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Anne

ratings
126
REVIEWS
90
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
7
HELPFUL VOTES
157

  • Unnatural Habits

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (261)
    Story
    (261)

    1929: Girls are going missing in Melbourne. Little, pretty golden-haired girls. And not just pretty. Three of them are pregnant, poor girls from the harsh confines of the Magdalene Laundry. People are getting nervous. Polly Kettle, a pushy, self-important Girl Reporter with ambition and no sense of self-preservation, decides to investigate - and promptly goes missing herself. It's time for Phryne and Dot to put a stop to this and find Polly Kettle before something quite irreparable happens to all of them. It's all piracy and dark cellars, convents and plots, murder and mystery...and Phryne finally finds out if it's true that blondes have more fun.

    Kate says: "Nothing Unnatural about Phryne"
    "Fun to discover a new series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had no idea what to expect with this book and was most pleasantly surprised. The concept is certainly new to me - a British aristocrat in Melbourne in the 1920s who apparently "collects people" and solves mysteries. There is a lot of potential in the premise and Greenwood takes full advantage of it. The plot of this particular novel involves disappearing women and the solution offers us, among other things, a visit to the Magdalene Laundries which were quite real in the 19th and 20th century (and mostly quite horrible.) It's a high compliment when a novel sends me off to research something just because it's so interesting. I was fascinated to learn about the laundries and spent a few hours on the internet researching them.

    The plot involved the genuinely awful but also provided a nice balance of humor and detail. It was clever, complex and interesting and, while there was not much chance for the reader to solve the mystery, I didn't mind just letting the story unfold as Greenwood is an excellent storyteller.

    Stephanie Daniel does a good job with the performance and I had little difficulty keep the characters sorted out.

    I have every intention of revisiting the world of Phryne Fisher and her minions in Melbourne.

    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
    (296)
    Performance
    (267)
    Story
    (269)

    "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.

    Lauren says: "Great adventure - couldn't put it down!"
    "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
    (2856)
    Performance
    (2678)
    Story
    (2668)

    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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Helen & Troy's Epic Road Quest

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (257)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (241)

    Witness the epic battle of the cyclops! Visit the endangered dragon preserve! Please, no slaying. Solve the mystery of The Mystery Cottage, if you dare! Buy some knickknacks from The Fates! They might come in handy later. On a road trip across an enchanted America, Helen and Troy will discover all this and more. If the curse placed upon them by an ancient god doesn't kill them or the pack of reluctant orc assassins don't catch up to them, Helen and Troy might reach the end their journey in one piece, where they might just end up destroying the world.

    Charlene says: "A little twee but very funny."
    "Fast food for your ears."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe it's just me, but this one just didn't grab me on any level. I was mostly just bored, bored, bored. Poorly plotted, poorly written, poorly read. Perhaps if the author had grabbed me more effectively at the beginning I might have gotten into it and stuck it out. After all, you'd think a story about a minotaur in a burger joint would be "compelling."

    Unfortunately, in the case of this one, the burger joint" aspect won out and, well, is there anything more predictable, flavorless and boring than a fast-food restaurant? This is a "fast-food book." I'm giving this one back to Audible.

    Not recommending.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Gregory Boyle
    • Narrated By Gregory Boyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (439)
    Performance
    (390)
    Story
    (392)

    As a pastor working in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles, Gregory Boyle created an organization to provide jobs, job training, and encouragement so that young people could work together and learn the mutual respect that comes from collaboration.

    Jeremy says: "Perhaps the best book I've read in years."
    "Hopeful and inspiring memoir tugs at the heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm glad I listened to this book, rather than read it. Father Boyle does a wonderful job of telling his story, getting the accents and ages and dialects so "just right." He's a powerful artist on many levels and his voice is just one of his skills.

    The memoir is really a collection of anecdotes about the people he's encountered during his 20 years developing and running "Homeboy Industries" in a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as the "gang capital."

