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Eva Gannon

Chicago, Illinois, US | Member Since 2006

486
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 85 reviews
  • 317 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
38

  • Loving Frank

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Nancy Horan
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (610)
    Performance
    (207)
    Story
    (211)

    I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current. So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them.

    Eva Gannon says: "Fascinating"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall

    If you don't know the story of Mamah and Frank, don't Google it. I didn't and I did, and regretted having done so. It would have been more satisfying to let the book unfold without knowing the end.

    This is an excellent audiobook. It brings to life a woman heretofore relegated to a footnote in the history of the brilliant and famous Frank Lloyd Wright. I think Mamah Borthwicke would be pleased.

    The book dragged a bit somewhere around the middle, although this might have been because Googling it spoiled it a bit for me. But the ending was powerful, gut-wrenching, and I actually cried. After listening to Frank's letter to the Chicago Tribune -- which is an accurate rendering, btw -- I realized that like the Trib's readers, I had fallen into some shallow opinions of Mamah. This too, may account for the dragging I noticed.

    This is a great read, treat yourself. Take stock at the end and ask yourself if you too, have judged Mamah as Frank charges. It's a stimulating exercise.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Valley of Amazement

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Amy Tan
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu, Joyce Bean, Amy Tan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (681)
    Performance
    (601)
    Story
    (612)

    Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West - until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

    Pamela says: "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    "A Disappointing Bodice Ripper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was hard to read this book as anything other than a romance, bodice ripper type of novel. It certainly isn't up to the standards of Tan's previous works. Viewing it as a well written potboiler (is that a non sequitur?) allowed me to keep reading. Had I been looking for meaning, I would have put it down unfinished.

    The characters are almost caricatures, who learn little if anything, and what they learn is predictable. Even the main characters aren't particularly likable, and it's hard to identify with them.

    The plot is predictable, and long passages are just boring. This may be because it's larded with minutiae; some description is necessary, but Tan takes it to ridiculous, and somewhat dull, levels.

    There are many passages where the reader can just skim through at a good clip, without losing anything necessary for comprehension.

    The use of three narrators saves the book and weighted in the balance when I was deciding to stop reading or not. The breathe life into the characters, and add interest.

    Overall, I don't recommend the book. I bought the companion Kindle,and without it, would probably not have finished the book. I did, but was glad to be done with it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Whole Enchilada: A Novel of Suspense: Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries, Book 17

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Diane Mott Davidson
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (244)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (212)

    >Goldy Schulz knows her food is to die for, but she never expects one of her best friends to actually keel over when she's leaving a birthday party Goldy has catered. At first, everyone assumes that all the fun and excitement of the party, not to mention the rich fare, did her in. But what looks like a coronary turns out to be a generous serving of cold-blooded murder. And the clever culprit is just getting cooking. When a colleague - a woman who resembles Goldy - is stabbed, and Goldy is attacked outside her house, it becomes clear that the popular caterer is the main course on a killer menu.

    ChihuahuaMomma says: "BEST book in the entire series."
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read all the books in this series, and was looking forward to this new release. What a huge disappointment. I've tried twice, and just can't finish it; it just doesn't hold my interest.

    The plot is thin, and presented in a scatter-gun manner. The details are uninteresting: the whodunnit doesn't beg to be solved.

    The characters are similarly uninteresting. Goldy, always a scatter brain, is no longer charmingly so; she's just irritatingly stupid.

    The performance is similarly annoying. The sotto voce so often used is just boring.

    Goldy has been a favorite for light reading since I picked up the first audiobook. This was to be a swing book between heavier reading, but I couldn't force myself to finish it. A light book should hold the reader's attention.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Redeemer: Harry Hole, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (translator)
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (283)
    Performance
    (247)
    Story
    (244)

    Christmas shoppers stop to hear a Salvation Army concert on a crowded Oslo street. An explosion cuts through the music and the bitter cold: One of the singers falls dead, shot in the head at point-blank range. Harry Hole - the Oslo Police Department’s best investigator and worst civil servant - has little to work with: no suspect, no weapon, and no motive. But Harry’s troubles will multiply. As the search closes in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate, and Harry’s chase takes him to the most forbidden corners of the former Yugoslavia. Yet it’s when he returns to Oslo that he encounters true darkness....

