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Anne

ratings
134
REVIEWS
98
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
7
HELPFUL VOTES
193

  • The Beginning: Longhorn Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Dusty Rhodes
    • Narrated By Gene Engene
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (263)
    Story
    (265)

    Buck Cordell is a giant of a man in a giant, untamed land called Texas. He builds a cattle ranch where ordinary men all say it can't be done a cattle empire that defies all odds, a family that changes the course of Texas history, and a legacy that outlives the Old West.

    AudioAddict says: "Don't like westerns...LOVED this book!"
    "Simplistic, Predictable, Improbable."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pros: The story moved along at a good pace. The threads were fairly easy to follow.

    Cons:
    1. The narrator had a fairly narrow range of voices... as long as the characters were male. His female voices were not well done. His 5 male voices were able to be rendered in both a southern and a Spanish accent, so that helped.
    2. There was no "plot" to speak of. Clearly this is going to be a "saga." And that's fine; I like sagas, but not this one because...
    3. The story begins with $20,000 falling into the lap of Buck and Chet, which not only gives them an excellent opportunity to successfully kill a lot of people to protect the money (that doesn't belong to them) but also to spend lavishly to start their cattle ranch.
    4. They are so insanely successful, that it almost becomes laughable. There are cattle ranchers in Mexico that will sell cattle to him for $3 a head, delivered, knowing he's going to sell them in Missouri for $20. But instead he gets $40 because the demand is so high! Then they plan to begin flooding the market with cattle and instead of any worries about driving down the price, it keeps rising.
    5. There is absolutely no problem with finding top-notch, loyal, skilled and willing workers as the ranch operations explode in size from 2 to hundreds in a year.
    6. The ranch does get a few challenges thrown their way, but mostly the loyal partners and their loyal cowboys and loyal girlfriends just keep getting money thrown at them.
    7. Buck and Chet, in this first book, are putting all this money into LEASED ranch land with only a 5-year lease. Can anyone predict where that is going?
    8. When something bad happens, which usually forces them to kill a bunch of people, the boys think about it for a little while and then move on.

    In other words, this is a predictable, unchallenging, simplistic, unbelievable story that borders on juvenile.

    These hard-bitten survivors of the Confederate army, Texas cowboys don't even say "Damn!"

    I'm not buying book two. I'm somewhat sorry I bought book one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (888)
    Performance
    (800)
    Story
    (803)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Sires says: "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"
    "Time travel, humor and history - great combo!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book on one of Audibles sales and then bought and listened to the next three. I thoroughly enjoyed them all, but this is the one that roped me in.

    I enjoyed the great gobs of fascinating history we got to learn about in such an entertaining manner, but I really loved the exciting, cheeky, brave and fascinating adventures of the Historians of St. Mary's. But I especially loved the amazing Max - she of the red hair, great courage and smart ass.

    There is also violence and sarcasm and some rough language, so it's not "just chick lit."

    Ms. Rahm did a fairly good job. She could have used a bit more distinction among the voices, but I didn't lose the thread, so she must have been OK. She handled the British barbs with great skill, so the humor often drew an out-loud chuckle from me (which only got me odd looks once - while I was sitting in a waiting room waiting to get a mammogram.)

    Thoroughly enjoyable first book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Stranger

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Albert Camus
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (997)
    Performance
    (581)
    Story
    (581)

    Albert Camus' The Stranger is one of the most widely read novels in the world, with millions of copies sold. It stands as perhaps the greatest existentialist tale ever conceived, and is certainly one of the most important and influential books ever produced. Now, for the first time, this revered masterpiece is available as an unabridged audio production.

    Rolando says: "Is amorality bad?"
    "I'm either the wrong era or the wrong reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So, this was THE novel of mid-20th century, eh? Well... it beats me why.

    Perhaps I'm insufficiently "existentialist" or perhaps I am bored by sociopaths, but this one really left me cold (get it?) The main character is perhaps one of the flattest, least appealing, least sympathetic characters I've ever encountered and that is compounded by an essentially plotless, repetitive, pointless "story" that seemed to have almost nothing of value to say... about anything.

