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Linda Lou

Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2007

1366
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 223 reviews
  • 1326 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 197 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
139

  • Legacy of the Dead: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Samuel Gillies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (85)

    The weathered remains of Eleanor Gray are found on a Scottish mountainside, and her mother, the domineering Lady Maude Gray, requires delicate treatment. This is a case that will lead Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard to Scotland, where his harrowing journey to find the truth will drag him back through the fires of his past into secrets that still have the power to kill.

    DCinMI says: "What's up, Audible??? Why would you do this to us?"
    "AN ADDICTIVE SERIES!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: This is the 4th in the series. Simon Prebble, as always, is a superb narrator - much better than Samuel Gillies, who narrates like he's performing "Hansel and Gretel" to 6 year olds!

    No matter how hard you try, you will never guess who will be murdered and by whom. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings that the reader is always kept guessing. The Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is a tortured soul but a great detective. He suffers from World War I "shell shock" which is what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifested by a dead "imaginary friend" named Hamish McCloud. This adds an interesting component into how this detective acts and reacts. Hamish is to Rutledge what cocaine is to Sherlock Holmes - a dangerous nemesis that both helps and hampers. All of the books are pretty much the same plot but just different enough in locations, people, class distinctions, and twists to make each worth reading. My suggestion is to go on Google or Wikipedia to learn the order of the series and start with the first one. Each book fills in the gaps if you start somewhere in the middle but the continuity really helps. It would be nice if Audible.com would assign chronological order to books which contain a series or prequels and sequels. )I will post this same comment on all of the Ian Rutledge books that I've read.)

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Poisoned Season

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Tasha Alexander
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    London's social season is in full swing, and Victorian aristocracy can't stop whispering about a certain gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. But he's not the only topic of wagging tongues. Drawing rooms, boudoirs, and ballrooms are abuzz with the latest news of an audacious cat burglar who has been systematically stealing valuable items that once belonged to the ill-fated queen. Light gossip turns serious when the owner of one of the pilfered treasures is found murdered, and the mysterious thief develops a twisted obsession with Lady Emily Ashton.

    Linda Lou says: "SERIES NOT COMPLETE OR NUMBERED - CONFUSING!!!"
    "SERIES NOT COMPLETE OR NUMBERED - CONFUSING!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is probably a good book EXCEPT it is #2 in a series of 9. Unfortunately I read book #9 first. That is because Audible didn't number the books nor does it indicate anywhere that this is a series. I was confused the whole time in this one by Colin's courtship of Lady Lady Emily when, based on #9, she was already married to him. When the book began referring to Emily being a widow, I thought that somewhere along the line Colin had died, only to discover that she was in mourning for her FIRST husband, whose death unfolded in book #1. The problem is compounded by the fact that only books 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are available on Audible. I was so frustrated and confused that I just gave up. I'll buy this book again once ALL on the books are in audio format and when Audible takes the time to NUMBER books that are part of a series. Grossly negligent!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Counterfeit Heiress: A Lady Emily Mystery, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Tasha Alexander
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    After an odd encounter at a grand masquerade ball, Lady Emily becomes embroiled in the murder investigation of one of the guests, a sometime actress trying to pass herself off as the mysterious heiress and world traveler Estella Lamar. Each small discovery, however, leads to more questions. Was the intended victim Miss Lamar or the imposter? And who would want either of them dead?

    Moriah says: "Another Winner!"
    "INTELLIGENT REGENCY ERA MYSTERY"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Counterfeit Heiress the most enjoyable?

    Bianca Amato is one of my favorite narrators. As usual, she gives a masterful performance. Her voice is so genteel, yet commanding, that the use of different voices for each character is totally unnecessary. She utilizes almost imperceptible nuances to depict females from males, the gentry from the working class.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was an intelligent take on turn of the 20th century female detectives. There is nothing of the second-class male dominated nature in Lady Emily. She and her husband Colin are "ride or die" partners in marriage and business, like Bonnie and Clyde. Their friends, Cécile and Jeremy, are perfect supporting characters.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I can't say here without spoiling the plot twists and resulting denouement.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    That's not really an applicable question for this kind of work. There are no "extremes", per se, only a respect and appreciation for a unique take on this overdone and overworked genre.


