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Clemson, SC, United States | Member Since 2005


  • The Next Time You See Me

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Holly Goddard Jones
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Thirteen-year-old Emily Houchens doesn’t have many friends; her classmates find her strange. When one day she happens upon a dead body hidden in the woods near her house in Roma, Kentucky, she decides not to tell anyone about her discovery - a choice that begins to haunt her. Susanna Mitchell has always been a good girl, the dutiful daughter and wife. While her older sister, Ronnie, trolled bars for men and came home late, Susanna kept a neat house, a respectable job, and a young daughter.

    Tango says: "Fascinating Characters - Great Book!"
    "Bullies, Misfits and Dead Bodies"

    Jones manages to create a town full of heartbreakingly real characters. The Next Time You See Me reminded me a bit of Stephen King's The Body. In both stories a young person discovers a dead body and uses the discovery to impress their classmates. There is Emily, the middle school girl known as a freak in her school, who indeed turns into a freakish character when she keeps revisiting the dead body she discovered in the woods. She wants to observe the changes as the body decomposes. At school she is mercilessly bullied and taunted.

    Meantime, Susanna, Emily's desparately unhappy middle school teacher, tries to discover what happened to her sister who disappears after a night out at the bars. She contacts Joe, her former classmate, now turned detective for help. He is equally isolated by his pain and his race. As they investigate Ronnie's activities leading up to her disappearance, Susanna and Joe rekindle a flame from high school.

    Over in the local factory, Wyatt, an overweight older man, provides comic fodder for the young bucks at the plant. However, his life is no joke. His own dog won't even come near him, for he has a horrible secret of his own.

    Between the factory, the middle school, Susanna's home and the bleak countryside, this book explores the despair and misery of the town's residents.
    Jones does an excellent job of delving into the hearts of the characters to reveal both the good and bad. She made them so real, that I couldn't really condemn even the worst of the deeds committed in this book. So the next time you see any of these characters, you'll know their hearts. The images in this book will haunt you long after you listen to the last word.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Touch & Go: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Elisabeth Rodgers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life you’d find in the pages of a glossy magazine: A beautiful 14-year-old daughter. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by all. A perfect life. When investigator Tessa Leone arrives at the crime scene in the foyer of the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and a million tiny pieces of bright green Taser confetti. The family appears to have been abducted.

    lisa says: "Wait for it to go on clearance!"
    "Suspense and Action Never Stopped"
    What made the experience of listening to Touch & Go the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the two sides of the plot--the story of the kidnapped family and the story of the police investigation. Tessa Leone from Love You More joins up with the backwoods sheriff to try to track down where this family is secreted away. A little romance sparks between the two but not enough to distract from the story. Another part of the story that intriqued me was the idea of being forced to live indefinitely in a prison with no freedom to shower, rest, eat or roam around. Yes, I know that all prisoners feel this way, but this family had done nothing wrong except take their family ties for granted. And the violence or threat of violence day and night against the daughter, the wife and the husband never ended. Each family member wanted to protect the others and took many blows to do so. Ironically, this family had been falling apart before this happened, now they seem to be getting back into a loving relationship. The mother is addicted to pain killers, the daughter is addicted to her electronic devices and has a huge secret, while the father has been caught in an affair and is repentant over that.

    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    I was kept guessing why this family was taken and what the father had done to drive someone to this kind of revenge. The kidnappers didn't seem to care about asking for ransom, so why were they doing this? As Tessa Leone and the sheriff got closer to the kidnappers' lair, I kept thinking the sheriff would remember something, recognize a good spot for their hideout. I still don't see why he wouldn't remember a prison had recently been built in his state. Or investigate what building projects the construction company had undertaken recently since the father was head of that company. Of course, one of the kidnappers was a violent sociopath bent on destroying the wife and daughter because they almost escaped once. I didn't know how that would turn out.

    Any additional comments?

