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Robin A. Gower

Robin

Point Pleasant, NJ USA | Member Since 2005

10
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 79 ratings
  • 1522 titles in library
  • 139 purchased in 2014
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  • The Woman Who Died a Lot: A Thursday Next Novel, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jasper Fforde
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (350)
    Performance
    (309)
    Story
    (313)

    Jasper Fforde's delightfully zany Thursday Next series shows no signs of slowing down with its seventh entry, The Woman Who Died a Lot. Despite being semihappily semi-retired from SpecOps, Thursday accepts the head librarian position at the Swindon library. But soon threats from a supreme Deity, a mnemonomorph, and the nefarious Goliath corporation press Thursday back into active duty.

    Lenny says: "Great continuation of the Thursday Next series"
    "Inspired silliness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Woman Who Died a Lot again? Why?

    Sure -- on a rainy day while knitting or doing a puzzle.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jenny -- who doesn't exist. But Fforde has done a great job here with Landon, formerly a stick character.


    What does Emily Gray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Emily Gray IS Thursday Next. She makes Fforde's absurd and increasingly complex world plausible.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All She Wrote: Holmes and Moriarity, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Josh Lanyon
    • Narrated By Kevin R. Free
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (151)

    A murderous fall down icy stairs is nearly the death of Anna Hitchcock, the much-beloved "American Agatha Christie" and Christopher Holmes' former mentor. Anna's plea for him to host her annual winter writing retreat touches all Kit's sore spots - traveling, teaching writing classes, and separation from his new lover, J.X. Moriarity. For J.X., Kit's cancellation of yet another romantic weekend is the death knell of a relationship that has been limping along for months. But that's just as well, right?

    Anthony says: "Josh Lanyon does it again!!"
    "Classic tale; modern mores"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does All She Wrote rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a traditional murder mystery inhabited by many of the usual suspects. It contains likable characters and provides gossipy insights into the publishing world. The protagonist's insecurities are endearing if overdone, and his boyfriend (an ex-cop) is too dishy and too tender to be true. I was slightly embarrassed to learn more about the mechanics of gay sex than I was ready to know -- but then, I am an older woman raised in an age more given to implication than to description. Nothing offensive here, though -- in fact, it's downright sentimental. The mystery is satisfying, and justice is done, though in secret. The narration is smooth and well paced, fitting the characters well.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dagger and the Cross: A Novel of Crusades

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Judith Tarr
    • Narrated By James Patrick Cronin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In the time of the Crusades, in a world at war, a prince of immortal lineage and a spirit of fire who was once an assassin prepare to celebrate a royal wedding. But he is Christian and she is Muslim, and there are those who hate them not only for their disparate faiths but for their power and magic.

    Robin A. Gower says: ""Afterwards" to the fabulous Alamut"
    ""Afterwards" to the fabulous Alamut"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Tarr is a real master of historical detail and the creator of a magical past that is internally consistent and complements the scholarly past seemlessly. In the Dagger and the Cross, she returns to the Crusader Kingdom and displays her understanding of political pressures in both the Christian and the Islamic worlds. The dilemma that motivates the action -- the need for a papal dispensation for marriage between a nominally Christian mage prince and a half-wild Muslim afrit -- does not have much emotional force, but the supporting characters are strong, the sociological framework is credible, and the spiritual evil of intolerance in the Inquistors is satisfyingly threatening.

    This book is a sequel to Alamut, and essential listening for those who treasure that brilliant work of fantastic historical imagination.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hounds of God

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Judith Tarr
    • Narrated By James Patrick Cronin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Alfred of St. Ruan's Abbey is a monk and a scholar, a religious man whose vocation is beyond question. But Alfred is also, without a doubt, one of the fair folk, for though he is more than seventy years old by the Abbey's records, he seems to be only a youth. But Alfred is drawn from the haven of his monastery into his dangerous currents of politics when an ambassador from the kingdom of Rhiyana to Richard Coeur de Leon is wounded and Alfred himself is sent to complete the mission.

    Robin A. Gower says: "Available at last"
    "Available at last"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Hounds of God?

    The Hound and the Falcon trilogy has long been one of my favorite fastasy/history series, and I am delighted that it is now available on Audible. Judith Tarr is deeply knowledgeable about Celtic legends, the Crusades and the medieval church, and she has created an internally consistent alternate reality compounded to the mix. Her characters are heroic but flawed, though most of the villains are thoroughly corrupted. Who would have thought that a question of the existence vel non of the human soul could be presented with such poignancy? The magic is not crude, cute or silly; it is integral to the story. Tarr is interested in how people know and touch each other; her magic is used mostly to create intimacies that most real people long for but never achieve.


    What other book might you compare The Hounds of God to and why?

    Other books by Tarr. Alamut, a prequel to the Hound and the Falcon, is masterful. Tarr's focus on the challenges and vulnerabilities of interpersonal communication is reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness. Tarr's work is not as epic as Tolkien, and it is more serious than Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books, but I'd place them all near to each other on the bookshelf.


    What three words best describe James Patrick Cronin’s performance?

    I must answer in more that three words. As a narrator and voice actor, Cronin is admirable. His voices fit the characters well, although he makes the deaf young man sound a bit doltish. However, I wish that Cronin had been better prepared to read the book. A few relatively unusual English words are mispronounced, which is irritating; worse still is that words relating specifically to the medieval world and the medieval church, names from the Bible and of Greek and Latin authors are almost always wrong and sometimes barely recognizable. Cronin obviously knows no French or Latin, and regularly mispronounces words in those languages, although he is master of a credible French accent. His recitation of Latin texts is hideous, betraying the fact that he has no idea what is saying or how it should be punctuated, and has no sensitivity to what is, after all, a metrical language.. I won't let these gripes ruin the book for me, but these frequent errors fall like screeching chalk on the blackboard. Shouldn't a professional reader check on pronunciations before he starts to perform?