    Any additional comments?

    Tasha Alexander's research is impeccable. She doesn't waste a lot of effort on creating "atmosphere" with descriptions of period clothing, furniture, lodgings, food, vehicles, or "bon ton" society gathering places such as Almack's or White's. She remains focused on good criminal, psychological and budding forensic investigation, all leading to the resolution of the initial murder and the ancillary crimes. This is my first in this series but it definitely won't be the last!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (469)
    Performance
    (429)
    Story
    (425)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Barbara N. says: "Great story, narration a disappointment"
    "ARE YOU KIDDING ME? REFUND!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a HUGE Michael Connelly fan, having purchased all of his audiobooks in the Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller ("Lincoln Lawyer") series. I waited for months for this new book only to be disappointed - once again - by the Audible-created monster: "The Actor As Narrator"!

    I've made my opinion on this issue public numerous times. A-list actors suddenly thinking that they can do the same job of top audiobook narrators. It just doesn't work like that. Here, we have some actor I've never even heard of come from the Amazon Prime online show "Bosch" and think he can perform behind such venerable narrators of this series as Dick Hill, Len Cariou, Peter Jay Fernandez and Peter Giles, with Hill and Cariou leading the pack. Who is Titus Welliver anyway? He's not even in the same class of other actors who THOUGHT they could "moonlight" as narrators such as Elliott Gould, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kim Bassinger - and all of them were horrible. Since 1990, this Welliver person has done 1 or 2 episodes of various television shows and a few reoccurring roles, plus a list of movies, most of which I've ever heard of. He certainly didn't carry any of these vehicles as a headliner, so he's had more than enough time in his 25 year acting career to bone up on his narration skills if that's what "he wanted to be when he grew up". Okay, he IS Harry Bosch in the PILOT of the Amazon show but, even in the title role, he's out-acted by his young co-star Jamie Hector ("The Wire") who plays his partner.

    In this book, Welliver has lost all of the grittiness of Connelly's writing with his bland boring delivery. Bosch is known as a modern "square jawed", hard drinking, conflicted detective who often works outside of the box. Welliver reads him like a 1st grader trying to color inside the line! He has the charisma of a flower pot and seems like he's bored with the whole thing. I know he bored me so much that I stopped listening after 30 minutes to warn other potential buyers. I didn't heed the reviews about the narration because I thought that Connelly and Harry Bosch could counter such criticism. Well, I was sooooo wrong!

    Absolutely awful! And to have us wait and pre-order this mess is unconscionable! I have purchased over 2,000 books from Audible but I'm no longer paying for substandard works - not as expensive as audiobooks are these days. I'm asking for a refund. If everyone disappointed by this book would do the same, then maybe Audible will be more selective and exercise some quality control over its product. But if we keep paying for books like this, we will continue to be as upset as I am right now. Next stop: Audible Customer Service to get my purchase price back! Anyone?

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Guy Lawson, William Oldham
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (51)

    The Brotherhoods is the chilling chronicle of the shocking crimes of NYPD detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, notorious rogue cops convicted in April 2006 of the ultimate form of police corruption-shielding their acts behind their badges while they worked for the mob. Their crimes included participation in the murders of at least eight men, kidnapping, torture, and the betrayal of an entire generation of New York City detectives and federal agents

