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GP

amboise

ratings
220
REVIEWS
33
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
65

  • The Homeplace: Singing River, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Gilbert Morris
    • Narrated By Judith West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    As the year 1928 begins, 14-year-old Lanie Belle Freeman of Fairhope, Arkansas, has bright hopes for the future. Her father has launched a new business, and her mother is expecting her fifth baby. Lanie has dreams of going to college and being a writer. Then tragedy strikes.

    Amazon Customer says: "Enjoyed very much. "
    "Skip this one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. It will even go wrong if it's improbable. It's like a sorry soap opera. You can skip ahead 15 minutes in the story and have missed nothing, except for possibly another bleak and improbable event. Sometimes the narrator can make a poor story better, but in this case they're well suited.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Red Rising

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Pierce Brown
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3288)
    Performance
    (2993)
    Story
    (3001)

    Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet.

    Charles says: "It Got Better and Left Me Wanting More."
    "A cut above the rest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Red Rising was a total surprise. Dystopian novels are extremely popular right now. The worlds may be complex, but the story lines are predictable. Black and white, good and evil, are clear and the playing field is uneven by hidden forces.

    Nothing is hidden in Red Rising, but black and white are always gray. The book begins with what seems to be a clear us vs them, but it turns out that that what makes the enemy so loathsome was built and created with purpose. Inequality and favoritism is everywhere, but it's expected and part of life even at the top of the heap.

    The characters behave like real people. Love them or hate them, they're real in word and deed. The story may be some far dystopian future, but what drives the characters are motivations that are always here.

    Wonderful words, fantastic reader. Loved this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Norwegian by Night

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Derek B. Miller
    • Narrated By Sean Mangan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (601)
    Performance
    (548)
    Story
    (549)

    Sheldon Horowitz - 82 years old, impatient, and unreasonable - is staying with his granddaughter's family in Norway when he disappears with a stranger's child. Sheldon is an ex-Marine, and he feels responsible for his son's death in Vietnam. Recently widowed and bereft, he talks to the ghosts of his past constantly. To Norway's cops, Sheldon is just an old man who is coming undone at the end of a long and hard life. But Sheldon is clear in his own mind.

    Sara says: "Don't Miss This Amazing Book"
    "An unexpected surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think I purchased this audio book from one of the Audible sales, and when I first started listening I couldn't imagine why. But later, I knew it was something special.

    This isn't a funny book, although at times I laughed aloud. It was sad, suspenseful and heroic. The main character, an elderly man who may or may not be suffering from dementia, performs one last act of heroism. Maybe as penance for what has gone before, maybe just because it's the right thing to do. The author paints the picture so well that you know the next step, maybe.

    The plot has twists and turns, and fortunately the author believes the reader is intelligent enough to let us draw our own conclusions and doesn't feel the need to make the ugly even uglier. We already know, it doesn't need to be illustrated further.

    Norway is as much a character as the human characters in the story, If I immigrate to another country, I'm heading to Norway.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Lord of All Things

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Andreas Eschbach, Samuel Willcocks (translator)
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (122)

    They are just children when they first meet: Charlotte, daughter of the French ambassador, and Hiroshi, a laundress’s son. One day in the playground, Hiroshi declares that he has an idea that will change the world. An idea that will sweep away all differences between rich and poor. When Hiroshi runs into Charlotte several years later, he is trying to build a brighter future through robotics.

    Miachi says: "Surprisingly Good"
    "Absolutely wonderful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story line was intriguing, so I picked this up at some point. I expected your standard sci-fi thriller. Guy discovers amazing technology to make the world a better place. Governments and capitalists come after him and try to steal it away to rule the world.

    Well yes, and no. The story had me at the start with Hiroshi looking out the window at Charlotte in Tokyo. And kept me intrigued to the end on the pampas in Argentina. There were twists and turns, and they were often unexpected. The characters were real, had feeling and emotion, and actually did things that their stories would lead them to do.

    I loved it. I loved the story, I really cared about the main characters, and was sorry for it to end. More please.

    I've already picked up something else by Andreas Eschbach and hope to be entranced once again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jonas Jonasson
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2616)
    Performance
    (2347)
    Story
    (2365)

    After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash.

