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Chablis from Seattle

Seattle, WA USA | Member Since 2012

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 17 ratings
  • 427 titles in library
  • 45 purchased in 2014
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  • Hit Me: Keller, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Lawrence Block
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (92)

    The conclusion of Hit and Run found Keller living in a big old house in post-Katrina New Orleans' Lower Garden District, with a new name (Nicholas Edwards), a new wife (Julia), a new career (rehabbing houses), and a baby on the way. It certainly looked as though he was done killing people for money. But old habits die hard, and when the economic downturn knocked out the construction business, a phone call from Dot draws him back into the old game.

    Parusski says: "Killer of a story!"
    "What a disappointment!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    This book is boring....so sad after the three previous Keller tales. The characterization of Keller's wife is beyond ridiculous, and the conversations between the two droned on and on with the most idiotic convolutions that I simply couldn't finish listening.


    What could Lawrence Block have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The tediousness of the conversations bored me to death....In the other Keller books, the conversations advanced the story, but, in this book, the dialogues simply made me irritated. The description of the various "hit man" episodes were so minimal that I finally almost fell asleep. In addition, I don't believe the relationship between Keller and Julie for one moment.....her silliness in devising situations to test Keller and her participation in the murder for hire were ridiculous. (I also found it interesting that, on the cruise, Julia and Keller didn't mention their daughter's existence or the fact that they'd left her behind....not normal for the devoted parents that they are portrayed to be.) Interestingly, the philately and the information surrounding Keller's hobby was fascinating and not at all tedious.


    Have you listened to any of Richard Poe’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Richard Poe's ability is excellent...He doesn't attempt to change his voice or use falsetto for female characters, and, yet, I found it interesting that I never questioned the identity of any of the characters.


    Did Hit Me inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I was so excited that Block had finally released a new Keller book, and this was a huge disappointment. It's almost like he didn't have a good editor to help him with the pacing of this book. If this had been the first Keller I'd read, I would never have attempted another.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Actors Anonymous: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By James Franco
    • Narrated By James Franco
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (83)

    The actors in James Franco’s brilliant debut novel include a McDonald’s drive-thru operator who spends his shift trying on accents; an ex-child star recalling a massive beachside bacchanal; hospital volunteers and Midwestern transplants; a vampire flick starlet who discovers a cryptic book written by a famous actor gone AWOL; and the ghost of River Phoenix. Then there’s Franco himself, who prowls backstage, peering out between the lines - before taking the stage with fascinating meditations on his art, along with nightmarish tales of excess.

    Justin says: "Anonymous"
    "Tnoroughly distasteful and self-absorbed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from James Franco and/or James Franco?

    No I wouldn't read anything this self-absorbed and semi-educated author would decide to inflict on the public.


    What was most disappointing about James Franco’s story?

    Because of his biography, I expected a literate, informed story. This author is so self-absorbed and arrogant that I winced constantly. If these stories reflect his outlook on life, I would travel half-way around the world to avoid having to listen or read about him in the future.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by James Franco?

    No....


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No


    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Original Sin: Adam Dalgliesh, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By P.D. James
    • Narrated By Penelope Dellaporta
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Adam Dalgliesh takes on a baffling murder in the rarefied world of London book publishing in this masterful mystery from one of our finest novelists. Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of impenetrable complexity. A murder has taken place in the offices of the Peverell Press, a venerable London publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames. The victim is Gerard Etienne, the brilliant but ruthless new managing director, who had vowed to restore the firm's fortunes.

    Michael Andrion says: "Good book, still needs some work on the audio thou"
    "The worst audio book ever!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I can't imagine anyone listening to this narrator whose voice is atonal, lacking in inflection and irritating.


    What could P.D. James have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I don't know. Didn't get beyond the first 30 annoying minutes.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Penelope Dellaporta’s performances?

    Never!!!!!


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No.


    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Death of a Kingfisher: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (150)

    When Scotland is hit by the recession, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie doesn't have much to offer, other than a place of rare beauty called Buchan's Wood, which was bequeathed to the town. The savvy local tourist director renames the woods "The Fairy Glen," and has brochures printed with a beautiful photograph of a kingfisher rising from a pond on the cover. It isn't long before coach tours begin to arrive.

    Chablis from Seattle says: "A delightful, tangled web of intrigue!"
    "A delightful, tangled web of intrigue!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is delightful, especially for M C Beaton fans, who have learned to suspend disbelief and simply enjoy the odd characters that inhabit Hamish Macbeth's life and the author's amazing imagination. I expect her books to be fraught with plot twists and turns and unusual characters. The humor in this book revolved around the highlanders' belief in fairies, and I howled with laughter when listening to the description of the kingfisher's funeral.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plot didn't exactly keep me on the "edge of my seat," but I was certainly fascinated by the crafting of the action and introduction of new characters and their motives. I've read other readers'/listeners' criticism of the personality and actions of the flat, amoral children, but I've seen that facial affect in the televised interviews with children of gang life. (I did think that the European escape was a bit "over-the-top", but I dismiss devices like this as part of M.C. Beaton's charm.) As usual this plot is a mixture of the familiar (Hamish's troubles with his superiors, the village characters, the desire by Macbeth to keep his beloved friends out of the murder investigation) with unusual devices that make the action complicated and interesting (the Russian who wants the nursery property as a site for his mansion). I loved it. I don't require M.C. Beaton to be believable at all times.....how could you possibly believe Nessie and Jessie with their verbal repetition and outlandish accusations about Hamish's love life? But it works.


    What does Graeme Malcolm bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Malcolm has a sense of timing..pausing between scenes, changing voices in a subtle manner so the listener always knows when the speaker changes, but effecting the change in an unobtrusive manner....no screeching or phlegmy voices. His voices add a sense of continuity and realism to the Scottish brogue.


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

    I will never forget the hilarity of the kingfisher's funeral.......so funny and outlandish.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Chance: A Spenser Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Robert B. Parker
    • Narrated By Burt Reynolds
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    Big-time Boston hoodlum Julius Ventura wants to find his only daughter's missing husband - at least that's how he puts it to Spenser and Hawk, even though its pretty clear that Julius isn't telling the whole truth. Or maybe not any part of the truth. Something about the case appeals to Spenser's passion for justice, and he launches an odyssey that takes the tough-but-tender duo with their penchant for literary allusions into the netherworld of organized crime.

    bebe says: "story good - reader bad"
    "Parker as always, Narration a horror!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Hire a different narrator. I read the hardback version of this book and was looking forward to listening to the audio version. I did not expect to be chronically irritated and distracted by Reynolds' phlegmy, gutteral, whiny versions of the voices...to the point that I removed my earplugs every time Jesse Ventura began to speak. Also, he mispronounced simple words in the text. What a shame. This is a terrific story that was ruined by a totally inept narrator.


    What other book might you compare Chance to and why?

    None.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Burt Reynolds was a charming actor, and I've heard him read one other Parker book. In the other novel, his voice didn't flummox me with its grating, unrealistic tone. In CHANCE the narration was so distracting that it was impossible to ignore its poor quality to listen to the story. It sounded as though he needed to clear his throat or nose. In addition, I resent the mispronunciation of words over and over again. Very unprofessional.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Chance?

    I would edit every scene in which Shirley Ventura appears. The scene between Spenser and Shirley in a restaurant was overly long and painful to read, and her drunken, loutish behavior didn't contribute to the story.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Early Autumn

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robert B. Parker
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (59)

    A bitter divorce is only the beginning. First the father hires thugs to kidnap his son. Then the mother hires Spenser to get the boy back. But as soon as Spenser senses the lay of the land, he decides to do some kidnapping of his own.

    bebe says: "a very good Spencer novel"
    "Spenser as Surrogate Parent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Early Autumn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of my favorite Robert Parker books and Robert Parker is one of my favorite audio book authors. This plot is different, because there isn't a murder mystery to be solved, but a complicated issue of seeing to it that a neglected, young boy is prepared to lead life as an adult---and, then, unraveling the sordid pasts of his parents so that he can live as he wishes with no interference from his miserable, self-absorbed mother and father. I loved this book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Early Autumn?

    The moment when Spenser admonishes Susan and tells her not to be "ordinary: because she's jealous of the time he has spent away from her. I enjoyed the fact that her reaction to Spenser's absorbing attempt to care for Paul (who appears in later books) was selfish and self-absorbed. I enjoyed the fact that Paul understands that she resents him. And I enjoyed the fact that she does "come around" but only with limitations. Parker does not go for the stereotypical "feel good" solutions.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene occurred when Spenser tells Paul that he was right about his plan for the boy's future and Paul asks, "What..do you want a Nobel Prize?" The "smart" response showed his increase in self-confidence and his adaptation of Spenser's repartee for his own personality.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Jog a mile, punch the bag, expand your mind...grow up!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robert B. Parker's Lullaby: A Spenser Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Ace Atkins
    • Narrated By Joe Mantegna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (188)

    When 14-year-old Mattie Sullivan asks Spenser to look into her mother’s murder, he’s not completely convinced by her claim that the police investigation four years ago was botched. Mattie is gruff, street-smart, and wise beyond her years, left to care for her younger siblings and an alcoholic grandmother in a dilapidated apartment in South Boston. But her need for closure and her determination to make things right hit Spenser where he lives - they’re the very characteristics he abides by.

    Ed says: "Ace aces Spenser!"
    "Hooray for Atkins/Parker!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Robert B. Parker's Lullaby?

    The character of Maddie made me laugh as she resisted Spenser's desire to help her/change her/improve her life. Her attitude toward life was both realistic and sad, but I giggled as she resisted Spenser and Susan's attempts to improve or change her approach to negotiating her days. She absolutely tolerated no coddling, no interference with what she perceived as the "right" approach to avenging her mother's death, and, yet, small insights about her feelings emerged with such hints as the fact that she had a toy tiara on her head when Spenser first visited her.
    None of the characters reacted in a stereotypical fashion.....the convict was not grateful for Spenser's help, the "dirty" cops don't get their comeuppance, the old foe ends up being sympathetic at the end. But Hawk is always Hawk, and Spenser is always Spenser.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Maddie is spectacular. Mantegna does a good job with her cynical voice. I will always remember the scorn in his/her voice when she announced that the "cops" gave her a card so she could see someone to talk about "her feelings and crap."


    Which character – as performed by Joe Mantegna – was your favorite?

    Maddie is my favorite, but Mantegna does a great job with the by-play between Hawk and Spenser. His "Hawk" is, by far' the best of all the narrators.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Spenser Meets His Match.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gunman's Rhapsody

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Robert B. Parker
    • Narrated By Ed Begley Jr.
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    It is the winter of 1879, and Dodge city has lost its snap. Thirty-one-year-old Wyatt Earp, assistant city marshal, loads his wife and all they own into a wagon, and goes with two of his brothers and their women to Tombstone, Arizona, land of the silver mines. There Earp becomes deputy sheriff, meeting up with the likes of Doc Holliday, Clay Allison and Bat Masterson as well as finding the love of his life, showgirl Josie Marcus.

    TV Western Lover says: "Once of the best Wyatt Earp stories I have read"
    "My least favorite Parker novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I thoroughly enjoyed the snippets of parallel history that Parker inserts periodically and, because I'm a history buff, I considered that, because I was learning new and interesting historical connections, it was time well spent. I also liked the fact that Parker's characterization of Wyatt Earp dovetailed with his descriptions of Virgil Cole in his other western series. Unfortunately he peopled this story with rather colorless characters, unlike Pony Flores, Hitch, Allie and Laurel who made the Cole series crackle with life.


