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Sheila

Glendale Heights, IL, United States | Member Since 2005

19
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 44 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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  • I Am Alice: The Last Apprentice, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Joseph Delaney, Patrick Arrasmith
    • Narrated By Angela Goethals
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (70)

    I must be brave. I must do what has to be done. I am Alice. Alice is the most powerful witch the county has ever seen. She may one day be the most evil. But Alice is also the best friend - and true love - of Tom Ward. Together they work to defeat the Fiend - the world's greatest evil - once and for all. They have nearly everything they need, all except a blade hidden in the Dark, the Fiend's domain. So Alice ventures there to find it. She faces the most terrifying creatures in existence. And she once again battles old enemies who bear grudges: Bony Lizzie, Bloodeye, and more.

    Bill says: "Good Story, Terrible Performance"
    "Narrator on Valium"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about I Am Alice? What did you like least?

    Continuing the series from Alice's point of view was brilliant, giving her character more depth and letting us see the struggle within herself between light and dark.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Finding allies in the dark. And the alternative given at the end is a terrifying prospect. But seriously, what's up with Pan?


    How could the performance have been better?

    Get rid of Angela Goethals completely. If the rest of the books in the series have her as a narrator, I'm not spending another penny on the books. She reads in a strained monotone, like she's slightly strung out and sustains it the entire time. Christopher Evan Welch brings age, despair, happiness, joy, caution, passion, wryness, discipline, joviality, etc, in his reading of the series. This narrator needs to lay off the valium.


    Did I Am Alice inspire you to do anything?

    Return the book, entirely because of the awful narrator.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Grave Secrets

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Kathy Reichs
    • Narrated By Katherine Borowitz
    Overall
    (477)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (153)

    Powerful entertainment from the crime fiction superstar who combines riveting authenticity with witty, elegant prose. Best selling author Kathy Reichs "keeps the twists coming, and by the novel's climax, she has skillfully interwoven her many subplots and red herrings into a satisfying puddle of sex, sleaze, greed and gore," says Publishers Weekly.

    Don says: "Good story"
    "Give it up, already"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I tend not to recommend books which use derision and ridicule against real politicians, no matter what the party affiliations.


    What was most disappointing about Kathy Reichs’s story?

    Warning: Spoilers!The suggestion that if human embryonic stem cell research WASN'T limited to specific lines, then a black market wouldn't exist, or that embryos wouldn't be created for the sake of harvesting them is lame. And for a character that supposedly has a difficult time with violence done to children, Tempe seems to be flippant when it comes to using aborted children for research. Has she ever seen an aborted baby? Probably. But she won't let that won't stand in the way of progress!

    Near the end, how Tempe manages to get into the killer's location seems totally irrational for a sensible professional who works closely with law enforcement. To throw away characteristic common sense to move the story along is a cheat.


    Any additional comments?

    For the most part, I liked this book. The twists were often surprising and at points I wanted to slap characters upside the head (including Tempe-- quit thinking like a scorned high school sophomore), which means I found myself thoroughly engaged.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Casket of Souls: Nightrunner, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Lynn Flewelling
    • Narrated By Adam Danoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (69)

    The Nightrunners are back in this gripping novel full of Lynn Flewelling’s trademark action, intrigue, and richly imagined characters. More than the dissolute noblemen they appear to be, Alec and Seregil are skillful spies, dedicated to serving queen and country. But when they stumble across evidence of a plot pitting Queen Phoria against Princess Klia, the two Nightrunners will find their loyalties torn as never before.

