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Thomas

tomsde

Newark, DE, United States | Member Since 2011

20
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 25 ratings
  • 66 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2014
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6

  • 'Crooked House' & 'Endless Night'

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    Two standalone novels from the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie. From the sprawling Leonide family to dark moors, no one can spin a mystery quite like she can. In Crooked House, the Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection....

    Thomas says: "Typical VS Unexpected"
    "Typical VS Unexpected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to 'Crooked House' & 'Endless Night' again? Why?

    I would listen to these books again, Crooked House was a typical Christie of that time period--and it was comforting in that it was more familiar. Endless Night was very different, and one of her later novels. I think Christie gets more grim as she progressed towards the end of her life. She was daring in many ways the way she pushed the envelope from mid way through her writing career onwards. Endless Night would have made a perfect Hitchcock film as nothing is as it seems to be.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    There was a lot of suspense in Endless Night, but it was more subtle than overt. Crooked House was suspenseful in that even though the story appeared to be wrapped up at one point, you knew that it just couldn't be over yet, it's like waiting for the other shoe to drop.


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

    He is probably the best Christie reader I've ever heard and he really brings the characters to life.


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

    Yes, the stories really kept my attention and I couldn't wait to see what happened next.


    Any additional comments?

    Both books have a lot of misdirection to prevent the audience from being able to figure out who the actual killer is. Endless Night had much more than is typical in a Christie novel, it also took it's time for the plot line to unfold. This book isn't one filled with a lot of overt thrills, it's more subtle and psychological. It is sometimes difficult to figure out what Endless Night is actually about--is it a romance, a tale of supernatural terror, or a mystery? It's not clear who the bad guys are either. I find Endless Night difficult to characterize other than to say that it is a bit unsettling. Be forewarned, it is a bit creepy, and not what you'd typically expect from Christie.In contrast Crooked House was much more typical for Christie and rather reminded me of Hercule Poirot's Christmas and The Hallow. There was something comforting in that as I had listened to Endless Night first and was rather disturbed by it. Not that the ending of Crooked House does not it's shock value--but I think the shock was easier to bear.Sometimes I wish Agatha Christie had written a really good story of supernatural terror--but that wasn't her style. These two books seem to compliment each other well. I would, however, listen to Endless Night first and then Crooked House--first you'll get the shock and then the familiar comfort of the type of thing you'd expect from your favorite mystery writer.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Joyland

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Michael Kelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2567)
    Performance
    (2378)
    Story
    (2382)

    Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

    Cozy Mystery Reader says: "The sweest and creepiest coming of age story!"
    "Somewhat Typical"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have had a love/hate relationship with Stephen Kings writings over the years; I either loved or hated many of his books and TV miniseries. In this case Mr. King takes us back to the 1970s in a mystery/horror tale about a young college student struggling to come to grips with the loss of his first love. Mr. King's 70s are a bit anachronistic as he mentions things that either were not prevalent or hadn't been heard of in 1973. Devon Jones, is a bit too sensitive and effeminate for my tastes as the big hero of the piece, and the carnival talk he learns as he works at the Joyland Amusement Park sounds a bit clichéd'. I really couldn't decide if this was supposed to be a mystery, a horror story, or a coming of age story. We have the usual King potboiler cast of characters, the sensitive youth, psychic handicapped child, a somewhat lack-luster psychic who goes around giving Devon dire warning that he doesn't heed, and the ghost of a murdered woman who lives in the haunted house of the park. The performance of the reader was very good and I certainly don't fault him for my mixed emotions about the story. If you are expecting big chills you're bound to be disappointed, but the mystery part of the tale is entertaining without the help from the paranormal part of it.

    Final analysis: Joyland is somewhat of a hodge podge of the types of things you've come to expect in a King novel--if you like his usual stick, you'll like this, if you're kind of over the formula than skip it. It rather fails as a mystery novel or a supernatural one--it's a book that didn't know exactly what it wanted to be when it grew up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Countess of Carnarvon
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (212)

    Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration and setting for Julian Fellowes's Emmy Award-winning PBS series, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants: Lady Almina, the fifth Countess of Carnarvon. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war.

    connie says: "the lowdown on Downton times"
    "A Family HIstory, Not a Scandal Sheet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would reccomend this book to anyone who wanted to know the true history of Highclere Castle, although I wish that the family history had been followed through to the present day.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey?

