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Valerie

HEATH, OH, United States | Member Since 2011

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 86 ratings
  • 722 titles in library
  • 108 purchased in 2014
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  • The Last Chronicle of Barset

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (24)

    This last novel in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series involves Mr. Crawley, the impoverished curate of Hogglestock, who is accused of theft when he uses a large check to pay off his debts. The scandal fiercely divides the citizens of Barsetshire and threatens to tear apart Mr. Crawley's family.

    Charles says: "Superb!"
    "Captivating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is my first experience of Trollope and I have to say that I expected the style to be rather fusty and Victorian. Instead it was very enjoyable and made me laugh out loud, even though there were a few characters needing a whack upside the head...
    I'm now in the enviable position of exploring the rest of this series, although in reverse order.

    Simon Vance - what can I say? Brilliant!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Barrow

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Mark Smylie
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    When a small crew of scoundrels, would-be heroes, deviants, and ruffians discover a map that they believe will lead them to a fabled sword buried in the barrow of a long-dead wizard, they think they've struck it rich. But their hopes are dashed when the map turns out to be cursed and then is destroyed in a magical ritual. The loss of the map leaves them dreaming of what might have been, until they rediscover the map in a most unusual and unexpected place.

    Daniel says: "If sex sells this book sold out..."
    "Lots of words, not enough story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe I'm just too unsophisticated for this offering but I had to give up. All those words just weren't turning into anything meaty.
    Hey, Joe Abercrombie, all is forgiven!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Half a King: Shattered Sea, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By John Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (124)

    Yarvi, second son of the feared King Uthrik and the ruthless Queen Laithlin of Gettland, was born with a useless hand, and cannot hold a shield, or do any of the things expected from a man. Left an outcast, he's surrendered his birthright and been given a woman's place as apprentice to Mother Gundring, Gettland's Minister, training to be an adviser, diplomat, healer and translator. But when his father and brother are murdered by Grom-gil-Gorm, King of neighboring Vansterland, Yarvi is forced to take the Black Chair and become king himself.

    Valerie says: "High hopes cruelly dashed."
    "High hopes cruelly dashed."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe it's unfortunate that Joe Abercrombie set the bar so high with his previous books, but this was a woeful anticlimax. Having come to expect masterly character development I found these characters rather weak, not believable in the same way as Glokta and the Bloody Nine.

    Perhaps my review could have gained another star had the narrator been Steven Pacey, but this reader was not into the story in the same way.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • An Infamous Army

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Claire Higgins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (54)

    When the beautiful and outrageous Lady Barbara Childe meets Charles Audley, her joie de vivre knows no bounds - until the eve of the fateful Battle of Waterloo.

    Carol T. Carr says: "Outstanding"
    "Historical romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I selected this title with trepidation after reading the reviews, but there is quite a strong romantic theme set against the rather powerful factual backdrop of the battle of Waterloo. I enjoyed it in a different way from the usual "fluffy", improbable tales we're all accustomed to and would happily read more in the same vein (if she'd written any!).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Heroes

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1108)
    Performance
    (887)
    Story
    (895)

    They say Black Dow has killed more men than winter and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbor, is not about to stand by smiling while Black Dow claws his way any higher. The orders have been given, and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

    Matt Carothers says: "Thank you, Joe Abercrombie!"
    "a bit disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was OK compared to Joe Abercrombie's other offerings which I feel are brilliant. In the other books the battle scenes are interspersed with interesting narrative whereas this is pretty much all battle scene.
    Michael Page was an adequate reader but he had a hard row to hoe following Steven Pacey, and this added to the impression that this just wasn't up to the usual standard.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Declare

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Tim Powers
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (102)

    As a young double agent infiltrating the Soviet spy network in Nazi-occupied Paris, Andrew Hale finds himself caught up in a secret, even more ruthless war. Two decades later, a coded message draws Professor Andrew Hale back into Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Elements from his past are gathering in Beirut, including ex-British counterespionage chief and Soviet mole Kim Philby, and a beautiful former Spanish Civil War soldier-turned-intelligence operative.

    art says: "Oh Fish. Art Thou Constant???"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This started off well but didn't hold my interest. The characters drawn from history weren't convincing and I think this was the core of my disappointment. The timeline of the story was difficult to follow and as the narrative went on (and on) I stopped caring about where it was going.

    I thought the narrator did a good job, although I did notice a couple of entertaining spoonerisms!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Delicate Truth: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By John le Carre
    • Narrated By John le Carre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (293)
    Performance
    (259)
    Story
    (257)

    A Delicate Truth opens in 2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.

    Darwin8u says: "A latter-day Jeremiah of espionage & statecraft."
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is vintage Le Carre at its best. I read other reviews before I chose it, and I have to say that I don't understand why people found the ending disappointing. I thought it all came together perfectly
    I'm amazed that this author continues to produce work to this standard. Long may it continue.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Red Knight

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Miles Cameron
    • Narrated By Matthew Wolf
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (571)
    Performance
    (517)
    Story
    (526)

    Twenty-eight florins a month is a huge price to pay for a man to stand between you and the Wild. Twenty-eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men - or worse, a company of mercenaries - against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder. It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.

    Amazon Customer says: "A New Favorite in the Epic Fantasy Biz"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some of the reviewers compared this author with Joe Abercrombie, so I listened hopefully. Unfortunately there was not much of a story here. The reader didn't help things as his delivery was flat and without expression - rather yawn-provoking actually. A few times I found myself distracted by the thought that when readers come to an unfamiliar word, shouldn't they look up the pronunciation before making the listener roll their eyes?

    Some of the more interesting characters that appeared at the beginning faded away shortly afterwards never to be seen again, and we have to wait until the last quarter of the book before we're told why they're all fighting.

    I did try to like this but failing an interesting storyline I found myself picking at things that annoyed me. Like the shrugs. All the characters shrugged. On every occasion however inappropriately.

    Perhaps the ending made up for it all. I'll never know.... (I just shrugged.)

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Last Argument of Kings: The First Law: Book Three

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (2941)
    Performance
    (2166)
    Story
    (2176)

    The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm and there’s only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend and his oldest enemy. It’s time for the Bloody-Nine to come home. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe and no-one can be trusted.

    Lore says: "You have be realistic about these things."
    "Brilliant entertainment."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This trilogy was so much fun! The story twists and turns, the battle scenes are convincing and at the most unexpected times I spluttered with laughter. What more can you ask for from an epic fantasy?

    In Inquisitor Glokta I've found my new favorite fictional character, and Steven Pacey has become one of my favourite performers, using many regional British accents to distinguish the characters (how does he do them all so well?).

    Unfortunately the great is the enemy of the good, and I think I'm unlikely to listen to the other titles by Joe Abercrombie that have a different reader. Not for a long time, anyway.

    Great stuff!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4945)
    Performance
    (4177)
    Story
    (4190)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Tim says: "Brilliant Sequel"
    "Compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm always in awe of Ken Follett's ability to write in this epic style that grips the reader's attention throughout.
    I would enjoy it more with a different narrator, however, as John Lee frequently puts his emphasis on the first word in a sentence. This is often bewildering enough to detract from the tale itself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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