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Tony Aguila

The Janeite geek

Mountain View, CA USA | Member Since 2006

ratings
290
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
30

  • Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs: Jane Jameson, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5477)
    Performance
    (4198)
    Story
    (4210)

    Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children's librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed $25 in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that's sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she's mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead.

    Denise says: "What a HOOT!!!!!!!"
    "Great start!"
    Overall

    This genre has become overcrowded lately so I was pleasantly surprised by the author???s originality. She expressed great humor with her style and wit, not focusing on the mythology but on character development and human interactions instead. Ronconi???s male voices were not very convincing but still okay. Harper???s, or rather, Jane???s ???Jane Austen issues??? was the final touch to win my heart over. Fun! I immediately ordered the next two books right after finishing this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Chinese Chef

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Nicole Mones
    • Narrated By Elisabeth Rodgers, James Chen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (495)
    Performance
    (343)
    Story
    (346)

    When recently widowed Maggie McElroy is called to China to settle a claim against her late husbands estate, she is blindsided by the discovery that he may have led a double life. Since work is all that will keep her sane, her magazine editor assigns her to profile Sam, a half-Chinese American who is the last in a line of gifted chefs tracing back to the imperial palace. As she watches Sam gear up for Chinas Olympic culinary competition by planning the banquet of a lifetime, she begins to see past the cuisines artistry to glimpse its coherent expression of Chinese civilization.

    Dr. says: "Totally Satisfying - highly recommended"
    "Very satisfying, like comfort food."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of those audiobooks that I acquired primarily because of the narrator, not the author. (I would gladly listen to Elisabeth Rodgers reading the phone book.) It was a pleasant surprise, then, that the story turned out to be excellent. The Last Chinese Chef was my first Mones experience and her in-depth knowledge of Chinese culture and cuisine was obvious. Being a foodie as well, I caught myself trying to write down the recipes for the different dishes.

    Aside from being gastronomic, it was sometimes a bit too gnomic as well. With aphorisms flying left and right you might think that Lao Tzu or Confucious would jump out of the woodwork at any time. I have a number of Chinese friends but I never noticed as much philosophical proclamation as in the book. However, this might be the case in China, or maybe it’s just those Chinese chefs. Move over, Julia!

    Kudos to Elisabeth Rodgers for her very convincing Chinese accent. At least I was convinced, but since I do not speak it myself, I will leave final judgment to the Chinese-speaking readers out there.

    All in all, it was an excellent and very satisfying read—much like the sumptuous dishes described within. And maybe it’s true what they say about Chinese food—I found myself wanting more just half and hour after finishing the book. I am hoping for seconds from Ms Mones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bride

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Julie Garwood
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1995)
    Performance
    (1246)
    Story
    (1256)

    By edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie the feisty youngest daughter of Baron Jamison. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian. Though his kisses fired her blood, shadowed secrets from Alec's past threatened Jamie's happiness. She brazenly resisted him - until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills.

    XYZPDQ says: "Early works released in MP3 at last!!"
    "Excellent, all around"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This was my first Julie Garwood experience. It was well-balanced, neither too dark nor too mawkish???a very satisfying read, indeed. The tension established from several quarters early on hung over the story throughout, coming to satisfactory resolutions in the end. This book was certainly NOT haphazardly written.

    The narration by Rosalyn Landor was superb. Her male voices were never distracting and never gave one the sense that this was a woman straining to fake a male character.

    I will definitely be getting into more of the work by both performers.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bitten: Women of the Otherworld, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kelley Armstrong
    • Narrated By Aasne Vigesaa
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1380)
    Performance
    (730)
    Story
    (738)

    Young, beautiful, and successful, Elena Michaels seems to have it all. Her happy, organized life follows a predictable pattern: filing stories for her job as a journalist, working out at the gym, living with her architect boyfriend, and lunching with her girlfriends from the office. And once a week, in the dead of night, she streaks through a downtown ravine, naked and furred, tearing at the throats of her animal prey. Elena Michaels is a werewolf.

    Autumn says: "My favorite Audio title"
    "Below par narration..."
    Overall

    I love the genre, but this book left me dissatisfied. I am not certain, but I think the fault lay mainly in the narration. During the listen, I kept imagining how I would feel had I been reading it in print and I always got the feeling that it was the narration that turned me off.

    The narration aside, I found myself feeling depressed throughout. A bit of comic relief would have given it greater balance. Now I really have to think hard whether or not to give the second book in the series a try. There are too many other good books out there to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead In the Family: Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #10

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Charlaine Harris
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    Overall
    (4163)
    Performance
    (1934)
    Story
    (1939)

    Finally settled with Viking vampire Eric, Sookie finds normalcy just as chaos surrounds her. Sookie’s former lover Bill, her boss Sam, and even Eric are struggling with family problems. Then things get really interesting when the werewolves tell Sookie an ominous presence is lurking.

    BRANDON says: "Harris or FanFic?"
    "Baggage-laden"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    On par with the other books, although not as action-packed as book 9, I could sense that it was getting more and more difficult for the author to provide background information on the characters and events. This is good for those who have not read the previous volumes (and for the sake of selling more copies!) but it gets a bit tedious for those of us who have read (and re-read) the earlier books. Perhaps she should come out with a version for Sookie veterans, and an "expanded" version for novices.

    Johanna Parker, of course, was a joy to listen to, as always. I just wish to suggest, let's bone up on the Russian accent, shall we?

    To the author's credit, the story ended with no unresolved issues, unlike some works of the same genre that end with cliffhangers, obviously to hook the reader into buying the next book.

    Overall, the storytelling and character development were excellent. In spite of the (necessary) tedium, I look forward to book 11, or an interim short story, if one is forthcoming.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Secret Rage

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Charlaine Harris
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    Overall
    (202)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (114)

    Former New York City model Nickie Callahan is looking forward to the easy life when she moves to the sleepy college town of Knolls, Tennessee. But the women of Knolls are not safe. And as Nickie gets swept up in a string of brutally violent crimes, she must take matters of justice into her own hands.

    Tony Aguila says: "Trademark Charlaine Harris"
    "Trademark Charlaine Harris"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is something about the way Charlaine Harris develops the character, and Johanna Parker's delivery, that quickly endears the character to the reader. No wonder, then, that when the drama and the tragedy unfold, you cannot help but empathize with the heroine. It pierced my soul.

    My only complaint is that this was never made into a series. Oh, and the references to Jane Austen were a welcome touch!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Born in Fire: Born In Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Fiacre Douglas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1408)
    Performance
    (922)
    Story
    (919)

    Maggie Concannon is a glassmaker whose exquisite works are more than mere objects of beauty: they are reflections of her own true nature. One man has seen the soul in her art, and vows to help this complex woman build a lucrative career.

    Robbie says: "Ho hum"
    "Hot story, cold narration"
    Overall

    This audiobook badly needed a female narrator. Why Roberts (or, rather Robb) chose one for her In Death series and not for this one, I cannot comprehend. You could get used to the narrator after a while but it still bothered me that oftentimes you cannot distinguish which character was speaking because the transitions were not clear enough. Five stars for the book, four for the audiobook, for the above reason.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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