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Alcairha

Brooklyn, NY | Member Since 2004

101
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 40 reviews
  • 201 ratings
  • 1075 titles in library
  • 163 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
6

  • Thirteen

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Richard K. Morgan
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1097)
    Performance
    (428)
    Story
    (431)

    Marsalis is one of a new breed...literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public branded the supersoldiers dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth's distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back.

    L. says: "WOW, Morgan Does it again!"
    "A sociological treatise, not a sci fi thriller"
    Overall

    I loved Altered Carbon, but this book was a disappointment - full of endless infodump punctuated by short bursts of extreme violence. The characters lecture each other endlessly about politics and changes in social structure, to the absurd degree that a mobster lectures his intended victim at great length rather than shooting, fighting or even just arguing. Same thing with the lovers, endless general discussions of politics interspersed with graphic sex scenes that come out of nowhere and don't go anywhere. On top of that, the character's every motion is described to a minute degree (her smile curled slightly, reminding him of how he felt...he saw her hair move softly in the shadows, watched her shoulder twitch and on and on and on). Basically the entire plot comes to a screeching halt. I finally gave up mid-way. There are some very inventive ideas here, but no story flow and no engaging characters. This book badly needed a good editor. Even Simon Vance, who is an excellent reader, is miscast. He can't do Spanish accents - makes them all sound slightly Asian, and there are a lot of South American characters in this story.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Queen of Hearts

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (823)
    Performance
    (757)
    Story
    (759)

    Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 35th in line for the British throne, knows how to play the part of an almost royal - but now she's off to Hollywood, where she must reprise her role as sleuth or risk starring in an all-too-convincing death scene...

    Calliope says: "Good but not her best"
    "formulaic and predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this series with amateur detective Georgiana Rannoch so far, but Rhys Bowen has run out of creative ideas for her cast of characters. The storyline has become utterly boring and predictable. I used to feel sorry for Georgiana, the plucky heroine surrounded by a cast of shallow and self-serving family and friends, but at some point you have to wonder why she continues to maintain relationships with these people. Her narcissistic mother, who spends the time she isn't with her numerous lovers putting her daughter down or abandoning her. Her would-be lover, Darcy, who vanishes as soon as the relationship shows signs of getting going and reappears as soon as she is getting on with her life. Her "friend", Belinda, who is the definition of self-serving and shallow, and finally her maid, Queenie, who abuses her kindness and destroys her belongings. Each character behaved entirely the same way they had in every previous novel. There wasn't a single moment of suspense in this story. Only Katherine Kellgren's superb narration (and the fact that the book is pretty short) kept me going. Save your credit for something better.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Brian Staveley
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (1397)
    Performance
    (1310)
    Story
    (1314)

    In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

    Ethan M. says: "Of the various new fantasy series, this is... fine"
    "WOW finally a book that CAN compete with George RR"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Absolutely fabulous start to a new series! I keep reading how this book and that book is the "new" Game of Thrones, so I was highly skeptical about yet another fantasy book purporting to be in the same class as a book of George RR. However, for once the hype was true. This book has incredible depth of world building, complete with religions, social classes, geography, philosophy, etc. - a world you could lose yourself in. I loved the maxims of the Shin (The first step in winning a sword fight is not to lose...). The characters all have complexity and conflicts that ring true and stay with you. They undergo changes, which are believable. I have to admit that I was a bit turned off by the unbelievable cruelty with which they treated Kaden and also Valyn in the beginning, but it all turned out to be for a worthwhile cause. The story is highly suspenseful with terrific pacing. I can't recommend this book highly enough - it ranks up there with my absolute favorites. Can't wait for part 2!!! The narration by Simon Vance was wonderful, like all of his books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Darker Shade of Sweden

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By John-Henri Holmberg
    • Narrated By Carol Monda, Scott Brick, Adam Grupper, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (173)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (148)

    Ever since Stieg Larsson shone a light on the brilliance of Swedish crime writing with his acclaimed and best-selling Millennium trilogy, listeners around the world have sought out and devoured the crime fiction of his countrymen (and women), many of whom have proved to be some of the greatest masters of the genre. In this landmark and unique publication, Sweden's most distinguished and best-loved crime writers have contributed stories to an anthology that promises to thrill even the most jaded mystery listener.

