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Barbara M. Sullivan

Huntsville, Alabama | Member Since 2007

ratings
939
REVIEWS
28
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
7
HELPFUL VOTES
186

  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1062)
    Performance
    (952)
    Story
    (964)

    Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor's life as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral. Cousin to imperial troubleshooter Miles Vorkosigan, Ivan is not far down the hereditary list for the emperorship. Thankfully, new heirs have directed that headache elsewhere, leaving Ivan to enjoy his life on Komarr, far from the Byzantine court politics of his home system. But when an old friend in Barrayaran intelligence asks Ivan to protect an attractive young woman who may be on the hit list of a criminal syndicate, his chivalrous nature takes over. It seems danger and adventure have once more found Captain Vorpatril.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "We are finally allowed to see Ivan without Miles."
    "We are finally allowed to see Ivan without Miles."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Captain Vorpatril's Alliance?

    Ivan Vorpatril is a survivor. Born in the middle of a military coup, hours after his father was killed in front of his very pregnant aristocratic mother, he was swaddled in borrowed blankets and smuggled out of the war zone as part of a refugee family. Although he has grown into a gorgeous "hunk", he has continued to survive through protective coloring. I thought in the first books his character was only included in the Vorkosigan stories as a foil for his cousin Miles, the physically challenged genius, who accidentally founded a whole Army at seventeen years old. Ivan's name in these stories is often followed by "you idiot".It hasn't stopped his relatives for asking for his reluctant help though.. So I LOVE IT, that Ivan is now the hero in this book, without any tricks such as having him turn from a Clark Kent to Superman. Ivan is still the very ordinary young man who has avoided becoming a focus for a coup in his own times, not by becoming a super warrior on a planet of warriors, but by being an average, guy, just not understanding all of the plots and underplots swirling around him. His over achieving relatives sometimes wonder if he is doing it on purpose, and shake their heads and think not, unless he began fading into the background at five. Hard to do when your are taller, and stronger than everyone else around, even at five. These warrior types should have spent more time around five year olds. The little people are very much personalities even at five. Sorry, I feel as if I've watched, a favorite child grow up and become successful. Lois MacMaster Bujold is a great writer to make her characters that real.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed watching Ivan come into his own.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Grover Gardner is one of those magnificent performer's who sounds as though he is someone you've met. No matter what part of the country your from.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I enjoyed the whole book, but the last few pages were made me laugh aloud.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope there will be more stories about the Vor world. This author doesn't leave the reader with cliff hangers, like old fashioned B movies or soap operas. She doesn't have to. Her books are so interesting, that although each book is ended with a logical and satisfying conclusion, her world is full of such interesting people that I hope to meet them as often as possible.

    39 of 39 people found this review helpful
  • One Bad Apple: An Orchard Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Sheila Connolly
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (56)

    Meg Corey has come to the quaint New England town of Granford, Massachusetts, to sell her mother's old colonial home and apple orchard. Instead, she becomes embroiled in development plans that include her land - and her former flame from Boston. When he's found dead in the new septic tank on her property, the police immediately suspect Meg, whose only ally in town is the plumber Seth Chapin. Together, they'll have to peel back the layers of secrecy that surround the deal in order to find the real murderer.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "Historic Homes Can be Murder"
    "Historic Homes Can be Murder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Meg's mother inherits a farmhouse and orchard that has been in her family for hundreds of years. She asks her daughter Meg to move into it, interview real estate agents, and get the old home ready for sale. Since the bank Meg worked for has merged with another bank, her position no longer exists, and so does her relationship with her ex boyfriend. Meg is not only free to help her Mom, she is fortunate to have something to do while she is getting her life together. Meg learns a lot about living in the country, including the difference between a septic system and a sewer system. Most importantly even new septic tanks can't handle dead bodies dumped into them before they are backfilled.

    Since the septic tank is on Meg's property, Meg becomes a murder suspect. She is befriended by one family but the rest of the community really hope she did it, and not one of their own. This makes Meg somewhat isolated. she has cordial relationships with the people in the town, but there is no real warmth for the first part of the book, and then only with one person.

    Oddly Meg does not immediately grab her phone and tell her Mom that their plan to sell the old home hit a snag. Reasonably a daughter would keep her Mom posted on the progress of the house renovation, not to mention the dead guy in the septic tank.

