This was my first romance novel, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I liked the characters and the small town yet contemporary setting for the story. All of the characters were very likeable, and the romance between Owen and Avery was very flirty, well-developed and believable. The love scenes were described in a very classy and somewhat symbolic way, yet it was easy to visualize and imagine their passion. I would have liked a more interesting background story, but even still I found myself anxious to listen as often as I could to this audio book. The narrator was very good, and I thought he had a perfect voice for Owen and his brothers. I will probably wait a few years, but I will listen to this story again.
STORY - (true) This is a free 1:17 minute download which is not available on Audible at the moment. What is available, however, is an 11 1/2 hour version of the same title by the same author. I will say this: If I had read the summary carefully, I never would have spent even an hour listening to this book. It's basically the story of Ann Patchett's (author) attempts at marriage -- first one miserable, second one happy. She does make a few points that are good, like the person you marry should make you a better person, and a couple others worth pondering. All in all, though, it's pretty boring.
PERFORMANCE - Ann Patchett narrates this herself and does a good job.
OVERALL - Not worth the hour I spent. I'd probably slit my wrists if I had to listen to it for another ten hours!!
STORY (historical fiction) - I loved the movie Master and Commander and I love sailing on a nearby lake, so I thought I might like this book. It is Book 1 and introduces the main character of the series, 16-year-old Horatio Hornblower, who boards a British ship for the first time. As he begins to learn what it takes to be a seaman, he and his fellow crewmen face all kinds of challenges -- sinking ships, encounters with various enemies at sea, a battle with the French on land, saving a ship wrecked on a reef, etc. It's well-written and never boring. There are lots of nautical terms which some listeners might enjoy, but it may make it difficult for others to envision what's actually happening. Terms like fore, aft, leeward, poop (deck) and many others are common throughout the story.
The series apparently will chronicle Hornblower's promising career as an English naval officer. This book ends at a satisfactory stopping point but is definitely not an end to the adventure.
PERFORMANCE - Narrator does very convincing English, Spanish and French accents as well as some great salty old sailors. Perfect choice.
OVERALL- If you're interested in this period of history and life on the high seas, you will probably love this series. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. IMHO, this is a "guy book," although I see other women reviewers have thoroughly enjoyed it.
STORY - (young adult suspense) I'm a real chicken when it comes to violence, so I've been shying away from this book because I feared it would be a teenaged version of The Gladiator. I finally gave in to the hype and listened to it, and I'm so glad I did. The violence is very "watered down," so I was totally okay with it. This was probably the hardest book to put down that I've heard so far. Great story, great characters, great action, blah, blah, blah...
PERFORMANCE - Well done, though I agree with other reviewers who suggest that a younger-sounding voice would have been better for Katniss.
OVERALL - Hunger Games is a great 5-star listen which will keep listeners of all ages on the edge of their seats.
STORY - This sounded like it would be a fun holiday listen...a modern twist of the classic Christmas story written by a famous author. It's a novel idea that I think could have been so much better than it was. There are, of course, parallels between this story and the classic, i.e., Mary Jo for the Virgin Mary, the three Wyse brothers for the three wise men, but some of them are so far-fetched they should have just been left out. (Like seeing fireworks and saying, "Look, follow that star!") There is way too much detail that served no purpose but to drag things out. Some of the dialogue between the three brothers is so stupid and repetitive it made me want to SCREAM!!!!
On the positive side, the story is cozy and full of holiday cheer. I loved Mack, and the ending of the book is very touching.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator definitely gets an A for effort. This female narrator actually tries to distinguish between the three brothers' voices -- something which many male narrators don't even bother to do. It kinda works and kinda doesn't.
OVERALL -- I've never listened to a Debbie Macomber book before, so die-hard fans might like this story. My advice, however, is to skip it.
STORY (contemporary romance) - Holiday Sparks is a free 2-hour download and I didn't have very high expectations, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Chloe returns home to her parents' home for Christmas and ends up having a holiday fling with the small-town electrician. It's clever, sweet, sexy, and I loved the ending.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator didn't have a difficult performance, but she did it very well.
OVERALL - Even though it's not very long, it's got everything you could want in a sexy contemporary romance.
STORY (historical mystery) - Speaks the Nightbird is a great book. The main plot line follows a witch trial to its conclusion. It's interesting to see how it unfolds -- the investigation, the trial and learning the beliefs/motives of those involved. There are lots of characters and lots of clues, but it's still very easy to keep things straight. Don't try to figure out the ending because you probably won't be able to.
