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CatBookMom

ratings
274
REVIEWS
61
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
9
HELPFUL VOTES
134

  • Winds of Fate: The Mage Winds, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Mercedes Lackey
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (102)

    High Magic has been lost to Valdemar centuries ago when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to save the kingdom from destruction by dark sorceries. Yet now the realm is at risk again. And Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, must take up the challenge, abandoning her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities. But others, too, are being caught up in a war against sorcerous evil.

    CatBookMom says: "Very disappointing; could have been so much better"
    "Very disappointing; could have been so much better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been hoping for an audiobook version of this series for years. Now that one has been released, I'm so disappointed.

    Karen White has a lot of books listed at Audible, but many aren't well-known, at least not to me. She narrated _The Hemingses of Monticello_, but those reviews reflect comments about the same sort of disappointing performance that I've been listening to.

    Ms White has a very nice basic voice - the one she uses for the background, the narrative parts. She uses inflections, pauses, emphasis, all good. She got most of the character and place names right, including some very odd made-up-language words and phrases full of glottal stops. What she doesn't show in _Winds of Fate_ is a good repertoire of voices for different characters. Instead she chose to use differing accents for the characters, and she not only made some odd choices but wasn't able to do the accents consistently for each character.

    So, starting from the beginning of the book, Kerowyn, a very strong, active, decisive woman, who has a background as a successful mercenary soldier, got an unsure, sort-of Irish accent that doesn't reflect her character. Skif, a young man who spent most of his early life as a thief and scrounger, but who has become a reliable, effective member of an elite group, has a sort-of lower-class British accent but sounds rather like a hick. Elspeth, the young female heir to the throne of Valdemar, has a sort-of snobbish upper-class British accent, and is probably the closest in reflecting the character, but it isn't used consistently. Darkwind, who is a young but mature and powerful mage, woodsman and fighter, started out with a somewhat thin, wavery voice; it got stronger over the course of the book (18.5hrs), but he never sounded decisive or strong. The voice Ms White used for the character of Need, an extremely powerful female spirit lodged in a sword who communicates via mind-speech (telepathy), often changed accent within a sentence or two, with a British-sounding beginning to the vowels and an accent from anywhere-USA at the end.

    What's annoying is that the voices are partly right. Kerowyn is from a different country than Skif and Elspeth, and Darkwind is from yet a third country. So a different speech pattern or rhythm for each of them wouldn't be a bad choice. Skif was a street kid, so a lower-class voice was somewhat appropriate; Elspeth is from the noble class and should speak more elegantly than Skif, though they were both brought up in the same city of the same country and so should have some similarities in their speech, but didn't. But the accents weren't done consistently nor were they done very well.

    It's especially disappointing because fans of Mercedes Lackey and this series of books have been waiting for years and years for these audiobooks. Of course we have some expectations built in from all the re-reads of the print books, the voices we've heard in our minds. But if the voices Ms White had chosen had been done a bit better, more consistently, perhaps with more practice, this would have been a much better audiobook. Another few months' delay would have been worth it to get it done with more polish.

    I was all set to buy the other 2 books in this _Mage Winds_ trilogy as soon as they came out, but I'm not going to do that. Sadly, the comments about the next trilogy, called the _Mage Storms_, though narrated by a different person, have similar sorts of comments about a poor listening experience, and some of those shortcomings are evident in the samples. So I'm not buying those books either. I can't even give this book a 3-star rating, because I didn't like it. It's just barely OK, a 2-star deal. And that's with a book that's been a nearly 5-star read for years and years.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (912)
    Performance
    (818)
    Story
    (832)

    Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor's life as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral. Cousin to imperial troubleshooter Miles Vorkosigan, Ivan is not far down the hereditary list for the emperorship. Thankfully, new heirs have directed that headache elsewhere, leaving Ivan to enjoy his life on Komarr, far from the Byzantine court politics of his home system. But when an old friend in Barrayaran intelligence asks Ivan to protect an attractive young woman who may be on the hit list of a criminal syndicate, his chivalrous nature takes over. It seems danger and adventure have once more found Captain Vorpatril.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "We are finally allowed to see Ivan without Miles."
    "Regency Romance and Ocean's Eleven, all in one!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Grover Gardner's reading brings a lot of nuances to the story. I've recently read a few more of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances, and I have to say that the first 2/3 of the Alliance story (up till Tej's family arriving on Barrayar) is very much like a Regency romance. After that, it's a high-stakes caper all the way. Delightful.

    And to top it off, it won the 2014 Audie Award in the Sci-Fi category.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hot Rocks

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (368)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (194)

    Laine Tavish surrounds herself with antiques in her store. As for her own past, she’d rather avoid it. And when that doesn’t work, she has to rely on an enigmatic stranger to figure out who is chasing her and why. The answer lies in a hidden fortune that will change her life forever…

    Kathleen says: "Good book, but a re-release!!"
    "Better than Big Jack"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a stronger story than the second half/sequel, Big Jack. Susan Ericksen is such a good narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Moving Finger: A Miss Marple Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (38)

    No one warned Jerry and Joanna that vile, anonymous letters were being sent to various villagers and, indeed, they soon receive such a letter themselves. A letter, of course, is only harmful if a recipient takes it so seriously she kills herself-which happens soon after the story begins. And then there is a murder. Is this the result of a letter, or of a deranged mind that fears discovery? Jerry Burton is out of investigative ideas when Miss Marple appears, ready to solve the crime.

