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Marie

Member Since 2011

263
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 103 reviews
  • 173 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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30

  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2280)
    Performance
    (2026)
    Story
    (2014)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "Started a 5, eased into a 4, slowly sank to a 3"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For the first 10 hours I enjoyed this book, then it started to drag. And the drag was compound by the main character becoming a tiresome bore. Entire chunks of the manuscript could have been deleted and the story would not have suffered. The story begins to bog down midway. I kept forgetting that everything took place in a matter of days, not weeks. It felt like months. By the time I wanted to stop listening, I had invested so much time into the story I felt I had to see it through

    The positives:
    -The narrator, Eduardo Ballerini, does a superb job. I would definitely listen to another of his books.
    -Robert McCammon is a wonderful writer. His language is evocative and sucks the reader into the story. There is just too much of it.
    -Great character studies of the residents of Fount Royal, even the bad guys. And that contributes to the negatives because some characters feel like they were there because the author wanted to write about them, not because they were critical to the story.

    The negatives:
    -The 30 hours which should have been 20 - at most
    -Matthew Corbett's repetitive and sanctimonious whining. I don't blame some of the other characters for not taking him seriously.
    -Characters that appear and then disappear once they have served their purpose. What, for instance, happened to the blacksmith after his tryst with his equine companion?
    -My unwillingness to believe that a young man as educated and smart as Matthew would throw away his entire live on a woman he met briefly.
    -The book takes place over less than two weeks yet feels like it is at least two months.
    -Others have pointed out the details that are off for the period.
    -Too many characters that serve little purpose other than to help Matthew uncover someone's secret. The troupe of actors come to town, months ahead of schedule. with a new stage manager who just happens to have been acquainted with one of the bad guys decades ago in England. The troupe appears one day and then departs the next.
    -The absence of positive females, or many female characters at all, except the witch and the housekeeper. The only other females were an entreprenurial shrew and her seemingly possessed daughter. None of the main male characters had a wife living in Fount Royal. The wives were all dead or crazy or addicted but living elsewhere.

    The "I almost stopped listening":
    -The penis obsessed language used by almost every male character in the story. They all seemed to be obsessed with penises big and small. It didn't feel right. Just like it felt very wrong that the magistrate would tell the slimy innkeeper Matthew was a virgin. Matthew was 20 years old in 1699. I wonder if this would have been acceptable dinner conversation.
    -(Spoiler Alert on this one) Instead of finding the scene where poor Lucy the horse is mounted by her owner (in the biblical sense} to be grotesque or repellent, I found it laughable. The image of the man suspended in mid-air in a homemade sex sling to enjoy connubial bliss with his pony made me think of a circus for perverts.
    -Matthew is so set on proving Rachael is innocent, yet he willing lets the guilty go free. Most of the main characters have a secret to hide or have been committing crimes. But Matthew keeps the secrets to meet his own ends.
    -Matthew can't see past his quest to save Rachael. He was even willing to abandon the magistrate, the man who educated and protected him, for the sake of a woman he barely knew.

    56 of 63 people found this review helpful
  • Office of the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Andrew Taylor
    • Narrated By June Barrie
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (3)

    Living in the British city of Rosington of the 1950s, Wendy finds herself penniless, jobless, and on the verge of divorce. She goes to stay with her friend, who seems to have everything Wendy lacks. But a decades-old mystery lingers, and the shadow of death seeps through from turn-of-the-century Rosington, portending tragedy.

    Marie says: "Pulled me in and kept surprising me"
    "Pulled me in and kept surprising me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Office of the Dead is not your typical mystery. The story builds slowly and keeps both the narrator and the reader wondering what is coming next. This is first person point-of-view done as it should be. Our narrator, Wendy, reveals enough about herself to become a well-rounded, sympathetic character. Her observations of Roth, the college, and characters around her draw in the reader. The book is full of interesting and sometimes creepy secondary characters.

    While this story stands on its own, I discovered after finishing that it was actually the third book in a trilogy. The trilogy steps backward in time with each volume, which explains one of the issues I had with the story. There are hints of future happenings that are not explained. If the books were read in order, the reader would understand the references.

    June Barrie was the perfect narrator for this volume.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Nicholas Rowe
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (100)

    When Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, first meets Phoebe Marlow, he finds her dull and insipid. She thinks he is insufferably arrogant. But when a series of unforeseen events leads them to be stranded together in a lonely country inn, they are both forced to reassess their hastily formed opinions, and they begin to discover a new-found liking and respect for each other. But what Sylvester doesn’t know is that Phoebe is about to publish a novel - a novel in which all London will recognize him as the villainous ‘Count Ugolino’

    Catherine says: "Finally!!!"
    "On of her best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No one can compare to Georgette Heyer when it comes to writing great dialogue. This is one of her best Regency romances.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Splendor of Silence

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Indu Sundaresan
    • Narrated By Sneha Mathan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    In 1942, Sam Hawthorne, a young U.S. Army captain, arrives in a tiny, princely state in western India. He carries combat wounds and several secrets, one of which is the real reason behind his visit: to find his brother Mike, an idealistic American soldier who disappeared after joining the local struggle for independence from the British.

