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Marie

Member Since 2011

ratings
189
REVIEWS
116
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
35
HELPFUL VOTES
319

  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2702)
    Performance
    (2413)
    Story
    (2399)

    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.

    62 of 70 people found this review helpful
  • The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser, Simon Vance, Isla Blair
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    A grand treasure for fans of the grande dame of mystery, The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories brings together nine rare and brilliant Christie tales of murder and detection that span nearly half a century of her storytelling genius. In "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest," Hercule Poirot unravels the psychological conundrums that motivate a killer.... In "The Actress," a great star's shady past becomes the plaything of a blackmailer.... In "The Harlequin Tea Set," Mr. Harley Quin helps a man save his loved ones from the greedy hand of murder.

    Die Falknerin says: "Three great narrators, nine classic stories"
    "A Revelation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Harlequin Tea Set, a collection of short mysteries, was a revelation to me. I knew Agatha Christie was a great story teller, but was unprepared for the quality of these short stories.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Eighth Veil: A Jerusalem Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Frederick Ramsay
    • Narrated By Robin Field
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    A murdered servant girl is found in the palace of King Herod Antipas. The prefect, Pontius Pilate, is in attendance. The populace has already been buzzing over the brutal death of one of their prophets, John, known familiarly as the Baptizer, and scandal is in the air.

    Marie says: "Terrible narration and awful dialgue"
    "Terrible narration and awful dialgue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am returning this book. The narrator's voice is awful which makes the bland dialogue and weak story even worse. I couldn't get past the first few chapters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Queen of England: Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Steve Robinson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    While on a visit to London, American genealogist Jefferson Tayte’s old friend and colleague dies in his arms. Before long, Tayte and a truth-seeking historian, Professor Jean Summer, find themselves following a corpse-ridden trail that takes them to the Royal Society of London, circa 1708.

    Doreen says: "Non-stop engaging story"
    "Assassination Overload"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love the genealogical aspects of this book. The the first in the series, it is what maintained my interest enough to finish the book. Unlink the first book ( To The Grave) however, there is no second story to keep the reader interested.

    The main character (Jefferson Tayte, an American genealogist) is flat and typecast. The assassin appears very early on and the reason for a string of assassinations is over the top. It might have been more interesting if there was more variety in the way people died. Like To the Grave it is all guns, guns, guns. The problem started for me when the bodies started mounting all over London.

    The lackluster response of law enforcement was unrealistic in this day of terrorist threats and realities. British Intelligence does get involved in the case but are clueless. Why don't they take Tayte off the street after the two agents escorting him are shot? They let him wander and reveal case details to the public.

    The problems from the first book show up again here. Tayte repeatedly mentions he is searching for his birth parents and that he has a weight problem. But that's all we know. Why is his weight an issue? How heavy is he? Does he have health issues. Or is it just an impression the author has of Americans? Doesn't Tayte have any relatives who know he was adopted? Were his birth parents British? It seems that is why he is so interested in British genealogy. But how does he know this? And Tayte must own stock in a tan suit manufacturing company. He seems to have a never ending stock.

    The narrator, Simon Vance, is one of my favorites and he does a good job with Tayte's American English accent and pronunciation. There are instances, however, where Tatye uses a British pronunciation when he just wouldn't have.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Moving Finger: A Miss Marple Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Richard E. Grant
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (36)

    Lymstock is a town with more than its share of shameful secrets - a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate mail causes only a minor stir. But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs. Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note says "I can’t go on", but Miss Marple questions the coroner's verdict of suicide. Soon nobody is sure of anyone - as secrets stop being shameful and start becoming deadly.

    Calliope says: "great characterizations with a little mystery"
    "Miss Marple is Mostly Missing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listen to this book if for no other reason that Richard E. Grant is the perfect narrator.

    I think this was my first Miss Marple mystery in book form. And it is so different from the Joan Hickson variety TV movie. Mainly because the book is written from the first person point of view of another character. And at least in this instance, Miss Marple is hardly part of the story. In fact, she doesn't show up until well into the narrative. She is used mostly to reveal the killer and motive.

    The story revolves around anonymous letters plaguing a small village. The narrator is pilot recovering from injuries in a flying accident. He and his sister are renting a home in Lymstock while he recovers. The rest of the cast are local recipients of the hateful letters. There's a bit of romance, a bit of intrigue, and lots of local color. A pleasant diversion for a summer's day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To the Grave: Jefferson Tayte Genealogical, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Steve Robinson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (26)

    A curiously dated child’s suitcase arrives, unannounced and unexplained, in a modern-day Washington suburb. A week later, American genealogist Jefferson Tayte is sitting in an English hotel room, staring at the wrong end of a loaded gun. In his latest journey into the past, Tayte lands in wartime Leicestershire, England. The genealogist had hoped simply to reunite his client with the birth mother she had never met, having no idea she had been adopted.

    Doreen says: "Worthwhile listen!"
    "Great Story Until the Shooting Starts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I waivered between 3 and 4 stars for this book. I finally decided to go with 4 stars based on the strengths of Mina's WWII story.

    The book, which alternates between 1944 and present day, is intriguing. The genealogical aspects of the search for Mina are the fascinating and move the story forward. The characters in the 1944 story are well rounded and bring the story to life. I cared about Mina and what happened to her. And when the past and the present merge, the story is first rate. The author should have stopped with Mina's story and edited out the thriller aspects-it would have been a better book.

    The present day characters, including the main character (Jefferson Tayte, an American genealogist) are flat and typecast. So is the killer. No secret there, we meet the killer very early on. The bad guy(s) are transparent and the reason for a string of assassinations is over the top. It might have been more interesting if there was more variety in the way people died. The problem started for me when the bodies started mounting. The lackluster response of law enforcement was puzzling.

