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  • 29 reviews
  • 93 ratings
  • 390 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Poison Study

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Maria V. Snyder
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster.

    A says: "Fantasy, with a touch of romance."
    "Fantasy, with a touch of romance."

    I have to admit, I had some hesitation selecting this book as it was published by Harlequin (a publisher of which I am a little leery, as I expect to get something sugary-sweet and cookie-cutter). But after reading this book, I need to do some reassessment! This book was full of interesting characters, and the story was engaging and enjoyable.

    What I am not so sure of, is if this novel was really supposed to be filed under "Romance"?

    Sure, there is a romance, eventually, but it doesn't play a huge part of the book. Political intrigue, magic, and nefarious plots all play much larger roles in this story than romance. Overall, this book would be better classified as "Fantasy".

    So if you are looking for hard-core romance, then this will be a disappointment. But if you are looking for an engaging story, with some fabulous characters (including a heroine who was no wilting wall-flower!), then this is definitely recommended.

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Can You Keep a Secret?

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Sophie Kinsella
    • Narrated By Kate Reading

    Emma Corrigan has a long list of secrets, one of which is that she is afraid of flying. Coming back from a thoroughly ruinous sales trip to Glasgow, the plane she is on encounters some air turbulence, and she ends up spilling her guts to the handsome American sitting next to her. He gets to hear that she fibbed to get her current job and that she has never been able to satisfactorily find her G-spot. Then, the plane lands...and the American turns up in her life again. He's the CEO of her company....

    A says: "Enjoyable Chick Lit"
    "Enjoyable Chick Lit"

    This is chick-lit -- in the vein of Bridget Jones, the everyday girl in various humorous situations of getting ahead in her career, dealing with her too-blah boyfriend, fashion faux-pas, and family dysfunction. Certainly not ground-breaking literature, but lots of fun with giggle-aloud moments. If you like BJones, you will enjoy this book, it is much of the same (the characters, both male and female lead, are very similar in tone).
    As for the narrator, she did a FABULOUS job with this book. In fact she pushes the 3-3.5 story to a 4 stars, just for her excellent delivery.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Survivor

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Chuck Palahniuk
    • Narrated By Paul Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the so-called Creedish Death Cult, is dictating his life story into the flight recorder of Flight 2039, cruising on autopilot at 39,000 feet somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. He is all alone in the airplane, which will crash shortly into the vast Australian outback. But before it does, he will unfold the tale of his journey from an obedient Creedish child and humble domestic servant to an ultra-buffed, steroid-and-collagen-packed media messiah.

    R. Flaherty says: "Whew...It's Over."
    "Sucks you in"

    When this book started I wasn't sure of what to make of the depressed, monotone delivery of Tender Branson's autobiography, but it quickly drew me in. Despite the fact that you know things aren't going to ending well, it just draws you in to see exactly how they got this bad. Tender follows a narrow line of puppy-dog-lost and sociopath -- but Palahniuk had me routing for this anti-hero, right up to the end. If you are looking for shiny happy people, this isn't your choice. But looking for flawed and funny people this book delivers and was a great 'listen', although I felt a little Schadenfreude about it :-)

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Falling in Love Again

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Cathy Maxwell
    • Narrated By Vanessa Moroney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Born into wealthy family, heiress Mallory Edwards honorably marries John Barron to fulfill a family obligation. Although he seems charming at first, she soon discovers that he is a beast of a man. Abandoned on her wedding night, she survives by her wit and resourcefulness until her errant husband's debts became too much for her to overcome.

    A says: "Whiny"

    I had a very hard time finishing this book -- more than once I almost gave up. I am not sure if it was because of the narration, but the heroine seemed to whine her way through this book.

    I was willing to give her some leeway at the start, she is 16 and thrust into a rushed wedding with an unknown boy, so perhaps some whining is in order. But years later, she still is whining. Listen to the sound snippet, Mallory at 16 is pretty much Mallory at 24. As for the love story (afterall this is a romance, so of course they fall in love) -- I couldn't buy it. It seems as if out of the blue the hero is besotted with his wife, cannot live without her, but I wasn't sure why? He wants to be nagged through life?

    I have enjoyed Cathy Maxwell's books in the past, but not this one. Check out The Marriage Contract, that story had more humour, and the heroine was actually feisty, unlike this book, where the heroine was almost obnoxious.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • The Diamond Age

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Jennifer Wiltsie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Neal Stephenson, "the hottest science fiction writer in America", takes science fiction to dazzling new levels. The Diamond Age is a stunning tale; set in 21st-century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens what a state-of-the-art interactive device falls into the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life, and the entire future of humanity, is about to be decoded and reprogrammed.

