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Abigail

arlington, VA, United States | Member Since 2007

ratings
194
REVIEWS
40
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
20
HELPFUL VOTES
155

  • The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, The Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Edward Dolnick
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1063)
    Performance
    (799)
    Story
    (812)

    The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of men who lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured a universe that ran like a perfect machine. A meld of history and science, this book is a group portrait of some of the greatest minds who ever lived as they wrestled with natures most sweeping mysteries. The answers they uncovered still hold the key to how we understand the world.

    Alison says: "The Royal Society comes alive."
    "Entertaining History Narrated Suppurbly"
    Overall

    This book is a great introduction to so many of history's most interesting genius's. The major characters are Newton and Leibniz but the author manages to familiarize the reader with a near exhaustive list of scientific greats from throughout history. Don't worry about hearing too much about stuffy intellectual types, these guys are far from boring. I didn't agree with all of the authors perspectives on these great men and the times in which they lived but all and all this is a solid and very informative book about a fascinating and turbulent time in history. The author covers a vast amount of material yet manages not to short change the subject. A light and fun history that manages to convey a large amount of information and leave the reader wanting more. Leaves much of the life, blood, controversies, feuds, and other interesting bits in. Makes you want to read biographies of just about everyone mentioned. The narrator is fantastic.

    24 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susan Elia MacNeal
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (342)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (303)

    Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed debut, Mr. Churchill's Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain's beloved royals against an international plot - one that could change the course of history. As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5.

    A. Dyer says: "Bring back Wanda McCaddon as narrator"
    "Light Silly Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The new narrator's extremely girly readings of the characters doesn't help the fact that Maggie is even more impulsive, entitled and prone to temper tantrums in this novel than the previous. If you have trouble suspending disbelief, this novel is not for you either. Maggie and her emotional maturity and stability of a14 year old would never be allowed yo be a spy. The history isn't very accurate or vivid either,. It seems like most of it was gleamed from recent novels and TV. The characters sensibilities and language are very modern.

    That said, this is still a fun light novel with some engaging characters. The narrator isn't bad at all, even if she has a tendency to read the female characters as high pitched and bubbly. I could criticize it forever, but that isn't fair. It is an enjoyable novel, with sufficiently complex story and charters. Something you can smile your way through without ever worrying too much. At times that's just what is needed and I enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Little Elvises: A Junior Bender Novel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Timothy Hallinan
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (23)

    Junior Bender is back to untangle one of the weirdest mysteries in Tinseltown. LA burglar Junior Bender has, unfortunately, developed a reputation as a competent private investigator for crooks. The unfortunate part about this is that, regardless of whether he solves the crime or not, someone dangerous is going to be unhappy with him - either his suspect or his employer. Now Junior is being bullied into proving aging music-industry mogul Vinnie DiGaudio is innocent of the murder of a nasty tabloid journalist he'd threatened to kill a couple times.

    Abigail says: "Perfect Audio "Page Turner""
    "Perfect Audio "Page Turner""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I blindly bought this book knowing nothing about the author or the character and was delighted with my choice. The narration is excellent and I prefer it to the other narrator of Hallinan's books, though both are good, Berkrot gets the feel of the books just perfect.

    The story is fun, face paced and filled with likable, outrageous characters. It is gritty but almost in a fun way like a James Bond film or good comic book. I'd say this is perfect summer or road trip reading. The story keeps you engaged and the plot just complex enough without being difficult to follow when heard aloud. (I often find books I'd otherwise have no difficulty with are harder to follow on a road trip.)

    the plot follows two mysteries, the one about the "Little Elvises" and a side plot about a serial killer and a missing daughter of a friend. The "Little Elvises" mystery ends up being a little absurd but the serial killer side plot finishes off the book in an entirely satisfying manner.

    So many authors write page turners that torture their main character, dragging you across emotional gravel until you come out bruised and exhausted at the end only to find a character you love has died and the book ends with the hero in limbo until the next absurdly long and tortuous book. I of course read the heck out of these as well but it is immensely satisfying to find a book that is compelling, without being tortuous, fun and that has a satisfying ending.

