STORY - (British Classic) Occasionally I'll hear a classic when I'm in the mood for a beautifully descriptive, simple story with deep character development. The Painted Veil is simple, well told and enjoyable, but I wish there had been more descriptions of this area of China and its people.
The main thrust of the book is Kitty's transformation after she and Walter (husband) move to a cholera-stricken region and she volunteers in a convent/hospital. Lots of character development. There are some sad undertones, but the book is not dark.
PERFORMANCE - Well done, nice French accents for the nuns.
OVERALL - This book is probably more for women, as it's mostly about Kitty's thoughts, feelings and her personal growth. Classics aren't my favorite genre, so it takes a great one to get 4 or 5 stars from this reviewer. This one was just okay.
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.
STORY - (fantasy) - Magic Study is Book 2 of the Soulfinders series. It picks up where Poison Study left off, so Yelena has moved from Ixia to Citia to reunite with her family and study magic. It has some violence, a bit of romance and lots of new characters. Her study of magic is interesting and the plot moves quickly, but I don't think it's anywhere near as good as Poison Study.
The book could probably stand alone, but you really should listen to them in order. It ends at a good stopping point, should you decide not to continue with the series.
PERFORMANCE - Very good job with multiple voices and accents. I didn't care for Yelena communicating mentally with her horse but, nevertheless, the narrator does a pretty good "horse voice."
OVERALL - Read Poison Study first. If you like it, then you might give this one a try as well. It wasn't a bad book, just not my cup of tea.
STORY - First let me say that I normally avoid stories about Hitler and WWII, but this one caught my eye and I'm so very glad I listened to it. It starts off fast, stays good, and you will be on the edge of your seat by the end. While the background of the story is Europe during the war, the plot is about a German spy called The Needle who is trying to get a vital message to Hitler. On the other side, there are the efforts of a handful of main characters determined to find and stop him. There are no battle scenes, just lots of cat-and-mouse action with a little bit of romance tossed in. I've listened to about 100 books at this point, and this is one of my favorites.
PERFORMANCE - This is the first book I've heard where multiple voices were used conversationally (as opposed to reading entire chapters or diaries). It was a treat to hear men speaking as men and women as women, with all the different voices and accents. It wasn't perfect, though, because some of the voices sounded like they were in a tunnel when they were supposedly in the same room with the other speakers. All in all, though, I give them a five for the overall effort.
OVERALL - I can't imagine anyone not liking this book. (But there is sex and cursing, if that offends you).
STORY - (young adult romance/action) Pandemonium is Book 2 in the Delirium Trilogy. Even though this is a young adult series and I'm not a young adult, I am enjoying it very much. The story is interesting and is beautifully written and performed. It takes place in an America where human emotions are deemed dangerous and procedures are done at age 18 to "cure" everyone from their deadly feelings -- except those who escape. The main characters must grow up quickly to survive, and there is lots of mystery, danger, action and, yes, sweet teenage romance.
There is mostly new characters in this book, even though the story picks up immediately where Book 1 left off, and there are two timelines going at once. At first the two timeslines were confusing, but just go with the flow and enjoy. It's easy to keep straight which is which, and it all makes sense in the end. You will want to listen to these books in order, starting with Book 1, but beware of cliffhanger endings in both books -- BIG, FAT cliffhangers!
PERFORMANCE - I can't recall any other narrator who puts as much emotion into a performance as Sara Drew does in these books. As she tells the story through the main character, Layna, you can really feel her joy, fear, strength, pain. Great job.
OVERALL - Highly recommended for young adults and for old people like me who occasionally enjoy a good YA story.
STORY - (funny light romance) If you have never read a Molly Harper book, please, please get one! I've heard several, and they're all great. In this book the main character, Lacy, has a unique way of dealing with her cheating husband. Molly's clever writing style makes the situation adorably comical, and the snarky banter between characters makes the overall experience a pure delight.
NARRATOR - Great. Her multiple voices and delivery of the whole performance was perfect. You can't beat the Harper/Ronconi combo.
OVERALL - Highly recommended if you're in the mood for a light, romantic story which will make you smile.
STORY - (1897 horror classic) I'm not sure what I expected from Dracula but, nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by the story itself and the quality of the writing. It begins in Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania, but most of the story occurs in London after he relocates there (more people to bite). There is very little violence, and this is definitely NOT a cheap horror thriller with tons of bloodlust and gore. It occurs during a time when the world was basically unaware of the existence of vampires, so it unfolds as an eerie mystery that the main characters are trying to solve.
The story is elegantly written with an impressive vocabulary, and there is no cursing. Undoubtedly, in 1897 when this was written the subject matter was shocking and would have qualified as true horror, but in today's world I would rate it much lower on the horror scale. Don't get me wrong -- people are "turned," graves are opened, and there are stakes to drive through hearts -- but the focus is more on solving the mystery than lots of gratuitous gore. I would have rated it a 5, but I thought it was a little long and sometimes I lost interest before it would pick back up again.
PERFORMANCE - Most of the story is conveyed by the reading of diaries of the main characters and telegrams between them. There are eight different narrators, with each one performing a different character. This is not done conversationally, but rather each one reads his character's diary in turn. This makes it easy to follow who is telling their story and very much enhances the overall performance.
OVERALL - Even if you don't like vampire stories (as I don't), I think anyone would just enjoy this well-told mystery.. After all, this is a famous classic that spawned the whole vampire genre!
STORY - (True story) Captain Phillips is a very exciting account of an American cargo ship which was attacked by Somali pirates in 2009. There is a 2013 movie starring Tom Hanks which, as far as I know, is based on this book.
The story opens with a scene which really occurs toward the end, so you get an immediate preview of what's to come. Then it shifts to background of Captain Phillips' life and how he became a merchant marine. Some of this middle portion is a little slow, but some of it is pretty interesting. Once his ship, the Maersk Alabama, is at sea and the action begins, the story becomes fast-moving and intense. I don't want to give too much away, but the book is very good, and I hear the movie is great. (You can Google Maersk Alabama if you want to get a spoiler preview of what happens).
PERFORMANCE - Pretty good narration that neither enhances or detracts from the book. I would rate it higher if he'd done a better job of distinguishing between different characters.
OVERALL - Recommended, and not just for guys.
STORY - (1948 Radio Show - Alfred Hitchcock) This is one of eight stories you will receive if you purchase Alfred Hitchcock's Radio Movie Collection. I haven't read Daphne du Maurier's classic Rebecca, but this is apparently the express version of the 14-hour book. In 29 minutes you will hear the story (performed wonderfully), plus some rather interesting cigarette commercials which are, of course, illegal today. I'm not a fan of old movies or radio shows, but I like Hitchcock and am enjoying these eight stories as breaks between other longer books.
PERFORMANCE - Wonderful multi-voice performance by famous professional actors and actresses, with old-timie music and sound effects.
OVERALL - (Precise rating 3.5) Recommended for all listeners, but mainly because of the awesome performance. If you like old movies and/or remember dramatized radio performances, you will enjoy this.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.