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Rhapsodic

The Bargainer, Book 1
Narrated by: Susannah Jones
Series: The Bargainer Series, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (115 ratings)

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Summary

Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she's been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she's received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He's a man who can get you anything you want...at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.

But for one of his clients, he's never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it's just a chaste kiss - a single bead's worth - and a promise for more.

For the Bargainer, it's more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that's been awoken.

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he'll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.

©2016 Laura Thalassa (P)2017 Laura Thalassa

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Fine Romance

A fine romance

Though Desmond is a pitiful name for a romantic hero, this is nonetheless an enjoyable romance. Thematically It feels like the writer has borrowed heavily from Sara J Mas' Court of Thorns series, but given I like that series this wasn't too much of an issue for me. In tone it's more like A. J. Aalto. This story lacks Mas' complexity and nuance, but it's fun.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Km
  • 30-05-18

Loved it

Such a steamy intriguing mystery. That kept me well intertwined throughout. Call is a women that keeps other women inspired.

2 people found this helpful

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A fun listen!

I've known about this book for a while, but kept putting it off. When I heard that it was on audiobook, I jumped at the chance to listen! I'm glad I did, I loved listening to it, and likely enjoyed it more this way. Not as complex as I enjoy in most stories, but the characters are likable enough, and the story flows smoothly, making this a fun book to listen to! Call and Desmond are much like some of the other stories I've seen, but with inspirations from the Hades/Persephone myths, that's what retellings often do, and I enjoyed this telling.

1 person found this helpful

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Really enjoyed this book

Love this author and the narrator! Enjoyed the book, will be listening to the series

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Brilliant

Great characters, funny, sexy plenty of action and twists loved all 3 books highly recommended

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Second re-read this time with audible

Second read with audible.

⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
🌶🌶🌶

A 16 year old Callie finally defends herself against her abusive step father leaving her with no option but to call on The Bargainer. The Bargainer is more than he seems and Callie has her own secrets.

I had forgotten how young Callie was when I first read Rhapsodic. When I originally read this book it left me a little uncomfortable - until I realised that there would be a slight twist of events. So I enjoyed this re-read much more than the first time around.

Callie develops from a naive teenager to a sassy adult Siren. However, her insecurities still portray her as immature and a little annoying if I'm honest.

I know that she develops further in the other books - but, in this one she is so frustrating.

The Bargainer is your typical swoon worthy love interest. Dark, mysterious and has that protective streak. He counterbalances Callie's innocence perfectly.

During my first read - this book helped with my serious ACOTAR book hangover. As the series went on, the similarities were very evident. However, after research - this is simply coincidental.

This re-read was so much fun, I couldn't wait to get to certain revelations. Even knowing what was happening, the tension and build up to climatic scenes still had my heart pounding. I can't wait to dive back in the rest of the series as I've missed Callie and Des more than I realised!


Wish list:

I can't decide what I think of Temper - it would have been nice to see more of her - where she isn't constantly calling Callie 'Bitch'

I only say this for this installment (as I have previously read the whole series)
As much as I love Callie and Des, they were a little two dimensional. There doesn't feel like there is enough depth with their characters, or any of the other side characters for that matter.

Favourite quotes:

“And mountains may rise and fall, and the sun might wither away, and the sea claim the land and swallow the sky. But you will always be mine.” He runs his knuckles over my cheekbone. “And the stars might fall from the heavens, and night might cloak the earth, but until darkness dies, I will always be yours.”

“Cherub, people like us are not victims. We’re someone’s nightmare.”

“Teach me again how to be someone’s nightmare."

Would I recommend?

Yes, I love this series! There are potentially triggering scenes but they are handled very well. This story hooks you in and sets you up for the rest of the series, which in my opinion gets better and better. Susannah Jones is the perfect narrator for this series!

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Rhapsodic

Appears to take a while to get going jumping from present to past and back again a number of times but this is just seeing you up for a fantastic thriller story which leaves you wanting more at the end.

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A love story in the supernatural world

Narration was well done and I would listen to other books by her.

The world was now but then there are the subtle differences. I throughly enjoyed listening to this book and will be reading the rest of the series as it comes out on audible.

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Dark and Addictive

Dark....thrilling....addictive....Totally love this book . It keeps you gripped from the very start. Love the characters Des and Callie and how their relationship grows throughout the years. I found it refreshing that Callie isn't just the damsel in distress with Des coming to her rescue.
Thoroughly enjoyed the book and its sequels.

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Good story, not YA...should have researched more

This was a good story and was narrated really well. Truly I loved this narrator. I enjoyed learning about these new worlds and the slowly unfolding backstories of the characters. Of course I also love a good romance, but it was a little too much sex for my taste. I’m uber conservative so the language and sex were a lot more than what I want in my books, but I totally just assumed it was YA and it’s obviously not. That would be my fault for making the assumption. The thing that kind of annoyed me was instead of all these wondering if he or she likes me can we just have a conversation already and get it out there? We can all tell your hopelessly in love stop questioning it.
Otherwise, a great story!