    At just over 3 and 1/2 hours, it certainly barely qualifies as a novel and, while the narrator did an OK job, I recognize that the poor sod had very little to work with!

    Like Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" and that ghastly piece of drek, "Wicked", this appears to be one of those books that get rave reviews and leave me scratching my head in puzzlement.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Second Chance Pass: Virgin River, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Robyn Carr
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (757)
    Performance
    (533)
    Story
    (534)

    Within a few short months, Vanessa buried her husband and birthed his son. When serendipity brings a man into her life again, her heart flutters anew. But just as he plans to reveal his love, another woman stakes her claim on him - a claim his sense of honor can't easily shake off.

    OLIVIA says: "Excellent"
    "One of my two favorite Virgin River novels"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this book a lot. I like all of the Virgin River books, but this and "Virgin River Christmas" are my two favorites in the VR series. I'm not sure what it is about Paige and Preacher and their story that captivated me, but they truly did. Preacher Middleton (John) is a archetype - well, pretty much all Carr's VR characters are! But he's a skillfully drawn archetype - the gentle giant who falls for the tiny helpless woman and rescues her.

    But, of course, this is VR, so the women are rarely actually helpless or stand idly by being rescued. Paige's courage and strength also rescue Preacher from the aloneness that suited him -- until it didn't.

    Yes, it's a romance, but Carr doesn't write just love and lust. She also writes as much as possible about real people in real situations and how they meet their challenges.

    And along the way you'll meet more of Virgin River's quirky cast of residents and fall a little bit more in love with the little town. The book carries Jack and Melinda's story forward as well because, of course, it all starts with them.

    It must also be said that Therese Plummer is as much a part of Virgin River as Jack's Bar. She doesn't have a wide range of voices, but something about her narration takes me into the characters in a way that just reading cannot do. I have read several of them, and they just don't "come alive" for me the way Plummer brings them to life when I listen to her read them.

    This isn't heavy reading, but it's great story-telling. Enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gray Mountain

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Catherine Taber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1129)
    Performance
    (1032)
    Story
    (1044)

    The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track - until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the "lucky" associates. She's offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she'd get her old job back. In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about.

    Marci says: "So Disappointing"
    "So disappointing on so many levels"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Gray Mountain?

    The plot.
    The characters.
    The narrator (OMG, the Narrator!!)
    The pace.
    The horrible, pointless ending.


    What didn’t you like about Catherine Taber’s performance?

    Where to start?
    Her little-girl voice made the protagonist (Samantha) sound like a petulant teenager, rather than a highly educated, young, up-and-coming attorney from a top-tier law firm.
    Ms. Tabor has no male voices at all. In fact, other than her rural twang, she has almost no variety to the voices she does have.
    It was often difficult to tell who was speaking. Her manner of reading sucked all "life" from the story.
    She lacks the ability to convey emotion so she seemed more to be reading a corporate policy manual than a novel.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not John Grisham-quality work at all. The protagonist has all the depth of a soda cracker.. and is just about that interesting - when she isn't simply annoying. In fact, none of the main characters had all that much depth with the possible exception of the Gray brothers ... sorta.
    The entire plot seems to be mostly a vehicle for discussing the evils of coal companies without Grisham having put any appreciable effort into actually telling a story.
    There is almost no courtroom time in this Grisham at all. He sort of tiptoes up to it... and then simply goes around it.
    And finally, having spent 16+ hours listening to this 14 hour reading (I had to go back and re-listen in some parts because of the poor narration) the book simply ended. Plunk. Important plot lines were left hanging because the protagonist made a rather lame and not very solid decision and the book was over. And there was I going, "What ...?!?"

    It stuns me to say this, but I'm giving Audible back a John Grisham novel. That's amazing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Every Reasonable Doubt: Vernetta Henderson Series No. 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Pamela Samuels Young
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (76)

    When attorneys Vernetta Henderson and Neddy McClain are tapped to take on the biggest case of their careers, they are less than thrilled about working together. Their strained relationship, however, is the least of their problems. Their socialite client - charged with the brutal murder of her husband - is demanding an immediate dismissal of the case. But a ruthless prosecutor is determined to make sure that doesn't happen.

