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Anne

ratings
335
REVIEWS
197
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
27
HELPFUL VOTES
849

  • Methuselah's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (881)
    Performance
    (790)
    Story
    (799)

    After the fall of the American Ayatollahs as foretold in Stranger in a Strange Land and chronicled in Revolt in 2100, the United States of America at last fulfills the promise inherent in its first Revolution: for the first time in human history there is a nation with Liberty and Justice for All. No one may seize or harm the person or property of another, or invade his privacy, or force him to do his bidding. Americans are fiercely proud of their re-won liberties and the blood it cost them; nothing could make them forswear those truths they hold self-evident. Nothing except the promise of immortality…

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "I'T CAN'T ALWAYS BE TIME FOR TEA"
    "A delight to revisit a science fiction classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first read Methuselah's Children as a young woman and, although I was already hooked on Robert Heinlein, I fell in love with the characters of the Howard Families. I especially loved the amazing and swashbuckling free spirit, Lazarus Long (Woodrow Wilson Smith.) The story is sheer fun, although the message about the value of life and the importance of knowing it will end and facing that without fear, along with other thought-provoking themes elevated it above just "fluff."

    The original story was serialized in a Science Fiction magazine in 1941 (very common in those days.) It was expanded into a novel and published in 1958. It is part of what Heinlein called his "Future History" series. For me, having been alive - albeit very young - in 1958, the anachronisms seem both shocking and hilarious. As wise and "forward thinking" as Heinlein was for his time, there was much he didn't foresee. Two aspects most stand out as products of the time. The first is the ubiquitous smoking everyone was doing, which was hilarious. The second was the role of women, which was less hilarious. Admittedly, they weren't pictured quite as fully second-class citizens as they really were in the first half of the 20th century, but the firm hold of power that the men hold in this story is a stark reminder of what life was like then.

    Nevertheless, if you bring your imagination and remember when this was written, you'll enjoy it.

    Now I shall begin "Time Enough for Love," the sequel to "Methuselah's Children," and my absolute favorite Heinlein novel (well... along with "Stranger in a Strange Land," my other absolute favorite Heinlein.)

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Bees: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Laline Paull
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1162)
    Performance
    (1048)
    Story
    (1046)

    Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen.

    Emily - Audible says: "My Favorite Book of 2014"
    "Hours I Can Never Get Back"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stuck with this novel in spite of misgivings that arose fairly early on. Now I wish I hadn't. I kept thinking it would get better. It didn't. But the premise was so fascinating and the reviews so gushingly favorable that I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, I found the pace very slow and the narration grating. I also struggled with the "Mary Sue" qualities of Flora and idea of talking bees really distracted me badly.

    I don't recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Scribe of Siena: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melodie Winawer
    • Narrated By Cassandra Cambell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (253)

    Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother's affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined - a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

    Taryn says: "I hope this is the first in a series!"
    "Potential Unfulfilled"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I sometimes liked --- but did not love --- this book.

    Pros:
    --Ms. Winawer wove an intriguing tale of mystery, time travel, romance and history. Her research was clearly in depth and serious.
    --She captured my interest and imagination as regards life in 14th Century in Italy and the Black Plague.
    --Her descriptive skills are impressive. She brought some scenes "to life".

    Cons:
    Narration--
    I have not read the dead-tree version of this book, but I assume it was not written with characters speaking in Italian accents. Why the narrator and director chose to read most of the Italian characters with accents puzzles me. I found it distracting. Otherwise, she did an OK job.

    Time travel classic error --
    When Beatrice passes from one era to another, her "stuff" goes with her but in one notable case (tiny spoiler alert) a very old product from the 14th century that she brings with her from the 21st century becomes "new" again when she brings it with her back in time. Of course, any time travel story veteran knows that now there are two versions of the same book in the same time and that's a major no-no. In addition, if that happens to 14th century stuff brought back in time, then why do the 21st century products she brings back in time not disappear because they didn't exist then?

    Paranormal too? Wha...? Ms. Winawer did not need to include the whole paranormal empath nonsense. I never did figure out the point of that.