    Drawing Man says: "Seregil and Alec are back."
    "Return to Decent Intrigue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator. His characterizations have very little distinction between them-- for an eldery male character the narrator sounds like he's trying to sound old, whereas a previous reader (Raymond Todd) had an uncanny ability to change his voice to the point that I thought it was a cast ensemble at first listen. This narrator doesn't give adequate depth through the emotional or action scenes, and frankly all adult characters come off as "wry," as if every sentence they say in the book is accompanied with a smirk or knowing eyebrow lift, and it's annoying. Being annoyed through 14 hours 7 minutes is not a comfortable experience.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The story itself is a refreshing return to what made the first 3 books of the Nightrunner series a pleasure. The 4th and 5th books felt like the author had written herself into a corner (it's difficult to be spy and rogue intriguer when you are a parent!) and the soft porn that carried the novels were tasteless and boring. This book has multiple plots that touch onto each other, plots that are political, military, magic, social, and medical. Some character introductions feel contrived, just hurried explanations to get to the next scene, but on the whole the story was entertaining.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Change the narrator completely. Or coach him to improve his characterizations, and for pete's sake, quit reading every character as if they were going, "wink wink, nudge nudge"!


    Do you think Casket of Souls needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Maybe one more. While the relationship between the 2 main characters is established, it's clear the lives of the ordinary humans around them are dynamic and progressing, and I want to hear what happens to Thero and Princess Klia and Beka and the rest of the Cavish clan. I'd also like to see more of the Auren faie.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Scones & Bones: A Tea Shop Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Laura Childs
    • Narrated By Barbara McCulloh
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is lured into attending the Heritage Society's "Pirates and Plunder" soiree. But it's an antique diamond skull ring that gets plundered by someone who murders a history intern in the process. Theodosia knows she'll have to whet her investigative skills to find the killer among a raft of suspects.

    Sheila says: "Murder for Nothing"
    "Murder for Nothing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, because while the descriptions of life running a tea house are sweet and informative, the mystery itself is too far-fetched to be believable. Police officers do NOT let civilians lead criminal chases, much less without back-up a la Old West Cowboy style. Trying not to give spoilers: The apprehension of the criminal does nothing to actually describe motive, nor do we actually hear anything from the criminal at the crucial end except for


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    My next listen will not be another offering from this author.


    What three words best describe Barbara McCulloh’s voice?

    over the top


    Was Scones & Bones worth the listening time?

    Only 50% of the time, for descriptions of running the tea house and the events they sponsored.


    Any additional comments?

    This book started off well, but the mystery wasn't focused and finished up too quickly, conveniently, and unbelievably. At the end, I wondered if it couldn't have been totally rewritten from Chapter 3 down a different plot line, one that was mentioned as key to the mystery but then ignored.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Garden Spells

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Sarah Addison Allen
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (956)
    Performance
    (506)
    Story
    (510)

    The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers.

    Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

    Together again in the house they grew up in, the Waverley sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy - if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom - or with each other.

    Joihelene says: "I so want to give it 5 stars...!!!!"
    "Tending magic"
    Overall

    The magic of a garden, family legacies and talents, culinary art, and life in the here and now are beautifully crafted together in this story. What a relief to find characters who don't cling to abuse and excuse it as love or whose relationships don't resolve in an instant, but rather require careful tending and time! I found myself feeling unexpected sympathy towards characters who normally would remain flatly wicked. Sure, the story is set in present day North Carolina, but it could easily be a fairy tale told once upon a time and long, long ago. If you don't like romances, then avoid this one-- it's too lovely for your sensibilities.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Calder Game

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Blue Balliett
    • Narrated By Deirdre Lovejoy
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery - including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while others in the village have less-than-friendly feelings toward it. Both the boy and the sculpture seem out of place...and then they dissapear!

