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Polly

An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.

Philadelphia, PA, United States | Member Since 2010

126
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 88 reviews
  • 151 ratings
  • 303 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
9
FOLLOWERS
14

  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3343)
    Performance
    (2981)
    Story
    (2967)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "Wow! Was this Long!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Speaks the Nightbird" is a mystery. Is Rachel really a witch, or is she being framed?

    Because the story takes place in 1699, there are no modern methods of testing for fingerprints, no Internet for background checks, no telegraph or telephone ... so an investigation takes legwork and time. LOTS of time. Perhaps it is my modern world impatience with the main character's slow approach necessitated by the era, but this book was difficult for me to get through.

    Audible divides this book into four parts. At the end of Part I, I thought, "This is painfully slow. I'll never get to the end." There was virtually no suspense to encourage my interest and persistence.

    However, the fourth quarter made it all worthwhile. Most of the action, all of the explanations, and of course the big reveal of "who dunnit" were in this quarter.

    I should also add that the main character is fabulous, and the narrator is spectacular. Almost all of the characters had British accents, so Ballerini had to create a different tone and rhythm of speech for each. Absolutely perfect.

    If you like really BAD bad guys and really GOOD good guys, you will enjoy this book.

    Just be patient.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crossing Lines: Gabe Quinn, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Keith Houghton
    • Narrated By David Doersch
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    "Celebrity Cop" Gabe Quinn has quit the LAPD and is chasing his demons pro bono - determined to catch or kill the two serial killers responsible for ruining his life... But when a mutilated body is washed up on a picturesque Florida beach it marks the beginning of the end for Gabe and his sanity. Nothing is quite what it seems and never will be again.What follows is an explosive game of cat and mouse and a death race to save a woman's life from the hands of a madman. This is Gabe's nemesis....

    Polly says: "Better Story, Narrator Bombed"
    "Better Story, Narrator Bombed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you read my review of the 1st Gabe Quinn book, you will see that I loved the narrator (same gent David Doersch) in book 1. However, in Book 2, he simply couldn't get the British accent, and kept sliding from high-class Brit to ordinary British bloke to Scottish and even to Irish accents. Irritating and distracting.

    The story in book 2 is much better. Apparently Mr. Houghton likes to SHOCK you at the end, but at least this time the surprise was someone we knew something about, had heard of, etc.

    My motivation for continuing with this series is the character. Gabe Quinn is appealing and interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Hope: Gabe Quinn Thriller, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Keith Houghton
    • Narrated By David Doersch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (58)

    "Celebrity Cop" Gabe Quinn is back working Robbery-Homicide after a personal tragedy has left him emotionally bare. He's raw, but resolved to catch a serial killer stalking the streets of two major cities. With cryptic clues left at each crime scene, Gabe is faced with the seemingly impossible task of piecing together the bizarre puzzle - following signs that point toward a killer whose motive questions everything he believes in..."If you could save a million lives by taking one...would you?"

    J. Phillips says: "Amazing Fast Paced Thriller!!!"
    "Loved Quinn, Hated Loose Ends and WILD Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gabe Quinn is a good cop with demons. I loved following his progress through an impossible man-hunt and getting to know the secondary characters. This is the sort of book that makes me hate arriving home (when I have to turn off the engine and turn off my audio book).

    HOWEVER, I was annoyed numerous times. The tragedy that precedes this book (something that happened to Gabe) is not explained well, and the ending is ridiculous.

    (Mild spoiler here:) A good mystery holds out some hope that the reader will figure it out, or figure part of it out. But this ending pulled a NEW character out of thin air and slapped him into the closing chapters. The author should have given some teeny hint, or some sub-plot that would make the ending more sensible.

    I admit that I liked the character and the writing style enough to order book 2. I hope that Mr. Houghton will not disappoint me.

    Excellent narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Justice Denied

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By J. A. Jance
    • Narrated By Ala Nebelthau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (101)

    The investigation of LaShawn Tompkins's murder seemed straightforward enough. Upon his release from death row, the ex-drug-dealer returned to his old neighborhood where he was gunned down on his mother's doorstep. Just another case of turf warfare. At least that's what it looks like on the surface to Seattle investigator J. P. Beaumont, who's been handed the assignment under the strictest confidence.

    Donna says: "She never fails!"
    "JP Beaumont is Perfect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Love JP, love Mel, and all the friends and family in these stories. This is book 17 - and Beau is back in the saddle. (Book 16 paired him with another police person, and it was not as good as the JP series.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Leaving Time

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3904)
    Performance
    (3468)
    Story
    (3462)

    Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest.

    Jan says: "Pickiest Reader Would Be Willing to Give 6 Stars"
    "Long dull story leading to a Great Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    WARNING: ALL REVIEWS OF THIS BOOK COULD CONTAIN A HUGE SPOILER

    Mine does not. Read on.

    I was disappointed in this book. The only reason I continued to listen, all the way to the end, was because of the author. I kept telling myself that a Jodi Picoult book must have something going for it. So I hung in there.

    It simply was not interesting. I love elephants (they play a major role in this book), and I learned a lot about them, but the story itself was drawn out and boring.

    The ending DID surprise me, and for that I am grateful.

    I gave the book 3 stars because 7/8 of it deserves 1 star, and the ending deserves 5 stars. So I graded it by meeting in the middle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Partner in Crime: Joanna Brady, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By J. A. Jance, Stephanie Brush
    • Narrated By Gene Engene
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (34)

    An up-and-coming African American artist has been murdered on Sheriff Joanna Brady’s turf in Cochise County, Arizona. Unfortunately the victim happens to be in the Washington State Attorney General’s Witness Protection Program. As the most recent hire in AG’s Special Homicide Investigation Team, J.P. Beaumont gets the call. He reluctantly heads to Bisbee, Arizona where he tangles not only with Joanna Brady and a contract killer but with some of his own personal demons as well.