    Too much detail --
    The story bogged down in several places because of the incredible amount of detail the author included. It was as if she was channeling Diana Gabaldan, another time-travel/historical fiction writer (the Outlander series.) I found it very frustrating to be just getting involved in the tale and suddenly be bogged down with details that seemed inserted just because they could, but didn't advance or improve the story.

    Overall, I didn't love this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Getting Schooled

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Emma Chase
    • Narrated By Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt
    Overall
    (1037)
    Performance
    (988)
    Story
    (990)

    Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out. The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and "cool" teacher in the hometown where he's not just a golden boy - he's platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle. Then...Callie Carpenter comes home.

    Connie says: "unbelievably wonderful!"
    "Emma Chase Overcomes a Really Bad Cover"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pros:
    --- The book brings us Chase's usual sense of humor along with her keen knack for hitting all the romance buttons.
    --- The hero and heroine are believable and "human".
    --- The narration is excellent. Andi Arndt is the mistress of the romance heroine and this performance is no exception. I had not heard Webber before and he did an excellent job. I'd happily listen to him narrate the phone book.
    --- The story is a classic romance, with all the bumps along the road to a HE giving us a sweet, funny, somewhat hot story to "sweep us off our feet".

    Cons
    --- Chase really tasked me with believing the unbelievable. A hospital bed for two was quite a stretch (trust me on this - there is no such thing). A ten-month leave of absence in which one's newly-awarded promotion is held? Not on my planet. At least, not in the US in California in a theater. In fact, a broken leg that requires ten months of 24-hour care was quite a stretch.

    But if you don't mind the "Wha...?" moments, this is a very nice addition to the Emma Chase collection. It won't leave you pondering life's great questions, but it will leave you smiling.

    I recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tuscan Child

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble, Katy Sobey
    Overall
    (994)
    Performance
    (922)
    Story
    (918)

    In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal. Nearly 30 years later, Hugo's estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father's funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

    Anne says: "Knocked this one out of the park"
    "Knocked this one out of the park"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Rhys Bowen long ago proved her ability to develop interesting, complex characters and intriguing mysteries.

    This novel, however, is her absolute best. Set in 1944 and 1973, the premise uses the classic devise of exploring the same story from two points of view and, in this case, two time periods. Hugo Langley is living the situation in 1944 which creates the mystery for Hugo's estranged and troubled daughter Joanna to figure out in 1973 as she comes to terms with both his death and her life.

    I don't want to offer any detail that would allow any kind of spoiler, but I can safely tell you that Ms. Bowen has created a mystery, a romance, and a kind of coming-of-age story that will keep you curious until the very end. Nothing much is at is appears to be.

    In addition, Ms. Bowen has used language beautifully to bring several complex characters to life in settings that allow the reader to see, feel and smell.

    Finally, the narrators are both excellent. Katy Sobey does a wonderful job with Joanna's voice and the characters that live the story with her in 1973 as Joanna tries to solve the mystery she finds in her father's will. But Jonathan Keeble is simply outstanding reading Hugo as a British pilot trapped in a tiny town in Italy under German occupation as the Allies get closer.

    I highly and enthusiastically recommend The Tuscan Child. Don't hesitate. Get it.

    59 of 60 people found this review helpful
  • The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Mariana Zapata
    • Narrated By Callie Dalton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2629)
    Performance
    (2461)
    Story
    (2470)

    Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans, and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary. But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked.

    Denise says: "THIS IS HOW WRITING IS DONE!!! 5 STARS!!!"
    "So Mediocre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nothing about this book is all that good.

    The narration is only OK. Ms. Dalton's performance was uneven. Sometimes the voices were well-distinguished -- I could tell who was speaking. But then she'd seem to lose the knack and they'd all sound pretty much the same. And she did NOT use the Canadian "eh" correctly. In fact, her performance made Aidan's character sound distinctly un-Canadian.

