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Margaret

United States | Member Since 2010

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 34 ratings
  • 158 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Deborah Blum
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1182)
    Performance
    (726)
    Story
    (714)

    In The Poisoner's Handbook, Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime.

    Reagan says: "Fascinating book marred by production errors"
    "Couldn't get very far - boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't review the whole book - I couldn't get hooked. Dry as a bone.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1686)
    Performance
    (1027)
    Story
    (1029)

    In 1914, a spirited American girl named Mary Russell meets a retired Sherlock Holmes in the English countryside. Instantly realizing that Mary is gifted with astonishing deductive powers, the Great Detective emerges from retirement to join her as she tracks down a fiendish assassin.

    Yuriko says: "Wow"
    "Well Done, Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Entertaining and held my attention. A solid, female-centered sequel to the Sherlock Holmes body of work, and respectful to the original. Reader does a good job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The English Girl: Gabriel Allon, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (892)
    Performance
    (773)
    Story
    (780)

    Daniel Silva delivers another spectacular thriller starring Gabriel Allon, The English Girl. When a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, a prime minister’s career is threatened with destruction. Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a game of shadows where nothing is what it seems...and where the only thing more dangerous than his enemies might be the truth.…

    Judith says: "Gabriel's story takes huge strides"
    "Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first Gabrielle Allon novel (#13 in the series), but Silva does a good job on-boarding a new reader. I read the book while Vladimir Putin was asserting Russian dominance through the imagery at the Sochi Olympics and the annexation of the Crimea, so the motivations in the book made some eerie sense. I am also a fan of Corsica, and found those settings and characteristics quite realistic.

    The story is interesting and twists and turns at just the right times.

    I found the portrayal of Israel as the epicenter of virtue and competence a little much - especially when the British government was portrayed as weak and corrupt. I also thought the female characters were stereotypical and largely background;even when Allon's wife is clearly a competent agent, she spends her limited time in the novel cooking for a bunch of men and hoping to get pregnant. There is an old Corsican fortune teller who's an interesting female character, but even her power is undermined by Allon's seeming ability to be the exception to her clear visions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Woods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4318)
    Performance
    (2390)
    Story
    (2390)

    As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

    Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.

    Barbara says: "A near-flawless audiobook (but for one thing...)"
    "Creepy with a modern perspective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another anti-hero from Tana French - this one quite sympathetic for the first half, and after a quite predictable plot twist, an idiot (but realistically in character.) I didn't connect with the protagonist quite as well as with the protagonist in Faithful Place, but he was interesting. French's villain is modern with a modern motivation; the novel does not tidily clean up all the loose plot ends, which is also modern.

    The female detective, Cassie, is sharply drawn, strong and fantastic.French does a great job with female characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Lord Bird

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By James McBride
    • Narrated By Michael Boatman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (144)

    Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town - with Brown, who believes he’s a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry - whom Brown nicknames Little Onion - conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 - one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.

    Melinda says: "An Interesting Re-Telling of a Little Known Man"
    "Well-Performed but Un-Credible Minstrel Show"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The production quality and narrator for this book were so good that they kept me going even when the book itself drove me nuts.

    Apparently, this book has been controversial because of the author's use of dialect imagined to be of the day. I found this to be one of the stronger, more inventive aspects of the book - the language is vivid and colorful, and did not find it racist as it applied to all characters, black and white.

    The book uses realism to defend its use of dialect in the narrative; however, the shallow, feckless treatment of slavery and prostitution is so white-washed that it becomes offensive. The book also stretches credulity many times: e.g., a drunk, 13-year old slave girl living in a whorehouse is never subjected to rough treatment by the white, frontiersmen customers (there are many situations like this - including a ridiculous encounter with Frederick Douglas.) The only way the teenaged narrator's perspective on is believable is if we were white readers in 1936 and we Prissy from Gone with the Wind had written a book.

    The book is also tiresomely repetitive in several spots - plot lines being repeated and repeated to make sure the reader gets it, some of the same expressions over-used until they become hackneyed; the book needed a tougher editor.

    The pity of it for me is that John Brown and the raid on Harper's Ferry and its place in the civil war is a subject of personal interest, but this book does little to illuminate potential aspects of Brown's character and trivializes the impact of his followers, including the African-Americans who followed him.

    The end of the book (after the raid), has some dignity denied throughout the rest of the book, and does try to do something redeemable with the central analogy around the now-extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, but it's too little, too late.

