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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: Awakening, by G. Clatworthy

I picked up a copy of G. Clatworthy‘s Awakening during one of it’s freebie day on Amazon. I did it unthinkingly, just because it looked interesting and I liked the cover. It was later that I realized that the book is another Awakening. You see, earlier in the year, I did an Awakening Challenge where I read 12 books titled Awakening. My husband joked I should read this one and call it my Second Awakening. (He and I might be the only one who finds that joke funny.) Either way, I’ve done just that.
Awakeing Clatworthy

She wants a quiet life. Then they kidnap her friend. Can she survive an encounter with a cult and a dragon or will it end in fire and blood?

Amethyst is a half-dwarf jeweler and weaponsmith who just wants to improve sales in her shop in a popular Cardiff arcade. When her best friend gets kidnapped, she’s dragged into a world of cults and dragons. Not to mention hate at first sight with an arrogant elf. Who wants a quiet life!

Gemma loves creating worlds and writes both urban fantasy and children’s books. This is her debut urban fantasy series set in Cardiff.

my reviewI liked the idea of this book. You don’t see a lot of female half-dwarves. Fae, faeries, witches, vampires—pretty willowy things, sure—but not often dwarves. And that appealed to me. I like the idea of trying to stop a crazy cult from bringing dangerous dragons back into the world. I like that the book was set in Cardiff. I like it.

But the whole thing is disastrously let down by the execution. Nothing is developed, there is no tension. The writing is perfectly readable (and fairly well edited), but such that the whole book just feels like a recitation of events with no emotions. I felt no attachment to anyone or investment in the drama. Things just happened. Meh.

I will compliment the cover though. I often complain that the characters on covers don’t match the character in the book. I can’t say that here. The cover feels very much like Amethyst. The narrative makes a big deal of her big boobs in the beginning of the book, and I wouldn’t say that cover character is busty (a detail I’m happy to skip, but I mention because it was made such a point of in the book). But other than that, it feels pretty dead on.

All in all, I’m calling this a failure for me. But I think I might be willing to give Clatworthy another chance in the future. There is potential here.

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awakening west

Book Review: Awakening, by Brianna West

I’ll admit that I picked up a freebie copy of Brianna West’s Awakening (Promiscus Guardians #1) in order to cheat on a reading challenge a little bit…kind of. I set out to read eight books titled Awakening. I called it the Awakening Challenge. (I know, not overly creative). But as time went on, I picked up an extra Awakening or two, until I was at the end and had read eleven books. But that bothered me. Eleven just felt like such an odd, awkward number. So, I went in deliberate search of a free book named Awakening, so that I could finish the challenge on an even number. It’s kind of cheating because the point of the challenge was to read all the books called Awakening that I owned.

awakening Brianna West

Izzy is on the fast track to nowhere. Being ordinary really blew sometimes. That’s until she meets Lucas–a man that’s unlike anyone she’s ever met. Mostly because he isn’t actually a man. He is a supernatural creature that proclaims to police the Light and Dark in order to protect humans.

And Izzy–well–she isn’t the human she thought she was. She is actually a supernatural being as well. And now Lucas is going to do everything in his power to find out what she is and protect her from the Dark lurking around the corner.

Awakening follows Izzy as she navigates this new world of demons, vampires, angels, and many other supernatural creatures. Recruited by the Promiscus Guardians and partnering with the most brooding and devilishly handsome man she’s every met, Lucas, Izzy is suddenly knee-deep up crap creek. Discover the secret behind her power and why it’s such a commodity in her Awakening.

my review

Warning: there’s a pretty big spoiler in here.

Man, this was a serious disappointment. I’ll state for the record that the writing is readable and the editing, while not without errors, is passable. But the characters and plot…no thank you. I thought Izzy was an unpleasant, judgemental cow. All the gay jokes were bad enough (and they were noticeably frequent and gross). But the fact that the sole gay person in the book also turned out to be the villain was just beyond the pale when paired with them. The romance doesn’t really develop, it just kind of appears. And the hero is toxically jealous and not even particularly romance worthy.

But worst of all, there’s a whole good versus evil war going on IN THE BACKGROUND, while the book focuses on Izzy’s navel gazing, how hot the men around her are, and how neglected her ‘lady parts’ remain. For half the book, I was just annoyed by this. But as it went on for almost 400 pages (far too long) and the plot spiraled out ridiculously, I just wanted it to end and put me out of my misery. And that’s if I overlook the the giant plot hole of why the villain didn’t just take Izzy when she lived with him.

awakening brianna west