    Sheila says: "Bit of a Let Down"
    "Bit of a Let Down"
    Overall

    The previous 2 books in this series were excellent, opening up the world of art in an intriguing and engaging way. This third book began with promise, honest in the strain of relationships between the kids and the changes in moving to the next grade, and quickly introducing the mobiles of Alexander Calder. Throughout the book Ms. Balliett works in English history, teaching as well as entertaining. However, there are a few changes of heart that aren't explained, and some changes of heart that should happen, but don't. Calder Pilay is made to feel so ashamed to be an American it practically ruins his trip with his father. Even at the end, the Anti-American opinion is merely ignored by the bigots who expressed it, although some of the heroes, the art collector, and certainly the injured are Americans. Ms Balliett does an excellent job in presenting art and art history, but would be well advised to think before insulting many of the people who buy her books and thereby provide her an income.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hound of Rowan: Book One of the Tapestry

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Henry H. Neff
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (41)

    With The Hound of Rowan, Henry H. Neff launches a scintillating series featuring ancient lore and a young boy thrust into a world of unimaginable possibility. Max McDaniels is visiting an art museum with his dad when he spies a mysterious Celtic tapestry - and is soon visited by a Recruiter who wants to whisk Max away to the fantastical Rowan Academy.

    Ruy says: "great story, with an annoying audio detail"
    "Holds its own"
    Overall

    While the similarity to Hogwarts and Harry Potter is unavoidable, there are enough twists in the story for it to hold its own. Max seems grounded and his relationship with his dad is endearing. The blending of technology, espionage, and old magic makes for a refreshing change from typical wizardry explanations, and the history, art references, and mythology woven throughout educate as well as entertain. The ending begs and pleads for a sequel-- let's hope it comes soon.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Master of Rampling Gate

    • UNABRIDGED (42 mins)
    • By Anne Rice
    • Narrated By Gigi Marceau
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (50)

    Anne Rice lures us once again into the seductive world of vampires with her short story, The Master of Rampling Gate. In 1888, siblings Richard and Julie are drawn to the beautiful but foreboding 400-year-old family mansion. What was the "unspeakable horror" their father saw in the luxurious home they are so drawn to? Available in audio exclusively from Audible.

    Derek says: "Great story, too short"
    "Hoped for Better"
    Overall

    The 1-star rating goes solely to the narrator for giving this cliched, self-absorbed, predictable bit of recycled formula-fluff an effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Valley of Secrets

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Charmian Hussey
    • Narrated By Charles Keating
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    When Stephen, raised as an orphan, learns that he has inherited an estate in the Cornish countryside, he has no idea what to expect. And when he arrives at Lansbury Hall, there is no one to greet him...or so he thinks. But waiting for Stephen are his great uncle's diary of a journey long ago up the Amazon with a native guide...and a hidden valley filled with creatures from the Amazon rainforest.

    Sheila says: "Enchanting Enough"
    "Enchanting Enough"
    Overall

    The story and the telling of it were beautiful. The sense of revealing the mystery in both past and present kept me wanting to hear the next word. The images were wonderfully painted. The one thing that kept this a 4-star rather than a 5-star is the nearly incessant soapboxing. I understand and admire the the author's passion about saving the rainforests (just to be clear, that message is restated in an afterword), but the lecturing interfered with the enjoyment of the story. It made me wonder if the text version of the book was printed in biogradeable inks on 100% recycled paper and delivered on foot to bookstores so petrol would not be used in getting them distributed. This book is definitely on my "listen to again" list, but not until I'm in the appropriate mood.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Wild Magic: The Immortals, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Tamora Pierce
    • Narrated By Tamora Pierce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (505)
    Performance
    (233)
    Story
    (239)

    When Daine comes down from the mountains, she carries with her two things: a dark secret about her own past, and a strangely powerful magic that even she doesn't understand.

    Cathy says: "The Immortals series: One of my favorite"
    "Middle Ground"
    Overall

    My reaction to this audiobook is mixed. The narrator was a bit flat and dull sounding. The rest of the cast was convincing, maybe too much so-- the temper tantrums and pouty "no one understands me" tone of the Daine character annoyed me. Thankfully, the rest of the characters' performance and the story itself were engaging, and worked to draw me in. Either I'd read this story in text and in silence, or hope that the next audiobooks of this series will take place when the lead character has matured a bit.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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