The book has some very dark characters and some very endearing ones. The main character, Matthew, grows from a young adult to a mature one during the span of the story. I really liked the way the author addressed his relationship with the accused witch.
I considered rating the book a 5 but made deductions for three small things: (1) a few scenes make me wonder about the sexual inclinations of the author, (2) some scenes were too dark and/or gross for my taste, and (3) even though it's never, ever boring, it's bit long for my personal taste.
PERFORMANCE - Wow! Wonderful expression, timing, foreign accents, perfect portrayal of an evangelist and a character on his deathbed. I'm going to check for more books read by this talented narrator.
OVERALL - (Actual rating 4.5) I've read some harsh complaints about this book, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable and recommend it highly. There is sex, language and some gore, though, so it might not be for those who are sensitive.
Don't miss this free holiday gift from Molly Harper -- it's delightful. If you're already following the series, you will recognize many of the characters of Half Moon Hollow. If you're not, it's time you're introduced. This is not the usual romance story -- more like just a holiday gathering of the whole wacky group. It is told from Gigi's viewpoint and is full of the usual humor and snarky remarks between characters, plus there are some holiday recipes given at the end. Amanda Ronconi is awesome as usual.
Take advantage of this free download and add some fun to your Christmas season!
STORY - (Sci-Fi) This is Book 2 of The Lost Fleet series, which follows the 100-year war between two opposing groups of humans, the Alliance and the Syndics. So far the first two books have primarily been cat-and-mouse chases across galaxies with multiple battle engagements. Attack/defense strategies are described in detail and are fascinating (even for this female listener). There is no man-to-man fighting, just ship against ship, so there is no blood or gore.
Book 1 is good, but this one has a whole lot more going on. Various interpersonal relationships become explosive and/or very interesting as different factions of the crew pursue their own itineraries. Also, a puzzling and critical discovery is made which presents a new challenge to Captain Geary. This discovery should add an exciting new wrinkle to the war and to future episodes. You should listen to this series in order to properly follow the drama that's unfolding.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator does a great job portraying the powerful Captain Geary (so sexy) and still manages to do fairly feminine-sounding women as well.
OVERALL - (Actual rating 4.5) I almost rated this a 5. I love the descriptions of the battle formations and tactics, but there's just a tad too much for my personal taste. That being said, this book is very, very good. Highly recommended.
STORY - There's never a dull moment with this book. Reese (Colorado Senator) and Cara (reporter) meet in a bar, and Cara makes an unforgettable first impression (OMG!!) They begin a relationship, during which time they become entwined in a tense situation involving some serious pollution issues. The story line is intense and moves quickly, the romance is hot and the sex scenes are pretty explicit. You will love Reese, another dreamy male lead that this author/narrator combo creates in this series.
The story can completely stand on its own.
NARRATOR - I love him! It's great to hear a male narrate a romance. Since I'm a female, I don't like to hear women trying to do a sexy male lead -- it just doesn't work. This narrator sounds pretty good as a female, too.
OVERALL - Great romance, so go for it.
STORY (Western fiction) - It's strange. This series is full of cowboys, Indians, bank robbers, cattle rustlers -- totally NOT what I look for in a movie or a book. But it's such an easy listen and the characters are so endearing that I just love rambling along the wild west with these guys.
The Hondo Kid is Book 2 and introduces Cody Cordell, the younger brother of Buck, who was the main character in Book 1. Neither brother knows the other is still alive after their parents were killed by Indians. Cody, a teenager, must grow up quickly on his own and somehow manages to gain a reputation as a gunfighter called "The Hondo Kid." About the first third of the book is Cody's story, but the rest alternates between Cody and Buck, whose cattle ranch is having legendary success.
There's lots of western action with hangings, shootouts, etc., but the author doesn't dwell on the violence or blood. There's some romance but no sex or foul language, so this would make a good family listen. You should hear these books in order, as each picks up where the previous one ends. I look forward to Book 3.
PERFORMANCE - Good job. The narrator does lots of "cowboy" voices, which adds to the story. He reads pretty slow, so you may want to turn the speed up to 1.25 or even 1.5. I would have rated the performance a 5 but some of the cowboy characters are a bit overdone and his women's voices are pretty masculine. (Plus he mispronounces "Brazos," which drove me crazy).
OVERALL - Download Book 1 if you think you might enjoy a good western. I don't think you will be disappointed.
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