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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

ratings
133
REVIEWS
72
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
15
HELPFUL VOTES
99

  • Dance of Death: Pendergast, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (604)
    Performance
    (533)
    Story
    (530)

    Two brothers. One, top FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast. The other, Diogenes, a brilliant and twisted criminal. An undying hatred between them. Now, a perfect crime. And the ultimate challenge: Stop me if you can.

    Nancy says: "Excellent story!"
    "another good one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The bad brother theme works well in this novel; not as scary as I'd like it to be, but still a very good book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Test of Wills

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Samuel Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (131)

    Ian Rutledge returns to his career at Scotland Yard after years fighting in the First World War. Unknown to his colleagues he is still suffering from shell shock, and is burdened with the guilt of having had executed a young soldier on the battlefield for refusing to fight. A jealous colleague has learned of his secret and has managed to have Rutledge assigned to a difficult case which could spell disaster for Rutledge whatever the outcome. A retired officer has been murdered, and Rutledge goes to investigate.

    Carol says: "Difficult to follow the narrator"
    "Confusion of Characters and Plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really expected to like this book because one of my favorite Audible.com reviewers did. However, I can't recommend it.

    There is one well-drawn character in this book, and that is Hamish, the Scottish soldier who "haunts" main character Ian Rutledge. It is a brilliant and effective technique for author Todd to use, and I applaud him. However, I couldn't distinguish between any of the female characters or most of the male characters. I never developed any real picture of them, never developed opinions or attachments or interest, and was often confused. ("Which character said/did that?") I am not sure if a different narrator would have made a difference, but I doubt it.

    And, the ending. Wow. It was out of left field, in a way that made me roll my eyes. I won't spoil it for you, but I'll say that what Todd wants us to believe is outrageous and unlikely in the extreme. Puleeze.

    Don't bother.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1113)
    Performance
    (1005)
    Story
    (1005)

    Shadows are falling on the usually festive Christmas season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone. As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines.

    Nancy J says: "Welcome Home!"
    "A MUST-READ"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are unfamiliar with this series, stop NOW and start with the first book "Still Life." You must read these books in order.

    The Chief Inspector Gamache novels are police mysteries that take place in or near a small village in Quebec. (There is a bit of French tossed in, but knowledge of the French language is absolutely not required.) A murder will be solved by the end of the book, and I always enjoy the "mystery" aspect of these books.

    But the characters and the complex plots are just as important.

    Louise Penny has created a world with characters I know well and care deeply about. She has developed a main character (Armand Gamache) who has quickly become one of my favorites, ever, and I am a life-long reader. And she has woven the intricacies of storyline from book one to book nine (book 10 is about to be released) in such a way that I have to believe she saw the entire tapestry right from the beginning.

    Add to these accolades the perfect narrator (Ralph Cosham), and you can see why this series is so special.

    These books have EVERYTHING! Excellent writing, humor, drama, fascinating characters, mystery ... Start this series today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Maisie Dobbs

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Rita Barrington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1515)
    Performance
    (935)
    Story
    (932)

    Maisie Dobbs isn't just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence - and the patronage of her benevolent employers - she works her way into college at Cambridge. After the War I and her service as a nurse, Maisie hangs out her shingle back at home: M. DOBBS, TRADE AND PERSONAL INVESTIGATIONS. But her very first assignment soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

    A User says: "A delightful discovery"
    "Fairly Interesting but Too Slow for Me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know very little about WWI and the British world at that time. "Maisie Dobbs" filled in some of that knowledge gap, and for that I am grateful. However, there isn't much of a story here, and the pace is very slow.

    I liked the characters, but I didn't love them, and if I never found out what happened to Maisie, that would be OK.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Town: Wayward Pines, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (243)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (227)

    Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrived in Wayward Pines, Idaho, three weeks ago. In this town, people are told who to marry, where to live, where to work. Their children are taught that David Pilcher, the town's creator, is god. No one is allowed to leave; even asking questions can get you killed. But Ethan has discovered the astonishing secret of what lies beyond the electrified fence that surrounds Wayward Pines and protects it from the terrifying world beyond.

    justin says: "TWO/THREE star review within 3 hours ? RIDICULOUS"
    "Part III Did not Disappoint"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    DO NOT READ THIS BOOK (or this review) WITHOUT READING PARTS I AND II FIRST.

    I had to reread my reviews of part I and part II before I wrote this one. Of course, because the first two books eventually reveal the truth about the mysterious little town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, "The Last Town" does not have as much tension as the first two book, the tension that comes from doubt: "are the citizens being kept in, or is something being kept out? And why?"

    "THE LAST TOWN" is about how the various characters respond to the truth. It also reveals a little bit more about the past lives of this group of people who seem to have been arbitrarily thrown together. I like seeing the final few pieces of the puzzle put into place, so that was satisfying.

    A new problem is presented to the townsfolk, and the solution is a BIG surprise. (No spoiler here.) I applaud Blake Crouch's creativity, and I can't wait to watch the TV series that is supposed to air sometime this year on FIX TV.

    0 of 0 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
    (1184)
    Performance
    (1032)
    Story
    (1023)

    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
    (2057)
    Performance
    (1293)
    Story
    (1281)

    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
    (1387)
    Performance
    (1253)
    Story
    (1255)

    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.

    Deborah says: "Mesmerizing Performance"
    "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
    (111)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (94)

    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.

    Carole says: "Still timely"
    "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
    (399)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (89)

    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
    (350)
    Performance
    (320)
    Story
    (321)

    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

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