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Tracy Hoffmann

Downingtown, PA USA | Member Since 2007

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 90 ratings
  • 789 titles in library
  • 59 purchased in 2014
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  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Diane Setterfield
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4988)
    Performance
    (1862)
    Story
    (1875)

    All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain.

    PA Law says: "Haunting and beautiful tale"
    "Wow! What a ride!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Thirteenth Tale to be better than the print version?

    Don't know why this question keeps popping up. I don't usually read AND listen to the same book. I might be tempted to do so with this book, however. Just wonderful.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The strange, twisted life of a privileged family falling into madness was certainly a draw, but the way the story wove between present and past was so expertly done, both story lines kept my interest and I didn't find myself wishing to follow one or the other. Perfect balance.


    Have you listened to any of Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Nope.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Oh please!


    Any additional comments?

    I'm not sure I would tag this as a mystery, although there were certainly some mysteries that did pop up in the story. It is a true Gothic tale, with unanswered family relationships, a crumbling mess of a mansion and plenty of lonely, seemingly successful, but ultimately unfulfilled, characters. Will probably listen to it a dozen more times!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Way Home: Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (849)
    Performance
    (772)
    Story
    (767)

    Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole." While Gamache doesn't talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache's help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There’s power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.

    David Walker says: "Back in 3 Pines"
    "A continuation, not a starting point"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Long Way Home to be better than the print version?

    I have no idea.


    If you’ve listened to books by Louise Penny before, how does this one compare?

    This book is not a stand-alone. Readers would need to have read other works by Louise Penny in the Three Pines series to find any connection with this book. I can understand why one reviewer said it was just plain boring and the lead female character was not compelling. Without the back story of all the other books in the series, this book would be a total bore. No one would care how it ended.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ralph Cosham’s performances?

    I really wish someone else would narrate these books. As good as the stories are, Ralph Chosham's narration is terrible, totally deadpan, without any inflection. It doesn't matter if a character is laughing or cursing or dying, Mr. Cosham's narration just plows ahead, with no concession to emotion or the action that's taking place. Awful!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, this is definitely a book that can be picked up and put down and picked up again without any need to rush to the conclusion.


    Any additional comments?

    This book seemed like a pause in the series, not the end of it. While the plot wasn't very compelling, it did bring many of the series' characters together in a different dynamic. This may be the way the author sets up the shift in Armand Gamache's crime fighting from head of homicide to retired detective. Hopefully, his future cases have a little more action in them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10218)
    Performance
    (9349)
    Story
    (9370)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Not a fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This book is way too impressed with itself. The descriptive writing bludgeons the listener to death. If you didn't get a sense of the narrator's despair about his mother's death, don't worry, you'll get another 500 pages of similar writing to catch up. Not sure how the narrator drowns his misery in drugs and alcohol? Again, no worries, there are plenty of chapters of very descriptive writing to clue you in. This book needed an editor with the courage or the permission to remove at least half of this tedious novel. Not sure I want to invest another 10 hours to finish this book, but I'm sure I'll be short of credits at some point and will come back to it. There are so many good books out there, I'm not sure why anyone would spend the time on this. I didn't find it Dickensian or anything close. I love Dickens. He sets up his characters and moves the plot along. This book never does.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not sure, but have lined up a couple of new listens, including a JD Robbs novel, just to listen to something that moves along and reaches a conclusion before I get another year older.


    Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

    Hobbie was one character that was welled played and seemed well written.


    Could you see The Goldfinch being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Good heavens, let's hope not! It would just be a pathetic soap opera of despair.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Desires of the Dead: A Body Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Kimberly Derting
    • Narrated By Eileen Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (62)

    The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life. As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession.

    Farrell says: "Interesting Idea but....."
    "Just awful! Pre-teen bodice clutcher."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Don't waste a credit or your time on this awful attempt at copying what Charlaine Harris has already done so well. If the idea of locating dead bodies interests you, check out Ms. Harris' Harper Connelly stories, but don't bother with this mess of a book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hangman's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translator)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1523)
    Performance
    (1359)
    Story
    (1353)

    When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. When more children disappear and an orphan is found dead with the same mark, the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth.

    Margaret says: "Great but graphic"
    "Wish I'd read the book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a great book, very engaging, but the narrator was just awful! Lacking any inflection, he rattled on in a monotone, even when describing some really harrowing bits of the story. Still well worth a listen, I wish I'd read the book, since I think I would have given this a 5-star rating. The narrator almost killed it for me.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lodger: A Tale of the London Fog

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Marie Belloc Lowndes
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    An elderly couple living in Victorian London struggle against despair as their small resources dwindle. When an eccentric and mysterious gentleman answers their advertisement for a lodger, they celebrate. But as women begin dying at the hands of "The Avenger", they start to suspect something too horrific for words.

    Pamela says: "enjoyable"
    "Just dreadful."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Couldn't wait for this one to be over. The story, what there was of it, was boring and I just wanted to smack the main characters silly. You have a creepy boarder who gives you a bunch of money for rent in advance and you don't want to upset the apple cart when you suspect he's a serial killer? Gimme a break. The performance was equally drab, with an American putting on British accents for the various characters. Save your credit!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Little Bee: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Chris Cleave
    • Narrated By Anne Flosnik
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1607)
    Performance
    (871)
    Story
    (871)

    British couple Andrew and Sarah O'Rourke, vacationing on a Nigerian beach in a last-ditch effort to save their faltering marriage, come across Little Bee and her sister, Nigerian refugees fleeing from machete-wielding soldiers intent on clearing the beach. The horrific confrontation that follows changes the lives of everyone involved in unimaginable ways.

    Katerina says: "Good book, well told"
    "Just too dull"
    Overall

    This book never really got going. I never connected with any of the characters and the storyline's skipping back and forth in time did nothing to enhance the drama. I don't know what all the secrecy is about, either, but the plot never lived up to the hype. Skip this book. There are so many worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sculptress

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Minette Walters
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    Everyone knows Olive Martin, the huge and menacing woman who was found five years ago with the carved-up bodies of her mother and younger sister. Everyone knows how she pleaded guilty to murder at her trial. And everyone knows not to anger the Sculptress even now that she is safely locked in prison for a minimum of 25 years.

    Kathy says: "Good story, poor narration"
    "Top-notch crime fiction"
    Overall

    Unlike the other review here, I didn't find the romantic plot twist a distraction from the story. The twists and turns of the narrative were first-rate and the plot kept me guessing until the last few chapters. Great stuff and a terrific listen.

    1 of 1 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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27645)
    Performance
    (14234)
    Story
    (14288)

    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!"
    "Extraordinary!"
    Overall

    These characters are so clearly drawn, you feel that you could step into the book. Pitch perfect narration, a storyline that doesn't quit and the realization that you may have learned something about human relations that you didn't know before make this a must-have audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fool: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2328)
    Performance
    (1131)
    Story
    (1147)

    Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear demands that his kids swear to him their undying love and devotion. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of...well...stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

    Michael says: "Mr Moore does it again."
    "Witty, naughty and human"
    Overall

    Picked this up on a whim and must say I was glad I did. "Fool" is funny and clever, in a very midevil way. A good story, packaged with a great narrator, makes for a terrific listen. Pocket is a wonderful protagonist, who manages to poke fun at himself as often as the other characters. Am looking forward to listening to more of Mr. Moore to see if the magic is just with this book/narrator or if he is to become a new favorite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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