    The plot had definite potential, with elements that told a coherent story and made me want to know what happens. However, it's a romance so the outcome was not in question in that we were clearly headed for a HEA. Thus, it's how you get to the HEA that makes a romance novel stand out and Ms. Zepata really buried hers in endless detail and (often-repetitive) dialogue. The pace of this novel is agonizingly slow. So little happens for long stretches that I wondered if she was being paid by the word.

    I felt like the author had missed the opportunity to round out the Aidan and Vanessa characters by giving more time to each of their back stories (Vanessa's mother and sisters, Aiden's abusive father, even Zach) rather than what Aidan ate or Vanessa's running. A lot of the characters lacked depth.

    The other problem is that her basic mastery of English grammar is sufficiently lacking so the novel felt in a lot of places like the sloppy first draft rather than a carefully crafted and proofread professional publication. Did her publisher never think to offer her an editor? The author made so many really basic errors that, for me, they became a distraction. The worst was her egregious abuse and misuse of the present participle -- "spotting Aidan across the room, he..." Aaargh! She almost never used the devise correctly! To her credit, she did use "could not have cared less" correctly (so many authors don't these days, opting instead for the clearly nonsensical "could have cared less.")

    So, when the grammar errors stand out as remarkable, what does that tell you about the overall quality of the read?

    This novel gets a big "meh" from me. I don't recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lion's Lady

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Julie Garwood
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1406)
    Performance
    (1266)
    Story
    (1274)

    Christina Bennett had taken London society by storm. The ravishing beauty guarded the secret of her mysterious past until the night Lyon, Marquis of Lyonwood, stole a searching, sensuous kiss. An arrogant nobleman with a pirate's passions, he tasted the wildfire smoldering beneath Christina's cool charm and swore to possess her.... But the feisty and defiant Christina would not be so easily conquered. Mistress of her heart and of her fortune, she resisted Lyon's sensuous caresses.

    🇺🇸☔DARA says: "I loved everything about this book!"
    "OK, that was fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    That was a ripping great story! Murder mystery, mystical happenings, authentic (and steamy) love story, powerful hero meets his match in his brave and undaunted heroine and all with a nice portion of witty dialogue and good humor. I fell in love with Lyon and Christina and know, of course, that they will live HEA!

    I highly recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Tea and Sympathy

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1341)
    Performance
    (1254)
    Story
    (1241)

    Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot's rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society and made elegance and glamour her business. She's riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she's blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start - and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

    anne says: "DELIGHTFUL AS ALWAYS MH ENTERTAINS!"
    "Molly writes the South as only Molly can"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this lovely little romance a great deal. It is a girl-meets-boy romance, but it's also a girl-meets-family "romance" and a girl-meets-her-roots "romance."

    Molly Harper clearly loves the culture of the American South and it shows in most of her novels. This one welcomes home a Southern girl from Yankee country and steeps her in the sweet tea that is the deep South until she recognizes what is valuable about family and community.

    And Harper does it with honesty, humor and her incomparable dry wit.

    And, as always, Amanda Ronconi renders each voice with her incomparable voice and range.

    I love Molly Harper's work and this is just one more example of why I love her work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Davenport's Christmas: The Love and Temptation Series, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Lindy Nettleton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (54)

    When a Puritan miss discovers the joys of Christmas, love's as near as the mistletoe. The Davenport sisters were alone, without even a dour-faced maid to supervise their strict puritanical devotions, until the elder, flame-haired Gillian boldly decided it was high time they let their hair down. Now, with the help of a kindly relation, the two daring misses exchange their somber attire for modish gowns and hairstyles that would surely give their parents apoplexy. But the best is yet to come: plum pudding, eggnog, carols, and a most breathtaking tree.

    Patricia says: "Enchantment"
    "An OK Christmas story destroyed by narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Beaton is a writer of considerable talent, although I find his work is not consistently good. This one is a fun little Christmas story offering a mildly interesting portrait of life among the privileged in Regency England. The principal characters are not particularly well-developed, but they are believable enough and I did enjoy the bits of the history of Christmas traditions Beaton provided as part of the story.

