I purchased A Stitch in Time because it is set in the area my mother's family was from. I was bemused by the woodsy small town feel of the setting, While Excelsior (why don't narrators check for local pronunciations) is a small town, it is on the shore of a large lake surrounded by big houses, waterfront businesses, lots of other small towns or villages, and lots of old money. There is very little open space left between the Lake Minnetonka area and Minneapolis and the intervening suburbs. Actually, this story could be set anywhere. A inside joke about hotdish (casserole to much of the country) was the only Minnesota touch I heard in the four hours I listened.
My biggest complaint was that, after 3.5 hours into the story, nothing mysterious had happened. Actually nothing much had happened at all. The potential (and I think eventual) mystery plot line about a tapestry was dropped almost as soon it was mentioned. Instead the listener was treated to a 10 minute internal monologue about the evolution of how Betsy's cat let Betsy know when it was feeding time and a scene at an overly long Christmas party. Neither did anything to move the story forward. Most of the story took place in a needlework shop Betsy inherited from her late sister. The subplot of Betsy having to economize because the business (Crewel World) was unprofitable at the moment was a laugh because Betsy was due to inherit $3 million in a couple of months.
What I really hate are supposedly smart heroes who do stupid things, and Betsy is so stupid she drove off into a raging blizzard to pick up and deliver a needlepoint pillow. Not only that, when her car went off the road in a whiteout, she actually got out and considered walking down the road. There was excuse for such a stupid action, all for the love of needlework. I don't care if Betsy had been living in San Diego, she was from Wisconsin where she would have learned some winter driving and survival smarts.
I have no idea what the crime or mystery in the story was because I just couldn't listen any more. Nothing happened and the narrator grated on my nerves. The writing is fine, it's just that a story should go somewhere before it ends. Maybe if I had been into needlework, I would have stayed the course. But I doubt it.
I loved this book. It is a funny, sexy mixture of fantasy, romance, mystery, and steam punk, with supernatural creatures thrown in for good measure. Something for everyone. I admit I purchased it because it was on sale. It was a great buy! Normally I don't go in for vampire and werewolf books, but this series is going to be an exception.The author takes just the right tone for readers who aren't into the vampire craze, making the supernatural creatures an accepted part of society.
Set in Victorian England, the story focuses on Alexia Tarrabotti, an umbrella wielding prenurnatural who falls for the leading werewolf of the day. It has bit in common with regency romances, but don't let that throw you off. Alexis, Collum, and all the secondary characters are well developed and entertaining. If I has a complaint it would be that I never quite figured out the bad guys. My favorite character is a fey vampire, Lord Alcaldama, who has gaudy tastes in clothes and young men.
For those of you who were put off by The Bone Season, as I was, this would be a great alternative.
Even though Involuntary Witness has a courtroom subplot, it isn't a legal thriller or a mystery. It is a story of how a man, who happens to be an attorney, is shattered by and recovers from a divorce and grows as an individual. It wasn't what I expected from the title and the cover art, but I enjoyed listening. The courtroom story arc is extremely interesting and says a lot about the Italian legal system and immigration issues. I have no idea how the title relates to the story. The narrator does a nice job but he sounded too old. When he said "avvocato," the Italian word for attorney, it sounded like he was saying avocado. If you enjoy foreign films, you might enjoy this.
While the author is an excellent writer and does a good job of weaving storylines together, I was frustrated when I finished listening to The Various Haunts of Men. I can't reveal my biggest frustrations without revealing important plot points so I will focus on a couple general issues.
I don't understand why this book is called a Simon Serrailler Mystery. Until the final 30 minutes of the 14 hour book, Serrailler is a secondary character who rarely appears. Yet in the very end, when he does become the focus, the author imbues him with a gravitas he doesn't deserve and hasn't earned. The book would have barely changed if he had been edited out.
The author introduces numerous seemingly unrelated storylines, which decrease as some characters are killed off. I found this tiring and confusing because of the rapid change in point of view characters. In general, however, she does bring the story arcs together in a believable way. In addition to the killer, three women, whose stories intersect, become the main characters. But in the end, when Serrailler steps in and the case is wound up, the women become mere footnotes to be summarized is a pseudo epilogue and we never hear from them again.
In fact it is rather strange that for most of the book women are the main and secondary point of view characters but the story ends up in a male point of view.
I hated the ending but I can't tell you why.
The narrator was excellent. I would consider other books he reads. I would have to think hard about another book by the author.
