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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2015

  • 7 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 543 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015

  • Coraline

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

    Melise says: "Scary, but interesting for both adults and kids"
    "So good I read it first!"

    I bought this book for my 13 year old daughter, and decided to read it first so that I could make sure it wasn't too scary, and so that we could talk about it. Even though I was on vacation, I couldn't put it down. Wonderfully spooky and evocative -- and delightfully scary (but not too scary). Now I have the audiobook for my daughter, and other kids in the family. By the way, she really liked it too!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Yard

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Alex Grecian
    • Narrated By Toby Leonard Moore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only 12 detectives - known as “The Murder Squad” - to investigate thousands of murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley.

    Debra says: "Enjoyable annoying book"
    "Enjoyable annoying book"

    First off, why over 100 chapters, plus several "interludes". Author with ADHD?

    I give this book overall 4/5 stars for the multitude of interesting characters, multiple intertwining storylines and good pacing. I had to take 1 off for annoying anachronisms and some heavy-handedness in the writing.

    The time is 1888 Victorian London, when the Scotland Yard detectives are facing bad PR after not solving the Ripper case and their small team is tasked with 10,000 disappearances a year in the city. A fellow detective is murdered, and they want to provide "closure" for his family. Closure? Did they really say that in 1888? Did they use the term "forensic technology"?? And so on. And most people familiar with Victorian London have heard of Henry Mayhew, so why confuse readers with a half-witted character of the same name (but not the same social researcher and writer)? The real Mayhew died in 1887. Strange choices.

    The Hammersmith and Day detective characters are strong enough that we may see a sequel featuring them, but I hope they won't discover DNA or blood spatter analysis ahead of their time.

    27 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jenny Lawson
    • Narrated By Jenny Lawson

    For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris - Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut. Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives - the ones we'd like to pretend never happened - are in fact the ones that define us. In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor.

    D. S. Smith says: "How the Bloggess almost made me crash my car!"
    "Disappointing, Profane"

    This memoir was occasionally funny, but not nearly as much as I expected or hoped. My other issue with this book was the language. I'm no prude, but I expect authors (and others) to rise above the base impulse to swear for shock value. Not funny. Where do you go from there? I found the "effing" to be a real downer. Otherwise not a bad book, but I won't be listening to it twice, or recommending it.

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

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble

    Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens' life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens' friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), Drood explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

    Debra says: "Mesmerizing! Hypnotizing! Fabulous!"
    "Mesmerizing! Hypnotizing! Fabulous!"

    I can hardly say how much I loved this book! It kept me fascinated (and up way too late at night) from beginning to end, and it has also opened up new literary doors for me that are just as interesting and exciting. This book will haunt you, as its main character, real-life writer and sometimes collaborator of Dickins, Wilkie Collins is haunted in the story. Since listening to this book a few weeks ago, I have now also heard the original "Mystery of Edwin Drood" and several of Collins' stories. I have also, unfortunately, wasted the time and money spent on "The Last Dickins" by Matthew Pearl (separate review on that book). The narration in "Drood" is excellent, the storyline enthralling, and the story SO well told. You sometimes do not know if you are listening to a story brought on by opium-induced hallucination or perhaps mesmerism (hypnosis), or neither. The tie-in with the characters of the real unfinished "Edwin Drood" story is seamless and inspired -- by the time you read/listen to the Dickins' original you feel that you already know so much behind-the-scenes information that you feel like a knowing "insider". I am now anxious to read some of the fanciful endings for "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" written over the years, and more Dickins, and Collins, of course. At 10-1/2 hours, this book is too short. What a shame is was abridged! In fact, when it had ended, rather than starting on my next book, I went back to the beginning and listened for another hour or so.
    What a great book this is!

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Dickens: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Matthew Pearl
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In his most enthralling novel yet, the critically acclaimed author Matthew Pearl reopens one of literary history's greatest mysteries. The Last Dickens is a tale filled with the dazzling twists and turns, the unerring period details, and the meticulous research that thrilled readers of the best sellers The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow.

    B. Kaluzny says: "What A Gem!"
    "Like a long boring walk..."

    Of the two recently-published books about Dickins' "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", by far the best book is "Drood" by Dan Simmons. I listened to this book first, and was absolutely enthralled. It so swept me up that I then listened to "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" itself, and several Wilkie Collins' books (Dickins' sometimes collaborator). I then took on "The Last Dickins". What a disappointment! Yes, it is well researched, but the facts are clumsily inserted in the overly-long, dull story. By the time of the Big Finish, I could not have cared less. Everything about this book doesn't work. If you are interested in the Drood legacy, then "Drood" by Simmons is your only choice; pass this one by. For those who have listened to/read it already, what is the point of all those goings-on in India?? I could not wait for this to end. Now I'm on to "Our Mutual Friend".

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
    • Narrated By Paul Baymer, Susan Duerden, Roselyn Landor, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The best book club you’ve never heard of – but will be eager to join, courtesy of a full cast of true characters. January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb....

    Kent says: "MUCH better than I ever expected! Give it a try!"
    "One of the best ever!"

    For some reason, I was originally "put off" by the title of this book, thinking it a little over-cute or eccentric. I'm certainly glad I didn't let that stand in the way after all. This was one of the most enchanting books I have ever listened to! I really did not want it to end. The narrators capture the characters perfectly, and the story is both historically informative and romantic. This book is the perfect example of how an audiobook can be such a richer experience than simply reading a book oneself. The ending even sneaks up on you a bit - even if you suspected it, you barely dared hope for it. Very highly recommended.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Blood Doctor

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Barbara Vine
    • Narrated By Robert Powell

    The First Lord Nanther clearly hoped to be the subject of an admiring posthumous biography. Having built a name for himself as Queen Victoria's favoured physician, expert on blood diseases and particularly the royal disease of haemophilia, he fastidiously sets about recording the details of the eminent life, carefully cataloguing every significant letter, diary, and medical essay that he'd written.

    Debra says: "Blurb a little misleading..."
    "Blurb a little misleading..."

    I purchased this audiobook anticipating a Jack-the-Ripper like Victorian mystery story, which is sort-of in the book but rather indirectly and disjointedly. The story is mainly the present-day musings and activities of "the present Lord Nanther", whose life, despite infertility and a curiosity about his ancester, is really quite dull. The story of the ancester, the "Blood Doctor", is told through readings of his letters and other papers, and interviews with distant relatives who recount what they know about him. The story never really takes off into "mystery" mode, but just plods along adding the occasional tidbit of knowledge about the Blood Doctor and his attachment to two sisters (not to say too much). Yes, the present-day fellow unveils a dark secret about his ancester, but by that point we really don't care very much. I also felt the ending was a bit quickly "tied up", like the author was as tired of writing the story as I was of hearing it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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