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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

95
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 68 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
14

  • Pines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1552)
    Performance
    (1422)
    Story
    (1415)

    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…

    Linda B says: "Well done story"
    "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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1135)
    Performance
    (987)
    Story
    (978)

    No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. They grow vegetables, they tend chickens, they make chocolate. And they sing. Ironically, for a community that has taken a vow of silence, the monks have become world-famous for their glorious voices, raised in ancient chants whose effect on both singer and listener is so profound it is known as “the beautiful mystery.”

    Sparkly says: "Engaging, entertaining, and heartbreaking."
    "ANOTHER HOME RUN"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Louise Penny (author) is truly gifted. She has written a series of books (this is book 8 of 10 ... so far) that intricately and naturally intertwines the lives of a myriad of characters, most of whom I love. She has created a town in Canada where I'd like to live, or at least vacation, and neighbors I'd like to live near. And yet there is always a murder.

    Penny explains the number of murders associated with the town and/or with these characters in a way that is credible and interesting. She also has a way of pulling the rug out from under the reader; not in an abrupt way, but by ignoring what are normally accepted rules of story telling. For example - and this is not really a spoiler - in one of the books, a beloved, main character turns out to be the murderer!

    Her primary character, Armande Gamache, is a brilliant detective, a man of integrity, and a wonderful husband and father. I miss him in between books.

    I cannot recommend this series enough. READ THEM IN ORDER!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rules of Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1996)
    Performance
    (1236)
    Story
    (1225)

    The "maddog" murderer who is terrorizing the Twin Cities is two things: insane and extremely intelligent. He kills for the pleasure of it and thoroughly enjoys placing elaborate obstacles to keep police befuddled. Each clever move he makes is another point of pride. But when the brilliant Lieutenant Lucas Davenport, a dedicated cop and a serial killer's worst nightmare, is brought in to take up the investigation, the maddog suddenly has an adversary worthy of his genius.

    D says: "I love this series"
    "An OK Police Drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a good book; not great, not inspired, but good. Solid is the word that keeps coming to mind. I did want to see the good guy catch the bad guy, but I was not mesmerized by the story. There is virtually no suspense, and I LIKE the main character, but I did not love him. If you LOVE police stories and/or mysteries, read the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache stories or the Agent Pendergast books or the Onspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George. IN ORDER!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1101)
    Performance
    (993)
    Story
    (996)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Melinda says: "Intriguing--Captivating--Altering"
    "Sweet Sadness and Hope"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would describe "Heft" as a character study laced with sweet sadness. lost opportunity and loneliness. There is a small mystery in the plot, and, of course, hope keeps the characters afloat and drives the story forward.

    "Heft" is not at all my usual kind of selection, but I loved it and will remember two of the characters - Arthur Opp and Yolanda - forever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Haj

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Leon Uris
    • Narrated By Neil Shah
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (62)

    Leon Uris retums to the land of his acclaimed best-seller Exodus for an epic story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness. The Middle East is the powerful setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves. When violence spreads like a plague across the lands of Palestine - this is the time of The Haj.

    DIANE says: "A sweeping saga of Arab/Israeli conflict"
    "Powerful, Sad, Illuminating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is historical fiction. Like other books I have read written by this author ("Exodus" and "Trinity"), "The Haj" educates the reader about real world events through the eyes of fictional characters who lived through those events.

    This book's two primary characters are an Arab father and son, living in Palestine when the state of Israel is born. (The story begins at the close of WWII.) Uris's portraits of these two men are exquisite; I would recognize them if I met them!

    Additionally, Uris tells the story in a way that manipulates my sympathies for the warring factions MUCH more than I expected, and in a way that brings me joy and heartbreak as the story unfolds.

    Without spoiling anything, I will add that this is not a happy story. How could it be? The hatred and violence continue today.

    I highly recommend this book. The narrator is fabulous!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Judgment

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By D.W. Buffa
    • Narrated By Dennis Predovic
    Overall
    (394)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (85)

    When Judge Calvin Jeffries is found murdered in a courthouse parking lot, the crime shocks the community, but justice is swift. Soon a second judge is stabbed to death. Attorney Joseph Antonelli agrees to defend the accused. What he discovers challenges everything he knows about crime and punishment...and himself. Also available abridged.

