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Oenophile

In vino veritas

ratings
327
REVIEWS
48
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
143

  • The Pyramid of Doom: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Andy McDermott
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (41)

    An international TV audience waits breathlessly as archaeologists prepare to break into a long-hidden vault beneath the Great Sphinx. But archaeology student Macy Sharif has already made her own shocking discovery: a religious cult raiding the site. Their prize? A map that will lead to something far more astounding: the lost pyramid of Osiris. Framed by corrupt officials, Macy goes on the run, trying to reach the only people who can save her before she is silenced---permanently.

    Oenophile says: "Staccato"
    "Staccato"
    Overall

    This book was difficult to follow because of the rapid-fire narration. Mr. Jackson barely took a breath.

    I could not grasp the different characters nor transition easily during changes of scene, so I stopped listening at about an hour into the book.

    I will try to pick it up again sometime in the next month because I hate to waste credits and the book itself may turn out to be good.

    I long for James Marsters.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Predator One: A Joe Ledger Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (629)
    Performance
    (581)
    Story
    (576)

    On opening day of the new baseball season, a small model-kit airplane flies down from the stands and buzzes the mound, where a decorated veteran pilot is about to throw out the first ball. The toy plane is the exact replica of the one flown by the war hero. Everyone laughs, thinking it's a prank or a publicity stunt. Until it explodes, killing dozens.

    Emily says: "The best Ledger so far...by far. "
    "Ledger and Porter!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ledger and Porter are always a winning combination. This is another superb volume in the DMS saga. The book ties in nicely with all the other books and mini-stories and I found myself nodding and saying, "I remember that" when flashbacks or memories are recalled.

    The only con against the book--and YMMV--is that early in the book there are a couple graphic scenes of torture and sex that I did not care for. I fast-forwarded thru them. Don't let that deter you from getting the book, just be prepared to ff if you don't care for that part either.

    All in all this was a great wind up to the Seven Kings epic. I did a marathon and listened to the whole thing at once nonstop.

    We need more Bunny, too, Mr Maberry.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • When a Child Is Born: A Chronicles of St. Mary's Short Story

    • UNABRIDGED (32 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (54)

    The time-travel series that everyone's talking about.... Jodi Taylor's The Chronicles of St. Mary's is back with a short story. It's Christmas Day 1066, and a team from St Mary's is going to witness the coronation of William the Conqueror. Or so they think.... However, history seems to have different plans for them, and when Max finds herself delivering a child in a peasant's hut, she can't help wondering what history is up to.

    ficken says: "Sweet story for any season"
    "Alternate Magi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very cute feminist version of the Christmas story.

    Max succeeds in spite of herself. Again.

    A brief,but enjoyable, gem.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13260)
    Performance
    (12038)
    Story
    (12070)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Charles says: "Completely Engaging"
    "I liked this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book. First, because I like Lovecraft and his universe. Second, because I really, really like Ray Porter's narration. Third, because the characters in the book are fun--for the most part. The baddies are smarmy-bad and squishy and some of them are large, tentacled and completely food-oriented.

    The book has everything: a Scooby-doo cast of characters, an out-there artist who is often naked while sunbathing, a computer geek, a mysterious old house with a room opening onto deep space, the Great Old Ones, dimensional shifts, a murder mystery, a cult...everything.

    You will, of course, need to suspend disbelief completely,but that's not a problem...right?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Facade

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    • Narrated By Dan Boice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Thomas fell in love with the Oregon Coast while filming his signature role as Anthony Short. Then his estranged daughter, Heather, died there, and Thomas fled. He's returned now, not to solve his daughter's murder, but to see if he can live with himself and his past. Only someone leaves mysterious notes, signed Your Daughter, and birds die on his porch. Strangers report a man in a cloak who looks just like Thomas, but the fans who follow him everywhere don't see anyone.

    Oenophile says: "I read this twice"
    "I read this twice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book twice to see if I missed anything because the ending was too abrupt and unsatisfying. Not Ms Rusch's best.

    As others have noted, the main character, Thomas, is an egotistical and unlikeable person. He is an actor with a troubled past and a traumatic childhood. His mother never really loved him, his father molested and later killed Thomas' sister. He spent time in a series of foster homes. So, I don't hold it against him that he is not very likeable.

