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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

35
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 75 reviews
  • 82 ratings
  • 1004 titles in library
  • 81 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
14
FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Sum of All Fears

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (787)
    Performance
    (659)
    Story
    (666)

    Against all odds we have made it into the last half of the 1990s. The Cold War looks solved, Arabs and Jews are talking, confrontation is on the wane. In this new harmony, one discord -- what becomes of unemployed terrorists?

    Ray says: "Thoughts on The Sum of All Fears"
    "Grab Hold--This is Quite A Ride!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Once this book gets rolling (and do be patient in the beginning) it's quite a ride. It has an over the top compelling story line, complex interwoven sub-plots, villains you love to root against, heros you really cheer for, a very long fascinating listening experience and Scott Brick to boot. What more could anyone ask for? See next para for answer to that last question.

    This book is true to all of Clancy's other novels: it has volumes galore of details regarding technology, political persuasions and historical backdrops. If these parts only could be extracted from the book I would definitely find a way to give it 6 stars!

    A truly great listen!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flat-Out Love

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jessica Park
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (814)
    Performance
    (754)
    Story
    (756)

    He was tall, at least six feet, with dirty blond hair that hung over his eyes. His T-shirt read Nietzsche Is My Homeboy. So, that was Matt. Who Julie Seagles likes. A lot. But there is also Finn. Who she flat out loves. Complicated? Awkward? Completely. But really, how was this freshly-minted Boston transplant and newbie college freshman supposed to know that she would end up living with the family of an old friend of her mother’s? This was all supposed to be temporary.

    Patricia says: "I Loved this book!"
    "Noir Antidote"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Prior to Flat Out I read two quite dark books. Both featured psychotic, uncaring main characters. This book was certainly what I needed to change that virtual taste left over from my previous choices. Had I known in advance that this bordered on (or maybe actually was) a YA romance book, I wouldn't have purchased it. I'm glad for what I didn't know.

    Julia Whelan is a gifted narrator who is particularly entertaining when she voices young girls and women. She brought humor and a touch of wryness to the story that was great fun.

    Yes, the story was rather predictable, but this listener didn't mind figuring it out 1/2 way through. Yes, the character development didn't proceed with much depth, but that was fine. Yes, the romance was laced with naivete, but grinding sex wouldn't have worked with this book.

    All in all, it was an enjoyable break from deeper, darker books. However, I will now return to my normally scheduled programming.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18783)
    Performance
    (16785)
    Story
    (16838)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "More Twists Than Lombard Street"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You will love this book if:

    * You enjoy being surprised at every turn. This plot consistently seemed to be pointing the listener/reader in one direction and then turning 90 degrees. Just as soon as I thought "ah ha, I can now outguess the author", it caught me flatfooted again.

    * You want well drawn primary characters with full dimension flaws.

    * You love well executed writing with all the dramatic and short-term cliff-hangers that make for a good mystery.

    You won't love this book if:

    * You don't like fully self-absorbed characters. The two main players are vitriol laced and consumed with deep and dark anger.

    * You need an "all's well that ends well" ending. Or even just an ending that suggests there's hope for something less malevolent.

    I never once considered not finishing this book -- I had to know how it ended. However there is absolutely nothing uplifting or happy about this book. I wouldn't consider rereading it (my absolute litmus test for a good book) and I'm turned off enough that I don't think I'm interested in seeing the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ripley Underground

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Patricia Highsmith
    • Narrated By Kevin Kenerly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (161)

    The Buckmaster Gallery is staging another Derwatt exhibition, but now an American collector claims that the expensive masterpiece he bought three years ago is a fake. It is, of course, and he wants to talk to Derwatt, but Derwatt, inconveniently, is dead. Ripley needs the perfect solution to keep his role in the fraud a secret and his reputation clean, but not everyone's nerves are as steady as his. Especially when it comes to murder.

    Darwin8u says: "When gods made Highsmith, they broke the plates."
    "Dichotomous"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had opposing thoughts about almost all of the elements of this book.

    Story line: I thought it dragged; yet, it had a mesmerizing pace that I wouldn't have wanted changed.

    Characters: They were all in the range from full-on sociopath (only the lead character) to amoral to just completely uncaring about anyone but themselves; yet, I wanted to know what happened to them ... in someway I can't explain, I actually cared about how they fared.

    Plot premise: It was about the forging of some only slightly noteworthy paintings, as in "why do I care about this?"; yet, I became interested in the nuances of forgery detection and actually was hoping the forger would get away with it.

    The ending: In no sense of the word was there an ending, or any sense of closure on the story line; yet, it somehow poetically worked with all the rest of the book.

