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Elkay

ratings
102
REVIEWS
48
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
17
HELPFUL VOTES
142

  • The Black Box: Harry Bosch, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Michael McConnohie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2098)
    Performance
    (1779)
    Story
    (1763)

    In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Now Bosch's ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the "black box", the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.

    Amazon Customer says: "Disappointing"
    "Okay, but not my favorite Bosch."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Maybe. Die-hard Connelly/Bosch fans will enjoy this, but it was lacking a bit in suspense and excitement. Maybe it was the narrator - he was fine, but he really just read the book out loud without a lot of emphasis on characters and individual voices.

    In previous Bosch novels, tension builds as Bosch gradually pulls together the evidence and the truth starts to take shape. Here, the mystery wasn't very complex, and each of Harry's steps in the case seemed more like tedious obstacles on the way to a foregone conclusion.

    There was a little character development between Bosch and his daughter Maddie, but nothing earth-shaking. An even smaller arc with Hannah, Bosch's ladyfriend from The Drop. Some very minor departmental politics that barely even register when compared to Bosch's old nemesis, Irvin Irving. In all, this was good, but didn't quite live up to my excitement for a new Bosch novel.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Michael Connelly? Why or why not?

    Absolutely! Everything else of his I've read/listened to, I've really enjoyed.


    What didn’t you like about Michael McConnohie’s performance?

    It would be hard to find a more perfect voice for Bosch than Len Cariou, who read several earlier entries in this series. The narrator was okay, but didn't knock my socks off.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Maybe. I have a feeling if they ever tried to make these books into movies I'd hate them. Still, I liked "The Lincoln Lawyer," based on another Connelly novel, so who knows?


    26 of 28 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
    (597)
    Performance
    (543)
    Story
    (542)

    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"
    "Bizarre, Outlandish, Wonderful Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One does begin to wonder how many homicidal billionaires bent on exacting some sort of multi-generational revenge there can realistically be in the world - but of course, if you're a fan of P&C, you're probably pretty comfortable suspending disbelief so you can enjoy the spectacular ride.

    As a fan since "The Relic," I found this story really satisfying - a deliciously twisty mystery that takes us from an abandoned resort town in California to the slums of Rio de Janeiro to the basement of the New York Museum of Natural History. And of course all the unusual suspects are here as well: irascible curators, intimidating Brazilian drug lords, exotic poisons, and clues that lead back into the Pendergast family's sinister past...

    I've actually read positive reviews of this book by people who haven't read any of the previous entries in the Pendergast series, but it's hard to imagine reading this as a standalone - there are so many favorite characters from previous novels and references to earlier events. Those who have followed the many adventures of Pendergast will be thrilled, though - I certainly was. The best of this series in a long time!

    Rene Auberjonois is, as always, marvelous.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Wolf's Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (112)

    Michael Gallatin is a British spy with a peculiar talent: the ability to transform himself into a wolf. Although his work in North Africa helped the Allies win the continent in the early days of World War II, he quit the service when a German spy shot his lover in her bed. Now, three years later, the army asks him to end his retirement and parachute into occupied Paris. A mysterious German plan called the Iron Fist threatens the D-Day invasion, and the Nazi in charge is the spy who betrayed Michael’s lover. The werewolf goes to France for king and country, hoping for a chance at bloody vengeance.

    ratna says: "A Must Listen"
    "Can a Story be Insufficiently Ridiculous?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was really ready to love - or at least like - this book. I like spies, I like historical fiction, I like werewolves, and I think Robert McCammon's Matthew Corbett series is just great. I was absolutely ready to embrace WWII werewolf spies! And then...the story just didn't grab me. I didn't really connect with the main character, and his relationships with other characters in the story were uninteresting.

    The werewolf-focused parts of the story were pretty good - even realistic, which may have been part of the problem. McCammon successfully addresses the workaday aspects of being a werewolf. Michael Gallatin is very chill about being a werewolf. I needed some excitement! YOU'RE A WEREWOLF SPY IN WWII. This should be completely off-the-chain crazy, and it's not even as over-the-top as most Bond novels.

