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Nancy F.

Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.

Sierra Foothills, Northern CA | Member Since 2007

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 65 reviews
  • 71 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 33 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
2

  • Executive Orders

    • UNABRIDGED (51 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (1030)
    Performance
    (764)
    Story
    (794)

    Debt of Honor ends as Jack Ryan is confirmed vice president minutes before a mammoth act of terrorism kills the President, most of his cabinet, all but a few members of Congress, the entire Supreme Court and all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Suddenly Ryan is President, which is where Executive Orders begins.

    Thomas says: "Don't some of us wish Jack ryan was real?"
    "Extreme Tension Mixed Mega Yawns...Sigh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As much as I love the ease of listening to audio books, there is one drawback: you can't easily skim forward through brutal violence or excruciating boredom in the way you can in print. This book has some violence and lots of the boredom parts.

    True to Clancy's pattern, the storyline and interest picks up significantly at the 1/2 way point. However, even after that mid-pt there still are long periods where Clancy indulges his love of detailing all things military: strategy, hardware and history.

    So why 4 stars? Because this series is extraordinary. It brings out feelings of patriotism, family, and hardiness of spirit. The story arc is mesmerizing, the characters are memorable, and it always leaves the listener (at least this one) wanting to know what happens next.

    One final note: with a more dynamic narrator, this book would move better. I've listened to a couple of the next books in this series and can attest to the talent of Lou Diamond Phillips and the incredible difference he makes as the narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Reliquary: Pendergast, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2174)
    Performance
    (1290)
    Story
    (1279)

    Hidden deep beneath Manhattan lies a warren of tunnels, sewers, and galleries, mostly forgotten by those who walk the streets above. There lies the ultimate secret of the Museum Beast. When two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation.

    Jim says: "An unsurpassed thrill ride"
    "Weak Addition to Great Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this series, so when I bought this book I wondered why I had originally skipped over it. Now I remember! Something in Dick Hill's narration is analogous to fingernails on a blackboard for me. (Younger readers: go ask your parents what a blackboard is/was.) I loved Stephen White's series re Dr Alan Gregory in print and was ecstatic when I found it on Audible, until, however, I had to try to get through Hill's narration. I know that many praise Hill, so this has to be a personal taste thing ... I recommend listening to the available sample before you decide to buy.

    The Reliquary storyline was interesting but not fully engaging. The main character, Special Agent Pendergast, didn't enter until at least 1/4 of the way through the book. After that he was in and out of the scenes. His idiosyncratic personality, brilliant mind and dry wit are what make this series fun. There just wasn't enough Pendergast this time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tales of the City: Tales of the City, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Armistead Maupin
    • Narrated By Frances McDormand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (188)

    For more than three decades Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture...from a groundbreaking newspaper serial, to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of six novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales of the City is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.

    Scott says: "Finally... Maupin's Tales Narrated Professionally"
    "Wonderful Characters; Plot MIA"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narration made this book come alive. McDormand is a true talent all around.

    The characters were charismatic and (mostly) charming. If you're reading for true SF ambiance you'll love this book. If you're reading for plot, action and wondering what happens next, this book isn't for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Break In

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Dick Francis
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (101)

    Dick Francis was a jockey and horse trainer for many years. His experience gives his questrian mysteries an authenticity that has attracted fans around the globe. To honor him, the Mystery Writers of America named Dick Francis a Grand Master for his impeccably crafted contributions to the genre. Jockey Kit Fielding has been riding the de Brescous horses in a succession of triumphs on the race course. But this winning streak is about to end. Kit’s twin sister, Holly, has come to him in desperation. Threatened by financial scandal, she and her husband may lose their training stables.

    Aaron P. Lazar says: "One of the Best Audio Books Ever!"
    "Francis Delights"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you haven't read any Dick Francis before, this is an easy start to his writing. The main character, as is true in all of Francis' books, is a jockey with an aptitude for sleuthing. The book contains all of the right ingredients: a crime and puzzle that need solving, a love story, strong secondary characters, horse stories and suspense mixed with danger -- all delivered with charm. This is the Francis formula and he does it very well.

    The storyline includes a number of possible villains (some of whom turn out to be guiltless). The listener needs to pay particular attention to these characters or the ending will be confusing. I think this is an important part of any mystery and Francis delivers on it.

    My only quibble is with the main character's seemingly unending capacity to forgive slights, some deep and mean and some others merely minor but irritating things. There is a multi-generation family feud, a la Hatfields and McCoys, that our hero seems to be unrealistically able to overcome and overlook.

    If you are looking for a deep book imbued with life learnings, this is not what you want. If you are, instead, looking for an interesting plot with enjoyable characters told by a masterful storyteller, you've found it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Watchers

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By J. Charles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1650)
    Performance
    (941)
    Story
    (957)

    From a top-secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose....

