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Oenophile

In vino veritas

ratings
264
REVIEWS
43
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
134

  • Light

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By M. John Harrison
    • Narrated By Julian Elfer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (113)

    In contemporary London, Michael Kearney is a serial killer on the run from the entity that drives him to kill. He is seeking escape in a future that doesn' t yet exist - a quantum world that he and his physicist partner hope to access through a breach of time and space itself.

    Max says: "Utterly Brilliant"
    "Maybe it is just me..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could not follow the story at all, even though the narrator seemed to be ok. The story just jumped around too fast and had too many characters all at once for me to connect.

    6 of 9 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
    (91)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (75)

    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
    (34)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (691)
    Performance
    (629)
    Story
    (627)

    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
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (20)

    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.

    Matthew says: "This one will really mess with your head..."
    "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.

    1 of 1 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
    (42)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    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.

    Oenophile says: "Loch Dubh"
    "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
  • The Man from Primrose Lane

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By James Renner
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (22)

    A mind-bending, genre-twisting debut novel. In West Akron, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known only as The the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day in 2008, someone murdered him.

    Truth T. says: "Good read, despite, not because of sci fi twist"
    "Too much work."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a very convoluted book which may have been easier to follow in print.

    Through NO fault of the narrator--he was excellent--it was often difficult for me to understand immediately in which time period the story was taking place. There were flashbacks and changes in POV and time travel and an evil cat. There were different versions of the same character. Alternate universes.

    Those with weak stomachs be aware that several descrptions of bodily functions were a bit too graphic and detailed. It is ok to say that some character vomits, but I do not really need to know all the contents of it.

    I did get to the end of the book after several starts and stops and going back over chapters. As I said, maybe it would have been better to get the print version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reliquary: Pendergast, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2635)
    Performance
    (1703)
    Story
    (1701)

    Hidden deep beneath Manhattan lies a warren of tunnels, sewers, and galleries, mostly forgotten by those who walk the streets above. There lies the ultimate secret of the Museum Beast. When two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation.

    Anastasia says: "Should have made this one into a movie..."
    "Too little background research"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Too little reseach done in some areas. Writers have the mutants suffering from vitamin D deficiency and calling it scurvy. Scurvy results from vitamin C deficiency.They describe signs of bone disease, such as bow legs,more likely to be rickets instead.

    I can suspend disbelief as well as anyone because I love mutants, zombies, aliens, vampires and ghosts as much as anyone, but the above was just sloppy writing.

    Dick Hill is a good narrator, IMHO, but to me he is Reacher, not Pendergast. I prefer Rene Auberjonois for Pendergast. I have all the Pendergast novels and some of the other books by these authors and generay enjoy them very much. This book was an anomaly and every author is entitled to one dud.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 19

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1538)
    Performance
    (1401)
    Story
    (1405)

    "You can leave the army, but the army doesn’t leave you. Not always. Not completely," notes Jack Reacher - and sure enough, the retired military cop is soon pulled back into service. This time, for the State Department and the CIA. Someone has taken a shot at the president of France in the City of Light. The bullet was American. The distance between the gunman and the target was exceptional. How many snipers can shoot from three-quarters of a mile with total confidence? Very few, but John Kott - an American marksman gone bad - is one of them...

    Jeffrey says: "Lee and Dick seem tired"
    "Lee Child: where in the world is Jack Reacher?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Where is Jack Reacher?

    He is not in this book--at least, not the Reacher I know and love! The Reacher in this book is aging out and boring. Reacher is NEVER boring. There is no life in this book's character; he is just going through the motions.

    There is a sort of fight in Chapter 27.

    I worried in the beginning of the book about the narration. Dick Hill is the voice of Reacher as far as I am concerned, but Mr Hill started out a little thin and weak at the beginning and I thought he had been ill or something, but he did pick up somewhat as the book went on. However, he seemed less energetic than usual. I hope he is ok.

    The plot meandered. I gave up caring whether or not they ever found the sniper they started out looking for in Arkansas to Paris to London etc.

    I am on Chapter 33 of 58 as I write. I am going to finish it, but it is a mere formality.

    Please find the real Reacher and bring him back. I gave the book three stars overall, but mostly from loyalty.

    44 of 53 people found this review helpful
  • Siege of the Witches

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Druga
    • Narrated By Bryan L. Anderson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    It is believed that the soul of the being is captured in the heart at the moment of death. If the soul is evil, the heart should be taken, sealed and placed far away, severing any ability the entity would have to return to this earth. Sarafina was an entity such as that. A spawn of evil from the darkest side. She held her reign in the seventeen hundreds, taking the minds of the weak and innocent to build her forces. Stealing the hearts and souls of her victims to add to her power and strength.

    Oenophile says: "No. Just no."
    "No. Just no."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Where to start?

    Terrible writing. Terrible editing. Several lines re-read as if the narration were paused and resumed.

    The narrator did his best with the material provided, but his deep, gravely voice was unsuitable for female characters.

    Total waste of a credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready to Kill: Nathan McBride, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrew Peterson
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (860)
    Performance
    (788)
    Story
    (793)

    When a mysterious note referencing a top-secret US operation is tossed over the wall of the embassy in Nicaragua, Nathan McBride and his old pal Harv are called out of retirement by CIA Director Rebecca Cantrell and sent to Central America. Cantrell wants the situation resolved quickly and knows that Nathan is the man to do it; after all, he has a history with the place. The jungle he and Harv are about to land in is the same one that Nathan barely escaped with his life decades before, an ordeal that left him physically and psychologically scarred.

    Gabe says: "Not the strongest outing of the four books."
    "Even Dick Hill"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    could not interest me in this one, although I very much enjoyed the previous books in the series.

    The characters seemed to be caricatures of their former selves with no real substance and I just did not care about them.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful

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