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cristina

Somerville, MA, United States | Member Since 2009

808
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 144 reviews
  • 161 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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214

  • Snow White Must Die

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Nele Neuhaus
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    Overall
    (1006)
    Performance
    (876)
    Story
    (869)

    On a rainy November day, police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: a woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer. On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace.

    C. Vincent says: "Great narrator, unbelievable, never-ending story"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of those instances where I wish Audible allowed reviewers half stars. This one really deserved 2 ½. (I reserve five stars for absolutely-loved; four for really-liked; three for OK; and 1 for did-not-finish…Leaving 2 stars to cover both finished-but-hated-it and finished-but-did-not-really-like-it. The two are really quite different and this one is more of the later.)

    The plot is unbelievable. It starts with the accidental discovery of a skeleton in a construction site. The body, of course (you kind of expect it, so I don’t think this is a terrible spoiler), happens to be one of two girls murdered 11 years earlier. Coincidentally (there are way too many of these coincidences throughout the book), the guy who was convicted of the murders has just been released from prison after serving a ten-year sentence. There is a traffic accident involving his mother and the two bumbling investigators go to his village to investigate.

    The investigators are apparently the stars of the series (this is the first to be translated, but not the first in the series). Quite frankly, I am shocked they have a following. They are absolutely incompetent as “sleuths.” At one point, the author writes: “The pieces of the puzzle were falling in place as if by themselves.” And that is precisely what happens. It seems that everyone in the village is guilty of something or another and everyone confesses or gets discovered purely by chance. There is one instance, I kid you not, where the suspect disappears and the two "investigators" say to each other (I paraphrase): “I thought you were taking him to the station!” “What? I thought you were!”

    There are also some things that are never fully explained. (Why one character hid a will that would have made his family rich, for example.)

    I found most of the characters, even the protagonist, unlikeable. Our "hero" went to prison after getting so drunk eleven years earlier that he simply could not remember what happened during an entire night. And yet, mere days after getting out of prison, he proceeds to do the exact same thing! If ten years in prison for a crime you don’t remember committing don’t cure you of binge drinking, what will?

    I didn't really hate the novel but it is, at best, mediocre. Like I said, two-and-half stars: Finished it but did not really like it.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Cairo Affair

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Olen Steinhauer
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (76)

    Sophie Kohl is living her worst nightmare. Minutes after she confesses to her husband, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary, that she had an affair while they were in Cairo, he is shot in the head and killed. Stan Bertolli, a Cairo-based CIA agent, has fielded his share of midnight calls. But his heart skips a beat when he hears the voice of the only woman he ever truly loved, calling to ask why her husband has been assassinated.

    Darwin8u says: "In the widening gyre"
    "Excellently plotted"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After reading a number of mediocre books where the plot went nowhere, "The Cairo Affair" was a breath of fresh air. The plot unveils in layers, each chapter revealing a new shade of meaning to what you knew before. The characters find out what is happening right along with you. Each one is holding his or her own piece of the puzzle...and in the end it all comes together seamlessly. It's hard to say much without spoilers, so I will simply recommend this for those of you who like spy thrillers and intrigue that is ultimately human.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Clifton Chronicles, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (142)

    Be Careful What You Wish For opens with Harry Clifton and his wife Emma rushing to the hospital to learn the fate of their son, Sebastian, who has been involved in a fatal car accident. But who died, Sebastian or his best friend Bruno? When Ross Buchanan is forced to resign as chairman of the Barrington Shipping Company, Emma Clifton wants to replace him. But Don Pedro Martinez intends to install his puppet, the egregious Major Alex Fisher, in order to destroy the Barrington family firm just as the company plans to build its new luxury liner, the MV Buckingham.

    cristina says: "The demise of a great, fun author"
    "The demise of a great, fun author"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I used to LOVE Jeffrey Archer's books. Sure, not literature, but FUN, FUN, FUN. Surprising twists that MADE SENSE. Interesting characters. Could not wait for his next novel...

    That author is simply gone. Replaced by one who must be writing as fast as he can to make a quick million bucks. (I think I am done contributing to this particular fund.)

    The previous one in this series was mediocre. This one is even worse. Absolutely meaningless plot twists (not just hard-to-believe...MEANINGLESS. The story doesn't go anywhere.) The reviewer who said, "Where is this series going?" is totally right.