    I kept wondering why I was continuing to listen to this book; yet, I did all the way to the end. And I'm glad I did.

    My only non-dichotomous opinion was about Kevin Kenerly's narration: it was superb!

    Strangely enough: I recommend this book ... but only if you are committed to this series. As a standalone book I'm pretty sure you would find your credit wasted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Queen of Bedlam: A Matthew Corbett Novel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1249)
    Performance
    (1135)
    Story
    (1125)

    Robert McCammon brings the hero of his previous novel, Matthew Corbett, to 18th-century New York, where a killer wields a bloody and terrifying power over a bustling city carving out its identity - and over Matthew's own uncertain destiny.

    The unsolved murder of a respected doctor has sent ripples of fear throughout a city teeming with life and noise and commerce. Who snuffed out the good man's life with the slash of a blade on a midnight street? The local printmaster has labeled the fiend "the Masker," adding fuel to a volatile mystery...

    Kathy says: "Addicting"
    "Early New York Detective Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story, its characters, and the wondrous narration of Edoardo Ballerini.

    Set in 1702 in a quite young and rough New York City, our main character is an orphan who has set out to seek his way as a young adult. He encounters charming and likable characters as well as sinister denizens of the criminal underworld. He becomes an apprentice to a small detective agency that bills itself as solvers of problems. From there various crimes needing solving are presented. They eventually knit themselves together in a rather satisfying way, All of this is brought to life by Ballerini, one of Audibles premier narrators.

    Much of the storyline is charming with a youthful innocence appropriate to the primary character. Yes, there are some violent and dark parts, but they complement the storyline. For much of the book I was certain that, although this is part of a series, the story would stand on its own and not need to be read in sequence. And then I got to the end of the book which leaves a large open hole in the plot -- clear evidence that the reader/listener is intended to follow on to book 3.

    I recommend this book. It's good as a standalone, but clearly wants to be read/heard as part of a series. And, btw, without the ending "hole", this was a clear 5 star in my mind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tonight I Said Goodbye

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Michael Koryta
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (704)
    Performance
    (570)
    Story
    (560)

    Investigator Wayne Weston is found dead of an apparent suicide in his home in an upscale Cleveland suburb, and his wife and six-year-old daughter are missing. Weston’s father insists that private investigators Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard take the case to exonerate his son and find his granddaughter and daughter-in-law. As they begin to work, they discover there is much more to the situation than has been described in the prevalent media reports.

    Eric says: "Just could not get this engine to rev...."
    "Story Is Entertaining; Narrator Not So Much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm always looking for a new author offering a new and interesting series. I like detective stories and crime solving novels with interesting characters and an appropriate amount of complexity and plot twists.

    I read all of the (very mixed) reviews for this book and became curious how so many reviewers could differ so broadly? Could Scott Brick really have done that bad a job? Was this really a new and interesting author with intriguing main characters? Was the story line truly confusing and hard to follow? Here are my thoughts regarding those questions.

    The author does seem very promising. I liked the main character and his partner. (They are Cleveland ex-cops who are now private detectives.) The story line had the necessary complexities but wasn't overwhelmingly confusing. It's a fairly large cast and it's not easy to know who are the bad guys vs the good guys. But if you pay attention it will all become clear in the end. The ending, while not a total surprise, wasn't easy to see coming. My only quibble with the author is that the story managed to wrap all the loose ends up quite quickly and a little too easily. All in all, a good story and promising beginning to a series.

    Now, on to Scott Brick. I have long been a fan of this talented narrator. But this is the 2nd book I've listened to where I thought he periodically sounded like a Victorian maiden having an attack of the vapors. Some of the character interactions came off as implausible (at the least) and downright melodramatic (at the worst). I couldn't tell how much Brick's narration contributed to that reaction on my part or whether it was the writing. And having finished the book and reflected on it, I still don't know.

    If the next books in this series had a different narrator, I would download them immediately. Given that Brick is the narrator for all of them released so far, I'm emphatically on the fence.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Android's Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2978)
    Performance
    (2626)
    Story
    (2624)

    A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire.

    James says: "Philip K Dick meets Douglas Adams"
    "Quirky, Geeky, Charming"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is everything I love. Lots of techy stuff, laugh out loud humor, and amazing twists along the way. (Background: my undergrad degree was English Lit. My professors told me after graduation I would return to my love of SciFi but that I'd be over that phase in a couple months. All of these yrs later I love, love, love me some great SciFi. Apologies to my esteemed educators.)

