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Sara

I work to keep my reviews free of plot spoilers. I hate reviews that tell you the whole story. That said, I do love reading reviews!

ratings
128
REVIEWS
104
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
19
HELPFUL VOTES
863

  • To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (1866)
    Performance
    (1074)
    Story
    (1076)

    In this Hugo-winner from Connie Willis, when too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first sight make Ned's holiday anything but restful - to say nothing of the way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of history.

    Carol says: "Wonderful"
    "A fun read"
    Overall

    Part country-house farce, part chaos theory, part time travel fantasy and all fun. This book was long but held the interest and had moments of laugh-out-loud silliness. There wasn't a rush to end the story but a careful playing out of the tale that lent to a sense of near perfect closure as loose ends were neatly woven together. Highly recommended.

    33 of 34 people found this review helpful
  • Iron Ties: The Silver Rush Mysteries, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Ann Parker
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Summer 1880. The railroad is coming west, all the way to Leadville, Colorado, and its rich Rocky Mountain mines - and millionaires. Coming to celebrate the arrival of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad is a former president, none other than Ulysses S. Grant, eighteenth president of the United States and commander of the Union armies during the Civil War. But not everyone wants to celebrate the arrival of the railroad.

    Sara says: "Summer of 1880 in Leadville"
    "Summer of 1880 in Leadville"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Life in a silver mining town in Colorado and hard drinking, crime solving female saloon owner Inez are the center of this mystery. I had high hopes for this second book in the Leadville series. Unhappily the story turned out to be very slow and scattered. It felt like reading a long series of letters from distant family with updates, sometimes partial and other times microscopic in detail, about people you barely know. The characters are so poorly developed that they seem like ghosts. Shadowy people milling around in a complicated, overly repetitive tale. Even worse, the final two or three chapters of the book are spent trying to dig the story out from under piles of unnecessary and discarded details. This final rushed writing works hard to make some sense of the previous 11 hours of listening. The closure, to me, was a let down. The smooth and languid reading style that added atmosphere in book one now feels just slow, monotone and boring. Can not recommend this visit to Leadville.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Janus Stone

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Elly Griffiths
    • Narrated By Jane McDowell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (233)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (178)

    Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is called in to investigate when builders, demolishing a large old house in Norwich to make way for a housing development, uncover the bones of a child beneath a doorway - minus the skull. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? DCI Harry Nelson would like to find out - and fast.

    Sara says: "Return to Salt Marsh & Mysterious Archeology"
    "Return to Salt Marsh & Mysterious Archeology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just love the way Griffiths brought the characters back from book one in the series as old friends. They are people that have been changed by their experiences together in the previous book. Often I find in a series that the main characters are too static as personalities. Not so with this author. Even better, this book continues to develop these interesting, flawed but fascinating people without missing a beat. This installment picks up just months after book one finished. Probably best to start with book one if you are new to the series. The books do build on one another and it is assumed that the reader already knows much detail that is not reviewed. A good thing-- as I dislike a great deal of recap in a series.

    The mystery and backstory were as well thought out, engaging and as spooky as they were in book one. It was also funny in spots! I really enjoyed this listen and loved how the whole tale played out. Creepiness, brooding wild sea coast, archeology and history all perfectly intertwine to make a really enjoyable listen. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. Really good and recommended if you enjoy a good mystery.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Silver Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Ann Parker
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (6)

    The crooked, the greedy, and those with a checkered past - they all came to Leadville with the same purpose: Get in, get rich, get out. As 1879 draws to a close, silver fever burns hot in the Rocky Mountain boomtown of Leadville, Colorado. Unfortunately for Joe Rose, an assayer of precious metals, death stakes its own claim. Joe’s body is found trampled into the muck behind Inez Stannert’s saloon. Inez already has much more to deal with than pouring shots of Taos Lightning.

    Sara says: "Crime Loaded Mystery in Silver Rush of Colorado"
    "Crime Loaded Mystery in Silver Rush of Colorado"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story is set in a mining town in Colorado during the 1870's. Filled with atmosphere and history of daily life in the post Civil War world of silver mines and money. So many twists and turns before it all becomes clear in this award winning first book in a series.

