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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-02-14

Ah Those Hunky Prakinski's...

This book carries on a story line arc that actually began in the Drake Sister's series, which preceeds the Sea Haven Novel series chronologically. I'm not sure how well this book would stand alone. I've read this series and previous ones, so it's hard to un-know something and judge fairly, but I'm guessing it's much better having read the previous books in this series.

I bought and read Air Bound with something like lightening speed (for me) and a determined spirit. I love Phil Gigante, always do, so the narration was just to my liking. I'll get my small criticisms over with and out of the way first. There was one big reason I couldn't give this book 5 stars. I'm going to confess that my brain started auto muting fight scenes there for a while. There were just too many and there's one escape inspired fight that seems to go on for hours. Then the last few hours of the book were dedicated more to the developing relationship. Honestly, it would have been better if she'd mixed all that up a bit, cause too much of a good thing can go bad. Balance is everything in life, isn't it?

That problem aside, I really enjoyed the book. The Prakinski brothers are probably some of my most loved, sexiest, well written heroes in current genre fiction. Certainly, there are few heroes to equal them. They are a very good concept, and Ms Feehan can write a very good hero. When she gets it right, she gets it very very right. They are tortured heroes with special gifts. They are rugged, stalwart, brave and super smart government weapons. They ooze sexy.

Arianna is a prodigal genius. She was sent to a "government" school when young to work on her weather harnessing projects. Her mother winds up tortured to death, and Arianna leaves the "school" and stops her work on the program. Now the US government, the Russian government, a Greek billionaire biker boss and her father...wait huh? Her father?... are all out there looking for her, and even Maxim isn't always sure he can tell the good guys from the bad, but he's protecting her from any and all threats.

It's a great addition to the series. I'm not sure about how it would stand alone, but I would recommend reading "Drake Sisters", then "Sea Haven" novels. They start out rather light and fluffy, but seems to get darker and darker, or take on more serious, disturbing even, issues. These books are not appropriate for teens. Both their sexual content and discriptions of sexual child trafficking would likely be inappropriate or disturbing for a young teen. Of course, I leave things like that to the parents discretion, but from the commonly accepted norm, I'd say this book definitely falls into the "adult" category.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-20-14

Do Not Read this Book UNTIL....

Do not read this book until you've read the others in the series, which happily are now all available on Audible. I'm a bit anal about reading books in order, so I've been patiently waiting as the earlier books in this series came out one at a time until finally..finally..we have them all. I cannot possibly fathom how you could enjoy this book properly without first being immersed in the world that Kresley Cole lovingly unfurls for you one book at a time. I'll be honest. When I read the first book, a novella really, called A Warlord Wants Forever, I wasn't knock my socks off thrilled. It was good, good enough to read the second book even, but nothing to crow about. Still, as I read each book, came to understand the world and the dynamics of the Lore, I so got caught up in this series, and now I'm an unabashed IAD fangirl. The timelines intersect, the characters intermingle, and the more books in this series you read, the more you see how everything fits together. Which is why, before I review this book, I wanted to sing the praises of this series as a whole.

On to Lothaire, the enemy of old. Proud, vulgarly rich, strong and heart-stopping. In fact, he's stopped approximately a heart a day during his long immortal existence. Permanently. I'm not sure if you'd call Lothaire evil, because most of the things he does is done with more precision than malice. You see, Lothaire has an "end game", and nothing but nothing can get in the way of that. So when he hurts, maims, double crosses, back-stabs or kills, it's generally just one more stepping stone to his goals. If not exactly evil, he is sociopathically self centered and narcissistic (although he claims to have known Narcissus, who copied the traits from Lothaire, not the other way around).

Then we have Ellie, a young, tough, not very worldly but clever mountain girl. Trailer trash of the bottom rung, but like most mountain people, viciously proud and unwavering in her loyalty to her family and clan. She has a demon living inside of her, a goddess of death trapped in her body, and between the goddess and Lothaire, she winds up doing a 5 year stint on death row. Lothaire, believing the goddess of death who lives within Ellie to be the entity he's truly attracted to, saves Ellie from death row and whisks her off to the relative safety of his New York Penthouse.