    Alan Winterrowd says: "This will keep you guessing"
    "Miss Marple comes in at the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a 3.5 star tale; a few points off for the voice that was used for Megan, just something about it that wasn't right imho. Well-done, of course, Martin Jarvis is a really good narrator, and a good voice for this post-WWII story, with very little of Miss Marple in it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • King Solomon's Mines

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By H. Rider Haggard
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (28)

    Catherine says: "A ripping yarn, narrated by a master"
    "Just Great!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow. This is almost as amazing as *Treasure Island*. Patrick Tull was a wonderful narrator (I have all his Brother Cadfael audios), and he's just right for this book, which is written as a retrospective of the great adventure, as if it were a tale told by the fireside, and in this context the mouth noises, as of an old gent were pausing to swallow or whatever, work.

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3887)
    Performance
    (3417)
    Story
    (3417)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Very different, but quite good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been a huge fan of the Fuzzy books by H Beam Piper since the 1980s, and have read and re-read all of the books (his and others' work) several times. I was not sure about this re-imagining, though I generally like Scalzi's work, and it took me a while to finish listening. The courtroom appearance of 'Papa Fuzzy' is amazing, and Wil Wheaton really does it well. I promptly zipped over to Amazon and bought the ebook to read the story all over again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Terra-Cotta Dog: An Inspector Montalbano Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Andrea Camilleri
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (124)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (59)

    Montalbano's latest case begins with a mysterious tête à tête with a Mafioso, some inexplicably abandoned loot from a supermarket heist, and some dying words that lead him to an illegal arms cache in a mountain cave. There the inspector finds two young lovers, dead for 50 years and still embracing, watched over by a life-sized terra-cotta dog. Montalbano's passion to solve this old crime takes him on a journey through Sicily's past and into a family's dark heart.

    Lehua says: "It just gets better"
    "Better than I thought at first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first Montalbano book, after many recommendations from friends. I'm a huge fan of Grover Gardner's narration, so, while the dialog seems a bit silly and overly dramatic in places, the voice is excellent. The rhythm and style of the dialog are unlike most English-language mysteries, which I have to think is due to the book having been written in Italian and then translated.

    The attitudes toward Ingrid's rape by her F-i-l are shocking, but at least Montalbano has an effective solution. And Montalbano isn't fighting active obstruction by his superior officers, as Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti has to do in that series.

    I can't give this 4 stars, but it is 3+; I think I'll listen further.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: Snowglobe 7

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Mike Tucker
    • Narrated By Georgia Moffett
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    Set on Earth in 2099, when global warming is devastating the planet. In a desperate attempt at preservation, the governments of the world have removed vast sections of the Arctic and Antarctic and set them inside huge domes. But a hidden threat has been preserved beneath Snowglobe 7.

    CatBookMom says: "OK story and narration"
    "OK story and narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator is OK, but I didn't think there was enough differentiation between Martha's voice and that of the Doctor. Interesting interaction between the Doctor and Robot Twelve, possibly better than Martha's role in this story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: The Taking of Chelsea 426

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By David Llewellyn
    • Narrated By Christopher Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (50)

    The Chelsea Flower Show - hardly the most exciting or dangerous event in the calendar, or so Doctor thinks. But this is Chelsea 426, a city-sized future colony floating on the clouds of Saturn, and the flowers are much more than they seem. As the Doctor investigates, a familiar foe arrives, and the stakes suddenly get much higher. The Sontarans have plans of their own, and they're not here to arrange flowers.

    Elizabeth says: "Fun listen, well worth a credit"
    "Interesting story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Interesting premise, and a different take on the Sontarans, somewhat better than most, in fact. Loved the kids - very bright, and the Doctor actually acknowledged their help with things he didn't know. How often does that happen?

    Didn't greatly like the narrator, though he did a good job; just didn't find that his voice/phrasing, etc for the Doctor was as good as it could have been. But part of that is just his voice. He gets 3 stars, the story 3+. (from my Goodreads review)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Malcolm Hulke
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    The Doctor and Sarah arrive back in the TARDIS to find London completely deserted: except for the dinosaurs. Has the return of these prehistoric creatures been deliberately planned and, if so, who can be behind it all?

    carl says: "Unexpectedly bad story."
    "Not the best story, but good narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bog-standard Doctor Who Three and Sara Jane adventure, this time with dinosaurs, being used by a bunch of crack-pots who want to take Earth back in time. Well read by Martin Jarvis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Day of the Jackal

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Frederick Forsyth
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (619)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (369)

    One of the most celebrated thrillers ever written, The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of an anonymous Englishman who in, the spring of 1963, was hired by Colonel Marc Rodin, operations chief of the O.A.S., to assassinate General de Gaulle.

    Darwin8u says: "Tight & fantastic political/cat-and-mouse thriller"
    "Excellent, holds up very well"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Really, it's amazing how well this holds up from 40 years ago (pub 1971 or so). Set in 1963, it's a straight-forward narrative, the step-by-step tale of how the Jackal planned the assassination of Charles de Gaulle and how he was stopped by a police officer who just wouldn't give up and who checked everything. Very good story for knitting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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