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Amazon Customer

Delmar, NY USA | Member Since 2004

81
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 340 ratings
  • 1044 titles in library
  • 118 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Those Across the River

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Christopher Buehlman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (111)

    Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate - the Savoyard Plantation - and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.

    Charles says: "Major Sound Issues"
    "Don't let the comments on audio quality spook you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I almost passed on this book based on the comments concerning the audio problems. There is certainly the occasional clipped word, but they are few and far between. I didn't find it distracting, and missed none of the story.

    It's tough to say too much without saying too much, if you know what I mean. From a writing perspective, it's always great when an author who can string a nice sentence together ventures into this genre. That's what we have here. The writing is descriptive and lends atmosphere without ever detracting from the story line. Very well done.

    The narrator gets top marks, too. The cast of characters could have easily overwhelmed a lesser performer, but he nails it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Vines

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Christopher Rice
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    The dark history of Spring House, a beautifully restored plantation mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, has long been forgotten. But something sinister lurks beneath the soil of the old estate.

    Amazon Customer says: "Movie of the week caliber"
    "Movie of the week caliber"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Formulaic, predictable and devoid of atmosphere. It was almost like Rice was ticking off plot elements on a shopping list and working them into the story so he could meet his quota. The premise was a bit strained, and due to the lack of character development needed to coax the characters into helping my suspend my disbelief, I never did find this one riveting or scary.

    The performance was good, given what the narrator had to work with.

    I'm giving the story two stars instead of just one because Rice knew enough to not make this into a 12 hour epic listen. It's a good thing it was short!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hangman's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translator)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1530)
    Performance
    (1366)
    Story
    (1360)

    When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. When more children disappear and an orphan is found dead with the same mark, the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth.

    Margaret says: "Great but graphic"
    "A mystery without much mystery..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This certainly wasn't an unenjoyable book. It had its moments - there's some action, there are some tense moments, and so on, but ultimately this book is supposed to be a mystery, and there it falls short. I'm pretty sure your average reader would have this figured out roughly half way through the story, at least to the point where he or she is just waiting for the minor details to be revealed.

    There's a little too much conventional content in the book - the torturer conflicted about what he has to do; the self serving bureaucrats; the penniless serfs. It all seems a little tired. Also, there is the occasional lapse into the 21st century as far as the narrative, which breaks the spell a book like this is supposed to cast. For example, I believe that at one point the narrative describes a character's realization as having made "the light bulb go on". Huh? 1659?

    That may be a function of the translation. I don't know. Having said that, the book does not read / listen as something that's been translated. The performance is also very good. I like Grover Gardner, although I still can't stop comparing him Frank Muller because of all the Stephen King books I've listened to. Frank was cool.

    Anyway, it wasn't bad, but I don't think I'll listen to the rest of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Snowblind

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Christopher Golden
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (135)

    In Christopher Golden’s first horror novel in more than a decade - a work reminiscent of early Stephen King - Snowblind updates the ghost story for the modern age. The small New England town of Coventry had weathered 1,000 blizzards...but never one like this, where people wandered into the whiteout and vanished. Families were torn apart, and the town would never be the same. Now, as a new storm approaches 12 years later, the folks of Coventry are haunted by the memories of that dreadful blizzard and those who were lost in the snow.

    Cheryl says: "Overwrought"
    "Scary... that I spent that much time on this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book just didn't do it for me. It came off more like a made-for-TV movie you'd see on the Lifetime network or something. I didn't find the story lines or situations to be especially suspenseful or scary. Relationships between the characters were stereotypical and trite. Too much of the book went on with the supernatural occurrences being treated as things that just happened, with no real exploration or back story.

    The narration was passable, although some male narrators just don't sound right when they are voicing female characters. I think Peter is one of those narrators. It's probably the combination of the gruffness and the higher pitch he uses with these characters.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A Widow for One Year

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (138)

    Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character — a "difficult" woman. Her story is told in three parts, each focusing on a crucial time in her life. When we first meet her, Ruth is only four. The second window into Ruth's life opens when she is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. The novel closes in the autumn of 1995, when Ruth is a 41-year-old widow and mother — and about to fall in love for the first time.

    B. Simms says: "Fabulous Story, Gets Better with Every Reading"
    "It's not the destination, it's the journey..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Looking over the reviews for this book, I see some frustration at the lack of resolution, how the book never "went anywhere", etc. That's John Irving. When I download one of his books, I know I am in for a lot of entertaining character development, interesting, interconnected vignettes and the like, but that I may not be getting a big tidy story arc or a punchline. It's still great listening, in my opinion!

