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Polly

PollyReads

Philadelphia, PA, United States | Member Since 2010

22
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 60 reviews
  • 119 ratings
  • 239 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
12

  • The Shipping News

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Annie Proulx
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (40)

    At 36, Quoyle, a third-rate newspaperman, is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife gets her just desserts. He retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters all play a part in Quoyle's struggle to reclaim his life. As three generations of his family cobble up new lives, Quoyle confronts his private demons - and the unpredictable forces of nature and society - and begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery.

    Polly says: "Can't Explain Why I Love This Book"
    "Can't Explain Why I Love This Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is written in a style I've never come across before. The sentences are short, almost choppy. The characters are equally strange, and the story took me by surprise many times. In reading this book, I felt as though I was on a child's roller coaster; it seemed slow and easy, but suddenly and unexpectedly jerked to the right or left. I felt sure that certain characters had secrets, and so I listened with building interest.

    The setting (Newfoundland, Canada) was new to me as well, and wrapped its cold grey arms around me. As I look back, I think the locale may be the main character of this novel. Very powerful.

    And, as I say in my title, I am not sure why I loved it, but I did. I recommend this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Christine Falls: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Benjamin Black
    • Narrated By Timothy Dalton
    Overall
    (685)
    Performance
    (258)
    Story
    (252)

    It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse, and concealing the cause of death.

    Vivienne says: "Engaging debut."
    "Dreary and Pointless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like "dark" books. Stories do not have to have unrealistically happy endings for me to enjoy them. But ... this book had nothing positive in it, from beginning to end. Dreary, depressing and hopeless are words I would use to describe the plot and the characters.

    The narrator is excellent. But the book is absolutely not worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Woman in White

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey, Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (833)
    Performance
    (654)
    Story
    (654)

    One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.

    David says: "Gripping novel, excellent production"
    "British High Society and a Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Two identical women, apparently unrelated by blood? A great love, set aside due to the rules of high society? A great fortune side by side with common poverty? A baronet with a great secret? A mysterious foreigner who may be a member of a secret Italian society? Yes to all of these compelling elements of a novel written in 1859 and considered by some to be a forerunner to the modern detective story.

    In 2003, Robert McCrum writing for The Observer listed The Woman in White number 23 in "the top 100 greatest novels of all time," and the novel was listed at number 77 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Many movies have been made of this story over the years.

    It is simply a great tale. I enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • James Stewart: A Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Donald Dewey
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    In the most penetrating and in-depth biography yet written about the beloved screen icon, award-winning author Donald Dewey delves beneath the persona into the usually unremarked turmoil of the actor's private life and behind the earnest Capraesque image so often accepted as the Stewart identity.

    Jan says: "Love Jimmy Stewart"
    "Extremely Detailed, Somewhat Dry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most of us love and admire actor James Stewart, and I started this book in hopes of learning more about him as a man. What was his wife Gloria like? Was Henry Fonda really his best friend? What were his favorite movie experiences? Who were his favorite directors and co-stars?

    I learned ALL of that, and so, technically, the book was a success.

    However, it was a little bit TOO detailed and quite dry.

    For example, J.S. attended Mercersburg Academy (Pa.). Author Donald Dewey wrote much more than I cared to know about M.A., its founding, and its head master. The same can be said about the author's description of Indiana, Pa. (J.S.'s hometown), etc., etc.

    So I recommend this book for factual content, but don't expect anything more than that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shirley Jones: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Shirley Jones
    • Narrated By Shirley Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (71)

    For those who only think of Shirley Jones as the prim and proper Marion the librarian or the chaste and demure Mrs. Partridge, a massive surprise is in store. In this hilarious and heartwarming, shocking and intimate memoir, Shirley dishes the raw truth about her own highly charged sexuality, her two husbands - the charismatic and deeply troubled Broadway star Jack Cassidy and the wacky TV comic Marty Ingels - her legendary Hollywood costars, and her interactions with the cast of The Partridge Family, including her rock star stepson David Cassidy.

    Jeffrey says: "A Rare Gem!"
    "A Tabloid in Book Form"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Shirley Jones, but she is not a good writer, and her writing partner either was not allowed to edit much or she was also unskilled. This book is just badly written.

    I enjoyed reading about the lucky break that got her started in show business; I liked reading about her favorite actors and directors; and I was interested to know how and why she stuck it out with Jack Cassidy.

    But I didn't need to know that her sons are well-endowed nor her views on masturbation. I am confident that she wrote the book, in part, to shock people. In fact, she refers to this trait at one point, and more than once compared her real (shocking) life to Mrs. Partridge (goodie goodie).

    All in all, not a good book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Wine of Angels

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Phil Rickman
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lacey
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (66)

    A paradise parish of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses, and a huge, haunted vicarage were not what the Revd Merrily Watkins ever had in mind. Nor had she wanted to walk into a local dispute over a play about a curious 17th century cleric accused of witchcraft, a story that certain old-established families would rather remained in obscurity. But this is Ledwardine, steeped in cider and secrets.