    Charles Atkinson says: "Best Modern Detective Series on Audible!"
    "Narrator Rains On Harry's Parade"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Redeemer might be another excellent book in the Harry Hole series, except that the narrator does such a poor job as to make the book hard to follow. I almost stopped listening several times, but it's Harry Hole, and I don't quit on Harry!

    I know we're used to Robin Sachs, and I was entirely prepared to cut John Lee some slack because inevitably he'll be compared to Sachs. I'm sorry to say that after finishing the book, I'm not prepared to cut him any slack at all. His narration of this book was unacceptable, standing on it's own, without comparison to Robin Sachs.

    John Lee doesn't do voices. This makes it difficult to follow the characters. The book skips between characters and places without transition, so I often found myself wondering which "he" was speaking, and where, and about who/what. The transitions weren't marked by pauses of suitable length either, again, making the book hard to follow. Many times I was simply lost, and kept rewinding until I thought maybe I was back in sync. Sometimes it wa just a lost cause and I had to plow on.

    This is a shame, because there are good themes and good character development in this book. The title isn't empty, but a theme that runs throughout. In this book, Harry himself seeks personal redemption.

    I found myself getting mad at Harry sometimes. Mad at his inability or unwillingness to get sober and stay sober. Maybe Harry's mad at himself for the same reasons, and that's one reason he seeks redemption. Decide for yourself, I won't give away the book!

    We also wonder about the future of his love for Rakel, Is there a future at all?

    This almost felt like it might be a last book in the series. I hope not.

    If there is a next book, I do hope they'll try a different narrator

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Insane City

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Dave Barry
    • Narrated By Dave Barry, The Gza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (139)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (125)

    Seth Weinstein knew Tina was way out of his league in pretty much any way you could imagine, which is why it continued to astonish him that he was on the plane now for their destination wedding in Florida. The Groom Posse had already sprung an airport prank on him, and he'd survived it, and if that was the worst of it, everything should be okay. Smooth sailing from now on. Seth has absolutely no idea what he's about to get into.

    Sylvia says: "It is Barry - it is Florida - it is INSANE!"
    "Sophomoric"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you like the Bachelor Party movies, you might like this book. The book is absolutely silly with the flat, stereotyped characters stumbling from one hackneyed situation to another. If this is the best Dave Barry can come up with after 10 years, he needs to rethink his calling.

    He should also rethink narrating his own audiobooks. His performance if somewhere between lousy and just OK.

    I was looking for light fare to transition between books, but this certainly wasn't it. It's light, but not particularly amusing.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Bat: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (858)
    Performance
    (745)
    Story
    (736)

    Harry is out of his depth. Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can. He's not supposed to get too involved. When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry. He might just be the next victim.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Probably the best of this remarkable series."
    "Don't Read This First"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Had this been my first Jo Nesbo/Harry Hole book, it would probably have been the last. Harry isn't the same character he is in The Leopard, or The Snowman. He's much more tentative here, less forceful as a character. When he falls off the wagon, it's hard to keep going because he's not just a sloppy drunk, he allows himself to be physically damaged, with a foolish grin on his face. Hard to imagine the Harry of The Leopard behaving in such a manner, even when drunk. He's less self-aware, and less willing to challenge the authority of the police department.

    The plot of the book is fairly simple, and the actual killer is easy to suspect very early on. Without giving it away, the manner in which the killer "gets his" is a surprise, but I had a feeling it was also a facile ending, one designed to appeal to a mass market.

    The narrator, not Robin Sachs of the later books, saves this book. We hear the correct pronunciation of the both the author's and the characters names. Jo isn't Joe, but more like Yo. Nesbo is more like NesBuh. Hole isn't pronounced at all as spelled, but more like HullUh. His tone and pacing are excellent throughout. He differentiates the characters nicely.

    Several times I was tempted to pull this out of my ear. I'm glad I didn't because it's the first book in the series, but it wasn't easy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Two Graves

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1735)
    Performance
    (1511)
    Story
    (1515)

    After his wife, Helen, is brazenly abducted before his eyes, Special Agent Pendergast furiously pursues the kidnappers, chasing them across the country and into Mexico. But then, things go terribly, tragically wrong; the kidnappers escape; and a shattered Pendergast retreats to his New York apartment and shuts out the world. But when a string of bizarre murders erupts across several Manhattan hotels, NYPD Lieutenant D'Agosta asks his friend Pendergast for help.

