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Lauren

Literature professor and lover of mystery books!

Member Since 2012

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 178 titles in library
  • 60 purchased in 2014
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  • Whispers Under Ground: Peter Grant, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (669)
    Performance
    (622)
    Story
    (613)

    It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher - and the victim's wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom - if it exists at all - is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects...except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer's apprentice Peter Grant.

    Nancy J says: "Just Keeps Getting Better"
    "Absolute Favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare Whispers Under Ground to and why?

    The Cuckoos Calling, The Absent Ones,


    Have you listened to any of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, in other books in this series.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laughed out loud many times.


    Any additional comments?

    Absolutely love this book and the narrator. It is funny, interesting, full of twists, cheeky, and endlessly entertaining. It is also complex enough for multiple listens. This is my favorite in the series, but I love them all. The narrator is awesome and keeps getting better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Outsorcerer's Apprentice

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tom Holt
    • Narrated By Ray Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    A happy workforce is a productive workforce. At the moment, the Wizard's employees are neither. The goblins are upset with their working conditions, the dragonslayer has thrown a hissy fit over his medical insurance (or lack thereof) and everyone is upset about the terrible canteen coffee. Yet the Wizard hasn't got time to worry about revolution in the workplace - he's about to see his brilliant business plan (based on entrepreneurial flair and involving one or two parallel worlds) disrupted by a clueless young man.

    Lauren says: "Very clever and new"
    "Very clever and new"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Outsorcerer's Apprentice again? Why?

    I would and have done so. I listened it to it twice in a row.


    What other book might you compare The Outsorcerer's Apprentice to and why?

    Kind of like Jasper Fforde but more cerebral and sharp; a lot like the Johannes Cabal series; Outside of this, hard to compare because it is rather unusual.


    Which character – as performed by Ray Sawyer – was your favorite?

    The King of the Goblins was funny, and I loved when Sawyer performed any cockney or lower-class British character--his accent is dead-on and incredibly timed.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed a lot and chuckled at some of the sly jokes. Throughout, it was funny and entertaining--you can easily miss some of the references if you aren't paying attention.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an extremely clever and fresh book. The elements of the narrative are too outlandish to try to explain here, but somehow, the author makes them work together. The writing is sharp and funny and tongue-in-cheek. It is sort of a meta-fairytale in that it constantly plays on its own references to traditional fairytale tropes; in one moment, a character wonders if the fairytale land makes money from a "four percent leverage on traditional narrative tropes." You may find the narration a little slow at first, but Sawyer knows exactly what he is doing. As the story unfolds, he voices additional characters perfectly and sets the pace well. One thing about this book: it requires your attention. There are so many little things going on, and if you are not listening attentively, you may miss them. I found myself rewinding it again and again just to catch small stuff. However, it is totally worth it because the dialogue and narration are so funny and, at times, quite smart and thought-provoking. This is the only book I've listened to twice in a row, in addition to the thousand rewinds in between. I recommend it if you like stories that collapse genres, make you think, and are a bit silly and unconventional. By the way, I think Tom Holt did some brilliant writing and storytelling here. I hope he writes more like this. It reminded me of Jasper Fforde with a bit more gravitas and slyness and subtlety. I teach literature and plan on teaching this in an Ethics and Values in Lit course. It brings up many philosophical and ethical issues that would get college students thinking. If you are a person who would prefer not to think of such things, you will still like the book--they are woven into the narrative so strategically that you can overlook them and just enjoy the silly goings on. Either way, I highly recommend.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Red Sparrow: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jason Matthews
    • Narrated By Jeremy Bobb
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1272)
    Performance
    (1139)
    Story
    (1144)

    Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

    Melinda says: "Sexy Saucy Spies"
    "Interesting and complex"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a wonderful spy thriller. It is fast-paced, has lots of turns, and integrates interesting facts about spying. It reminds me of le Carre but is much more exciting.
    My only complaint about the romance angle--it seemed incongruous with the rest of the story and slowed the action down to no positive effect.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Johannes Cabal the Detective

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jonathan L. Howard
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (179)

    In this genre-twisting novel, infamous necromancer Johannes Cabal, after beating the Devil and being reunited with his soul, leads us on another raucous journey in a little-known corner of the world. This time he’s on the run from the local government.

    jason says: "I enjoyed this listen."
    "Just as good as the first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Johannes Cabal the Detective the most enjoyable?