    Conrad says: "Blind Justice"
    "AMAZING!"
    Overall
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    Overall, this is probably the best researched account of post-John Gotti Mafia history that I've ever read. Talk about learning "where all the bodies are buried"!!! That's the easy part. This book tells us about murders that no one even knew had occurred! Along with all manner of criminal acts - some of which I'd never even heard of. When I was attending law school at UC-Davis, in Criminal Law class we were given the acronym "MR (and) MRS LAMB" to help us remember the 9 felonies derived from English common law: Murder, Rape, Manslaughter, Robbery, Sodomy, Larceny, Arson, Mayhem, Burglary. But, to keep up with Mafia, the legal system would need to use the entire English alphabet from A to Z and throw in some Chinese and Arabic characters! The scope of acts perpetrated by a bunch of Italian, Irish and Jewish hoodlum is unbelievable. And this is during the DECLINE and subsequent fall of the hold that the Cosa Nostra has had on the United States since the beginning of the 20th century. Based on this massive account, it seemed like more crimes were committed AFTER the 5 Mafia families had ceased to have America in its murderous clutches. The sheer amount of crimes and the brutality involved can be a bit much, making this book too long and rather exhausting. However, if you like true crime, this is the book for you!

    This book is supposed to about two NYPD detectives who are the most corrupt officers ever on the force! Or, at least, the worst that have been caught! However, the author went far and beyond the investigation, arrest, and trial of NYPD Detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. Maybe because one of the authors, former NYPD Organized Crime Det. William Oldham, spent years and years building a meticulous case in order to exact some kind of Justice for the families of the 8
    victims murdered by men who had taken an oath "protect and serve".

    That said, I have to let it be known that this story really ticked me off. This book is less of an indictment against two corrupt cops than it is on the New York Police Department, City of New York, State of New York, FBI, DEA, ATF, Department of Justice, numerous Attorneys General, and several Presidents who allowed crime on such a massive and overt level to exist for DECADES without doing a damn thing! And I don't want to hear any excuses about cops being overworked and underpaid! Especially since it was the same NYPD (with the backing of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program) that created, maintained, and shared with other jurisdictions a 500 page "Hip-Hop Dossier" on rap artists and executives like Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Cam'ron, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Eve - AND EVERY ARTIST WHO EVER RELEASED A RAP RECORD! (Eminem was included only because he hangs out with black people, making money on an art form that WE created. I have nothing against Em since I helped break his debut album.). The file was so comprehensive that it included not only the names of hundreds of black artists but also their Social Security numbers, home addresses, car makes and models, drivers license numbers, auto tag numbers, spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, friends of friends, where they ate, partied, shopped, and even the names and tag numbers of anyone who parked outside the house! For what? For being a black American multi-millionaire who RAPS and MAKE MUSIC? Yet the city let Italian-Americans RAPE, ROB and MAKE MURDER for decades! With the assistance of dirty cops whom the city paid a salary, decorated with awards, and then let them retire in Vegas with a pension of $70,000 a year! C'mon, America! This book exposed the sad fact that this country co-signed on the wholesale murders of hundreds of people - many of them law-abiding citizens - by the Mafia in the 1980s and 90s, then we discover around 2005 that the NYPD has been using tax dollars for round-the-clock surveillance on rap businessmen like Jay-Z, a black man on Forbes' list of the richest men in America - on the justification that since he raps about growing up around violence he is predisposed to shooting someone in the back of the head and leaving the body in the truck of the car with a canary in its mouth! "Racial profiling" isn't even close to the egregious level of harassment perpetrated by the NYPD! And former white NYPD cops like the ridiculous Lou Savilla still believe that this form of violating a person's Constitutional rights is justified for "those people", when the truth is that "them cops" aren't good enough to carry Diddy's luggage! Having worked in the music industry for 45 years, 25 in rap and hip-hop, and the mother of a police officer, I am appalled by the waste of resources used on musicians while REAL organized crime and rogue NYPD cops were given a license to kill by the state.

    Thank you, Det. Oldham, for exposing the NYPD for the racist hypocrites that they are. I respect you for writing this book in spite of your "brothers in blue" who tried to ostracize you and hush this thing up when all you wanted from your investigation was JUSTICE. A job well done! And I'm glad you were smart enough to get a book deal to tell this amazing story since New York and the government refused to send those killer cops to jail.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Friends in High Places: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (90)

    In Friends in High Places, Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat investigating the lack of approval for the construction of Brunetti's apartment years before. What began as a red-tape headache ends in murder when the bureaucrat is later found dead after a mysterious fall from a scaffold. Brunetti starts an investigation that will take him into the unfamiliar and dangerous areas of drug abuse and loan-sharking, and will reveal, once again, what a difference it makes in Venice to have friends in high places.

