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Svetlana

CBETA

OR, United States | Member Since 2004

ratings
242
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
57

  • Corduroy Mansions: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (349)
    Performance
    (233)
    Story
    (232)

    In London’s Pimlico neighborhood lies a tenement described in architectural guides as “a building of no interest whatsoever.” But the residents of Corduroy Mansions—including a literary agent, a wine merchant, a thoroughly unpleasant member of Parliament, and a vegetarian dog—are a rather fascinating lot.

    connie says: "Oedipus Snark, MP"
    "Still good, yet far from the best."
    Overall

    I am a big fan of Mr. Alexander McCall Smith, but, after having listened to Corduroy Mention, I felt a bit disappointed. It resembles the 44 Scotland street series in its setup, well, only it takes place in London. However, it is much flatter than the Edinburgh-placed stories: the characters are harder to engage with, there are too many of the second-plan people and stories, and London is not really present, not even in the background (and one expects the location to play at least some role in McCall Smith???s books). To me, the book felt busy and lacking depth, and some story lines were left uncompleted or not fully realized, or not connected to each other in any meaningful way.

    19 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Joanne Fluke
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    Overall
    (284)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (159)

    In her first foray into the sleuthing game, resourceful, red-headed Hannah Swensen must find the right ingredients to solve two perplexing murders. One chilly morning on her way to The Cookie Jar, Hannah discovers Ron, the dairy delivery man, shot dead in his truck. When she begins to investigate, she suspects the dairy owner. But when he, too, is murdered, Hannah must look further afield for the culprit.

    Kay says: "so disappointed ..."
    "First and last book of the series for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder?

    It feels like the author was trying to mix all the necessary ingredients of a good cozy mystery (a small town, a small shop, a cat, even cookie recipes), but the dish just did not work out. I could not make myself to care for the characters; the location was neither interesting nor atmospheric, the mystery itself, especially the outcome, was just not good enough, or subtle enough. I do not think I will be listening to any more books in the series. That's how the cookie crumbles, I guess.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Budley Falls from Grace: The Poor Relation, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Davina Poter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (175)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (152)

    Eliza Budley is a beautiful widow whose husband gambled away his fortune. Lady Fortescue reminds the others that, to be fair, Mrs. Budley has no relatives on whom she can call. Gentle Mrs. Budley thinks she has escaped her fate until Sir Philip comes up with a plan: He has heard that the elderly Marquess of Peterhouse is senile, a widower, extremely rich, and unlikely to remember whether Mrs. Budley is a relative or not. So off Mrs. Budley goes. But the marquess turns out to be not so old, hardly senile, and, in fact, quite handsome.

    Clare says: "Consistant Light Romantic Regency Fare"
    "lovely and entertaining, if a bit predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Mrs. Budley Falls from Grace the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed this amusing story about the Poor Relations. It is fast and fun. We follow Mrs. Budley on her thieving expedition, and, what follows is pretty funny. Humor gets a bit crude, but all in all, another great book in the series. Done with this book in the series; and off my credit goes for the next one!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The September Society: Charles Lenox Mysteries Series #2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Charles Finch
    • Narrated By James Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (47)

    In the small hours of the morning one fall day in 1866, a frantic widow visits detective Charles Lenox. Lady Annabelle's problem is simple: her beloved son, George, has vanished from his room at Oxford. When Lenox visits his alma mater to investigate he discovers a series of bizarre clues, including a murdered cat and a card cryptically referring to "The September Society". Then, just as Lenox realizes that the case may be deeper than it appears, a student dies, the victim of foul play.

    Therese says: "Great audiobook"
    "convoluted and pontificating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    More convincing characters, better grounding in the time period, clearer story line and omitting copy-pastes from Oxford tour guide could have made it better. This book is an exceptional failure, in my view.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I did not mind the narrator one way or the other, the story, however, was week, to say the least.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The September Society?

    I would definitely try to cut down on pontificating about Oxford and the Parliament a bit. It's better to "show" those things than to "explain" them.


    Any additional comments?

    After the first book which was so-so, I decided to give the series a try, and I feel sorry I did. That's it for me, personally!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Emily Goes to Exeter: The Traveling Matchmaker, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Helen Lisanti
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (78)

    A dead employer’s legacy of five thousand pounds allows spinster Hannah Pym to resign from housekeeping and find adventure traveling the English countryside by stagecoach. But adventure soon finds Miss Pym in the form of Miss Emily Freemantle, a spoilt violet-eyed beauty fleeing an arranged marriage to a rake she has never met. When the girl’s darkly handsome betrothed boards their stage, Miss Pym is certain Emily was rash to bolt from this aristocratic catch!

    Kelly says: "love the matchmaker"
    "cute, if a bit predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare Emily Goes to Exeter to and why?

