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Jonathan

ratings
364
REVIEWS
61
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
144

  • Prayers for Sale

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Sandra Dallas
    • Narrated By Maggi-Meg Reed
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (306)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (138)

    Hennie Comfort is 86 and has lived in the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado since before it was Colorado. Nit Spindle is just 17 and newly married. She and her husband have just moved to the high country in search of work. It's 1936 and the depression has ravaged the country and Nit and her husband have suffered greatly. Hennie notices the young woman loitering near the old sign outside of her house that promises "Prayers For Sale".

    Kathy says: "Great book"
    "Guys could - should - will like this too."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I always enjoy novels with a wealth of detail about the historical setting. Without ever being political or polemic, Ms. Dallas paints a detailed picture, or more accurately, creates a fantastic quilt of interrelated vingettes of life in Colorado mining country for women of the last century - the century with years before 1900. Women who coped well with adversity. I recommend that guys enjoy this book and pass it along to their wives, daughters and mothers ... and to the guy in the next cubicle.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow of What Was Lost: The Licanius Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By James Islington
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    Overall
    (921)
    Performance
    (817)
    Story
    (816)

    It has been 20 years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs, once thought of almost as gods, were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs' fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion's Four Tenets.

    Amanda says: "Surprised by the Fanfare"
    "Not enought to prevent the blahs"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It isn't that Mr. Islington doesn't have unexpected plot twists. Every chapter has at least one. The problem is probably me. After enough books with a thousand characters and a zillion turns in the road, I'm a little bored with the trope. At this point I'd rather have many fewer characters, with the few richly done. No more thousand of places, never mentioned until needed, where mortals fear to tread but - wait for it - our heros have to go through. Sound so very commonplace?

    The one thing it has going for it is the length. If you are driving cross country and can keep many characters in mind at once and are able to navigate around a mythical world with no map for reference, let along a GPS, this book will keep you occupied ... until you are left hanging waiting for the next in the series.

    12 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • The Chance: A Thunder Point Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Robyn Carr
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (531)
    Performance
    (471)
    Story
    (478)

    With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she'll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge.

    Wanda says: "WELCOME BACK TO THUNDER POINT"
    "Excellent for Fathers and Daughters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Laine is a success ... except she fears, to her father.

    Her father acts badly. She cuts him out of her life.

    In ways that could happen to any of us.

    This is a story that any father (me) with a daughter and any daughter with a father should read as a cautionary tale. Others will enjoy the carefully crafted world of Thunder Point, a place fill with real people. Good HEA


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Promise: Thunder Point, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Robyn Carr
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (318)

    Scott Grant has a bustling family practice in the small Oregon community of Thunder Point. The town and its people have embraced the widowed doctor and father of two, his children are thriving, and Scott knows it's time to move on from his loss. But as the town's only doctor, the dating pool is limited. That is, until a stunning physician's assistant applies for a job at his clinic.

    Wanda says: "As Promised...Robyn does it again."
    "A Trope - Not This Guy's Favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am an unabashed fan of Robyn Carr despite the fact that she writes romances [and women's fiction] and I'm male. She often writes about real issues, both complicated relationships and non-romance life issues, she teaches me a little bit about the world around me (she does her research) that adds to my knowledge of how our world works, and she builds imaginary worlds with depth and plenty of detail. There are things that I learn from her fiction and use to improve my relationships with the women (wife, mother-in-law, daughter and lots of female friends) I cherish.

    In other words, most of her books are not the stereotypical 'pretty girl or hunk has a bad relationship and isn't open to love until she (he) unexpected encounters ... the hunk or the sexy chick hiding in plain sight or out of their history.'

    This book is pretty much that story. This is a trope and that's ok, is just isn't my preference. (The word trope is used to describe commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices - motifs.)

    Why read this book? Thunder Point, the little costal town, is a worthwhile place to visit. The people there have lives with depth. The Promise fills in the canvas. But ... please don't start the series with this book. Start with The Wanderer, book one. You will enjoy the town coming alive as you learn more about the townspeople you meet in one story after another. I recommend The Promise to anyone who has read and enjoyed a couple of Thunder Point novels already.

