Every time I listen to a CHARLEY DAVIDSON book I know that I’m in for a wild ride, but Darynda Jones has truly outdone herself with this latest installment. We finally get a real sense of “the big picture” that’s previously only been hinted, and the infamous “key” is at long last inserted into the “lock.” Cryptic enough for you? I’m sure that long-time fans of this series know exactly what I’m talking about, but as for the rest of you… this is a spoiler-free review, so you’d best get reading!
There’s definitely no shortage of plot threads in FIFTH GRAVE PAST THE LIGHT with ghosts galore, a serial arsonist on the loose, a new client with a cheating ex husband, and then of course there’s Charley’s ongoing issues with the son of Satan. My favourite mystery out of the bunch was the one surrounding the 20 dead blondes; I loved the way Jones developed this story line, and the resolution was masterfully done. The other subplots were equally as entertaining, especially the new tidbits we learn about this series’ main arc. Mr Wong continues to be stand-in-the-corner dude, but I’m beginning to suspect that he’s there for a reason. And, that cliffhanger, well let’s just say it’s the reason why I’ve postponed listening to this audio for so long.
I’ve been DYING for more Charley/Reyes’ smexy time since I first started these books, and Jones finally delivers in this installment. I guess it’s a good thing that the author made readers wait for so long because it allowed their chemistry to reach its boiling point, but you can’t blame a girl for wanting less flirting and more “doing.” Their relationship undergoes a lot of growth in this novel—both in and out of the bedroom—and it’s clear that their romance is in no danger of waning anytime soon. The secondary characters continue to be incredibly endearing; Cookie is hands down my fav, but Garrett and Ubie aren’t too far behind.
Lorelei King brings just the right amounts of sultry and sass to these audios. She really captures the essence of Charley’s larger-than-life, smart mouthed, ADD personality, and makes you feel like she’s a real person. King is a skilled narrator with a knack for bringing the snark while still maintaining a good pace and tone. Her character voices are distinct yet remain consistent throughout this series, and she sure knows how to deliver a punch line! I can’t imagine that it’s easy reading Jones’ writing aloud with a straight face, so this woman deserves mad props for this and for her stellar performance.
FIFTH GRAVE PAST THE LIGHT is the best of the best, the crème de la crème, the pick of the litter—well, you get the idea. The Darynda Jones / Lorelei King duo is unstoppable!
I've been procrastinating listening to this audiobook since November, but when Valentine's Day rolled around I decided that I was due for a guilty pleasure kind of title, and nothing fit the bill quite like Gideon & Ava Cross. I was also excited that this series FINALLY added a second narrator. As much as I've been enjoying Jill Redfield's performance, certain characters need that extra edge that only a male voice can bring, and I was hoping that Jeremy York would be up to the task. I wish that they'd read ALL of their respective personage's dialogues rather than just their specific chapters, but that's a common complaint of mine with dual readings. However, other than that, I had no issues with either of the narrators. My problems were with the lack of advancement on any front. Gideon & Ava are still struggling with the exact same obstacles only different versions of them, the story arc didn't really go anywhere, and the ending left me feeling like the next novel was going to be more of the same. CAPTIVATED BY YOU was like watching a dog try to catch its tail; painful and an exercise in futility.
This wasn't your typical Ilona Andrews audiobook in that the magic system existed on a much smaller scale with it being confined to inns, but that's not to say that the world-building was by any means limited. In fact, if anything, it was larger than any of this author duo's other titles because the INNKEEPER CHRONICLES was closer to being Science Fiction than it was Urban Fantasy given that the characters originate from multiple planets. The wheel wasn't reinvented with regards to the typical paranormal beasties such as vampires & werewolves, although they did have several distinguishing traits that set them apart from other novels in this genre. Much to my dismay, a love triangle seems to be developing; however if any team is capable of making it work, it's Ilona & Gordon. The humor and writing were aces, no surprises there, and Renée Raudman's narration gave the story that extra somethin'-somethin' that keeps me choosing audio over eBook every time this trio releases something new.