    Alice says: "Loved this audiobook"
    "Couldn't finish it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe this is better read than listened to. The writing at times is lovely. You get a sense of the exotic and poetic. But the constant shifts in tense, time, and point of view are confusing. The story, set in India during WW II, didn't ring true. The sensibilities are too 21st century. The identity of one of the main narrators is not revealed until the end of the book (I listened to the last chapter.) and though major revelations are summarized at the very end, it shouldn't have taken 15 hours to get there. It would have been better if the reader could have experienced some of what we learn at the end.

    Our hero, Sam, is an American. His is searching for his brother, Mike, who was imprisoned when he began supporting the Indian separatist movement after witnessing the discriminatory treatment of Indians by the British. Sam too sees the way Indians are discriminated against, while falling in love with Mila, a young Indian woman, in a matter of minutes after meeting her. All well and good. But during the many hours I did listen to the book, never once did Sam, who is from Seattle, ever comment on or think about racial discrimination in the US. Wouldn't he have at least thought about the internment of the Japanese Americans from Seattle. Or better yet, the segregation in the armed forces. None of these issues ever cross his mind.

    Sam's story is being told to his daughter, Olivia. It is the early 1960's and Sam has just died. She receives a box and a letter from India. We discover toward the end Mila was Olivia's mother (no big surprise). We never get any sense if Olivia can identify with the story of her parents. It must not have been easy growing up as an Indian-American in the 1950s. How did Sam's mother, Maud, react to having a "mixed race" grandchild? How did people treat her in general? Did she understand any of what her parents must have gone through? I wanted to know but never found out.

    Sneha Mathan is a wonderful narrator. Her voice is perfect for the book. I would listen to other books she read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crowner Royal

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bernard Knight
    • Narrated By Paul Matthews
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    London, 1196. At the command of Richard the Lionheart, Sir John de Wolfe has left his beloved West Country for the Palace of Westminster, where he has been appointed Coroner of the Verge. But with the king overseas, embroiled in a costly war against King Philip of France, Sir John is dismayed to discover that the English court is a hotbed of greed, corruption and petty in-fighting.

    Wadie says: "good"
    "One of my favorite Crowner John Books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As always, Crowner John delivers a great story. The change from Exeter to London was refreshing. I particularly enjoyed the details about the working of the Court under Richard Lionheart. Bernard Knight always weave historic details into his narrative, sometimes to the story's detriment.The author has a tendency to unnecessarily repeat details throughout a book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • His Majesty's Dragon: Temeraire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By Naomi Novik
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1245)
    Performance
    (631)
    Story
    (638)

    When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo - an unhatched dragon egg - fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle.

    Janet says: "Dragon Riders of Pern meet Master and Commander"
    "For the middle grade reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you want a book without a single, not even one, word approaching a curse (even though the hero is a former sea captain), no real blood or gore, without any sex, not even any romance, and without much character development, then this is the book for you. Not that I think sex, romance and cursing are required in a good book. But something is missing here that any of those elements might have added to the story.

    The writing is good, the plot has a lot to offer. But the pace and the characters just aren't believable, even if you do believe in dragons. From the beginning, things are just too easy for William and Temeraire. Their bonding, which goes off without a hint of tension, sets the tone. When they go flying, you never feel the cold air, or the altitude, or the soaring. William seems to wear his sea captain's uniform when he flies without any mention of the change in temperature. But I guess what seemed off to me was that a rugged sea captain would call his male dragon "my dear" throughout the book. I wanted a little salty talk. The author never found her male voice, for either the male characters or the dragons.

    Simon Vance, as always, does an excellent job. I particularly like his dragon voices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Gail Carriger
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    Overall
    (2842)
    Performance
    (2058)
    Story
    (2081)

    Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit—and werewolves—in Gail Carriger’s delightful debut novel. Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.

    Pamela I Greene says: "Amelia Peabody has competition"
    "Laugh out loud funny at times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Involuntary Witness: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Gianrico Carofiglio
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (283)
    Story
    (283)

    A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.

    Kathy says: "WOW!"
    "Misclassified as a mystery but I enjoyed it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Various Haunts of Men: A Simon Serrailler Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Susan Hill
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (186)

    A woman vanishes in the fog up on "the Hill", an area locally known for its tranquility and peace. The police are not alarmed; people usually disappear for their own reasons. But when a young girl, an old man, and even a dog disappear, no one can deny that something untoward is happening in this quiet town. Young policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case; she's new to the job, compassionate, inquisitive, and dedicated to the task of unraveling the mystery behind this gruesome sequence of events.

    karen says: "Best of the best...."
    "Why exactly is this a Simon Serrailler Mystery?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Knocker on Death's Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (22)

    The day after a Gothic door is returned to its original place in the Mottisham village church, two men are found dead. The Welsh villagers, closed and suspicious of outsiders, believe their deaths were not accidental, but part of an ancient legend that told of an unrepentant monk who tried to enter to the church by grasping the door's iron knocker.

    Yvette says: "More Inspector Felse, please!"
    "One of her best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Midwife's Tale: A Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sam Thomas
    • Narrated By Leila Birch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.

    Cornelia says: "Excellent First Novel!"
    "Only so so"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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