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Pamela

Member Since 2011

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 123 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • Cocaine Blues

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (663)
    Performance
    (448)
    Story
    (449)

    It's the end of the roaring twenties, and the exuberant and Honourable Phryne Fisher is dancing and gaming with gay abandon. But she becomes bored with London and the endless round of parties. In search of excitement, she sets her sights on a spot of detective work in Melbourne, Australia. And so mystery and the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse, appear in her life. From then on it's all cocaine and communism until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "A series that just gets better"
    "A fun romp!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Need a light read to entertain you for a few hours? You do do much worse than this short, entertaining view into the dangerous, scandalous and adventurous life of Phryne Fisher. Phryne must be the cause of many grey hairs and sleepless nights for her parents, but I would love to tag along on her next impulsive journey.

    If you long for books where the chaste, demure woman and righteous man prevail, this one is not for you. If you think a story should be edifying and have a moral, this book may not be your cup of tea. But if you think a heroine can have fun while sinning and still be able to do the right thing, albeit with verve and style, Phryne may belong in your pantheon of favorite leading characters.

    I doubt any of the narrator's accents are accurate, but she keeps the book moving right along with a great pace and plenty of personality.

    This is my first Kerry Greenwood novel and will not be my last.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Education of Little Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Forrest Carter
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (211)
    Story
    (212)

    After his parents die, five-year-old Little Tree goes to live with his grandparents in their cabin deep in the Tennessee mountain hollows. Granpa instructs the boy in the ancient wisdom of “The Way” of honoring nature’s subtle balance. Even when he faces racism and the white authorities try to take him from his grandparents, Little Tree’s understanding and humor sustain him.

    Nancy says: "Comfort food"
    "Heartwarming tale of life in the hollows"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not a story, rather a narrative by a young boy of what he learned at the knee of his grandfather during the late 1920s. I smiled and laughed at many of the lessons learned and this family made its way into my heart. The only section of the story that does not fit is about an hour towards the end where the action is moved away from the gentle rhythm of the cabin in the woods. I know this was a reality of many Native Americans during the period covered but it seems gratuitous and ill-fitting in this book. The rest of the book is full of lessons for all of us - don't trust politicians, take only what you need and respect the earth. Do not suppose this is a cliche ridden sermon on the evils of civilization - there is nary a cliche to be found and sermons are not to be trusted in this tale. The narrator is excellent and expresses the wide eyed discoveries of a 5 year old without the nasal whiny tone of some narrators when reading a child's voice. If you love your family, you will understand the hearts of Little Tree and his grandparents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trustee from the Toolroom

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (349)
    Performance
    (313)
    Story
    (314)

    Keith Stewart, a retiring and ingenious engineer, could not have been happier in his little house in the shabby London suburb of Ealing. There he invented the mini-motor, the six-volt generator, and the tiny Congreve clock. Then a chain of events sweeps him into deep waters and leads him to his happiest discovery yet.

    Marc says: "Favorite book in ages!!"
    "Sweet story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I knew Nevil Shute from "A Town Like Alice" and "On the Beach." While this book takes place in the same period (post WWII), it is a distinctly different tale. What it does have in common with "A Town Like Alice" is a main character placed in a totally unfamiliar environment.

    The charmingly naive Keith Stewart sets off to do the right thing by his orphaned niece. He encounters lots of adventures and adventurers along the way. One of the things I liked best about this book was the brotherhood of amateur engineers who do everything they can to help Keith on the way - from back room tinkerers to corporate magnates. I wish Keith had been my uncle!

    Frank Muller does a fine job narrating the varied and multinational characters. I am sure they are not all authentic but he does give a distinct personality that seems to match the character he is reading. Never does his narration distract from the story and that is high praise.

    This is a book of the period - be warned that a woman is not considered a worthy manager and single men are less valuable employees than married men, but it is easy to remember when it was written. I did laugh at the assumption that "modern" aircraft would require less hydraulic technology in the future.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Countryfile: Adam's Farm - My Life on the Land

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Adam Henson
    • Narrated By Nicky Henson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Countryfile’s Adam Henson’s life on the land - read by Nicky Henson.Adam Henson is the best-known farmer in the UK. After eight years as a roving presenter on Britain’s most watched countryside show, Countryfile, he now presents his own section of the programme from his farm every Sunday. But after the TV crews leave, Adam returns to the job he loves most - working the land and looking after his livestock. This is a searchingly honest account of the highs and lows of a year of life on the farm.

    Margaret says: "Stick with TV, or take some writing workshops Adam"
    "Some very good sections, some not very good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When Adam sticks to the farm and the animals, this can be an engaging book, Unfortunately it starts with a rather long section about his television show in which he comes off as a bit pretentious. I also got tired of his justifications of why he isn't organic juxtaposed against his condemnations of other farmers who do not make the same choices he does in other areas. He does give a good view into the struggles faced by English farmers, although to be honest he does not suffer the the same dire consequences as his peers do. I enjoyed the sections about the traditional breeds of livestock and why they faded from popularity.

    The narrator did not consistently pronounce words clearly and sometimes spoke quickly so the phrases slurred together. This makes sections with unfamiliar concepts and names something of a challenge.