    His stories are a walk into a world many of us could not imagine is real but is, in fact, deadly so, endearingly so, dangerously so. But they also provide hope and humor while they break your heart. It's a wonderful gift Boyle has to be able to make the people he's encountered come very much alive and make us care about them. And if you don't laugh out loud and also find yourself tearing up at least once while you listen to this, you're made of stone.

    Recommend without hesitation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses: Half Moon Hollow, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2122)
    Performance
    (1966)
    Story
    (1958)

    Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it. Complication One: The artifacts are lost somewhere in vampire Jane Jameson’s occult bookshop. Complication Two: Her new neighbor, Jed Trudeau, keeps turning up half-naked at the strangest times....

    Diana Turmenne says: "One of the best spin offs I have read!"
    "More Half Moon Hollow craziness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's Molly Harper, so you know it's going to be funny. And quirky. And adult. And fun.

    It's Half Moon Hollow so you know the setting will be full of crazy characters in her fictional "post vampire liberation" world of witches and werewolves and vampires trying to make their way in the "human" world.

    And it's Amanda Ronconi so you know you are going to be treated to a wonderful performance of Molly Harper's interesting if somewhat unbelievable plot involving a witch hunt of most unusual parameters. If you're a Harper and Half Moon Hollow fan, you'll recognize and welcome back a number of your favorite denizens of this funky Kentucky town.

    These are adult "fairy tales" and meant to be read for the sheer fun of it. Let your imagination loose and have fun!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Coming Clean

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Narrated By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (205)

    Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a tidy apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You would never guess that Kim grew up behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house, navigating between teetering stacks of aging newspapers, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room - the product of her father’s painful and unending struggle with hoarding. In this moving coming-of-age story, Kim brings to life her rat-infested home and her childhood consumed by concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends.

    Margaret says: "Vicarious Hoarding"
    "Amazingly difficult story with a "happy ending.""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not since "Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls has a memoir moved me so deeply (and if, after reading Coming Clean, you find yourself thinking "what a great book!" you might want to read or listen to "The Glass Castle: A Memoir")

    I digress. Ms. Miller offers the memoir of her childhood entrapment in and young adulthood escape from the misery of her very sick parents with simple, very clean prose (fitting, it would seem.) From the first words, it was clear that this was an unusually bright child with a very big problem - two, in fact. Her parents' mental and physical challenges create a world for this little girl that is difficult to imagine ... until she tells us about it. Then it comes to life.

    Her gift for presenting her little girl's world with the brutal frankness of a child, without flinching from the facts or sparing our feelings makes the unfolding of the story mesmerizing. But it is in some ways also joyful to read because, as adults, we understand how broken her life was and yet how much she was given by parents who, while damaged and damaging, were also as loving and generous and giving as they knew how to be.

    The book is also a testament to the tenacity of some people and their ability to overcome. She could do what her father and mother could not and thus saved not only herself but, to a great extent, her parents as well.

    I found Ms. Miller's reading of the book to be less than satisfactory as her very soft voice and the "flat" presentation were distracting. I also found her range of voices was very limited so It was sometimes difficult to follow who was speaking when it was not her character, her father or her mother. A professional narrator might have given the characters more depth, which I think would have been a good thing.

    Nevertheless, it's a deeply moving, extremely compelling, what-in-the-world-will-happen-next story.

    Highly recommend for either reading or listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Birthright

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Bernadette Quigley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (369)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (263)

    On a hot July afternoon, a worker at an Antietam Creek construction site drives the blade of his backhoe into a layer of soil - and strikes a 5,000-year-old human skull. The discovery draws plenty of attention and a lot of controversy. It also changes the life of one woman in ways she never expected.