Jeaniene Frost is renowned the world over for her oh-my-god-is-it-hot-in-here scenes, but she can also rock the dark like nobody’s business, and readers were reminded of that fact with a vengeance in BOUND BY FLAMES. Graphic torture anyone? I’m talking flaying, limb amputation, silver poisoning, starvation, and pseudo rape. This installment was originally intended to be the finale of the NIGHT PRINCE series; however after listening to book 3, I can understand why the author decided to axe that plan. A new super villain has risen, Vlad & Leila didn’t get their HEA, and there’s still plenty of story left to tell!
I’ve had a jumbo crush on Tepesh ever since his character debuted as a secondary in Frost’s NIGHT HUNTRESS novels, and it’s steadily grown into an all out obsession with this spin-off series. He could easily be king of the bad guys if it weren’t for Mrs. Dracula which makes him the ultimate antihero. We got to see a more vulnerable side to Vlad in this installment while as Leila was all steel and resolve. The balance of power in their relationship has been markedly one-sided until now, so I loved the role reversal, and as expected, the author didn’t hold back on the ravishing either. *winks*
Maximus drove me nutso in the best kind of way, and I was happy that Leila’s father finally saw reason after his prolonged silent treatment of his daughter. Marty was as primo as always, and my hankering for a Cat & Bones cameo was quenched, although it’s worth pointing out that their part was somewhat spoiler-y if you haven’t read UP FROM THE GRAVE yet. Mencheres also popped in to say hi which made my character driven self very jubilant. You’ll notice that I’m glossing over the plot, and that’s because it puts to bed the main story arc, so I’m not willing to risk accidentally spilling the beans, but it’s DA BOMB!
This was my first time listening to a NIGHT PRINCE audiobook, however I was already acquainted with Tavia Gilbert as a narrator, so I had zero quibbles about her performance going in. Her renditions of both of the protagonists were on par with those that I had inside my head prior to her voice taking them over. I’m a sucker for accents, and her English (Bones), Romanian (Vlad), and New Orleans (Marie) vernacular left me tickled pink. I’m still trying to determine whether it was the narration or the writing that has me dubbing this as my favourite installment, either way, I loved it!
BOUND BY FLAMES will make you break out into a Snoopy happy dance!
This novel was obviously for all of the ICED haters out there, so if you fall into that category, you’ll probably love BURNED. As for the rest of us, this installment was a tremendous letdown. Karen Marie Moning tried to right the wrongs of book 6 by reshaping several of the characters into more ‘acceptable’ versions of themselves, distracting readers from this story’s numerous plot holes with an outrageous amount of POVs, and taking the easy (predictable) road twist-wise instead of the one less traveled. It wasn’t awful, I still enjoyed the writing, narration, and being back in this world, but the FEVER edge is gone.
I kind of wish that I’d bypassed this audiobook altogether because it completely obliterated the Mac & Barrons of old. Some HEAs should NOT be revisited! Apparently sex has fried Miss Lane’s brain, and she’s now a halfwit unworthy of the nine’s respect more concerned with talking to herself than saving Dublin. Jericho ghosts through this novel, finally avenges his lover, but not really because he doesn’t unleash his beast for her. Their chemistry as a couple is dead, and instead in its wake we’re left with heaps of empty steam. And, the source of this installment’s title was just another log on the fire of LAME.
I don’t have nearly enough fingers to count how many POVs we cycled through. Something definitely needed to be done about Dani’s age in order for this series to continue on its current trajectory, however KMM’s solution was entirely too child-proof. As was her time-saving use of the Sinsar Dubh, and the supposed cliff hanger was a two-bit sneeze in comparison to those from previous books. Ryo underwent a major personality overhaul which so didn’t suit him, and I really wish that the author had built upon the new Unseelie arc. I liked learning more about the nine, Lor’s scenes were fantastic, and Jada showed promise, but they were just duct tape, not a permanent fix.
The narrators were the heart and soul of this audiobook. If I were to rate this listen based wholly on their performances, it would be a resounding five. Phil Gigante’s voice gave me shivers when JZB’s words fell flat, and I loved the subtle variations of his Scottish accents when he was reading the MacKeltars. Natalie Ross did a comparably awesome job of the female characters with her Irish fluctuations, and somehow managed to bring excitement to a story that would have otherwise been boring without her leading the charge. I also appreciated that both narrators gave an echo / cave-like quality to the internal dialogues, it made them easy to spot.