    Ruth says: "Brilliant!"
    "A Long Way to go for a Good Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Throughout the listening of this book, I frequently thought, "When will something happen?"

    The author, I presume, wanted to represent real life, which is full of long dull conversations and uneventful days. But I was bored. The last 30 minutes of the story really grabbed me, but was it worth the first 15 1/2 hours? I'm not convinced it was.

    I liked the main characters, and I would like to know what happens to them in the rest of the series. Maybe I can find "cliff notes."

    I want to add that the narrator read this book in what was almost a monotone. Yikes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Evil Act: A Lynley Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (288)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (251)

    Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: The daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can't really help - Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn't on Hadiyyah's, their daughter's, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold. Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace.

    Ruth Nielsen says: "Not a Fan Anymore!"
    "Running out of Steam"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been a fan of Elizabeth George and her main characters, Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers, for many, many years. But I fear that EG is running out of steam. This book was too long (I can't believe I said that); the ending was facile; and I found the choices some characters made difficult to believe (out of character). I actually found myself drifting off periodically because the story simply didn't hold my interest.

    The narrator was excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Still Life

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1749)
    Performance
    (1133)
    Story
    (1145)

    Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's nothing more than a tragic hunting accident, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods.

    Sydney says: "a gentle mystery"
    "Central Character Inspector Gamache is Cornerstone"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Somewhere I read a review that said this book is a "gentle mystery." I would agree. There are no throat slashings, no gruesome and blood-drenched scenes, no graphically violent attacks.

    But there is still a murder and a mystery.

    M. Gamache is the inspector who heads the investigation for The Sûreté du Québec, the Canadian organization that polices all of Quebec. He is an intellectual, a gentleman, a loving husband, a gourmand and a kind man. But he observes and listens carefully, and solves complex murders in the tiny town of Three Pines.

    He also comes to know the town's citizens, and develops friendships and an attachment to the community. Getting to know the secondary and tertiary characters has been a great joy.

    You will grow to love this character and to look forward to his next adventure. The good news: there are nine books in the series so far!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wayward: Wayward Pines, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (111)

    Welcome to Wayward Pines, population 461. Nestled amid picture-perfect mountains, the idyllic town is a modern-day Eden - except for the electrified fence and razor wire, snipers scoping everything 24/7, and the relentless surveillance tracking each word and gesture. None of the residents know how they got here. They are told where to work, how to live, and who to marry. Some believe they are dead. Others think they're trapped in an unfathomable experiment. Everyone secretly dreams of leaving, but those who dare face a terrifying surprise.

    Polly says: "YOW"
    "YOW"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is part II of a 3-part series about Wayward Pines, an odd-little town in Idaho which is either Heaven or Hell. Both part I ("Pines") and this one are creepy, tension-filled mysteries.

    I HIGHLY recommend both, but I recommend that you WAIT to buy either one.

    Why?

    Because author Crouch's part III has not been released yet, and may not be available until spring 2014. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You will want to read all three, very quickly and in order, because you will want to know what happens next.

    This series is a real nail-biter.

    Loved it.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Silencing Eve: Eve Duncan Series

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Iris Johansen
    • Narrated By Elisabeth Rodgers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (107)

    When it comes to Eve Duncan, never say never…Is she dead or alive? That is the question on everybody's lips. Eve appears to have been the victim of James Doane, the psychopath who kidnapped her and forced her to use her skills as a forensic sculptor to reconstruct the skull of his depraved son. That's what everyone attending her funeral thinks, at least. But not even some of her top-brass colleagues know for sure whether her death is a hoax - a way to ensnare her brutal captor once and for all.

    michelle says: "Loved how she brought back old characters.."
    "Extreme Hyperbole & Unsophisticated Dialogue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read and reread the readers' reviews of this series. I just don't get it! How could this series have so many fans?

    Without judging the whole series, I assert that this book is not well written. Virtually every conversation is heated, almost every interpersonal relationship contains some sexual tension, every decision is critical ... there is no flow, no rhythm, there are no calm and easy moments.

    I particularly dislike Johansen's use of dialogue. It is awkward and unsophisticated; it made me think of a high school student who - having read some excellent mysteries - tried to imitate professional style but failed.

    The narrator made a mediocre book worse. She uses her voice to distinguish between accents (Scottish voice is well done, for example), but she doesn't do a good job distinguishing between three American women's voices. I struggled to keep up ("Who said that??").

    A waste of money, in my opinion. Blech.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (632)
    Performance
    (575)
    Story
    (569)

    Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

    Amanda says: "SHOCKED!"
    "Are they kept in, or kept out?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was so sure that I had figured it out ... but I was wrong. Just as one piece of the puzzle fell into place, another clanked on top of my theory, jarring me out of smug and misplaced confidence.

    Basically, you will wonder if the residents of Wayward Pines are prisoners or monsters. No spoiler here! You have to listen to the whole thing to really know the answer.

    Very, very good story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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