    Robert McCammon can be very, very good - and he can also be just OK. This is just OK. If you're looking for a straight-ahead, slightly pulpy action story about a werewolf in World War II, you've come to the right place. If you want a really compelling story about a werewolf in World War II, you might have to go write it yourself. And I'll read it if you do!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vixen

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jane Feather
    • Narrated By Gemma Dawson
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Saddled with Chloe Gresham, his beautiful and irresponsible young ward, Sir Hugo Lattimer, a man driven by dark memories and a tormenting despair, has no intention of caring for her - until he falls in love.

    Elkay says: "Why? Why did I buy this?"
    "Why? Why did I buy this?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think I read this in traditional paperback format years ago and I remembered liking it - but I really, really hope that I am misremembering. This was DREADFUL.

    I don't mind age differences in romance novels - I actually tend to like that. I don't mind guardian-ward romances. I can handle all the sick sex cult stuff - I'm not saying I condone sick sex cults, I don't, but I can read about them without feeling traumatized for life. I'm not even bothered by the idea that the hero was once in love with the heroine's mother. Nope, all that, I could've taken in stride if there had been ANYTHING romantic about their relationship - but there wasn't.

    Chloe is an improbably featherheaded, immature person, and Hugo is a depressed alcoholic twice her age. They don't really relate to one another, and didn't have any chemistry to speak of. Chloe is childish and silly, and Hugo treats her like a little badly-behaved toddler...and then sleeps with her. And then sends her to her room.

    They don't treat each other with respect and both behave like people who have never had emotions before. If you like romances with large age differences, I would recommend "What I Did For a Duke" by Julie Anne Long, which is actually worth reading

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The River of Souls: Matthew Corbett, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (416)
    Performance
    (384)
    Story
    (387)

    The year is 1703. The place: The Carolina settlement of Charles Town. Matthew Corbett, professional 'problem solver,' has accepted a lucrative, if unusual, commission: Escorting a beautiful woman to a fancy dress ball. What should be a pleasant assignment takes a darker turn when Matthew becomes involved in a murder investigation.

    J. Kelly says: "Dare I say it - a tad lazy."
    "That's It?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I waited a while after listening to this before I wrote a review, because my disappointment was extreme when this one ended. That was partly due to the length of the story - it's short, compared to the earlier entries in the series - but also due to the rather flimsy content.

    Just when things would start getting REALLY weird and interesting in one of the previous books, this one just...ended. On a cliffhanger. After a series of events that felt contrived and silly. Man-eating alligators? Quicksand? Amnesia? Really?

    There were still some positives here: as usual, the characters are good, the plot is swift, the writing draws you in. Robert McCammon is a good writer, Edoardo Ballerini is a fabulous narrator, you won't get bored.

    There were also more negatives: where the earlier books give us meaningful struggles and fascinating character arcs, this one was just a series of implausible and ridiculous pitfalls. There's no satisfying conclusion to any of it - it was all so much sound and fury that served to set up the NEXT book, which promises to be more interesting. I'll chalk this one up to a bad year and look forward to the next entry.

    To make this review more useful, I have some recommendations:

    1) If you love everything Robert McCammon has ever written, you'll be a little disappointed by the length, but will overall enjoy this story and look forward to the next entry. Get this book!

    2) If you like this series, but aren't interested in, or didn't like, anything else by McCammon: proceed with caution. This has nothing but its essential McCammoniness to recommend it.

    3) If you only liked a few books in this series: skip this one. If you decide to read the next one, just read the last two chapters of "River of Souls" and you'll be good to go.

    4) If you haven't read anything by Robert McCammon: I suggest you try "Speaks the Nightbird," the first book in this series, which is excellent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magician's Land: The Magicians, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (721)
    Performance
    (655)
    Story
    (659)

    Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can't hide from his past, and it's not long before it comes looking for him. Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of grey magic and desperate characters.

    Charles says: "And so, it ends."
    "THIS is how to finish a trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I showed up for "The Magician's Land" ready to have my 30-something worldview shaken around once more by the horrifying genius teenagers from the previous novels, only to find them all grown up (at least, those who survived) and behaving much more sensibly, and sensitively, than I expected.