    G. House Sr. says: "Whiplash from the emotional rollercaster"
    "Pendergast Lost"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Special Agent Pendergast series is character driven; he is a shadow of his former self in this book, and the character we've grown to love is largely absent until the last five minutes of the book. His motivation for this absence involves the back-story of his wife Helen. It's very hard to believe that Pendergast, as he's been constructed over the series, would be so blind to evidence generated by his own wife. His usual hyper-awareness seems totally absent for her; she is truly a blind spot, and yet it wasn't so in past books. This back-story provides the plot of the book, and Pendergast's motivation, and because we expect a lot more of him, it's disappointing.

    This isn't one story line either. These other threads revolve around Constance, Corey and to a lesser extent, D'Agosta. They add nothing to Pendergast's mainline, and I wonder at their inclusion. Yes, it was interesting to fill in Constance's story, but unnecessary.

    The main story is lackluster not only because Pendergast is out of character, but because the plot relies on grisly details in parts to move it along. There's a lot of stereotyping so that most of the characters are also one-dimensional.

    Renee Auberjonois does an excellent job of narration. Without him, I'd have downgraded my overall rating to just two stars.

    I hope that Preston/Child aren't making the same mistake made by Cornwell in the Scarpetta series. Eviscerating a popular character that has sold millions of books carries the risk that loyal readers will use their dollars in search of more deserving works. I've stopped reading Cornwell; I hope that won't be the case with the Pendergast series.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Tombs: A Fargo Adventure, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Clive Cussler, Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (733)
    Performance
    (627)
    Story
    (637)

    Husband-and-wife team Sam and Remi Fargo are intrigued when an archaeologist friend requests their help excavating a top secret historical site. What they find will set them on a hunt for a prize greater than they could ever imagine. The clues point to the hidden tomb of Attila the Hun, the High King who was reportedly buried with a vast fortune of gold and jewels and plunder....a bounty that has never been found. As they follow the trail, the Fargos will find themselves pitted against a thieving group of treasure hunters.

    Compute says: "Great Entertaining Read"
    "Predictable But Enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Tombs?

    Classic Cussler action tale. Doesn't require a lot from the listener, and is fairly predictable. It's perfect to fill in between heavier fare. Relaxing and enjoyable.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Zoltan; he was a welcome addition to the usual cast of characters. A well trained, loyal dog is a delight in books as well as life.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Scott Brick's popularity mystifies me. He can't do accents at all, doesn't voice characters particularly well so the listener can differentiate among them, and he still doesn't moderate his voice well for different situations. He's obviously trying to correct these deficiencies (which I and other reviewers have noted in the past) and has succeeded in not making each line sound like a question. He's just OK for a Cussler potboiler, but definitely not for better writing.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's enjoyable, but it wasn't so captivating that I couldn't hit the stop button.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Creole Belle: A Dave Robicheaux Novel, Book 19

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1495)
    Performance
    (1294)
    Story
    (1256)

    Creole Belle begins where the last book in the Dave Robicheaux series, The Glass Rainbow, ended. Dave is in a recovery unit in New Orleans, where a Creole girl named Tee Jolie Melton visits him and leaves him an iPod with the country blues song “Creole Belle” on it. Then she disappears. Dave becomes obsessed with the song and the memory of Tee Jolie and goes in search of her sister, who later turns up inside a block of ice floating in the Gulf.

    Melinda says: "Burke & Patton -- Synergistic Phenomenon"
    "Like a Ham and Onion Sandwich"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is like the ham and onion sandwiches Dave and Clete eat a lot in this book. They are the two pieces of bread encasing the meat (ham) of the plot; this isn't an open face sandwich, the two pieces of bread are necessary and complimentary. The onion, strong and pungent, slightly funky, and likely to leave a taste in your mouth, are the lessons you may learn.

    And it was a welcome addition to the series, after the Glass Rainbow. It picks up where that book ends.

    No other author currently writing in the US does as good a job showing the friendship between two men. There is not a hint of homosexuality which seems to be a popular device. Their friendship isn't as understated as in previous books. It's the centerpiece of this one. In some places, it's almost painful as we, the reader, actually experience the emotions binding the two men. It was on display in Glass Rainbow, but here, the emotion is featured more than the action.

    Burke also develops the character of Clete Purcel more fully in this book than in others. I was glad to see it, as Clete is my favorite character. We learn many new things about Clete; I won't say more because I don't believe in spoiling books through my reviews; it's also why I don't do plot summaries. They're available on Audible and many other sources. Clete's flaws and motivations are blunt. We get a clear glimpse into what makes Clete tick. It will stick with you, just like onions do.

