It did not have the unusualities that I want and expect from this author.
WEAK 3 STARS FOR THIS BOOK 4 IN THE SERIES.
This is the back story of how Roland met his love interest Susan Delgado when he was 15. He had just become a gunslinger. His dad sent him to the town of Mejis due to a threat on Roland’s life. While in Mejis, Roland and his two buddies are up against thugs, a corrupt mayor, and the witch Reah.
There were a few good scenes. But I wasn’t engaged as much as I was in the previous books. It reminded me of good guys fighting bad guys in the movies. Roland does some smart things. The bad guys use magic to tell them what Roland is doing so they can counter it. The characters felt generic. Although I did enjoy some of the words and the way the characters talked.
There are several sex scenes. They are not explicit, mostly referred with no details. A few of them have an ick factor when Susan is molested against her will.
Most of the book is the above story set in the past. At the end, there is a short story which is a twist on the Wizard of Oz. Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy finds some ruby red shoes that happen to fit them. They put them on, click their heels, and are transported to a wizard in a castle. It was not necessary for developing the plot. It was odd but ok.
NARRATOR: Frank Muller was fabulous - as always.
Genre: apocalyptic fantasy.
3 STARS FOR THE ENTIRE 8 BOOK SERIES:
One of the books is number 4 ½. The last book is number 7. The main character is Roland, a gunslinger, inspired by the Clint Eastwood character in his spaghetti western movies (ex: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). Roland is on a journey to the Dark Tower to stop evil forces from destroying the world. The books should be read in order. There are many wonderful ideas and stories. There is also too much clutter, rambling, and things I think should have been edited out. The Harry Potter series was better because everything developed the characters and moved the plots forward. Here at times I felt the author was writing short stories and getting off track. Overall I’m glad I read it. And there were a some wonderful parts that I will remember.
I was disappointed with the last two books. Instead of enjoying the journey, I wanted them to be over. I did not like Roland’s ending. It left a bad taste in my mouth. There was such potential and it felt piddled out. I liked one reviewer’s comment “in his rush to end this series the author has given up its soul.” (Amazon reviewer Roger FitzAlan “Aranarth”)
But I did not like the heroine being angry all the time.
The author artificially stretches out suspense scenes which bothered me. For example: someone is coming and Sam has to do something fast, but she stops to talk, the other guy says hurry, she thinks about something else for a minute, and then finally she gets back to doing what she is supposed to do. The reader is thinking come on come on get it done. The author drew it out to prolong anxiety, which is ok as a writing technique, but this was excessive. I didn’t like it. Another example: a killer enters the house. The good guy is aware of the killer and needs to escape out a rear window. But the author goes on and on for several minutes inside the good guy’s head thinking and pondering instead of quickly fleeing out the window. I’m thinking come one come on get out of there. I think reading the physical book might be better than the audiobook, so you can skip over these ponderings.
Bottom line, there’s a lot of suspense and some good action. It’s mostly one long chase. Drug cartel thugs are chasing and torturing people. They are after Sam and Marco. Sam does some neat things. So does Marco.
You need to suspend disbelief at the end. I’m usually willing to do that, but this one bothered me.
Two characters’ hands are bound with plastic zip ties. They are in a helicopter which crashes. They both are thrown from the helicopter with no injuries and the zip ties were conveniently gone. I’ll accept the no injury part, but I think the author should have had them find something to cut the zip ties. Those things are stronger than seat belts. I can’t believe the zip ties just fell off - with no injuries to the wrist. Also Dan had some help nearby that seemed too convenient.
The thing that bothered me the most was Sam. She was angry, annoyed, and sarcastic toward Marco and others for 99% of the book. It was not fun to read. Here are some of the words ascribed to her: vibrating with hostility, fierce look, stern look, dark look, dirty look, stiff, irritable, truculent, scowl, glaring, tense, angry. Sure, Sam had good reasons to be angry, but I would have preferred a different way of reacting or different conversations.
I had problems with the narrator Shannon McManus. Her reading was fast and kind of staccato. She didn’t use enough emotion or pauses. She needs to perform, not read. The weakest parts were the passionate scenes. She showed no feeling, like she wanted to quickly read through it. Also, her voice sounds like a teenager which is not bad but might not be the best fit for this book.
Genre: romantic suspense
I felt comforted at the end. Also, it was just good writing.
