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Gail N.

Honest Reader

San Diego | Member Since 2011

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 101 titles in library
  • 30 purchased in 2014
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  • Speaking from Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Alan Bradley
    • Narrated By Jayne Entwistle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (508)
    Performance
    (450)
    Story
    (449)

    Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues, whether they’re found among the potions in her laboratory or between the pages of her insufferable sisters’ diaries. What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies. Upon the 500th anniversary of St. Tancred’s death, the English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint’s tomb. Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist, his face grotesquely and inexplicably masked.

    Donald says: "the best Flavia yet!!"
    "One of the best in this amazing series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jayne Entwistle is a super star among readers, but especially here where her talents are wonderfully showcased by the main character in this amazing, brilliant and entertaining series. Start at the beginning and read them all. I cannot wait for the next book by Mr. Bradley.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Crossing Places

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Elly Griffiths
    • Narrated By Jane McDowell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (292)
    Performance
    (227)
    Story
    (224)

    When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, Ruth Galloway lectures at the University of North Norfolk. She lives happily alone in a remote place called Saltmarsh overlooking the North Sea and, for company; she has her cats Flint and Sparky, and Radio 4. When a child's bones are found in the marshes near an ancient site that Ruth worked on ten years earlier, Ruth is asked to date them.

    Sara says: "An atmospheric creepy mystery set in Saltmarsh"
    "Entertaining but with some reservations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book holds together pretty well and provides a few heart pounding moments. Suspects abound and the author keeps you somewhat guessing. But the heroine does whine a bit, especially about being fat. Some of the action seems very contrived and the hopeful ending is completely unbelievable. To be believable, the story should have taken place over a few months instead of over 10 years. The worst part is the narrator's attempt at a male Norwegian accent. Because of these problems, I hesitate to recommend the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Philip Pullman, full cast
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5243)
    Performance
    (1728)
    Story
    (1754)

    When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder, and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra's unfettered imagination has conjured up.

    Arnold says: "A Terrific Book"
    "Spellbinding, brilliant, original - a masterpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not simply a talented reader bringing to life a great work of fiction. It is a fully cast performance, a highly dramatic work of theater. I never wanted the story to end. Like all great works of fiction, while it entertains, it also is a window on human nature. As a woman, I especially like that the main character is a heroine who has all the derring-do of any swashbuckling young hero in the many books I have read featuring a young man as the main character. Readers of both genders who enjoy fantasy fiction will fall head-over-heels for this classic tale of good against evil in a fully conceived and populated alternate reality which so closely mirrors our own.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pirate King: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    Overall
    (499)
    Performance
    (439)
    Story
    (439)

    As Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes embark on their 11th adventure together, they find themselves immersed in the world of silent filmmaking. Here, the pirates are real—and unlike the shooting done with a camera, this sort can be deadly.

    Chris says: "Not my favorite Mary Russell"
    "A major disappointment to Mary Russell fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed every previous novel in this series by Laurie R. King but this one really is a dud IMHO. The plot is as boring as it is preposterous. It is difficult to listen as the intelligent and resourceful Ms. Russell is reduced to a secretary and gal Friday for an annoying troupe of theatrical types. The worst of all is having to listen to our heroine whine and complain about the absurd and incomprehensible situation in which she finds herself. She has arrived at this low point in her career ostensibly to avoid spending time with Mycroft Holmes. I can only say that had she decided to hang out with her brother-in-law a much better novel may have been the result. No spoiler alert from me - I gave up after listening for only 2 hours.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1817)
    Performance
    (1140)
    Story
    (1141)

    In 1914, a spirited American girl named Mary Russell meets a retired Sherlock Holmes in the English countryside. Instantly realizing that Mary is gifted with astonishing deductive powers, the Great Detective emerges from retirement to join her as she tracks down a fiendish assassin.

    Marie-Elizabeth Finamore says: "Best of British restraint"
    "A terrific introduction to an entertaining series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sherlock Holmes has proven to be a character for the ages. Here is another pastiche based on the brilliant consulting detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over 100 years ago. Laurie R. King has certainly come up with one of the most unusual versions of Sherlock Holmes' later years. Brought to life by the reader Jenny Sterlin, the young Mary Russell and Sherlock himself will keep the listener well entertained with many a wild and rollicking yarn as the series continues through at least 10 more books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The White Tiger: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aravind Adiga
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1977)
    Performance
    (812)
    Story
    (809)

    Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life - having nothing but his own wits to help him along. Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.

    With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem.

    Mark P. Furlong says: "Entertaining, thought-provoking, darkly funny"
    "Wonderful insight into Indian culture. Eye opening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Of course, John Lee is one of the very best readers. I search for his books. The story is simply brilliant - keeps you riveted the entire time. And I discovered an India I had never imagined.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Conversations with Van Gogh

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Vincent Van Gogh, Simon Parke
    • Narrated By Andy Havill
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Vincent van Gogh is best known for two things – his sunflowers and his ear-cutting. But there are many other ways of knowing this remarkable son of a Dutch pastor, who left his chill homeland for the sunshine of Arles in the South of France; and left us over a thousand frank letters of struggle and joy, to help us glimpse his inner world. Vincent came late to painting after spending time in London trying to be a Christian missionary.

    Douglas says: "An Imaginary Premise..."
    "Perfect prelude to "Van Gogh Up Close" exhibit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Conversations with Van Gogh in three words, what would they be?

    Informative, entertaining, clever


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Van Gogh - for obvious reasons!


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

    No.


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

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I am addicted to Van Gogh's work, not least because of the unusual life of the artist. I have been to Arles and Amsterdam to better understand his oeuvre. By listening to this book, I drew closer to the man who has eluded me all these years. I discovered our common love of Japanese prints and the paintings of Jean Millet which I first admired in Boston's MFA. It was a treat. The author brings the painter to life. I did not realize that Van Gogh could paint with words as well as with oils. This little book was a delight. I listened to it on the plane as I traveled to Ottawa to see the "Van Gogh Up Close" exhibit. I look forward to listening again now that I have seen so many more of his masterpieces "up close".

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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