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Calliope

ratings
110
REVIEWS
109
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
124

  • A Royal Pain: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (2310)
    Performance
    (1993)
    Story
    (1980)

    The Queen of England has concocted a plan in which penniless aristocrat Lady Georgie is to entertain a Bavarian princess and conveniently place her in the playboy prince's path, in the hopes that he might finally marry.

    But queens never take money into account. Georgie has very little, which is why she moonlights as a maid-in-disguise.

    Coffee Lover says: "More Royal Fun!"
    "a good followup to the first book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the second book in the series, and it held itself up well to the expectations I had after reading the first. Funny, engaging, with a hint of mystery. It was a little over-the-top with some of the characterizations and accents, though, so it was a little less believable than the first. It won't keep me from listening to the rest of the series, though.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Queen of Hearts

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (176)
    Story
    (176)

    Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 35th in line for the British throne, knows how to play the part of an almost royal - but now she's off to Hollywood, where she must reprise her role as sleuth or risk starring in an all-too-convincing death scene...

    Calliope says: "Good but not her best"
    "Good but not her best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think this story pushes the envelope a little too far when it ventures to Hollywood.....had most of the story stayed on the ocean liner crossing the Atlantic, I think it would have been much better. I like the central cast of characters (all except for Queenie - she should have stayed with her new boss), but things reached ridiculous with the wild animals and movie plans. It was a fun romp up to and including New York, and I hope the next installment will stick a little closer to home for the 34th in line to the throne and her Irish beau.

    And I hope Queenie gets a job elsewhere and exits from the series!

    Katherine Kellgren's narration is always great, but even she was stretched a little too far, especially with the Spanish and Mexican accents. She managed a range of American accents fine, though she was a little over the top with the Western twang too. I'm hoping for a more Euro-centered story next time. Maybe even within the UK. A trip to Darcy's old home, maybe?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Dangerous Fortune

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2434)
    Performance
    (1133)
    Story
    (1149)

    In 1866 tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School when a mysterious accident takes the life of a student. Among the student's circle of friends are Hugh Pilaster; Hugh's older cousin Edward, dissolute heir to the Pilaster banking fortune; and Micky Miranda, the handsome son of a brutal South American oligarchy. The death and its aftermath begin the spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many lives.

    Rebecca says: "Predictable Fun"
    "Oy, vey -- what a soap opera!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're captivated by the machinations of wealthy families....well, this might be the book for you. I found the story dragged on and on with predictability, but then the last chapters felt rushed as if Follett felt the need to wrap things up quickly. All the regular suspects are there (the rich snob, the hooker with a heart of gold, the honourable son, the black sheep of the family, the evil foreigner) but they don't add up to anything unexpected and aren't written with much subtlety or imagination. Follett seems to me to write some excellent books and some very average ones, and this is solidly in the second category.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crime and Punishment

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett (translator)
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (461)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (301)

    In this intense detective thriller instilled with philosophical, religious, and social commentary, Dostoevsky studies the psychological impact upon a desperate and impoverished student when he murders a despicable pawnbroker, transgressing moral law to ultimately "benefit humanity".

    Mubarak says: "Excellent Excellent Excellent!"
    "great narration improves the difficult writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first venture into Russian literature, and I am pleased to say the wonderful narration helped with the difficult nomenclature.......characters are referenced sometimes by their last names, sometimes by their first and middle names, and sometimes by their nicknames - all of which are foreign to my ears. But because of Anthony Heald's narration skills, I could sort out who was whom and keep the story straight. I'm sure it would have been more difficult if I were reading the text.

    This is a combination of philosophy, social commentary, and a murder mystery; the murder mystery is the weakest of all the components, I think, and the murder is used mostly as an illustration and as motivation for the rest. That's OK, because the philosophy and moral questions posed by the book are the real meat-and-potatoes of what makes it interesting. This is not an easy book, but it was ultimately worthwhile. Still, it will take some time before I'm ready again to take on another Russian novel that looks at philosophy and society so deeply. I think I need a change of pace now with a bit of fluffy pop fiction - it's good to mix them up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Man with a Load of Mischief: A Richard Jury Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Martha Grimes
    • Narrated By Steve West
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (236)

    At the Man with a Load of Mischief, they found the dead body stuck in a keg of beer. At the Jack and Hammer, another body was stuck out on the beam of the pub’s sign, replacing the mechanical man who kept the time. Two pubs. Two murders. One Scotland Yard inspector called in to help. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury arrives in Long Piddleton and finds everyone in the postcard village looking outside of town for the killer - except for one Melrose Plant....

    C. Telfair says: "Favorite Revisited"
    "Good but not great......"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though this novel is over 30 years old, it's the first time I've sampled any of Martha Grimes' books and so far I think they're good - but there's not much in this one that will make me rush to listen to the rest of the series. I've found I like the character-rich British mysteries more than American ones, and I guess I should have realized that even though these mysteries are set in small-town Britain, they're still written by an American and that will seep through. Too many of the players here seemed almost to be caricatures of themselves, or of a type. Not really my cup of tea, I guess.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 'Crooked House' & 'Endless Night'

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (63)

    Two standalone novels from the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie. From the sprawling Leonide family to dark moors, no one can spin a mystery quite like she can. In Crooked House, the Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection....

    Thomas says: "Typical VS Unexpected"
    "2 very different novels, but both good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Crooked House was a terrific story, and I liked it far better than Endless Night, but both were good. Crooked House seemed to have more energy and engaging characters, but Endless Night had more mystery and sense of foreboding. Both were good, and this was well worth the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Too Close to Home

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Linwood Barclay
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (59)

    In a quiet suburban neighborhood, in the house next door, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. You canï¿¿ï¿¿ï¿¿t help thinking, "That could have been us". And you start to wonder, "What if we're next?"

    That's the question Jim and Ellen Cutter are asking, and the answers aren't reassuring.

    Bernie says: "Gripping and suspensful . . . FANTASTIC!"
    "Not his best - just an OK experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read and listened to a few of Barclay's books before, and they were better written and more enjoyable than this one. One of the things I like about his books is that his protagonists are ordinary people caught up in unfortunate circumstances, and that's true here too, but I thought that some of the characters were either particularly stupid or weak, and that bothered me. Also, this is, at the end, a story of revenge - and I don't particularly like revenge stories - they're colder than the more common and passionate motivators of action like money, lust, jealousy, or power.

    The narrator was fine, but just OK - I don't think he really added much to the experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sparkling Cyanide

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Six people sit down to a sumptuous meal at a table laid for seven. In front of the empty place is a sprig of rosemary - "rosemary for remembrance." A strange sentiment considering no one is likely to forget the night, exactly a year ago, that Rosemary Barton died at exactly the same table, her beautiful face unrecognizable, convulsed with pain and horror. But then Rosemary had always been memorable - she had the ability to arouse strong passions in most people she met. In one case, strong enough to kill....

    Calliope says: "poor resolution to an interesting mystery"
    "poor resolution to an interesting mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a different type of Christie story for me, as almost half of it takes place in the past - remembered by characters and explained in exposition - rather than actively happening. That made for a different feel to the story, but it's a good story nonetheless: A year ago, a young socialite married to an older man dies of cyanide poisoning at a restaurant, and it is declared a suicide. Almost a year later, her husband gets a note stating that it was actually a murder, and at the birthday dinner at the same restaurant for the dead woman's sister, he ends up dying of cyanide poisoning himself. Was it suicide from grief? Was the note correct or a red herring? Was his death also a murder?

    All good questions and a plot for a good mystery, but the resulting solution is weak and unworthy of the setup, IMO.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mad Mouse

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Chris Grabenstein
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (728)
    Performance
    (339)
    Story
    (334)

    Young Danny Boyle, the part-time summer cop "down the shore" in Sea Haven, New Jersey, gets taken on a wild ride when he and his longtime beach buddies become the unwitting targets of a madman's twisted scheme for revenge. Fortunately, John Ceepak, the cop with a soldier's unshakable code of honor, stays at Danny's side to help him negotiate the quick twists and turns that threaten to destroy his life, his friends, and everything about the world he loves.

    John says: "Whack a Mole"
    "good follow up in the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like the first in the series, this is good, lightweight fun with a lot of humour and a little crime on the Jersey Shore. There's more character development in it, which makes me look forward to future installments, but it's still a fun, easy "read" that kept me entertained. It's not great literature, but it is good fun, and the narration was terrific.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Dalloway

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (109)

    It is a June day in London in 1923, and the lovely Clarissa Dalloway is having a party. Whom will she see? Her friend Peter, back from India, who has never really stopped loving her? What about Sally, with whom Clarissa had her life’s happiest moment? Meanwhile, the shell-shocked Septimus Smith is struggling with his life on the same London day.

    Darwin8u says: "A near perfect modern novel"
    "lyrical prose, wonderfully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is probably a very difficult novel to read, as it is various streams of consciousness of different (but often intertwining characters) taking place in the course of a single day. The novel jumps from one to another without so much as a chapter break, but the fabulous narration of Juliet Stevenson makes it so much easier to understand and follow. The language is so wonderful, it's almost poetic in it's feeling and pacing, and this was a joy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Kraken Wakes

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By John Wyndham
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Journalist Mike Watson and his wife, Phyllis, trace it back to the strange showering lights they noticed on the final day of their honeymoon cruise; lights which appeared to land and disappear into the water. Reports mount of similar sightings all over the world. Governments embark on missions to investigate the sea, but ships disappear and diving crews never return to the surface. Something deep in the ocean does not want to be disturbed.

    Calliope says: "classic sci-fi, wonderfully read"
    "classic sci-fi, wonderfully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big John Wyndham fan, but this is one I'd never read - and fortunately it's wonderfully read and rendered as an audiobook. Like several of his others, this book follows an invasion of Earth, centering on England, but unlike many alien-invasion stories, this one involves aliens in the deep that are never seen by any of the characters in the book. It adds an air of mystery to the already mysterious happenings, as does the music that separates segments of the story in this production.

    The narrator does a great job, not only in personalizing the different characters, but also in keeping the tone from getting too maudlin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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