In Ellies own words: "I'm the sucker punch you never saw coming". The proud vampire of royal blood and the girl whose favorite sport is Nascar butt heads more than once, as you can well imagine. Telling more than that would require spoilers, but suffice it to say, Lothaire's confusion is priceless as he begins to realize that it's Ellie, not the goddess who shares her body, that he's destined to be with.

Robert Petkoff has read most if not all of this series, and he does a wonderful job. I've noticed some have complained about Ellie's accent, but I thought it was as authentic as he could make it, and he was only reading what was written. When I heard her talking to Thaddeus (a Texas boy), I thought it was spot on the way he distinguished between the mountain twang and the Texas Southern drawl. I find him to be "the voice of the lore" and couldn't imagine anyone doing it better.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-18-14

True-ly Great Read

I've really enjoyed this series so far. Most books I've enjoyed, but a few have stood out, and True was one of the standouts. When reading paranormal romance, particularly of the erotic variety, there's always the risk of things getting a bit repetitive and stale. This book, however, had a great balance of erotica, romance and mystery that kept me listening with as few pauses as possible till the end.

I like that this author doesn't use the same device to "temper" the romance/erotic aspect in every book. In previous books, she's used drama, action, emotional turmoil, social expectations and other devices to tell a great story while giving the reader the hot romantic action we crave. In this book, it's a mystery that's the key to saving the book from being just another romantic romp in the sheets.

Because it's a mystery, I'm not going to give a real synopsis of this book for fear of spoilers, but I will say that's it's an emotional and entertaining audio experience. Vanessa Chambers does a fine job with the narration, adding to the experience greatly. Worth your time, credit or money.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-24-14

Decent Shifter Romance

While I wasn't exactly bowled over by this book, I did enjoy it. The heroine, Tabby, is orphaned and left to the mercy of an evil pack leader and his minions in Lithuania. Unspeakable things were done to the women and children there. Tabby escapes with another young woman, a teenage boy and a small girl in tow, and heads for England in search of her distant cousin.

Now this is where it becomes obvious that there was a previous book in this series, and I absolutely hate to read books in a series out of order. Still, it's pretty apparent that her cousin had already found her HEA in a previous installment, and this book was beginning shortly after the other book ended. Now, I don't think I missed out on anything from this story by not having read the first book, but you do get a lot of flash backs to happenings in the other story. The previous book in question is not on audible, and I've read this one already, so there's nothing to be done. Still, that was a bit disappointing.

As for this story, there was plenty of action and tense moments. Upon arriving in England, Tabby finds her cousin away on her honeymoon. She hides, but is discovered by one of Drakes pack members. The hero, Drake, recognizes more or less instantly that Tabby is his mate. He then proceeds to bungle everything but the sex for their first few encounters. At times I found myself slapping my head and wondering "what WAS he thinking??" Other times I just shook my head and said "what a typical MAN thing to do". Still, the subject matter can be rather heavy at times, so Drakes romantic fumbles and the precocious 4 year old girl that came with Tabby provide some comic relief.

Tabby and the other's in her escape party all suffered horrendous systematic and long term abuse to the point that it's a wonder they were still functioning human beings. For me, that made it a bit hard for me to buy into some aspects of the story line. She does sensitively touch on the subject of their fragile mental state, but all in all, they just don't seem all that fragile at all, given the circumstances. They are, in fact, incredibly brave and resilient.

The narrator, Kathy Bell Denton, was too flowery (or perhaps "overblown" is a better word) in her speech to suit me. She also didn't really reach the low range that would have been more suitable for male voices. The author described Tabby and the children as having perfect English with only mild accents, and I think the narrator hit that mark very well. She also did good and quite distinct American and English accents, so I can't fault her there. I also really enjoyed her portrayal of the 4 year old girl. Her "toddler speak" was excellent. I gave the narration 3 stars, because she wasn't terrible, and I didn't find her voice distracted overmuch from the story, but there are definite areas that could stand improvement.