    Lisa Gardner fans will relish her trademark suspense and characterization that drive the plot. I highly recommend this book.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Sarah Jio
    • Narrated By Tara Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Seattle, 1933: Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, good night and reluctantly leaves for work. She hates the night shift, but it’s the only way she can earn enough to keep destitution at bay. In the morning - even though it’s the second of May - a heavy snow is falling. Vera rushes to wake Daniel, but his bed is empty. His teddy bear lies outside in the snow. Seattle, present day: On the second of May, reporter Claire Aldridge awakens to another late-season snowstorm. Assigned to cover this "blackberry winter" and its predecessor decades earlier, Claire learns of Daniel’s unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth.

    Anne says: "Pretty good story buried under turgid narration"
    "Worth a read"
    What did you love best about Blackberry Winter?

    I liked the setting back in the 30s and the switching back and forth in time. The characters were interesting--two young women facing the loss of their children.

    Would you recommend Blackberry Winter to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would recommend with reservations. It is a bit Nicholas Sparks, but not quite as clichéd.

    What about Tara Sands’s performance did you like?

    She didn't get in the way of the story.

    Any additional comments?

    The best part of the book occurs in the 30s. The modern day character doesn't read as well.

    2 of 2 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"
    "The Plot isn't a Secret"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Although this romance doesn't have much new in the plot development, it is amusing in a low key British way. I enjoyed the main character's blurting all her secrets while on a scary plane ride. Only to have it all come back to haunt her during the rest of the story in the form of her seatmate now revealed boss. Like the Book of Love this story has the typical ups and downs in the romance department but in an enjoyable way. Gotta love the British accents! It helped me do household chores while listening.

    If you’ve listened to books by Sophie Kinsella before, how does this one compare?

    It's not quite as good as Bridget Jones's Diary, but definitely worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Racketeer

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By J.D. Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.... Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller.

    Charles says: "Eh."
    "Not Grisham's Best"
    Would you try another book from John Grisham and/or J.D. Jackson?

    I usually love Grisham, buying and reading them several times in a row. So I will give Grisham another chance, but this book was not up to par.

    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I wish Kate Atkinson would come out with a new book.

    What three words best describe J.D. Jackson’s performance?

    Solid, easy, appropriate

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

    I don't see it going anywhere. There was not enough story to care about. And the characters, ugh! We didn't get to see a great trial lawyer or a troubled lawyer trying to improve himself and his circumstances in any positive way. We get a jailed lawyer intent on cheating the system for a pile of gold and a legal escape from prison.

    Any additional comments?

    I was so disappointed because I used a credit on this book for a long driving trip. The story wasn't strong enough to distract me as Grisham usually is. I slogged through it to see if it ever got any better. Sorry to say: it stayed mediocre and just not very interesting. I am tried of characters going after the elusive pot of gold.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dream Man

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Linda Howard
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Marlie Keen was trying to lead a quiet, ordinary life. She thought the knowing - the clairvoyance that allowed her to witness crimes as they happened - had been destroyed in the nightmare of her past. Then one night it returned with a vengeance, and she desperately needed to find someone to make it stop.

    Kelbey says: "Nice Dream"
    "Cringe Inducing"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was awful and annoying. Both his sappy high female voice and deep masculine voice brought the story down.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I usually enjoy Linda Howard's stories and hot love scenes, but this one seemed more creepy than erotic. I cringed every time the narrator used his high voice for the female character and his deep one for the hero policeman. I was disappointed in the writing and the narration. The story could have been good and maybe the second half got better, but I couldn't tolerate the love scenes. The story line seemed interesting enough, a psychic who senses what a serial killer is thinking as he murders women. There wasn't enough story between the cringe-inducing love scenes. The psychic had been raped before the story began and the homicide detective just wants to get into her pants from the time he meets her. UGH!

    0 of 0 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.