    Katie says: "Great book; so-so narrator"
    "Light & Interesting Story, Recommended Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some elements of this book are true 5's and some are definite 3-'s. Therefore my 4's.

    I read an interview with D Koontz wherein he was asked about writing a sequel to this book. (Something that would interest me and I would buy without hesitation.) His answer surprised me. He stated that this book's story arc was focused on change -- mostly the life experiences, attitudes, and personas of the man and woman at the center of this story. I was stunned; what captivates me about this book is the personality and intelligence of the dog. Without him this book would be a dull 2!! The focus on change, altho distinctly a part of the book, seemed without import to me.

    What worked very well:

    * the personality and humor of Einstein (the dog) are enchanting. I'm a through and through animal lover and easily fall for anthropomorphic fantasies. This one is excellently accomplished. Another book based on this character would have me in an instant.

    * when the "good guys" are threatened or in danger, the plot moves fast and keeps the listener's attention.

    * there are other interesting characters in this book as well. Koontz writes humorous scenes and dialogue, easily fitting them into the flow of the story.

    What didn't work:

    * this book falls back on pop psychology not just once or twice (which might be forgivable), but every time a motivation or attitude needs justification.

    * the love story, although mostly believable, periodically turns sappy.

    All in all, I recommend this book as a fun read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Casino Royale

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1147)
    Performance
    (624)
    Story
    (628)

    Introducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome, chillingly ruthless, and licensed to kill. This, the first of Ian Fleming's tales of secret agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called "Le Chiffre" by ruining him at the Baccarat table, forcing his Soviet spymasters to "retire" him. It seems that lady luck has sided with 007 when Le Chiffre hits a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules.

    Pork C. Fish says: "Ouch!"
    "A Sorbet Between Hearty Books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book because it was on sale. It is a light frothy book, very traditional Bond and without depth ... and nevertheless quite entertaining. I've been listening to long and heavy novels of late (i.e. Jakes' North and South Trilogy). This was the perfect palate cleanser between those novels. I'm happy to have listened and simultaneously happy that I didn't have to spend a whole credit on it.

    Much of the fun of this book was due to the outstanding performance by Simon Vance. One of my audible favorites.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love and War: Volume Two of the North and South Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By John Jakes
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (435)
    Performance
    (377)
    Story
    (375)

    The Main and Hazard families clash on and off the Civil War’s battlefields as they grapple with the violent realities of a divided nation. America's master storyteller continues his reign with Love and War, a story steeped in passion and betrayal. With the Confederate and Union armies furiously fighting, the once-steadfast bond between the Main and Hazard families continues to be tested. From opposite sides of the conflict, they face heartache and triumph on the frontlines as they fight for the future of the nation and their loved ones.

    Linda Lou McCall says: "UNNECESSARILY RACIAL (AS OPPOSED TO "RACIST")"
    "Profoundly Sad Chapter in US History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is really necessary to read this series in sequence. This book, 2nd in the series, would be hard to fully appreciate if you hadn't already read/listened to the 1rst book. Jakes doesn't give sufficient background summaries to let the reader have a real understanding of the characters' histories and complex relationships.

    Grover Gardner is outstanding as a narrator! However the story wavered between being a history text (somewhat dry) and a horrifying condemnation of man's inhumanity to man. There were barbarous acts on both sides of the Civil War. The constant horror or the war was exhausting and heartbreaking to listen to. I can't even begin to fully understand the actual reality that our ancestors lived (or died) through.

    My 3 stars for story, are based on the very wearing nature of the heinous acts described. This book is quite likely very true and history based ... but I listen to books for entertainment and found much of this installment very hard to hear. If you are a history buff and love good historical insights that are well researched, then this book is probably for you. Just not for me.

    I do recommend listening to Jakes' afterword. Even if you give up early, don't skip this last chapter. He is a thoughtful author who demonstrates a deep caring for the authenticity of his work and the reader's overall experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Gate: Mithermages, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Janice Card
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4122)
    Performance
    (2943)
    Story
    (2963)

    Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different - and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an "outself"....

    joshua says: "Card doing what he does best."
    "Good Book; Just Not My Cup of Tea"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is well written. It's an interesting story with well drawn characters. The main character is a boy who is going through his 'coming of age' learnings and mishaps. As a 13 yr old, he is the typical flippant, disrespectful, inquisitive child of that age. He does mature and learn as the book progresses and reaches the point (at 16) where he can be considered a thoughtful young man.

    So why my lukewarm rating?

    * The story got hugely bogged down in Card's need (desire?) to ensure that the reader/listener understood the nature and origin of the mages and their magical abilities. Slowed the pacing of the storyline to a slow crawl in several sections.

    * S Rudnicki is an excellent narrator and voice actor. He is a 5 star reader. E J Card is by contrast very hard to listen to. She sounds untrained and awkward -- the transitions between the 2 narrators serves to underscore that vast difference in their talent level.