    Thomas buys a house in a seaside village where a show he was in was filmed but he doesn't remember the village much because of drugs he was doing while filming. But some of the villagers remember him--not favorably. A woman had been killed in the house some years before. After a bit, Thomas' daughter visits him and is killed. The death remains unsolved--until the very end of this book.

    Some time later, Thomas breaks his leg during the filming of the tv series in which he is starring and returns to the house to recuperate. He has a heavy cast and must use crutches. Birds are killed and nailed to his door, he receives notes from his dead daughter and women begin dying in gruesome ways. Thomas is not a suspect because he can hardly hobble around, although people report seeing a man much like him in the costume Thomas wears on set in the show.

    Then, in a very sudden ending, it turns out that the killer is some sort of split-off energy alter ego of Thomas' and kills for some reason we never learn. They fight, merge back into one being and roll off a cliff. And that's it.

    Ms Rusch's "Retrieval Artist" series is MUCH superior. I have all of those and enjoy them. If you have not read them and are starting off with this book, don't let this one put you off. Fortunately, I started off with the "Retrieval Artist" series, or I may have been tempted to pass on her other books if I had read only Facade--the book is actually not bad until the ending, which is just too inexplicable. I suspected the killer would be some version of Thomas, somehow, but the denoument is unsatisfyingly written.

    The narration is good. The editing pretty good, although once or twice a line is repeated from where narration paused and restarted, but not too distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Horrorscope

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Brian Evans, Helen Bousquet, Mark Biltz
    • Narrated By Roberto Scarlato
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    When a psychic is forced to provide predictions to the Mafia in order to keep their crimes from being foiled, Helen Wilson must weigh the balance of her gift with the consequences of complying with the mob. When an underboss believes she is a threat to their criminal enterprise, he has the psychic killed. Her death causes a physical manifestation of the signs of the zodiac, who seek revenge for her murder. The signs begin a mission of revenge, as each creature targets those involved in the psychic's death.

    Oenophile says: "Interesting premise"
    "Interesting premise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was about a psychic who becomes unwillingly involved with the mob. It was moderately well done, for a first novel. This psychic is killed by the mob boss after he is lied to about one of her predictions--powers in the form of zodiac signs-come-to-life manifest themselves to avenge her death.

    I don't have a problem so far suspending disbelief(heaven knows, I 've read about zombies, time travel, wizards and vampires) but felt supersizing the manifestations was overkill. I did have a bit of difficulty with the author's idea that information can be "inhaled". I don't know why, just that it seemed odd phrasing to me.

    With regard to the narrator, his voice is very pleasant; he does the dialog part of the story very well. During the background narration part, though, he pauses at awkward places and there are a few mispronuciations. I thought he might have been a promising beginner, but after listening to the book, I checked his name and found he has narrated quite a few.

    I would be willing to listen to him again on a second book. If that is improved, I would listen to more.

    The editing was a bit sloppy--there are lines and words repeated in places where it seems the narration was paused, then resumed.

    All in all, I got through the book okay. It is far from the worst book I have purchased and it IS a first novel for the author, according to the notes at the end. So I am willing to cut it a lot of slack. After all, I myself have NO published work. It did not require a lot of mental effort to listen to and was fine for background while doing chores around the house.

    The novel ends with the words "to be continued...", so there is apparently a sequel in the works. I would be willing to purchase it to see how the author and the story progress--I am guessing that the story will follow the travels of the mysterious table that once belonged to Nostradamus and, eventually, to the psychic in this story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage: An Agatha Raisin Mystery, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Penelope Keith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (92)

    Almost bigamy and absolute murder - Agatha Raisin's life is never dull.... The morning of Agatha's longed-for marriage to James Lacey dawns bright and clear. But her luck runs out in the church when Jimmy, the husband she had believed long dead, turns up large as life and twice as ugly. Agatha has a go at strangling him. It's all too much for James, who breaks off the engagement. So when Jimmy is found murdered the next day, Agatha and James are both suspects. And they'll have to work together in order to clear their names....

    Beatrice says: "Marriage in the Cotswold"
    "Addictive series, but I don't know why."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have started at book one in this series and am making my way through them in order. I have all the Hamish Macbeth books by this author as well.

    Unlike the Macbeth books, the main two characters in this series are not really likeable, although Agatha is sort of growing on me as we go along in the series. Maybe her love interest, James Lacey, will do the same eventually.