    I just hope that her next Thunder Point books have more heft to them. If you have never read any books by Ms. Carr, start with a book labeled by the publisher "women's fiction:" The House on Olive Street. Excellent in every way.

    Ms. Carr, you had an opportunity here to let your readers learn much more about real life on a farm. For one tiny example, you had Peyton kill a chicken for a special meal. You could have let my fellow readers know how hard it is to get pin feathers plucked, a chore I never mastered as a boy. I'd love to know how she got them out that quickly, without leaving a stubble. To give you credit, you did talk about the smell of 'money' ... which is an entirely normal part of life on a farm.

    Ms. Plummer: Thank you for making my drives to work and to visit clients and friends more enjoyable, as always.

    My standard disclaimer: I didn't receive a free copy, I wasn't asked to review it, and I don't personally know Ms. Carr or Ms. Plummer or anyone connected with the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bishop's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mette Ivie Harrison
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    Linda Wallheim is the mother of five grown boys and the wife of a Mormon bishop. As bishop, Kurt Wallheim is the ward's designated spiritual father, and that makes Linda the ward's unofficial mother whose days are filled with comfort visits, community service, and informal counseling. But Linda is increasingly troubled by the church's patriarchal structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in the ward.

    Jonathan says: "One Non-Misogynist Man's Opinion - Worth Reading"
    "One Non-Misogynist Man's Opinion - Worth Reading"
    Overall
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    Very interesting debate among the readers/reviewers. However, very few of the reviews appear to be written by men. From a male perspective, I recommend the book.

    1. I learned about the Mormon faith. I'm sure that not everything is spot on. But then again, not all of the details in Tony Hillerman's early Joe Chee books were correct. Nor the details in Alexander Upfield's Napoleon Bonaparte Australian aborigine books, either. I like to learn about real things while enjoying a good book. I feel I got more than my money's worth here.
    2. I learned about being a minister’s wife. Some of the reviewers argue that she was privy to too much privileged information and thus the book isn't a reflection of Mormon reality. For me, the more interesting question is broader; what is the role of a clergy's (of any faith) spouse (male or female) vis the flock? Again, The Bishop's Wife got me thinking.
    3. She used tools from her faith to solve the final crisis. She used her faith to solve two important final crises, tools that would not have been available to a Miss Marple or Ms. Fletcher.
    4. Not everyone has a HEA. Thank goodness not every character had a HEA, particularly one female character. For you guys, an HEA is Happily Ever After. Common stuff in romances and feel good books.
    5. Makes you care about the characters. When I want to keep reading a book to find out what happens to a character, the writer has hooked me. Mrs. Harrison did this with the female who did not have an HEA. (Identifying spoilers omitted.)
    6. Women staying home for families. I'm a guy. I've had a professional career. But I'm married to a woman with a professional career. IMHO, someone has to stay home or cut back for the kids. In my personal case, I'm glad I stayed home for 5 years with two young children. In the book staying home with kids is not belittled. I'm pro-family but pro-women's rights. Politically, emotionally, I didn't have a problem with the emphasis.
    7. One reviewer said it is "too churchy." I did not feel preached at.

    What did I not like about The Bishop's Wife?

    1. A little too stereotypical characterization of the men. Several reviewers comment that most of the men seem to be misogynists. There's some truth to the observations.
    2. TDTL For you guys, this abbreviation is used by some FEMALE reviewers on the internet to describe female heroines: Too Dumb To Live. It describes a woman who keeps making the same mistake(s) over and over again without learning from the experiences. Here she makes bad assumptions about most of the men (and women) repeatedly. Put another way, she jumped to conclusions based on skimpy evidence. Repeatedly.
    3. Not enough jaw dropping 'oh my gosh' plot twists where we the readers anticipate bad things happening to a lead character.