    Just as much fun and just as little depth as a classic Bond film.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: A History of Venice: Queen of the Seas

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Thomas F. Madden
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    Renowned professor Thomas F. Madden focuses his expertise on what has been called the most beautiful city in the world: Venice. In these lectures, Professor Madden explains how the city on the lagoon was established by refugees escaping the onslaught of northern “barbarians” invading the crumbling Roman Empire. Through its history, Venice housed the world’s leading merchants, thrived as a maritime powerhouse, and developed into an independent republic not unlike the present United States.

    Bookworm says: "Absolutely fascinating"
    "Fascinating, Action Packed History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! Venice has the most amazing, influential and seedy history, I had no idea. This professor is very good at explaining a fascinating subject. One of my favorites under the Modern Scholar Michael Drout lectures. I wish there was more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2486)
    Performance
    (1795)
    Story
    (1803)

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    Thomas says: "The best book I've had"
    "Interesting, but wordy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I definitely think this is worth a listen but I did space out from time to time in the narrative. I wish I could have edited parts and used the space to find out more at the end of the book.

    0 of 0 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
    (240)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (152)

    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"
    "This is my favorite in the series so far"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I havent read the whole series, nor have I read them in order, but this one definitely kept my attention better than the others I have heard.
    Commissario Guido is called to a crime scene where the body of what appears to be a transvestite prostitute. However, something doesn't seem quite right to the Commissario and he refuses to just write the crime off because of the type of victim. Besides, the corpse has a body much like Guido's own and he doubts this is a figure people would pay for.
    From the undercover world of the gay and transvestite scene in Venice to the seedy and even more covert world of Italian finance Guido must ferret out the truth while staying alive and thwarting very powerful men.
    Honestly, the ways in which the characters have to confront ideas of italian masculinity in this maybe what amused me the most. However, it does have a good amount of action as well.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Snack Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Andrea Camilleri
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    When an elderly man is stabbed to death in an elevator and a crewman on an Italian fishing trawler is machine-gunned by a Tunisian patrol boat off Sicily's coast, only Inspector Montalbano, with his keen insight into human nature, suspects the link between the two incidents. His investigation leads to the beautiful Karima, an impoverished housecleaner and occasional prostitute, whose young son steals other schoolchildren's midmorning snacks.

    Kelly Howard says: "Pretty good series"
    "I just cant handle the Narrators bad voices"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dont get me wrong, I could see how this could be a good narrator in other situations but these books take place in italy. This narrator does voices that sound more like Steve Buscemi. I feel like im listening to an american gangster film. He also reads very quickly (like hes rushing to be done not just that he reads fast) and puts no pause between different characters speaking, and it makes them blend together.

    I should have listened to the sample more. Its my fault but it really gets irritating. Ill be more careful next time. I recommend the Donna Leon mysteries for someone wanting a listen with a more Italian feel, that narrator isn't perfect (who is) but you can at least get lost in the story and he gives a real warmth to the characters. You get very attached to the characters as he reads them and dont miss a word because he reads clearly.

    This Andrea Camilleri series is lovely and I only wish I could stand listening to them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of Rome: Book 1 of the Republic Series

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jack Ludlow
    • Narrated By Nick Boulton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (37)

    With barbarians at the gate and enemies within, two men must fight for the soul of the Republic. In a cave hacked out of rock two young boys appeal to the famed Roman oracle for a glimpse into their future. In the flickering torchlight the Sybil draws the blood-red shape of an eagle with wings outstretched: an omen of death. As they flee the cave in fear, Aulus and Lucius make an oath of loyalty until death. An oath that will be tested in the years to come. Narrator Nick Boulton brings this story of prophecy, courage, history and adventure to powerful life....

    Judith A. Weller says: "An Exciting Beginning of a Great Series"
    "Action Packed History, Great Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a fantastic story! I was sucked in from the first moment and loved following Ludlow's dynamic and likable characters. It is an incredably interesting time in rome's history as the republic breaks down, the nobility struggle with the demands of the poor and the provinces for rights and the growing threat of unified hostile tribes. The characters are on all sides and often their loyalties are divided. The scenes of battle are as compelling as the political plots. I'm not sure why there is the bad review. The narration is wonderful and I looked for other books by Boulton because I liked it so much. However, since taste differs I would urge people to always listen to the sample of an unfamiliar narrator. I thought this was a book that could reach outside the genre to those who may not be fascinated by history or ancient Rome. The author does take time to develope his characters and plot in a thoughtful way but I do not feel this slows the action, or makes the book too cerebral. It is a more intelligent page turner however, and if you are looking for a book as light as a sitcom you may be disappointed. I would highly recommend this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • SPQR I: The King's Gambit

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Maddox Roberts
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (211)
    Story
    (211)

    John Maddox Roberts takes listeners back to a Rome filled with violence and evil. Vicious gangs ruled the streets of Crassus and Pompey, routinely preying on plebeian and patrician alike. So the garroting of a lowly ex-slave and the disembowelment of a foreign merchant in the dangerous Subura district seemed of little consequence to the Roman hierarchy.