    The book reminds me of Alexander McCall Smith's books, with a thoughly "good" main character, smooth rythm of the story, and attention to background.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    To me, the performance seemed consistently irritating - half of the characters sound like whispy toddlers.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, a lovely book, especially if you find the narrator tolerable; I am definitely downloading the next book from the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • On What Grounds

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Cleo Coyle
    • Narrated By Rebecca Gibel
    Overall
    (393)
    Performance
    (340)
    Story
    (342)

    Clare Cosi used to manage the historic Village Blend coffeehouse…until she opted for quieter pastures and a more suburban life. But after ten years and a little friendly cajoling from the owner (a fresh pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain was all it took), she's back to the grind. With a sprawling rent-free apartment directly above the Village Blend, her cat Java by her side, and plenty of coffeehouse redecorating ideas, Clare is thrilled to return to work. Until she discovers the assistant manager unconscious in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere.

    Pam says: "Stands out"
    "incipid"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about On What Grounds?

    The story has a promise of a good "cozy mystery," but it does not deliver. To me, there were too many annoying moments, unexciting and repetitive coffee factoids, and self-righteous characters.
    It is hard to separate author's efforts from the narrator's contribution - but together they succeeded at making their characters sounding like pompous narcissists. I could not connect or like either of them.
    As mysteries go, this one is good enough. As coffee goes - the author did not tell us anything we cannot read on a box of any espresso-maker, really. And, as characters go, nobody to like. As for the location, it feels like the author tries hard to sell it, but she does not show us anything, so that we would have a chance to like it ??? all these things make it a major miss for a mystery series. At this time I am pretty sure I am not going to buy any more books from this series. ??? And I had such high hopes, since I love coffee and mysteries. Oh well???


    Would you be willing to try another one of Rebecca Gibel???s performances?

    Not really. I thought he over-did it, and probably the credit for how pompous and self-righteous the characters sounds should go to her only.


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24900)
    Performance
    (18805)
    Story
    (18865)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "The Unfinished Business worth 8 credits"
    Overall

    The series is (and probably will forever remain) unfinished.
    I have just completed listening to the last installation of the series. For me, it was a surprise that the story is yet again unfinished, but this time the end comes as such a shocker since no single plot line is completed. The feeling is that Martin just got tired of writing it, ended the sentence and promised to finish the book next year. Now it is quite obvious he is never going to finish it, and although I enjoyed listening to the 4 books of the series, I feel a bit cheated, especially since each book costs 2 audible credits. I have spent 4 months worth of credits on an unfinished work; I really wish Audible put a note about it in their review of the Game of Thrones???
    Of course now I did some research and saw the frustration of the readers of this series about Martin never delivering on his promise and completing it, but when I bought the Game of Thrones I was unaware of it, and now I regret the credits I spent.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Turkish Gambit

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Boris Akunin
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    It is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The Bulgarian front resounds with the thunder of cavalry charges, the roar of artillery, and the clash of steel on steel during the world's last great horse-and-cannon conflict. Amid the treacherous atmosphere of a 19th-century Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin finds his most confounding case.

    Svetlana says: "Third Book of Erast Fandorin Series"
    "Third Book of Erast Fandorin Series"
    Overall

    This book is the third in the Fandorin Series. This series is quite remarkable, in sense that Akunin tries different styles of a mystery in each part: the Leviathan story is written in A. Christie's style, for instance – the Oriental express comes to mind immediately. This one is a war espionage story told by a young woman who ran to the frontline to see her fianc?. As any other Fandorin story, it is enchanting – the language and the main character are quite captivating.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Lipstick Jungle: A Novel

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Candace Bushnell
    • Narrated By Cynthia Nixon
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    In her fourth novel, Candace Bushnell writes about three powerful New York City women at the top of their fields, each navigating her way through business, relationships, scandal, success, and betrayal.

    Vicki says: "Great Narration, So-So Story"
    "Moderately entertaining, but patchy"
    Overall

    I was disappointed with the book. It is a story of 3 women struggling to succeed in the City, and in their families. I had the feeling that the book was supposed to be feminist, but could not quite pool it, instead, it displayed patchy clich?s; that it was supposed to be entertaining, but was rather insipid.
    With the exception of several episodes, the book left me indifferent. The characters did not speak to me at all, they were so underdeveloped, that sometimes they blurred into one and I had hard time figuring out who was the main character of a given part.
    Overall, pretty shallow, sometimes moralizing, and not that much fun...

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Murder on the Leviathan

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Boris Akunin
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (30)

    Paris, 1878: Eccentric antiquarian Lord Littleby and his ten servants are found murdered in Littleby's mansion on the rue de Grenelle, and a priceless Indian shawl is missing. Police commissioner "Papa" Gauche recovers only one piece of evidence from the crime scene: a golden key shaped like a whale. Gauche soon deduces that the key is in fact a ticket of passage for the Leviathan, a gigantic steamship soon to depart Southampton on its maiden voyage to Calcutta. The murderer must be among its passengers.

    Svetlana says: "The Second Book About Fandorin"
    "The Second Book About Fandorin"
    Overall

    After his adventures described in "the Winter Queen," young Russian diplomat travels to Japan on board of Leviathan, where a series of unfortunate and mysterious events take place. The setting of the novel somewhat reminds Agatha's stories, but Akunin's book offers more than a thrilling mystery: the language is truly exquisite, and the translation into English did not ruin it. I have read the book in Russian and listened to it in English, and loved the both versions. I just wish more books from the series about Erast Fandorin were available in English, and I certainly will continue to look for them.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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