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  • Killian
  • 11-04-17

I'm so glad I read this

I was about to skip over this book because the summary was a bit confusing but the reviews said it was worth a shot. I was not disappointed. I loved that the worlds were established enough but not overly explained to follow along smoothly. The main character is tough and funny (didn't expect that!) and the side characters are interesting. Of course the love interest was ¡¡HOT!! and really every fantasy style romance man but he was everything I'd look for so I was super happy. the plot is interesting and engaging and there wasn't a moment I though "hmmm wonder when something fascinating is going to happen"
It's not just well written! Oh no. Susannah Jones gives one of the BEST performances I've heard on audible and I've been a member for a long time and gone through about 100 books. Susannah where have you been all my life!? She give great tones and has amazing character voices. She gives one of the best sexy male voices I've heard, better than some men! Her delivery is natural and impeccable. Enough so I might just get another book she's narrated based on her being part of it alone!

67 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria
  • 26-05-18

I tried to finish it, I did

The narrator was fine, but the story had too many major things that rubbed me the wrong way. For starters our love interest meets our protagonist when she’s 15. FIFTEEN. And he’s already making suggestive remarks. And the creepiness is borderline ignored because in this world the legal age is 16. Still gross. My biggest issue is how controlling the men are in this book, mainly our love interest, and the protagonist rarely puts up a fight. She gets angry but she’s literally being forced to do things and she get over it in what seems like 30 seconds. Oddly enough, what made me turn this off, even though it was the least important problem to me, is the stereotypical portrayal of her black best friend. The “giiirrrlll”s and the “hey bitch”es and the “black Jesus”s literally grated on my nerves so much I couldn’t force myself to finish. I say this as a black woman, if you can’t write a black character who uses AAVE without resorting to these sorts of cliches, it’s totally okay to write their dialogue like literally every other character. Like come on. Our protagonist and her best friend have an extended conversation later in the book and the friend said nookie, I swear to god this woman said nookie, and I had to hit stop before I scratched my own ears off. What year is it?! If you can look past the borderline pedophilia, the glossing over obviously abusive relationships, and just annoying black stereotypes, hey you might enjoy it. But I could never get into the story because either our girl is being forced into something and brushing it off, we’re having a flashback of her when she was basically a child and coming on to a grown man, or heaven forbid her best friend *speaks*. This book exhausted me.

49 people found this helpful

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  • S. E.
  • 24-02-18

Honestly baffled

Would you try another book from Laura Thalassa and/or Susannah Jones?

The reader, maybe. The author, "SWEET BABY JESUS" no.

What character would you cut from Rhapsodic?

Haha this book has like 5 characters total and most of them appear in 3 scenes at most. You could still cut half of them and nothing of value would be lost.

Any additional comments?

I have written and deleted many things already. What do I want to say? How do I properly express how much this book annoyed me? My two main thoughts while listening:

1. Any of the elements of this story could have been enjoyable if they were done well.
2. This is kind of embarrassing. Just a general embarrassment all around.

I think I can describe this book best by describing the male lead. SPOILERS MAYBE? Not much happens in this book, y'all.

He is an enormous man with the face of a woman. He wears old band shirts (so cool). His arms have muscles (and you WILL be reminded). He has a predatory, nefarious, wicked, sinful, evil, vicious, thesaurus-exhausting smile. Our protagonist breathlessly insists constantly, in nearly every scene that he is a terrible man who does terrible things to people and will do terrible things to her. He is the king of the night! He is the king of sex! So what will he do to her now that he's come to collect on her debts?

He kisses her. He takes her furniture shopping. He helps her get away from an angry ex-boyfriend. He stocks up his kitchen with all her favorite foods. He takes her traveling. He wants her to stop drinking so much, it's not good for her. He wants her to have her own friends because she's too isolated. He wants her to talk about her feelings and their relationship. He blocks her sexual advances because he'd rather cuddle and marathon Harry Potter movies. He fixes everything in the end by assuring her that she is beautiful. What.

So many things in this book would be entertaining if they weren't played so embarrassingly straight. Up until the last hour, all it is is the two main leads interacting, interspersed constantly with flashbacks of them interacting even more. I honestly can't remember any of these scenes because it is really just one really long conversation and we know how it resolves from the moment it starts. None of this would be a problem if I liked the main leads. But I don't. Because the book says they're one thing, they are actually a different thing, and I don't like any of the things.

OK, I need to stop now or I never will. I just wanted to put my thoughts down because it was the interesting premise and glowing reviews that made me buy this book.

Good ideas, bad execution. Reader did her best with it. "I AM THE NIGHT!"

22 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amy
  • 20-04-17

Love the plot

I would have given 5 starts in each category but the narrator voice for Dez was so weird sounding. Like a high school speaking like her boyfriend. That through me off. It also mad it hard to connect with Dez. However, the story was so good I just had to power through.

I love this plot and I can't wait to see what happens next. I think we find out there is more to Callie than we first thought. I hope we find out what the plan is for those creepy little kids.

