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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Water Bound by Christine Feehan



TITLE: Water Bound: A Sea Haven Novel

SERIES: Sisters of the Heart, Book 1
AUTHOR: Christine Feehan 
NARRATOR: Angela Brazil
PUBLISHER: AudioGO
DATE OF PUBLICATION: August 4, 2010
FORMAT: Unabridged Audiobook, 13 hours and 45 minutes
GENRE: Romance/Paranormal Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal
ISBN:
978-0792771180

SYNOPSIS:

The last thing Lev Prakenskii remembered was being lost in the swirling currents of a freezing black eddy off the coastal town of Sea Haven. Just as quickly, just as miraculously, he was saved—pulled ashore by a beautiful stranger. But Lev has no memory of who he is—or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. All he knows is that he fears for his life, and for the life of his unexpected savior.

Her name is Rikki, a sea-urchin diver in Sea Haven. She has always felt an affinity for the ocean, and for the seductive pull of the tides. And now she feels drawn in the same way to the enigmatic man she rescued. But soon they will be bound by something even stronger, and their tantalizing secrets will engulf them both in a whirlpool of dizzying passion and inescapable danger.

MY REVIEW: 
 
Feehan is a new-to-me author. This series, Sisters of the Heart, revolves around six women who meet during grief counselling and are all victims of violent crimes. The women are drawn to each other and decide to jointly purchase a 130-acre farm in Sea Haven, where they share the responsibility of taking care of the property in addition to pursuing their own interests. They work to restore the farm so that it is operational, and each of them receives five acres to herself. They all work together in building each other’s homes. Each of the women also has a psychic gift: They all appear to be bound to an element. Their love for each other also binds them together. Although they may not be related by blood, their affinity for each other binds them in their hearts.

Rikki, the protagonist, is a sea urchin diver. She loves the water and is drawn to it. Her autism makes every-day life a challenge: She cannot buy groceries because fluorescent lighting has a negative effect on her, she needs her routines to give her stability, her diet is very limited because she doesn’t like certain food textures, and she does not like anyone in her personal space. However, when she is in the water – her element – she is free. There is nothing more calming for her. Rikki cannot create water that isn’t there, but she can manipulate the water around her – directing the rain to beat down faster or slower or making the waves increase or decrease in intensity.

As if her autism was not challenging enough, Rikki has had a lot of tragedy in her life. At the age of 13, her parents were killed in a house fire. Rikki was bounced around from foster home to foster home, and two of the foster homes that she lived in were also destroyed by fire although there were no casualties in either incident. Even her fianc√© was killed in a fire on her houseboat. Although never criminally charged for any of the crimes, Rikki’s biggest fear is that she somehow caused the fires or started the fires while she was asleep! How can it be merely a coincidence to have been affected by fire on so many occasions?

When Rikki rescues a man during a storm at sea, her world is turned upside-down. This man has no memory of who he is or what happened to him. He tells Rikki that his name is Lev and that he is in danger. She wants to take him to the hospital for treatment of his concussion, but he insists that it would not be safe for him there and that she take him back to her home. Although his first instinct is to act defensively and in self-preservation mode, Rikki is not scared of him – not even when he grasps her around the neck as if to choke her in his confusion while drifting in and out of consciousness. What is it about this man that Rikki feels driven to defend and protect?

Rikki’s world changes with Lev in it and, while recuperating, the two begin to fall in love. Lev gets his memory back, and we learn that he and his brothers (the Prakenskiis) were taken from their parents as young children and trained by government operatives to be spies/assassins for their country. They learned to withstand pain and torture, and each also developed psychic gifts. Lev’s gift is that he is able to communicate with animals.

On the day that Rikki rescued Lev, a yacht owned by a wealthy man went down and his bodyguard was presumed dead. Lev, working undercover, is that bodyguard and his presence puts Rikki in danger when a “cleaner” (someone who is sent to “clean up” messes by way of assassination) is sent to Sea Haven to determine whether Lev really did perish in the accident.

I could not help but fall in love with Rikki. She is such a unique and unusual heroine. Feehan has a way of writing that immerses you into the character's world. Her insight into autism makes me wonder whether she is autistic herself or has a loved one who is. Despite her autism, Rikki finds a way to make a life for herself where she not only copes but thrives. She truly is a remarkable woman!

I enjoyed the effect that Rikki had on Lev, and I enjoyed how their relationship developed. I love the way that Lev accepts Rikki’s boundaries, but he also pushes her a little out of her comfort zone all the while giving her stability to ground her. I really couldn’t help but fall in love with Lev, too!

Rikki’s and Lev’s steamy scenes are totally hot! One scene went on for one whole part of the audiobook, which was over an hour! I am glad that I wasn’t driving when I was listening to that part, but it sure made doing the laundry a whole lot more fun! I think that this book is the most explicit that I have listened to.

During the story, we learn that the Drake Sisters of Sea Haven also have special powers and that one of Lev’s brothers is married to a Drake sister. Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an entire series for the Drake Sisters! Not only do I plan to continue reading the Sisters of the Heart series, but now I simply must read the Drake Sisters series as this one seems to be a spin-off of that one.

I became so sucked into this series that I just had to turn it into a Reading Challenge!


The narrator, Angela Brazil, suited Rikki perfectly! She is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I loved her Russian accent for Lev’s voice at the beginning, although I wish she would have continued it throughout the book. Unfortunately, once Lev assumed the identity of “Levi,” he no longer used his accent. Sometimes it can be hard for female narrators to successfully pull off narrating male voices, but not so in this case!

MY RATING: 5 stars!! Loved it!!

This book qualifies as:

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book but I'm not sure how I'd manage the steamy love scenes being 'read' to me. I'm listening to my first ever audio book right now. We'll see how it goes.

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  2. I've only read the first two books in Feehans 'Carpathian' series and never looked into more of her work. I love the sound of this! Thanks for the great review and for putting it on my radar :-)

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  3. Have been curious about this series as well. Thanks for the awesome review :) Probably will try and get it to listen to. Thanks!

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  4. Darlene

    You found a new series to love! Awesomeness. I can't wait to check it out. Which is first? The Drake Sisters series or the Sisters of the Heart Series?

    Dorothy

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  5. @Dana: Listening to an audiobook with steamy scenes is slight voyeuristic :) It is hard not to blush!

    @TToria: The Carpathians have been on a TBR pile for a while, so I'll just have to move them up the stack once I read the Drake Sisters!

    @Dalene: I hope you will like it as much as I did!

    @Dorothy: I would recommend reading the Drake Sisters first, since Water Bound continues from where the last Drake Sisters book leaves off.

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  6. Hey Darlene,
    Great review, I am so happy you found Christine Feehan she is my all time favorite, I have read all of her Carpathian books I am so in love with those characters, and the Drake Sisters OMG I love them, I haven't read the newest one yet though I have that on my wish list for when I get back to work to buy. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the Carpathians, if we lived closer I would let you borrow all of mine, there's like 20 of them lol.
    Nat

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