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cristina

Somerville, MA, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
173
REVIEWS
155
FOLLOWING
68
FOLLOWERS
226
HELPFUL VOTES
914

  • Snow White Must Die

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Nele Neuhaus
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1225)
    Performance
    (1067)
    Story
    (1061)

    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.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Executive Privilege

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Phillip Margolin
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (631)
    Performance
    (261)
    Story
    (266)

    When private detective Dana Cutler is hired by an attorney with powerful political connections, the assignment seems simple enough: follow a pretty college student named Charlotte Walsh and report on where she goes and whom she sees. But then the unexpected happens.

    Lu says: "Entertaining"
    "Entertaining enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator does not do the story any favors. His voice is too monotonous, his pauses too long.

    The story itself is not great. A tad too unbelievable. A tad too predictable. A tad too "convenient" in terms of events happening right when they had to.

    AND YET, I give it four stars. It kept me entertained to the end. Sometimes, that's exactly what you want.

    This is my first Margolin book and I might give another a try.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (363)
    Performance
    (336)
    Story
    (332)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Tawney says: "A remarkable listening experience"
    "Deeply human"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I started listening to this story, I realized it was the wrong novel for me at this particular time. I needed something lighter. I kept telling myself I'd stop listening and go back to it at another time...but the writing kept me hooked. Something was going on here that went beyond the two children whose day-to-day lives Doerr was describing.

    I am so glad I kept listening. The story builds and builds. The two children's lives connect in magical ways...and towards the last third of the novel, you find yourself holding your breath.

    I don't want to give anything away. Does it have a happy ending? Does it have a sad ending? You'll have to listen for yourselves. I highly recommend the experience. It couldn't be more real, or human.

    Can't wait for Mr. Doerr's next novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Privileged Lives: Vince Cardozo, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Edward Stewart
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    In a private suite at a New York hospital, Beatrice “Babe” Vanderwalk Devens awakens from a seven-year coma. The socialite and fashion designer is stunned to learn that her husband, Scottie, was brought to trial twice - and acquitted - for her attempted murder. Across town, the naked, mutilated body of a young man wearing a black leather bondage mask is found in an empty apartment in the Beaux Arts Tower, high atop the Museum of Modern Art.

    cristina says: "A bit long-winded, but entertaining nevertheless"
    "A bit long-winded, but entertaining nevertheless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It takes a while for the story to get going because, for a very long time, it seems like you're reading two books. There's a brutal homicide and a woman who wakes up from a seven-year coma...and for almost a third of the novel, the two stories are only connected by the investigator. Then the two stories come together and the book becomes a lot more interesting. Could have been shorter, but it was still entertaining. So much so that I was hooked by the preview of the second in the series and am in the process of downloading it as I write this review.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Wicked Girls

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Alex Marwood
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (517)
    Performance
    (470)
    Story
    (463)

    On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it's the first time they've seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives - and unknowing families to protect - will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?

    Lesley says: "I didn't want to like these girls..."
    "Riveting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A dark and painful tale of misery and lives-gone-horribly-wrong, told exquisitely by an author in full control of his audience (and narrated by the perfect voice). I loved it!

    The tragic events of a day long ago when the two protagonists were 11 years old are revealed chronologically, and interspersed with what's happening in the present day, when a dreadful coincidence brings the two women together as adults. It's hard to say what's more hypnotic: the dreadful events that are unfolding, or to see the paths their two lives took as a result of that one day in their childhood. I could not tear my eyes (ears?) away. And can't wait for more novels by this author.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (374)
    Performance
    (345)
    Story
    (347)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Marci says: "It was good, not great"
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To call this is one of the best 'zombie' books I have ever read (I do like zombie books) would be to make it much smaller than it is. Sure, there are zombies, but this book is about human interactions--about humanity. Without giving any of the great turns and twists away, I have to say that the character development is absolutely brilliant. I can't recall a single instance in the book where a character went off-course in an unexpected way--those who changed (and many did) changed because they were reacting to something outside themselves (and the changes were powerful and moving); those who didn't change didn't change because nothing could have made them do so. You come to know each one of them well, especially Madeleine--the little girl at the center of the story. And what a story it is! M.R. Carey has crafted a tightly knit plot that will keep you at the edge or your seat (or wherever you happen to be while you listen) from start to finish. This was one of those audiobooks that I couldn't wait to get back to. Finty Williams is PERFECT for the narrator. Her rendition of little Madeleine's voice is particularly great (conveying innocence without ever being saccharine). Loved it! Can't wait for this author's next novel.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • While Beauty Slept

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Blackwell
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told.And so begins Elise Dalriss's story. When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a minstrel's tale about a beautiful princess asleep in a tower, it pushes open a door to the past, a door Elise has long kept locked. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered-and she is the only one left who knows what actually happened so many years ago. Her story unveils a labyrinth where secrets connect to an inconceivable evil. As only Elise understands all too well, the truth is no fairy tale...