The book doesn't end on the cliffhanger, but it does end by introducing a bit of mystery about what will almost certainly be the heroine of the next book in the series. If Audible releases it, I will most likely buy it and hear what else Pepper O'Neals paranormal world of shifters has to offer next. Worth a credit? Maybe, but I think I'd wait for a sale.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-21-14

Utterly Riveting

What an awesome story, with unforgettable characters and a plot that will twist your guts in all sorts of directions. If you like light, fluffy books that you can listen to with "half an ear", this isn't the book for you. If you like action packed, emotionally intense books with a fabulous plot that take a serious look at very real but often unexplored social issues, then this book, heck, this whole series, just might be for you!

Unlawful Contact made me think about a few things that were frankly, quite uncomfortable to think about. It made me consider seriously how vulnerable inmates are to their jailers, how easy it is for these jailers to become jaded and corrupt. It made me think about how convicts have no real voice when it comes to defending themselves against abuse. It also showed how easy it is to be "framed" for a crime, and how just the accusation of wrongdoing can ruin a person's life. It made me consider how much trust we put in law enforcement personnel, and how things can go badly wrong when that trust is misplaced.

Besides the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, messages in this book, the story itself is fast paced and action packed. Hunt is on the run, Sophie is an investigative journalist who, in the course of doing her job, gets caught up in his adventure. They have a past, and they have a very hot present, but do they have a future?

I've really enjoyed this series so far, but this book is definitely my favorite. It truly hit the nail on the head when it comes to benchmark romantic suspense. There was a couple of times when things got so intense I had to hit the pause button and compose myself.

Kaleo Griffith read this book with professional perfection. He kept me spellbound with his flawless pacing. I can't imagine anyone doing it better.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-14-14

Very Good Novella, but Costly

This is a great novella, and interestingly enough, it actually advances the progress in one of the major story line arcs. While most authors that I read offer novellas in their series, you can usually feel free to miss them, since they are generally hook ups for side characters and don't advance the plot much, if at all.

We've met Deni and Jace in previous books. She's the wolf shifter who had a bad motorcycle accident that left her having spells where she goes feral and attacks everyone around her. Jace is the son of the leader of the Nevada shifter town, and he's came to Texas to help the leaders of Deni's shifter town, who are trying to find a way to remove shifter's collars.

Jace meets Deni and sparks fly right off the bat. Their chemistry is very good, and Jace's presence calms Deni's feral beast. I do wish the author had explored Deni's problems a little more, perhaps made them more of an obstacle than what they were. I love imperfect characters, and her's has been a favorite of mine. Unfortunately, while it is brought up, and some of Jace's efforts to calm her are mentioned, it's all a bit glossed over for my taste, and thus the 4 stars instead of 5.

The other thing I'm not pleased with is the price of this book. This was a novella priced as a full length book, and that seemed a bit much to me. I did spend a credit on this, but I did it grudgingly and with the feeling I was being robbed spending a precious credit on such a short book. Audible, you can do better than that!!!

Cris Dukehart's narration was close to perfect. She has a pleasant reading voice, and does a marvelous job with accents and both male and female voices.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-27-14

Enjoyable Story

Maggie is almost too resourceful for her own good! While the reader knows she's not the infamous spy Viper, ex Green Beret and Security Specialist Luke is having a hard time believing her story. Through a series of desperate but ingenious maneuvers and not a little bit of luck, the woman has escaped police, thugs and even his vigilant guard. Yet she expects him to believe she's a simple librarian and this is all just a case of mistaken identity?

I found this to be a fun and fast paced book. Most of the book covers the action packed events of a single day. Luke, poor man, vacillates from being baffled to angry to attracted and then back to baffled. Maggie barely has time to catch up with everything happening as, on what started out as a perfectly normal day, her world spins out of control.

This is a Harlequin, which means it's a bit kitschy, but for me it was a fun and fast read, and I really quite enjoyed it.