    * Although the story was nicely wrapped up at the end, it is clearly a beginning of a series. Not really satisfying as a standalone book.

    I should have anticipated this. Ender's Game (probably OSC's best known and most beloved story) never stirred me. I didn't hate it, I just didn't love it. My reaction to Lost Gate is no different. If you loved Ender's Game, then this book is for you. Personally, I won't continue in this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • North and South: North and South Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By John Jakes
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (751)
    Performance
    (649)
    Story
    (655)

    Two strangers, young men from Pennsylvania and South Carolina, meet on the way to West Point.... Thus begins this brilliant novel of antebellum America, spanning three generations and chronicling the lives and loves of two great family dynasties. The Hazards and the Mains are brought together in bonds of friendship and affection that neither jealousy nor violence can shatter - until a storm of events sunders the nation and brings the cataclysm of war!

    Parusski says: "Captivating novel of the Civil War"
    "The Undigestible Lump of Slavery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    During Jakes research, he read Bruce Catton's civil war studies and came across the above quote and referenced it in his afterword. I was struck by its unusually apt descriptiveness and therefore used it as my review headline.

    There are many wonderful things about this book: it's well researched, richly panoramic, excellently narrated and beautifully written. It is very easy to feel you know the main characters as they grow and experience life. They're well rounded and quite human in all aspects. The growing political and civil unrest in this period of our country's development is described such that you also get a quite tasty history lesson along with the characters' storylines.

    There are however several characters (4 of whom are primary to the story) that are truly sadistic bullies. Their sheer meanness is predominantly against other whites and not aimed at the slave population. I came to believe that this was true because the slaves were "property" and therefore not seen as a logical target of enmity. These cruel characters were so despicable that I questioned why they were necessary to the overall story arc. I would have understood 1 or 2 ... but 4?? Therefore my 4 star rating for the story.

    I will get the other 2 books of this trilogy immediately. The series is well worth your time and credits.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Gail Carriger
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    Overall
    (2832)
    Performance
    (2051)
    Story
    (2074)

    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"
    "Light Hearted Whimsy W/ A Dark Side"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The reviews were so mixed on this book that I had to listen for myself. To begin with, some of the reviewers used "Amelia Peabody step aside" comments. I'm a longtime fan of Peters' Amelia Peabody series and thought it a huge leap for others to make that comparison. So let me set that part to rights up front. There are several elements that deserve appropriate comparison -- but it's not a match overall. To be fair it's close, but not a neck-and-neck race.

    I normally stay away from vampire/werewolf stories. Just not my favorite kind of story. Do NOT shy away from this because of the magical characters. Their personalities are very human and the fantastical traits aren't distracting at all.

    Here's what I loved about this book:

    * The narrator is superb. She does wonderful justice to the characters, the storyline, the Victorian era and all the twists and turns in this book. Huzzah to Emily Gray!

    * There are truly delightful characters in this book, too many to describe in this review. Trust me they are without peer. Afterall what author would name one of her characters Ivy Hisslepenny (sp?) if she weren't quite willing to imbue all of her characters with incredibly unique personalities.

    * The storyline has twists, turns and momentum. Although this is certainly not a deep or thought provoking book, it is fun and interesting.

    * There is an innate sense of humor behind this book that is charming.

    What I found lacking:

    * Some of the prolonged romantic scenes (read this as kissing and mild groping) went on too long for my taste. That's just me and might not disturb other listeners.

    I whole heartedly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Prey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (654)
    Performance
    (567)
    Story
    (554)

    G.Monie says: "Top 3 out of his 23 Davenport Novels"
    "Social Commentary or Thriller?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As I listened to this book I was struck by the moral ambiguity running through the main story line. The good guys did some pretty bad stuff and the bad guys had a theme of righteous vindication. In the meantime the thrills, and sometime chills, came frequently. This book has pace and action worked together very skillfully.

    The characters are outlined clearly enough that you know what they're about and understand their actions and reactions. They are, however, without much depth. The narrator can be hard to get used to as you start the book but pretty quickly becomes the spirit and appropriate characterization for all the nuances contained in this story.

    The author's final comments at the end of the story made it all clear (at least to me). This was his 2nd book and the 2nd in an intended series. As he wrote it he became torn between writing a thriller vs writing a social commentary. The commentary is based in large part on the victimization of native Americans over time in this country. A plight that is still quite relevant today. Once he finished the book he realized that he couldn't have it both ways, tore it apart, and rewrote it to be a thriller. From this listener's perspective the social commentary theme is still in the underlying tone of the story. Therefore my sense of moral ambiguity.

    I'm thoroughly enjoying this series and would love to give this book 5 stars across the board. My 4 stars on the story are strictly based on the unresolved ambiguity...no neat bows were offered to wrap it all up. That's ok by me, I'm on to the next story in the series.

    If you like cop/detective thrillers, then this series is for you!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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