    There is also an annoying "love fest" with the upper class (save a handful of stereotypical Cruella Deville female characters that even the "upper class" knows to disdain). The narrator MIGHT be contributing to make their conversations DEADLY boring with his nasal inflections, but I don't think so--I think it is just ghaaastly writing.

    Avoid.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Atlantis Gene: The Origin Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By A. G. Riddle
    • Narrated By Stephen Bel Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (383)
    Performance
    (350)
    Story
    (347)

    Seventy thousand years ago, the human race almost went extinct. We survived, but no one knows how.

    Until now. The countdown to the next stage of human evolution is about to begin, and humanity might not survive this time. The Immari are good at keeping secrets. For 2,000 years, they've hidden the truth about human evolution. They've also searched for an ancient enemy - a threat that could wipe out the human race. Now the search is over.

    january says: "Pretty bad, but not the worst I've ever read"
    "What made me download this?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I usually trust reviewers...and this book is certainly receiving the reviews it deserves (for the most part). So I can't imagine what made me download it! Was it a recommended audible book? It seems impossible...Alas, download I did. And it was terrible. At one point, I actually double-checked that I had not downloaded Book II by mistake (soooooo much time had gone by with no clear clue as to what the 'mystery' was about or what was really going on...or what could remotely connect all these widely disparate characters and events). I guess the 'promise' of that mystery must have been tempting (so the author gets one star for that), but after an hour or so on the SECOND downloaded half, I just stopped caring. Wish one of the other reviewers had a 'spoiler' and would tell me what (if anything) ended up happening. Did they all die? Did the world end? Meh. Will attempt to get my credit back on this one.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Accident

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Chris Pavone
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (49)

    As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder.

    Dorothy says: "A Little Bit Like Cotton Candy"
    "Twists and turns and twists"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While not quite as fun as "The Expats," I have to say that I can't wait until Chris Pavone's next novel. When "The Accident" starts, you think you know it all -- an anonymous book has been written telling a Big Fat Secret from a media mogul's past life; people will do anything to make sure the book never gets published. OK, you say, how can this story go on for X-number of hours?...Then the plot twists and turns. Connections are made and broken. While I agree with the reviewer who said that the characters were mostly unlikable (and some way too superficial), "The Accident" kept me entertained from beginning to end. The anonymous book in the novel, "The Accident," is supposed to be a book the reader can't put down...and Chris Pavone's "The Accident" comes close to being that as well.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Drew Chapman
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (84)

    Hidden deep within the figures tracking the ups and downs of the stock market lies a terrifying truth: America is under attack. Our government…our economy…our very way of life are in the crosshairs of a ruthless enemy…and no one knows. Except Garrett Reilly. He has a knack for numbers. He sees patterns no one else can. His gift has made him a rising star on Wall Street. But when he notices that two hundred billion dollars' worth of U.S. Treasury bonds are being sold off at a terrifying rate, his gift makes him the most wanted man alive.

    John S says: "Actually quite entertaining"
    "Quite entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story leaves several questions open ended, leading me to believe that there might be a sequel. If there isn't one, I would still rate this one four-stars. Yes, it's far-fetched, but who cares? I was hooked from the beginning. The narrator helps -- he is perfect as the voice of the numbers genius who reluctantly finds himself heading an army stealth operation. (If there IS a sequel, I will be buying it.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Silent Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By A. S. A. Harrison
    • Narrated By Karen White, Donald Corren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (452)
    Performance
    (403)
    Story
    (406)

    Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater; she lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds; she likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps; she has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.

    Emily says: "Good... but not quite like the description..."
    "Story really deserves three and a half stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    (Note to audible: PLEASE let us review with half stars! Hate when giving a book four is too much but giving it three is not enough!)

    I think the problem some of the other reviewers are having is that this book was compared to Gone Girl. Not fair. It's like Gone Girl in the sense that it's about a bad relationship that's careening towards disaster -- and in that the story is dark and full of psychological tension. It's not like Gone Girl in mostly everything else.

    Take the main female character. In Gone Girl she is narcissistic and self-absorbed (and that was almost the root of her problem) . In The Silent Wife, as the title implies, the self-effacing wife is willing to take what little love she can get…until, of course, it appears that she might lose it all (her character flaw is her weakness). In fact, I think that the announcer that so many reviewers hate plays her quite well.