    The problem with this is the absolute WORST narrator I have ever encountered on Audiobooks. I actually thought for a while about what reader I had heard who was worse and I couldn't come up with one -- and I have almost 400 audiobooks! First of all, Ms. Nettleton can't act and, of course, that's somewhat essential for even a decent narrator. Ms. Nettleton speaks almost all lines as if the characters were auditioning for a high school play (with English accents.) IOW, she can only over-act... and she does it horribly.

    Secondly, her range of voices includes some of the most frequently obnoxious noise I've run into in any book. One character actually sounds like she is speaking the lines while holding her nose (what is it with British English narrators that so many of them think that the more nasal the voice, the more ~English~ they sound?)

    You will also find that, in general, you won't have much luck telling the characters apart. Jillie and Mandy sound alike. The two Lords sound alike. And they sound, most of the time, like every other character of their gender when she loses control over her range of voices.

    If they get this re-read by someone who is good at it (Susan Duerdon?) it would be worth a credit for a cute if somewhat unbelievable holiday story. Otherwise I suggest you skip it. If you want a fun little Christmas story by Beaton that is well-told AND well-read, I suggest ~A Highland Christmas~ from the Haimish MacBeth series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It Ain't Me, Babe

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Tillie Cole
    • Narrated By J.F. Harding, Annie Green
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (842)
    Performance
    (789)
    Story
    (788)

    Salome knows only one way to live - under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune she calls home, Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence - the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery. A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free. Fleeing the absolute safety of all she has ever known, Salome is thrust into the world outside, a frightening world full of uncertainty and sin; into the protective arms of a person she believed she would never see again.

    Cheri says: "Warning ~ Not For the Faint of Heart!"
    "Violence & ownership are neither love nor romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Premise:
    There is a cult of evil men who keep women imprisoned behind fences as sex slaves, cursed as temptresses from Satan and cursed by God for their "evil." The men treat them pretty much like animals, abusing them at will and with impunity. The women in question are all stunning, submissive and slavish subjects of "the Prophet."

    One of the women escapes the cult and, oh so coincidentally, ends up in the hands of another, albeit different kind of cult in which women are kept as sex slaves referred to as bitches and useful only for serving or servicing the men. The men treat them pretty much like animals, abusing them at will and with impunity. The women in question as all stunning, submissive and slavish subjects of "the brotherhood".

    And yet, somehow, the second group of abusive, violent, amoral men are - ta da!! - the good guys! This story made me want to more or less gag.

    If you love stories chock-a-block with cruelty, violence, sexual abuse and submissive women, you'll love this. If, on the other hand, you have any respect at all for women, for the rule of law or for the true meaning of love and commitment between men and women (as opposed to ownership) I suggest you leave this garbage alone. It's not a romance novel. It's pretty much snuff porn.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Oblivion: Maddox Brothers, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jamie McGuire
    • Narrated By Phoebe Strole
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (892)
    Performance
    (811)
    Story
    (809)

    Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red.

    Angelica Quintero says: "5 beautiful stars"
    "Tedius, artificial, childish and boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    OK, that was stupid. Childish story about childish people making childish decisions in the name of ... er ... love? No - not love. Self-absorption maybe. Or obsession. Or immaturity.

    Maybe I'm just too old, but I did not get this "romance." I don't know if it's because I didn't read anything of Ms. McGuire's before I read this but this novel was a lot of immature people making strange, self-destructive decisions.

    And what was up with the big SECRET about TJ? Apparently we're supposed to buy another book or what?

    That will NOT be happening.

    Final comment about the narrator: Phoebe Strole has about 3 female voices and 2 male voices. When there is dialogue involving two females, she mostly doesn't even try to differentiate the voices so good luck following. Sometimes a scene will start out fine, but then she loses the voice differences and you'll struggle. And there was, as far as I could tell, more than one place here she confused Travis and Trent.

    Audible is getting this one back and I won't be following the incredibly annoying Maddox brothers because I despise books that end with cliffhangers and leave storylines unfinished. They are a ripoff.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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