    Sylvia says: "Full of Surprises and Unexpected Events"
    "Forest Gump without the heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know this is a lightweight piece of work, and as such it's okay. But I would have liked to care something about the characters and understood why they were doing what they did.

    The main character seems to have been everywhere and met everyone, but other than just blindly going with the flow, even though he was central, he didn't really play much of a role in his own story. I think a garden gnome might have worked as well.

    Not bad, but I didn't feel it was worth all the high marks.
    The reader though was excellent! I think what I enjoyed about the book was made possible by Crossley's reading of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Rupert Degas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (383)
    Performance
    (340)
    Story
    (342)

    In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat.... Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid 16-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

    REBECCA says: "Wonderful book, flawed narration."
    "The scenic tour"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm terrible at literary criticism. I think I read more from my emotional side than analytic side. So having said that...

    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was like taking a long, leisurely drive on a windy and scenic road with someone else in the driver's seat. Here and there the scenery transfixes, and you slow down to take a more careful look. Other places the curves are tight and you look over the edge to the abyss, and thankfully have confidence that the driver will keep to the road.

    This is my second Haruki Murakami novel, the first being IQ84. I had no idea what I was getting into with the IQ84. With The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle I was more prepared. The story is part absolutely mundane and part completely surreal with words that make it all flow together.

    I don't know why I like these books, but I do. In a way I enjoyed this more than IQ84. In both there is violence, however surreal and fictional (in both senses of the word). But The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is more of a journey, like a road, that leads you from one place to the next. There is clearly a hero and a villain. Well, clearly in the Haruki Murakami sense of the world.

    The story's narrator Toru Okada is also an observer, but he has faith in the outcome and his intentions are clear. He's willing to take whatever path is shown to him, and finds a few of his own making. Those around him share their stories while paving the way, or create diversions that may or may not help him on his way. Sometimes The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, made me feel like Alice in Wonderland, in more ways than just the disappearing cats.

    The reader did a wonderful job.

    If you can go along for the ride, the journey is quite lovely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Vows of Silence: Simon Serrailler 4

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Susan Hill
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (131)

    Gunmen are terrorising young women in the Cathedral town of Lafferton. What - if anything - links the apparently random murders? Is the marksman with a rifle the same person as the killer with a handgun? Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler falls back on well tried police methods such as questioning neighbours and house-to-house searches.

    Ruth says: "taut writing, narrator perfect - read in order!!!"
    "No one is safe with Susan Hill"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I have to say I love the Simon Serrailler series. I've read them all and even make myself wait a while between books so that there is still another left to read. I hope she continues to write them. This review is less a review of a single book than a review up to the point in the series to which I have read (#5).

    The actual crime and workings of the police are the primary subject of the stories, but the various characters that Hill introduces play large roles and are not simply peripheral to this or future stories. Simon's family is also a large part each book, and they go about their lives sharing moments and thoughts with you even when they are only on the perimeter of a particular book.

    Yet, unlike most novelists, no character is sacred to the story or the series. Characters that one would expect to endure, simply because of their proximity to and importance to the main character, drop like flies leaving pain, anguish and general unhappiness in their wake. In fiction it seems no one is left but the main character, or everyone the main character holds dear is safe with few exceptions. Not so Susan Hill. Don't get too attached to any of the series regular characters, there is no safety. Danger and illness lurk at every corner.

    In spite of this lack of security, there is joy and normality in every novel. Evil does not lurk in every nook and cranny. General day to day activities and troubles come up. No one is perfect. No one is unredeemable (excepting possibly the criminal in the case).

    The narrator reads perfectly and brings the story to life.

    I love these books, even though I love happy endings. I suppose because they are so much like real life in the disappointment of events, yet the continuity of day to day life continues to move on and past the tragedy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Sara Gran
    • Narrated By Carol Monda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (371)
    Story
    (370)

    Claire DeWitt is not your average private investigator. She has brilliant skills of deduction and is an ace at discovering evidence. But Claire also uses her dreams, omens, and mind-expanding herbs to help her solve mysteries, and relies on Détection—the only book published by the great and mysterious French detective Jacques Silette before his death.

