|My Notorious Gentleman (Inferno Club)
||For the majority of the book, I was relatively happy. I genuinely liked the leads, Trevor and Grace, though Grace seemed a little too perfect at times. That being said, until the last quarter of the book, it just plodded along. The best thing about this series was the excitement — the first four books, even the fifth, was the adventure and action. That was entirely missing from this book — until the ending. At because the final quarter of the book simply didn’t match the pacing, I was dissatisfied.
So to say I have done no writing in the last five months would be an accurate term, other than countless papers and homework assignments. My schedule last semester was ridiculous and hopefully, I’ll have a better handle on my life this semester as I gear up for graduate school applications, graduation requirements, and finishing up my last year of undergrad. We’ll see.
A few years ago, I found audio books but didn’t quite settle into them at the time. I came back to them earlier this year, first with nonfiction and then recently with fiction I had read before. I enjoyed listening Devil in the White City particularly, bringing the story to life in a way that maybe print couldn’t have. I still have to buy the print edition to find out for sure.
Recently, with the business of my semester, I haven’t had the time for reading. So I picked out a few audio books to try them again, beginning with Nora Roberts’ last few novels and I discovered something interesting.
In 2011, she published Chasing Fire, which I liked okay at the time but didn’t really love the way I’d loved others. I put it aside and only read it once more. The audio book changed how I felt entirely. The scenes that seemed to drag the most in the book — those of Rowan and Gull fighting the massive forest fires–were the most exciting read aloud. The narrator was fun and did a great job with the dialogue and the pacing.
I’ve listened to Angels Fall and rediscovered it as one of my favorites. And Northern Lights? The beauty and majestic setting comes alive in a way that just isn’t available read to yourself silently. It’s also one that I enjoyed having read to me by a male narrator, solidifying Nate as one of my favorite heroes.
That’s not to say that every audio book is a joyous experience. I started the recent Inn Boonsboro trilogy, but the narrator–another man–was awful. He tried to achieve the female voices, but only succeeded in creating characters that sounded whiny and too much pitched falsetto. I preferred Gary Littman in Northern Lights who only changed his intonation and pitch, rather than actually trying for the voice.
The Witness may be another favorite. The narrator there gave emotion to Abigail’s dialogue that seemed cold before, giving the character a depth that just didn’t quite happen on the page. In contrast, listening to Tribute, the narrator had a strange voice for Cilla, that made every piece of dialogue sound almost like a question. The intonation for Cilla was just slightly off. I finished the book, enjoying it almost as much as I had in print, but it threw me off a bit.
I decided to try an experiment along the lines of Chasing Fire, to deliberately pick Nora Roberts’ novels that haven’t always struck me as at her best. I’m beginning with her vampire trilogy, from 2006, and Morrigan’s Cross. So far, the the narrator has a great Irish accent, and he’s a man. After the first few chapters, my opinion has gone up a bit. The language more poetic than I remembered it.
Let’s see if audio books can save the Signs of Seven trilogy which was so awful I thought about setting my books on fire.
|Wed to a Highland Warrior (The Warrior King)
I waited a long time to write my review for this book, after I think the book has been released. Donna Fletcher is an odd author for me. I’ve read all her books and genuinely enjoy them, but I would never put her on a list of authors who are excellent, who write quality fiction. I approach her books expecting a lot less from her than I do other authors in the same genre like Julia Quinn or Courtney Milan. Because I don’t expect much, until now I have been sincerely entertained. Her Sinclaire series was fun, and until this last entry, I thought her Warrior King series was her best work. But the final entry, the last one for the series, leaves me cold inside and I wanted to stop, give the book some breathing room and reread.
|There’s Something About Lady Mary
||I wanted to like this book, honest. The plot itself was intriguing and I liked the details — a woman running around as an unlicensed surgeon, old time medical malpractice. There was a lot of promise in the premise.
