Having read this book on my Kindle TWICE and rated it 5+ stars both times, it was with great trepidation that I downloaded the audible.com version. It even took me almost a MONTH to begin listening to it.Y'all, this book is and was a phenomenal read, so you can imagine the leap of faith to listening to it. Well, let me put you at ease and also congratulate whoever is responsible for bringing the audio version to life. IT'S JUST AS GOOD AND NOTHING IS LOST!! In fact, the audio version adds a dimension to the printed/digital book that simply puts this book (and the author, Katja Millay) into the stratosphere of spectacular writing. There a literally hundreds of 5 star reviews on Amazon, so if you want the eloquence of a great review of the story and Katja's magnificent and powerful writing, go there. I cannot do most of them justice. But listen to me when I say that listening to this book was an experience I will never forget. Initially, I was thinking to myself "Uh-Ho--this isn't working". But knowing that it often takes acclimating to voices you may have heard in your head as you read the book, I stuck with it. And man, was it worth it. There was a tipping point when the narrators BECAME the characters and the book totally came to life. Both Kirby Heyborne and Candace Thaxton were superb in their narration, intonation, voice, timbre and whatever else it took to make this wonderful book a wonderful listen. Sometimes the 'esses' would whistle slightly but not to the point of distractions. The characters of Nastya and Josh were spoken richly by each narrator. I will return to this book again and again when I am beret of a powerful and beautifully crafted story. My three words about this book to all who see this review--LISTEN TO IT!
The second book in a trilogy, Bloodlines continues the story of Emma and Teren as they come to grips with his life as a vampire and that of his family. I thought book one was clever and well done. I adore Piper Goodeve's narration and ability to portray multiple characters. Bloodlines was very good but not the 'page turner' of Conversion. It was a bit too long and went off the rails a time or two. However, it's still a very novel idea in the circle of vampire books and well done.
When you combine the creative mind of Chloe Neill AND the perceptive spirited narration by Sohpie Eastlake, you definitely have a winner. After 10 books, you'd think that the capability to sustain the Ethan/Merit romance, to keep the Cadogan House members and staff alive with character development and to create stories and plots that are interesting and intricate would wane. NOPE, NADA. NO WAY. This series just keeps getting better; the writing crisper and the dialogue just spectacular. Blood Games is no exception...and now I can't wait for the next one. I never go into the storyline detail...far more experienced reviewers do a much better job. But I will tell you that the level of maturity in Chloe Neill's writing is certainly on display in this work. AND you absolutely cannot go wrong with Sophie Eastlake. I am not only amazed at how Ms Neill THINKS of things to include in a conversation but also the ability of Ms Eastlake to bring that conversation to life. Do NOT miss this CV book 10...it's outstanding.
Look, this is a terrific audio book IF you are into vamps. It's clever, creative, fun, funny, emotional, witty, dramatic, scary and downright interesting. It's got a new take on the vampire world (at least to me) and the performance by Piper Goodeve is nothing short of spectacular. Acting as the sole narrator, she captures all the characters (and there are some doozies) as well as giving validity, substance and believability to the two leads (Teren and Emma). I was not a fan of Ms Stephen's Thoughtless series and did not even attempt to read beyond that first book. So I approached this series with trepidation...but it's gotten good reviews and I LOVE Ms Goodeve's narrative/performance talent. So, I dove in and am glad of it. About to start Bloodlines (book 2). I will not go into the substance/story line of the book as I'd probably spoil it AND you can read that for yourself in any synopsis. What you get from me is how much I ENJOYED this audio book and why.
This is a book I have read on my Kindle a year or so ago; it's not the best book I've ever read but it's a pretty strong story with a female lead (Candace) who, for pretty good reasons, cries and sobs most of the book. I got tired of that. However, Piper Goodeve so brought her to life for me that the audio version was a standout. Candace, the victim of a horrific incident, is plagued with self-doubt and insecurity. Enter Ryan who slowly wins her trust and eventually, her love UNTIL she discovers information that he has withheld from her. The book is primarily Candace's struggle to work through, process, deny, hide from and otherwise NOT deal with what happened to her and Ryan's efforts to bring her to life. I was so impressed by Ms Goodeve's interpretation of all the characters, her nuanced reading of the dialogue and her emotional connection with both Candace and Ryan that really made this listen a worthy one. No amount of great narration could help with a rather rushed ending but I can live with it. Now on the the second book in the series...I sure hope it's as well done as Fading and I have NOT read this one (Falling).
