In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.
WARNING! This is not a plot summary review. This is a book v. show review/ discussion ONLY. If you want a plot summary, Google should have plenty! ;-)
I've heard far too much about the awesomeness of GoT the series (both book series and TV show), so have finally decided to bear down and do this thing before I hear any more spoilers about the show!
Thing is, I watched the first season of the show before I started the books. I can now tell you the show appears to be a VERY faithful adaptation of the book. So much so that I actually got bored with the book a few times because I already knew what was going to happen. And Martin is very Tokienesque in that the man likes his details (which can slow it down as well). So, if you are already invested in the show, it may be hard to go back and read the entire series. Especially when you consider each book is a 30+ hour listen. However, having read the first book, I already feel like I understand the characters WAYYYY more than the TV show would give me the chance to, and in some ways, even though there is a lot between now and the latest book to change them, I probably still know the characters better than people only watching the show, because I'm getting so much backstory and personal motivation through the book. So, if you are in the market for going hard on Westeros, for sure read the books!
Now, the rub. I hear the show is caught up with the books, and as of next season, the books and the show will diverge in places (I hear in only minor ways, but given Martin's penchant for leaving nothing sacred, I wouldn't be surprised if they are completely different).
So, it kind of seems that unless you're in a similar situation to myself and haven't really gotten too far into either, you almost have to pick a side for your own sanity. But if you're in the same boat I am, follow me and do both!!! But if you do, I strongly recommend reading a book, then watching its corresponding season. Otherwise the book may be too slow and daunting.
As for whether I liked it, my level of commitment to both forms of the story should be a good clue that I loved it, and I am obsessed. Officially!
Shortly after midnight on July 17, 1918, the imprisoned family of Tsar Nicholas Romanov was awakened and led down to the basement of the Ipatiev house. There they were summarily executed. A decade later, one man lives in purgatory, banished to a forest on the outskirts of humanity. Pekkala was once the most trusted secret agent of the Romanovs, the right-hand man of the Tsar himself. Now he is Prisoner 4745-P. But the state needs Pekkala one last time.
I decided to read this when I was in a wishy-washy mood and was surprised to find myself enjoying the story. This is meant to be the first installment of a post-Russian-revolution detective series featuring Pekkala, a man who used to work directly for the Romanovs, but because of obvious, now kind of has to work for Stalin et al.
Re: plot - I totally love the Romanov mystery, which is why I bought this book in the first place. The possibility of survivors makes for good storytelling. With the book taking place years after the revolution, I liked that this was a cold case story, with a little modern forensics mixed in. But, since I only bought it for the Romanov story, and have little interest in Communist-era detective stories on whole, I doubt I'll pick up the next installment.
Re: narrator - Paul Michael (it's the same guy who did the last two Dan Brown books) does good euro accents, and I enjoy his style of narrating, so it's entirely possible part of me liked this because I kept expecting Robert Langdon to pop into a scene. In all honesty, I may have liked the book more for this reason. (Insert shoulder shrug)
Overall, a good choice if you're not looking for anything too heavy, or too long. :-)
Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, first serialized in a magazine in 1930, is best known through the iconic Humphrey Bogart film of 1941. But it was the book that created the classic "noir" genre with its tough private detective threading his cool way between the criminals and the law. Sam Spade, the private eye solving the mystery of the Maltese statuette, was the template for Philip Marlowe and a host of others…. but they come no more shrewd and cunning with Hammett peppering the text with one-liners.
Wowza! Didn't expect to love this as much as I do! I saw the movie when I was in high school and thought it was cool and clever and all, but now having heard the novel, I have such a better appreciation for 1) what a good book-to-film adaptation the movie is and 2) what a great writer Dashiell Hammett was. I'd seen the movie long enough ago that, although I remembered the basics, I forgot the intricacies of the plot. After listening to the book, I went back and watched the movie again. That was when I realized the above. Because I'd only seen the movie, I wrongly assumed they had taken liberties as most movies do. I was super surprised that the movie pulls a TON of dialogue directly from the book and nails the casting on all the characters. Super cool. So I guess I'm really recommending reading the book, then watching the movie. The book is a bargain and the movie isn't expensive to rent. 10 hours of entertainment for cheap. What's not to like?!