    Tango says: "The rock could use a bit more polishing"
    "Avoid Abridged, choose the real thing!"

    I bought The Diamond Age back in 2001 and have listened to it three times since then -- it is just that much fun!

    This is an engaging tale of cyberpunk, nanotechnology and near-future social development, and in particular how these impact the life of Nell, our young heroine, as she grows up into a unique young woman. I loved to watch the evolution of Nell through her activity with the neo-Victorian Primer, but that is only one of a number of plot lines that intersect, and occasionally come together -- all of which are absorbing. However, if you prefer a nice linear presentation to your novels, you might find Stephenson's approach distracting. If you enjoy William Gibson, you will likely enjoy this book and its ideas (although Stephenson's earlier book, SnowCrash, is a little more Gibson-esque.)

    Kudos to the narrator who did an amazing job of the various characters and lines of the story. I found the narration some of the best of all the audible books I have listened to.

    My only gripe about the book is the ending, it all seemed to stop a little too abruptly -- but even that cannot dim my appreciation of the story overall, and on subsequent reading I have actually appreciated the ending for its open-endedness.

    I am very disappointed to see the push of the abridged versions of both this book and SnowCrash (particularly SnowCrash where the unabridged version is no longer available, a big shame since that is an even better book!). These books create a detailed view of future-society, abridgment will just fade the colour of that presentation. My recommendation is to buy the full-length versions (well, not possible for SnowCrash, but still online for DiamondAge!) and enjoy being absorbed.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Secrets of a Proper Lady

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Victoria Alexander
    • Narrated By Charlotte Parry
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Lady Cordelia Bannister simply cannot marry a man she has not chosen herself, no matter what her father decrees. So, pretending to be her own companion, she decides to seek out information about her intended by meeting with his secretary, a man who soon beguiles her. But Lady Cordelia doesn't know the truth: the man she can't resist is really her intended, Daniel Sinclair.

    Melinda Parmer says: "mixed feelings"
    "Almost, but not quite, reaches potential"

    This is apparently the third book in a series -- there is no need for you to be familiar with the previous books to enjoy this one (I wasn't). The recurring theme is that of eligible men wagering to remain unwed and each succumbing to marriage. This is the romance between American-in-London self-made Daniel Sinclair and his romance with ton-bred Lady Cordelia Bannister.

    Neither the hero or heroine want to marry, but have been thrust into potential marriage by their business-oriented fathers who see a benefit in the union. I rather enjoyed the ensuing farce when both hero and heroine decide to masquerade as another person to gather information about their potential intended, and perhaps even to wheedle out of the unwanted commitment. Unfortunately it seemed to go on for too long, and when it resolved it was all a little too pat and a little rushed. The writing was occasionally lazy (repetitious vocabulary), but these lapses were redeemed by some humorous dialogue which kept my attention. I also appreciated that our heroine was smart and independent. I felt a little indignant on her behalf for that being misinterpreted as spoilt and selfish by her family (in particular the male members), but such were the times.

    The narration was fairly good -- although the higher pitch voice of the American hero took some time to get used to, almost effiminate, which was a little disconcerting.

    I feel this book was almost on the verge of 4 stars, but sadly never quite lived up to potential. I will give this 4 stars, but with the reader-beware that it is at best a 3.5 (but one cannot issue half stars). That said, that puts it above a number of titles I have listened to recently!

    For readers of Ms Alexander's books, there is a charming little epilogue that took me awhile to understand as I am not familiar with her titles -- it is a imaginary tea party with the author and her past characters. A cute little thought-scape.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • An Unwilling Conquest

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Stephanie Laurens
    • Narrated By Nellie Chalfant
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A successful horse breeder and self-proclaimed rake, Harry Lester samples women like wines. But after having his heart trampled upon by someone he actually loved, he has no intention of falling for a woman again, let alone be ensnared by the trap of marriage. Now, with a large inheritance to his name, Harry knows that he'd best start running from London's matchmaking mothers and widows.

    A says: "Not Terrible, Just Trite"
    "Not Terrible, Just Trite"

    I almost gave up on this book, but since I actually paid for it (ie not a credit) I felt bound to finish.