Jasinda Wilder can write some great stuff (Falling Into You, Falling Into Us, Falling Under). 'Wounded' is not one of them although the concept is excellent. The story of a soldier and the story of a young Iraqi girl winds itself from two roads onto one. The research put in to this novel to make it authentic was very good and gave credibility to the story as well. The characters were fairly well developed although they could have been fleshed out a bit more (at least Hunter, the lead male). The narration, however, was terrible. It started out pretty good (hence the two stars instead of one) but both narrators 'acted' the parts and WAY OVER did them. I was embarrassed to listen to the 'erotic' components and could no more connect the voices/emoting with the characters than fly to the moon. A good narrator becomes the character(s). All I could thing of when these narrators were emoting was them and not the story. I wish I had read this book prior to listening to it because now, all I will hear if I read it is the dreadfully overwrought 'acting'. And, there were many times the narration sounded like it was coming from a well...back echo. When the narrators were NOT blasting your eardrums with the overkill, they were actually quite good...but those times were few and far between.
The story lost some credibility with the enduring 'erotica' while Hunter was in 'agony' from his wounds. I find it hard to believe that a wounded soldier would be focused on sexual activity when he is gravely wounded. But, I'm not a guy...so maybe so. In any event, I finished it even though there were times I just turned it off and said "Oh, puhleeze". I can recommend the book but not the audio version.
This is the 6th book in The Elder Races series and it was one that I was most reluctant to read. First, I have been so spoiled by Oracle’s Moon (Khalil and Grace) that it’s been hard to move off that plane of pleasure. Second, there is not another book in the series due out for a while, leaving me stranded in the wasteland of “NOTHEA” (including the novellas that I’m not particularly fond of). Third, I have not been a fan of the Sentinel Aryal (the Harpy)—I mean REALLY, a HARPY. And a Harpy that’s a total bitch to boot—I mean who DOESN’T like Pia? Aryal, that’s who and her description of Pia’s decision to take Dragos’ last name (Cuelebre) reveals the contempt:
“Last names -- they were like word parasites . They attached to people in strange ways, moved across cultural and political lines, traveled the world and reattached to others certainly at whim and seemingly at random. Why didn’t anyone else see how creepy last names were?”
Quentin, friend of Pia and newly crowned Sentinel (this guy can FIGHT) proves to be just another irritant to Aryal, who trusts no one and loathes everyone. She is onto Quentin like a tick on a puppy…festering with burrowing deeper into Quentin’s life, determined to find the evidence of wrongdoing that would discredit him.
Aryal, after spying on Quentin’s dominant coupling with an ‘escort’ finds herself attracted to him but hating him at the same time…you know where this is going. As Dragos is ‘want’ to do…he sends the pair on a mission together, a large portion of which is spent with each of them plotting to kill the other. No love lost here. And even though this storyline is predictable, Ms. Harrison lights it up with fresh dialogue and creative mythology of the Wyr, Elves and Other Lands. (I SO want to go to an Other Land).
Quentin’s description of Aryal on the plane trip that takes them to Numenlaur is so good you can just feel it. She’s “sharp like vodka straight from the freezer; hot like mulled whiskey”. Quentin is not immune to the sexual attraction either…so here we go.
Sure enough, through a series of events, unfoldings and bartering (you’ll have to read the book for that tidbit), the anger barriers melt slowly away to be replaced (albeit reluctantly) by friendship, trust and, of course, love. The banter between Aryal and Quentin is so engaging, so fun, so powerful and so pure…it is just a joy to be a part of it. And as misfortune befalls them both, the struggle to protect each other, to win the ultimate fight and to recover is quite profound. Each is tested in a manner that reveals their frailty and essence.
