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ratings
226
REVIEWS
74
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HELPFUL VOTES
143

  • A Purple Place for Dying: A Travis McGee Novel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John D. MacDonald
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (243)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (200)

    A Purple Place for Dying finds Travis McGee witness to a murder he can't prove and a kidnapping nobody wants to believe. McGee becomes a pawn between a wealthy Southwestern patriarch, the law, and a mysterious gang bent on insurance fraud. Just the kind of thing McGee revels in!

    Bonnie says: "A man from the first half of the 20th century"
    "Well written and narrated detective series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a series this is turning out to be. I am enjoying every aspect of the Travis McGee books. Beautifully written -- no mere narration here -- but phrases replete with layers of meaning and images.
    Thoughtful life philosophies are thrown into the mix and offer depth to McGee's motives. The characters are fully engaging -- ok, questionable stereotyping at time, but hey, these books were written between 1964 and 1986 and reflect the times. And what times: private investigators in all sorts of trouble and without mobile phones, the internet -- and roaming throughout society unimpeded by privacy policies and call centres.
    Furthermore, Life is interpreted by Travis Mcgee with practical philosophies based on really living.
    The plots are intriguing and plausibler. The author gently concludes each novel -- lets the main theme ebb away, and the characters have time to themselves to assimilate the invariably tempestuous events into their lives.

    And finally to the narrator. Well, he has had mixed reviews on Audible, but and I think he is excellent. Firstly he manages the voices very well. Secondly he has an easy, relaxed pace that reflects the text. And most importantly, he sounds as if he understands and respects the writer and what he is setting out to shares.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sea Swept: The Chesapeake Bay Saga, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By David Stuart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (832)
    Performance
    (555)
    Story
    (564)

    A champion boat racer, Cameron Quinn traveled the world spending his winnings on champagne and women. But when his dying father calls him home to care for Seth, a troubled young boy not unlike Cameron once was, his life changes overnight.

    Louise says: "Outstanding"
    "Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Roberts is a prolific and popular writer. I was interested to check out some of her work. So, of course, this was a well presented story. But I certainly was not one of her target readers. Rare for me, lots of fast forwarding, well, to see if what happens in the end is what is clearly going to happen in the end! It just went on and on. However it is an optomistic read for women who need the hope imbedded in a saga of tough no-housework, no-children, no-settling-down men being converted into dedicated and skilled family men.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Barracuda

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Christos Tsiolkas
    • Narrated By Grant Cartwright
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    He asked the water to lift him, to carry him, to avenge him. He made his muscles shape his fury, made every stroke declare his hate. And the water obeyed; the water would give him his revenge. No one could beat him, no one came close. His whole life Danny Kelly's only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he's ever done, every thought, every dream, every action takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best.

    Can't listen enough says: "Loved it"
    "Interesting, confronting."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The selfishness of young Dan was almost claustrophobic. I assumed something was going to happen beyond his excrutiating hyper focus on being the best swimmer in the world and his mother's subservience to him (or was it just pure love -- imponderable) and the theme of social exclusion based on class and behaviours. But this young man really didn’t interest me at all.

    But I decided to continue because this book has attracted widespread attention in Australia.

    Dishearteningly, this was also being read in the context of two key events outside the book. Our newly elected national leader was speaking and behaving in a way that made me ask if his was the voice of an older Dan, modified by time but the core aspirations still there – sport: to be the strongest and the best; leadership: the strongest and the best. Whatever it takes. And not particularly adept when the prize was his.

    Secondly, a local television station aired a distressing discussion which included victims, their loved ones and rescuers, about the marked increase in attacks on people, young people, that do not lead to a good old fashioned dust up, but are glassings, and king hits, coming from nowhere. Echoes of Dan. This level is new in Australia.

    One has to keep listening to see if this selfishness will be resolved. It is true, there is a constant and almost contradictory underpinning of generosity and patience in Can's care for ill people and this suggests a path that will transcend earlier behaviours. But for me there is a sense of ‘wishful thinking’. This difficult person sweeps past others, not with the power of hope and the holy grail of excellence, but with an urgent self absorbed belief that validates all that he does. The oft repeated mantra of his goal of strength and being the best has unsettlingly echoes, again, in many models of political leadership. Self indoctrination. Indoctrinate the others around us.

    So much does the author want to donate Dan a socially acceptable future that there is even a hint that his crime has some justification as a social critique.

    I agree that the role of the family as a more selfless decency is a heartening theme and the Tsiolkas effectively bestows on these poor people a positive role amid random acts of violence and personal disorientation.