    This is a slow moving story. It distracted me while I was doing a slightly complicated job that I hate. I probably will not get the next one, but this one really helped me through a really irritating job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Garden of Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Amanda Quick
    • Narrated By Louise Jane Underwood
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (67)

    The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest women in Ursula Kern's employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end - and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes.

    Sally S says: "Miserable narration"
    "This novel is close to the best of Amanda Quick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick mostly writes books in which the female lead is cheerfully going about her business, whether the business is a tea and spice shop, an interest in decoding historical books, or even finding the rest of the animal that goes with a fossil tooth. They care about their romantic interest and the physical involvement comes as an expression of their shared interest and and affection, and that physical involvement is hot. This book has the best of the qualities of the earlier books.

    So it is sad that the narrator sounds to me about twelve years old, maybe younger. Which means she makes the woman she voices sound like a vapid twit. This book is historical romance, but just because it is a romance doesn't mean the heroine should sound as if she just left nursery school. This character has started her on business at a time when women were not allowed to vote. Her accomplishments indicate she is intelligent and energetic, so the squeaky voice is jarring.

    I have listened to Louise Jane Underwood narrate a work of historical nonfiction, and she definitely sounded intelligent and clear. Her voices for other characters in this book actually come out of the high registers. so it is obvious she his talented. Perhaps the producers and directors of audiobooks should be held as accountable for these weird voices as the narrators.

    So I won't give up on this narrator, but I will listen to a voice sample of her work very carefully, before I risk another credit on something she narrates.







    I

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost Story: A Novel of the Dresden Files

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    Overall
    (671)
    Performance
    (621)
    Story
    (621)

    When an unknown someone shoots him and leaves him to die, Harry Dresden hopes he might be heading to a better place. Unfortunately being dead doesn't make Harry's life any easier. Trapped between life and death, he learns that his friends are in serious trouble. Only by finding his murderer can he save his friends and move on - a feat that would be a lot easier if he had a body and access to his powers. Worse still are the malevolent shadows that roam Chicago, controlled by a dark entity that wants Harry to suffer even in death.

    Sylvia C. says: "James Marsters IS THE BEST!"
    "James Marsters is irreplaceable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though this audiobook has already been published with an experienced, skilled narrator, and that narration is OK, I chose to repurchase this Ghost Story because I enjoy James Marsters narration. I've enjoyed his work even when I had to buy them on CD. He is after all the voice of Harry Dresden, so it seemed pleasant to have this title in his voice.

    But WOW!!

    I had taken James Marsters skill for granted. I had not realized his ability to give a voice to such a broad range of characters, a voice which reflects the personality of the characters as each is written, and still voice an intelligent sense of the ridiculous even in the darkest parts of the story. Of course Jim Butcher had to write these characters clearly enough to give Mr. Marsters the material to work with, and Ghost Story is a pivotal novel in the Harry Dresden story, but even with material as good as this, the other narrator did not bring it to life the way James Marsters has. John Glover did a good job, its just that James Marsters is brilliant, and the contrast is amazing.

    Sorry, gushing here, about the narrator, because the book has already been thoroughly reviewed. So if you've waited to listen to the audiobook until James Marsters could read it, good move. If you have already listened to the other narrator, its worth a credit or the cash to purchase this one too.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • The Daughter of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Josephine Tey
    • Narrated By Derek Jacobi
    Overall
    (429)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (297)

    Confined to a hospital bed, Scotland Yard's Inspector Alan Grant is bored. To divert his attention from his pain, a friend brings him pictures of faces. He becomes engrossed with the portrait of Richard III. How is it possible that such a sensitive-appearing soul could have been portrayed as the odious villain, the Wicked Uncle of history, responsible for the murder of his young nephews, heirs to the British throne, in order to secure the line of succession for himself?

    Sheila says: "very interesting"
    "They Finally Found the Bones of a King"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a mystery novel and a very good one. Josephine Tey can draw clear, in depth characters in very few words. Although the book is dated it is still an enjoyable cozy and one of the best one's Tey has written.

    But its not just any old mystery story. This book purports to solve the mystery of who killed the Princes in the tower. I loved it, as a story. My history professor's eyes got a little glazed as one more undergraduate waved it at him, trying to get him to explain what part of the book is fact and what is fiction, but he was always polite. He didn't think there was a mystery al all, but he never convinced those of us who think it is a delicious story.

    This book is a good example of why there are people who are passionate about Richard's purported guilt or innocence hundreds of years after his death. Since I think the Tudors are not a nice family anyway, and with the possible exception of Mary Tudor, they made modern advertising agencies look like amateurs, I can understand why modern readers may agree with the conclusion the fictional Detective comes to. After reading this book I truly believe that "history is the daughter of time", is more than just a saying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Julius House: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Charlaine Harris
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    Overall
    (306)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (173)

    Love at first sight turns into newlywed bliss for former librarian Aurora Teagarden-until violence cuts the honeymoon short. Wealthy businessman Martin Bartell gives Roe exactly what she wants for their wedding: Julius House. But both the house and Martin come with murky pasts. And when Roe is attacked by an ax-wielding maniac, she realizes that the secrets inside her four walls - and her brand-new marriage - could destroy her.

    Linda says: "I LOVE AURORA!"
    "Narrator makes this book a great listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book some years ago between the early Sookie books and I was searching for more Charlaine Harris. Ms. Harris has always been a good writer, but the feeling here is very different from Sookie, and for me there was no joy here, just some contentment, and a bit of self-pity. Terese Plummer's reading gives this book a bit of bounce and energy that I didn't enjoy just reading the books. I am so glad I paid attention to audible reviews and downloaded this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Laughing Corpse: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Laurell K. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Kimberly Alexis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1003)
    Performance
    (632)
    Story
    (641)

    In The Laughing Corpse, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead.

    Lisa says: "Love the book, but hate the Sound Effects!"
    "The Early Anita Blake Books are Terrific"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the first Anita Blake books, and like many people I think those are the best. Anita Blake's innate talent is raising zombies. In this world, for her and other necromancers, raising zombies is not a choice. If she does not use her talent, she will raise those dead that she thinks about and or cares about, and she has done this since childhood. This is not a good thing just ask her stepmother Judith. So she channels her magic carefully and does not let it build beyond her control.

    She accepts her gifts and does not apologize for being who she is. Heaven help those who label her as evil because of her talent, and especially those who expect her to use her talent for evil.

    In these early books we see an Anita Blake who makes difficult choices. She will not be threatened, manipulated, or forced into acting in ways that she knows to be evil. She will not give up, she will not give in and she will wipe the floor with anyone who tries to hurt her or those she chooses to protect. In fact she does not expect to be saved, rescued, or coddled, and Anita is a bit insulted that anyone would try. My favorite part of the book is toward the end when someone of great power watches her wipe the graveyard with the bad guys, and notices he didn't help. His response was that she saved herself, and that is why he wants her. This really resonates as the story arc goes through several books.

    Like others I think the music and sound effects are an insult to the author. I may not like the direction the later books have taken, but there is no doubt Ms. Hamilton has an amazing skill with words. Though she is not wordy her descriptions of both horror and humor are great. Radio plays are not audiobooks, sound effects there are OK, but if a book is good enough to be published, then it is too good to be drowned in sound effects.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Charles and Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Gyles Brandreth
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    This is a story of the most well documented, most commented on love affair of our times. Yet the personalities behind the facade remain elusive and the nature of their relationship is an enigma. This is the first major biography of Charles and Camilla, two people who have battled against the curious lot that fate has thrown their way. Gyles Brandreth returns to the same ground as his last book, the bestselling "Philip and Elizabeth"; "Portrait of a Marriage".

    Pita says: "Enjoyable but not "juicy""
    "Nothing New and Yet Still Sad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am glad I bought the audiobook because I love Stephen Thorne's voice. But as much as I love history, I really didn't need a review of the extramarital affairs of British rulers, beginning with an Anglo Saxon King, rocketing on through James II, William and Mary, not of course skipping the Regency, Wallis Simpson, and everyone in between. We hear about Camilla's childhood, the Prince of Wales childhood, Diana's childhood, (of course she was still in her teens when she became engaged to the Prince of Wales, and btw what was her family thinking). We hear again about Diana's feelings about Charles and Camilla, and a discussion of whether they were founded. (duh) We hear the famous phone conversation between Charles and Camilla which was illicitly recorded.

