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Chicago Laura

Tech dork.


  • The Winner

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Frances Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    She is 20, beautiful, dirt-poor, and hoping for a better life for her infant daughter when LuAnn Tyler is offered the gift of a lifetime, a $100 million lottery jackpot. All she has to do is change her identity and leave the U.S. forever. It's an offer she dares to refuse...until violence forces her hand and thrusts her into a harrowing game of high-stakes, big-money subterfuge. It's a price she won't fully pay...until she does the unthinkable and breaks the promise that made her rich.

    Stephen says: "This was the worst narration I have ever heard!"
    "Seriously? Okkkaayyyy...."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I wouldn't change anything about the book because what the hell do I know? I like to read. Not write books. However, I suppose I would appreciate a book that actually explains things in a way that makes a lick of sense instead of being a reader who is forced to believe that the evil dude knows 1) how to fix a lottery 2) where everyone is at all times 3) how to move silently like a ninja and 4) how to thoroughly disguise himself that he's practically an octopus. It got a little fanciful with that.

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Please see above. More fallible bad guys, please. That way the main character doesn't have to be in the reincarnation of Jesus to catch him.

    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Performance was good. What did I dislike... in the editing, there were times where a chapter ended and a new one began and there was no pause. It was an odd break (or lack thereof) in the narration. But nothing tragic.

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

    Probably. Mainly because I'd like to see how it was adapted - not because it's JUST SO FASCINATING.

    Any additional comments?

    This book is listening fluff - which is exactly what I wanted it to be. It's entertaining enough. I wouldn't say it's particularly thoughtfully written but again, if you need a way to pass time without being bored, it fit the bill for me quite well.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Witch Walking

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Kim Harrison
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Rachel Morgan is a runner with the Inderland Runner Services, apprehending law-breakers throughout Cincinnati. She's also a witch, one of the many Inderlanders who revealed themselves after a genetically engineered virus wiped out 50 percent of humanity. Witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves: the creatures of dreams and nightmares have lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But now they've stopped hiding, and nothing will be the same.

    Patti says: "wildly entertaining"
    "Never read a Witch/Vampire novel until now...."

    I picked up this book (and the second in the series) during an Audible sale when I needed some distraction from life's heavier demands. I didn't know what to expect because this isn't my typical genre.

    I'm so glad I got it. While the roles of witch/vampire/pixie/elf, etc. play an important part of the series, it's really the personalities of the characters that make the book enjoyable. Rachel (main character) is a bit fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, Ivy is a brooding, heavy handed vampire and Jenks is a mix of serious and off-the-wall. The three of them open up a business together and things go from there. It's not overly heavy and it's not entirely brainless reading, either - it's a good mix.

    For me, this was exactly what I was looking for in my next audible listen. I was never bored, I laughed out loud a few times and definitely grinned in even more places. I ended up getting some of the other books in the series on Kindle and it's interesting to see some of the highlights made by other readers. There are some nuggets of knowledge/wisdom in there that have really rung true for me and I suppose might for anyone who has loved/lost.

    It's just... entertaining. And entertaining enough that I'm now on book 7 out of 11 in the series. I was wary of reading a book that seemed sort of... how shall I put it... trampy vampy? I mean, the covers aren't something that make me want to pick it up. But I got over it quickly with how entertained I was and, like I said, on book 7 now so that says it all. I gave it 4 out of 5 purely because I reserve the 5 stars for being blown away.

    Tip: If you're a Kindle owner and happen to buy the books on Kindle (cheaper than the price of a credit), you'll see that you can also pick up the Audible version for a discount price. (A few were just $3.49 or so!) It's nice with the whisper sync because I can put the book down and then walk the dog, listening to the story where I left off.

    Even if this isn't your typical genre, I'd give it a try. One credit that might lead to really enjoying a full series. I'm glad I did.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Every Crooked Nanny: A Callahan Garrity Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Mary Kay Andrews
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    After 10 years of cleaning up the dirt on Atlanta's streets, Callahan Garrity is trading in her badge for a broom and a staff of house cleaners. But, though the uniform is a little different, Callahan soon finds herself right back in the middle of a mystery when a client's pretty, pious 19-year-old nanny is gone...along with the jewelry, silver, and a few rather sensitive real estate documents. Before she knows it, the meticulous Callahan is up to her elbows in a case involving illicit love triangles, crooked business deals, long-distance scams, and a dead body.

    Chicago Laura says: "For light entertainment - Also reviews explained"
    "For light entertainment - Also reviews explained"

    This book is entertaining and light. I had just finished reading The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz (a rather dark book) and really needed something that might qualify as 'easy listening'. This book fit the bill.

    I'll explain two objections that I read in reviews that almost kept me from downloading this book.

    1. One review talks about the language in the book. I think this is because of two things. A) Swearing (F-bombs here and there) and B) the N-word.

    The swearing is not overdone, it's all in keeping with the characters and certainly no worse than many other books I've heard on audible. But if you have a particular sensitivity to hearing the F-bomb a few times, then I suppose you might be disturbed.

