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Susan L. Stewart

House of Books

Commerce, TX | Member Since 2005


  • Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Selected Unabridged Stories)

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Annie Proulx
    • Narrated By Frances Fisher, Bruce Greenwood, Campbell Scott

    Annie Proulx's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in this collection of stories about loneliness, quick violence, and wrong kinds of love. In "The Mud Below", a rodeo rider's obsession marks the deepening fissures between his family life and self-imposed isolation. In "The Half-Skinned Steer", an elderly fool drives west to the ranch he grew up on for his brother's funeral, and dies a mile from home.

    Susan L. Stewart says: "A Wonderfully Ironic and Surprising Read"
    "A Wonderfully Ironic and Surprising Read"
    Any additional comments?

    Like the previous reviewer, I don???t usually enjoy short stories. I don???t know why. In fact, this is the first book of short stories I have downloaded in my many years of being an Audible member. However, unlike the previous reviewer, I highly recommend Proulx???s text. Do realize that Proulx doesn???t provide fairy tale endings. Rather, she captures the ironic nature of living in a world that is ugly and beautiful, cruel and loving, desolate and plentiful. She describes the rich and sometimes impoverished sense of Wyoming and any other open range that seldom embraces an easy life, particularly in human terms. Proulx???s Wyoming and other spaces like Wyoming don???t always tolerate humans. Nevertheless, the humans Proulx describes (and others I???ve known) feel compelled to inhabit (conquer?) these open spaces. She reminds us of human frailty in the midst of large spaces that can???t be conquered. I liked these stories, even if they made me feel small. I liked the surprises even if they weren???t pleasant. I liked the humanity even when it seemed to get lost in acres of snow or mud. And I liked how humanity is frequently defeated even as it is elevated.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Various Haunts of Men: A Simon Serrailler Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Susan Hill
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey

    A woman vanishes in the fog up on "the Hill", an area locally known for its tranquility and peace. The police are not alarmed; people usually disappear for their own reasons. But when a young girl, an old man, and even a dog disappear, no one can deny that something untoward is happening in this quiet town. Young policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case; she's new to the job, compassionate, inquisitive, and dedicated to the task of unraveling the mystery behind this gruesome sequence of events.

    karen says: "Best of the best...."
    "Didn't See It Coming!"

    Wow. Lots of turns and twists in this novel. While I frequently don't solve the mystery--the whodunnit--before the denouement, I usually have a sense of everything. I wasn't prepared for the conclusion of this one. Again, wow! Granted, there are several red herrings, as there should be in a good mystery, but they serve a purpose by providing several parallels and perspectives. They require that readers consider various options, what they would be willing to do in some circumstances, and how far they would go to find answers and cures. Mystery novels function on several levels: they offer what probably happened, what could happen, what couldn't happen, and then what actually happened. Seldom is a police investigation straightforward. Nothing is straightforward here, which is as it should be. I will read other novels by Susan Hill. Looking for them now . . .

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Day By Day Armageddon

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By J L Bourne
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In your hands is the handwritten journal depicting one man's struggle for survival. Trapped in the midst of global disaster, he must make decisions; choices that ultimately mean life, or the eternal curse to walk as one of them. Enter, if you will, into the world of the undead.

    rob haight says: "Great book! More more more!!"
    "A Mulligan, Please"

    This is one of those books that makes my "mulligan" list; you know, the kind that you wished you hadn't purchased or listened to? The author doesn't know how to balance between the reality of diary entries and the literary qualities necessary in good storytelling. Maybe, just maybe, if it had been in a traditional third-person narration it would've worked. I just know the narrative failed miserably in its current form.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "To Be Listened to 10,000 Times Because"

    "Jackson ain't no special place. They's 10,000 towns just like it."

    This novel chronicles the beauty and exquisitely painful stupidity of human beings in the United States regarding race. I've read and listened to hundreds (thousands?) of novels in my lifetime, from Stephen King and Terry Pratchett and Stieg Larsson and Harper Lee and Dostoevsky and Bronte and Alcott, and Homer and more. I don't know that I will ever encounter a novel as moving, triumphant, poignant, and revealing as this one again.

    Amazing. Simply amazing.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Blues in the Night: Molly Blume #1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Rochelle Krich
    • Narrated By Deanna Hurst
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    An unidentified woman in a nightgown is the victim of a hit-and-run accident that leaves her unconscious and seriously injured. The image of the young woman stumbling along a dark, winding road is one true-crime writer Molly Blume cannot shake. It draws her to a bedside in intensive care, where, before dying, the victim whispers three names: Robbie, Max, and Nina. It is sufficient enough to reinforce Molly's gut instinct that there are sinister circumstances behind the assault on Lenore Saunders.