    I expect I am not the only person who wanted to know how these people survived the firestorm surrounding their relationship for so many years, and was naive enough to expect it to be told in a book. How have they survived such personal vilification, from being accused of bringing down the Monarchy, to being really repulsive people. Obviously many marriages crumple under much less pressure. Still these two people are still clinging to each other.

    The author of this book, and his unnamed friends of the Royals, state repeatedly that the Prince of Wales and his Duchess are not talking to the press. Finally a little dignity in silence. Still I would like to know how they stood the pressure, without turning on each other, and just not giving in and giving up.

    I bought this audiobook on impulse. I wish I had not.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Storm's Heart: Elder Races Series #2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs)
    • By Thea Harrison
    • Narrated By Sophie Eastlake
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1528)
    Performance
    (1370)
    Story
    (1369)

    During the rule of her murderous Dark Fae uncle, Thistle "Tricks" Periwinkle found sanctuary among the Wyr in New York. Her ethereal beauty and sparkling personality won the hearts of the public, but after her uncle's death, there are those who don't want to see her ascend to the throne. Able to wield thunder and lightning, Wyr sentinel Tiago Black Eagle has ruled the skies for centuries. He's sent to protect Tricks when she's almost assassinated in Chicago....

    Amazon Customer says: "Great Story!!"
    "Recent headlines vs. standard romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The opening chapters of this well written and well narrated book, has a very strong male picking up his love interest and hauling her out of a crowded room because he thinks her dress is to skimpy. Every reader knows that he would protect her with his life, because this is romantic fiction. The majority of women who enjoy reading about muscle bound men wouldn't put up with this behavior for an instant in real life. Yet with the recent headlines of very strong men treating weaker people badly, not just with the lack of respect we owe each other in a civilized society, but with a physical reaction, if someone, usually a woman, doesn't act the way they want them to. I just don't enjoy seeing it in a romantic novel. I apologize to any reader who sees beyond this. I just keep seeing unconscious women in elevators, stories about girls abducted and mutilated in other countries etc. The book is well written, the problem is mine. I know better grounded people can separate fiction from newspaper stories, than I can for the moment.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • To Marry an English Lord

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Gail MacColl, Carol McD. Wallace
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (61)

    From the Gilded Age until 1914, more than 100 American heiresses invaded Britannia and swapped dollars for titles - just like Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, the first of the Downton Abbey characters Julian Fellowes was inspired to create after reading To Marry An English Lord. Filled with vivid personalities, gossipy anecdotes, grand houses, and a wealth of period details-plus quotes and the finer points of Victorian and Edwardian etiquette - To Marry An English Lord is social history at its liveliest and most accessible.

    Charlotte Steinbrenner says: "Love Downton Abbey?"
    "Perhaps its true, money does not equal happiness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an interesting list of facts about young wealthy young American women who traded their wealth for social status and a British title. Later the young men who owned those titles but whose estates no longer supported them came to America hoping to meet these young women. But it is just a list of who did what when and superficially why.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Medium Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Chris Dolley
    • Narrated By Noelle Romano
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (59)

    Medium Dead is a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda - a reluctant medium - and Brian - a vigilante demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen. Brenda Steele is smart, funny and out of her depth. A Vigilante Demon called Brian wants her to find murdered spirits and help him track down their killers. But Brian doesn't just catch criminals, he likes to play with them first, and make the punishment fit the crime.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "Trying for screwball comedy, doesn't work"
    "Trying for screwball comedy, doesn't work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As another reviewer said, this is a matter of taste, but I find the subject matter at odds with the cheerful banter. Really good fiction draws the reader into the story, so that there is no thought as to how the work could be better. There are stories where the "bad guys" do terrible things and the "good guys" refuse to quit and remain confident, and still manage to be enraged by the terrible things that they are fighting against. Here the cheerful banter overwhelms the idea that children are being kidnapped, and old ladies kicked. We get a nod to isn't this awful, and onto the next joke. The best comedy never winks at the audience, and the characters in this book are constantly winking and noting how cute they are. To repeat, this is a matter of taste. For example I like the way Jim Butcher's Dresden never takes himself seriously, but takes keeping the world safe very seriously. I almost didn't finish this, because I felt insulted by the lame jokes, I just thought it would get past the silly phase and get better. All of which isn't to say that others might find this book funny, but Medium Dead does not fit my sense of humor.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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