how cool it might be to be able to weed out your acquaintances by reading their aura’s and knowing whether they were truly nice – or not!
The addition of the mysterious - funny - unbelievable - dust bunnies was a bit far-fetched and it did take me a little bit of time to wrap my head around just what they were, but in the end they were okay - however I might have related better with a cat or dog. All in all, the romance was a little rushed, but as far as the mystery and the plotting went it was quite good - not the best but enjoyable all the same.
Marilyn Rondeau, for www.ck2skwipsandkritiques.com
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