    Krista says: "Nora must be mad"
    "Almost ruined by truly awful narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am about half-way through and simply stunned that Nora Roberts and her publishers would permit this narrator anywhere near her books. She should fire whoever hired Ms. Quigley. I'm sure she's a very nice person and I think she's a B-list actress of some note (maybe?), but she needs to rethink her career if narrating is an ambition (and I note she hasn't done a book that's on Audible since 2008, so perhaps she has.) The women all sound arch and breathy. The only way she is able to "do" a man is to make her feminine voice gravelly. After a bit, everyone end up sounding much the same. She also seems to struggle with modulation - I have had my ears blasted a few times by sudden elevation in her volume. I concede this may be a production issue.

    The story is OK. It's not Roberts' best, but an intriguing tale, mostly fast-paced, with well developed characters. There is a bit of stereotyping (or perhaps it's archetypes?) This always seems "lazy" to me on the part of the author, but I will concede that the narrator may have affected this a bit for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Tim Conway, Jane Scovell, Carol Burnett
    • Narrated By Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Dick Hill, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (567)
    Performance
    (516)
    Story
    (512)

    Six-time Emmy Award-winning funnyman Tim Conway, best known for his characters on The Carol Burnett Show, offers a straight-shooting and hilarious memoir about his life on stage and off as an actor and comedian. In television history, few entertainers have captured as many hearts and made as many people laugh as Tim Conway. There's nothing in the world that Tim Conway would rather do than entertain - and in his first-ever memoir, What's So Funny?, that's exactly what he does.

    Richard says: "Very Enjoyable"
    "What's so funny? Not this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tim Conway should not read his own work - that might have helped. Unfortunately, probably not much. He's a comedian and as a comedian, he is quite funny. But his life - at least up to the point where I stopped listening - hardly qualifies as hilarious. It's not een particularly interesting. Thanks for the effort, Tim. But don't give up your day job to become an author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Bluegrass Baby

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1306)
    Performance
    (1211)
    Story
    (1199)

    Sadie Hutchins loves her job at the Kentucky Tourism Commission. Not only could her co-workers double as the cast of Parks and Recreation, but she loves finding the unusual sites, hidden gems, and just-plain-odd tourist attractions of her home state. She’s a shoo-in for the director’s job when her boss retires at the end of the year…until hotshot Josh Vaughn shows up to challenge her for the position. Josh is all sophisticated polish while Sadie’s country comfort, and the two have very different ideas of what makes a good campaign.

    Diana Turmenne says: "Made me want to visit Kentucky!"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Molly Harper's novels... usually. This one - not so much. The characters, especially the women, had Harper's usual wit but were largely not well rounded out. The story - and at just over 5 hours, I'd call it a novella, rather than a novel - was as thin as gruel and a so full of simply unbelievable bits as to be distracting. She does a nice job introducing us to Kentucky but I was otherwise seriously underwhelmed and disappointed.

    I note she's written a second sort novella as a sequel. I won't be spending cash or a credit on it unless, perhaps, if it turns up on a daily deal. And if her novels get any shorter, she's going to have to be reassigned to the short story category.

    Amanda Roncini gets full marks for once again nailing a Harper book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Dahlia: In the Garden, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Susie Breck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1082)
    Performance
    (791)
    Story
    (790)

    Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee - and into her new life at Harper House and In the Garden nursery. She isn't intimidated by the house - nor its mistress, local legend Roz Harper.

    bluebelle says: "Wonderful!"
    "A good idea milked to death"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first part of a novel that should have been one book and I feel cheated. It doesn't stand alone except in the most "generous" sense because the characters are all fairly flat and while one storyline for one character is resolved, the rest are left lying there like fish on the counter.

    I eventually bought and finished the 2nd and 3rd installments and by the time I finished the last one I was genuinely annoyed. This is one book puffed and plumped and pumped up with unnecessary "stuff" until it can be called three books. By the third book, I had had all I could stand of long bits about flowers and the increasingly unbelievable ability and behavior of the "Harper Bride".

    Roberts has written some really very nice novels but I don't recommend this one novel pretending to be three (the sequels are The Black Rose and The Red Lily. Ditto this review for those. By the end of the third book you'll be laughing with scorn at the increasing nonsense.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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