    Michael says: "Buffa's Best"
    "Great Narrator but Blah Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I REALLY had high hopes for this book. I love courtroom dramas, and the narrator hooked me from the first few paragraphs.

    However:
    the story (murder) leaves nothing to the imagination. All is known from the beginning; it is just a question of whether the lawyer can convince others.

    The secondary story is a love story that leaves me cold.

    Some of the secondary characters are well drawn, but overall, this was a snore.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winter People: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jennifer McMahon
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (288)

    West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, 19-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary....

    D. says: "Get past the narration of the first chapter"
    "Mediocre in Every Way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love mysteries, whether gruesome or tense or puzzling. I love well-drawn characters and a great story. This book has none of those things.

    I figured out much of the "mystery," the characters were dull, many questions were left unanswered, and the narrator was dreadful.

    I said this before, and maybe now I'll follow this advice, but I have to stop believing the "audible.com suggestions."

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Profiler's Daughter: Sky Stone, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By P. M. Steffen
    • Narrated By Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (774)
    Performance
    (703)
    Story
    (699)

    The Profiler's Daughter is a psychologically haunting thriller that combines murder mystery, love triangle, and family intrigue in one satisfying page burner. Sky Stone was born into the wealth and privilege of Boston's oldest Brahmin family but chooses instead to follow in the footsteps of her deceased father, legendary FBI profiler Monk Stone. In the chilly morning hours before the Boston Marathon, when a beautiful university student is found strangled and mutilated, her body left at the base of Heartbreak Hill, Sky returns from self-imposed exile to investigate.

    Irene L. Culkeen says: "What a great find"
    "Too Formulaic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book because it was an Audible.com recommendation based on my previous purchases of mysteries and thrillers. I will be more careful about this in the future.

    The narrator's skill is spotty; some of her accents were perfect, but the way she distinguished between the Boston cops was confusing (unclear) in some cases and embarrassing in others (caricature, cartoonish).

    The main character, Sky Stone, is petite, rich, spectacularly beautiful, brilliant, intuitive, brave and a great chef ... blech! Again, unreal to the point of cartoonish. Although a brilliant and experienced police consultant, she agrees to meet a psychopath for dinner alone, never returns a phone call from someone who has urgent information about her case, and never tells her police partners about a dangerous man following her. I can handle a character who acts like a maverick periodically, but her extreme attitude is ridiculous.

    Sky and her ex-fiance only scream at each other, but they have sex and live happily ever after. There is not one shred of likability in Jake's (the fiance's) character, and yet he is the guy she wants, and everyone else loves. Why?

    The story was convoluted. I love a good mystery with twists and turns, but I object to an author adding information in the last chapter or two. In spite of the last minute add-ons, I still knew who was guilty and how it would all turn out because the story was so obvious and predictable.

    Overall, I would say this is a formulaic book. Tiny, beautiful girl is tougher and smarter than the big rough policemen, and she saves the day.

    One more comment - look at the cover. It looks like a bad James Bond illustration, and it should have warned me away from this book.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Brutal Telling: A Three Pines Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1275)
    Performance
    (857)
    Story
    (858)

    As autumn descends upon Three Pines, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store at the center of town. No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. What past did he leave behind, and why has he buried himself in this tiny village?

    Marie says: "Satisfying but sad"
    "Bittersweet for Inspector Gamache"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is hard to write this review without spoiling the story, so I'll be intentionally vague. The characters are just as fully drawn and the story feels right; I still love them all and wish I lived there. What makes this bittersweet is that the plot is upsetting. STILL a great book and part of a series I couldn't recommend more highly. READ THIS!

    You must go in order with the Three Pines series. And it helps if tu parles francais un peu.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Christine Falls: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Benjamin Black
    • Narrated By Timothy Dalton
    Overall
    (728)
    Performance
    (298)
    Story
    (292)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (972)
    Performance
    (781)
    Story
    (781)

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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