    Sandra says: "Heroine is a dummy"
    "Pretty Good"

    A good listen. Some humor, some romance, and lots of wondering who did the dastardly deeds. A major bonus: Molly knows how to take care of herself and doesn't need anyone to save her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Thirteen-year-old Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle, Daphne - a girl from the other side of the globe - is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

    James says: "Transcends categories"
    "Gets Better the Second and Third Time Around"

    I've listened to this novel three times. It's a wonderful novel to begin with, but it gets better with each listen. The characters are intellectually curious and thoughtful and influenced by healthy and amusing cynicism. They accept nothing at face value. And, Mau's ability to milk a pig is quite remarkable. As usual, Pratchett has turned everything on its head. Pratchett is the best.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Person of Interest: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susan Choi
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne

    Lee is a math professor at a second-tier university in the Midwest. When a mail bomb goes off in the office of the star computer scientist next door, Lee is slow to realize that students and colleagues have begun to suspect that he's the Brain Bomber, an elusive terrorist whose primary targets appear to be academic hotshots.

    glamazon says: "Slow going...but worth it!"
    "Listening to it a Second Time"

    So that I don't spend my credits half-way through my subscriptions, I'm listening to my favorites again. This is one of them. One of the reviewers indicated that she didn't like or care about Lee. I don't necessarily like or care about him either, but I think that's part of the novel--part of what makes him "a person of interest"--how do we respond to those people the authorities deem "a person of interest?" I'm fairly certain that Lee doesn't know or like himself either. Forgive the cliche, but Choi unpeels the onion. Choi takes her time revealing the characters. If you're fine with a slow revelation of motivation and a somewhat existential novel, you'll probably enjoy this. And, while I thought it odd that a female narrates a male focalizer, I nonetheless enjoyed listening to her. There's something about her voice that engaged me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Footprints of God

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Greg Iles
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the heart of North Carolina's Research Triangle stands a corporate laboratory much like the others nearby. But behind its walls, America's top scientists work around the clock to attain the holy grail of the 21st century - a supercomputer that surpasses the power of the human mind.

    A User says: "Footprints of God"

    I like the way Iles reconceptualizes God, but the conclusion was way beyond my ability to suspend disbelief. My biggest issue was the Christ story. Entirely annoying.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered.

    David says: "irritatingly engrossing"
    "Didn't Want it to End"

    I can't imagine a better novel. I suspect I'll compare everything else to Larsson, and everything else will fall short. I'll listen to this more than once (I've already listened to his previous novel twice). This one is equal to, if not better than, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And that's saying a great deal. The characters are exceptionally well drawn, the plot tight, and the narrator--well, I could listen to him all day. In fact, I did. I'm in mourning that there will only be one more book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Shiver

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Lisa Jackson
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Detective Reuben "Diego" Montoya is back in New Orleans. Thanks to years of working with the dark side of society, his youthful swagger is gone, replaced by straightforward determination. He'll need it, because a serial killer is turning The Big Easy into his personal playground. The victims are killed in pairs - no connection, no apparent motive, no real clues. Somebody's playing a sick game, and Montoya intends to beat him at it.

    Nancy says: "shiver"
    "So Bad on So Many Levels"

    If you want to listen to a smart, sexy, engaging novel that deals with serial killers, DON'T LISTEN to this novel. Reuben Montoya is truly hot, hot, hot (where ARE these guys???), and I wasn't sure of "whodunit" until near the end, but everything else? Formulaic and cliche. In fact, I think this author consulted the dictionary of cliches: (imagine quotation marks around the following) figment of her imagination, the flash of white teeth, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, too young to die, shake uncontrollably, tears burned [or sprang to] her eyes, This guy's dangerous. Don't worry . . . So am I, There but for the grace of God go I, nerves stretched tight as piano wires, figment of the imagination, brooding eyes,stopped dead in her tracks, icing on the cake, and so on. And don't forget the forms of erections, usually against the back. I'm especially troubled by Faith's rapes and her responses. And WOW! Talk about simplistic thinking? One of the characters, who knows she has been abducted by the serial killer, refers to him as a monster, a lunatic, a murdering psycho, and a creep Well. Yes. He's a serial killer. This could have been an interesting contrast in psychopathic behavior, obsession, lust, passion, and desire. But it's not.

    So. If you want a smart, sexy, engaging novel that deals with serial killers, listen to

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and then be sure to listen to The Girl Who Played with Fire.

    No cliches. No formula. Just good, smart writing, writing that will make you wish the novel didn't end.

    Or, you can listen to some Robicheaux (Burke) or

    early Scarpetta (Cornwell).

    If you want something lighter, listen to Lust, Loathing, and a Little Lip Gloss (Davis).

    Spend your hours, money, and credits on something that deserves it.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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