    It would be unlikely that I would spend my time on another book by this author or any selection read by this narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Return of the Dancing Master

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (412)
    Performance
    (238)
    Story
    (234)

    Stefan Lindman, a young police officer recently diagnosed with mouth cancer, decides to investigate the murder of his former colleague, but is soon enmeshed in a mystifying case with no witnesses and no apparent motives. Terrified of the disease that could take his life, Lindman becomes more and more reckless as he unearths the chilling links between Molin's death and an underground neo-Nazi network that runs further and deeper than he could ever have imagined.

    Thomas says: "Good, but Author Has Better"
    "Not my favorite Henning Mankell"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The primary character in this volume is Stefan Lindman, a self absorbed policeman who acts as though the laws of the land do not apply to him. The story is complicated and entwined, as are most Mankell books. The characters are complicated and opaque, as are people in real life. The story here has depth, mystery and layers of understanding. It invokes the consequences of our personal histories and the histories of cultures. I should love this book, but I simply like it.

    This book is better than the average detective novel out in the wild, but not as good as my favorite Mankell novels. Maybe it that is from my ill-suited affection for Kurt Wallander, the socially inept detective of many of Mankell's novels. Maybe it is because I felt actual dislike for Stefan Lindman who is careless with those who love him and irrational in his obsession with death caused by the tongue cancer detected early in the novel. Maybe it is because he gets to take months off work for this same tongue cancer when he is perfectly capable of going about his normal life (why, oh why did Mankell select such a ridiculous malady?).

    The narration is good and appropriate to the book. I probably prefer Dick Hill's narration (for several other Mankell novels) but that could simply be from familiarity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Uniform Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (31)

    When Venetian detective Commissario Guido Brunetti is called to investigate a presumed suicide in Venice's elite military academy, his inquiries are immediately met with a wall of silence. The young man is the son of a doctor and former politician, a man of an impeccable integrity all too rare in Italian politics. Dr. Moro seems devastated by his son's death, but is not eager to talk to the police.

    Armand says: "nice travel guide to venice, weak story"
    "Not one of my favorite Brunetti stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story includes most of my favorite characters from the Brunetti series but places them in a completely new environment - a military school. While Guido always fights red tape and needless delay, here they are his primary opponents. I do not feel you get as much Venetian ambiance in this edition as it is primarily focused on the society and culture of the military and the school. David Colacci, as always, does a fine job narrating but did not pull me into the story as much in Uniform Justice as he does with other books in the series.

    If you are new to Inspector Brunetti, I would not recommend starting with this book. Try the first in the series, Acqua Alta (unfortunately not available at Audible) or one of the fine later installments: The Girl of His Dreams, Through a Glass Darkly or Drawing Conclusions. Be sure to pick one narrated by Colacci - he is by far the best for this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The House at Riverton

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2147)
    Performance
    (1279)
    Story
    (1270)

    Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again....Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken, and memories, long consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks.

    Cathy says: "superbly written mystery"
    "Poor narrator choice for a very bad book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Others have mentioned the selection of Caroline Lee for this book. Her voice is nice and easy to listen too, but her accent constantly grated on my ear as she doe not do a credible upper class Englishwoman (or Englishman or American). Her version of Deborah almost incited me to violence upon my iPod. I would listen to her on a different book, though.

    I would not, however, listen to another book by Kate Morton. This was my first and it was torture to get through this one. It is NOT Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs. It is a pale copy written by someone who apparently has done no research on the time period or lifestyles of the British upper-class during the 1910s and 1920s. Her characters are silly and unbelievable. The anachronisms abound, almost laughable. Who is complaining about those new fangled automobiles 20 years after they take over city street? In what world is the maid conveniently dusting the THE SAME ROOM where her masters are entertaining or sharing secrets? Spying, surely, but not dusting. Where does a man who marries into a family become master of the manor house and estate even though he is not the heir to the title? (who is for that matter, as is never discussed again? that is who would be living in the house). I could continue, but I want to purge this idiotic book from my mind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Stephen E. Ambrose
    • Narrated By Jeffrey DeMunn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (136)

    The very young men who flew the B24s over Germany in World War II against terrible odds were an exemplary band of brothers. In The Wild Blue, Stephen Ambrose recounts their extraordinary brand of heroism, skill, daring, and comradeship. Stephen Ambrose describes how the Army Air Forces recruited, trained, and chose those few who would undertake the most demanding and dangerous jobs in the war.

    jud says: "Terrific book."
    "Tribute to McGovern and his crew"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an interesting, but not particularly enlightening, book. Ambrose obviously idolizes McGovern. While I admire and am thankful for the sacrifices of the servicemen of WWII, the fact is that they were not all universally selfless and exemplary human beings. There were cowards, cheats, and evil men even in the Army Air Force. You will get no hint of that in this book - everyone was an unmitigated hero, every decision by leadership was fair and wise, no crewmember made foolish and deadly mistakes.

    At no point do any of the claims of former pilots or crew get the scrutiny a true work of research would have required. The 60 year old memories of the brave servicemen often ring more of apocrypha than truth - a bit of flak piercing a map right at the home base of the crew comes to mind.

