Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Audiobook Review: Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #4)


Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #4)Author: Lisa Kleypas
Narrator: Tanya Eby
Series: Friday Harbor, #4
Release date: February 5th 2013
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audio CD, 9 hours
Buy: Brilliance Audio

Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny. What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow. And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threatens everything she holds dear...because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow. Bestselling Kleypas proves that she has perfected her recipe for emotionally nourishing, richly rewarding love stories.?

Crystal Cove is the fourth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Friday Harbor series, the first paranormal series in her rather extensive bibliography. People more familiar with Kleypas’ work seem to dislike this series, but I enjoyed the first three books. They were just cute, feel-good, forgettable reads, perfect for rainy Sundays.

Justine is a hereditary witch, and a powerful one at that, but she doesn’t want to join her mother’s coven. Instead, she bought a small inn and she’s running it happily with her cousin Zoe. Justine is mostly happy with her life, but she misses the only thing she’s never had – love. Jason Black is a half-Japanese millionaire, an extremely driven and extremely successful businessman. But he needs the one thing money can’t buy –a soul. To get it, he needs to steal a powerful witch’s grimoire, and Justine seems like the perfect choice. Neither of them counts on falling in love, but once they do, another problem arises. Because of something called the witch’s bane, no witch has ever been able to keep the man she loves. They always die within months.

I found it odd that the issue of Jason’s soullessness was never properly addressed. It was an essential part of the story, and yet we never did find out how it came to be. Was he born without a soul or did something happen to him later? In fact, a great many things about Jason weren’t explained and I never understood him, despite the addition of his point of view.

On top of that, I didn’t understand what brought them together in the first place. It makes sense that Justine was drawn to him, but the entire process of falling in love was somehow glazed over. Consequently, I was never really invested in their relationship, nor did I feel anxious about their happily ever after. In fact, when Jason did something he wasn’t supposed to and Justine forgave him, I was disappointed that he didn’t have to work for it at all.

With a half-Japanese character, Kleypas explored shibaru, Japanese rope bondage. Allow me to put this into context: Kleypas’ romances are usually of the hot-and-sweet variety (sweet being the key word here), and she writes characters that fit this type of story. Bondage of any kind simply doesn’t work, and Japanese bondage – more a form of art than anything else – was, to be entirely honest, slightly ridiculous.

The narrator, Tanya Eby, is a perfect choice for this type of book. Her voice has a very pleasant, calming quality. Above all, I enjoyed the Arkansas accent she used for Priscilla – it was well-done and endlessly amusing. Eby saved this book for me – given my lack of connection with Justine and Jason, I probably would have dropped it halfway through, but Eby’s entertaining narration kept me going.

I doubt I’ll even bother picking up Lightning Bay, the next book in this series. Instead, I’ll probably find some of Kleypas’s older contemporary books and hopefully figure out why she has so many loyal fans.

19 comments:

  1. I've never read a book by Kleypas before, but some of the issues you mentioned, I don't think would work for me either. I usually like having a back story to characters, not being able to understand why a character is a certain way would probably aggravate me. Sorry you didn't enjoy this as much as her three previous novels!

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  2. I've read a few historical romance and contempts by Kelypas but I've read so many negative reviews for this series that I haven't taken the plunge yet. I do have the first on my Kindle. I would probably skip this one though.

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  3. Huh. I swear I read Kelypas in the past and don't remember bondage-y stuff in it! That's a huge switch from sweet romances to the spicier side. Good for her for trying, though, even though it wasn't successful.

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  4. You seem to enjoy these audiobooks. I haven't heard of this one but that's not strange as I don't read historical fiction. So I'll skip this one for sure. It's a shame it didn't work out for you. Great review Maja :)

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  5. I hate it when books have missing holes in them, it just doesnt make sense to me as well. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I have seen some good reviews and bad reviews on it, was curious..but the vagueness would drive me crazy.

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  6. Yeah. Bondage doesn't really seem her style, even artfully done bondage. I've only read her historical romances and I've LOVED those, so I'm thinking maybe I should just stick with that genre with her for now. I might eventually try the earlier books in this series because I do love paranormal romances, but I think I'll pass on this one for sure!

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  7. Oh no! I am so sorry this was such a disappointment. I don't go for bondage either to be honest, I don't understand it and it sort of freaks me out LOL!
    I have never read one of her books but I have heard good things about her as a writer, it seems like this just wasn't one of her better books.

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  8. That's too bad to hear this was a disappointment... but I had no idea this was paranormal! Apparently I don't pay attention very well. lol Haven't ever read anything of Lisa's but have yet to find one that convinced me to do so. Hope you find something else of hers to love!

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  9. I've read the first two in the series and rainy reads are the perfect way to describe them. I didn't knew it was pnr (mildly) until I read the book and saw some magical things happening. That was so weird, but I still enjoyed it. I love Lisa's historical, they are the best in the genre and I'd agree at some level with those other people who don't like this series that much. It's not very memorable. Sorry this didn't work out for you, I don't think I'm going to continue this series.

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  10. Hmmm..I like the premise of the book but too bad it's execution of the story is poor. And I have to agree that the bondage thing didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

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  11. His soulessness seems an odd thing not to delve deeper into. Actually it sounds like a lot wasn't fully explored in this. Great honest review Maja :)

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  12. It's a shame this series has so many negative reviews. I love Kleypas's Hathaways Series, along with a few of her other historical romances, but this never appealed to me. I'll definitely be skipping it, although I do LOVE the Kleypas audio books. The narrator is so talented! Lovely review, Maja! :)

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  13. I've never read anything by Kleypas, but it sounds like I should skip this series and try her contemporaries instead. It's very strange that there was no explanation for Jason not having a soul. And the fact that you didn't care too much about Jason and Justine's relationship tells me this would be a big fat flop for me. Hooray for the narrator salvaging the book for you, though. I love when that happens. Amazing review Maja! :-)

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  14. I haven't read anything by this author either and I see her books everywhere. I would never have guessed that this was a paranormal book. I don't think this would be the book I would want to try if I was going to read her stuff. Especially if there is no explanation as to why Jason is without his soul!

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  15. The first question that entered my mind was why he was soulless. If that wasn't addressed, it would really bother me. In fact, I don't think I'd like the book if it wasn't addressed. So important but left out? I think I'll pass on this one, but may try one of her others. Hope you get to them and so I know which one to try. :D

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  16. Hmm, some how I've missed this series. Sorry there were things left undone. Bummer. thank you.

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  17. I have never read a book by this author and reviews are all over the place..kudos for you for stopping at this point in the series, I am just starting to do the same. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  18. So I've never heard of this series before and this review definitely does not impress upon me that I need to read it. I could definitely see myself being bothered with the same things as you. It is nice, at the very least, that they did a good job with the audio though!

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  19. Even though you had some major issues with this book, this series sounds like one I would really be drawn to and it sounds like the first two are worth it, just not this one so much. That's too bad though cause the concept sounds like stuff I enjoy. I'll have to check out the other reviews of the first two books on goodreads and see if it's a series I want to try.

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