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Janels

ratings
259
REVIEWS
120
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
44
HELPFUL VOTES
160

  • Strip: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (218)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (94)

    An aging but formidable strip-club owner, Claudiu "Manco" Kapak, has been robbed by a masked gunman as he placed his cash receipts in a bank's night-deposit box. Enraged, he sends his half-dozen security men out to find a suspect who is spending lots of cash and is new enough to Los Angeles not to know he was robbing a gangster.

    Richard Delman says: "Marvelous romp thru colorful LA gangsterland."
    "First rate--more twists and turns than a maze"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It took me a long time to warm up to Perry, as I didn't like the one Butcher's Boy book I read, for lack of personality, humor or cleverness. This book, however, has it all. Twists of fate turn into convoluted disasters born of mistaken impressions and identities. Although read in somewhat of a monotone, the narrator was perfect--understated irony. And, these unwitting villains/victims have personality and perseverance. It is a thoroughly enjoyable romp worthy of O'Henry. I'm now a Perry fan!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Graham Robb
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (57)

    This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction. A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night, Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter....

    Myrna Minkoff says: "Difficult....but worth it"
    "Historical vertigo"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a Francophile who spends at least a month in Paris each year. I try to read all books which humanize French history. It's great to be able to better appreciate where I happen to be at any given time and know just what went on there.

    However, this book would be much better followed if read in written form. I listen to audiobooks so that I can multitask. But that doesn't mean I don't pay attention--I just can't take notes or memorize sequences. This book whips back and forth throughout history, chapters, characters, and quotes without the benefit of written punctuation. The narrator (one of my favorites, by the way) does an excellent job of injecting dry Brit wit into the writer's comments on much of the historical revelations. However, it is difficult to distinguish between a poem and the narration of any of the dozens of characterizations, and the "2.5.1" etc., (presumably chapters and sub chapters, and sub-sub chapters?) makes my ears stop listening. It can be very difficult to follow, as it is a collection of many separate scenarios, largely unlinked except for the city. The scores of character names are numbing, although the historical research is often entertaining, and certainly revealing.

    It's just that, it is almost like a history text book, and really should be seen and read. Reciting chapter numbers and sub-chapters is meaningless and distracting. And, you never know what era the narrator will begin after taking an all-too-short pause. Sometimes if I am just slightly distracted, I'll have no idea what era or happening is being recited by the narrator. By the time I catch up, I have hopelessly lost my place and vow to get the printed book.

    All in all, it is impressive research, and very entertaining and enlightening factoids about Paris and Parisians. It is just a bit oblique for a casual listener. And I really don't want to have to listen in a vacuum, as with a lecture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Paris Apartment

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Michelle Gable
    • Narrated By Erin Moon, Saskia Maarleveld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    When her boss tells her about the discoveries in a cramped, decrepit apartment in the ninth arrondissement, Sotheby' s continental furniture specialist April Vaught does not hear "dust" or "rats" or "shuttered for 70 years". She hears Paris. She hears escape. She cannot board the plane fast enough. When she arrives, April quickly learns the apartment is more than just some rich hoarder' s repository. Beneath the dust and cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a literal goldmine - and not just in terms of actual dollars.

    Janels says: "Engrossing dramatization of an actual event"
    "Engrossing dramatization of an actual event"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although a Francophile, I don't remember hearing about the Paris apartment that had been closed up for 70 years. When I now research that finding, I see that many stories got it wrong. It was not the original owner, Marthe de Florian, who fled the Nazis for southern France around the time of the 2nd World War, but her granddaughter, which is a mystery in itself. This appears to be the best and tidiest accounting of the apartment and the lineage of owners. It also probably speculates as to why the final owner never returned for 70 years prior to her death, but kept paying the rent for all that time. The speculations are quite interesting, and it makes for an engrossing story--especially as it is heavily based on actual events. It seems to have been painstakingly researched to be able to have woven the intricate series of events that lead up to this fabulous find. Almost my only negative comment would be of the very excellent narrator. Especially when narrating the voice of a multi-degreed antiques expert, PLEASE pronounce "jewElry" correctly! (not jew-le-ry).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Heist

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (688)
    Performance
    (613)
    Story
    (614)

    Master novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled listeners with 16 thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back - from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. His brilliant creation, Gabriel Allon - art restorer, assassin, spy - has joined the pantheon of great fictional secret agents, including George Smiley, Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and Simon Templar.