Mafia enforcer Aleksandr "The Siberian" Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss’ long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalizing redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Sevastyan will do anything to possess her as well - on his own wicked terms. PhD student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the breathtakingly gorgeous Sevastyan before the professional hit man whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. With every day she spends under his protection, she falls deeper under his masterful spell.
I'm really at a crossroads about this book. I think Sevastyan is a hot character, as is the chemistry between Nat and him, BUT. I am OVER this format. If anything, this second part of The Professional is making me question Ms. Cole a bit. Would all of her books be this frustrating (not just in the good "Next time on..." way) if published in installments? Although we finally got some deliciously delicious sex, that was the only good part. The rest was b.s. drama between the two, without any of the anticipation and build up from Part One, and by necessity no HEA we're going to get from Part Three. Or should I say, the HEA we'd better get!
In my review of Part One, I made comment that I wished I'd waited to purchase until the entire thing was published (preferably as one volume). This installment only reinforces my earlier opinion. Because it ended on a cliffhanger, part of me wanted to download the next one right away and keep going. But, I was so irritated with Natalie and a little bit Sevastyan, that I still haven't bought Part Three. I probably will sooner than later, but since it feels like I'm having to overpay for a less-than-awesome Kresley Cole story that isn't even narrated by Robert Petkoff....I'm not in a huge rush. Ya know?
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Shelly Laurenston turns up the heat with two sizzling novellas. Christmas Pride: How come all the good-looking ones are insane? That's what runs through NYPD cop Desiree "Dez" MacDermot's mind the minute she hooks up again with her childhood buddy, Mace Llewellyn. Shaw's Tail: Brendon Shaw, hotel owner and lion shifter, has seen better days. He's been beaten, had a gun to the back of his head, and had to be rescued by a Pack of shape-shifting wolves.
I'm now on Book 8 of this series, so I guess it's time to gush about it for a minute!
I was kind of burnt out on PNR when I decided to pick up this audiobook. So glad I did! Although the world Ms. Laurenston creates is not noticeably different than others I've read (maybe the most obvious difference is that shifters seem to be the only paranormal element to the stories?), she totally makes up for the lack with legitimately good writing and character development. And she's got a great narrator to back her up, so that should really seal the deal for anyone who likes a good shifter romance. Total bonus (according to moi)? This first book in the series is actually two shorter stories, introducing you to two couples who have some social ties, but are separated enough that you get two completely different introductions to the Pride series for the price of one. Who doesn't love a good deal?!
I admittedly didn't love the first story about Dez, a full human cop from the Bronx, and Mace, a lion shifter who's carried a torch for her since they were kids. This one didn't get me fully hooked, but I was enjoying the narration and the presentation of the world Ms. Laurenston was giving, and found myself wanting to listen at every available opportunity. Maybe I was just out of it when I listened, because that's the only time it's happened so far!
The second story I enjoyed much more. I really liked Ronnie Lee Reed and Brendan Shaw, and found their story much more enjoyable. I mean, hi, it's love at first sight for Brendan. That's always good for me. Also thought the sex was hotter, for sure. But what made me remember this story more than the other? Perhaps because they're both shifters? Maybe because I love crazy southerners? Or could it be that I'm just a sucker for a man getting into a brawl with his own family over a woman (cuz I'm messed up like that)? Ummm, all of the above!
In general, this series is totally worth the time and credits. All the books contain humor, intrigue, interesting characters and some decently hot sex scenes. (I say decently hot because they don't really get HAWT like a Kresley Cole, ok real talk, like a Robert Petkoff-narrated book, but they still get my pulse going.) I also can't over-emphasize how much I like a well-written book containing characters that don't have to do stupid and completely absurd things to propel the plot. I've thoroughly enjoyed every installment, and have already re-listened to one of the books that particularly grabbed me. If this kind of thing is your bag, you really can't go wrong.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?
I saw a lot of stellar reviews for this book, and I love me a good suspense/ mystery novel, so I was really excited to start this book.
The premise - wife goes missing on the 5th anniversary of her marriage, and it quickly becomes clear there is something amiss. Did the husband do it? What's he hiding? - and format really grabbed me. The book is written both from the first-person perspective of the wife, Amy, starting from the moment she and Nick meet, as well as from the first-person perspective of the husband, Nick, starting from the day Amy goes missing.
