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Lynne Phelps

Georgia, USA
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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-27-13

Another cliff-hanger, more Vlad and Leila to come!

Wow! I just finished listening to Twice Tempted and I am blown away. I have been counting the months, days and then minutes after listening to "Once Burned", the first story about Vlad and Leila. I preordered the audiobook and downloaded it seconds after it appeared in my library.

The first story was really interesting, as unlike the previous novels in the Night Huntress World where the vampires, ghouls and demons have special powers, this time it is Leila, the human, who has extraordinary gifts.However, unlike the Night Huntress novels which achieved closure for the main story arc in each novel, Once Burned left us hanging.

This story has even more plot twists, with unpredictable events continually surprising the reader, yet they are integrated seamlessly into the plot line. Lots of trouble, broken hearts and romance, action and adventure, loyalty and betrayal. What a wild ride!

However, at the end, just when I thought the whole plot was going to wrap up nicely, Jeanine Frost left us with another cliff hanger! I am really glad that there will be more Vlad and Leila, but now I need to go scour the author's website to see how long I will have to spend in agonized waiting to find out how this story finally ends! I sure hope it won't be any longer than the wait for this book.

If you read Once Burned, if you are a Night Huntress Cat and Bones fan, this is a must buy audiobook. However if you are as impatient as I am, you may want to wait until this mini series within the larger Night Huntress World has concluded, as the wait is really going to kill me!

Once again, Tavia Gilbert has done a fantastic job with the narration and her skill really enhanced an already exciting story, and bravo to her and Frost for another great story. Hmmm. I think I'll have to listen to them back to back next. . . or maybe listen to the entire series again, as I do not want to leave the Night Huntress World!

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23 of 24 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-07-13

Good Story, Lackluster Performance

This story is the sequel to Copper Beach, It included a few new twists in her arsenal of psychic talents, but overall both the male and female had talents simlar to those of characters in previous stories. Her paranormal books used to be such fun because each time the main character had some weird new type of talent. This was a good story, but I really wish it had been a great story!

One of the problems for me is the narrator, Tanya Eby. She has a certain way of pacing her sentences that is the same in all the stories, a sort of wry sarcasm that was fun at first but becomes a bit boring. She has narrated a number of the recent Krentz/Castle books and all the characters sound similar. The two characters in this book sound exactly like Marlowe Jones and Adam Winters in Midnight Crystal, one of her futuristic paranormal novels written as Jayne Castle. I actually lost track a couple times as to which book I was listening to! I think the printed book might have been a bit better than the audio, and I can't believe I actually said that!

This story had enough interesting plot twists to keep me interested to the end, and I had not predicted the ending so that was good. I am sure I'll buy the next book because I want to find out who is in it. So far two best friends have married two brothers, so now what? There is a sister but I wonder who the male protagonist will be. It can't be Nick, so who? Inquiring minds need to know, LOL!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-30-12

Beginning of my favorite custom Kleypas playlist!

This story is where Derek Craven and his elite gambling hell are first introduced. While this is the story of "lawless Lily" and Lord Raiford, Craven plays a major role and is quite a complex character in his own right.

I loved Lily's story. She is a strong, valiant, eccentric young woman who has had a lot of heartache and her actions and motivations are completely true to character. There are a lot of great plot twists as her problems are gradually resolved and I love to "re-read" this audio often.

The author did a great job of portraying Derek's cockney accent, with the authentic Th's mixed up with F's and V's (fink = think, wiv = with for example) plus all that great slang. Derek crawled his way out of the gutters of the Rookery in London and what he has accomplished is due solely to the the strength of his personality.

I have a favorite playlist I think you might enjoy:

1. Then Came You - Lily, Alex and Derek Craven, and we meet Derek's competitor, ex prize fighter Ivo Jenner. A favorite side character is the club's factotum, Worthy.