Many folks do not care for the ‘paranormal’ world but fail often to see the allegory that it is. The Elder Races series is a beautifully crafted sequence of ‘real’ concerns couched in a world of ‘make-believe’.
I have said it with all of these books….I love the mind of Thea Harrison and the creative force that must hold her at bay on many an occasion. I loved this book and the wonderful narration of Sophie Eastlake, who has spoiled me with her grasp of the story and the characters.
If I could give 10 stars to this book, I would. Of all The Elder Race books I’ve listened to so far, this one has my heart. AND I have loved all of them. I cannot say enough about the mind, brain, creative energy, unfathomable imagination and ability to turn a phrase that thrives in Thea Harrison. Oracle’s Moon may just be her best work (well, that I’ve read so far). The characters of Grace and Khalil are sheer perfection…Grace, an Oracle ‘don’t wannabe but hastobe’, is a steel magnolia from KY who by virtue of tragedy becomes the single parent of two orphaned kids as well as the recipient of powers she doesn’t particularly want. She struggles to make ends meet, to love and provide for her sister’s kids, and to adapt herself to a ‘gift’ that is both challenging and enormously draining.
Khalil, Djinn of great power and mystery, has no idea what he’s in for when he encounters Grace. He cannot understand her humanity as he is far from human and immortal. He IS however, enchanted with the kids, having lost his own daughter to a vile mother many years prior. And by lost, we mean changed from a powerful force for good to a damaged and permanently impaired being who needs to be kept away from the world.
As usual, there are reviews that give much better detail of the story and plotline…I give visceral reactivity and knee-jerk. This is the story of the Djinn and the Oracle—how they met, learned from each other, and fell in love. THAT story is priceless…Khalil’s efforts to control Grace, his desire to help her, his adaptation to human ‘skin’, his bumbling attempts to ‘date’ (the conversation between Rune and Khalil in which Rune gives Khalil dating advice is PRICELESS), his trips to the moon, his ability to ‘achieve pancakes’, his thoughts of falling into flesh (shades of City of Angels here), his growing respect for Grace, his protectiveness of her and need to be in her life, and ultimately, the return of Phaedra (Khalil’s daughter) and her triumph over the darkness (with Grace’s help) are all unrelentingly beautiful, funny, powerful, touching and downright amazing. Damn, I want a Djinn of my very own.
As for the performance of Sophie Eastlake, she is flawless. She captures Grace’s strength, her accent (beautifully done when SO MANY FAIL at being southern), her passion, her misgivings about ‘Oracleness’ AND Khalil and her strength…in short, when you listen to her be Grace…she IS Grace. And then she turns right around and does the SAME THING being Khalil…his arrogance, his need to control, his passion for the kids and for Grace, his bumbling efforts at understanding how to be in a relationship, his humor, his sensuality and his capacity for caring are all part of her depiction of Khalil.
I cannot erupt enough superlatives about how I felt about this book but I hope I’ve tried. It is nothing short of SPECTACULAR. Thanks, Teddy and thanks, Sophie and thank, audible.com.
I listened to this book, so will have a review up on Audible.com. I LOVED this book in spite of the fact that it dealt with a love triangle...something I am usually VERY turned off by (e.g., The EVER series in which a married man cheats on his comatose wife with HER sister!! I thought I'd puke). The situation here with Ridge, Maggie and Sydney was entirely different, believable and had such a resolution that, while parties were hurt initially, the ultimate outcome was positive for all concerned. I had to stop listening a number of times just out of passion, grief, anticipation at HOW on EARTH this was going to come to a healthy conclusion. The best review I've read for this wonderful book is Aestas' review a while back.
As you all know, I read viscerally and I can say with all sincerity that my heart was all over the map on this one. I never had the total disgust and anger I did with the previously mentioned cheater series but was rooting for all three major characters. And these characters were beautifully developed, especially Ridge. What a terrific storyline he had and what a courageous idea Ms Hoover had to make him, well, him. The ancillary character of Warren had me laughing out loud with his antics and ultimately giving him a virtual hug for his compassion and strength.
This is a lovely book that will rend your soul, make your heart beat fast and strong, bring tears to your eyes and a song to your lips--quite literally.