    Laura says: "Funny, touching, entertaining"
    "Hauntingly Realistic"

    Days after finishing Skippy Dies, I'm still haunted by the tragedies and comedies of teenagers and their teachers at a private Catholic school in Dublin. The narrators were excellent. I especially liked the song toward the end.
    Murray writes this teenage story with candor and without sympathy or judgment. It all begins with Skippy's death, and then reverts back to what brought this senseless death on. We learn about Howard the Coward's affair, another teacher's sordid past, the boys and girls tortured by their inability to cope with life, sex, drugs and rock and roll. I laughed and I cried toward the end at the absurdities and realism depicted in this book. I highly recommend it for its quirkiness and its "take no prisoners attitude."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fingersmith

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Sarah Waters
    • Narrated By Juanita McMahon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Orphaned as an infant, Susan Trinder was raised by Mrs. Sucksby, “mother” to a host of pickpockets and con artists. To pay her debt, she joins legendary thief Gentleman in swindling an innocent woman out of her inheritence. But the two women form an unanticipated bond and the events that follow will surprise every listener. Fingersmith was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize, and was chosen as book of the year 2002 by more organizations than any other novel. Sarah Waters was named Author of the Year at the 2003 British Book Awards.

    shopper from Playa del Rey says: "The BEST BOOK I"ve read this year!"
    "A New Kind of Love"

    This book is broken into 3 parts. The first part follows a young orphan Susan Trendor raised in the manner of Oliver to be a thief by Mrs. Sucksby. Mrs. Sucksby treats Susan like a daughter and encourages her to go along with Gentleman's plot to defraud the rich young woman Maud Lilly by becoming Maud's maid in the great country estate where Maud is being raised by her uncle. Susan will be able to bring home 3000 pounds to her beloved Mrs. Sucksby if she helps Gentleman to woo and wed Maud. Gentleman's plan involves defrauding Maud of her fortune by having her placed in an insane asylum. The problem arises when Susan falls in love with Maud. Will she be able to carry out the plan?

    The 2nd part centers on Maud after her marriage to Gentleman. We now discover some unpleasant truths about the true nature of the fraud and who is hurt by it. The 3rd part has both Maud and Susan seeking retribution for all the wrongs done against each of them.

    This was an immensely listenable book even though it is long. I enjoyed the way the author described life in the truly dirt poor part of London where Susan is raised to be clever with her fingers at stealing. While Maud is raised in a great, dark, dreary, country estate in the country to be a different kind of fingersmith--a sort of secretary to her brutal and crazed uncle--in pornography.

    Waters characterizes both girls as neither wan nor fragile even in the most horrific circumstances. She gives them personalities that make you cheer for them as the same time that you question some of their choices.

    This book is well written with enough mystery to keep you listening long after you should get out of your car and go into the house to fix supper. I highly recommend this if you love period novels without the typical bodice rippers.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Started Early, Took My Dog: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective - a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other-or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.

    Beverly says: "For the Love of Children and Dogs"
    "Love Jackson Brody"

    I had never heard of Atkinson until I started listening to this book. Since this one, I have listened to all of her other books. I love her characters and quirky mysteries. One of the main characters in this book is overweight, a retired policewoman and friendless until she saves a little girl. But all does not turn out as expected. Tilly is another interesting character. Atkinson does a good job of putting the reader into the mind of a older woman suffering from dementia. And then came Jackson Brody. Jackson is not your usual hero either. I used to be a policeman seems to be his mantra as he is beaten up yet again.All of her books seem to revolve around relationships and loss. Jackson Brody is constantly trying to find a missing relative for someone. I love the way the author brings all these characters together in the strangest ways. I also love the little quotes from Emily Dickinson--the title comes from one of her poems. Atkinson left me wondering what will happen next and waiting for the next book. If you love well written, amusing, novels with great characters, a bit of mystery, set in Britain, buy her books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Room: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Emma Donoghue
    • Narrated By Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, but what she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

    Kathleen says: "A truly memorable read"
    "Room to Please"

    This book told from the viewpoint of a 5 year old boy held my attention from the first chapter. I was concerned that the subject of a kidnapped and imprisoned woman and her child would be too gruesome. Yet with Jack telling the story, the reader is shielded from the horrors for the most part. The book builds suspense as more and more details about the room are revealed. However, it offers so much to ponder about surviving and raising a child in such conditions. I enjoyed this book so much, I listened to it twice in a row.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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