2. Dreaming of You - Derek Craven and Sara Fielding, and more of Lily, Alex, Worthy and Ivo Jenner.

3. Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, Book 3) - Ivo Jenner's daughter, Evie, and Lord St. Vincent. She elopes with St. Vincent to escape her mother's family and spend time with her lower-class dying father. We meet Cam Rohan, the gypsy factotum of Jenner's elite gambling hell. (You could also insert book 2, It Happened One Autumn where St. Vincent is introduced, ahead of this one, but the flow from the earlier stories is better without it.) Cam Rohan is a good friend of Evie's and a very interesting character.

4. Mine Till Midnight (Hathaways, Book 1) - gypsy Cam Rohan and Amelia Hathaway. St. Vincent, Marcus and Lillian from the Wallflower series are major supporting characters. Cam is a major character throughout the rest of the Hathaway series.

5. Seduce Me at Sunrise (Hathaways, Book 2) - Win Hathaway and Kev Merripen, a gypsy adopted into their famly as a child.

6. Tempt Me at Twilight (Hathaways, Book 3) - We go back to the amazing Rutledge hotel, where the Bowmans and Simon Hunt from the Wallflower series used to stay. Harry Rutledge is entranced by Poppy Hathaway. Love this quirky family and especially Beatrix' pet ferret, Dodger, and her hedgehog, Medusa!

7. Married by Morning (Hathaways, Book 4) - Cam's brother-in-law, Leo Hathaway and the younger girls' companion, Catherine Marks. More of the Rutledge hotel also, and the ferret plays a major role!

8. Love in the Afternoon (Hathaways, Book 5) - The conclusion with Beatrix Hathaway and her pen pal, Captain Phelan, along with her animal menagerie!

Let me know if you try this custom playlist, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-30-12

Fun young detectives make a great team!

This is a really different Agatha Christie as it is not Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Superintendant Battle or Parker Pyne! It is a stand-alone novel with a good puzzle and a bit of romance.

The vicar is wondering when his son Bobby, who is fresh out of the Navy, is going to decide on a new career and DO something and get out of the house.

Bobby is worried about his dad's health and wondering how long he can stand living at home to look after his father. He plays golf but not well, and he is smart but not brilliant, and he is steady, persevering and trustworthy.

Lady Frankie, daughter of the local peer, is bright and vivacious with a flashing intelligence. She and Bobby have been friends since childhood, and when Bobby is pulled into a mystery she teams up with him to solve the puzzle of a dying man's words: "Why didn't they ask Evans?"

The plot line is full of twists and turns and you will be surprised at where you end up!

This is a fun story with a good puzzle, but the main reason I return for a periodic listen is the characters. I really like them, I enjoy the development of their relationship and the ending is satisfying and fun!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-30-12

Back to St. Mary Mead and our old friends!

Listening to a Miss Marple mystery is always like reuniting with old friends, especially this one which is set back in St. Mary Mead like Murder at the Vicarage and The Body in the Library. Miss Marple is getting older and more fragile, and her skirmishes with an over-helpful companion and the happy resolution to help around the house is a fun sub-plot. We get to visit Dolly Bantry; now a widow, she has moved into the lodge house and the Hall is now occupied by movie stars!

The plot is quite complicated and every time you think you know what is going on, the storyline gives itself a good shake and we have to begin your calculations anew. The solution and ending were extremely satisfying, both as a completed puzzle and an emotionally satisfying solution.

Joan Hickson played the quintessential Miss Marple in the BBC dramatizations. Her voice is old and it may take you a few minutes to adjust, but it is well worth it. She has acted these stories for television so she comes in with a depth of understanding of the character that other Miss Marple narrators do not match. I have the DVD collections of these Miss Marples and I love them dearly.

This is one of my favorite Miss Marples, and for a short series, I would recommend listening to Murder at the Vicarage, followed by The Body in the Library, then this title. Lovely listening!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-15-12

Great Anthology and a Wonderful Value!

There are so many titles in the Sherlock Holmes series, and I have been in a real quandary about where to start! I knew I would eventually get every title, and what a huge amount of credits that would be; a strain even on the Platinum plan! And how do you pick a favorite title to begin with when every story is so clever?