    So far, I have not been able to guess the murderer with certainty in any of the books, so that is a big plus. As with the Macbeth books, I feel like I am coming to know the entire village cast of characters as their backgrounds are brought to light from book to book. If the characters are typical of British people, they are extremely outspoken and blunt, to put it mildly.

    Agatha is very interesting. She is a self-made woman who has become wealthy after having dragged herself out of her beginnings in the slums. Naturally, she is very tough and untrusting. She does not hesitate to bulldoze her way to the results she wants. After she took and early retirement and moved to the Cotswolds, she is befriended by the villagers even though she has not always been entirely scrupulous in some of her past dealings with them, such as trying to cheat her way to a baking prize and a gardening prize. She gets found out but learns from these mistakes when she realizes that, unlike in her former business, she doesn't have to "win" all the time to be liked.

    In this book, her love interest, James Lacey, and she have agreed to be married and the wedding arranged. Unfortunately, Agatha has neglected to to tell anyone her husband is still living. When said husband shows up at the altar, mayhem and murder ensue.

    Both Agatha and James are suspects for a time, but are cleared eventually. James is in a snit because Agatha did not tell him of the husband's existence and takes off for a while. But Agatha has sold her cottage preparatory to marrying James and moving in, so she stays with him briefly while maneuvering to get her own house back and realizes she doen't know him very well.

    As I said, Agatha--although not very likeable--is growing on me because the books reveal why she acts the way she does as the series progresses, but James seems a selfish man with the regimented lifestyle of a longterm military bachelor. I do not much care for him at this point. The characters I like best in the series are the vicar's wife and the detective sargeant Bill Wong, who is a good friend to Agatha despite their age difference.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vacant: Mindspace Investigations, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Alex Hughes
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    Overall
    (144)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (132)

    Nothing ruins a romantic evening like a brawl with lowlifes - especially when one of them later turns up dead and my date, Detective Isabella Cherabino, is the number one suspect. My history with the Atlanta PD on both sides of the law makes me an unreliable witness, so while Cherabino is suspended, I'm paying my bills by taking an FBI gig. I've been hired to play telepathic bodyguard for Tommy, the 10-year-old son of a superior court judge in Savannah presiding over the murder trial of a mob-connected mogul.

    Bunty says: "Excellent! Good plot and superb narration!"
    "Interesting character."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Vacant to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, so I can't really compare directly. I love audiobooks when the narrator is good. I enjoy Daniel Thomas May's performance very much. I always know which of the characters he voices is speaking.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The main character, Adam Ward, is my favorite. Sometimes I like him and sometimes I am aggravated with him. He is a walking contradiction at times. He is very intelligent but somewhat immature emotionally. It is the emotional aspect of his character that seems to get him into trouble. He makes some really dumb decisions at times, but recovers and learns from them. He takes responsibility for his actions, though, and does have ethics even though, at the height of his addiction, he violated many of them.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene in the motel room where Adam finds a vial of the drug he is addicted to was my favorite.


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

    In this motel scene where he finds the drug that was left as a trap for him, he struggles with the desire to use the drug versus the desire to remain clean. It is a mark of his progress in character development that the struggles to stay clean have become shorter as he realizes he has more desire to keep the good things in his life than he wants to use the drug, although he will always have the cravings.


    Any additional comments?

    Adam is also better able to lessen some of his dependence on others and to function more independently. He handles his own money now and is not so dependent on Cherabino as a work partner and he is working better with others. He fell a long way from his Guild Professor status and was emotionally and intellectually damaged by the drug, but is slowly crawling out of the pit. He has made a lot of progress compared to where he was in Book One.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Labyrinth

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1870)
    Performance
    (1684)
    Story
    (1674)

    A long-buried family secret resurfaces when one of Aloysius Pendergast's most implacable enemies shows up on his doorstep as a murdered corpse. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect murder, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased. The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California's desolate Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his family's sinister past.

    G. House Sr. says: "Twists and Tuns in the Pendergast Family Tree"
    "A Good Resolution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Blue Labyrinth the most enjoyable?

    I always enjoy the Pendergast books. Pendergast had started, in some of the previous books, to seem somewhat infallible and superhuman. This book brought him back down to earth and showed him to have some human weaknesses after all, while retaining his great will and self-discipline. I was pleased to see that two of the female characters, the Misses Green, had well rounded roles and were not relegated to being damsels in distress.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Constance Green is my favorite character in this book. She showed how far she would go to help Pendergast, even at great physical cost to herself. She has adapted well to modern society and has overcome many obstacles over the course of the series.