I was hooked.....for the first few hours. But maybe I've read/ watched to many of these kinds of tales, because about 1/4 of the way in, I had a very strong (in the end correct) hunch about what was really going on, which made me completely lose interest in the story. In fact, it took about 3 months of periodic listening before I finally decided to just bear down and finish this thing.
Again, the "twist" was a far-gone conclusion. Also, I've watched Luther on BBC (which I LOVE) so Amy just felt like a more annoying and if you can believe it, less sympathetic version of Alice. (Ok confession, once Amy comes clean about setting Nick up for a fall and stops being polite and starts getting real - yes, I just quoted The Real World! - she's actually more interesting than fake Amy, but still wah wah compared to other literary and screen sociopaths.)
I appreciate that the ending is kind of effed up and not an "HEA" (read: Amy doesn't gets what's coming to her) but after having spent 16+(?) hours with these completely un-likeable characters - seriously, there is nothing redeeming about the Dunnes - the least Gillian Flynn could have done was give the reader a satisfactory ending. Instead of, what? Crazy is as crazy does? After all of that BS, the least she could have done was kill, paralyze or seriously maim one or both of this married pair. Is that so much to ask?
So, the big Q is would I recommend it??? Ehhh. Now that I know it's being made into a movie.....maybe just wait for the movie. And if you just love it SO much, then read the book. That way, if you don't like the movie, you've only wasted 2 1/2 hours of time, not 6 times that amount on the book.
p.s. The narrators were easily the best part of this story. In particular, Julia Whalen did a fantastic job - her bomb narration skills were all that kept me going through Amy's sections sometimes!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Scanguards vampire and master of mind control Thomas has mentored newbie vampire Eddie for over a year - and been in love with him for just as long. But he believes that his love will never be reciprocated. While patrolling San Francisco for evil vampires, Eddie kisses Thomas as a diversionary tactic and is shaken to the core by his reaction. He's terrified of his sexual attraction to his mentor and afraid that moving forward and giving in to his desires will destroy the relationship they have.
Bravo to Tina Folsom for writing gay characters into her Scanguards Vampires series, and double bravo for actually dedicating a whole book to a gay love story!
We've known for some time that Thomas holds a flame for young Padawan, Eddie. And while I was hopeful that we'd hear their story, I wasn't going to hold my breath. So when I saw there was finally a Thomas-Eddie story out there, I actually skipped 2 books in the series because I was so excited for this one. Totally worth it!
Writing a gay romance is probably a fine line to walk as a traditionally heterosexual author since you can't really anticipate how readers will react, and what they can handle, but I think Ms. Folsom navigated through it beautifully. I especially appreciated that Eddie sort of came into his gayness through the course of the story, which I think may be what happens for a lot of people who come out later in life. It added a lot of realness to the story, and in some ways, kind of makes this one the sweetest of all. You really feel for Thomas, who's resigned himself to never having his feelings reciprocated, but you also feel for Eddie, who starts having real feelings for Thomas, but is so confused about the whole thing.
Obviously there is gay sex involved, so if that's a problem, turn back now. But really, that just means more male pronouns, more BJs and more anal sex, which come up in a ton of regular M-F erotic novels anyways, so unless you have a problem with homosexuality on principle, this novel isn't any racier or more shocking than any other book in this series.
If you enjoy this series and are cool with boy-boy love, totally worth a credit.
As a side note, I actually liked the previous narrator for the series, but not mad about Eric G. Dove taking over the reins. He has a kind of gruff but young voice that I like, and he did a good job of differentiating between Thomas and Eddie.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Her last memory is of her violent death, and now she's screaming for vengeance. He's a Laird with enough sins to stain his soul, but he's cursed for the crimes of another. With a clan divided, an impending marriage, and whispers of dark magic threatening the Highlands, a tempting Banshee is the last thing he needs in his chambers.
I thoroughly enjoyed Kerrigan Byrne's first set of novellas, Unclaimed, and it quickly became a go-to when I was low on book money and needed to re-visit my own library. So, naturally I was thrilled to see Audible had made another set of her novellas available. This set, Reclaimed, I like even better than the first! Both are well-written and well-narrated, but I just enjoyed the characters more in this set than the previous, and find myself now wanting to listen to this one more than Unclaimed.