    Would you recommend Gunman's Rhapsody to your friends? Why or why not?

    I might recommend this book to people who enjoy history, especially western history, because I know that Parker researched the Earp history carefully. I wouldn't recommend it based on a compelling narrative or spine-tingling action.


    What three words best describe Ed Begley Jr.’s voice?

    Unemotional, flat, mediocre


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Perhaps, but the movie has already been made with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.....with variations to the story. The movie script was more compelling than this story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beat the Reaper: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Josh Bazell
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1152)
    Performance
    (444)
    Story
    (443)

    Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. His morning begins with the quick disarming of a would-be mugger, followed by a steamy elevator encounter with a sexy young pharmaceutical rep, topped off by a visit with a new patient - and from there Peter's day is going to get a whole lot worse and a whole lot weirder.

    Chuck says: "Great book and great narrator"
    "Very uneven in plot, pacing and language"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Parts of this book were delightful and interesting, but some sections (the two trips to Coney Island, the fight with the assassin, the deliberation before the final altercation) were maddeningly egregious in the writer's use of excessive detail, exhausting thought processes, and boring tedium. This writer does not belong to the minimalist school of writing. Every movement is described with nothing left out.......slowing the pace to such a degree that I simply left the room to retrieve a cup of coffee, letting the narrative drone on. In addition, I think that many of the sexual references, including one unbelievable scene in the Coney Island "fright scene" are so unreal that the terminology and the actions seem a bit juvenile.....and the sort that would appeal to adolescent males. (I did repeat some of these references to my female friends; none of them were the slightest bit amused.)The earlier flashbacks, the main character's trip to Poland, his earlier life are extremely interesting. In addition, the author's description of many of the medical decisions made by his "doctor" delighted me with the unexpected deductions...and his view of life is undeniably humorous. Some plot devices seemed undeveloped (such as the courtroom scene, the strangely abbreviated love affair, and his stupid, fateful decision to accompany his former friend), but I suspect that this is probably considered to be humor by younger readers.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    After the snail's pace of much of the rest of the book, the abrupt ending annoyed me. Also, I didn't understand why the character, who had previously announced that he disliked his profession, now, all of a sudden, seemed anxious to continue. I also was nonplussed that his former mentor, who, earlier was not available for help (for no apparent reason), then offered him tepid advice, all of a sudden showed up at the end to give him some advice (like some things can't be helped) and, bingo! The story is concluded with little plot resolution. (For example, what about his nemesis' gangster father? And what does the character do at the end?) Very Strange.


    Have you listened to any of Robert Petkoff’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first performance of Petkoff that I have heard. His voice and timbre is excellent.


    Do you think Beat the Reaper needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I would probably not be interested.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was so interesting in some parts and so deadly dull or irritating in others that I can only wish that he'd had a better editor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Donna Andrews
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (46)

    Poor Meg Langslow. She's blessed in so many ways. Michael, her boyfriend, is a handsome, delightful heartthrob who adores her. She's a successful blacksmith, known for her artistic wrought-iron creations. But somehow Meg's road to contentment is more rutted and filled with potholes than seems fair.

    Jennifer says: "Very amusing!"
    "Awful. I fell asleep twice!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The other reviews were so terrific that I was certain I would love this book. The title is quirky, the premise is interesting, and the characters seem to be unusual. I could not listen more than 1/2 hour before I fell asleep. Twice! The unenthusiastic narration, and the monotone voice of the narrator bored me senseless.


    Would you recommend Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. I found this book boring, even though I tried to treat it like I would a college lecturer who doesn't need to be interesting--just informative. I tried twice to listen to the words of the author, but fell asleep both times. With so many other audible books available, why take "the medicine."


    What didn’t you like about Bernadette Dunne’s performance?

    Boring, unimaginative, monotone.


    What character would you cut from Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon?

    I don't know. I didn't listen long enough to make a judgment.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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