    Amazon Customer says: "loved Special"
    "If you can get past the "What?!" parts..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this book OK. The plot is a good one and there are some well-drawn characters with depth and complexity whom I came to enjoy and care about.

    But there was some stuff that made me go, "What?!" The first was the part where, because Vernetta - a associate in a fairly small but apparently prestigious law firm - just won a really big civil suit, she ought to do a high profile criminal case. Um... what?

    The second was when she feels the need to see her OB-Gyn before she goes off the pill. ... What? Then it got downright weird when her gyno, upon learning that this young, healthy couple wants to make a baby, decides to do a "fertility workup" on them, starting with a sperm sample from her husband. This was laughable. All I could think was, "There is no OB on the planet that would order that before she has even gone off the pill, and certainly no insurance company that would cover it!"

    But my favorite was when, as the big important murder trial is coming to an end and the three defense attorneys are worrying about whether or not the prosecutor will tell the jury that the accused knew her husband was a cheating philanderer, it dawns on all three attorneys that no one has thought to interview the housekeeper of the victim and the accused - including, apparently, the police or the prosecutor. WHAT!?

    And it all cases, the author needed the results of these "What?" devises to move the plot. She ought to break that habit.

    If you can ignore this kind of thing, this is a pretty decent first attempt.

    Caveat: The choice of narrator seems strange. Almost every important character in this book is a female. The exceptions are Jefferson, Vernetta's husband; Riley, the managing partner in her firm; and Dave, one of the attorneys. But the narrator is male. He does the male voices - both black and white - fairly effectively, but I think he did a poor job overall on the female voices. His range of "female" seems very narrow and it's often difficult to tell which of the primary female characters is speaking.

    I have the second book in this series and I'm going to give it a try. I'm rather hoping things will have improved.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Bloody Jack

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By L.A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1615)
    Performance
    (1096)
    Story
    (1090)

    Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of 18th-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret.

    Terry says: "Sometimes it clicks"
    "Great fun if you can stand the narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise and the plot are both are both clever and fun - if you don't mind just ignoring certain issues related to a ... er ... "maturing" woman on a ship with almost no sanitary facilities that have to do with reality. But if you can reign in your inner skeptical grownup, you'll have fun with this story. What you won't have fun with is the narration. She does a nice job with most of the voices and the accents, but the modulation of her voice is painful and when Jacky whines or screams at full volume, be prepared to snatch those earbuds out of your ears quickly, lest you be rendered deaf. I found it irritating and highly distracting.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Birds of a Feather: Maisie Dobbs Mysteries

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Kim Hicks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (818)
    Performance
    (512)
    Story
    (512)

    Maisie Dobbs is back, and this time she has been hired to find a wealthy grocery magnate's daughter who has fled from home. What seems a simple case at first becomes complicated when Maisie learns of the recent violent deaths of three of the heiress's old friends. Is there a connection between her mysterious disappearance and the murders? Who would kill such charming young women? As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers to all her questions lie in the unforgettable agony of The Great War.

    Linda P-C says: "Yikes! This is a problem."
    "An unlikely favorite series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Maisie Dobbs. She's an unusual character in an interesting time and the narrator does a very nice job with all of the quirky and unusual characters that clutter Maisie's life. I appreciated the quality of this mystery, but I especially appreciated getting to know Maisie even better as she works to solve the mystery, help her assistant find his way out of loss and addiction and come to terms with her own loneliness.

    I shall continue to follow the adventures of Maisie Dobbs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • These Things Hidden

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Heather Gudenkauf
    • Narrated By Ali Ahn, Angela Lin, Angela Goethals
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (402)
    Performance
    (337)
    Story
    (330)

    Once the golden child of tiny Linden Falls, Iowa, Allison Glenn watches her reputation crumble as she is sent to prison for five years—convicted of a terrible crime. But what really happened that fateful night? Allison’s younger sister is the only other person who knows the truth. Now out of prison, Allison is more desperate than ever to set the record straight, but the revelation of the truth could have far-reaching consequences.