    4. Details that stretch Mrs. Harrison's literary license too far: It seems totally unreal that this woman could get to her age (5 sons, 4 gone from home) without a few close women friends.
    Is it realistic that she got to her age without having a single female friend who suffered severe sexual abuse as a child?
    As others have pointed out, carrying the trauma of a DOA child for 20 years seems ... unlikely in a woman of faith.

    My disclaimer: I bought the audible version of the book; I wasn't given. free copy I'm not a writer nor in the book business nor a friend of the author. I was not asked to review The Bishop's Wife. Thus, I have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

    Great narration by Ms. Potter.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Hero: Thunder Point, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Robyn Carr
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (470)
    Performance
    (427)
    Story
    (427)

    Robyn Carr is a number-one New York Times best-selling author known for stories blending romance, warmth, and heartfelt charm. In The Hero, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees to the tiny, coastal town of Thunder Point, Oregon. There, she meets high school football coach Spencer Lawson, a widower focused on raising his young son. Neither of them are looking for love, but they may be the only ones who can heal their wounded hearts.

    Wanda says: "Robyn Carr continues to Awe inspire me."
    "How can I say this nicely?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a male admirer of Robyn Carr. No, silly, not that kind of admirer. I really enjoy her writing. Her "worlds" are very real to life, the characters come alive. You - I - care about what happens to them. (Note: for anyone following the Thunder Point story, I do recommend this book. See the end of my review.)

    Most important for me (and why I recommend Ms. Carr's books to other readers I know personally), is the challenge of conflicts, emotions and human frailties she writes about during the course of the "romance." I relish the way she takes real world human situations, situations that 'but for the grace of God' any of us (male or female, although female first) could have been, are, or will be in, and shows me how they play out. For example, what happens five, ten or twenty years later when two young people start a baby for whom they are unprepared. Or when a long time partner cheats on the other. Or how child abuse plays out when the child becomes adult.

    [Don't think child abuse doesn't happen to boys by mothers. I know a man whose mother duct-taped him to his mattress when she wanted to go out drinking with boyfriends over-night.]

    There are simply less of the things I enjoy about Ms. Carr's books in The Hero. I care about Devon but not about Spencer. The "real world" problem Ms. Carr addresses (without a spoiler, I'll just say it starts from where Devon begins) is not a 'but for the grace of God' problem I ever expect to encounter. And I found it hard to willingly suspend disbelief. Such as when Eric arrives in town at the end, Ms. Carr. Again, without spoiling the book, I don't want to go into specifics of what didn't resonate well..

    Because I am not a typical romance reader (I prefer "women's fiction" aka "people's fiction") you may enjoy the romance in this story more than I did. "Romance" as I understand the term is not why I've enjoyed all of the 8 or so Carr novels I've read so far, anyway. I care little if significant guys are hunks. Not at all, in fact.

    Good news. For fans of Thunder Point, I do recommend this book. It connects the dots, fills in the gaps, in the relationships of several of the couples we meet in other Thunder Point books. The narration is, as always top notch. Thank you Ms. Plummer. Although these books are pretty easy to read as stand-alones (as I did at first), I recommend starting with book one. It is a joy to watch Thunder Point fill up with "old friends."

    Disclaimer. I don't personally know Ms. Carr, I have nothing to do with the writing or publishing businesses, I'm not a writer myself, I wasn't given a free book and no one asked me to read it. Thus, I have nothing to disclaim.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Newcomer: Thunder Point, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Robyn Carr
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (539)
    Performance
    (496)
    Story
    (494)

    Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep his town safe and his daughter happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves - suddenly they can't get enough of each other. And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning.

    Liza-Maree says: "Fan of Robyn Carr"
    "Needy, Hungry, Claimed and Length; One Man's View"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’ll start and end with a disclaimer. I’m a guy without any significant background reading romance genre books. Related books I read tend to be a bit more “women’s literature:” Sandra Dallas, Jane Smiley, Molly Harper and Willa Cather. (Plus several of Ms. Carr’s, such as Four Friends.) I’ve recently read a new paranormal romance writer, Ava Louise ("Intergalactic Matchmaking Service"), and an established one: Patricia Briggs. Among the men whose romances I read are Charles Martin and Nicholas Sparks. I have no history of reading “bodice rippers” although I’ve read enough bad / poorly written books over the years to know quickly what I won’t like. So, please understand I have a definite, but limited, basis for comparison.