    A. D. Mcrae says: "Mostly Disappointed but it was Quick"
    "The narrator makes this book enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think if I'd read this story, instead of listening, I probably wouldn't have made it more than half way. The main character is seriously flawed, egocentric, and enjoys her drugs a little too much. Although in this story a little recreational drug use actually helped the story along. Go figure.

    Claire's method of deduction is basically if you stumble about enough, and jump to enough conclusions, the truth will appear. Probably in a dream helped along by a lot of really good weed.

    It's hard to like Claire, but she is an interesting character, and can speak a witty phrase. She's also got a surprise or two along the way.

    I don't know if I'll pick up another by this author, but definitely would enjoy something else read by this narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3798)
    Performance
    (2156)
    Story
    (2169)

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "It took a while to draw me in..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I began The Windup Girl, and it took a while to get into the story. The novel takes place in the future, at a point in time in which the planet has been ravaged by global warming, and bio-engineering and the resultant plagues and famines have made the world a hellish place. The world is torn between those who are simply trying to eke out some sort of existence, those who are pawns of the corporate world trying to squeeze money out of anything that will bleed, and those that are hungry for power. In the middle of all this are the various factions who believe in what they are doing, for better or worse, and of course, the windup girl.

    It's hard to like any of the characters in this book. As soon as one seemed to attempt to do something decent, their next move destroyed that idea. The Windup Girl is buffeted about by those around her, but towards the end does begin to determine her own fate.

    I don't want to give any more spoilers than I have, which I admit aren't much of a spoiler anyway. The story feels a lot like Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy, but really they are world's apart other than the devastation left over from drastic bio-engineering and few characters to place your hopes upon.

    In spite of this lukewarm description I did enjoy the book. There was never going to be a happy ending, but perhaps one that was better than the present state. The story is told from the point of view of many of the characters, so there are few illusions to hold onto. But in spite of it all, there is a glimmer of hope at the end. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

    The narration was very well done, although the various accents seem to be misplaced at times.

    If you want a cheery happy ending in which all the flowers bloom, the skies clear, and the world is a happy place then this definitely isn't for you. But it's a story well told albeit from the point of view of the underbelly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ghost Road, The Regeneration Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Pat Barker
    • Narrated By Peter Firth
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (45)

    This novel challenges our assumptions about relationships between the classes, doctors and patients, men and women, and men and men. It completes the author's exploration of the First World War, and is a timeless depiction of humanity in extremis. Winner of the 1995 Booker Prize.

    Cariola says: "Most Accaimed . . .?"
    "A big disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved the first in this series. The second in the series left a lot to be desired. The third and final, having been raved about and won awards, was highly anticipated. Sadly a disappointment.

    The book feels like a number of random remembrances by the central characters. They join up now and then, but basically their lives and stories are independent. The story line, and the characters, seem to lack emotion and substance, ambling from one scene to the next.

    I'm following, but it's an apathetic journey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Breakdown: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Katherine Amt Hanna
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    In a world ravaged by a deadly pandemic, former rock star Chris Price leaves New York and sets out on a long journey home to England. It’s been six years of devastation since the plague killed his wife and daughter, and Chris is determined to find out if any of his family has survived. His passage leaves him scarred, in body and mind, by exposure to humankind at its most desperate and dangerous. But the greatest ordeal awaits him beyond the urban ruins, in an idyllic country refuge where Chris meets a woman, Pauline, who is largely untouched by the world’s horrors.

    danpri says: "Not what expected."
    "Rich and Memorable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a fan of post-apocalyptic novels, and have read a lot of them. I'm not a fan of what seems to be the current state of the genre, in which most of the story is spent detailing the worst of humanity, which seems to triumph and lay waste to what remains. Worlds in which only the selfish, greedy and vicious seem to survive.

    Breakdown tells the story of a man who has been scarred by his experience of loss and how he's endured what the world has thrown at him. Most of it things he'd rather forget. He's looking for his family, but takes a detour which offers him a chance to begin to heal.

    I loved it. The characters were rich, the world was believable, and the ever present human spirit and general goodness of most people seems to triumph. Maybe I'm unrealistic, but I tend to think this is a more accurate reflection of the world "after" than the gun-toting survivalists that spend their time decimating the population and laying waste. At least I hope so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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