    The writing


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

    I have not heard this narrator before, but I enjoy his reading of this book.


    Any additional comments?

    I disagree with the comments about the narrator's failure to live up the narrator for the previous book. The comparison is apples and oranges. Sach is not as high energy as the previous narrator, but his dead-pan reading matches perfectly with the tone of the book. Also, he does a wonderful job with the shifting accents. I am enjoying his reading of the book as much as I enjoyed that of the previous narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Johannes Cabal The Necromancer

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jonathan L. Howard
    • Narrated By Christopher Cazenove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (509)
    Performance
    (298)
    Story
    (298)

    Johannes Cabal, a brilliant scientist and notorious snob, is single-mindedly obsessed in heart and soul with raising the dead. Well, perhaps not soul... He hastily sold his years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. But now, tormented by a dark secret, he travels to the fiery pits of Hell to retrieve it. Satan, who is incredibly bored these days, proposes a little wager: Johannes has one year to persuade 100 people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever.

    Stuart says: "Methadone your Gaiman or Pratchett fix"
    "Fantastic writing and narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Johannes Cabal The Necromancer in three words, what would they be?

    rich, funny, well-written


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Cazenove – was your favorite?

    All of them were very good. Bones was funny because of the American accent.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me laugh a lot and it moved me in some parts.


    Any additional comments?

    This is such a rich book, made even more enjoyable by the narrator. I plan on listening to it again just because of the writing--it is delightful and intricate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1464)
    Performance
    (1340)
    Story
    (1337)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Thank God for Reviewers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Midnight Riot?

    There were many. Favorite is introduction to the Folly and exchanges between Peter and Leslie and Nightingale.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hard to say. Many really good scenes that are funny and stand out in their own rights.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me crack up laughing many times.


    Any additional comments?

    I would have never found this series had it not been for the rave reviews of other listeners. People seemed to love it, so I gave it a go. These books are amazing! They are so funny and smart and interesting. The characters are complex and wickedly smart; you can connect to them easily. I also learned a great deal about the history of London listening to this series. This book, the first in the series, sets up a great deal of what is to come in the following books. Some things that seem hazy here get cleared up as the series moves along. But there is enough going on here to keep one riveted. This is one of the few books that I have actually listened to repeatedly because it is so nuanced and entertaining.
    The narrator is outstanding and the writing is too. Highly recommend.

    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
    (7484)
    Performance
    (6803)
    Story
    (6815)

    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"
    "Best Novel in a Very Long Time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Cuckoo's Calling again? Why?

    Yes.


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

    Absolutely.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the best novel I have listened to since, well, Harry Potter. I kept stopping it and rewinding it because I didn't want it to end, and it's so well-written that listening to it again and again is a joy.
    The storyline is rich and the characters are drawn up with depth and humor. Additionally, the mystery is damn good--it is really clever and unpredictable. She gives enough hints throughout for you to see where things are going, but they are hints embedded in the characters' behaviors and other minor elements of the story.
    Listening to this reminded me that Rowlings is just a good craftswoman. So much of the enjoyment of this novel comes from the lingering over dialogue and characters. She makes details remarkably interesting.
    I will say this: This is a novel that is probably better when listened to. I found that to be true of the Potter series as well. The narrator adds a level of depth and color to the novel that could be missed in a reading. He is awesome, by the way.
    I cannot recommend this enough. Truly hope that this becomes a series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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