BURNED is an island that would have been better left unexplored in the FEVER realm.
This audiobook was #4 on my most anticipated reads of 2015 list, so it’s with a heavy heart that I give it 3-stars. The dystopian universe created by Kresley Cole in THE ARCANA CHRONICLES that I’ve come to adore was dwarfed by this series’ love triangle, and the plot whittled down to Evie’s boy toy choice. Now, perhaps I’m slightly bitter because she didn’t go with the team that I was rooting for, but in the end that really didn’t seem to matter because the author threw another cliffhanger at us making the heroine’s decision moot.
My primary fascination with these novels stemmed from the world-building’s link to Tarot, and so far we’ve met new cards in every installment, until DEAD OF WINTER. Ok, that’s not entirely accurate because The High Priestess and The Emperor threw their lot in with the rest, and we also learned more about The Lovers and The World’s abilities, however these elements were so microscopic in comparison to the drama between Evie / Jack / Aric that I barely took note of them. I did enjoy the flashbacks to what happened to Death and the Cajun post ENDLESS KNIGHT, but again, I needed more.
This story was all about the love triangle which just plain sucked because the trio wound up working together for the better part of this book, and that in turn lead to angst, angst, and more angst. Subsequently, all of the originality was siphoned out of this series in favour of the biggest Young Adult trope of them all. In the past, I’ve liked the apocalyptic flavour of THE ARCANA CHRONICLES, yet this latest installment was no longer about surviving Baggers, cannibals, and the game, but rather what boy Evie Greene’s heart belonged to. Yes, that quagmire was solved, except no, not really.
Emma Galvin’s narration was like a lighthouse in a storm because without her delivery to keep me listening, I most likely would have finished this audiobook in a week instead of two days. I enjoyed the intensity with which she performed this tale, and the slower pace at which she reads this series definitely draws you in. Jack piles on the French in this novel, and that was unfortunate because Galvin’s mastery of that language really leaves something to be desired, but she tried her best, and this particular shortcoming is only noticeable to francophones, so I let it slide.
DEAD OF WINTER could have been a grand conclusion to THE ARCANA CHRONICLES; instead there will be a book 4.
I enjoyed this installment more than book 1; the narration was much improved, it had chapters (I need order in my reads), and the story showcased countless different types of werewolves. The cast of secondary characters were wonderful as was Dresden's POV. The author's dark humour is catchy, and the action sequences were heart-stopping, especially the one in the police station. Whoa Nelly!
I loved this first glimpse into Ilona Andrews' HIDDEN LEGACY world; the magic was fascinating, the characters were insta-hits, and the plot just didn't quit. Mad Rogan was everything I wanted in a bad boy—a powerful, borderline sociopath with mega sex appeal—and, Nevada was an absolute delight. Renée Raudman's narration was flawless, the family dynamics of the Baylor clan leaped off the pages, and the romantic elements left me anxious to listen to the next installment. 4.5 stars.
This series has been on my to-read shelf forever, so when the first two installments in audio went on sale I just couldn't resist. I'm really glad that I finally gave Harry a chance because I loved his POV, and the fact that his story is told by James Marsters certainly doesn't hurt either. Wizards and male protagonists are uncommon in Urban Fantasy, two definite pluses. The plot was entertaining, I enjoyed Butcher's humour, and the magic system showed promise, although STORM FRONT would have benefited from more development where the latter was concerned, thus my 3 star rating. I look forward to listening to more of THE DRESDEN FILES.
Until this installment I didn’t realize that many of the plots in this series run parallel to each other, so when I found myself back in the midst of the Hie I was ecstatic. It was interesting finding out what happened to Bowen after Sebastian trapped him, and learning more about the witch who cursed him. The two protagonists played a wonderfully devious game of cat and mouse throughout WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER’S NIGHT which made their dialogue hysterically funny, and their lovemaking mercurial, especially when MacRieve accidentally screamed his ex’s name. I had a blast listening to this title; Kresley Cole & Robert Petkoff are a powerhouse of audiobook wizardry!