    There is a mention in passing about the high causalities from frostbite aboard the bombers, but no criticism or discussion of the political decisions that ignored the risk to the young men who lived with the dangerous and frightening situation daily. Ball gunners were subject to horrendously uncomfortable working conditions but did not have a particularly high success rate in protecting their planes, according to other, less awestruck, authors.

    Ambrose did us a service by giving us the story of a single crew. This is the type of book that humanizes war and we all need to understand that it is men, women, sisters, fathers, sons and wives who fight and die in wars.

    The narrator was competent and for a different book would probably be excellent. But he conveys none of the youthful enthusiasm of the airmen then, nor the wistful recollections of the same men today. He presents the book in a straightforward and direct style that is not in keeping with the writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • History of Greed: Financial Fraud from Tulip Mania to Bernie Madoff

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By David E. Y. Sarna
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (38)

    From the earliest financial scams of the 17th century, through the headline-grabbing Wall Street scandals of our times, History of Greed provides a history of financial fraud. In it, David E. Y. Sarna exposes the true and often riveting stories of how both naive and sophisticated investors alike were fooled by unscrupulous entrepreneurs, lawyers, hedge fund managers, CPAs, Texas billionaires, political fundraisers, music managers, financial advisers, and even former Mossad agents.

    PHIL says: "Occasionally uneven or plodding, but spellbinding"
    "Half is good history; half is hopeless out-of-date"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author seems to have been under an irresistible urge to get this published in the midst of Bernard Madoff scandal. The half of the book devoted to that particular exhibition of greed is full of suggestion and innuendo but little substantial fact. It was written before charges were settled or investigative information publically disclosed. Needless to say, years later it reads like a newspaper story of the time, not a considered review of the final outcome. I did not find this major section of the book to be illuminating or even-handed.

    The rest of the book, however, was what I was hoping for. While certainly not inclusive of all financial frauds, it was illustrative of the kind of frauds that can be successfully implemented. Anyone who thinks they can spot a "great investment opportunity" ought to read through the sad experiences of the past.

    There was a distracting onslaught of case numbers and websites, which can be quickly skimmed in a paper book but grated on my ear in audio form. The author seemed to be under the misapprehension that anonymous bloggers have as much credibility as respected journalists.

    The narrator was not a good choice for this book. He mispronounced company and individual names - demonstrating a lack of familiarity with the financial world.

    I would love to find a good book that delivers what this volume advertises – a history of fraud and greed throughout history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death and Judgment: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (77)

    A truck crashes and spills its dangerous cargo on a treacherous road in the Italian Dolomite mountains. Meanwhile, in Santa Lucia, a prominent international lawyer is found dead aboard an intercity train. Suspecting a connection between the two tragedies, Commissario Guido Brunetti digs deep for an answer, stumbling upon a seedy Venetian bar that holds the key to a crime network that reaches far beyond the laguna.

    Anne says: "Escape to Northern Italy if you dare..."
    "Not as Venice-oriented as the other Brunetti books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Donna Leon's Venetian police procedurals have long been on my favorites list and I would read anything that stars Guido Brunetti.

    This edition is a bit of a change as much of the story does not occur in Venice - as many would guess from the introductory road accident. It also visits some very unpleasant issues - something which does not become clear until late in the book. Unlike most in this series, the squeamish index shoots to the top in one scene - be forewarned if violent sex bothers you (not graphic but violent).

    But it does feature my favorite cast of characters and give a glimpse into the everyday life of a Venetian family (Venetian, mind you, not Italian).

    David Colacci is a fabulous narrator for this series - he IS Guido Brunetti to my ears.

    I would not recommend this as a first read in the series - but if you are already addicted, this should keep you satisfied.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Italian Shoes

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Henry Strozier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (65)

    With more than 30 million copies of his works published, in 37 languages, award-winning author Henning Mankell may be Sweden's most accomplished novelist. Here he crafts the icy, atmospheric tale of Fredrik Welin, a disgraced surgeon living in exile on a small island. When Fredrik receives a surprise visit from a lover he abandoned decades earlier, he begins the difficult road to redemption.

    E. Golladay says: "Wonderful"
    "Nothing like Kurt Wallander"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Henning Mankell's work and expected to love this novel, even though it is not a mystery nor does it cast the same characters as I know from the Wallander books.

    But right from the first, I found this a difficult read. The characters are not in the least appealing and selfishness and petty grudges get tiresome after awhile. Not all grudges are petty, however, and the ones that aren't, make me like these people even less. There is an amazing streak of recklessness that runs through all of the major players. Some of them have paid a high price for mistakes in the past, but they certainly have not learned from those mistakes.

    If I were to meet any of the major characters out in the real world, I would watch them with morbid fascination for a bit, then have to turn away in disgust. Sadly, the book continued long after my fascination ended.

    I will continue to read any Mankell books that I find as he is a marvelous writer, but I hope I do not come across any more failed doctors or terrible mothers in the process, or at least any like those in this book.

    The narrator did a fine job and was credible as the aging, dissolute protagonist.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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