    Tayte repeatedly mentions he is searching for his birth parents and that he has a weight problem. But that's all we know. Why is his weight an issue? How heavy is he? Does he have health issues. Or is it just an impression the author has of Americans? Doesn't Tayte have any relatives who know he was adopted? Were his birth parents British? It seems that is why he is so interested in British genealogy. But how does he know this?

    A few of the details in the American scenes didn't work. When present-day Tayte has coffee with his American client, she serves the coffee from a percolator. I don't know if you can even buy percolators any more. And Tayte wears tan linen suits. And he seems to have a steady supply on hand. This is a minor problem, though. I'm sure British readers feel the same about details that American authors put in books set in the U.K.

    The narrator, Simon Vance, is one of my favorites and he does a good job with Tayte's American English accent and pronunciation. There are instances, however, where Tatye uses a British pronunciation when he just wouldn't have.

    Note: This is the second in a series of three books. I have not listened to the first because it was lower rated. I am just finishing the third and will not be recommending it. Too many bodies and another mean assassin. I will write a review soon.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hollow Kingdom: THe Hollow Kingdom, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Clare Dunkle
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In 19th-century England, Kate and her sister Emily return to the family estate after their father dies. There, under the guardianship of a distant uncle, they live in a small lodge with two great-aunts. One evening while out late and unable to find their way home, they encounter a nest of goblins. Clare Dunkle unites the human realm and the underworld of the goblin in a fascinating and exciting tale.

    Amazon Customer says: "Decent, but narrator leaves much to be desired."
    "Charming and Inventive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Life changes when you have to go underground.

    I loved this book. I can't wait for the next volume. It is well written, the characters are well developed. The dialogue is great. There are funny moments and awful moments. It is a perfect YA book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Danger Point: Miss Silver Mysteries, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (70)

    Miss Silver is returning from holiday when a distraught young woman enters her carriage. Beautiful society heiress Lisle Jerningham confides that she believes her husband, Dale, is trying to kill her. An overheard conversation and a near-tragic accident have convinced her that her life is in danger. Lisle returns to Tanfield Court, unsettled by her suspicions and then by another accident. But it’s when a young woman from the local village is found dead at the bottom of a cliff that she really begins to fear for her life.

    Coffee Lover says: "Always love Miss Silver"
    "My Least Favorite Miss Silver"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is nothing like a good British cozy and I usually enjoy a Miss Silver Mystery, even if they are formulaic. Diana Bishop, the narrator, may have a bit to do with that. I disliked The Danger Point. The main female character (Lisle) was insipid and not very bright. It was one of those times I wished the killer had succeeded. The murderer was never in doubt. Miss Silver hardly appears and feels like an afterthought. Maybe I need to take a break from Miss Silver. I have listened to three in the last month, and it really brought home how similar they really are.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mangle Street Murders: The Gower Street Detectives, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By M. R. C. Kasasian
    • Narrated By Lindy Nettleton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (35)

    After her father dies, March Middleton has to move to London to live with her guardian, Sidney Grice, the country's most famous private detective. It is 1882, and London is at its murkiest yet most vibrant, wealthiest yet most poverty-stricken. No sooner does March arrive than a case presents itself: A young woman has been brutally murdered, and her husband is the only suspect.

    Kathi says: "Witty and clever British mystery"
    "Weak story and underwhelming narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book might be better read than listened to but I'm not sure it will make a difference.

    I was confused to say the least by March Middleton, at once both a girl who had never been kissed and a woman who had been engaged to a soldier in India. It was as if she had a split personality but the reader never got to see where they overlapped. I was also perplexed by the side story involving a woman March meets on a train in the opening scene and the women's club March joins. The only point of the subplot seemed to be to emphasize that March was a modern woman who liked to smoke and drink. Yet for being so modern, she meekly stood by while all the male characters in the book, even some minor ones, told her how unattractive she was. Her lack of emotional response to such attacks was disturbing. I was not surprised to find out the author is a man-a man who doesn't appear to understand women. Maybe doesn't even like women much. All the female characters are flat. Actually, I think March will discover in a future volume that the main male character, Sidney Grice, is actually a cross dresser. The author has already thrown out a few hints.

    I didn't like the narrator and doubt I would listen to other books she reads.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Chinese Shawl: Miss Silver, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    Tanis Lyle was one of those passionate women who always get their own way. Her cousin Laura hated her. Most women did. But men found her irresistible and she used them mercilessly. So when Tanis was found murdered there seemed to be any number of suspects on hand. But Miss Silver had her own suspicions…

    3dogs3 says: "Cozy Indeed"
    "My Favorite Miss Silver So Far"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I discovered Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver series about a year ago. They are old fashioned British cozies. My rating is based on how well they fit that genre. Many of the books center on lost relatives or an unusual inheritance. The Chinese Shawl is set in the early 1940's. The details feel authentic and the mystery/murder is intriguing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Broken Homes: A Rivers of London Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (387)
    Story
    (388)

    My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame - whatever that is. Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast.

    Cliff says: "Finally, it's out!"
    "Great Addition to a Great Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Broken Homes is the fourth in the Peter Grant series. I am still amazed at how much I enjoy this series. The old familiar characters are back with new twists and turns. I am giving the story four stars instead of five only because I got a bit lost in the theory of why the bad guy was doing what he was doing. If you like a bit of the supernatural, a bit of the police procedural, and a bit of the absurd, this is where you will find it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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