    The Newcomer is probably my fifth or sixth Robyn Carr book, more than I’ve listened to by any other Audible author except Molly Harper and Charles Martin. Why do I like her books so much? There is grit and complexity. In The Newcomer several themes – issues – are developed. How to raise children as a single parent (and then find love) is one, a common theme in these genres except … not all of the single parents are women and there are several examples illustrated (not just one) with different skills or lack thereof.

    Another, smaller theme, is what happens when a person in a relationship withholds important relationship changing information because (s/he) thinks the other can’t or won’t cope. Again, multiple examples.

    Finally, the biggest issue I saw in The Newcomer concerns what happens when one parent (not necessarily married) parts ways with the other because of a child or children … and then what happens when there is contact between that parent and the child(ren) many years later. Once more, we are treated to several examples of ways this might happen, ways the parent with custody of the child(ren) might respond when the missing parent re-emerges, and how children might respond. And ... how does the custodial parent facilitate the reintroduction, or not? Within limits Ms. Carr lets me decide how best such situations might best be handled … realizing there is no one right way that fits all. Again, men are not always the dopes. Although in real life we too often are, I accept.

    Sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? Well, I care about characters Ms. Carr creates (a sign of good writing) and enjoy the worlds they live in, worlds that do not require "willing suspension of disbelief" because the little details are off. (Ditto.) Ms. Carr keeps me reading and wanting more. In fact, my biggest problem is limiting the number of her books I buy to less than the number of credits I have available.

    What about sex? Well, all these romance words make an appearance: Needy, claimed, hungry and length. And more. I’m not about to tell any woman if there are enough of these for your nighttime reading. I personally skip a few of these scenes (they just aren't quite sufficiently erotic from my male perspective), so perhaps you will find a sufficiency for your taste.

    My ending disclaimer: I’m not in the writing or publishing business; I’m a reader. I don’t know Ms. Carr personally. No one asked me to review the book and I did not receive a free copy. In other words, this is just me and my thoughts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Driving Mr. Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3948)
    Performance
    (3589)
    Story
    (3585)

    Miranda Puckett has failed at every job she’s ever had. Her mother just wants her to come home, join the family law firm, and settle down with Jason, the perfect lawyer boyfriend. But when Jason turns out to be a lying cheater, Miranda seizes on a job that gets her out of town: long-distance vampire transportation. Her first assignment is to drive vampire Collin Sutherland from Washington to sleepy Half Moon Hollow without incident—no small feat for a woman whom trouble seems to follow like a faithful hound dog!

    Ducky says: "Molly Harper can't write fast enough for me!!!!"
    "I believe in jinxes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fun quick story in the half-moon hollow series. We see Dick C. (I won't spoil it) in a walk-on role. I do NOT recommend this book as your first exposure to the series but I HIGHLY recommend the series. Indeed, if I were coming up with Audible's list of 'first listens" one of the books by Molly Harper White narrated by Amanda Ronconi would be on the list. I don't normally even like paranormal novels. Who knew? Jon

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Little Night Magic

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Lucy March
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1434)
    Performance
    (1314)
    Story
    (1305)

    Olivia Kiskey needs a change. She’s been working at the same Nodaway Falls, New York, waffle house since she was a teenager; not a lot of upward mobility there. She’s been in love with Tobias, the cook, for the last four years; he's never made a move. Intent on shaking things up, Olivia puts her house on the market, buys a one-way ticket to Europe, and announces her plans to her friends - but then she meets Davina Granville, a strange and mystical Southern woman....

