Caleb by Sarah McCarty

Caleb by Sarah McCartyCaleb by Sarah McCarty
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Series: Shadow Wranglers #1
Published by Tantor Media on 9/27/11
Genres: Paranormal, Romance

Full disclosure: DNF (50%)
Book: D+
Narration: B

I’ve read another book by this writer
Full of cowboys and writing that seemed tighter
“Pretty good” was my thought
“With a decent enough plot”
“I’ll try again if I want something lighter”

Since audio is surely my bent
And I had credits that languished unspent
I thought to try something new…
I should have checked a review
I’m disgruntled and now need to vent

The cowboys in this one are all vampire
And the heroine is set to expire
Killed by the hero
When his willpower hit zero
And his brothers to save him did conspire

The brothers have the last name of Johnson
(If that’s meant to be a pun it’s a bad one)
With the quantity of sex
And all this biting of pecs
I keep looking for a plot but there is none

Allie only drinks life’s blood from Caleb
“I’m a damn vegetarian” – there’s the rub
So she drinks then they screw
And finally when they’re through
I start rethinking my rating of “Jacob”

Here I pause in plot summary of prose
Every scene has him slicing her clothes!
She never gets nicked
It’s just threads that get picked
She’ll run out and what if it snows!?

I take issue with a lack of continuity
And am finding a lot of incongruity
In the kitchen! Now the bed!
But perhaps I misread
‘Cause it happened with total ambiguity

Then there’s part where the words were unclear
His cock seemed to speak (made me sneer)
He’s quite jealous, growls of “mine”
. o O(It gets old) – yes, I whine.
Must PNR to this line all adhere?

But the part that made me frown in disgust?
He chided her for not restraining her bust
His brothers were riled
So he acted like a child
And accused her of rousing their lust

I can say I liked the narration
With pauses of just right duration
It couldn’t save the prose
But hey that’s how it goes
Some books just can’t buy salvation

In closing I’m forced to admit
To this audio I couldn’t commit
I got half-way through
But that horse threw a shoe
It and I as a match were unfit


  1. Teri Hamilton Garrett :

    I quite agree with your assessment of Caleb. However, I give Tavia Gilbert’s narration an A. I did finish listening (although it was painful) to the entire story. I was drawn to the book, first because Gilbert was narrating, and second because it was paranormal romance. Then I read the description and I thought to myself, are you kidding me? Vampires who are cowboys who can shape shift; really?
    The story was filled with too much angry machismo, and like you said, no real plot development (or world building for that matter). Gilbert’s narration is what saved it for me. She had great timing and character differentiation. I think her narration was true to the book, and that after all, is her job. I’ve listened to Jacob and just recently Jace. Jace is by far my favorite. The story itself is just better developed and not as angry. Characters were more fleshed out; I felt as if I really understood the hero and heroine. Gilbert’s narration of Jace was particularly good. I think one sign of a good narrator is when (for example) I forget that a female is narrating a male character. I no longer heard Gilbert voicing Jace, I heard Jace.
    Loved your poem by the way. :)

    • Thanks, Teri and I’m so glad you commented because I wanted to ask someone a question about Jace. First, I am in complete agreement with you that when you only hear the character’s voice (especially if it is a male character and the narrator is female) you’ve hit narration gold.

      I’m still on the fence about Gilbert’s narration to a certain extent but am willing to entertain the idea that my frustration with the plot construction in Caleb had a negative effect on my analysis of the narration so…Jace – I listened to a sample and I actually had the impression there was a difference in Gilbert’s narration style. Did you notice anything like that? Maybe it was just the particular snippet I heard.

      I’m considering giving Jace a try before I completely write off McCarty as “not to my tastes” so I’m glad to hear you thought it was a better developed story.

  2. Teri Hamilton Garrett :

    McCarty is still not really to my taste even though I’m a big reader/listener of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, etc (my tastes are very similar to yours) but I’m a huge fan of Tavia Gilbert so I’ll listen to jut about any romance she narrates. Yes I did notice a slight change in her narration in Jace. I suspect it’s because she had better material to work with. Have you ever listened to Gilbert narrate Jeanine Frost’s Night Huntress series (affectionately known as the Cat and Bones books)? Her narration is spot on and when I hear Bones speaking I don’t hear Tavia at all.

    • Get out the pitchforks because…no, I haven’t listened to the Night Huntress series, even though the audio version gets a lot of love in the Speaking of Audiobooks group on Goodreads that I frequent. Would you classify it as your favorite series? I read the first two and then let the series lapse, despite really liking book one. Maybe if I pick it up again I’ll try audio. In fact, I’ll do that instead of continuing with McCarty.

      I can relate to audio-stalking a narrator (OK, maybe that’s just me since that wasn’t exactly what you wrote). I have a few whose back-list I collected because I enjoyed their style so much. A couple even led me to books I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise.

  3. Teri Hamilton Garrett :

    I definitely think the Night Huntress series is definitely worth your time compared to anymore McCarty. I’d love to see a review after you’ve listened to Halfway to the Grave. Hmmm…audio-stalking a narrator. Interesting term :)
    And yes, Frost’s Night Huntress series is one of my all time favorite series. The others are Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander and Fever series. The narrator for the Highlander series is Phil Gigante (my all time favorite male narrator). The Fever series starts out with Joyce Bean narrating the first three books. She does a very good job. But the true ear candy are books four and five (Dreamfever and Shadowfever). They are narrated by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross in a “give and take” style. True ear candy perfection. I also love Kresley Cole’s Immortal After Dark series. The first prequeal/novella “The Warlord Wants Forever” just recently came out in audio. It was horrible. The first book in the series “A Hunger Like No Other” just came out and it’s wonderful! Robert Petkoff narrates and he’s now my second favorite male narrator. I think I’m a sucker for a good Scottish brogue.

    • I have “A Hunger Like No Other” in queue to listen to soon so I’m glad to hear a positive review of it from you.

      I read Darkfever in paperback when it first came out and there was some plot event or fae characteristic (sorry I can’t be more specific – it’s been a while) that completely turned me off the series so I never moved on. It’s been a while so I may not be getting the details quite right. I have heard nothing but rave review of the series though. Ooooh, mark me down as a sucker for a good Scottish brogue as well!

  4. Teri Hamilton Garrett :

    Well, you need to read/listen to the Highlander series before the Fever series anyway (some of the Scottish hunky guys from the Highlander are in the Fever series – there’s some incentive for you). So I would say to put the Highlander series in your queue and then you can decide if you want to give the Fever series a shot.

    I read your review of A Discovery of Witches. There is a chance that I am your mirror twin. :)

  5. Teri Hamilton Garrett :

    Hey, what are twins for? :)

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