    Diana Burton says: "One of her best..."
    "ANOTHER GREAT COMMISSARIO BRUNETTI MYSTERY"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm addicted to this series! (I almost stopped writing reviews because of 2 "Audible Haters" who have systematically gone through all of my submissions and marking them "Not Helpful" for no reason other than spite. But last week, I reported the harassment so the website reps are investigating to find out WHO the perpetrators are.)

    Although this series can be a bit inconsistent, overall most of the novels are worth the rare miss. The characters are finely drawn and the added detail about Venice makes the listener feel as if we are really there. Narrator David Colacci is perfect. Not so much a thriller than a great detective mystery, the slower pace is worth the plot twists and turns which always keep you guessing.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Summer Queen: Eleanor of Aquitaine Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Chadwick
    • Narrated By Katie Scarfe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    Eleanor of Aquitaine's story deserves to be legendary. She is an icon who has fascinated readers for over 800 years. But the real Eleanor remains elusive - until now. Based on the most up-to-date research, award-winning novelist Elizabeth Chadwick brings Eleanor's magnificent story to life, as never before, unveiling the real Eleanor. Young, golden-haired and blue-eyed Eleanor has everything to look forward to as the heiress to wealthy Aquitaine.

    Sara says: "The Romance Runs Strong in This One"
    "WRONG NARRATOR - GREAT SUBJECTS MATTER WASTED!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator sounds like a 12 year-old child - young and naive by current standards but of marriageable age during the era portrayed here. The story begins with The early life of Eleanor of Acquitane and the vocalization works for her.. However, the "Teen Queen" depictstion in the actual third- party accounts dust don't work,


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I regret to say that I didn't get more than an hour into the book and eventually threw in the towel, the whole experience was more like listening to a fairy tale told by a neighborhood reader who has yet to learn the skill and nuances required by audiobooks.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Katie Scarfe’s performances?

    I'm always open to give authors and narrators a second ride around the park. My criticism is not about Katie Scarfe's life repertoire - just that this a mismatched pairing.


    Was The Summer Queen worth the listening time?

    I'm a great fan of Eleanor of Aquitaine, having read or listened to dozens. But this book did not have enough "oomph" to engage me more than an hour. Beyond that, I found myself "zoning out" during major passages.


    Any additional comments?

    This is yet another example to the problemd that I have with audiobook producers and directors- no quality control, questionable production and directorial shills. The audio format of books are terribly expensive so it is of paramount importance that the production, casting, recording, continuity and, of course, the performance be of the first quality and running on ALL cylinders! This book is a case-book example of an "opportunity wasted". I am wayyyy past buying books, only to find them substandard, then keeping them in my Library. There are those who will like this book - I, for one, am not one of these people! REFUND!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Donald Spoto
    • Narrated By Jeff Riggenbach
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (64)

    Acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto explores the roots of Hitchcock’s obsessions - with food, murder, and idealized love, among others - and traces the origins of his incomparable, bizarre genius, from his childhood and education to the golden years of his career. Based on interviews with his writers, actors, and longtime associates, and on exhaustive research, The Dark Side of Genius is the definitive biography of Alfred Hitchcock.

    Carol Littlejohn says: "Hitch's life and phobias keep you "Spellbound""
    "JUST A REHASH OF SPOTO'S OTHER HITCHCOCK BOOK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not really. It's way to long, repetitive, and doesn't really get to the meat of the real Alfred Hitchcock - The Man. Since the Hitchcock family didn't authorize this biography and refused to open up any personal insight or documents, this is just a well-researched book on public information.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    If Spoto had refrained from merging his 1976 book "The Art of Alfred Hitchcock" into what is supposed to be a biography. That book is a comprehensive analysis of every Hitchcock film over 50 years. Here, Spoto just interjects his take on every tiny bit of each film, giving the reader more about the films than the the life of director. I had it when Spoto named every actress who read for "Rebecca" - THIRTY-THREE of them! Really? What did that have to do with the "dark genius" behind Hitchcock?