    Brian says: "If new to Daniel Silva, great book. Otherwise..."
    "Great education in art history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was one of Silva's more detailed, and in my opinion, more interesting and educational narratives, giving in-depth histories of some of the world's greatest painters. It has a more or less typical Gabriel Allon story line, but for some reason, Kiara and Shamron do not play as big a roll as in the past. Another benefit for Francophiles is the detailed descriptions of his paths in Paris. Clearly, Silva has been there recently. The book is fast-paced and mesmerizing until the end, which is somewhat disappointing. It is as though it quickly tied up lose ends and just stopped any in-depth narrative. Still very worth the listen, as are all of Silva's books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Stargazey: Richard Jury, Book 15

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Martha Grimes
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Saturday night. It was not a night to be spending alone, riding a bus. When he was a teenager at the comprehensive, Saturday night without a girl, without a date, without at least your mates to raise hell with, Saturday night alone would have been shameful. One wouldn't want to be seen alone on a Saturday night…. Who are you kidding? That was never your life, Jury, not yours.

    Cynthia says: "Entertaining and well thought-out."
    "The most entertaining Grimes novel I've heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stumbled on the Richard Jury books and found they had very entertaining if odd characters. Each character that continues from book to book seems to get deeper, funnier and better developed with each. This is the most entertaining of all the Jury books I've listened to, and I will likely go for the entire series. The narrator does a lively and excellent job of injecting humor and nuance into a vast variety of voices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emily and Einstein: A Novel of Second Chances

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Linda Francis Lee
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller, Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (473)
    Performance
    (405)
    Story
    (407)

    He was a man who didn’t deserve a second chance... but he needed one. Emily and her husband, Sandy Portman, seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building. But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident. The funeral isn't even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment. But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies.

    Allison says: "Well-written, kept my attention"
    "Learning life lessons from a dog, and as a dog"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    (spoiler alert?) Emily becomes a children's author, and writes books about just what this book is about. It is predictable, allegorical life lessons, as though written for children. Children would be better at suspending belief with a dog angel. The pure of heart triumph, and the impure are shamed.

    I don't know if it was just my recording, but it is the only book that I have heard that repeats phrases and sentences occasionally. Bad job of editing?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Long Knives

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Charles Rosenberg
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd, Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (54)

    Jenna James’ life has been smooth-sailing since she left the high-powered law firm of Marbury Marfan. She’s happily ensconced as a professor at a prestigious law school, where she’s well liked by her students, coupled up with a handsome colleague, and on track for tenure. But things take a shocking turn one morning when a student, Primo, comes to Jenna’s office seeking her advice about a treasure map he recently inherited. When Primo turns up dead and Jenna is suddenly the prime suspect in a murder investigation, everyone turns on her.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Disaster on Campus"
    "Terrible narration--ruins it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't imagine how TWO narrators, male and female, can both be so misguidedly awful! For some reason, they eggageratedly enunciate as though English was their second--or third--language. And I don't mean when they are characterizing a foreigner--everyone sounds stilted with way too many consonants pronounced in a heavy handed manner. I liked the author from the other novel, but this is a disaster. I would never listen to these narrators again, particularly the male.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • One Day in Budapest

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By J. F. Penn
    • Narrated By Veronica Giguere
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Budapest, Hungary. When a priest is murdered at the Basilica of St Stephen and the Holy Right relic is stolen, the ultra-nationalist Eröszak party calls for retribution and anti-Semitic violence erupts in the city. Dr Morgan Sierra, psychologist and ARKANE agent, finds herself trapped inside the synagogue with Zoltan Fischer, a Hungarian Jewish security advisor. As the terrorism escalates, Morgan and Zoltan must race against time to find the Holy Right and expose the conspiracy, before blood is spilled again on the streets of Budapest.