    Quentin finally gets some perspective! He has become the likeable adult that often results from a troubled and disaffected youth. It's incredibly refreshing, and so is the first part of the story: Quentin, working as a magical gun-for-hire, gets involved in an ill-advised heist for some shady characters. It's funny, a little sad, and insanely dangerous, and it sucked me into the story at once.

    In the end, everything ties back to Brakebills and Fillory - and this is where this book really starts to stand out as something exceptional. Previously, we experienced everything through the lens of the main characters' (often tiresome) teenaged jaded world-weariness. Now, Quentin has had time to reflect on the world, magic, and life in general, and he's more optimistic, thoughtful, and creative.

    There are some really beautiful themes woven into this story - about the way people experience stories as children, teenagers, and adults; about growing up, and of course love, redemption, all that stuff. But it's also thrilling and exciting and totally unpredictable. It's huge, I loved it, and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Suffragette Scandal: Brothers Sinister, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Courtney Milan
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (53)

    Miss Frederica "Free" Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women's rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope...but she needs more rope, and she needs it now. Edward Clark's aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger.

    Raquel says: "A Solid Romance with Little Spice"
    "Huzzah! Suffragettes!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Rosalyn Landor reading Courtney Milan is one of my very favorite things, and this book did not disappoint. If you like your heroes and heroines to be genuinely intelligent; if you like your stories to be more than just a loose framework for a series of sex scenes; if you've ever thrown down a romance novel in disgust and wondered what that ninny of a heroine saw in that boorish, rapey thug of a hero, then you are exactly the audience for this book (and this whole series).

    Ms. Milan crafts stories that boldly address social injustices without being preachy - on the contrary, her characters balance heartbreaking vulnerability, moral courage, and senses of humor in perfect proportion. Somehow, this book - which addresses themes of sexism, war, family discord, and torture - trips along on prose light as meringue and is often laugh-out-loud hilarious.

    The heroine, Free, is everything you'd want the editor of a feminist newspaper to be - brash, confident, courageous, smart - but she's entirely relatable. Even if you think you're not a feminist, you'll still like her. The hero, Edward, is obviously perfect for her from the start, but there are still plenty of surprises along the way.

    Complaints? The obstacle to the hero and heroine's ultimate happiness starts to wear a little thin by the end, and the primary villain is so thoroughly unsympathetic I found him a little unbelievable - but it didn't really matter. Courtney Milan now sets the bar for historical romance, as far as I'm concerned, and this book was awesome.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (6075)
    Performance
    (5523)
    Story
    (5540)

    Jake Sullivan is a licensed private eye with a seriously hardboiled attitude. He also possesses raw magical talent and the ability to make objects in his vicinity light as a feather or as heavy as depleted uranium, all with a magical thought. It's no wonder the G-men turn to Jake when they need someoneto go after a suspected killer who has been knocking off banks in a magic-enhanced crime spree.

    Clinton says: "Not what I thought it was going to be."
    "Fun and Awesome"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a classic "can't judge a book by its cover" case for me. I looked at the cover of this book, read the blurb about a magic private eye, and I doubted. I doubted a lot. Happily, I was desperate for something to listen to/read, and I had credits to burn, so I figured what the heck - and I was treated to 16 hours of one of the most entertaining stories I have ever heard.

    Bronson Pinchot is a virtuoso of audiobook narration. He is a genius. He was born to read books to people. I will listen to him read cookbooks. It's worth buying this book just to hear audiobook narration done amazingly, crazily right.

    The story: the description makes it sound like this will be like "The Maltese Falcon" with magic in it, but it really didn't have much in common with a detective novel or the noir genre. It's more of a speculative fantasy thing - if I were describing this to a friend, I'd tell them to think "The Untouchables," except with magic powers, and instead of Al Capone they're trying to stop a shadowy cabal based on WWII's Axis powers from destroying the world. If you mashed "Star Wars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and "The Wizard of Oz," you'd get something not totally unlike this book.