    I discovery of King Tuts Tomb was probably the most memorable moments.


    Have you listened to any of Wanda McCaddon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've not listened to any other McCaddon's performances, but I felt this was a very good one.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A self determined woman makes a difference in her world.


    Any additional comments?

    If one is looking for a tintalating tale of family intrigues and scandals (like the TV Downton Abbey) this book is bound to dissapoint. At best the only resemblance between the Carnarvons and the fictional Downton Abbey family is that Lord Carnarvon married into money and the house played a part in rehabilitating soldiers during "The Great War"--but the resemblance ends there. Any provokative tales about life "below stairs" are effectively side stepped, probably owing to the fact that the ancestors are still employed at Highclere and people don't want their family scandals brought into public view. What this book is, is basically a time capsule of a period of time when the great families of England still held almost of fuedal rule over the common people, and people lived lives of opulence even against a changing world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Her Royal Spyness: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (3793)
    Performance
    (3210)
    Story
    (3198)

    Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932. So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

    Coffee Lover says: "Joy, Joy, Joy!"
    "Great Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys Brittish Mystery novels.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Georgie, the poor girl just couldn't get anything to work out right for her.


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

    It has the quality of a fine radio drama.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Sometimes it's not good to be Royalty.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book and will purchase the other in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (86)

    Christmas Eve, and the Lee family's reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture and a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. When Hercule Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man....

    donareader says: "Typically enjoyable Poirot"
    "Surprising Twists Await"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Hercule Poirot's Christmas in three words, what would they be?

    Exciting, suspenseful, and entertaining.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plot kept me on the edge of my seat in that it was really difficult to guess the identity of the murderer. There were many exciting plot twists.


    Which character – as performed by Hugh Fraser – was your favorite?

    Fraser always does a great job with Poirot himself, his performance of the master dective is always spot on.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    At Christmas Time never take anything for granted.


    Any additional comments?

    A must for any Poirot fan, many unpredictable developments. This book tends to follow Christies formula less than others in the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Edgar Allan Poe
    • Narrated By Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone brilliantly interpret twenty of Edgar Allan Poe's most chilling stories and poems - an unforgettably intense listening experience!

    tom says: "Excellent performance, poor formatting."
    "The Definitive Audio Poe Collection"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection again? Why?

    I would listen to this book again because it was very well performed and I've always found that listening to Poe better than reading the printed work.


    What did you like best about this story?

    My favorite story by Poe is "Fall of the House of Usher" and Rathbone does a great job bringing the stories to life.


    What about Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone ’s performance did you like?

    They read the stories at a rate of speed that made it possible for Poe's rather odd style and vocabulary to be better understood.


    If you could take any character from The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I would take the poor tormented soul from "The Raven" out to dinner to help him cope with the loss of fair Lenore.


    Any additional comments?

    The problem with this book is the lack of titles at the beginning of the stories and poems. The publisher should add a narrator to state the title of each segment so that the listener knows what story or poem is being performed--perhaps with some creepy background music to set the mood. The audio quality could also be improved.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Five Little Pigs

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (34)

    Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other "little pigs" who could have done it: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

    Sixteen years later, Caroline's daughter is determined to prove her mother's innocence.

    Kathi says: "Good, but not Christie's best"
    "A Top Notch Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Five Little Pigs rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Five Little Pigs ranks among some of the best audiobooks I've listened to.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The story was very suspenceful with a great twist at the end.