A really nice story about Rebecca an artist (photographer) who has money problems. So she subleases her New York City apartment to another and then pays lower rent to live in a small town in the country two hours away. She becomes friends with some locals. One friendship turns into something more between Rebecca age 60 and Jim who is 44. The story has a womens fiction feel since it deals with her work, her life, her friends, and her family. Her mother has dementia or Alzheimers, and Rebecca pays her nursing home costs. She also sends money to help support her young adult son.
I generally don’t like stories that jump around in time, and this one does, but it wasn’t too bad. It starts with her living in the country with flashbacks to her earlier life, her marriage, her divorce, and her success as a famous photographer.
I like the idea of an artist who hasn’t done anything for a while and then finds her muse in a new location.
I was engaged and very interested. And best of all there was a happy and romantic ending. If I could ask for anything more it would be to see the emotions of Rebecca and Jim for each other. That was not gone into. It was more about conversation and events.
Carrington MacDuffie was very good.
Genre: womens fiction with romance, older woman younger man
It was a comfortable read. I smiled at times. There’s a nice long build up of the couple gradually falling in love. The conflict that kept them apart appealed to me. Lucian grew up on the streets with a gang of kids who were his family. Frannie was part of the group. Lucian and others love her like a sister. Lucian wants to get married and he believes Frannie is the one for him, but he doesn’t realize it’s sisterly love. He’s kind of stupid about his emotions that way, but it was believable confusion. It takes a long time for Catherine and Lucian to get together, but I was ok with that. Although I frequently wanted to shake Lucian to make him hurry up and realize whom he loved.
Catherine is a strong, smart, loyal, good heroine. I was pleased the author did not resort to contrived conflict devices other than the following. To enjoy this you need to suspend disbelief. In the beginning Catherine approaches Lucian asking him to kill someone for her. You need to be able to just go with it without thinking of consequences and related issues.
There are a few sex scenes that are short with not much detail. They were good for the story, but this is not for readers who want more passion and sex.
Both narrators were good. Susan Ericksen did most of the book. Antony Ferguson did a few short parts - reading from Lucian’s journal.
Genre: historical romance
The best part is unusual ideas. My brain liked it.
This is 63 vignettes. Some are just a few sentences. Others are several pages long. Some are like random thoughts of the author. Some have a little story to them. Many times I laughed. Some times I just said “huh” at the end. The last story was about a translator that was beyond me. I didn’t get it. I probably should have reread it, but I didn’t, so I remain ignorant about the humor in that one. Overall I loved this book. He thinks differently than I do, so I love his messing with my mind. My favorites were the following:
No One Goes to Heaven... ( I loved his view of what heaven was like. I never would have thought of that.)
Constructive Criticism (really good scene)
Kellogg’s (surprising and a good story)
Chris Hansen at the Justin Bieber Concert
The Something by John Grisham
The World’s Biggest Rip-Off
Discussion Questions (I was laughing during his asking the questions.)
B.J. Novak narrated most of the book. Other actors and actresses read parts. It was well done.
Genre: humorous essays
but I’m not excited enough to continue the series. This would be good for mystery lovers and teens.
This is book 3 in the series. A lady in her 60s periodically acts as a courier for the CIA. In this book she is sent to Bulgaria to deliver fake passports to the underground. While there she discovers a young American put in jail to be killed. She wants to help. By the end of the book, some major things have happened for the good that shock and awe her boss back at the CIA. I really liked the ending.
I like the narrator Barbara Rosenblat doing other books. In this book she was ok but not as good. I did not like her fragile little old lady voice for Mrs. Pollifax. She made her sound like she was in her 90s. Most women in their 60s don’t sound like that. There are many eastern European characters which the narrator was doing in what I think of as a Russian accent. (Think Boris and Natasha cartoons.) Those were ok. They were understandable.
Genre: spy suspense
The middle was not as good.
It was mostly scene after scene of oh my this bad thing is happening, what will we do, oh, quick do that, gee, we barely made it. I’m not sure why I didn’t enjoy this part. Maybe I would have liked more personality interaction instead of a series of bad things being thrown at them.
THE BEGINNING AND END:
I loved it. I was laughing. Here’s this little old lady walking into the CIA offices and saying “I want to be a spy.” The guy is slack jawed and speechless. And in the end, people saying “you did what?” amazed at what she did. That was funny and good. Also she changed the way she treated someone at the end, which was neat.
