Tag Archives: audio book

Review of Love on a Train, by Colleen L. Donnelly

I received an Audible code for a copy of Colleen L. Donnelly‘s Love on a Train.

Description from Goodreads:

The moment Martha noticed Raymond on the train, everything her mother warned against erupted – romantic notions, palpitating heart, the desire to write it all in a novel and tell the world. 
Martha lived and wrote that love story until the day Raymond handed her a sketch. “Want to see a picture of the girl I plan to marry?” The penciled profile resembled Martha… But when Raymond went away, she knew. She wasn’t the girl he planned to marry. 
David was her father’s apprentice, everything Martha’s mother said made a good husband – hardworking, no romantic tendencies, no tolerance for writing about it. 
Martha added a fictional happy ending to her and Raymond’s story and published it. Cleansed herself of romantic love, ready to marry David. Until a copy of her book appeared. Full of sketches, Raymond’s version of their love story, drawings that enticed her heart to beat once again. 

Review:

My rating (which was a 2 star) is based on my enjoyment—or general lack there of—and the fact that I had to force myself to finish the book. The writing is solid and I’ll even concede that the book within a book mechanism was clever (though occasionally repetitive). And the narrator (Amy Deuchler) did a good job with the audio version. However, I didn’t enjoy the book.

I understand that it was supposed to be set just after the end of the world war and women of that time period had different responsibilities and restrictions. But my god, Martha was a fucking doormat. She didn’t stand up to her mother when they pushed her into an engagement she obviously didn’t want. She didn’t push pack when her fiancé (and mother) expected her to give up all of herself to be a wife. She somehow fell in love and thought to marry a man she met on the train, but apparently didn’t actually know that well. She just went along with everything, internally hand wringing the whole time. And despite being obviously smart, she had NO AMBITION beyond getting married.

Then there was the fact that said man was already engaged to another and just disappeared for months without a word. But as soon as he shows up everything was forgiven and it’s supposed to be a happy ending. Ummmm, no.

And Donnelly should seriously be fined for making the reading of a novel take weeks, dragging the plot out interminably and then, after hundreds of pages of ‘should I or shouldn’t I’ marry him, having the decision and event (arguably the most interesting thing to happen in the book) happen off page, such that the reader is denied it.

I imagine this is just a case of wrong reader for the book. There will no doubt be some that enjoy this. But I did not. I was almost insulted by it.

Review of Into the Mist (Falcon Mercenary Group #1), by Maya Banks

I borrowed a copy of Into the Mist, by Maya Banks, through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Hostage recovery specialist Eli Chance has a secret. He was born a shifter. A freak of nature.

While on a mission, Eli’s men and their mercenary guide are exposed to a powerful chemical agent, and suddenly his secret has become easier to hide. Now he’s not the only one with the gift. But for his men, this “gift” is becoming more and more of a curse.

Tyana Berezovsky’s brother Damiano was the guide for Eli’s team and was the worst affected by the chemical. As he grows increasingly unstable, Tyana fears she’s going to lose him to the beast he is becoming.

Tyana will do whatever it takes to help him, even if it means using her body to go after the one man she thinks holds all the blame—and possibly the cure. Eli Chance.

Review:

Anyone who has read my reviews very often will have come across at least one in which I’ve said that I used to think I hated the romance genre and refused to read it. Then, one day, I Realized that it wasn’t actually romance I hated but the gender representations common in romance books. I’ve learned that if I’m selective, I can quite enjoy romance. 

Into the Mist is not one of those books. It is full of all the gendered BS that I hate and avoided for so very long. Tyana is supposed to be strong and talented and skilled, but she’s a walking disaster of TSTL. Her primary character development is being a rape victim as a child. And sadly, that’s more than anyone else in the novel gets. 

The paranormal aspects of the book are so sketchy and poorly thought out that I finally just decided that they’re there as window dressing to world the characters live in. And that world is so ill-defined that I didn’t even know if shifters were out or not. So, basically the world existed simply to give the characters different places to have sex. And the sex wasn’t even that hot. 

All in all, as my first Banks book, I was disappointed. Additionally, the narrator did a fine job. However, I hated the fragile, breathy way she played Tyana. It only exacerbated my frustration with the book.

Review of Extreme Medical Services, by Jamie Davis

I borrowed an audio copy of Jamie DavisExtreme Medical Services through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Monsters, Paramedics, and Street Medicine.
New paramedic Dean Flynn is fresh out of the academy. When he gets assigned to the unknown backwater ambulance Station U, he wonders what he did wrong. Then Dean learns that his patients aren’t your normal 911 callers. Dean and his partner Brynne Garvey serve the creatures of myth and legend living alongside their normal human neighbors in Elk City. With patients that are vampires, werewolves, fairies and more, will Dean survive his first days on the new job? Will his patients? Not all is well on the streets of Elk City either, and some humans are striking out at their mythical neighbors. Dean soon finds himself in the middle of a series of attacks on his patients, attacks that implicate a former member of Station U.

Review:

I’ll grant that this is well written. Mechanically it feels solid. However, it’s obvious that the author is (or has been) a paramedic, and probably a trainer. Listening to this book was more like sitting through a ‘How to be a proper, empathetic EMT’ than an urban fantasy. Unfortunately, I signed up for a fun fantasy ride, not a didactic sermon (or ten). You might think using all the correct words for things would be a good thing, but coming across things like capnography dropped in casually was a distraction. And there is A LOT of that sort of thing. Worse for the audio version, Scarlato (who did a great job otherwise) wasn’t quite able to make the strange words roll off his tongue. There was often a micro-pause before. So, they stood out even more.

Basically I was bored for most of the book. The vast majority of it is just descriptions of what the ambulance crew do on their runs, with no actual plot. Then, in the last 10% or so a plot finally developed. But apparently it was only being introduced for the next book, which I don’t think I’ll be reading.

Again, it’s not necessarily bad. It’d probably be a great way to get new emergency services students used to some of the ideas. But for the average reader………