    Michael says: "Pleasant suprise"
    "Love these! Need more!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ok these aren't highbrow literature or anything but the story and the history are highly enjoyable. It's a great slice of Rome at the beginning of it's most famous historical events. Great road trip listening and about a pg13 rating (no excessive bad language or graphic rape scenes, etc.). I tend to mention this because after listening to pillars of the earth I learned how much more noticeable this stuff is in audio format (my BF kept walking in at highly graphic points which was highly embarrassing as well) The history in this is much better than many series that take place in ancient rome, without sounding in any way educational. It likely is educational but you dont notice. Simon Vance is one of my favorite narrators and I think just perfect for this book. I love him as the main character. I'm mostly through the 2nd book now and crave more!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Ruby in the Smoke: Sally Lockhart Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Anton Lesser
    Overall
    (571)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (189)

    In search of clues to the mystery of her father's death, 16-year-old Sally Lockhart ventures into the shadowy underworld of Victorian London. Pursued by villains at every turn, the intrepid Sally finally uncovers two dark mysteries, and realizes that she herself is the key to both.

    Bonita says: "A Must Read For All Ages"
    "Sucked in Right Away, fantastic listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have absolutely no idea how one reviewer thought this was preachy. I hate preachy and there are some reviews I've been meaning to write complaining about preachy mysteries. The accounts of opium addiction are accurate for the time, feel and perspective of Victorian London. (a favorite time period of mine as so many authors i love wrote then plus the history is fascinating. Not that this stives to historical exactitude but rather a good tale with neat historical tid bits left in) You can't write anything good about opium dens, they were really seedy & depressing. The subject isn't Harped on at all but is important to the plot, though not so much for its use.

    Anyway, this book is a fantastic mystery/thriller. I did not find the narrator to use a thick accent but listen to the sample just in case. Really great narrator, he added so much to the feel of the book & characters.

    The story is a little dark, so I would not say for all ages. Adults will certainly enjoy this as much as adolescents but might not be the perfect fit for more suggestive children who have nightmares. I have a teenage niece who this would be too dark for. There's a lot of death and some drugs, maybe a little corse language but it's not bad. Honestly, the book is what the best of adolescent or young adult fiction is, able to stand on it's own as simply good fiction.

    It really is a audio page turner and filled with great characters so do take a listen. After hearing this I might even retry the golden compas series's even though I hated it When it came out (I was maybe 13?). I'm certainly finishing the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Defend and Betray: A William Monk Novel #3

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Anne Perry
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (284)
    Performance
    (192)
    Story
    (196)

    Ten people gather together for an elegant London dinner party. By the end of the party, only nine are alive. Sometime after dinner, General Thaddeus Carlyon is brutally murdered in the hallway. Who had the strength - and motive - to murder the distinguished military hero? Nurse Latterly and Inspector Monk find the answers in a nightmarish legacy of evil.

    Jean says: "Defend and Betray"
    "obvious and long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've noticed the series has really become Hester based, and Monk doesnt have as large a role. No problem there. The problem with this book is you figure everything out hours and hours before it ends and just sit through tedium til it finally comes to the conclusion. do yourself a favor and once you've figured it all out fast forward to the last half hour if you bother listening to this one. Oh and the plot is ridiculous for the time period, not that such didnt happen, just that events would have happened differently. However, thats never the problem with these books, though the characters do have a thoroughly modern outlook. FYI you do find out the past lady in Monk's life and what happened with that in this book.

    (Oh and mini rant Napoleon wasn't considered short in his age (he was on the tall side of average for a man or solidly average depending on the part of europe the stats are from) and is taller than a great deal of world leaders today. Some measurement conversion problems (french to english) at the time could have lead english people to think him short but no one who saw him (like described in the book) would have thought him a short man.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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