    RueRue says: "A Different Sleeping Beauty"
    "Very Bad Writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I plodded through 5 hours of the first-person 'narrative,' thinking that any minute the story would 'start,' but simply couldn't take it anymore. Zero character development. Zero originality (I like these sorts of fantasies so the plot seemed to have promise when I read the publisher's summary, but the characters behave along extremely stereotypical lines). The combination made for a very boring listen. I am planning to get my credit back.

    Skip this one and read "Enchantment" by Orson Scott Card.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Terry Hayes
    • Narrated By Christopher Ragland
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (114)

    An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid. A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square. A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard. Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan. A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Smartest Novel I've Heard or Read in Long time"
    "Should have been three and a half stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is really two stories (a terrorist's plot and a murder mystery) that are force-fitted into one novel through a very implausible connection. That said, both stories are actually quite clever so it keeps your interest from beginning to end--a feat given the length of the book. In fact, I would say Hayes' ability as a storyteller is both the book's salvation and it's biggest problem. He keeps digressing into sub-plots (his childhood, the cop's past bravery, etc., etc....A problem (it seems that he can't help himself), but since all the stories are told well you almost don't mind. The excellent narration by Christophre Ragland helps.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Son: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (379)
    Performance
    (344)
    Story
    (340)

    Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit - or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes. Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption....

    Mary says: "Much more than I expected!"
    "Not his best, but still very, very good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to review Jo Nesbo novels. One tends to compare them against the author's previous work and it's hard to measure up. I did not think this was one of his best (it's not Snowman). Some of the plot twists are a bit too farfetched and there is never any good reason given for Sonny's ethereal qualities. (Did not really felt the novel needed him to be such an other-worldly guy...Simple goodness would have been just fine.) Still, the story moves with unrelenting pace and the mystery is a good one. Yes, I suspected how it would end sooner than I would have liked but I think that's simply because I am aware of Nesbo's tricks!

    If you have not read Nesbo before, try Snowman first. If you are a fan of Nesbo, by all means download The Son. And enjoy!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Deepest Secret: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Carla Buckley
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (66)

    Eve Lattimore’s family is like every other on their suburban street, with one exception. Her son Tyler has a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light, which means heavy curtains and deadlocked doors protect him during the day and he can never leave the house except at night. For Eve, only constant vigilance stands between an increasingly restless teenage son and the dangers of the outside world.

    Suzn F says: "Engaging and Interesting Story"
    "Gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could not stop reading/listening. The book is not really a "mystery." It's about right and wrong choices. It's about relationships. It's about human nature. Carla Buckley makes this all come to life in a book that grabs you from the start with an obvious, but true, insight into what seems to be happening 'out in the open' (in the light) and what's really happening 'behind the curtains' (at night). The reader is quite good.

    [I googled the disease of the main character and almost found the websites as gripping as this novel. Kudos to the parents who have to deal with this heart-wrenching and life-altering diagnosis for their child--and to the patients!!! Wow.]

    I was disappointed to read the reviews of the author's first novel (it sounds like she was testing the waters for this one). However, this one was good enough to put the first on my 'wish list'.....and to hope that her third one comes quickly.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Eden: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Chris Beckett
    • Narrated By Matthew Frow, Jayne Entwistle, Ione Butler, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (176)

    On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest's lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say - and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

    Amazon Customer says: "Hope to see a sequel soon"
    "It was brilliant-brilliant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I absolutely loved this book. The story is absolutely great. So well thought-out -- the plot (don't want to give anything away), the details about "Eden" and how the characters interact with their planet. The depth of each of the characters! And yet, the story is about much more than just the story--it's about history and how we can interpret (and misinterpret) it, how it affects our lives...it's about religion, beliefs...it's about leadership, society...about change.

    I usually don't like books with multiple narrators, but they worked perfectly here. Each and every one was outstanding, especially the voice of John Redlantern.

    The book does not need a sequel. I simply want one because I was so sorry to see it end. I noticed that the the copyright for the book was 2012 and the audiobook was 2014, so perhaps Chris Becket has been busy working a new one for the last couple of years! Whatever he writes, I will download. In Eden-speak, "It was clever-clever and I was sad-sad when it came to a close."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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