But I couldn’t identify with Ryan or Mary. Neither of them were offered any qualities or personalities beyond what was happening on the page. Mary was at times annoying, stubborn and stupid. Ryan was priggish, inconsistent. I didn’t believe his emotions at any point. He never drove the action, neither did Mary. They were just a long for the ride.
I registered for seven classes this semester, three of which were in a foreign language and another that required writing a 16 page paper. That’s not counting the other two classes that required reading at least four or more books for each. Word of advice: Just never do that. Ever.
I’ve written about 2000 words since the semester started, for my in progress novel and my aborted attempt at NaNo. As long as I’m a college student, I may have to give up on the November outing and just make my own Nano during like…January.
Anyway, the semester will be over in about three weeks and we’re down to the end of it. The last few exams, the last few papers. Hopefully the most difficult portions are past me, once I finish my Senior Seminar paper in two weeks. I’ll be back to writing full-time after that.
What I feel most guilty about is that through Edelweiss, I’ve been granted access to amazing books with the intentions of reading them and I’ve only done about one in the last few months. I’m going to get that taken care of on my Thanksgiving break and get this blog back to what I love doing — talking about reading and writing
|Never Seduce a Scot: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs
||After reading her first trilogy, I fell over myself at the chance to read her next one, hoping it would live up to the quality and expectations I now have from Ms. Banks. Could I really add her to the list of authors whose novels I pre-order?
The answer is a resounding YES. Eveline is not a typical heroine, Graeme not a typical hero and nothing they face together is similar. Though I’ve read other medieval type novels in which the heroine is disabled (Christina Dodd’s blind heroine Saura comes to mind), Eveline’s inability to hear is more tragic due to the circumstances in which it transpired.
Her story with Graeme is beautiful and touching. I picked the book up in the morning and couldn’t put it down until I had found out how the story ended. I’m so happy this appears to be a series so I can revisit these characters over and over again.
Apologies for the lateness in posting my review, I know it’s not very useful now, but I wanted to relate how much I enjoyed this story and was thankful for the opportunity to read it.
|The Lady Risks All
It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to rate Stephanie Laurens at a full 5 stars, though her last three novels were at 4.5. Her stories are always solid and exciting, well-plotted and fun to read, but occasionally, I was frustrated because her characters remained the same. She seemed to be varying that with the Cynster sisters trilogy, and with The Lady Risks All she steps out of her mold with her leads. Miranda Clifford and Roscoe Neville have shades of similarity, but have qualities that set them apart and put this novel a cut above the rest. Bravo, Ms. Laurens, you’ve got me firmly back in your camp.
|The Way to a Duke’s Heart: The Truth About the Duke
A satisfying ending to a well-executed series. One of the hardest types of trilogies to tackle is that which the impact event happens in Book 1 (One Night in London) and interest in reaching the conclusion must extend until Book 3, without slowing down the pace or feeling as though it’s been deliberately drawn out. Caroline Linden tackles this tricky balance by having pieces of her books happen simultaneously (the first few chapters of Book 2 begin while Book 1 is finishing, and Book 3 begins as Book 2 is closing). So everything is on top of one another. Each brother is well-defined and unique, and the final solution to the Truth About the Duke is rooted deep within character flaws, that push The Way to a Duke’s Heart forward.
|The Scottish Witch: The Chattan Curse
There is a lot about this book, and this series in particular that I like, but I’m beginning to find that the same frustations I’ve had with the last several Cathy Maxwell books are repeated here. So let me start from the beginning: The Scottish Witch is the second book in the Chattan Curse series. It has a fabulous and intriguing premise: The Chattan line has been cursed for centuries because their ancestor hand fasted to the daughter of Fenella, and then abandoned her for a wealthy English heiress. Fenella cursed the Chattan men that once they have married and fallen in love, and ensured the continuation of their line with an heir, they die. For centuries, this has proved to be true up to and including the last Earl of Lyon, who died after a second marriage to an opera dancer.