    Kristen Potter read in such a silky smooth languid voice that at times I had trouble telling characters apart. Most of the time she just read the book with an occasional accent--probably for the best. Her voice had a mesmerizing quality.

    Often while listening I thought that the character development was too minimal. Some characters became nothing more than names that were hard to place. In the end I thought this lack was part of the author's build up of intrigue and suspense--creating a feeling of not knowing what people were about. Not knowing who to trust, who the good guys were and who to watch out for. It definitely added to the level of danger and feeling of all around mayhem in the book.

    If you enjoyed the HBO series Deadwood you will most likely love this book. If you are like me and try to listen to books in the same season they are set in--this installment should be read during the winter--December, January and February. It is a cold and wintery tale that was a bit out of place in the August heat of my listen. Unseasonal issue aside, I enjoyed this whirlwind suspenseful story. Be prepared for many gruesome details and a great deal of filth in the alleyways and off the wooden boardwalks of Leadville. The listening time flew by and I am left wondering about what happens in book 2 of the series.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Falling to Pieces: A Quilt Shop Murder

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Vannetta Chapman
    • Narrated By Pam Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (73)

    In this first book of a three-book series, author Vannetta Chapman brings a fresh twist to the popular Amish fiction genre. She blends the familiar components consumers love in Amish books - faith, community, simplicity, family - with an innovative who-done-it plot that keeps readers guessing right up to the last stitch in the quilt. When two women - one Amish, one English - each with different motives, join forces to organize a successful on-line quilt auction, neither expects nor wants a friendship.

    Sara says: "Cozy English Meets Amish Mystery"
    "Cozy English Meets Amish Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book as an easy summer listen. Positive, happy in the face of difficulties, and strong community feelings empower this light story that engages but does not stress the listener. I really enjoy quilt shops and quilting so I could relate easily to the background story. If you are not interested in quilting you might not find enough here to hold your interest. As always I like Pam Wards reading style--she does a good job evoking the country homey tone of the book. Glad I gave it a try.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Swan Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Elizabeth Kostova
    • Narrated By Treat Williams, Anne Heche, Erin Cottrell, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (793)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (247)

    Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life--solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. In response, Marlowe finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver.

    Sara says: "Such Potential Wasted"
    "Such Potential Wasted"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really had high expectations and was ecstatic when I heard that Kostova had written a new book. I had enjoyed "The Historian" very much. It was something I devoured in the print version. While listening to "The Swan Thieves" I found myself wondering if the difference I was experiencing was due to the audio versus print experience. As this story progressed I became more and more disenchanted and realized that it wasn't completely the narration. I really tried to connect with this odd story of obsession, art, and history. It just never happened. I found myself thinking "what??" as each new twist occurred. In the end, on finishing the book, I sighed with disappointment and chalked it up to rushed writing and poor story development. So much potential and so little follow through.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Dorothy Wickenden
    • Narrated By Dorothy Wickenden, Margaret Nichols
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (47)

    In the summer of 1916, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, close friends from childhood and graduates of Smith College, left home in Auburn, New York, for the wilds of northwestern Colorado. Bored by their soci-ety luncheons, charity work, and the effete young men who courted them, they learned that two teach-ing jobs were available in a remote mountaintop schoolhouse and applied—shocking their families and friends.

    Sara says: "Not as Described"
    "Not as Described"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was supposed to be an adventure about two women breaking the mold and setting out to do something out of the ordinary. That it not what it is. Instead it is a partial history of the Rockies and a spotty story about the settlement of the west. While I love history that it not what I was buying when I chose this book. I wonder if the people who write the publisher's review have even read the book? The narration was deadly and overly plodding and ruined the story for me. Really disappointing. Can not recommend this boring book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Up from Orchard Street

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Eleanor Widmer
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (338)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (111)

    Three generations of Roths live together in a crowded tenement flat. Long-widowed Manya is the family's head and its heart. But Manya is no soft touch, except, perhaps, where her granddaughter Elka is concerned. Precocious Elka is her closest companion and confidante. Through Elka's eyes we come to know the fascinating characters who move in and out of the Roths' lives.

    Sara says: "Tenement Life From a Child's Point of View"
    "Tenement Life From a Child's Point of View"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As the author states in the afterward of the book-this book is part biography, part fiction and all true. It tells a sweeping story of living in poverty in the tenements of NYC through the eyes of young Elka. The book reminded me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn at first. However, I can understand why it isn't on a youth reading list anywhere. This story is peppered with frank talk about sex, infidelity and off-color jokes. Much of this was unnecessary for the story. It is a shame that this content makes it inappropriate for young people because it is an engaging tale filled with growth, insight and change.

    I agree with another reviewer that I would have liked a better time line. I found myself wondering what year it was when the action took place and hoping for an easier tracking of time progression. Instead there were vague mentions of "the war". Having firmer grounding in time would have made the story fit more easily into the world going on around it.

    Lorna Raver, the narrator, did a great job. I really enjoyed her enthusiasm. It was a long book but the listening time flew by and my attention was held effortlessly. Parts of the book are difficult listening, as the poverty, chronic illness, filth and constant struggle are harsh realities. That said, it is a good story and I'm glad I listened.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Sapphire Skies

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Belinda Alexandra
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (65)

    2000: The wreckage of a downed WWII fighter plane is discovered in the forests near Russia's Ukrainian border.The aircraft belonged to Natalya Azarova, ace pilot and pin-up girl for Soviet propaganda, but the question of her fate remains unanswered. Was she a German spy who faked her own death, as the Kremlin claims? Her lover, Valentin Orlov, now a highly-decorated general, refuses to believe it. Lily, a young Australian woman, has moved to Moscow to escape from tragedy.

    Sara says: "A Disturbing Disappointment"
    "A Disturbing Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was difficult to listen to and I finally just gave up after many grueling hours of hoping it would improve. It is a graphically violent story about war, betrayal, hatred and extreme loss. Disturbing on so many levels. I don't understand how this book could be considered a "wonderful holiday listen" to quote several reviewers on amazon.

    I usually enjoy Caroline Lee's narration, but listening to her Australian voice reading in the Russian accents was painful at times.

    The "mystery" was so predictable that it was just plain boring to boot. I am sorry that I wasted as much time on this book as I did. It was hopeless. Can't recommend it in any way at all.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Haunted Ground

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Erin Hart
    • Narrated By Jennifer McMahon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (465)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (179)

    When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery, the perfectly intact body of a young woman with long red hair, archaeologist Cormac O'Callaghan and pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared scientific interest in human remains. Because of the preservative effect of the bog, it is difficult to tell whether the body has lain there for two decades, two centuries, or two millennia.

    Linda says: "Mysteries old and mysteries new"
    "Archeology, Folklore and Mystery in Ireland"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overall a beautifully written story about Ireland and Irish history. This is a book that entwines mysteries from both past and present which in the end fit together fairly well. It uses archeology, forensics, history and local lore together nicely.

    However, I can understand the negative reviews that others have written. To me this was related to the lack of a clear voice telling the story. Instead the book was written from a variety of perspectives and this slowed the flow of the story and made the book seem scattered. The disjointed threads at times did not fit together making it difficult to follow a clear path. This wasn't because there was too much information, but instead because there were a few spots where things became implausible. To me, these unbelievable parts distracted from what was an engaging interweaving of past and present in the story.

    Recommended if you don't mind a slower story and are able to overlook a few far fetched bits.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Do the Work

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 25 mins)
    • By Steven Pressfield
    • Narrated By Steven Pressfield
    Overall
    (405)
    Performance
    (328)
    Story
    (327)

    Could you be getting in your way of producing great work? Have you started a project but never finished? Would you like to do work that matters, but don't know where to start?The answer is Do the Work, a manifesto by best-selling author Steven Pressfield, that will show you that it’s not about better ideas, it’s about actually doing the work. Do the Work is a weapon against Resistance - a tool that will help you take action and successfully ship projects out the door.

    Sara says: "Powerhouse of Motivation"
    "Powerhouse of Motivation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Short. To the point. Helpful with getting through the pondering and oft times paralyzed stage of projects and creation. Upbeat and encouraging. A book I have listened to several times and will definitely play again. A highly recommended positive motivator.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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