    I, for one, enjoyed the darkness. The seeming inevitability of what's coming. Hope the author writes a second.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ripper: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Isabel Allende
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (57)

    The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Though their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Long divorced from Amanda's father, she's reluctant to settle down with either of the men who want her - Alan, the wealthy scion of one of San Francisco's elite families, and Ryan, an enigmatic, scarred former Navy SEAL. While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature - as is her father, the SFPD's deputy chief of homicide.

    richard says: "Major chick lit alert. You've been warned."
    "Extremely entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Isabel Allende's first mystery novel. Not surprisingly, the mystery itself is secondary to the many magical characters Allende brings to life. And yet, the puzzle the teenage members of the role-playing game (Ripper) are trying to solve grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let you go. Yes, some of the plot is far-fetched…but it wouldn't be Allende if there were no elements that were a tad fantastical. Edoardo Ballerini is the perfect reader for this. I have said before that he could read a phone book and I would listen. It was sheer pleasure to have him read Allende's novel. Definitely recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    Overall
    (2545)
    Performance
    (2228)
    Story
    (2240)

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    Darwin8u says: "Pagford upon Avon"
    "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read Rowling's other non-Potter book (the one she wrote under a pseudonym) and found it entertaining but mediocre. I expected the same reaction to this one and had therefore put off listening to it. When I did, I was totally surprised by how much I liked it. So much so that I laid in bed until well past two in the morning listening to the end (something I rarely do)--ergo the five stars even though this is not 'high' literature.

    The Casual Vacancy is a story about the dark hidden lives of the inhabitants of a small country town. (Yes, not a very original theme but so very well done by Rowling.) The characters are dark, Very dark. Sometimes their meanness astounds you. In fact, they are all mean, except in varying degrees -- the only 'solid' good guy appears to be the character who dies in the first few pages of the book, leaving "the casual vacancy" in the town's council. (Had he lived, no doubt we would have found he had his secrets as well. Nobody is blameless here.)

    The things that happen as a result of the characters inner flaws and demons are catastrophic, but easy to believe. In fact, Rowling makes them seem inevitable. A train without brakes going downhill.

    I hope she writes more novels like this. And I hope Tom Hollander reads them. I will be sure to listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Guilt

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2081)
    Performance
    (1837)
    Story
    (1827)

    Mickey Haller gets the text, "Call me ASAP - 187," and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life.

    Jane says: "Definitely entertaining. I had some smiles."
    "Disappointing for Connelly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Perhaps if it had been written by someone else I would have liked it better. While "OK," it simply did not live up to Michael Connelly. Certainly not to The Lincoln Lawyer.

    The story does not have as many surprising twists and turns. And the character development is nowhere near as good.

    Some of it has to do with the fact that this is part of a series--and that Connelly feels obliged to explain some of the characters' absences (Like the fact that the daughter is not talking to our hero at this stage of this life…If this were a stand-alone novel, she would not have even been mentioned. Here, her absence is a recurring theme, but the main character is not given enough depth to make his 'anguish' believable). There are also a lot of "fast forwards," where relationships have been established two seconds after you first read about the characters meeting. Obviously, as another reviewer mentioned, this is more the basis for a screenplay than a novel. As such, The Gods of Guilt will probably be more satisfying as a movie.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4269)
    Performance
    (3903)
    Story
    (3903)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Six stars until the very end."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had read another review where the reviewer had absolutely loved the book until the end, where she felt the author started to "pontificate." I couldn't agree more.

    The story is absolutely amazing -- at times charming, at times sad, at times hilariously funny, at times heartbreaking.The plot moves in crazy directions, making it sound like almost different novels put together (from a very intimate portrayal of a kid going through loss…to a mad caper through the back alleys of Amsterdam)…and yet it works. You don't mind accompanying Theo on his road trip through life. I LOVED it from the very beginning and simply could not put it down.

    AND THEN come the last couple of hours, where the narrator seems to lose confidence in her amazing skill and she has the main character ramble on and on and on and on (and on) about 'the meaning of life.' No! No! No! That was totally unnecessary (and condescending and pedantic), Donna. We GOT IT! You did a great job getting us to GET IT. There was no need for the sudden (and boring) style change. (Where was the editor???)

    As I was reading the book, I kept thinking, "HOW could you not give this book five stars, no matter if that reviewer is right and it fails a bit at the end?" And yet, as it turns out, I could not give it five stars because of that excruciating two-hour homily towards the end (perhaps it was just an hour, but it felt longer).

    Still, I recommend The Goldfinch. The other 28 hours were absolutely great.

    The narrator is excellent. Loved him so much that I went to see what else he had done (to my dismay, he has done a lot of kid books…and I had actually listened to most of his few adult books already).

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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