Corey Olsen is the Tolkien Professor and has a great podcast where he discusses all things Middle-Earth. It was his podcasts for The Hobbit that first got my attention several years ago. It was slow going, about one or two a month, but it's not that long of a book, right? Well, then he got sidetracked. :D No harm, I got to listen to his brilliant lectures on The Silmarillion and hear some great live discussions about LOTR. Over the years, I lost track of him, but I'd think about his The Hobbit series from time to time. So when I saw that he'd compiled all his The Hobbit podcasts into one audiobook, I had to snatch it up. I originally intended to listen to his analysis instead of rereading the books - as I mentioned, it's not my favorite of Tolkien's works, but I still love the world and the mythology related to it, and somewhere buried under the narrative style is a great work of fiction. I just need someone as enthusiastic about it as Professor Olsen to help me see it.
He does one analysis per chapter, following along with Bilbo's development over the course of the book and his various adventures, dissecting the songs and riddles, and highlighting all the themes and narrative devices. He also goes into the development of the dwarves, the elves and the various other characters they come into contact with. He mostly sticks to The Hobbit, but he ties it in with Tolkien's other works where appropriate. He breaks down each chapter into sections and subjects, and I think that even if you haven't read The Hobbit it'll be easy to follow along.
The only downside to this audiobook are the technical blips. None of the analysis is lost of skipped over, but there are quite a few instances of repeated lines. This could've used an extra pass through quality check. If you can overlook that - the repeated lines are very brief - then I would still recommend giving this a listen. It's great for those who love The Hobbit or, like me, love the world of Middle-Earth and enjoy discussing the events within the book even though the writing style and POV isn't quite to my liking.
*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.
The big guy of this series is finally getting his story told and let me tell you, I'm a really happy reader.
You already know about my love of Ian and Charlotte Taggart, so it's no surprise that I love their book as much as I do. I may or may not have read this book multiple times too, because that's just what I do with stories I love as much as this one, I obsess over them.
I finally understood why Ian was as dark as he was in the beginning of this series. And as reckless as he was. It all makes sense. I also kinda understood why he did what he did in the first book of the series, Sean's book, when he made a decision that put his relationship with his brother at risk. But I get it. Everything made sense when I read this book. The fact that Ian survived the emotional pain of losing his wife shows just how strong he is. And I say survived, but definitely not recovered from it, because we know he never truly did recover from it. Charlie was the one for him. And I completely understood the way he treated her in the beginning of this book. He basically got his heart broken twice by the same woman, so him being a bit angry, hurtful and mean makes a lot of sense.
At the same time I couldn't help but love Charlie. She had to overcome a lot of tough shit from her past, and while she had to do some really bad stuff along the way, she didn't lose her humanity or her soul in the process. I loved how throughout the book she and her sister Chelsea are shown to be complete opposites. Chelsea, her younger sister, is darker, more lost due to the horrors of her childhood, while Charlie still has some pureness in her.
I really liked how the issue of commitment in a BDSM relationship was approached in this story. Here we have a guy whose wife died and tried everything in his power to survive that pain and did everything he possibly could to cope and to live in the fantasy of being with her one last time, while at the same time we have a woman who knows her husband is alive and well, and she did everything her Dom told her to do, even after she left him. I liked that aspect, as well as Charlotte's reasoning behind doing some of the things she did to honor her contract with Ian.
There were some funny moments too. As already used to from future books when these two appear, I already knew Ian and Charlie are a really funny couple, so I was very glad to see that this was also present in their book.
The plot was really interesting and it shows how cunning the villain was, and how dehumanizing ultimate power can be for some people. It also kind of explains the first arc of this series really well and it shows that sometimes there's a fine line between good and evil. We also understand what ties together certain events and certain characters, because this book adds a piece to the puzzle that shows exactly those details. The ending was really fitting and I liked how in the end Ian chose Charlie above everything else, even when everything seemed to be pointing towards her not being a trustworthy person. So I liked that he took a chance with her. As always, we get a glimpse in the future of the series and Damon is next. I am very excited to see what his story will bring.
Darcy has a painful past. She thinks she failed her sister and now she’s trying to make it up by making sure her sister’s daughter, Lulu is living a happy and safe life. The only problem is that Lulu’s guardian, uptight, ultra-organized, ex-SAS, Capt. Matt Peterson won’t allow her to even visit her. Now Darcy needs to find a way to convince him that being a tattooed ex-con is not as bad as it seems.
I loved Darcy’s kick-a$$ character! I think the author did an excellent job of portraying the true nature of her character. She was tough and protective yet showed glimpses of vulnerability at exactly the right moments. Even when she was unsure or feeling susceptible, she still went ahead and made the tough decisions.
Matt on the other hand cracked me up half of the time. He was supposed to be this stiff, uptight, almost super-soldier but when it came to Lulu and Darcy… well, let’s just say he became someone else entirely different but not in a bad way. He and Darcy formed some kind of bond, that as much as they tried to deny it existed, or not give it a name, worked excellent for me because it was that openness and honest attitude from both of them that made their nameless relationship work; as long as their meddlesome friends were not trying to dictate their lives.
Argh! That really annoyed me, though! Darcy and Matt’s friends were always telling them how bad they were for each other and how much damage each would cause to the other. I mean, seriously, consenting adults? At least in the end, friends served their purpose and proved that without them life would not only be boring but also so much harder and lonely.
It’s not very often I connect this well with characters but this book was something else. Even Lulu was a delight to read. Those that have dealt with little kids will immediately understand and chuckle at what the characters had to go through with little Lulu.
It’s not very often I give 5 stars to books either but I think this one warrants it. There simply was nothing I didn’t like; if anything I could re-read this book just for the sheer pleasure of reading it again.
** I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.*** (less)