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

    I have listened to all the Pendergast novels that he has narrated. His voice is very mellow and pleasing. He has a nice range that can encompass male and female voices and several accents. I always enjoy his presentations.


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

    The scene in which Pendergast witnesses the autopsy of Alban was moving. I have seen two autopsies and I cannot imagine doing that if it were my son. The author described Pendergast's willpower and determination perfectly.


    Any additional comments?

    The authors need help with medical scenes. I am a nurse and the EMT/ hospital scene at the end of the book was the only really bad one. I gave the book four stars instead of five because of it. I noted a similar problem in one of the other books, I cannot remember which one at the moment. I am willing to suspend a LOT of disbelief, but when scenes involve reality that could be checked for accuracy and believabilty, there is little excuse for the poor work. They need to get input from a doctor and/or a nurse when writing these. If they had input, they need to get someone else. Don't let the one bad scene deter you from buying the book, though.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Final Winter

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Iain Rob Wright
    • Narrated By Chris Barnes
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (37)

    On a night when it begins snowing in every country of the world, an ordinary group of people gather at a rundown English pub to take shelter from the cold. At first they assume the weather is just some random occurrence, but as the night goes on, strange things happen, and it isn't long before the group begin to realize that something far more sinister is at hand than just the weather. Something that none of them could ever have imagined. By the end of the night, not everyone will make it, and those that do may wish they hadn't.

    Kim Venatries says: "Bring Your Own Blanket and Hot Beverage!"
    "The Devil Is In The Details"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, I would recommend this book for passing the time enjoyably. I found it to have an interesting take on the character of the Devil. I quite liked him, as a matter of fact.

    I don't know that I would read it multiple times, but once was certainly ok and maybe twice.


    What three words best describe Chris Barnes’s performance?

    Young, Scottish, unique.


    Could you see The Final Winter being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I cannot see its being made into a series, but, perhaps a movie. I would put Kevin Ryan as the Devil, Orlando Bloom as the Archangel Michael and Benedict Cumberbatch as Harry. For females: Kristen Stewart as Kath and Evan Rachel Wood as Steph.


    Any additional comments?

    I think the author needs to work more on character development. These were a bit like cardboard cutouts. The narrator has a Scottish accent, which I like, but for USA listeners, it may take a few minutes to get used to. The narrator is in his 30s, but sounds younger, so I did think him appropriate for this book. He did a pretty good Irish accent for the Devil. Needs a little more practice on differentiating other voices, but he is relatively new and I think he will get better. I found him easy to listen to and would have no problem listening to him again. The book had an interesting premise. Instead of making a deal with the devil, the main character has to cut a deal with God.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Death of a Perfect Wife: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Shaun Grindell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (55)

    Hamish Macbeth, the laid-back constable of Lochdubh, Scotland, has a new Land Rover to drive and a Highland summer to savor, but as fast as rain rolls in from the loch, his happy life goes to hell in a hand basket. The trouble begins when his beloved Priscilla Halburton-Smythe returns from London - with a fiancé on her arm. His miseries multiply when clouds of midges, the diabolical Scottish mosquito, descend on the town. Then a paragon of housewifery named Trixie Thomas moves into Lochdubh with her lapdog husband in tow.

    Beatrice says: "A Pleasant Trip to Lochdubh"
    "Loch Dubh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoy the whole Hamish Macbeth series. I feel as though I know the whole village. The books are formulaic, but that is ok when you just want to pass the time pleasantly.

    I was a bit hesitant to get the books narrated by Shaun Grindell because the first books I bought had been narrated by Graeme Malcolm, who was very good. Although Mr Malcolm is still the better reader in my opinion, once I adjusted to the change of a familiar character sounding different, Mr Grindell was pleasant enough, especially when doing accents. He does sound a little younger than Mr Malcolm, so he is appropriate for a man in his thirties, like Hamish.

    We all know the "perfect woman" who sort of tyrannizes people into doing everything her way--in a "nice" way, of course. She is the perfect Stepford housewife who turns the women into little automatons and the men into desperate souls who just want their meat and potatoes back.

    It is hard to blame the killer--a man's gotta eat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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