    Most of the book is like watching Al Jolson, in blackface, sing "Mammy." An offensive and very outdated stereotype.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (2512)
    Performance
    (1521)
    Story
    (1518)

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"
    "Useful, Especially if You Know a Sociopath"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a useful and interesting dive into what makes the 4% of humans with no conscience tick. Martha Stout is refreshingly gimlet-eyed over sociopaths, not sympathetic towards them, and focuses the book on how normal people of conscience can protect themselves from these people. She also includes some interesting perspectives about what in American culture might empower sociopaths where they could be muted in some non-Western cultures. Interesting and not overly long. Competent narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Faithful Place: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3316)
    Performance
    (1742)
    Story
    (1743)

    New York Times best-selling author Tana French has won the prestigious Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards. As her third novel featuring the Dublin Murder Squad opens, 19-year-old Frank Mackey is waiting in vain for Rosie, who he’s supposed to run away to London with. But when she doesn’t show, Frank leaves Dublin without her—thinking never to return.

    Buffalogal says: "Incredible"
    "Engrossing with Rich Language - recommend!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A well-plotted novel rich with the vernacular of the Irish working class. Part nostalgic coming-of-age memoir, part class commentary, part detective novel, and part examination of what it means to be a modern man wrestling with your inner demons. What works for Dennis Lahaine, Frank McCourt, and good mystery writers all works here - interesting characters who are well-articulated enough to make you care what happens to them, shades of light and dark, an appealing anti-hero,and rich layers of the language of Dublin's working class.

    The narrator (Tim Gerard Reynolds) is SPECTACULAR and adds significantly to the enjoyment of the book. His rich capabilities with accent and the Dublin dialogue really makes the characters come alive. I would listen to other books just because they're narrated by this guy. He's as perfect a match to the book as Patrick Tull is to the Aubrey-Maturin books or Will Patton is to James Lee Burke.

    This is my first Tana French book; the others are already on my Audible wish list. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Helen Simonson
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2290)
    Performance
    (1014)
    Story
    (1005)

    You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction.

    txkimmers says: "A great surprise"
    "A Lovely Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a completely charming book, pretty and witty even as it wrestles with some serious themes around race, class, urbanization, and getting old. Major Pettigrew, Mrs. Ali, and many of the supporting characters are thoroughly likable, and their supporting cast is interesting and engaging.

    The book is also quite funny in places.I was completely engaged throughout and felt like I had new friends at the end. Narrator does a great job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Driftless

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By David Rhodes
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    Driftless is an unforgettable story of contemporary life in rural America. Words, Wisconsin, home to a few hundred people yet absent from state maps, comes richly to life by way of an extraordinary cast of characters.

    glamazon says: "Matchless!"
    "A Quiet Masterpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is completely beautiful. Rhodes paints the driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin with a delicate hand that captures its beauty and its metaphysical power. Every character, whether it's a mysterious cougar, a cross old farmer, a fighting dog, or a brilliant woman in a wheelchair, is perfectly drawn and someone you'd like to know. The plot is at once pastoral and also suspenseful and driving forward - compelling, but with the volume turned down to a whisper, asking you to lean in.

    Rhodes' personal story is equally compelling and an interesting harmony with this book.

    HIGHLY recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Light of the World: A Dave Robicheaux Novel, Book 20

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (906)
    Performance
    (804)
    Story
    (794)

    In Light of the World, sadist and serial killer Asa Surrette narrowly escaped the death penalty for the string of heinous murders. But following a series of damning articles written by Dave Robicheaux’s daughter Alafair about possible other crimes committed by Surette, the killer escapes from a prison transport van and heads to Montana - where an unsuspecting Dave happens to have gone to take in the sweet summer air, accompanied by Alafair, his wife Molly, faithful partner Clete, and Clete’s newfound daughter, Gretchen Horowitz.

    Dave says: "Burke is still the best"
    "Patton & Burke: A Perfect Combo"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a Robicheaux/Purcell fan, so don't look to me for the most objective of reviews.

    Dave seems to have left his maudlin, end-of-life worldview behind since the last couple of books, and Clete is as sparkling and ridiculous as ever. The plot contains its usual bunch of miscreants and mean rich people doing unspeakable things.

    The real star of this book was Montana's Bitterroot Valley, which Burke captures in such evocative detail that it almost drives you out the door to head west. The guy is a landscape poet.

    Gretchen, Alafair and Molly all have roles in this book, although I don't enjoy them. Alafair is such a hard character - but she never fought in Vietnam, she never worked for NOPD - she's just a stubborn and lippy pain in the butt. Gretchen, who's had a crappy life, is a much more sympathetic character and softer, even though she kills a few folks.

    Will Patton nails the narrative - a perfect fit for Burke.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Marriage Plot

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Eugenides
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1617)
    Performance
    (1339)
    Story
    (1327)

    It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

    FanB14 says: "Esoteric, Vapid, Trite"
    "Interesting Story; Hard to Care about Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A very well performed reading of an interesting plot about young love between a rather privileged, clever girl and a bright boy plagued by schizophrenia, and a much more interesting supporting character. The plot and Eugenides' excellent writing keeps you moving through the book, despite either protagonists' ability to generate a great deal of sympathy. In the end, it's Mitchell, the anti-hero and supporting (almost lead) character that holds the interest the most.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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