This is book #1 in the series.
I BOUGHT THIS BECAUSE OF THE AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
I wanted to buy more books narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, and this was on her list. She was very good, but I have two complaints. This was recorded in 1989. The recording equipment picks up her breaths and some swallowing which was distracting. Second: I did not like her fragile little old lady voice for Mrs. Pollifax. She made her sound like she was in her 90s. Most women in their 60s don’t sound like that.
Genre: spy suspense
Have you seen the movie “Dirty Harry” with Clint Eastwood? This book’s main character (Buck) is Dirty Harry when he gets old. He’s growly, grumpy, and insults others. He doesn’t play nice with authority. Yet he still has his moral compass against those who do harm. (The Dirty Harry comparison is my interpretation, but I believe the author was inspired by him. The character’s name in the book is Buck Schatz.)
I was surprised at how often I was chuckling. A sample of the kind of humor follows. There might be a treasure of Nazi gold bars. Buck has nothing to do with it and wants nothing to do with it. But people keep coming to him because they think he’ll be able to find it. He doesn’t care.
I think the best stories start with unusual and intriguing characters. This book has that. It’s a treasure hunt, mystery, and murder. And it has an excellent ending for the good guys.
The narrator Nick Sullivan was good. But I was iffy about a couple of his voices. I would have preferred Clint Eastwood narrating because he is Dirty Harry - and he’s in his 80s - or a narrator who sounds like Clint Eastwood. I was thinking of Dirty Harry throughout the book.
Genre: mystery suspense
about a single woman and an abused boy, but the ending was unresolved on the bad guys.
If you’re deciding between audiobook and physical book, choose audiobook. The narration takes it to a higher level.
This is womens fiction, but I want to call it heartwarming fiction. It’s very feel good. I was surprised to hear this labeled Christian/Inspirational Fiction. I wouldn’t call it that. My view of Christian/Inspirational Fiction has talking to God, talking to Jesus, praying, and preaching to the reader. That is not going on here. The only religious things were good values. Ivorie used to go to church on Sundays but she stopped going after her mother died. Later she and the boy start going to church. They say grace at dinner. Ivorie reads the David and Goliath story to the boy. That’s it as far as religious talk, so I do not consider this Christian/Inspirational.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR AND REVIEWER’S OPINION:
I loved the narrator who is also the author. She has a charming and engaging way of speaking. I was amazed and delighted throughout the whole book. I didn’t want to stop reading. I love the way Ivorie thinks and talks. And the writing is good. I liked the metaphors and similes. It is full of charming and witty ideas. There are humorous lines like “I’m as nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rockers.”
At first I was reluctant to read this when I heard a child was abused. What was done was referred to after the fact. We do not see the man hitting and yelling. We do not see what the boy does or feels while he is being hurt. Instead the woman sees wounds on the boy the next day, and we see her reactions. I prefer this style of writing about the bad parts. It’s still bad, but it’s not as bad.
I have mixed feelings. During the first day after reading the book I felt wonderful - thinking about Ivorie and the boy. But on the second day the thoughts that kept coming to me were about the biological father. I was disgusted with him. He had knowledge of the horrible situation for the mother and boy. He could have changed things but he did not. I think the author should have done a lot more with the bad guys at the end. It would help me if they were publicly humiliated and punished in the worst ways. As it stands, I have some lingering depressed feelings.
POINTS OF VIEW:
I am glad the author used three points of view. Each chapter is titled with whose POV it is. Ivorie the heroine and Henry her brother are done in first person. Most of the boy’s chapters are done in 3rd person. Using these different POVs was well done. It made the story richer.
Genre: womens fiction
Fabulous audiobook narrator. Bad recording equipment.
I BOUGHT THIS BECAUSE OF THE AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
Authors: one way to get people to read your books is to have a great narrator. The best ones have fans. I wanted to buy more books narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, and this was on her list. I probably would not have purchased it otherwise. The narrator was great.
THE RECORDING EQUIPMENT WAS POOR QUALITY. YOU COULD HEAR THE NARRATOR’S BREATHING AND SWALLOWING. This was recorded in 1998. Maybe the equipment wasn’t as good back then. The breathing was distracting.