    It wasn't that the story was terrible, it was just pat and predictable. It seemed to take forever for the story get going, so long I almost didn't care what happened to the characters, I just wanted the book to end. The writing seemed lazy with repeating phrases and vocabulary. There were a couple amusing scenes, but I had to listen to a lot of drivle to get to them. As for the rake and his reformer, the romance between them was rather aseptic. The potential for passion was there, but it all seemed to fizzle with the exception of a token couple of romance scenes.

    Ms Chalfant does add to the reading, by characterizing her voices, but at times her accent was grating. Most listeners will probably not be bothered, but if you are very familiar with British accents you may occasionally cringe. Not to take away from her talent, but I have to wonder, is it really that hard to get actual British born narrators to read British based historical romances?

    I give this 2.5 stars, and an additional half-star for Ms Chalfant's attempt to make the characters sound interesting. It did deliver a standard Regency romance. If that is enough to make you happy, then buy away!

    But if you like a little substance to your plot, then steer clear of this one, there are more engaging historical romances out there.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Natural Born Charmer

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Dean Robillard is the Chicago Stars' hotshot quarterback. Not only does he have lightening reflexes on the field, he is also utterly gorgeous. First seen in the critically acclaimed Match Me If You Can, Dean is trying to recover (both mentally and physically) from a shoulder injury by taking a road trip. Along the way he meets Blue, a beautiful woman down on her luck, and as they spend more time together their attraction grows.

    MSEreads says: "Another CHARMER from SEP!"
    "Fun romance"

    This isn't great literature, but it is a nice, fun, even occasionally laugh-out-loud, romantic read. A little predictable, particularly if you have read SEP before (in particular to 'This Heart of Mine', which I do NOT recommend reading too close to this one). But that said, the book delivers what one expects: guy and girl at odds (humorous situations occur), guy and girl work through personal baggage, guy and girl get together. Happy Ending. Some laughs, some quirky secondary characters, and you have an SEP novel.

    This is part of her series of books with heros from a football team. These guys are buff and hard on the outside, but soft and sweet on the inside. Kind of cute. For the record, I don't like or watch football -- no matter, thankfully an appreciation or understanding of football is NOT required to enjoy this contempory romance. And thankfully, no dumb jocks.

    Our herione is a committment phobe, who is perhaps a little more loose-screwy than I usually like to see in a leading lady -- but she is an artist, so I will mark it up to 'artistic temperment'.

    I decided to buy this book after listening to the free snippet. It is a pretty fair taste of both the narrator, and the entire style of the novel. Give the sample a listen, if you think the snippet is funny and engaging, you will likely enjoy the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It's In His Kiss

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Julia Quinn
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Raised by an unloving father who told him he was actually a bastard, Gareth St. Clair, the second son of a viscount, has plenty of private demons to battle. Years later, after ironically becoming the heir to the St. Clair title when his older brother dies, Gareth still doesn't understand why his father, Lord St. Clair, hasn't publicly denounced his position in society.

    A says: "Solid historical romance"
    "Solid historical romance"

    This is another installment in the Bridgerton family series.
    You do NOT have to read the preceding books to enjoy this book. It stands alone.

    This is probably one of the weakest of Ms Quinn's books, who I have come to count on for witty repartee (Audible, please publish her earlier books). There are some moments worthy of a laugh or two, but not to the usual level. I actually bought this in paper quite a while back, and even a mediocre Quinn book shapes into a decent historical romance. But obviously it was not that memorable, since I bought it again on Audible as I couldn't remember reading it.

    That said, it makes a better book to *listen* to than to *read* -- a real credit to the narrator. I was a little concerned to start - he is a older male voice - but he read the characters skillfully, and really gave "flavour" to the book -- an excellent reader (although the whole sex scene seemed, well -- I had to turn down the volume on my MP3 player as I expected shocked stares from others on the bus ;-)

    Our heroine is intelligent and strong (although the way she is described, she borderlines being a shrew) from a loving and large family. Our hero is a reforming rake, with a seriously dysfunctional relationship with his nasty father. Hero and Heroine are thrown together while attempting to solve a mystery (the mystery was not that engaging, but that is fine, I didn't buy this for the mystery). There is the holding back of secrets, that impedes the relationship between our hero and heroine, it is eventually (of course) cleared up. The story was stronger at the start, a little rushed at the end, their relationship happened a little too fast, but overall it was a fine romance.

