Vermont | Member Since 2009
So lovely. A romance in the best sense. I especially love the insight (so to speak) into what it feels like to be blind. It's such a beautiful story, and Rosalyn Landor breaths life into it like magic.
This is a yearly re-listen for me, and each time I find things and feel things as if for the first time. Love it.
I really loved the first book in this series and I guess that set a high bar. While this was well written, the characters just didn't grab me, and I found myself moving on to other, better books.
Could be the lack of magic or the absence of the sense of place so evident in book one, I'm not sure. In this one, they spend a lot of time traveling around, and the villain has too big of a role to make it a true romantic read.
2nd book slump? I'm going to read the third book, but really, I just want to go back and read the first one again. Still, I may revisit this one in the future, just to make sure I didn't miss a good thing.
For me, this romance was the perfect nexus of splendid parts. From beautiful plotting to perfect dialogue to intriguingly fleshed out characters to the gorgeous narration. Sensual and joyous and so very romantic, I didn't so much read/listen to it, as I reveled in it. It was my reward at the end of a long day, three nights in a row.
I love great stories, but when it comes to audio books, the story can be great, but without a great narrator, you might as well give it a skip. Eva Kaminsky is a revelation in this one. Her accents (and I don't pretend to know what Pauline's accent was), add so much to the texture of the story that I hung on every word. The nuance she added to the dialogue was also fantastic. I once said the Rosalyn Landor could teach a master class. Eva Kaminsky could as well.
I've enjoyed every book in the Spindle Cove series, but I LOVED this one.
With Tessa Dare and Eva Kaminsky on board, this was a masterpiece!
2nd half, not so much.
Hunter's Claim is a confusing book. Clearly, S. E. Smith knows how to write. The beginning of this book is so good that I initially gave it four stars. Then I got to part 2.
Hmmmm. What started as a sexy alien abduction novel (my favorite!) devolved into a boring romance with no zing. Oh the hero continues to fight the good fight -- he is a warrior after all. But the romance part fizzles out to a lovey dovey series of I love you's sprinkled with a few sexy bits and a couple of action scenes. Everybody is so freakin happy that it's the novel version of a hallmark card. Yawn.
The alien characters are never fully fleshed out or given anything interesting to do. We are given some promising descriptions in the beginning -- tall (of course), muscular (check), vampire strong! -- and with some leonine traits including eyes and nose. But if these guys are so great, why am I so bored?
We are taken to their world, which is nice and descriptive, but once we get there, we're just watching paint dry. Everybody loves everybody. There is zero tension as the aliens accept the earth girls with open arms. What? No xenophobia? Not one alien character questions the logic of interbreeding with people from a backward planet? (We know the girls are cool, but everybody else just takes it for granted.)
Where's the zing?
To be fair, I've been reading a lot of books in this sub-genre on my Kindle lately. I love Tracy St. John's Clans of Kalquor, and a new author, T. J. Yelden wrote a very good book, Karac, Kaldar Warriors #1, that I, and many others, really enjoyed.
So compared to those, Hunter's Claim really felt like a waste of my time -- except that it did relax me during my dental work today, so that's something I guess.
Still, I'll be keeping my eye out for more S. E. Smith. Who knows, maybe she get's better with practice.
I liked the first book in this series, so I decided to try this 2nd one. Unfortunately, it stalls out early and stays there. Even an array of "oil can Harry" villains and attempted murder couldn't give it any ooph. It was also a bore. I got 3/4ths of the way through it before it put me to sleep for the last time.
One issue I can point to is the author's belaboring that the h "couldn't possibly be lusting for a vicar!!!" It was repeated to the point of eye rolling hysteria. At least the hero figured out he didn't want to be a vicar!
The only interesting character was her father, who was suffering the effects of a brain injury, and he couldn't talk. (Maybe that's why I liked him so much!) His suicide attempt was just stupid though. Really, really unbelievable.
Experience tells me that, in the end, the h and H end up together. But in my mind, I've rewritten it so that he quits the church and finds someone, ANYONE else to love -- and I can live with that.
Note to self: Vicars are boring, and so are the girls who lust after them. (And Jane Charles is not a safe bet.)
Wow. This one is bad. The narrator sounds like she's reading a bedtime story to toddlers.
Given how underwhelmed I was by book 1 in this series, that's how much I loved this one! Hannah Howell has completely redeemed herself in my eyes, and given me something so interesting and engrossing that I spent too many nights in the facinating company of her Wherlockes.
Sexy and intriguing, this book was short on humor, but long on great characters. The villains are beyond evil, and freak me out a little! The supernatural element actually worked, adding a new dimension to the genre.
My only complaint, and it's a small one, is Ashford MacNab. Her delivery is so maudlin and plodding all the time that it's hard to feel happy or excited when the plot calls for it. She reads every word with the same dramatic inflection and tone. Ah well, that's our Ashford for you. (Also, her Welsh accent is atrocious, but it is a hard one to do.) All her heros and heroines have the same exact voice regardless of what they sounded like in previous books -- and it bugged me a tiny bit --- but only because I listened to the books back to back.
Its my fault. I've been going through this series like a box of bon bons, and it's given me a bit of a tummy ache.
Do yourself a favor -- if you get into this series, take a break between each of the books. That way you probably won't have that problem.
This one goes in the reread pile -- but I'll have to wait a while.
I've been listening to a lot of HR's with a darker mystery component lately, and they're making me anxious when I want to relax! I've really enjoyed them, but lately I've been thinking about uploading my Lisa Kleypas collection for a change of pace. I still might, but Maya Rodale has given me exactly what I needed in this one.
The plot of Wicked Wallflower is clever, amusing and very well written, without the heavy drama or scary villains. The characters are original and the HEA is satisfying in a sweet and sexy way. I'm enjoying this respite from the tension of the darker books immensely, and plan to work my way through this fun series and anything else this author has to offer.
Carolyn Morris is awesome, as always.
FYI: for anyone who is interested, my rating system is based purely on whether or not I feel I've wasted my time and/or money. My Audible books are my Dragon Hoard, and I like to find the GOLD!
5 STAR: Happy dance!!! Goes in the vault so I can listen to it again and again. Love the author and the reader! (Highly recommended.)
4 STAR: Great read for it's genre, but no fireworks. Maybe the reader takes away from the enjoyment? Will re-listen and may enjoy it more the second time. (Recommended.)
3 STAR: OK read, but unlikely to re-listen unless plot inspires me or it's part of a good series. Or it could be a good book with a really bad reader. (Just OK Dog.)
2 STAR: Waste of my time. Usually a bad reader or silly plot. (You've Been Warned.)
1 STAR: This may as well be a 0 stars. Bad plot, silly TSTL Character(s) and/or a really bad reader. Usually returned for a refund, though I may keep just to review it, if it really inspires me to rant. (I'm disgusted.)
The characters in this one are one dimensional, and their inner thoughts are vapid. I found it silly and lacking any sort of depth.
Our h has just been sold to a vampire in a blood slave auction. She's been living on the run in the forest with a small band of humans who are resisting the Vampire overlords. Her new owner is the gorgeous prince vampire. He has the cleaning ladies take her off to be bathed -- she's smelly and dirty from living in the woods. She is scrubbed down, has her nails painted, dressed in a skirt and blouse, strapped into high heels and sent back to the prince.
What era is this supposed to depict? Why does she need her toenails painted in order to provide a meal to her new owner? She's supposed to be terrified of what's going to happen, but all she can think about is how he makes her tingle and feel things, especially when she see's his bedroom.
Really? There is bad, and then there is this.
There were a few things about this book that affected my enjoyment of it. The first was the reader, Ashford MacNab. She gives us the plummy baby-talk females, and the monotone male voices that are typical for her, but usually I can overlook it if the story engages me enough. Not so in this one. Here, the voices assigned to the various male characters change back an forth until you don't know who's talking.
Hannah Howell is a new author for me, and I'm going to assume that this book is an early one for her. The constant changes in POV from the H to h, back and forth, with digressions describing exactly what the other character is thinking or has just experienced of the same event, kept bringing the action to a grinding halt. Why would she do that? What is the point? It was repetitious and ruined what was otherwise a good story, with a great villain, and plenty of sex appeal. Bummer.
The digressions got so bad that I just went ahead and skipped the last three chapters to the really poorly written epilogue. (Why write an epilogue, and then make it so boring?)
I didn't miss anything -- I already knew what was going to happen because one of the characters has the "sight." Besides, I just couldn't take the long winded descriptions of why the cook didn't take the dog down to the safe room and why no one was watching the five year old who got out of the safe room to save the dog when the whole house was under attack. Really? No one saw the little heir running off into danger? No one? It was described as a small room, and his grandmother, aunt and five female relatives were all there with him. Yeah, that's where it lost me. Also, our TSTL h didn't have the sense to go with all the women to the safe room, but decided to look around the house for anyone who hadn't heard the gun fight outside the front door, even though the whole house was under alert. Really?
I will say on a positive note that I had already purchased the next book in the series and I'm enjoying that one much more. The digressions and changing POV's are gone.
MacNab is still the reader, sigh, but you can't have everything.
This started out fun, but unfortunately got bogged down in the details. Too bad. The Parisian setting was really great.
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