The performances by Zachary Webber and Angela Goethals were SPOT ON!! Emotional without being over the top, these two certainly captured the essence of the characters AND the story. Excellence in narration for these two folks. As you know, the narrators/performers can make or break a book; these two took a terrific book and made it better.
Don't miss this one.
5 wonderfully and gleefully given stars.
I have a crush on Thea Harrison’s mind, her ability to create a world of ‘other’s (including actual Other Places), to craft and breathe life into such marvelous characters as Dragos, Pia, Tiago, Ninniae, the Sentinels and beyond. This books is no exception with the extraordinary tale of Dragos’ First (a Sentinel named Rune Ainissesthai) and the creature he’s drawn to and eventually mates, the vampire Carling. The tale in itself is a challenging and complex one, certainly a cut above the run-of-the-mill vampire books. As Carling is dying, Rune is more and more invested in finding a cure for her.
Carling’s history is in itself a superb evidence of Harrison’s mind. With….WAIT JUST A MINUTE!! You know, I’m sounding like a wannabe reviewer and I’m NOT. Here’s the deal:
I read Thea Harrison with my gut…my reaction to her writing and her people and her stories and her incredible mind is oh so visceral. I can’t really dissect the writing or the stories or the everything because it would be like doing an autopsy on myself. The privilege and honor goes to those much more intellectual than moi. The bottom line is that her books draw me in, they excite me, they flay me, they speak to me, they draw me in, they take me from the mundane to the extraordinary. When I was very small, like 5-ish, I used to sneak out of my window (completely unbeknownst to my parents until MUCH MUCH LATER) and roam with my imagination all over a neighboring golf course. It was magnificent. I’d climb trees and make up a life in a faraway place with faraway people and faraway excitement. Well, I’m 67 now but I can say that reading Thea Harrison is like being that little girl again…living with the wonders of my (and her) mind.
The narration of The Elder Races by Sophie Eastlake is beyond perfection. She nails EVERY character and brings the total story to such life, it's amazing to hear her.
Thanks, Teddy. for the books and Thanks, Sophie for the animation. You are both remarkable.
Well, it started out pretty good. Man leaves his roots in MS for the excitement of LA; has a live-in girl he really can't stand but she's got influence in the company he works for. Hasn't been home in 6 years because someone broke his heart. Is called home for a family tragedy and sees 'the girl'. Told in the Points of View of both the male/female leads (William and Maggie) AND in retrospect (6 years back and present time), it is the struggle of these two to come to grips with how they got together in the first place as college aged young adults, the events that tore them apart, and the agonizing issues that continued to keep them apart when William returned 6 years later. There is a 'bad guy' involved who seems to perpetuate Maggie's life of pain and who is determined to keep her at all costs. Any more detail and you'd be spoiled. The story is a good one but my goodness, such angst and sadness on the part of both main characters almost broke me...not my heart but my patience. I found myself getting frustrated with the almost constant sadness and grief and crying and angst and on and on and on.
That being said, following the end of the book, there is a brief narrative discussion the rampant issue that is domestic violence and abuse against women. So, kudos to Ms Jackson for tackling it and offering numbers of support groups that help.
Now, to the main reason this book (for me, anyway) should have probably been read. Mr. Guimot had a wonderful delivery most of the book BUT his Mississippi voice was so reminiscent of Forrest Gump, I could hardly listen without hearing "RUN, FORREST, RUN!" Or when Forrest asked Jenny in that halting ALABAMA voice "Will you marry me?" I can criticize this because I am from and live in Mississippi and he did not nail our sound. And don't even get me started on his 'Maggie'...she sounded like such a hick, it was hard to muster any enthusiasm for her character. I struggled as it was since all she did was cry and plead and beg and hide, so the added insult of sounding like she fell off the turnip truck did my focus little good. The sound of the 'bad guy Troy' was a pretty good rendition of a badass southern boy. Most everyone else....not. Oddly enough, when reading the first person (and not dialogue), Mr. Guimot was terrific but once he vocalized that MS 'sound', all the steam went out of my attention.
So, listen with this in mind and you will find a tale of redemption...but be prepared to walk through a lot of pain to get there.
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