    So, there you go. I have read a book that has offered an interpretation, or explanation, of selfish and singleminded youth (is this a comment on the modern generation?), the school based training of a closed selfish and singleminded upper class, the comforting power of the family, and the acceptance of the fulfilment of homosexuality. OK. Done. But I found the language without music (intentional?) but I thought it was read very well -- with compassion, appropriately paced.

    But despite any increase in understanding the human condition I may have gained from it, I really didn’t like the book but thought it had been worth completing.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bleak House

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (314)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (101)

    First published in monthly parts from March 1852 to September 1853, this novel follows the fortunes of three pedestrian characters; Esther Summerson, Ada Clare, and Richard Carstone. The story they tell embondies Dickens' merciless indictment of the Court of Chancery and its bungling, morally corrupt handling of the endless case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, giving the novel its scope and meaning.

    UU Ma says: "30 hours was too short for me"
    "Simon Vance and Charles Dickens: superb"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dickens demands a certain way of reading and thinking: a nineteenth century mindset, one that enjoys several grand themes (some melodrama, please) and entertaining minor characters intermingled with the necessarily self sacrificing Beautiful People and the Evil Ones who are the main characters. Long sentences, yes, and detailed descriptions of place and create an all pervading atmosphere.

    So, reading Dickens can take some getting used to. But I had read and enjoyed Bleak House many years ago, and so, with the help of Simon Vance's outstanding narrative, persevered through the often ponderous beginnings. All the while, I admired this stunningly disciplined writer -- he held together the complexities of plot after subplot for 20 monthly installments.

    Slowly but surely, I was increasingly immersed in the spell of this attack on the perfidy of the prevailing British legal system. What a combination: Vance and Dickens. Extraordinarily, each sentence (33 hours of sentences) has a musicality, a balance that reflects the subject matter. Vance understands this -- he flows with what Dickens is all about: the campaigner for social justice, the satirist, the sentimentalist. What a way to appreciate the power and elegance of this writer.

    But more than that. Dickens is the supreme script writer for the cinema of the mind. His characters live, and Vance, a superb actor, gives them breath.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Great Masters: Brahms-His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Johannes Brahms was a man of contrasts. His serious Teutonic music was balanced by joyful dance music. His kindness to working people with a biting, malicious wit reserved for those he encountered in artistic and aristocratic circles. Yet you can know this enigmatic genius though this 8-lecture series, which uses biographical information and musical commentary to link the complexities of Brahms the man with the electrifying music of Brahms the composer.

    Jane says: "First class introduction to a wonderful composer"
    "First class introduction to a wonderful composer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How have I gone so long in life getting so much joy from the works of Brahms without understanding something of this great composer and his life. How many times has my heart been lifted listening to his violin and piano concerti, his symphonies -- oh, why did I start making a list, all his works are all wonderful.

    Upon downloading this series of lectures,a new and eminently accessible view of Brahms was revealed. I've only just finished listening and I am still under its spell.

    Yet, for the listener who knows little or nothing about classical music, let alone who Brahms actually is, this would be an inspiring introduction. Professor Greenburg is funny, insightful, compassionate, and at times, delightfully satirical -- in short, a clever and effective communicator. Infectious, really.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling: Cormoran Strike, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (180)

    When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger...

    Jane says: "Hopefully this is the first of a series"
    "Hopefully this is the first of a series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Surely the sign of a really good book is when the last words have been spoken and listeners find themselves disappointed at having been abruptly separated from people and events that have been a real part of their lives (in this case for nearly16 hours). Well, if that is the case then this qualifies as a Really Good Book -- it ticks all the boxes.

    The narrator: great voice, acted out the roles very convincingly (change of accents and voices very well done) and, best of all, didn't differentiate male and females voices through changing pitch. The writing was vivid. Elegant and succinct prose endowed each sentence an energy which created settings and personal characteristics.

    While this was a crime mystery, that was only part of it. In fact, despite the urgency of the plot, for me the people became the most interesting aspect because The Cuckoo's Calling (clever title) was also the story of the lives of many individuals. Cormoran Strike, for example, is the detective, but he has his own compelling story which entwines throughout the central plot. I found myself caring about his well-being along with the decisions that Robyn will make about her life direction, and I was also repelled by, or drawn to the many other characters that moved in and out of my life through this book.

    I had not read any of J K Rowling (Robert Galbraith) before but this book demonstrates what a talented writer she is and why she has been so very successful. I hope this is the beginning of a series.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Texas Cooking: Texas Hill Country Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Lisa Wingate
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (79)

    According to USA Today, best-selling author Lisa Wingate “dishes up fun and charm” with her touching romance novels. In Texas Cooking, Wingate tells the story of Colleen Collins, a big city reporter who thinks she’s seen and heard it all until she visits the tiny town of San Saline. Listeners from all walks of life will relish this tale of passion, new beginnings, and the comfortsof good food and good conversation.