Lauren Fortgang did a fine job with the narration. I did hear a couple of mispronunciations, and her character voices needed a bit more distinction, which is why she didn't get 5 stars for her performance. Still, her performance overall was obviously professional and enjoyable to listen to.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-17-14

Not Air Tight, but Enjoyable

I really did enjoy the story, and overall had to give this book a decent score. Yes, there are some problems. There was an immaturity to the writing style, some holes in the plot line and the author hasn't developed a very strong voice, but the premise and story were good, and the story itself was entertaining. While I did have a few eyerolls in the process of listening to this book, in the end, I was left smiling and satisfied and that's really what reading is all about for me.

This is a dystopian fantasy, but not really a dark one. Oh, yes, the apocalypse has happened, and times are tough. Technology has yet to be reinvented, and living is on the primitive side, although some structures from "before" still exist.

A plane crashes 50 years into the future, and some passengers set out to find help, only to find the world as they know it has been replaced by this primitive version. Men outnumber women by a huge number, so women need to be married to be safe.

Carla, a country music star, finds herself being the prize in a bride fight. The winner, Taye, is a wolf shifter. There's really no explanation if wolf shifters existed in times "before" or if they are a product of the apocalypse. Taye is alpha of his pack. The pack, apparently, like to go nude all the time, live in an abandoned roadside motel, and no other women live there. The books tells how Taye and Carla get acquainted and how their relationship progress. All in all, it was a sweet story.

I actually liked the narrator. She did have a very young sounding voice, which might bother some, but I found she did well with narration and fairly well with voices. No real complaints from me on that score.

Is this book worth a credit. Not really. The length alone would put me off spending a valuable credit for it, but if you can get it on sale, it's not a bad read if you can just suspend belief and enjoy.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-27-14

Great Story, Unparalleled Narration

For the first time ever, I bought a book based on who the narrators were rather than the book's synopsis or author. I hadn't heard of Delilah Devlin before, and while I love paranormal romance, I'm not so big on the Egyptian theme. Still, it was a Phil and Natalie production, and I honestly think this fantastic narration team could make a grocery list sound interesting, so I took a chance and bought the book.

Happily, I was not disappointed. I expected the fantastic narration, but I was very pleased with this story as well. Khepri is a woman from ancient Egypt, a humble girl raised to the exalted position of The God's Wife. A powerful priestess, she is essentially mummified while alive so that she could awake in present day New Orleans and defeat a powerful evil.

Justin is a seasoned cop. After losing his best friend and partner, he loses his temper with a superior. He's been kicked out of the homicide division and reassigned to investigate thefts. He and his new partner pick up a case investigating the theft of Egyptian artifacts at a local museum.

In the process of the investigation, Justin breaks all the rules when he rescues the beautiful, mysterious Khepri and spirits her away to his home. Is she the woman of his dreams? Or is she a delusional lunatic who believes she's the wife of a God, destined to save the world from a supernatural evil? The more Justin sees of Khepri, the more he likes her, as things develop, he slowly begins to understand that she's exactly who she claims to be.

I was pleased with the character development, the writing style and very happy with the layout of the plot. It certainly kept me tuned in, eager to hear what would happen next.

There are liberal and graphic sexual situations. This book is adult erotic fiction done well, but would not be appropriate for a younger audience.

Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross delivered a stunning performance. Separately, they are both wonderful narrators, but together, they bring life to a story. Thank you Audible! Well done!

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-19-14

Right Out of Left Field

I fancy myself a well informed reader, and yet I'd never heard of this book, this series or even this author. Ok, I do tend to read mostly paranormal, but still, one would have thought that a book so good would have not escaped my notice!

I can't even tell you why I was reading the reviews of this book, but they caught my attention as they were universally glowing praise for the author. I was feeling a bit restless and in the mood for something different, so I bought Mystery Man.

Holy smokes! This book was simply fantastic. It went beyond my expectations into the land of "books I will remember for the rest of my life" territory. To beat it all, this book was so well written I couldn't even tell you why I loved it so much. It's just a masterfully told love story, with just the right amount of angst, action and adventure. The hero is sex on a stick and the heroine is smart and likable. The writing style flows perfectly, with just the right touch of humor.

Kate Russell is a great narrator, and her performance here is stellar.

Worth a credit? In hindsight, I'd pay two. It's that good.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful