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Laura

Kansas City, MO, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
19
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
31

  • The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie: Highland Pleasures, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jennifer Ashley
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1361)
    Performance
    (1236)
    Story
    (1240)

    It was whispered all through London society that he was a murderer, that he'd spent his youth in an asylum and was not to be trusted - especially with a lady. Any woman caught in his presence was immediately ruined. Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy.

    Lupdilup says: "FANTASTIC BOOK, NICELLY PERFORMED."
    "What a Fascinatingly Unique Hero"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The plot was typical Victorian romance. But the hero was fascinating. He was institutionalized most of his childhood, and today would have been labeled autistic. At the same time he was the classically good looking and brilliant hero. The heroine had a great sense of humor and chattered mindlessly whenever she was nervous. All of which was lost on the hero. Yet somehow they made the perfect couple. They made the book. Truly a joy to get to know. The narrator was OK. She handled the heroine well, but wasn't quite up to all the Scottish male characters.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • First Grave on the Right: Charley Davidson, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Darynda Jones
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2954)
    Performance
    (2346)
    Story
    (2335)

    A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice.

    Lulu says: "Very, Very Funny Book, Suffered from My Bad Timing"
    "Very, Very Funny Book, Suffered from My Bad Timing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was often a side-splittingly silly book. It was totally unbelievable but that didn't matter. The plot was convoluted and difficult to follow but that didn't really matter ...much. The romantic hero was totally unappealing because he was either dead, Satan or nothing but grey smoke and it is hard to make any of that sexy. It is just creepy.

    But the snappy writing, the quick one-liners and the silly naivete of the heroine made all of those faults totally unimportant. And the whole book was written so tongue-in-cheek that those really weren't faults. They were part of what made the whole package so fun to read.

    Because of who the characters were, the story could have so quickly gotten bogged down into philosophical discussions of good versus evil, spirit versus soul, etc. The author could have easily pulled an "Anne Rice" on us. But she didn't. She kept it light, fluffy and entertaining.

    Her secondary characters were well written and strong enough to not wilt away in the glow of the main character. I loved her best friend, the various apparitions in her life and especially, Rocket.

    The narration was great

    My only complaint is that the bits of information that actually moved the plot forward, that explained what was going on and ultimately, what would lead you to read the second and third books in the series were so buried under the pithy one-liners and double entendres, that if you blinked you missed them. I finished the book not sure I had a clue about what actually happened in the plot. And wishing she had focused more on certain traits of Charley, like the fact she had perfect memory of everything that happened from the second she was born. But this might have been a timing problem on my part. I'm not sure I was up for quite so much humor in my current read when I sat down with this book. And if you are not in the mood for good-natured silliness, the book can be unfulfilling. Like eating your favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry's when all you really wanted was toast. But that is not the author's fault.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Vintage Affair: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Isabel Wolff
    • Narrated By Violet Mathieson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (72)

    Her friends are stunned when Phoebe Swift abruptly leaves a plum job at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream. In the sunlight-flooded interior of Village Vintage, surrounded by Yves Saint Laurent silk scarves, Vivienne Westwood bustle skirts, cupcake dresses, and satin gowns, Phoebe hopes to make her store the hot new place to shop.

    Laura says: "A Sweet, Leisurely Stroll, but Ultimately Dull"
    "A Sweet, Leisurely Stroll, but Ultimately Dull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book had a great deal of promise. But it had too many stories going on at once and none of them got the attention they deserved, so in the end the book was disappointing. The author attempted to roll up all the loose ends but at the end, it felt like everything the woman had gone through in the past year, all of the tension and stress hinted about but always repressed, might as well have not happened. Everything that happened to her seemed predictable and the end result of each event was expected. This was another book where it is immediately and painfully obvious to the reader that a plot line must end in disaster and you want to reach in, slap the heroine and say "Pay Attention! Do us all a favor and dump him now, not 169 pages from now."

    The author did a very good job of describing a community and the way people in it live and interact together. The way she used the store and the newspaper to tell the story of an entire community was inventive. It was obvious she did her research on vintage clothing. The subplot about the dying French woman and her secret was creative, but ultimately not as heartbreaking to read about as I think the author hoped it would be. And it reminded me that soon everyone who suffered directly at the hands of the Nazi's will be gone. And the true evil has almost become a cliche. Maybe the reality of the tragedy will become real again, when it is no longer used as a plot device in contemporary novels.

    The narrator did a great job on the British and French female voices. Her Canadian and American accents were bad. It sounded like she was pronouncing words she spoke perfectly in British English, almost phonetically when she tried to translate them into American and Canadian. She might as well have been going from English to Sanskrit. And she did a poor job on the male characters. But that might be because all of the male characters were totally uninteresting men.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • How to Read a Book

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren
    • Narrated By Edward Holland
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (113)

    How to Read a Book, first published in 1940, is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. Now it has been completely rewritten and updated.

    Hind says: "awesome"
    "If You Read Books, You Must Read This"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked the original 1940s edition of this up at an estate sale several years ago. Since I am someone who is seldom seen without a book in hand (now it is earbuds in ears), my family teased me incessantly about the title. But this book taught me more about the art and skill of reading to learn and reading to understand than I learned through my entire formal education. I would almost say that this book "taught" me to read and what I had done up until that point was a pale imitation. This should be required reading to every person even considering going to college. And if they cannot understand and learn from the book, that is a good sign their reading skills need remedial work.

    I was excited when I noticed that Audible had the updated 1970s edition available. It is a major departure from the original work. It was almost entirely overhauled. Even though they are considerably different I found them both equally well written and the new version presented new ideas.

    I felt somewhat foolish listening to a book about how to read. But I have found the same skills helpful as I listen, as I found them as I read. And while the book deals primarily with "serious" or "scholarly" reading, the skills discussed also enhance my experience reading modern fiction, even trashy modern fiction. You can always learn something, if you know how to go about it.

    I cannot recommend this book enough. To say it changed my life when I first read it, might be an overstatement. But it certainly caused me to enjoy reading even more, and to not just use books to reinforce what I already know, but to stretch myself and actually learn something new.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Happy Marriage: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Rafael Yglesias
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (42)

    A Happy Marriage is both intimate and expansive: It is the story of Enrique Sabas and his wife, Margaret, a novel that alternates between the romantic misadventures of the first weeks of their courtship and the final months of Margaret’s life as she says good-bye to her family, friends, children, and Enrique.

    Laura says: "A Difficult Review -- A Difficult Read"
    "A Difficult Review -- A Difficult Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I did not want to "like" this book. You cannot begin to read a nonfiction book that is an account of a husband loosing his wife to cancer after a long and predominately happy marriage and expect to "like" it. But I wanted to appreciate the fact that the author shared something of her personal life and unfortunate death with total strangers and consider how I would feel if an unimaginable situation was suddenly not only imaginable but real. I hoped to get a sense of the cathartic experience writing the book must have been for the author.

    But I didn't. For a memoir about the life and death of a beloved spouse, this book seemed focused not on the dying spouse, but the living one, the one who wrote the book. His wife's life seemed to be nothing more than another adjective used to help describe the author, his challenges, his difficulties, his life. Her relevance, her reason for even being mentioned in the book seemed to be solely to help the reader understand the author better.

    I would not presume to say that the author did not love his wife. The book doesn't indicate that at all. I came away with no sense about how he felt about his wife, other than as an extension and reflection of him. But I have never lost a spouse and focusing on oneself instead of the lost partner may be a normal way most survivors of a long term relationship cope. They just don't write a book about it. I wish he would not have either.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • No Angel

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Penny Vincenzi
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (36)

    Enter the world of the rich charismatic Lytton family and their powerful publishing empire in this passionate family saga, spanning the Edwardian era to World War I and the excesses of the glamorous 20s. Enter the world of Celia LyttonÑa woman who is used to getting her way. She moves through life making difficult and often dangerous decisions that affect herself and others.