    What aspect of Jeff Riggenbach’s performance would you have changed?

    He was rather boring. But what was really appalling is his mispronounciation of common words. At first, I gave him a pass on words with 4 syllables, but then he pronounced "banal" wrong. The clincher was the kid game "Blind Man's Bluff" which he called "Blind Man's BUFF" - not once, but four times!


    What else would you have wanted to know about Donald Spoto’s life?

    Nothing since this book is supposed to be about ALFRED HITCHCOCK!


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Arthur T. Vanderbilt II
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    Written by descendant Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, Fortune's Children traces the dramatic and amazingly colorful history of this great American family, from the rise of industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt to the fall of his progeny - wild spendthrifts whose profligacy bankrupted a vast inheritance.

    Hillary says: "The Rise and Fall of the Gilded Age"
    "EXCELLENT, HONEST ACCOUNT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Fortune's Children in three words, what would they be?

    My headline sums it up along with a third description: EXCELLENT, HONEST, WELL-RESEARCHED. That's FOUR words but you get my drift!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There were way too many characters to pick a favorite. However, if I have to choose, it would be the author, Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, for writing such an amazing history of his ancestors. He didn't pull any punches and remained totally unbiased. It's easier to name my LEAST favorite person: the family patriarch, Cornelius Vanderbilt, a crude, ignorant, penny-pinching and spiteful man.


    What does Patrick Lawlor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Patrick Lawlor has the perfect non-regional white boy voice to narrate the history of a uniquely American creation: gilded age robber barons.


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

    Yes, indeed. I almost did but one MUST eat!


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Free: Three Shots Rang Out - The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs)
    • By Darren Reynolds
    • Narrated By Diane Sawyer
    Overall
    (458)
    Performance
    (398)
    Story
    (401)

    This edition of Three Shots Rang Out: The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later is an audio-only ABC News special created exclusively for Audible and hosted by ABC World News Anchor Diane Sawyer. Sawyer takes listeners back to Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, for a “you are there” exploration of the day of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

    Laura says: "Skip this book!"
    "BEEN THERE, DONE THAT.....UNNECESSARY RETELLING"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was a 13 year-old junior high school student in Washington DC when an announcement came over the intercom that President Kennedy was dead. We were sent home early. The great thing about growing up in the 60s and 70s is that there were only 3 national television channels and 1 local - all went off the air at midnight. We weren't inudated by 999 channels running the same 15 second home video loop over and over again like it's done today, augmented by a kazillion iPhone videos online.

    This is not an audiobook. All it is in "CNN In A Can" - a bunch of clips and recordings pasted together with Diane Sawyer as "narrator". WHY?! If we are old enough to remember what we were doing when JFK was killed, we don't want to relive the trauma of what was our first major televised tragedy. If you weren't born at that time and if the horrific story of a husband having his head blown off into his wife's lap is of interest to you, I'm sure there are a half dozen documentary films about the assassination available on Netflix.

    I'm glad I got this "book" free because I'd be requesting a refund. This is absolutely horrible!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dressed for Death

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (246)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (157)

    Commissario Guido Brunetti's hopes for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera--a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the corpse but is met with a wall of silence. He then receives a telephone call from a contact who promises some tantalizing information.

    Tom says: "marvelous duo"
    "MY NEWEST "GUILTY PLEASURE" IN BOOK SERIES"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gotta love Italian police detective Guido Brunetti! Author Donna Leon serves up Venetian life with a side a great food and wines. The characters are well-rounded and the subject matter is deeply researched. I'm working my way through the entire series and I'm hoping that the missing audiobooks will be available soon.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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