I was surprised I enjoyed this book so much. I have always loved Peter's Cadfel series so I decided to give her Inspector Felse series a try. The story kept me guessing and I didn't figure out who did it until close to the end. Twists and turns kept the story moving. It is a mystery of its time, though, with old fashioned ideas about women and marriage. Simon Prebble is an exceptional narrator. He is perfect for this book.
The narrator of this book was so annoying I almost stopped listening. I'm not sure if my rating would have been higher if I had read the book. The main character's dialogue was so slow I wondered if there was an issue with the speed. But other characters were okay, at least from a speed standpoint. Most of the male characters who were or could be one of the bad guys sounded like old crones. When they were annoyed, they even sounded like the Wicked Witch of the West. The sitcom Italian reading of one character, with sing songy sentences and lots of words ending in "a," was laughable at times.
Bridget Hodgson, the Midwife in the title, is based on an actual person. I understand it is normal in a novel to take liberties with actual happenings in and around a character's life. I felt, however, one of the liberties the author took with Bridget's life was unacceptable. Throughout the book Bridget mourns the loss of her only two children. She doesn't mourn the death of her second husband and there were no surviving children from their brief marriage. According to the author's website, however, Bridget actually had six children with her second husband that survived to the point she named them in her will.
Regarding the story, I didn't like the Bridget. She was flat and uninteresting. Her obsession with forcing unmarried pregnant women to name the father of their bastard children became a problem for me. While I appreciate that Bridget Hodgson is portrayed as a woman of her times, I couldn't come to terms with her lack of compassion for the maid servants who had been raped or taken advantage of by their masters. When Bridget grabbed one young woman around the throat, demanded a name, and groped under her dress to see if she was pregnant, I lost any connection to her I had felt.
A Murder of Crows is an excellent book, and for the most part, I enjoyed listening to it. Sir Robert Carey and Sgt. Dodd are a believable duo. I was fascinated to learn that Robert Carey and his family, as well as all the bad guys, are all historical personages. My criticism is that about 2/3 of the way through, Carey departs for a mission and never reappears. Obviously this is a setup for another book but it happens too early in the story, considering it is "A Sir Robert Carey Mystery." Added to that, there are no more audio books available, though there are four additional paper volumes. I liked it enough I might continue reading the series
Steven Crossley also narrates the Matthew Shardlake series set in same time period. He is one of my favorite narrators.
I love all the Riyria books. After listening to and being addicted to the Riyria Revelations series, I jumped on the audio books for the two prequels in the Riyria Chronicles. And I wasn't disappointed. Michael J. Sullivan has created characters that become like old friends. I think much of this is due to the superb narration of Tim Gerard Reynolds.
Truthfully, I'm not sure I would enjoy reading these books as much as I enjoy listening to them. When Hadrian and Royce speak, I feel as if I know them. When I finished The Rose and the Thorn I went back and listened to all 60+ hours of the Riyria Revelations; the second time was a good as the first.
Unlike some reviewers, I think it is best to read the books in the order they were written. The Riyria Chronicles focus on the backstory of several important but secondary characters in the Revelations series. I think it is more powerful to understand the fate of these characters, such as the Pickerings, Hilfred and Count Albert Winslow, first in the Revelations and discover their backstory later in the Chronicles.
I can't wait for the next book be it prequel or sequel.
Simon Scarrow is a new author for me. I enjoyed the first volume of his Macro and Cato series even though I felt something was missing but I can't actually put a finger on what. Maybe it was the lack of a conclusion, the ending being a setup for the next book, which is not available on Audible. It doesn't make sense to go on to Book 3 when there would be huge gaps in the major storyline.
That said, Macro the Centurion and Cato the Optimo are an appealing duo. I learned a great deal about the structure of the Roman military and Roman politics. The battle scenes are well orchestrated and are violent without being ghoulish. There are a few too many F-bombs considering the word didn't exist at the time but they don't feel inappropriate for the military setting.
David Thorpe is the wonder narrator. He captures each character perfectly.
I won't continue with this series until Book 2 is available.
Both the mystery and Malta are missing. This story could be set anywhere, any time. An almost total lack of detail for setting, clothing, culture, arts, leave the reader ungrounded. If a couple characters didn't mention 1913 and a possible war with Germany, it would be difficult to place the story in any time period. The story is mostly talking heads, Tag lines make up a large part of the text.
The supposed main character, Inspector Seymour from the British Foreign Office, barely appears in the story. The mystery and the murder are overwhelmed by lengthy, repeated stories about village rivalries, bands, sporting events. The revelation of the murderer was
underwhelming. I still don't understand the motive for the murders.
Wonder mashup of popular imagery from children's literature. Funny, frothy, and fresh. Pour it on.
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