This is part of the Anna Pigeon series. She is a park ranger, has a gun, and can arrest people. Each book has her working in a different national park. In this book she works on an island in Lake Superior near the Canadian border. Someone is killed, a woman disappears, someone is being blackmailed, and there is a problem happening with a teenager. It is a typical mystery-detective story with Anna talking to many different people and gradually solving the various mysteries. Anna’s job is patrolling the area in her park ranger boat. She works alone, no partner. Her husband died several years earlier.
There are several interesting characters. Clues surface during the story which I like. Anna was facing danger a couple times. She impressed me with her competence at catching and arresting those stronger than she - and when she did not have her gun. There are some diving scenes with danger. Overall I have to say it was OK, but it never really grabbed me. I want to be surprised, or delighted, or smiling, which didn’t happen. But I think readers who love mystery-detective stories will be happy with this.
You need to suspend disbelief to enjoy it. Anna does some things that would not happen in real life - or should not happen - kind of stupid. Like chasing a dangerous criminal without a partner or a weapon. In one chase Anna’s fellow rangers were occupied, but she could have used her radio to get other locals or other authorities involved. Anna was new to diving, yet she was diving alone at night in dangerously deep and frigid water.
Genre: mystery detective
But it’s missing pictures available in the Kindle version. And I wanted more about STDs.
I BOUGHT THIS BECAUSE OF THE NARRATOR:
Authors: one way to get people to read your books is to have a great narrator. The best ones have fans. I wanted to buy more books narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, and this was on her list. I might never have seen it or bought it otherwise. The narrator was great. I was believing that she was Betty.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Betty describes her sexual experiences - in graphic detail with explicit language. At about halfway through I stopped. It was getting to be too much for me. So I listened to another audiobook. But after that I returned and finished it.
It changed my way of thinking about people and sex. I’m not sure what that means. Amazon reviewer Anne said “this is one of the few books this year that made me rethink who I am and where I am going.” I will say the same.
Betty was married and then divorced around 1965 at age 35. For the rest of the 60's and 70's Betty had an extremely active sex life which included sex-orgy parties. I was surprised at how much all these supposedly heterosexual people were enjoying same sex partners during these parties. Betty liked sex with almost anyone - male or female, but later her preference was for females, but she still enjoyed sex with men. In the 70's she conducted workshops for women teaching them how to masturbate. She did one workshop for men which drained her so much that she didn’t do any more for men. She published some books, the first one was on masturbation.
Betty did many odd/shocking things. One of them: she went to a bath house in San Francisco. She was the only female. She had a sex session with four men at once and then another session with someone else. This is anonymous sex. No one is supposed to talk. But after her first group she and the four guys went outside and talked. She learned that one guy preferred women but it was too hard for him to find a willing woman, so he went to bath houses for sex with men. Another guy was married but liked the thrill of anonymous sex.
Another scene that shocked me was when Betty was visiting her mother in Kansas. She saw a guy watching her through the window. She had never seen this guy before. She goes outside and talks to him. He’s big. When she senses he might be thinking of forced sex, she says “not here.” She walks him to the back yard and then she initiates sex with him. Afterwards she tells him not to come around again. He said ok and did not come back.
Another odd scene was a guy directing Betty while she fisted him. It was his idea that she try this.
Betty was not into BDSM, but she talked to people about it and tried a little of it.
Betty talks about her experiences with MS magazine, National Organization for Women, and Women Against Pornography. She talks about society and religion limiting and influencing sex. She talks about women seeking a husband to provide financial security so they could raise children. She said “Women rape themselves with the romantic dream of a perfect love.” She says it does not exist.
I wish she would have talked more about STDs. She didn’t say much but here is what she said. On two different occasions, someone in Betty’s group reported having gonorrhea. Betty never caught it. The worst thing she ever got was herpes in the late 70s, which she said was a small price to pay for all the great sex she was having. If she had a cold sore on her mouth she wouldn’t kiss anyone until it was gone. Around 1983 HIV (AIDS) became the scare. So the group sex parties changed into guests masturbating and giving each other hand jobs. AIDS also forced more monogamous relationships. Betty does not mention the HPV virus which can cause cervical and throat cancer. I understand tests to detect HPV were not very good until recently. I wanted to know how many sexually active people she knew or heard about who developed HPV cancers and HIV.
PICTURES ARE MISSING FROM THE AUDIOBOOK.
The Kindle version has photographs of Betty and some of her drawings. I wish she included a pdf file of those pictures to download, for audiobook buyers.
Genre: memoirs, nonfiction sex
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