Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline CareySeries: Kushiel's Legacy #1
on 2002-03-15
Pages: 704
AmazonNarrator: Anne Flosnik
A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger... a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm...Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy... and unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d'Ange, she has no choice.Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond.Phédre nó Delaunay is the woman who holds the keys to her realm's deadly secrets, and whose courage will decide the very future of her world. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new. It is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. A world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, deposed rulers and a besieged Queen, a warrior-priest, the Prince of Travelers, barbarian warlords, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess... all seen through the unflinching eyes of an unforgettable heroine.

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Title: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Series: Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1
Release Date: March 15, 2002
Format: e-book (929 pages); Audiobook (31 hrs and 6 mins)
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Erotica,
Published By: Tantor Audio
Purchase Links: Amazon US
 
The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good…and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission…and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair…and beyond.

Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart – a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new.

three-stars
4-stars for the plot, writing and characters, but 2-stars for my enjoyment. Thus a 3-star rating.

Holy cow. I felt every bit of this 31 hour book. It was slowly and methodically developed as all really good fantasy novels are. I will say that the writing was really well done and the characters were developed with care. The author wrote an interesting story but I was just too long.

At the heart of this story was a young girl discarded from her family because she had a flaw ~ birth defect in her eye. Her parents eloped after her mother fell in love with a man below her station. They had hoped their child would mend those fences and restore them to their respective families.

Unfortunately Phaedre was not born flawless. The disappointed parents gave her away to a group that rehomes (sells) the unwanted. The glorified brothel is where Phaedre met Lord Anafiel and began to learn about her own sexuality. Basically she needed pain with her pleasure.

Instead of the options she got, Phaedre wanted to be trained as the best courtesan/hooker ever. On some level I get that she felt empowered and like she controlled her own destiny. But I felt she devalued herself just as her parents did.

Many more things happened but I lost interest early on. The story brought it more characters who impacted Phaedre’s life, and a few events really tugged on my heart strings. The ending was a cliffhanger, but I wasn’t moved to continue right away. I have to be in the mood for such a big epic fantasy to pick up the sequel.

Ezi

A Good Rake Is Hard to Find (Lords of Anarchy, Book 1) by Manda Collins

A Good Rake Is Hard to Find (Lords of Anarchy, Book 1) by Manda CollinsSeries: Lords of Anarchy #1
on 2015-03-31
Pages: 336
AmazonNarrator: Anne Flosnik
A DANGEROUS GAME

Heartbroken by the loss of her brother, Miss Leonora Craven vows to uncover the truth about his "accident," which seems to have been anything but. Jonathan Craven was involved with the Lords of Anarchy, a notorious driving club, and Leonora can’t help but suspect foul play. But the only way she can infiltrate their reckless inner circle is to enlist the help of Jonny’s closest ally, Lord Frederick Lisle. If only he didn’t also happen to be the man who broke Leonora’s heart…

AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE

Frederick isn’t surprised to find gorgeous, headstrong Leonora playing detective, but he knows that the Lords of Anarchy mean business—and he has no choice but to protect her. A sham engagement to Leonora will allow Frederick to bring her into the club and along for the ride. But it isn’t long before pretending to be lovers leads to very real passion. With everything to lose, is their tempestuous affair worth the risk?

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the review copy.
four-stars

This book featured the unconventional Miss Leonora “Nora” Craven, who was trying to find out what happened to her twin brother. She asked or rather demanded assistance for her former fiancé Lord Frederick “Freddy” Lisle, who was also her deceased brother’s best friend. Freddy saw this as an opportunity to avenge his friend as well as regain Nora’s affection, so he agreed. Thus began the journey to a second chance at love.

This is my first book by this author so I wondered if this series was s a spin-off. It almost seemed like there was a prequel. The guys already had a clique of friends called the Musketeers and Nora and her friend Hermoine were well established as avant-garde in the ton. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book more than I expected. I usually try to avoid audiobooks narrated by Anne Flosnik because I don’t usually enjoy her style. This one was definitely an exception. The story was really predictable, but smooth and engaging because the chemistry between Nora and Freddy carried the plot. I was impressed that Nora’s father and even the members of the Musketeers tolerated Nora’s views as the ton frowned on feminist ideas. Nora and Freddy were fun to watch as their partnership was almost seamless. The only qualm I had is I wished Nora had a few flashbacks of Freddy, not just of Antonio, in order to give their love more foundation to the reader. It was clear though that love wasn’t their issue, but trust.

If you like heroine who don’t follow the ton’s rules for female behavior and heroes that are more tolerant of strong-willed females, you will enjoy this book.

To Taste Temptation (Legend of the Four Soldiers #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt

To Taste Temptation (Legend of the Four Soldiers #1) by Elizabeth HoytSeries: Legend of the Four Soldiers #1
on May 1st, 2008
Pages: 384 pages
AmazonNarrator: Anne Flosnik
The ton loves nothing more than a good scandal, and they're giddy with the appearance of wealthy Samuel Hartley. Not only is he self-made, American, and in the habit of wearing moccasins, but he is also notorious for fleeing a battle in which several English gentlemen lost their lives. What the ton doesn't know, though, is that Samuel is in London because of this massacre. He believes his regiment was given up to the enemy and won't rest until he finds the traitor.

Lady Emeline Gordon is captivated with Samuel. Not only does he defy convention with his unusual dress, his sensual smile, and his forthright manner, but he survived the battle that killed her beloved brother. Samuel suspects that the person responsible for her brother's death is Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale, a family friend since childhood--and Emeline's fiancé. Despite Emeline's belief in Vale's innocence and her refusal to break off her betrothal, she and Samuel begin a passionate affair. But can their relationship survive the fallout from Samuel's investigation?
four-stars

Soldier Samuel Hartley has returned from war branded a coward for running way during the slaughter of his squad. He has been disgraced and he moved to the States.

Now he was returned to England, in search of the man he believes betrayed his battalion to the Indians and the French. His investigation brings him to the home of a fallen comrade Reynard Gordon where he meets her sister Lady Emeline Gordon. At first Lady Emeline was weirded out by this gentlemen who dresses inappropriately and doesn’t follow the rules of the ton. Then Samuel hires Emeline to tutor his sister in the ways of a genteel bred lady and Emeline gets to see past the stories she has heard of Samuel.

Even though Emeline is engaged to Jasper Renshaw, her late brother Reyndard’s friend, Emeline finds herself attracted to Samuel and she is drawn into his investigation to find the traitor. Emeline is forced to make a hard decision between a family friend, now turned fiancee whose touch feels brotherly versus a man who is everything the ton shuns, but drives her mad with passion.

I have tried to read this book twice before and found it a tad boring. This time, I couldn’t put it down. I listened to it in two days. The narrator isnt as good as Rosalyn Landor, but it was a well written and entertaining book. I loved Emeline, Samuel and even Jasper. Jasper was a good guy, just not the right one for Emeline. The mystery to find the traitor forced to two suitors vying for her to work together and they found that they actually got along. I think I enjoyed the author creating the situation where Jasper and Samuel kind of became friends. It made the story a little more angsty because there could only be one winner of Emeline’s hand.

I can’t wait to read book 2