    Shelly says: "I really hope this turns into a series..."
    "How can this review help you decide"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I try to write a review only when I think I can add something. If you've read some of the reviews you will see:
    1. This isn't a romance. Agreed from my view point as one of the few guys to review this book, too. The cook has no special depth to him and our heroine's idea of attracting him by buying herself a one-way ticket to Europe is lame. What either one sees in the other is never made clear.
    2. It is a fantasy. Agreed. It is the story of a not so young woman learning she has a paranormal ability while living in the world the rest of us inhabit. Fantasy.
    3. "Cute Story" If by that the reviewers mean that there is a germ of a good idea in the magic - it comes in many flavors - yes, I agree. To whet your appetite let me just mention one: paper birds fly.
    4. Wonderful narration by Amanda Ronconi. YES!!!

    What I will tell you is this: Ms. Marsh's fantasy community - the falls - could grow in the next book(s) into an enjoyable place to spend a few reading hours. The idea that magic can come in so many forms has plenty of room to grow. And our heroine? Well, she's not quite TDTL (too dumb to live); she just might be able to learn from her mistakes and become an adult by book 3. I am not a fan of books where the same dumb mistakes are repeated over and over.

    My considered advice: Look for a Magic title by Ms. March on sale. Try it. If you are a Ronconi fan (as I am) buy it when you run out of Molly Harper books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Prayer Box: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Lisa Wingate
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (67)

    When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out the rambling Victorian house. Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, dating from Iola's youth to her last days.

    Sara says: "A story that draws you in"
    "A book for guys? For me it is."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book about a woman who has been weak and used for most of her life - but not all. She had a baby when young and kept it. She tried to be the country club wife to a Texas jerk and when she fled him ... but she didn't have the sense to bring along enough money to support her two children. She left her kids home alone way too often seeking pleasure / the good life. Not my favorite back story. [I say this as a guy who stayed home with 2 kids for 5 years. It isn't easy. But, looking back, those were 5 wonderful years.]

    She flees to Cape Hatteras. She finds the gumption do get work as a handywoman. What she discovers is what all of us - guys and gals -- want to find. The power of a few strong grandmother-age women. Her boss and friends, her "landlady." They help her find some pride in herself.

    Neither man in the story (the bad boy surfer boyfriend and the good boy school teacher) are fully developed. We never do learn what motivates them Without the power of a central idea I would not have kept listening.

    What is that idea? Well, I would not buy this book looking for a love story; it isn't. If you want one, see almost any of the books by Charles Martin.

    So, what is the idea for which I give this book 5 stars? I won't spoil it except to say that I am in awe of the woman who grew the prayer box(es) over a lifetime well spent. Her story is intriguing, moving and Ms. Wingate makes it feel real. I wish I knew her.

    PS
    I agree with most of the negative things said about the narrator's inability to speak clearly except ... I do like her voice. If she can learn to convey soft sentences without whispering inaudibly ... she could be better than average. Not Amanda Roconi but worth listening to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Tamim Ansary
    • Narrated By Tamim Ansary
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (613)
    Performance
    (452)
    Story
    (442)

    Until about 1800, the West and the Islamic realm were like two adjacent, parallel universes, each assuming itself to be the center of the world while ignoring the other. As Europeans colonized the globe, the two world histories intersected and the Western narrative drove the other one under. The West hardly noticed, but the Islamic world found the encounter profoundly disrupting.

    David says: "A history of the world before the West mattered"
    "Essential"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read a lot of history. (Fiction and "summer reading" too.) Along the way I've been exposed to the "story" of Western Civilization many times. Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Crusades, Ages (many), Wars (Too Many), kings and queens and tsars and Popes and dictators and Vikings, and voyages of discovery. Et al. Etc. Yada Yada.

    What I missed out on was a basic survey of the past two thousand years from a non-western perspective. Ansary offers the basic survey course of what he calls the Middle World and the course of Islam I needed. And didn't know I needed. [Although I've read a fair number of books by non-westerners.]

    Ansary reads his own work. In this case it works quite well. He adds the emotion, the emphasis, that only an author can provide. His voice is pleasant to listen to, too.

    My wife, with a science backgrounds, found Destiny Disrupted as essential, as beneficial, as I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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