    There's no way around it. Hearing the N-word just makes you cringe. It's used in a character's dialogue. The character is a bigot fro the South. Guess what. They still exist and they say crap like this. (Hello, Paula Deen.) So I can understand the discomfort at hearing this word. These a**holes exist in real life so I suppose it's not a jump that they exist in books.

    2. Another review talks about how the book makes fun of a religion. I think that reviewer is referring to some comments that Garrity's mother, Edna, makes about the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). She basically says something along the lines of how Mormon heaven is like a Holiday Inn (something like that - a hotel chain) and that there are different levels of heaven and if you convert enough people, you get on the concierge floor. There are also some comments about a sect that still practices polygamy.


    I'll say this - I wanted something light hearted, easy to listen to, and had a decent dash of humor. This was perfect for that. The narrator is great, the characters are certainly colorful. It's not going to win any Pulitzer but I didn't want to listen to a Pulitzer. And for what its worth, I'm downloading the second book now. Good luck with your listen!

    39 of 41 people found this review helpful
  • The Panther

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Anti-Terrorist Task Force agent John Corey and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, have been posted overseas to Sana'a, Yemen - one of the most dangerous places in the Middle East. While there, they will be working with a small team to track down one of the masterminds behind the USS Cole bombing: a high-ranking Al Qaeda operative known as The Panther. Ruthless and elusive, he's wanted for multiple terrorist acts and murders - and the U.S. government is determined to bring him down, no matter the cost.

    John says: "Exciting Nelson DeMille novel with great narration"
    "Your Annoying Uncle"
    What did you like best about The Panther? What did you like least?

    *rubs eyes. pinches bridge of nose* You know that annoying uncle at the family reunion who uses every opportunity to either 1) make a pun, 2) drop the f-bomb, or 3) look around to see if anyone finds him funny?

    That is the main character, John Corey. Now, I *get* that's he's supposed to be this sort of 'lovable scoundrel' type that women seemingly find themselves attracted to - but let's be honest. He's the guy who would be so much more likeable if he'd shut his piehole more often and just be the good guy he is instead of always trying to be the funny guy.

    I suppose none of that is really here or there - it's just that less then a third of the way in the book, I feel like I married the guy and already can't wait to divorce him just so I don't have to listen to his awful jokes.

    Okay, what do I like the best? Well, I generally like DeMille and it's brainlessly interesting enough that I'm not bored. I realize that isn't exactly a glowing review - but sometimes I do just want some brain fluff and this one fits that bill. I was neither enthralled but I was also not bored.

    What do I like the least? The aforementioned bad jokes by smug uncle. Lord, that is tiring.

    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Eh. In fact, this is my reaction to the beginning, middle and end. See? No spoilers.

    What three words best describe Scott Brick’s voice?

    Breathy. Serious. Manly.

    Overall, I like Scott Brick. It's safe to say he breathes life into characters since most of them end up sort of dramatic sounding.

    Could you see The Panther being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No, I can't see this as a movie. Hmm, who would be John Corey... not sure. But no one really awesome. I want to enjoy hating him a little while I still cheer him on. You know.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Skippy Dies

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Paul Murray
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, and others

    This touching and uproarious novel by author Paul Murray made everyone’s best fiction of 2010 lists, including The Washington Post, Financial Times, Village Voice, and others. Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the mystery that links the boys of Dublin’s Seabrook College (Ruprecht Van Doren, the overweight genius obsessed with string theory; Carl, the teenager drug dealer and borderline psychotic; Philip Kilfether, the basketball-playing midget) to their parents and teachers in ways that no one could have imagined.

    Chicago Laura says: "Funny, touching, entertaining"
    "Funny, touching, entertaining"

    I think much of how you may feel about this book depends on what you're looking for in your next listen.

    I wanted something amusing, entertaining, light, but also not entirely brainless. For me, this fit the bill really nicely.

    The narration in this particular novel makes me a bit sad for the people who only read it on paper because it really is that cleverly done. The voices are great, recognizable, distinctive, and so well done. An excellent group of narrators who did the book full justice.

    That said... Skippy Dies is about a group of 14 year old boys in a Catholic school in Ireland and about some of the teachers - one in particular. For me, the author did a great job of showing how 14 year old boys want badly to experience adult things but still cling to some very childlike fantasies.

    One of my personal favorite passages is when Mario, one of the boys, is confident that he'll have sex at a school dance because he has his lucky condom in his wallet - he's had it for 3 years. When the other boys point out the obvious irony and declare the wallet unlucky for condoms, one states that he bets the condom is in his wallet right now, whistling the tune from The Great Escape and digging its way out with a coffee stirrer. For some reason, this struck me as particularly funny coming from a 14 year old boy.

    It also has its bittersweet/tender moments as the boys deal with death, sickness, guilt, etc. But that isn't an overly heavy theme that weighs down the book. I did not find myself bored as I believe some reviewers did.

    In sum: the book is entertaining, humorous, clever, extremely well narrated and definitely worth a credit at 23 hours. I gave it 5/5 because I fully appreciated the writing and narration.

    65 of 67 people found this review helpful

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