    And through the observations of Alafair and Gretchen, we also get a clear look at why Dave continues his relationship with a raging alcoholic. They are two pieces of bread cut from the same loaf.

    Don't worry, there's plenty of action and the usual mayhem that characterize the series. Both Dave & Clete retain their ability for violence. Given their ages - I estimate them to be in their late 50's - one wonders how much longer these characters will endure. I was sure Burke had killed them off in Glass Rainbow. I suspect he will at some point and I'm not looking forward to it.

    It can be easy to miss parts of an audiobook. I found myself rewinding to a part I was sure I read and understood before going forward. This book is that good. You don't want to miss a single word.

    Burke's opinions on Angola prison, Louisiana politics, and the despoiling of Louisiana's natural beauty for profit, are more on display here than in any other book. They're onions in the sandwich.

    Ever had a ham and onion sandwich? Me either, so I had to try it. I liked it, I hope you will too.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Thief: An Isaac Bell Adventure, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Clive Cussler, Justin Scott
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (517)
    Performance
    (454)
    Story
    (458)

    On the ocean liner Mauretania, two European scientists with a dramatic new invention are barely rescued from abduction by the Van Dorn Detective Agency's intrepid chief investigator, Isaac Bell. Unfortunately, they are not so lucky the second time. The thugs attack again - and this time, one of the scientists dies.

    A User says: "The Review: An Issac Bell Piece"
    "A Good Beach Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the perfect book to read while sipping your favorite libation on a hot beach. The plot moves well without requiring much from the reader, the narrator does a decent job, the characters fit into the plot but again, don't require emotional involvement from the reader.

    The premise behind the plot is pretty weak. I found myself asking why Isaac Bell and the Dorn Agency were so worked up about the development of the first motion picture camera. Even when the reason is revealed, it doesn't yield the big AHA. That's why it's a good beach read -- it doesn't really matter.

    The setting of the book on the Mauretania is perhaps the the most entertaining part of the whole book. The description of how the engines were fed by coal is detailed and paints a vivid picture of a hellish job in a nightmare environment.

    I've listened to a lot of audiobooks narrated by Scott Brick, and have given him some scathing reviews. In this one, he succeeds in controlling his worst flaws as a reader. Every sentence doesn't end with an uptilt of his voice, making it sound like a question. His attempts at character accents are improved. He even tries to add emphasis rather than reading every sentence as if it's all of the same degree of gravitas.

    All in all, this is light fare. It's mindlessly enjoyable and keeps the listener's interest. Don't look for anything more. If you're tired and looking for a filler before starting something more substantial, I recommend it.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Affair: A Jack Reacher Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3120)
    Performance
    (2573)
    Story
    (2570)

    Everything starts somewhere. For elite military cop Jack Reacher, that somewhere was Carter Crossing, Mississippi, way back in 1997. A young woman is dead, and solid evidence points to a soldier at a nearby military base. But that soldier has powerful friends in Washington. Reacher is ordered undercover - to find out everything he can, to control the local police, and then to vanish. Reacher is a good soldier. But when he gets to Carter Crossing, he finds layers no one saw coming, and the investigation spins out of control. Local sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux has a thirst for justice - and an appetite for secrets.

    Melinda says: ""All Aboard!""
    "Should We Like Reacher?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are over 400 reviews of the book; this one will touch on what I believe to be a new slant.

    Should we really like Jack Reacher? Because in this book, he kills at least four times. One is arguably self-defense when faced with deadly force. But the other three are cold-blooded executions. Two of them he takes pains to conceal, so that his killing will be hidden to forensic evidence. One seems to be spontaneous, but the others are premeditated. I'm not going to give the character names because that would spoil the book (and I hate reviews that give away the book farm).

    Yes, there's justification for three of them. The fourth is, in my opinion, questionable because the individual has not taken life but Reacher exacts that penalty anyway. What troubles me most is that in this book more than any other, Reacher is judge, jury, and executioner. He believes he has the facts and the moral justification to take these three lives. Several times the character clearly expresses his own lack of remorse for his conduct. It's applicable to his behavior throughout the series.

    I like the books, and have read most of them. But this one makes me question my own taste! Should I really like this character? What does it say about me? What does it say about me if I keep on reading Reacher novels?

    Maybe Child will save me from this moral dilemma by making this the last book in the series.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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