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, I cried at the end. Attachment always brings suffering; the question is, is it worth it?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Schism: Triad, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Catherine Asaro
    • Narrated By Suzanne Weintraub, Catherine Asaro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    In 2002, Catherine Asaro won the Nebula Award for The Quantum Rose, the sixth novel in her Saga of the Skolian Empire. This very same novel was also named Best SF Novel by the Romantic Times. Schism: Part One of Triad is the 10th novel in this multiple award-winning series

    Rebecca says: "Poor Narrator Distracts from Good Book"
    "Well, I didn't stop listening..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Schism? What did you like least?

    Schism is intended as light reading, and it is mildly entertaining. I didn't love the characters or their world. The social differences that are supposed to motivate the society were not credible to me. I listened to the entire book (which I do not always do when I dislike the story), but I won't follow the series.


    Did Suzanne Weintraub and Catherine Asaro do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The narration was smooth, but the reading is full of mispronunciations of middle-school level words. Isn't there a director or editor who polices these mistakes? About halfway through, I began to jot down the words irritatingly mispronounced by the narrator -- they include bohemoth, affluent, tumult, chasm, implacable, simulacrum, molecular and neutrino. Other listeners might not notice, but these errors distract me and detract from my enjoyment of the story.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5279)
    Performance
    (4762)
    Story
    (4849)

    The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.

    Ellen says: "At last - The Definitive Recording!"
    "The story than which there is no greater"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is by far the most exciting, most literate, most frightening, most elevating, most imaginative, most humane story ever written.If you have only seen the film, well, too bad. All that remains to be said is that Rob Inglis' narration is masterful.If you have only one credit, use it here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Getting Stoned with the Savages: A Trip through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By J. Maarten Troost
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (338)
    Performance
    (145)
    Story
    (147)

    After two grueling years on the island of Tarawa, Troost was in no hurry to return to the South Pacific until he began to feel remarkably out of place in modern America. He knew it was time to set off again for parts unknown. Here he tells the story of his time on Vanuatu, a cluster of islands where he struggles against typhoons, earthquakes, and giant centipedes but finds himself swept up in the laid-back, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders.

    L. Worthington says: "My new favorite author!"
    "Perfect of its sort."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Getting Stoned with the Savages the most enjoyable?

    A memoir of two years on a South Pacific coral atoll written a counter cultural Dutch/ Czech/American ne'er-do-well who has nevertheless done very well as an observer of his world and fearless taster of unaccustomed customs. He must equally amuse and frustrate his NGO administrator girlfriend/spouse. As a former recruiter of volunteers for service in the South Pacific, I appreciated the absurd authenticity of his tale.

    This is one of the few books that has delighted both my mildly rebellious daughter and her fuddy duddy mother.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    You mean that wasn't Martin himself? You could have fooled me. Simon Vance is also the best of his ilk.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Spirit Ring

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (146)

    Fiametta Beneforte dreamed of making beautiful and enchanted objets d'art, but alas her magician-goldsmith father was more likely to have her scrub the kiln than study magic. After all, it was a waste to train a mere daughter beyond the needs of the moment.... Thur Ochs dreamed of escaping the icy mines of Bruinwald. But the letter from his brother Uri arranging his apprenticeship to Master Beneforte was not the only force that drew him over the mountains to the Duchy of Montefoglia.

    Becca says: "On the whole, a disappointment"
    "Okay"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Anything 'Bujold has written is worth a listen, but this certainly would not have made me the avid fan I am of her other works. It's a good, solid, historical/magic genre tale.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Laughter of Dead Kings: The Sixth Vicky Bliss Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Peters
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    Overall
    (260)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (119)

    Who stole one of Egypt's most priceless treasures? That is the question that haunts the authorities after a distinguished British gentleman with an upper-crust accent cons his way past a security guard and escapes into the desert carrying a world-famous, one-of-a-kind historic relic. But the Egyptian authorities and Interpol believe they know the identity of the culprit.

    Loves To Read says: "I love Vicki Bliss"
    "An absolute hoot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Laughter of Dead Kings rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is not the "best" Elizabeth Peters novel in terms of complexity of character development or literary merit. It is, however, the funniest thing that she has ever written -- the author's ebullient satire of Vicky, Amelia and even herself. I loved the book, I love Vicky, I adore Amelia and embrace Mrs. Mertz, who deserves to have the most famous swordsman in Europe as her adoring admirer. This fast-moving farcical thriller will be celebrated most by the millions of fans of Vicky Bliss and Amelia Peabody, but it can be appreciated by anyone whose sense of adventure is as broad as her sense of the absurd.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cryoburn: A Miles Vorkosigan Adventure

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (1287)
    Performance
    (700)
    Story
    (699)

    Kibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove—he’s been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp—an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future—attempts to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire, Emperor Gregor dispatches his top troubleshooter, Miles, to check it out

    Kevin says: "Its nice to come Home!"
    "Wonderful entertainment"
    Overall

    Lord Auditor Miles Vorkosigan is as irreverent, as charming, as fascinating and as human as ever. The characters change, grow -- but never become predictable or stale. Great fun.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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