Overall great read!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-02-19

disappointed

I was looking for much more fantasy and not soft porn. I wanted something more along the lines of The Cruel Prince, and this was really, really far from it. Not necessarily bad, just really not what I was looking for.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Leslie
  • 11-04-17

Swears, Flashbacks, and Adult Audiences

Any additional comments?

This is not as much as a review, and more of a, "Let me tell you what I wish I had known."

I was drawn in by the story description and by all of the positive reviews, and the beautiful cover. I was eager to get started on it.

I only got about 1/2 way through before stopping. BUT, I do agree with a majority of the readers, what I did get through was gripping, interesting, and a really good read.

That aside, their are some things I wish I had known before getting this book, that I hope will help someone else make their purchasing decision.

1. This book swears a lot more than I am comfortable with. There are a lot of F-bombs, and I didn't like hearing them.

2. Every chapter starts with a flashback. Some reviewers found this tastefully done, I found there to be too many, and found them a bit of a bore, taking away from the main storyline.

3. This is definitely a book suited for mature audiences. I guess I could have gotten that from the cover, but there was a lot of sexual components that I didn't find tasteful.

It you don't have issues with any of the things I listed above, you may have just found a new favorite book. The writing is, overall, really well done. Plus the narrator does a great job.

88 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • L. Jones
  • 11-01-20

Fifty Shades of Fae

Let me start by saying that this book isn't bad *for what it is.* The problem is that the blurb is very misleading, so if you go in expecting the story it promises you'll be sorely disappointed.

The blurb suggests that what you're getting is the story of a girl who's forced to work with a dangerous fae who's her former lover in order to solve a deadly mystery surrounding an unknown entity abducting fae warriors. Strictly speaking, this plot does happen - but in a book with 30 chapters, practically none of it occurs prior to chapter 24. When it finally does happen, it feels rushed and unsatisfying, especially the ending. Without spoiling, imagine if Gandalf suddenly stormed into Barad Dur and triggered a nuclear bomb - it was kinda like that. And this part of the story makes Callie seem incredibly dense, as she "figures out" thinks that would've been obvious to a narcoleptic preteen three chapters ago.

The plot we get instead for roughly 80% of the book is about Calypso being hot for Brooding Bad Boy™ Desmond, aka The Bargainer. She knows he's dangerous, she knows he abandoned her, and he's manipulative and controlling - but dammit, he's SEXY, so she just can't help herself. (Incidentally, his abandonment of her is explained in one of the most cringeworthy ways I've ever seen.)

The relationship between Des and Callie feels *incredibly* toxic - they read like two badly damaged people who are leaning on each other because they don't think anyone else will have them. This is especially true of Callie. Its story of a man who's powerful, rich, and influential controlling a younger, more naive woman put me in mind of the execrable 50 Shades books, which is never a good thing to be compared to. Also, the extremely graphic descriptions of sexual acts put me off. I'm not a prude by any means, but if I want to read a book that goes into detail about hand jobs and oral sex, I'll deliberately choose a book that's supposed to include such content. If I'm here for the plot and had no reason to expect stuff like that, it just gets in the way.

I'm giving this two stars instead of one because the writing was competent and the narrator did a good job. If I'd actually understood what the book was actually like going in, I still wouldn't really have liked it, but I'd probably give it a three.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brekah S.
  • 06-06-19

its okay

Not the storyline, that I anticipated. Not a bad book, but most likely won't finish the series

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sanamkhangura
  • 03-03-17

Amazing!

Would you listen to Rhapsodic again? Why?

Definitely! Great book and awesome narrator! I read this book when it was released on kindle. As soon as I received an email from the author for the release of this audiobook, I purchased. Laura Thalassa is an automatic purchase for me.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Des! Do I need a reason?

Have you listened to any of Susannah Jones’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Nope

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end!

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • My Audio Romance Blog
  • 21-01-20

Great first in the series!

What worked: the romance between Des and Callie was the definition of epic and the world building was really beautiful and interesting- I’m a sucker for elvish themes. I liked that Callie wasn’t described in great detail, I forgot her hair color until the second or third book and forgot her eye color entirely- this actually made her more relatable in spite of being this incredible beauty (siren). I loved how the beginning of each chapter delved in to Des and Callie’s back story and you fall more and more in love with them as a couple even before the 7 year separation. Once you find out the reason for the separation it cures a lot of what initially bothered me about the book, which leads me to:
What didn’t: I am not generally a huge fan of second chance romance. I feel like it’s a sneaky way to introduce (not cheating but it feels that way) other men/women into the picture without it technically being cheating but still managing to instill similar levels of angst. In this case, Des returns to Callie’s life when she is clearly in a relationship with another guy (an alpha ware wolf who is pretty committed). I didn’t care for that aspect. However when you find out the why in the timing of everything I was a bit more accepting.
Triggers: there is nothing too graphic but it is clear that Callie was sexually abused and raped by her step dad. Also (SPOILER) there is a mystery involving disappearing female soldiers that we find out were raped and impregnated.

I would say it is worth the credit, it was a good, fast paced and surprising beginning to the trilogy and had a hard time putting it down!

1 person found this helpful