    Jen says: "Odd Title for Such a Wonderful Book!"
    "Texan romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Food barely comes into this easy and enjoyable listen But, read with enthusiasm and commitment, it is pleasantly escapist as our non-cook questions her urban professional lifestyle with its associated disillusionments and dishonesty. Within a few days, she finds her true life path in a small town in Texas where people are honest, accepting and community minded.

    Then, there's the little matter of Mr Tall Dark and Handsome (enigmatic, but of course).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Irish Country Wedding: Irish Country, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Patrick Taylor
    • Narrated By John Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (88)

    Love is in the air in the colourful Ulster village of Ballybucklebo, where Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly has finally proposed to the darling of his youth, Kitty O’Hallorhan. There’s a wedding to be planned, but before O’Reilly can make it to the altar, he and his young colleague, Barry Laverty, M.B., must deal with the usual round of eccentric patients—and crises both large and small. Being a G.P. in a place like Ballybucklebo often means more than simply splinting broken bones and tending to aches and pains.

    Angelyn says: "Wonderful Story, Fabulous Narrator"
    "Pure delight"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Didn't want this book to end. But please don't read it without first reading the others in the series.

    Delightful narrator, lovely Irish accents (I didn't realise how many Australian expressions were from the many Irish settlers). Humane, friendly, heartwarming. Medically informed. Escaping into the small village of Ballybucklebo where people genuinely care for each other. Wonderful characters. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Lauren Weisberger
    • Narrated By Laurel Lefkow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    The hotly-anticipated sequel to The Devil Wears Prada – the million copy bestseller that took the world by storm. Everything’s in place for the season’s hottest launch: Tall latte (with two raw sugars)? Check. Gucci trench (draped over desk)? Check. Outrageous, unreasonable demands? Check. Andy has just turned thirty and is an incredibly successful magazine editor, working closely with her best friend Emily, another Runway survivor.

    Jane says: "Fun with interesting real life issues"
    "Fun with interesting real life issues"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had only recently seen the film, The Devil Wears Prada and I certainly recommend seeing or reading that book before enjoying this one. For enjoy you will -- well, I did anyway. And the first rate narrator, Laurel Lefkow, enhanced the characters who were delightfully real.


    It's about the racy cut-throat world of New York fashion and is probably as relevant to most readers as a fantasy novel. But the author managed to insert some pretty interesting real life conundrums about the role of the woman in a highly competitive and pretentious workplace and they were artfully, romantically and sympathetically resolved.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Perfume Collector

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kathleen Tessaro
    • Narrated By Laurel Lefkow
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    One letter will turn newly-married Grace Munroe's life upside down: 'Our firm is handling the estate of the deceased Mrs Eva D'Orsey and it is our duty to inform you that you are named as the chief beneficiary in her will. We request your presence at our offices at your earliest convenience, so that we may go through the details of your inheritance.' There is only one problem. Grace has never heard of Eva D'Orsey. So begins a journey which leads Grace through the streets of Paris and into the seductive world of perfumers and their muses.

    Elissa says: "Very much enjoyed..."
    "Engaging and intriguing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a thoroughly enjoyable novel. It was human, gentle, very intriguing -- and altogether rewarding.

    The plot was beautifully crafted: stories of different individuals in different times and places, skilfully melded together against the background of the science, emotions and creativity involved in creating perfumes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Case of Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1318)
    Performance
    (1131)
    Story
    (1141)

    A high-profile attorney in the middle of a leave of absence following a personal tragedy is drawn back into the legal arena amidst a media firestorm when he agrees to represent a popular rap artist accused of brutally murdering his pop star girlfriend. With its powerful voice, pause-resisting tension, and strong cast of characters, Adam Mitzner’s novels are reminiscent of such best-selling authors as Scott Turow and John Grisham.

    cristina says: "Excellent"
    "Perseverance was rewarded!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I persevered with this novel because I had enjoyed Mitzner's first, A Conflict of Interest. But perseverance was required. It was too long, some of the key characters were uninteresting. Althought it was written in the first person by a man who was in pretty straightened circumstances, and the narrator needed to reflect a wide range of deeply felt emotions, it was read with urgency and desperation without any let up.

    But, continuing to the end was indeed rewarded with an interesting conclusion.

    I look forward to Mitzner's next novel. He is well informed and interesting where legal issues are concerned and an engaging author with creative plots. But in this novel, I just felt that he was just trying too hard and overwriting.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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