    When I first heard George Guidall years ago, I thought I might not be a fan because his voice has a grandfatherly characteristic to it that I felt might be hard to overcome when voicing younger or female characters, but I've come around on that opinion. He's narrated some of my favorites and seems like an old friend at this point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jim Davidson, Kevin Vaughan
    • Narrated By Jim Davidson
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    On June 21, 1992, two best friends summited Mount Rainier. Within hours, their exquisite accomplishment would be overshadowed by tragedy. On their descent, Jim Davidson fell through an ice bridge on Rainier's northeast flank, plunging eighty feet into a narrow crevasse inside the Emmons Glacier and dragging Mike Price in after him. Mike fell to his death; Jim, badly injured and armed with minimal gear, faced an almost impossible climb back out of the crevasse, up a nearly vertical ice wall.

    Don Lance says: "Story Drags In A Few Places"
    "Narrated by the guy who lived it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A friend who had read the print version of this book recommended it to me. When I found it on Audible, I was a little apprehensive because I have never been a big fan of "narrated by the author" books. In my experience, there are few people who can do both well (Neil Gaiman comes to mind).

    In this particular case, the author, who lived through this amazing experience, is the perfect choice to recount what happened. The emotion and intensity of what happened is there, but not over the top. He really brought something to this story in his reading of it.

    I'm going to recommend the audiobook version back to my friend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17147)
    Performance
    (13558)
    Story
    (13633)

    As opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others, a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.

    Troy says: "Chapter and part breaks are incorrect"
    "How to enjoy this series (a practical guide)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    OK, so I got most of the way through the first book in the series before giving up. My gripes then were essentially my gripes now. I am not a big fan of Roy's narration. Some of the voices are ridiculous, and most of the guy voices sound like pirates or stodgy old Brits. The women sound like they should be in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is true, though, that the voices for each character are more or less individually recognizable. That's a good thing because my second gripe is...

    DANG, there are a lot of characters in this series. It's hard to know when a character is introduced whether they will be inconsequential or hugely important. I like to keep track of things like this in a story, so this in particular drove me nuts for quite a while.

    The last thing I'll mention on the minus side is that there is a boat load of detail. Too much in my opinion. I lose track of what is going on and who is currently present in the story for all the detail. I don't care what your cloak is made out of, just move it along!

    Now, after all that, you're probably wondering why I bothered to part with four more credits to get the second and third books in the series. Well, at the risk of sounding low brow, I'll tell you. I LOVED the first season of the HBO series. There... I said it! All the issues with the hokey voices were addressed with excellent casting. All the extraneous characters either evaporated or faded into the background. All the long descriptive passages became beautiful sets and locations. I got a good grounding in the story, saw the developing big picture, and promptly got the second book after I finished watching the first season.

    Now that I know how the more important characters are handled in the book, I just resign myself to letting the other characters sort of wash over me without giving in to my OCD and trying to keep them in order. I got an app for my phone with a Westeros map on it, and descriptions of the houses, religions and characters. That helped. The mental pictures of the actors from the HBO series help me to keep the characters straight, too. At times, I just let my eyes roll back in my head when the Roy-ness gets to be too much, or there is a multi-paragraph description of what people are wearing.

    I'm most of the way through the third book, and there is a real story arc developing, and quite a few surprises. On the whole, I'll admit that I am now enjoying this series despite my strong negative reaction to the first book. I think I will see this one through...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Poisonwood Bible

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Dean Robertson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3479)
    Performance
    (2253)
    Story
    (2271)

    The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it - from garden seeds to Scripture - is calamitously transformed on African soil.

    Lynda Rains Bonchack says: "A long time coming..........."
    "Don't be put off by the narrator reviews"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't have much to add about the story that has not already been said. It's thoroughly engrossing on a number of levels, and you will probably irritate your family and others around you as you enjoy the marathon listen.

    What I did want to take a moment to say is that, unlike many of the reviewers who wrote the reviews I find at the top of this list, I thought the narrator was perfect. I didn't think she read too fast - most often I took that as a convincing rendition of what a teen or a child would sound like recounting her part of the story. Certainly not distracting or difficult to understand. Also, what some took for monotone, I found more atmospheric and appropriate to life in this difficult, gritty place.

    Do listen to the sample, but if you are unsure, forge ahead!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6706)
    Performance
    (5969)
    Story
    (5969)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "Just right"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For me, this is one of those books that I will listen to again at least once. Morgenstern weaves just the right amount of atmosphere into her story, without resorting to long, torturous passages that one would be tempted to skip over to get back to the story. Speaking of the story, it's loose enough to keep your mind engaged in "what if's", and wondering "what's next?" without becoming messy or hard to follow. Definitely looking forward to more from this author. Also, you cannot go wrong with Jim Dale. Great to listen to him read something other than Harry Potter.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Discovery of Witches

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10291)
    Performance
    (7734)
    Story
    (7779)

    Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

    haesel says: "Where was this woman's editor?"
    "Paranormal romance"
    Overall

    The publisher's summary says this book has "equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense". I guess I must not be a fan of the paranormal romance thing, because I found this book to concentrate far too much on that aspect of the story. The narrator was pleasant to listen to, although there was the occasional mispronunciation, which is always a little jarring. If paranormal romance novels appeal to you, you'll probably like this novel.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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