    So: fun, fast-paced and totally over-the-top story plus mind-bogglingly good narration. Fantastic combination! I'm glad I stumbled upon this deservedly well-reviewed book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (925)
    Performance
    (845)
    Story
    (827)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not up to par"
    "Not quite as bad as I expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The short version:

    I don't really understand why such an established writer of bestsellers that are also loved by critics doesn't rate a first-class narrator for every book. Otherwise, this book was OK but not the best of the Bosch series. The tantalizing but unresolved final chapter suggests that there are good things yet to come, so I'm hopeful.

    The long version:

    First, let's talk about Titus Welliver as a narrator: the wrong narrator can really make or break an audiobook, so once I saw all the negative reviews I was pretty sure I had made a mistake by pre-ordering this latest Bosch book. My personal favorite narrator for the Bosch books is Len Cariou. My least favorite was the guy who read "The Black Box." Titus Welliver is a great Bosch on TV, but he clearly hasn't hit his stride as an audiobook narrator - he wasn't glaringly, irritatingly bad, just lackluster and uninspired. My attention wandered a few times, but at least I wasn't actually ANGRY about the narration, as sometimes happens with truly awful recorded book readers.

    Listen to the audio sample: what you hear there is what you get. Titus' voice isn't horrible or anything, he just isn't a natural at the audiobook thing. Maybe audiobook narration isn't his jam.

    Okay, on to the story: I love pretty much everything else Michael Connelly has written, so this was an automatic pre-order for me. As usual, we get a perfectly crafted police procedural with a side of angsty Bosch and some internal police HQ politics. Since Bosch is drawing nearer and nearer to the end of his career, I keep hoping for a story that offers a little bit more - more character development, more action, more something! - but I guess "The Drop" was really the story that gave us a lot of closure on Bosch's career, and now he's just counting down the months?

    No spoilers, but this did end on a little bit of a cliffhanger, so I'm hopeful about the next entry in this series.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Switchblade: An Original Story

    • UNABRIDGED (50 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Len Cariou
    Overall
    (368)
    Performance
    (328)
    Story
    (333)

    An anonymous tip puts Bosch on a case that has remained unsolved for decades, the vicious stabbing of a teenage boy whose body was found in an abandoned Old Hollywood restaurant. Cold cases are often the toughest: With no body, no murder scene, and no fingerprints, Bosch nevertheless gets lucky when DNA evidence from the murder weapon points to a known killer. But the DA insists that science alone is not enough - he needs the case to be bulletproof before he'll take it to court.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Good for a short Short Story by a Favorite Author"
    "What's the Point?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure what a reader is supposed to get out of this. There wasn't really a mystery here, there was no character development, no insights into Bosch's life, past, relationships, approach to detective work, nothing.

    I love Michael Connelly and have enjoyed (almost) all of his full-length novels, but this was a baffling disappointment and an empty reading experience - I thought I'd relish even a little dose of Bosch while I eagerly anticipate "The Burning Room," but I'd have been better off just waiting for the novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book of Life: All Souls, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3133)
    Performance
    (2926)
    Story
    (2915)

    After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness's enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew's ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches - with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.

    Nicole K. says: "Good but flawed."
    "Hopes Dashed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, and although I didn't like Shadow of Night quite as much, I had high hopes for The Book of Life. This book has gotten fantastic reviews, so it obviously works for most people. If you loved both of the previous books, you probably don't need me to tell you that you'll like this one, too. BUT. If you were beginning to have some doubts by book 2, you might want to save your money (or your credit) for something else.

    Characters move from city to city, discuss the incredibly urgent danger they face (but don't do anything about it), bicker, travel, drink tea, and discuss how possessive Matthew is about Diana. There is a seemingly endless review of vampire family politics and legal issues, and there is a huge cast of characters, although most of them are superfluous to the plot. Somehow Ms. Harkness made this all work in the first two books, but it felt to me like she had lost the rhythm and pace of the story in BOL. There is too much telling, not enough doing; too many plot points that go nowhere. There are many conversations that cover ground that has already been tread and retread in earlier chapters - I felt totally bogged down for the first 18 hours or so of listening.

    I so wanted to enjoy this book! I found the first two difficult to put down, but this one was all too easy to set aside. The ending was fine, but I'm still not sure it was worth the tedious slog through 20+ hours of listening to get there.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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