    C. Morris says: "Please save yourself the time"
    "Premise ruined the experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book starts out reasonably well. The narrators do a pretty good job although the woman who voiced Claire and Charm overdid it - too much "drama" in her voice. People don't talk like that.

    Here's what gets this book 3 stars - SPOILER ALERT - we are asked to believe that whoever passed for Social Services in this small town placed a foundling infant who had been left in a fire station at the age of 1 month with a couple who become readily identifiable to every single person involved in the existence of that child. Apparently, in this small town, privacy laws don't exist.

    But that wasn't quite good enough to ensure lives enmesh. When the child's mother returns from prison where she has served 5 years for drowning the child's twin sister, she *just happens* to get a job in the adoptive mother's bookstore - not the diner across the street or the nearby drug store but in the actual bookstore - where she, of course, instantly recognizes her son because he looks exactly like his father.

    The premise ruined the experience for me. It was a cheap plot devise.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All Our Yesterdays

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Cristin Terrill
    • Narrated By Meredith Mitchell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (477)
    Performance
    (428)
    Story
    (431)

    "You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain. Only Em can complete the final instruction. She's tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present - imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called "the doctor" while war rages outside.

    Tango says: "Should be classified as Sci-Fi"
    "It was OK, but frustrating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator did an adequate job although her characters tend to either sound the same (James and Finn) or sound distractingly stereotypical (Marina's mother, her two girlfriends who go mercifully away in the middle of the book.) By the time the book ended, the number of characters had boiled down to just a few and Ms. Mitchell managed them a little better.

    The plot is extremely clever but not well executed. Without inserting spoilers, it's hard to be too specific, but you will definitely find yourself asking yourself, "Wait! How did THAT happen?" For example, while James did, indeed "change everything," what Terrill doesn't let you see any part of is HOW. The mec. But, boy howdy, will you spend an annoyingly huge amount of time listening to Em/Marlina's inner dialogue about James ... and then Finn ... and then James... and then Finn.

    Maybe it was just me.

    Finn was my favorite character but, as only three of the characters had any real depth, there wasn't much to choose from.

    It's an OK read. I finished it and am not asking for a refund.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood: Outlander, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3905)
    Performance
    (3645)
    Story
    (3635)

    Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to 1743 Scotland, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for a young soldier, James Fraser.

    G. House Sr. says: "Eloquent Fabulous Historical - Grand Continuation"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First of all, I must say that Davina Porter is, once again, simply brilliant in her ability to bring all the many and varied characters to life. She is a pleasure to listen to her. Having said that...

    Before I read/listened to MOHB, I revisited "Outlander" and was reminded of what a wonderful author Gabaldon is. I also listened to the first half of "Voyager" which I also enjoyed so much. Then I reread/listened to "Echo in the Bone" and I was struck with a deep foreboding. Between "Voyager" and "Echo," something profoundly changed and I was reminded of the angst I felt during my first reading of this series by the time I got to "Fiery Cross." Too much information; not enough story.

    Gabaldon is having a great time doing research and writing in excruciating detail (and she does it very, very well,) but I think the storyline has taken a back seat to the history lessons and details and minutiae.

    The Brianna/Roger storyline provides an excellent example and is particularly annoying. It was going so well and I was fascinated by the various aspects of Roger's and Brianna's adjustments to the 1980's. I loved the device wherein Jamie and Claire's letters took us back to their "when." Roger and Brianna's careers were taking shape and getting acquainted with Lallybroch in modern times was fun, including the visit from Buck. But, all of a sudden, BAM, that's over and we're off on a tangent.

    And that pretty much sums up the whole experience that the Outlander series has become for me - too many tangents. I've got whiplash from being snapped back and forth among the various characters and each one is left hanging!

    I was very disappointed in this book from this amazingly talented author.

    25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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