    I bow in total admiration to Scalzi's fertile imagination. Wil Wheaton was masterful in keeping a dry tone. I don't know how he read some of the dialog without having to smother guffaws and giggles.

    I have filed this book in my "must relisten" file in my iTunes library. Not only will I relisten because it's just that good (and fun) but it is so loaded with whimsy and unexpected stuff I'm certain that I didn't really get it all on the first listen.

    This is a joy ride encapsulated in 10 hrs 34 mins. Do yourself a favor and don't miss this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (7050)
    Performance
    (6415)
    Story
    (6424)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Liked It, But Didn't Love It"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know if I would have purchased this book if it weren't for J.K. Rowling's authorship. All said, I'm glad I did. However, I wouldn't put it in the category of the Harry Potter series -- which I loved.

    Glenister did a masterful job of the narration. He handles women's voices deftly -- something that is hard for most male narrators. His ability to do multiple accents was excellent and a lot of fun to listen to. Definitely better than I could have done in my mind were I reading this hardcopy.

    The two main characters were unusual and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions. The secondary characters were not as well drawn nor nearly as likable.

    The story: herein lies the problem. The story line had promise that wasn't well fulfilled. It moved from being muddled and confusing to dull and tedious and then to some spates of intense action. If this is Rowling's first step into something other than YA stories, that might explain some of the weaknesses.

    Given the narrator and the primary characters, I will keep listening to this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye: Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Victoria Laurie
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Michaels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1484)
    Performance
    (1151)
    Story
    (1146)

    Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn't foresee the death of one of her clients - or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby's future looks more uncertain than ever.

    Roger says: "review of Abby Cooper series"
    "Light & Frothy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has a youngish charm to it mixed with almost complete implausibility. Although it's supposed to be a crime drama it's violence is at a minimum and any darkness is quickly resolved with a humorous twist.

    The narrator is somewhat heavy handed on the "smile in the voice" and "aren't I funny" passages. The over-acting got on my nerves periodically but did let up in the second half of the book.

    I actually enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a break from heavy or gut wrenching stories/books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7688)
    Performance
    (7292)
    Story
    (7314)

    In that first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

    D says: "Book !!; no let down- "Words of Radieance" shines"
    "Exhausting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This review is written after finishing Stormlight Archive Books 1 and 2 and covers both of them. These are long books, a form I like and don't shy away from. If the characters and story arc are engaging, then the longer the better in my opinion.

    The narration was excellently done ... thank heavens or I would have not finished the books. Reading and Kramer give life and texture to the characters that they portray. Kudos to them both!!

    The primary characters are well written, have interesting stories and (mostly) very enjoyable dialogues. The secondary (as well as the huge number of lesser) characters are not nearly as well drawn. Many of them are confusing and tend to pop up at inexplicable times. The story shifts from settings without giving new contexts. Some of the characters appear and then are not heard of again -- although this might be because they are going to be integral to the 3rd installment of this series.

    The plot lines are compelling when the major characters are involved and there is tension and action occurring. The rest of the plot lines range from philosophical tedium to hard to follow military actions. Given the length of these books, I found most of the action to be either confusing or tedious.

    So why did I actually finish both of these books? 1) I respect this author, and kept hoping that things would all come together. 2) The primary characters and their story lines are compelling. It's just that there was too much of the secondary stuff to reward this dedication.

    Will I listen to the 3rd installment when it is released? Probably not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11057)
    Performance
    (8490)
    Story
    (8542)

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Lore says: "Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!"
    "Exhausting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This review is written after finishing Stormlight Archive Books 1 and 2 and covers both of them. These are long books, a form I like and don't shy away from. If the characters and story arc are engaging, then the longer the better in my opinion.

    The narration was excellently done ... thank heavens or I would have not finished the books. Reading and Kramer give life and texture to the characters that they portray. Kudos to them both!!

    The primary characters are well written, have interesting stories and (mostly) very enjoyable dialogues. The secondary (as well as the huge number of lesser) characters are not nearly as well drawn. Many of them are confusing and tend to pop up at inexplicable times. The story shifts from settings without giving new contexts. Some of the characters appear and then are not heard of again -- although this might be because they are going to be integral to the 3rd installment of this series.

    The plot lines are compelling when the major characters are involved and there is tension and action occurring. The rest of the plot lines range from philosophical tedium to hard to follow military actions. Given the length of these books, I found most of the action to be either confusing or tedious.

    So why did I actually finish both of these books? 1) I respect this author, and kept hoping that things would all come together. 2) The primary characters and their story lines are compelling. It's just that there was too much of the secondary stuff to reward this dedication.

    Will I listen to the 3rd installment when it is released? Probably not.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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