Needless to say I was THRILLED to see the first volume in a series of three anthologies; for three credits I will be able to get every title. "The Complete Stories" in the title makes me so happy; there are no compromises to be made here. What joy!

The narrator was excellent; while I did not care for his female voices, there are not that many times when women are actually speaking in a Sherlock Holmes story. His male voices are excellent; it was always easy to distinguish between Watson and Holmes. Sherlock's voice had that edgy quality that reminded me of the best Sherlock actor from the old black and white movies (Basil Rathbone?).

I know I will listen to these stories again and again! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Volume 1 and am eagerly awaiting Volumes 2 and 3. Just think - three titles and I'll have them ALL (insert gleeful chuckle). :-)

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-04-12

You need to Set your MP3 Playback to FASTER!

I really enjoyed this story. I just finished the second story, and I thought I would share my comments here also as they apply equally to both. The narration was driving me INSANE - he speaks so slowly and deliberately. Then I found the setting to speed up the audiobook playback to faster. WHAT a relief, I am actually enjoying the story now. His female voices are still poor and his kids' voices make me cringe. All the adult characters sound very similar except Ryder. Too bad this is Beckett's story. I like the family, I like the locale, and I like the pets, especially D.A. (Dumb Ass)!

The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy is also very unusual, in that Boonsboro is a real town and the businesses named really exist and are actually owned by Nora Roberts and/or her family. They rehabbed the historic inn, had a terrible fire while it was under construction and had to start over. You can actually go and stay in the rooms, which are all named after famous fictional couples, although I suspect the ghost in the Elizabeth & Darcy room is a literary device! I also thought it was great fun that they have an Eve & Roarke room, the husband and wife team that is featured in 40+ Eve Dallas stories by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb (my all-time FAVORITE series, with fantastic narration by Susan Erickson; what a joy they are to listen to!)

Turn the Page Bookstore is owned by the Roberts and it is where all her book signings take place, in fact it is the only bookstore to offered books signed by the Nora. Vesta Pizza is real and really offers room service to the Inn, and Gifts Inn Boonsboro is real too. If you go to Nora's website there is a link to the bookstore and Inn.

I think it is fun that she used her actual experiences of going through the rehab, setting her fictional characters against a true setting. But I think I would like it better if Nora was open about her connection to these businesses. Without the open acknowledgement, it smacks a bit of a sneaky marketing ploy. I wouldn't mind if she was up front about the connection. Perhaps there will be an acknowledgement at the end of the third book when it comes out.

Still, I am enjoying the series very much and will probably listen again, now that I found out how to set my audiobook playback to FASTER! Sure wish we did not have to wait so long for the final installment!

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98 of 105 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-04-12

Speed up your MP3 Player!

I really enjoyed this story. The narration was driving me INSANE - he speaks so slowly and deliberately. Then I found the setting to speed up the audiobook playback to faster. WHAT a relief, I am actually enjoying the story now. His female voices are still poor, in fact all the characters sound very similar except Ryder. Too bad this is Owen's story. I like the family, I like the locale, and I like the pets; seems like you often have dogs in a Nora story! As are most of her trilogies, these are romances so the relationships are the main focus of the story. It is interesting because there are some story arcs that span all three books and others that complete within each volume.

The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy is also very unusual, in that Boonsboro is a real town and the businesses named really exist and are actually owned by Nora Roberts and/or her family. They rehabbed the historic inn, had a terrible fire while it was under construction and had to start over. You can actually go and stay in the rooms, which are all named after famous fictional couples, although I suspect the ghost in the Elizabeth & Darcy room is a literary device! I also thought it was great fun that they have an Eve & Roarke room, the husband and wife team that is featured in 40+ Eve Dallas stories by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb (my all-time FAVORITE series, with fantastic narration by Susan Erickson; what a joy they are to listen to!)