Thus far, we’ve become versed in the intricate Lore surrounding this author’s Valkyries, vampires, and werewolves, so you’d be right to infer that my expectations vis-à-vis her witches were through the roof. Mariketa’s also part fey which means that Cole had heaps of awesome new material to work with, and rest assured that none of it was wasted. I loved discovering the powers related to the five casts, exploring the specifics surrounding the Awaited’s prophecy, and the captromancer powers were just plain cool (and creepy!). Other than a bit of glamour, and a couple of secondary characters, the fey elements were negligible which I’m assuming was intentional, and will be explored in a future installment.
I liked how dissimilar the two protagonists were; Mari is only twenty-two years old, hasn’t been frozen into her immortality yet, and is the embodiment of a modern young woman. In comparison, Bowen is ancient, has already found & lost his mate, and is prejudiced towards witches. Also, their relationship really got off on the wrong foot what with Mariketa cursing the werewolf, and MacRieve entombing her with crazed incubi. Watching these two attempt to bridge the gap was an exercise in futility, but when they finally give in to their baser instincts their chemistry was as clear as day. The twist at the end was exquisite, and I adored how it all came together.
With only three IMMORTALS AFTER DARK installments under my belt, and still ten left to go (plus novellas), I risk repeating myself with regards to Robert Petkoff’s narration; however for the time being I’ve no shortage of positive adjectives to use when it comes to his delivery of this series. His sinfully dreamy Scottish accent was back for a second lap, and in addition to it he unleashed Bowen’s beast with a guttural werewolf voice that succeeded in doing naughty things to my insides. I’m sure that Petkoff captured Mari’s character beautifully as well, but for some strange reason all I can remember is MacRieve. RAWR!
WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER’S NIGHT’s title is self-explanatory or in other words… hot, hot, HOT!
I’m used to the events in series installments taking place a few weeks, if not days apart, so I was a little disconcerted by the fact that FAIR GAME jumped two full years into the future. In HUNTING GROUND Bran was still contemplating bringing the werewolves out to the public, but in this audiobook it was a done deal, and Anna & Charles are now dealing with the fallout. As a result, I experienced some mild growing pains while getting up to speed; luckily I had Briggs’ MERCY THOMSON series to help make the drastic shift in gears less jolting. I was chagrined to learn that one of my favourite werewolf couples were no longer in a happy place, however the decade’s long murder spree, and smoothly crafted fae mythology proved to be satisfying distractions.
Up until this point, Charles & Anna have been flying solo with regards to their investigations, so it was a hoot watching them join their efforts with various federal organizations in order to stop a killer. Latham was Cornick’s designated handler, and the outcome was quite comedic as you can probably imagine. I especially liked Anna’s list of do’s & don’ts around her mate, and the PR tangent was good for a few laughs too. As previously mentioned, these two have hit a rocky point in their relationship, mostly because Charles’ enforcer role is beginning to wear on him thanks to stricter penalties towards misbehaving werewolves. I love how even when this couple is at their lowest they still continue to communicate, and resolve their problems angst free.
The fae have always played an active role in Briggs’ universe, and I was excited to finally learn the real reason why they retreated to their reservations in her MT books. I never realized that such an important segment was missing until this newsflash roared to life, and forced me to revisit everything that I’ve learned to date in both worlds. This author sure knows how to give her protagonists a deserving foe while also ensuring that all of the secondary characters have a big impact on the overall story. I liked how Leslie’s plot thread popped up throughout the novel when you least expected it to, and I really hope that she makes an encore appearance in this series.
The moment I hear Holter Graham’s voice, I immediately slip back into the ALPHA & OMEGA frame of mind. He’s brought something extra to every installment, and in this latest one it was his Boston accents. His attention to detail never ceases to amaze, from the consistency of the protagonists, to the slight differences between Charles and Brother Wolf’s tones. Several new characters were added, and he made it easy to identify each and every one of them. Graham’s delivery has improved a great deal when compared to the first audiobook which I still adored, and as a result, he’s now among my top three male narrators.
FAIR GAME was an experience that bears repeating; I don’t do re-reads very often, but this series is worthy!
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