    Janels says: "No character depth, just speed-read Nazi warnings"
    "No character depth, just speed-read Nazi warnings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Trying hard to show that Nazis are alive and well in the very countries that they brutalized decades ago, the terrible narrator literally speed-reads this. I thought that my iPhone must have accidentally switched to double speed; but no, just awful narration.

    The premise is valid, the scare warranted, but the book is not literature. From this sample, I would never consider this author or narrator again, and it was a waste of even the token amount spent on this book. It is not a "story", it is a warning.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Vertigo 42: A Richard Jury Mystery, Book 23

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Martha Grimes
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (95)

    Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the 42nd floor of an office building in London’s financial district. Despite inconclusive evidence, Tom is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered 17 years ago. The inspector in charge of the case was sure Tess’ death was accidental - a direct result of vertigo - but the official police inquiry is still an open verdict and Jury agrees to re-examine the case.

    Alice says: "As always, Martha Grimes comes through"
    "A new Martha Grimes-Richard Jury fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A huge fan of the "armchair mystery" genre of Agatha Christie (intelligent plots and puzzles requiring thought sans gratuitous violence), I thoroughly enjoyed Jury's crime solving methodology. While not as much of a fan of the narrator's scope of characterization (why did the sergeant's voice have to be created with the narrator seemingly holding his nose closed?), the clues were all there (fair play a la Christie), and it was just a race to see whether the reader could put the puzzle together before Jury. Jury was a little biased in favor of his personal emotional instincts (Poirot would never do that), but nonetheless, it was a good puzzle and very satisfying mystery. I look forward to reading more of Grimes, and hope there are just as many interwoven literary references, as it makes it all the more enjoyable!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Perfect on Paper: The (Mis)Adventures of Waverly Bryson

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Maria Murnane
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (267)
    Story
    (264)

    Waverly Bryson is a successful businesswoman in her late 20s who almost has it all: a dream job in sports PR, two best friends, and a bar where everybody knows her name. What she doesn’t have is a ring on her finger. And after being ditched at the altar, she’s in no hurry to get one. Besides, plenty of other issues keep her busy, including her wayward father, a new rival at work, and an ever-nagging fear that her life is not turning out as she thought it would...or should.

    Missy says: "Just ok..."
    "Cute but sophomoric"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a pretty good attempt at a sympathetic, fumbling, self-effacing character, but just missed the mark. The distractions of the constant "no way!" "Way!", "no way!", "way!", and the interjections of "I said", "she said", "he said" were distracting. The book tried to create a Sophie Kinsella type of character, but didn't quite have the same result. Waverly was not as likable or sympathetic. A fun read, but a predictable ending, and annoying rinkydink dialogue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dancing with Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Juliette Sobanet
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (54)

    When Claudia takes a tumble in her grandmother’s San Diego dance studio, she awakens to her past life in 1950s Paris in the body of Ruby Kerrigan, the glamorous star of a risqué cabaret - and the number one suspect in a gruesome murder investigation. With the police hot on her trail and a handsome French doctor lighting a fire in her sinfully beautiful new body, Claudia has just five days to unmask the true killer and clear Ruby’s name. But to do so she must make an impossible choice, one that will change the course of both of her lives forever.

    Janels says: "Not awful, for a fantasy, time travel piece"
    "Not awful, for a fantasy, time travel piece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't expect much from this, with the time travel element added to the fantasy, but it wasn't bad. Kind of a combination of Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and The Wizard of Oz--even down to the ruby red shoes. It gets into a bit of trouble with the ending resolution (do babies en vitro time travel too?), but somewhat entertaining if you get it inexpensively.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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