Turn the Page Bookstore is owned by the Roberts and it is where all her book signings take place, in fact it is the only bookstore to offered books signed by the Nora. Vesta Pizza is real and really offers room service to the Inn, and Gifts Inn Boonsboro is real too. If you go to Nora's website there is a link to the bookstore and Inn.

I think it is fun that she used her actual experiences of going through the rehab, setting her fictional characters against a true setting. But I think I would like it better if Nora was open about her connection to these businesses. Without the open acknowledgement, it smacks a bit of a sneaky marketing ploy. I wouldn't mind if she was up front about the connection. Perhaps there will be an acknowledgement at the end of the third book when it comes out.

Still, I am enjoying the series very much and will probably listen again, now that I found out how to set my audiobook playback to FASTER! Sure wish we did not have to wait so long for the final installment!

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15 of 18 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-25-12

One of my all time favorites from Linda Howard

Spoilers ahead, but not everything! ;-)

I think this is one of Linda Howard's best, perhaps because it is quite different from her other titles. The romance is usually the main plot in her novels; in this case the romance was really secondary to the suspense plot and the character development is much deeper than most of Howard's stories. Grace starts of as a plump scholar, fond sister, and loving wife in a comfortable marriage to her husband who is not only her lover but also her dearest friend. They are all involved with archaeology and study of history working for the Foundation. When Grace begins to study some recently discovered documents regarding the Templars, it triggers swift and terrible repercussions that force Grace to flee for her life.

The next section of the book involves Grace's character development as she deals with grief and her activities in learning how to hide from authority as she stays on the run. She goes from suburbia to life off the radar and has to develop new skills and a new way of thinking. Unable to eat due to emotional turmoil, she loses weight and becomes not only physically but mentally honed into a weapon against the Foundation. She is focused on uncovering the secrets that Foundation will kill to hide and avenging those she loved.

She makes friends along the way, each of whom helps her with some aspect of her growth and learning the skills she needs to survive. In the meantime, we begin to see snippets of Niall's life as they connect in dreams. Niall was a Templar who evaded the October 13th massacre. Just as Lucifer is a fallen angel, a "Son of the Morning", so Niall has been released by the Templars from all his vows except one. Eventually Grace's research leads her to Niall and together they take action, which I loved!

I really enjoyed this story. I could empathize with the things Grace went through when thrust into a hostile world she was ill equipped to handle. The book has been criticized for too much of Grace's internal musings, but she is on her own for much of the story so the chances for dialog are slim. I really enjoyed the research she did on the Knights Templar and I thought it was well integrated into the story. I enjoyed the various plot lines and how they converged. Others have also criticized the quick connection between Grace and Niall, but they had been bonded through dreams long before their meeting. I particularly loved the ending and the circular cause and effect of the time travel. There were enough plot twists and turns to keep me engaged until the very end.

My paperback copy of this novel is tattered from re-reading and the pages are starting to loosen. I was thrilled when this came out on audio and thoroughly enjoyed the listen! I know I will listen to this story again and again; Grace is one of my favorite Linda Howard characters.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-25-12

Sweeny, the Reluctant Psychic Painter

I really enjoyed this title and am so glad it is finally available in an unabridged format. This is one of the older Linda Howard titles and the story is somewhat dated but still very enjoyable. Sweeny, raised by careless parents who reveled in emotional excess has worked hard to live a controlled life on her own terms, which is reflected in the delicate and deliberate aesthetic shown in her paintings. When she unexpectedly receives extra paranormal "gifts" she is most thrown by the way they have altered her artistic style. But then the psychic gifts and her artistic abilities begin to merge, and Sweeny is deeply afraid of the changes. The hero is typical Howard in that he is a strong, alpha male character who moves the romantic plot line forward at amazing speed, but he is interesting all the same. His situation adds a lot of twists to the plot and I found him to be an interesting and likable character. There are some twists at the end of the story that keep the mystery and suspense interesting. Still one of my favorites of Linda Howard's older stories.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful