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Mariah

Oakton, VA, United States | Member Since 2002

57
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 800 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2014
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  • Dark of the Moon

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1944)
    Performance
    (958)
    Story
    (966)

    Virgil Flowers kicked around for a while before joining the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. First it was the army and the military police, then the police in St. Paul, and finally Lucas Davenport brought him into the BCA, promising him, "We'll only give you the hard stuff." He's been doing the hard stuff for three years now, but never anything like this.

    Crystal says: "Great winding road of a story"
    "Blooming Good Mystery"
    Overall

    John Sandford trots out a new detective, Virgil Flowers, in the Dark of the Moon. A bit player in one of Sandford's previous Prey books, Flowers holds his own as a down-home, good old boy detective tasked with solving a series of gruesome murders in rural Bluestem, Minnesota. The mystery roars along in typical Sandford fashion while Virgil's romance with the sister of the small town's sheriff heats up. I am no fan of romance novels but the steamy love scene in a secluded swimming hole is, well, hot until a sniper shows up to spoil the fun. While Sandford's usual hero, Lucas Davenport, is a sophisticated and suave solver of crimes, Flowers is more plodding, but no less heroic. Like Lucas in his early appearances, Flowers is a definite Tom Cat with an eye for the ladies. This fast-paced mystery contains one of the finest shoot-outs in modern detective fiction with Flowers coming off as a fearless fighter as he participates in a DEA raid on a drug lab. One of the most engaging features of the novel is the camaraderie among law enforcement types that permeates the book. Sandford has Lucas Davenport make only brief appearances in this outing, appearances in which Davenport generally comes off as annoyed at Flowers for bothering him too early. Still, Sandford has another winner with the Flowers character and I look forward to Virgil's next adventure. Before Sandford pens that one, I'd like to seem him resurrect one of his earliest and greatest crimer solvers, Kidd. Armed with today's staggering technology, a Kidd mystery would be irresistible.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Paying Guests

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Sarah Waters
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (455)
    Performance
    (415)
    Story
    (417)

    It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

    Cainaan says: "Stunning"
    "A bit of a slog."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Sarah Waters and/or Juliet Stevenson?

    Maybe...would need to confirm that there is a little less hang wringing and a little less whining.


    What three words best describe Juliet Stevenson’s performance?

    She did a good job with the material, but after a while the whining of the characters grated on my nerves and I just wanted it to end.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    This would probably make a good three to four part mini-series, if only for the costumes and the possibility of a Emma Thompson playing the put upon mother.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first book that I wish I had encountered in an abridged format. I listened to a podcast that recommend this book as an historical thriller. I thought that sounded great! As one other reviewer said it took 8 hours to get to the thriller part of the book. That is simply toooo long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Protect and Defend

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3194)
    Performance
    (1514)
    Story
    (1523)

    The action begins in the heart of Iran, where billions of dollars are being spent on the development of a nuclear program. No longer willing to wait for the international community to stop its neighboring enemy, Israel launches a creative and daring operation that leaves a radioactive tomb in the middle of Iran's second largest city. An outraged Iranian government publicly blames both Israel and the United States and demands retribution.

    Warren says: "Best book I've listened to this year"
    "Unwrapped Rapp"
    Overall

    Protect and Defend starts out with vintage Mitch Rapp neatly disposing of an adversary on a yacht anchored off Costa Rica. But the action quickly switches to Iran where Rapp is unleashed to rescue his boss, who has been kidnapped by a revolutionary sect. While the book is undoubtedly timely and illustrates the quagmire of today's tangled mid-east political environment, I found much of the Iranian segments boring and filled with a collection of unfailingly nasty characters with confusing names. This book features a consistently violent Rapp without the showing the softer side of the CIA assassin that has been displayed in previous books. For this reason, I found the book less appealing than the other Rapp rousts. The book's epilogue effectively hammers home the theme of Rapp as a killing machine. Listeners who enjoy almost nonstop violence laced with a heavy dose of mid-eastern politics will find this a must listen. While narrator George Guidell is as masterful as ever, I would recommend that other readers give this one a pass.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Power Play

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Joseph Finder
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (802)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (164)

    When a band of backwoods hunters crash a corporate retreat in the wilderness, executives find themselves held hostage by men who will do anything to get the largest ransom in history. The corporate big shots hadn't wanted junior exec Jake Landry there. But now he's the only one who can save them.

    Art says: "I really wanted to give it four stars!"
    "Slow Start--Fine Finish"
    Overall

    Power Play fails to deliver the same thrills as Joseph Finder did in Paranoia, Company Man and Killer Instinct. The first half of the book spends too much time focused on the corporate background, which is marred by having too many power players for the reader to untangle or care about. The female CEO is a particulary bland character, who never really steps off the page as more than a stereotype. It's not until the bad guys arrive that the tale begins to gather momentum. The hero, Jake Landry, though, does not disappoint and brings the book to a rip roaring finish. A good read for people patient enough to wade through the corporate dribble that ruins the first half of the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Away

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Amy Bloom
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    On a morning in 1924, a young woman rises from the floor of her family's small home in Belorussia to find her parents and her husband slaughtered beside her and her infant daughter, Sophie, missing. When her aunt tells her the baby is dead, Lillian emigrates to America. She is working as a seamstress at the Yiddish Theater and enjoying cafe society when a cousin arrives and insists that her daughter is still alive, in Siberia.

    Phyllis says: "the perils? of Lillian"
    "Nothing Great"
    Overall

    This picaresque novel centers around the heroine's search for a baby left behind when her mother emigrates to America following a gentile attack on her Jewish family in Russia in the early 1920s. After making a cozy life for herself in America as the mistress of a gay actor and the actor's father, our heroine, Lillian, hears from a relative that the baby she left behind is still alive. Even though the relative may be lying just to get a piece of Lillian's cozy life in the Jewish center of New York, without hesitation, Lillian sets off to look for her baby--in Siberia. Her adventures make up of most of the story, which is strictly linear but features some well-described situations Lillian encounters in the search for her daughter. This is a decent, but not spectacular, read, as the heroine's actions--which consist of doing anything it takes to get to her child--are predicable. The look at life as a Jew in the early 20th century in New York is colorful and interesting as is the descriptions of her deadly stopover in Seattle and relelentess journey through Alaska.

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • The Echelon Vendetta: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By David Stone
    • Narrated By Firdous Bamji
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (935)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (117)

    When CIA "fixer" Micah Dalton's friend and mentor turns up dead, he's put on a collision course with a killer who has a penchant for intricate knife-work and Native American mysticism, a sadist who is killing ex-CIA agents. The victims are hard-nosed field men whose only link to one another seems to be a global surveillance operation called Echelon. The murders appear to be acts of retribution. But for what?

    Carmela08 says: "Excellent spy tale"
    "CIA Meets High Plains Indians"
    Overall

    What I liked: Tough, nice-guy hero supported by finely drawn characters I’ll remember for a long time. Lots of fine descriptive narrative also surrounds the novels backdrop scenes, which range from Venice, Italy to the North American high country

    What I didn’t like: A convoluted plot that required a suspension of disbelief to accept and a flow chart to follow. The end result is a high-tech CIA thriller married to a Tony Hillerman mystery. The plot simply lacks the legs to carry this writer’s fine narrative skills.

    What I’ll remember most: A wolf/dog hybrid named Irene—think Dean Koontz

    A better book in the same genre: Nelson DeMille’s Nightfall

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The King of Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By John Hart
    • Narrated By David Chandler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (662)
    Performance
    (217)
    Story
    (212)

    John Hart creates a literary thriller that is as suspenseful as it is poignant, a riveting murder mystery layered beneath the southern drawl of a humble North Carolina lawyer. When Work Pickens finds his father murdered, the investigation pushes a repressed family history to the surface and he sees his own carefully constructed facade begin to crack.

    Scott says: "Better than a Grisham novel"
    "King of Bores"
    Overall

    This book is a bore. A self-consicious first-person narration, too many cute metaphors and a story that moves like a glacier all bespeak of a first-time, not-sure what-I-am-doing author. The book lacks a sense of place or real feel for its characters. Save your credits for a more experienced author like John Grisham if you want a real Southern legal read.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Lisa Unger
    • Narrated By Ann Marie Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (421)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (140)

    If Ridley Jones had slept 10 minutes later or had taken the subway instead of waiting for a cab, she would still be living the beautiful lie she used to call her life. She would still be the privileged daughter of a doting father and a loving mother. Her life would still be perfect, with only the tiny cracks of an angry junkie for a brother and a charming drunk with shady underworld connections for an uncle to mar the otherwise flawless whole.

    Linda Ann Howson says: "Give it a chance"
    "Boring Books."
    Overall

    Beautiful Lies is a dreary attempt to set an old style gothic romance into a gritty New York setting. It doesn’t work. The first-person narrator, a woman improbably named Ridley, gets caught up in the mystery of finding out her real identity after she rescues a young boy from a busy street and her story is plastered across the news. Complete with the obligatory mysterious handsome man who the heroine falls in love with and then begins to fear, the novel leans heavily on the 18th century writer’s technique of directly addressing the reader to the point that the listener simply wants to pull out the earphones so she will stop talking at you. The narrator is so self-absorbed, righteous and lacking in any perspective save her interest in herself that it is difficult to believe that she could be the successful freelance writer she is supposed to be. The other characters are as flat as paper dolls and the predictable plot dead ends with our heroine simply having the mystery explained to her by one of the bad guys and her parents. Alas, this thriller wanna be is not worth a listen.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Cell: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    Overall
    (3432)
    Performance
    (1158)
    Story
    (1169)

    The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone's cell phone. Clay and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization's darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature...and then begins to evolve.

    chris says: "Entertained"
    "Ringing Thriller"
    Overall

    In Cell, Stephen King finally dials in again with a thriller that matches the caliber of his earlier work such as The Stand. King’s premise plays off today’s overbearing reliance on cell phones and other technologies to create a “pulse” that results in a devastated nation of zombies. The zombies, however, work primarily as a backdrop to the survival of a group of “normies” who didn’t happen to answer a cell phone on the day the pulse was unleashed. Unlike some of King’s more recent characters, the “normies” are well-developed characters who readers can care about. And, instead of complaining about an unsatisfying ending, we should be looking forward to a sequel featuring this same fine cast of characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Amateur Marriage: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Anne Tyler
    • Narrated By Blair Brown
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    They seemed like the perfect couple: young, good-looking, made for each other. The moment Pauline, a stranger to the Polish Eastern Avenue neighborhood of Baltimore (though she lived only twenty minutes away), walked into his mother's grocery store, Michael was smitten. And in the heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty wedding. But they never should have married.

    Lisa says: "Disappointing"
    "Vintage Anne Tyler But Different"
    Overall

    The Amateur Marriage is a nearly vintage Anne Tyler novel:, offering a slightly off-kilter family, a fine sense of time and place and an excellent eye for detail expressed in well-turned phrases. But this book is written on a larger canvas than her others, spanning over 40 years in the lives of Pauline and Michael Anton. The story begins in 1941 at the start of World War II when Pauline falls in love with Michael for no other reason than she needed a man to send off to war. But Michael?s war career is short-lived and he soon comes limping back to Baltimore and into Pauline?s waiting arms. They quickly marry and live with Michael?s mother over the family grocery story. It is immediately clear that the couple is not a perfect fit. Pauline is impulsive, determined and ambitious while Michael is slow, plodding and perfectly happy in his small inner-city grocery store. Pauline?s will prevails, however, and the couple?along with Mother Anton and their new daughter, Lindy?move to one of the spanking new suburbs that blossomed around the country in the early 50s. Michael opens a new grocery story and the family adds to two more children. Except for the constant bickering between Pauline and Michael, all is well until Lindy abruptly vanishes, the only trace of her the three-year old son she abandons in San Francisco. Still devastated over the loss of their daughter, the Antons bravely press on and begin another round of carpools to raise their missing daughter?s son. Unlike most Tyler novels, this one contains no epiphanies, no sudden moments of understanding. Instead, there is a rather helpless sense of time rushing on while the characters spin out their lives caught up in trivialities. And while Tyler might be criticized for giving her characters little or no motivations for their life?s choices, she can be praised for creating a family we like and care about. And that is what makes this novel worth reading.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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