The one thing I'd like to note that Ms. Byrne did that is quite impressive, is that each story is highly individual to each pairing. Sometimes in a series an author ends up re-creating character patterns or relationships, where it becomes hard to separate different couples from each other after you've read through six. Not so with these six total highland historical novellas. Each is unique, and as I listened to each for the first time, they all felt fresh and new.
And I know some people don't love short stories, but if you're waffling, these are the ones to give it a go with! Even though each story is only a few hours, they don't feel underdeveloped at all. They really are well balanced - if you like PNR or historical romance with a little magic, it's not even a question. Just add to cart. And if you haven't listened to her other stories, add those too.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A prolific serial killer is crucifying and 'baptizing' the working girls of Portland, and FBI Special Agent Luca Ramirez is locked in a desperate race to prevent the next casualty. The game changes when the latest victim is pulled out of the Willamette River alive, and Luca knows this witness may be his key to breaking the case. When the fanatical killer threatens her life a second time, Luca is assigned to protect the most unique and captivating woman he's ever met by going undercover as her lover.
Kerrigan Byrne is quickly becoming a favorite romance audible author! I really enjoy her highland historical novellas (I've probably listened to each of them 3-4 times each by now) so while I was pleased that she had a full length novel available on Audible, I was a bit hesitant to download it because I thought without the berserkers and banshees and historical context, the bloom might quickly come off the rose, so to speak. I am here to tell you - I was wrong! Totally loved this story, and really hoping the next installment comes out soon.
The story is VERY Dharma meets Greg, if Greg was an FBI agent and Dharma was the lucky survivor of an attack by a serial killer. Seriously - she's a vegan (Bacon doesn't count) who teaches the un-copywrighted (un-trademarked?) version of Bikram yoga and he's a classic meat and grease and tv dude, and never the two shall meet blah, blah, blah. At first I was concerned the readers were going to get a lecture on organic living (read: Byrne did not harp on about it like Diane Duvall did in Darkness Dawns, in case you read/ listened to that one) but it quickly becomes clear this is the fodder on which these star-crossed lovers must base their "we could never work" assumptions.
But of course lust has a way of pushing all of that to the side, and over the course of the investigation and hunt for John The Baptist, the two can't keep their hands to themselves, and hotness ensues. And of course by the end they realize how much they looove each other and can't live without each other. Cue the HEA!
Byrne did a great job of keeping the story and the romance moving along without falling short on either count. Derek Perkins is an excellent narrator - my only criticism is that his American accents are just a bit off, and don't sound quite as genuine as I'd hoped. But that being said, I'll take a British male narrator with less-than-perfect American over most of the female romance narrators out there if for no other reason than I like my men to sound very manly, and most lady narrators out there simply can't or don't get the job done for me.
When I checked the author's website, it looks like there are several more lined of for this series....which is AWESOME! I just hope they get turned into audiobooks, and anything else this wonderful author has published already!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr "The Siberian" Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalizing redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Sevastyan will do anything to possess her as well - on his own wicked terms. PhD student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the breathtakingly gorgeous Sevastyan before the professional hit man whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures.
Before I gripe about the format, let me be clear that I did very much enjoy this first installment of The Professional. It's written in first-person (Natalie's - only acceptable reason Robert Petkoff isn't narrating this Cole story) which is a nice change, and she doesn't seem to be prone to the over-reacting a lot of that IAD heroines tend to do. The chemistry between the two lovebirds is hot for sure, and I'm surprised at the lessons on Russian culture. Wasn't expecting it but really liking it!
Now, the format of this story. It's about 4 hours, and I got the book on sale for $5. Not too bad. But, this is only part 1 of 3, which means in the end I'm going to end up shelling out $15 (or more) for this story by the time it's done, when the IAD novels are less than $10 a pop. LAME! And on top of it, you're going to make me wait a total of 6 weeks to finish the story. I can understand the appeal from a publisher's perspective, and maybe for the print reader, but for audio folks, it's a bummer situation.
So, the book is good, but had I been really thinking/ what I'd do if I could do it over - I'd wait to see if they end up releasing it as one volume in a few months at a standard price. Because if you start, you're going to end up like me and overpaying...because now I can't NOT buy the next one as soon as it becomes available since I'm totally sucked into the story!
34 of 35 people found this review helpful