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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

36
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 79 reviews
  • 87 ratings
  • 1041 titles in library
  • 102 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
17
FOLLOWERS
2

  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3012)
    Performance
    (2689)
    Story
    (2673)

    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!"
    "Absolutely Captivating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I downloaded this book for two reasons: 1) I love mysteries placed 200 (or more) yrs ago; and 2) reviewers gave this narrator very high marks. This lived up to my expectations and then some!

    The book has one overall story arc which is faithfully advanced and completed with no loose ends hanging ... it also has a number of supporting sub-plots that very nicely give legs to the larger story. The characters are excellently drawn with all the necessary human foibles and traits. The story has many of the details needed to credibly create an end 17th century setting and satisfy what we know of life in America during that time period.

    The primary reason I bought this book was other reviewers giving this narrator rave reviews. He absolutely did not disappoint. I don't believe the story fabric could have held together this well without his reading and fantastic painting of many, diverse characters.

    A very, very satisfying book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4221)
    Performance
    (3895)
    Story
    (3894)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    H James Lucas says: "A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters"
    "Gore and Arcane Symbolism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is largely based on authors and the publishing industry. There is a book central to the plot which was described at one point as largely "gore and arcane symbolism". This struck me as an apt description for "The Silkworm" as well, therefore my headline for this review.

    I found the plot pacing to be very uneven; toward the middle it bogged down so seriously that I considered stopping. At that point I was having trouble differentiating the characters and their respective roles. Later I got a better handle on the various key players at just about the time when the story turned markedly grotesque. I also realized that I wasn't finding any of the secondary characters likable or even remotely sympathetic. Imagine my surprise when I saw that "The Silkworm" received one of the Audible Book of the Year awards.

    I stuck with and finished the book for two reasons. 1) the two main characters are absolutely wonderful. You care about them and want to know how it all works out in their respective stories. 2) Robert Glenister is stunningly superb. He could narrate Websters and I would listen in fascination.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7623)
    Performance
    (6640)
    Story
    (6632)

    Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems.

    Amazon Customer says: "A great book"
    "Intriguing Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story in this book was very well crafted. The "heroine" is a very interesting young girl, and as the book progresses, an equally interesting young woman. Her story kept my interest as events unfolded and the plot played out. The only other character who was equally interesting was her very large, well trained, dog. The rest of the characters were single dimension and not terribly well nuanced. But since the story had pace and interesting twists, the lack of additional character development didn't seem that bothersome.

    The narrator is someone I have listened to and enjoyed before. However in those books she was a part of a he/she narration team. She does girls' and women's voices very well. Unfortunately her approach to a man's voice is to constrict her throat, drop her pitch and sound hoarse. That wasn't overly appealing.

    This book had just about what we expect from Nora Roberts: an interesting plot, some bodice ripping, touches of pop psychology and an easy differentiation between the good and bad guys.

    Overall, I never considered not finishing the book. I truly did want to know how it came out. I recommend it if you are looking for an interesting, light diversion. If you're looking for depth and thought provoking insights, then I suggest you reserve this book for another time.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Off to Be the Wizard

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Scott Meyer
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1794)
    Performance
    (1690)
    Story
    (1697)

    It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

    Charles says: "Fantastic"
    "Wanted to Like It; But Was Bored"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a fantasy, sci-fi fan. I usually find time travel books to be fun. This one was just slightly off the mark.

    Here's the odd part:
    * I have liked Luke Daniels in previous books. But his narration was too over the top here.
    * Time travel plot was well thought out, but the story line didn't take advantage of the possibilities.
    * All the characters were spot on. A smarmy and nasty villain, a young protagonist who is still growing/learning, a wise elder with lots of eccentricities, a sweet young heroine with smarts and attitude, etc. But they didn't come together in an interesting way.
    * A story line that had all the right parts, but it just never went anywhere interesting.

    I really wanted to like this book (as in, I did listen all the way to the end), but it just fell on its face before crossing the finishing line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (912)
    Performance
    (822)
    Story
    (824)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Sires says: "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"
    "Imperfectly Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Before buying this book I read the reviews (I always do this). One reviewer called this book episodic, making me wonder what he meant. Now I know. The first 1/2 of this book is one seemingly disconnected episode after another. This reader likes much more continuity and sense of a story building to something than Taylor provided in this section of the book. There seemed to be no story arc, just a flat line of episodes. If the narrator hadn't been so darn entertaining to listen to, I might have stopped at that point.

    I enjoy the conundrums of time travel and have read enough of these stories to know not to expect realism. However, I do have trouble when human interactions and emotional responses aren't realistic. There were several times during this book that long-term relationships took huge 90 degree turns that were completely inexplicable.

    And yes having said all of that I gave it 4 stars. Why? Taylor writes terrific dialogue, both internal and external. She gives a hugely funny and wry twist to character exchanges just when the listener/reader least expects it. Several times I burst out laughing, which can be disconcerting when not alone.

    Bottomline: I accepted the flaws, enjoyed the primary characters, was enchanted with Taylor's turns of phrases, and will listen to the next book in this series.

    1 of 1 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
    (915)
    Performance
    (839)
    Story
    (847)

    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
    (21052)
    Performance
    (18878)
    Story
    (18948)

    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
    (205)
    Performance
    (175)
    Story
    (168)

    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
    (1312)
    Performance
    (1189)
    Story
    (1179)

    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
    (747)
    Performance
    (609)
    Story
    (600)

    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
    (3189)
    Performance
    (2821)
    Story
    (2820)

    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

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