Tag Archives: Macmillan Audio

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Book Review: The Awakening, by Nora Roberts

I borrowed an audio copy of Nora RobertsThe Awakening from the local library. It was narrated by Barrie Kreinik.

the awakening Nora Roberts

In the realm of Talamh, a teenage warrior named Keegan emerges from a lake holding a sword – representing both power and the terrifying responsibility to protect the Fey. In another realm known as Philadelphia, a young woman has just discovered she possesses a treasure of her own….

When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious 20-something mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: Her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father – and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.

This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying, “Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home.” Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies – through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…..

my review

Before I get to the review, let me start with a humorous little story (that doesn’t reflect too well on me) about why I avoided listening to this book for so long. And I did actually actively avoid it, several times.

My local library doesn’t have all that many online romantic fantasy audiobooks and I’ve listened to most of them. For the last year or so, every time I’d check for something new this book would come up as recommended. And it looks like everything I’d love. It has fae, and magic, a little romance, and a dragon on the front. But I’d always skip it, saying, “I don’t like Nora Roberts’ writing.” I was firm in this belief. People have recommended her books to me and I’ve wrinkle my nosed and said, “No, I don’t like her books” and demured.

But I recently thought to go back and refresh my memory about which books I’d read and couldn’t find a single one. Either I failed to document it—which seems unlikely considering I run a whole hobby blog for the purpose of documenting my reading—I’ve confused Nora with another author, or I’d just prejudged her. I, honestly, fear it was probably the latter. To say I was surprised is an understatement.

So, I thought, “Well hell, guess I’ll give The Awakening a chance after all.” Especially since I’ve read so many Awakening books this year. The actual reading challenge is done. But I still laugh when I scroll through my review page and see Awakening, Awakening, Awakening (along with a few The Awakenings). Adding to the list amuses me more than I can say. (I know, it’s ridiculous. But you take joy where you can find it, right?)

And now I’ve officially read a Nora Roberts book and can convince the library’s algorithm to stop recommending this one to me. And I’m sad to say that I didn’t love it. It was long and slow. The romantic interest was an asshat and there is no actual romantic development between her not liking him and jumping in bed and falling for him. The gay people were super cliched (though I’m thrilled to have seen the rep at all). The main character’s all but effortless and basically instant publishing success was more fantastical that the faeries and witches aspect of the book. And the whole thing ended on a cliffhanger.

I will say that the writing itself is very good and I enjoyed the narrator. (I personally couldn’t tell if her Irish accents were realistic ones, but I liked listening to it.) I think that if this had been half as long or if the plot had traveled twice as far into the actual story I might have enjoyed it. As it was, I was largely bored by it.

As this is my first Nora Roberts book, I don’t know if this is representative of her work or not. But I do know I’m in no hurry for more. Maybe I was on to something all those years I claimed not to like her books.

nora roberts the awakening photo

Other Reviews:

All Characters Wanted: The Awakening

The Awakening by Nora Roberts




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Book Review: Winter’s Orbit, by Everina Maxwell

I borrowed an audio copy of Everina Maxwell‘s Winter’s Orbit through my local library. It was narrated by Raphael Corkhill.

Winter's Orbit Everina maxwell

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

my review

I borrowed an audio copy of this book in order to have something to listen to as I folded laundry and such. Then, I spent about a day and a half finding other chores to do, so that I could keep listening. This is both the curse and the blessing of a good audiobook.

I very much enjoyed this—the story, writing, and the narration. The story kept me engaged, the romance was worth rooting for, the writing was crisp and easy to follow (with some pointed humor in it), and the narrator did a good job. Though he (the narrator, Raphael Corkhill) did start audibly swallowing about half way through and that irritated me a little.

I thought both Kiem and Jainan were marvelous character and the difficulty of both of their situations came across well. I did think their continued misunderstanding of one another went on too long and it became notably artificial. But it did make the resolution feel like a payoff for putting up with it. I liked the side characters and the world in general. So, all in all, I’d call this a winner and I’ll be back for more of Maxwell’s writing in the future.

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Other Reviews:

Winter’s Orbit – LGBT Book Review

magic for liars

Book Review: Magic For Liars, by Sarah Gailey

It was chore day, so I wanted to listen to an audiobook while I slogged away at them. But none of the ones I have on my Audible cloud looked appealing. Thus, I borrowed Sarah Gailey‘s Magic For Liars from the library.

magic for liars sarah gailey

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magical. She is perfectly happy with her life. She has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

I’ll admit that this was a tad on the slow side, but I generally enjoyed it. And I’ll tell you what I liked about it. I too am a salt-n-pepper woman (like the main character). That makes me 43. I figure Ivy was a bit older, though it’s not explicitly stated. She’s stuck in a high school dealing with teenagers. I have an almost 14 and almost 12 year old. They roll they eyes at me constantly, and generally think they know everything and parents are idiots, as teens are wont to do. The teens in Magic For Liars are the same. And like adults everywhere, Ivy sees right through their act. But because she has a mystery to solve she uses her adult knowledge to get the information she needs. She doesn’t posture and ensure the children know they’re children. As is always so tempting when their mien of superiority gets to be too frustrating. She lets them go right on thinking they’re the smartest people in the room. What parent hasn’t had that feeling while dealing with their teen? Maybe because I too am stuck dealing with tweens/teens in my real like, I found her manipulation of them with their own artifices superbly satisfying.

I did feel sorry for Ivy. She wanted to desperately to be loved, not too unlike all those teens. But her sister just wasn’t capable of it. I really hope the open ending, with the possibility of happiness on that front comes to fruition for her.

Interestingly, this could be read as a parable on the importance of providing access to safe contraceptives and/or abortions. There are certainly some interesting reflections of life and death, beginning, middle, and end of life going on in the book.

All in all, a winner for me.

magic for liars