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

    Mr. Fraser always does a good job with characterizations, listening to him read a book is like listening to an old time radio show, the book comes to life.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending was emotionally satisfying.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best of the Piroit mysteries, Christie really grew as a writer as she developed the character. Piroit developed from a Sherlock Holmes knock off to a detective with a distinctive personality who ended up being quite unique in the annals of detective fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Natural Woman: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Carole King
    • Narrated By Carole King
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (99)

    Carole King takes us from her early beginnings in Brooklyn to her remarkable success as one of the world's most acclaimed songwriting and performing talents of all time. A Natural Woman chronicles King's extraordinary life, drawing listeners into her musical world, including her phenomenally successful number-one album Tapestry, and into her journey as a performer, mother, wife, and present-day activist.

    Marie says: "Hearing it is even better than reading it!"
    "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About King"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would reccomend this book to anyone interested in the life of Carole King and the pop music of the 20th Century.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Not only did it give details about King's life, but a snapshot of the music industry in a very turbulent time in our country's history.


    What about Carole King’s performance did you like?

    I liked the way she would break out in song when discussing various musical pieces.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was particularly moved by an explanation of domestic abuse that King described during a dark period of her life.


    Any additional comments?

    Although very long, this book kept my attention from beginning to end, anyone who love's King's music is sure to find it entertaining and informing. I will warn the reader though, if one is looking for a lot of detail regarding King's friendship with James Taylor, there seems to be pieces missing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sad Cypress: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By David Suchet
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity, and the means to administer the fatal poison. Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty: Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows.

    Thomas says: "Strange Plot Twists"
    "Strange Plot Twists"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Sad Cypress in three words, what would they be?

    Suspenseful, perflexing, frustrating


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Sad Cypress?

    When Piriot came forward with a rather complicated explanation of how the murder was committed.


    Have you listened to any of David Suchet’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Dave Suchet does an excellent job in bring Christie's characters to life. He did an excellent job this him and I'd rate this performance up to his usual standards.


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

    It's a book that moves rather slowly, I definitely would not say I was on the edge of my seat at all times--but the plot unfurles like a flower blossom opening until it is fully in bloom.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this book a great deal, but I don't think it's one of the best Piroit Mysteries. It is unusual in that it has rather long court scenes, which is different in a Christie mystery. The ending was rather complicated and I actually had to listen to it twice to fully understand the relationships of the people involved and why the crime was commited. The herione falls to pieces in the end, she was not particularly sympathetic or empowered, she kind of let events overtake her in the name of unrequited love. By contrast the young woman in Christie's Sparkling Cyanide seemed to have it more together and the ending of that story easier to grasp. Die hard Christie fans won't want to miss this book, but if the listener is only an occasional Christie listener there are other books she wrote that are much better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Haunted House

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, and others
    • Narrated By Philip Bird
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (10)

    On Christmas Eve, a party of friends descends on a purportedly haunted country retreat, charged with the task of discovering evidence of the supernatural. Sequestered in their rooms for the holiday, the friends reconvene on Twelfth Night at a great feast and share their stories of spectral encounters.

    Thomas says: "Not Scary--But Rather Romantic"
    "Not Scary--But Rather Romantic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Haunted House? What did you like least?

    The best part of this book were the colorful characters and dry humor. The worst part was that it isn't really a legitimate collection of ghost stories. Although the titles of the stories offered start with "The Ghost . . ." most of the stories are simply colorful Victorian romances and humerous sketches.


    Has The Haunted House turned you off from other books in this genre?

    The Haunted House has not turned me off to other books in this genre--which I would consider Victorian Romance--what turned me off was that I I feel the title and the vague framework that Dickens tied it all together with was misleading. I was expecting really scary stories, like Dicken's "The Signalman"--but the book failed to produce that type of tale.


    Which character – as performed by Philip Bird – was your favorite?

    The narrator was my favorite character.


    Was The Haunted House worth the listening time?

    This book is worth the listening time if one is aware of what type of book it really is--namely not a collection of scary stories--but rather a collection of witty Victorian sketches.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like books like those written by Jane Austin and the Bronte Sisters you would probably be pleased with the selection offered here--but if you want bone chilling tales of terror you definitely won't find it here and would be better off with an Edgar Allen Poe anthology.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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