    This book is not Julia Quinn's best, but still a solid, albeit a little predictable, historical romance. It gets 3 stars (3.5 stars for the parts that make me laugh/smile). The narrator pushes it to 4 stars (I am going to look for more from Mr Prebble!) Recommended.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Possessed by the Sheikh

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Penny Jordan
    • Narrated By Juani Tantillo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Stranded in the sands, Katrina is rescued by the Sheikh and taken back to his lavish desert camp. But in order to protect her, he will have to wed her. Then he discovers that she is untouched, a virgin. He is a desert sheikh who lives by a strict code of honor: Katrina must become his wife! Her time will be spent at the Sheikh's pleasure...

    A says: "Stockholm Syndrome, sex, and too-stupid-to-live"
    "Stockholm Syndrome, sex, and too-stupid-to-live"

    A woman on the streets of an Arabian market is accosted and abducted by a man running away from police. While being held against her will, her first thoughts aren't self-presevation, but rather that her abductor "possessed a dangerous facination that was seducing her". Keep in mind, this is about 5 minutes into our story -- too soon for a romantic relationship. Heck, too soon for Stockholm Syndrome. Apparently she unable to decide if her body is trembling in fear, or rather because "she was sharply aware of the male hardness of his muscular thigh". She seems to be finding this abduction a real turn-on. Creepy. Then, he kisses her into silence so her little scared sounds aren't heard by the police, and she is overcome by an "surge of primative female reaction". This disgusts her, but she decides all the same to get her tongue involved. Virginal hussy.

    This pretty much sums up the first 12 minutes of the story. Our heroine seems to be on sexual-repression overdrive, whose actions in real life would have got her raped or killed, but luckly this is Harlequin fiction, so it leads to a passive-agressive romance, true love and sexual gratification. If you like subservient female posturing with male controller then this could be your cup of tea. If you accept that our heroine must be proof of Creationism, as there is no way she could have made it to twenty if Natural Selection were at play, then this story gets better about 2.5 hours in -- well, at least the sex gets better.

    This book was unintentionally funny at times, and sensual at both expected and truely bizarre points. The narrator was fine most of the time, but terrible when trying to speak with an accent (apparently that was a British accent our heroine has -- I am letting you know now, as it comes across as Kiwi-meets-drunk Southern Belle). This gets two stars for being something to listen to while I did my taxes. (For the record, the taxes were about as enjoyable)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Side of the Moon: A Dark-Hunter Novel

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Sherrilyn Kenyon
    • Narrated By Maggi-Meg Reed

    Susan Michaels was once the hottest reporter on the Beltway Beat until a major scandal ruined her life and left her writing stories about alien babies and Elvis sightings. Life as she once knew it is over, or so she thinks until she gets a lead on the biggest story in town: The Seattle Slayer. She heads to the local animal shelter, expecting a tip on the latest rash of killings. Instead, she gets a story about the mayor feeding citizens to a ring of vampires. Yeah, just another day in her life.

    Amazon Customer says: "Abridged? Butchered!"
    "Fast, Funny, Confusing, Truncated"

    Abridged novels are annoying -- they are missing plot (by default), and situations evolve a little too quickly for my taste. But I think this is only part of the problem here.

    BAD things: this is definitely one of a series book (of which I have read none, which probably tempers my review). Significant time is spent discussing people and backstory with which I was not familiar, at one time a scene juggled 20 or so characters, the vast majority of whom had nothing to do with this particular story, but came with a litany of recap-history. Smacked of soap-opera. There were entire subplots started with characters which went nowhere in this book, perhaps interesting to those who are following this series, confusing and a little annoying for myself. As well, our hero (who has the smoldering good-looks and tortured thing going, which I do like), turns out to be quite the wimp. This guy is supposed to be 100s of years old and fighting the forces of darkness regularly, but he manages to get himself into almost-lethal situations three times in this book. If these dark-hunters were really that inept, I would expect them to all be dead by now!

    GOOD things: some funny dialogue/situations (our heroine is allergic, literally, to her beau). I rather liked our lead lady, but she evolved from reporter to warrior woman a little too conveniently. In fact, she seems more kick-ass than our hero. The narrator does a fairly good job (particularly considering the number of characters she has to manage).

    Overall: 2.5/5. The romance evolved too quickly for this to be considered a romance novel, and the fantasy was too episodic for it to be a stand-alone fantasy novel. A weak recommendation if you need something fast and light to fill four hours, but be prepared to feel slightly ripped-off story-wise once it is done. If you are a Kenyon fan-girl/boy, then this book probably rates higher.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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