    Robin Barker says: "An ok job"
    "Light Reading, Book 16 in Beaumont Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I do love J.P. Beaumont, and Gene Engene, but this listen left me wondering ... "Are they getting more sappy? Or am I getting a little tired of them?"

    A good story, solid writing, but definitely a "light" mystery. This is the first time J.P. and Joanna Brady (new character to me) were partnered, as two different Jance series overlapped. Clever. But I am hoping that when I go back to the regular Beaumont series (without Brady), I will regain my former and greater appreciation of Ms. Jance's books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7687)
    Performance
    (6734)
    Story
    (6737)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    horslovr says: "Very entertaining!"
    "Hilarious, Dark, Suburban Mom Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yes, hilarious and dark. Like real life.

    Some of the things the kindergarten moms say are so nasty as to be ridiculous and humorous, yet, at the same time, the "big and little lies" cover up some disturbing realities of marriage and parenthood.

    At first, I didn't think I could stand the "listen" because I am not a fan of the Aussie accent, but the story won me over.

    I highly recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Great North Road

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1191)
    Performance
    (1084)
    Story
    (1091)

    A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family - composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone "brothers" have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies. Or maybe not so friendly....

    Flapjack says: "Get the Timeline and Cast of Characters"
    "Extremely long and complex, but GOOD!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To enjoy this book, you have to enjoy a LONG story, a complex set of characters and at least three timelines. I would characterize this book as science fiction, so be prepared for LOTS of references to futuristic technology. Very cool.

    I was initially concerned: Could I keep track of everyone? But I encourage you to hang on because the result is well worth the effort.

    NO SPOILERS HERE:
    This is a story about a family of cloned brothers that is prominent on several different worlds and that - in particular - controls fuel production, so they are wildly rich. It is also a story of ecological ethics and carries a Biblical theme (the Garden of Eden comes to mind), in my opinion. "Humanity" is a central character in this book and resurfaces throughout.

    It is also a police murder mystery, a convoluted family drama, a commentary on politics, a monster-slasher story, a "who dunnit" and a morality play.

    Be prepared for one thing: Author Peter Hamilton periodically thrusts the reader back 20 years, but not necessarily in the order that would immediately clarify certain details. So he will toss you a moment in a brand new character's life for what seems to be no reason at all. Ten hours of listening later, he will bring this character back, and you will think, "AH HAH! I am beginning to get it."

    The only reason I gave the story 4 stars is because of the degree of complexity. It will discourage some readers and demands more effort.

    As I stated earlier: hang on, and ENJOY!



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Curse of the Spellmans

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Lisa Lutz
    • Narrated By Ari Graynor
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (83)

    When Izzy Spellman, PI, is arrested for the fourth time in three months, she writes it off as a job hazard. She's been (obsessively) keeping surveillance on a suspicious next door neighbor (suspect's name: John Brown), convinced he's up to no good - even if her parents (the management at Spellman Investigations) are not.

    Sherri says: "What a difference the narrator makes"
    "Pretty Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a follow up to the introductory novel, this book was just OK. I still enjoyed getting to know the Spellmans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Labyrinth

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1940)
    Performance
    (1747)
    Story
    (1737)

    A long-buried family secret resurfaces when one of Aloysius Pendergast's most implacable enemies shows up on his doorstep as a murdered corpse. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect murder, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased. The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California's desolate Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his family's sinister past.

    G. House Sr. says: "Twists and Tuns in the Pendergast Family Tree"
    "Way to Go, Constance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is #14 in a series, so do NOT start with this one.

    I LOVE Agent Pendergast and all of the other characters in this series. I miss them when I am between books.

    I also love the fear-factor in the series; some of the plots are really scary, some tense, and some neither; this one is a good mystery but not at all scary, if that matters to you.

    What makes this story stand out is the fleshing out of the character of Constance Green, Pendergast's ward. She turns out to be quite an asset (no spoilers from me), and long-time fans will love her role in this novel. Wow!

    The writing of Preston & Child has gone up and down pretty dramatically. This book is somewhere in the middle, and definitely worth reading. Here is what bothered me: 1. Character omission: Lt. Vincent D'Agosta figures prominently, but his wife is invisible. As another police officer, she would have been a natural, even if on the sidelines. 2. HUGE unanswered questions: WHY was it necessary to stage the revenge activity (not really a spoiler) in the odd, remote spot out west, and why were the elaborate details necessary. They weren't, so why include them ???

    So, yes, read this book, but no it is not of the caliber of Relic and Reliquary.

    P.S. 5 stars for the narrator - Rene Auberjonois.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Spellman Files

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Lisa Lutz
    • Narrated By Christina Moore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (133)

    Isabel Spellman may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism - but she's good at her job as a licensed P.I. with her family's firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people's privacy comes naturally to Izzy and all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. But when Izzy decides to get out of the family business in search of normalcy, she ends up taking on the most important case of her life.

    Lisa Worthen says: "The Spellman Files (Unabridged)"
    "Hilarious with a Small Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Zany. Unpredictable. The descriptions of this book sort of turned me off. I expected it to be "silly." But Lisa Lutz is a very good writer who has fleshed out believable characters I care about. She has also included one real mystery (one of the cases Izzy is working on as a P.I. in her family's firm) and a series of plot convolutions that held my interest.

    And the narrator is fabulous. Ms. Moore does not have to produce the menu of accents you might find in a Follett novel whose storyline crosses Europe, the UK and the U.S., but she has what I believe is a much harder task. She has to distinguish between a mother and two sisters in the same family, and several male characters using subtle differences in tone and cadence. I was really impressed.

    If you have any sense of humor at all, read this book. Fun.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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