    Patricia J Dunn says: "Stay Away"
    "A Great Soap Opera"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book reminded me of Susan Howatch's earlier books. It is a big book full of big and flawed characters. As I read it my alliances and sympathies jumped from character to character and back again. There were a few weak sections. The heroine's "should I or should I not" debate over leaving her husband for her lover went on way too long. And her mothering skills and actions were inconsistent. But overall this was a great story. Finally, it gave a great description of how the end of the war affected the women back home in Britain, who had been running the country only to be rudely displaced upon the return home of the soldiers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Under His Influence

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Justine Elyot
    • Narrated By Polly Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Anna Rice is avoiding a coworker's advances when she encounters enigmatic John Stone at a trendy London bar. With his impeccable suits, salt-and-pepper hair and suave demeanor, John is unlike any of the boys Anna has dated in the past: he's definitely all man. It's not long before Anna is head over heels in love, and experiencing out-of-this world erotic dreams.

    Laura says: "Way Too Strange for Me."
    "Way Too Strange for Me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I want to know who/what the villain is and how the book ended. But I cannot finish it. Too weird to read. Makes absolutely no sense. The heroine's best friend treats her worse than the bad guy does. Overall an interesting idea, but poorly executed.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Sinful

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Charlotte Featherstone
    • Narrated By Victor Villar-Hausar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (144)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (59)

    In Victorian England, vice of every kind can be purchased, and Matthew, the Earl of Wallingford, makes certain he avails himself of every possible pleasure. Bored and jaded, he is as well-known for his coldness as for his licentious affairs with beautiful women.

    Kathy says: "Horrible reading"
    "I can't say I liked it but ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I did appreciate the ending. It was a non-traditional HEA. I couldn't figure out how the author was going to "fix" things so it would end in the traditional hearts and flowers. She didn't, but things still worked out. It made the book more satisfying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • How to Marry a Duke

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Vicky Dreiling
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Jasicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (436)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (380)

    In Vicky Dreiling’s enchanting Regency romance debut, Tristan - the rakish duke of Shelbourne - wants to marry and sire an heir. To help him choose among the dizzying array of wealthy but witless candidates, he secures the services of prim and proper matchmaker Miss Tessa Mansfield. But as Tessa seeks the perfect mate, the duke finds himself distracted by Tessa’s considerable charms.

    Dalia says: "My first book for Vicky, not the last ;)"
    "Silly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    And trite. Not to mention pedestrian, dull and unoriginal. Could not finish.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • And One Last Thing...

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2553)
    Performance
    (1922)
    Story
    (1916)

    Lacey Terwilliger's shock and humiliation over her husband's philandering prompt her to add some bonus material to Mike's company newsletter: stunning Technicolor descriptions of the special brand of "administrative support" his receptionist gives him. The detailed mass e-mail to Mike's family, friends, and clients blows up in her face, and before one can say "instant urban legend", Lacey has become the pariah of her small Kentucky town and a media punch line....

    Amazon Customer says: "For me this was such a HOOT!!!"
    "Very Funny Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ms. Harper reminds me of early Janet Evanovich books - without the mystery. Or the guns, crazy grandmothers and criminals. She is a genuinely funny author and that is actually a rarity. Her characters, and they are real "characters", are a mess, they make stupid decisions, which they compound by worse choices. But you have to love them. Even the ones you aren't supposed to love.

    This is a very light, quick but satisfying read and I recommend it for anyone looking for a few escapist hours. I'm not usually a big chicklit fan. But I enjoyed this book so much that I broke a longstanding promise to myself and read her next series, even though they were about vampires and werewolves, two fantasy genres I avoid even more than chicklit. Guess what? They were funny and engaging too. I hope she continues to write and expands her genres. I will continue to read.

    The narration was very good as well. The voice and the author's vision matched well together.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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