    Alcairha says: "Very uneven collection with some gems (see below)"
    "Very uneven collection with some gems (see below)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    1. Tove Alsterdahl: Reunion
    Meandering, atmospheric tale of a group of school friends reuniting as middle aged women. Can't quite decide if it's a ghost-story or a murder mystery. 3*
    2. Ralph and Silla Borland: He liked his Hair
    Incomprehensible story with minimal plotline that was a serial killer story?
    Vampire novel? Werewolf novel? Not helped by the glacial pace of the narration. Thank God this was a short story! 1*
    3. Aka Edvardson: Never in real Life
    Terrific story of a couple's summer vacation turning out not to be quite what it looks like… 5*
    4. inger Freemansson: In our darkened house
    Excellent nugget about a woman's revenge on her former coworkers. 4*
    5. Eva Gabrielson: Paul's last summer
    Slight tale of a premature tombstone. 2*
    6. Ana Johnsson: The Ring
    Bullied child uses "The Ring" to give him courage and gets more than he bargained for. 4*
    7. Asa Larsson: The Mail Run
    Standard story of murder, misdirection and suspect wrongly accused/convicted by prejudice, but well told in a frontier mining town with medieval morals 4*
    8. Stieg Larsson: Brain Power
    Cautionary tale with the theme of "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" taken to an extreme. Interesting idea, but you can see that the writer was young and immature since the characters are poorly developed. 3*
    9. Henning Mankshall and Hagen Nesser: an unlikely meeting
    Plotless story of two Swedish crime writers and their fictitious inspectors meeting on Christmas Eve. 1*
    10. Magnus Montellius: An Alibi for Señor Venegas
    Excellent tale of small time, petty politician manipulated into a false murder confession. 5*
    11. Dag Orland: Something in his Eyes
    Terrific morally ambiguous story of a repressive father and a daughter's fall from a balcony. Was it murder or was it suicide? 5*
    12. Maryland Persson Jolito: Day and Night my Keeper Be
    Strong character study, but depressing tale of a missing child. *4
    13. May Huval and Per Walu: The Multimillionaire
    Silly, pointless story about the start of the career of a minor con artist, who became a millionaire. It's beyond me what this story is doing in this collection since it contains neither murder nor mystery. It certainly wouldn't convince me to read the novels of the authors, who are reportedly Sweden's most famous and enduring crime writing couple. 1*
    14. Sara Stridsberg: Diary Braun
    A major disappointment after all the positive reviews. The story seems to consist mostly of endless descriptions of how she is getting rid of her jewelry and clothing while preparing for death 2*
    15. Johann Theoren: Revenge of the Virgin
    Skeletons in a rowboat. not much to it. Meh. 2*
    16. Veronica von Schenck - Eitreia. an author to keep track of. Unfortunately, her books are only available in Swedish. Terrific story of an art dealer turned art fraud expert. I would love to read more of this author’s stories. 5*
    17. Katerina Wenstahm:Too Late Shall the Sinner Awaken. Outstanding short story featuring a lesbian detective, Charlotta Lund, who is told the solution to an unsolved murder of a teenage boy that happened 25 years ago. 5*

    I particularly loved the intros to each of the stories, which gave background information on the writers. I will try to read some of the novels by these writers, if they are available in English, since I generally prefer novels to short stories.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Sartious Mage: The Rhythm of Rivalry, Book 1.5

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By B. T. Narro
    • Narrated By Nigel Patterson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    At just seventeen years old, Jek Trayden's power with Sartious Energy could be the greatest in the world, but that power comes at a price - a darkness within him that attacks while he sleeps, producing nightmares so real they leave him bruised and bloody. With the attacks worsening, Jek can't refuse an opportunity to end his nightmares for good when the King promises him a cure in exchange for a task.

    Alcairha says: "Promising start degenerates into boring drivel"
    "Promising start degenerates into boring drivel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book gets off to a promising start. I liked the character of Jek and his anger at being cheated by the evil King. His escape from the castle was exciting with the promise of more action and character development to come. Unfortunately, then the princess enters the scene and after that the story grinds to a complete halt. Plot is replaced by juvenile bickering between Jek and the Princess. Jek alternates between admiring her breasts, and her hair, and her eyes, and her soft skin (are you bored yet? I was), etc etc, while the Princess showers him with scorn and anger and admonishments not to fall in love with her - excellent advice in my opinion. He ties her up and gets her filthy, then releases her when she promises to help him, then ties her up when she breaks her promise, then releases her etc etc etc. At that point I admit I gave up. Too bad, this could have been at least a decent story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shibumi

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Trevanian
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (737)
    Performance
    (290)
    Story
    (299)

    Nicholai Hel, born in the ravages of World War I China to an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father, raised in the spiritual gardens of a Japanese Go Master, survives the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world's most artful lover and its most accomplished and highly paid assassin. Genius, mystic, master of language and culture, Hel's secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection: shibumi.

    David says: "Only a Russian could be this shibumi"
    "Uneven book, brilliant in parts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a very uneven book. In parts it was utterly thrilling and fascinating, but other sections slowed to a crawl. I loved the first parts describing Nicolai Hel’s childhood and background - couldn’t stop listening. And I found the description of WWII from the point of view of the Japanese interesting, in spite of the anti-American sentiments expressed repeatedly, since these were directed against the corrupt politicians and the unthinking masses of consumers rather than against individual people themselves. There was a lengthy middle section, which was rather tedious, with an (for me) endless description of a caving expedition, which brought the plot to a grinding halt. I would have preferred more description of how Hel ended up with his chateau and his concubine to the lengthy and detailed depiction of dangerous caving. At this point I was also getting very tired of how every character has to constantly expound “bon mots” about other cultures. Then, for the last section, the story really picks up again. I loved the end, which was again suspenseful and overall satisfying. The narration was very good for the most part, although the narrator had difficulty with Arab accents. The other accents were highly convincing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dawn of Night: Forgotten Realms: Erevis Cale Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Paul S. Kemp
    • Narrated By John Pruden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (21)

    The shadows recede from a lost temple in a forgotten wilderness. The sun rises on a new calling for a man as loyal as he is mysterious. The day's beginning finds Erevis Cale holding in his steady hands more power than he dared hope for - and more responsibility than he ever imagined. For now, he will have to put his trust in a god served by theives and born of chaos.

    spyros says: "Three books that should of fit into one."
    "Sequel doesn't deliver"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In spite of very uneven writing and the continuous, excessively testosterone laden interchanges, the first book of the Erevis Cale series had enough of a mystery and character development to make me want to read the second book. What a mistake!! The sequel filled in some of the background story, but in more of a “tell” not “show” kind of way, and it had none of the mystery of the first book, only constant obsession with killing the Slaadi and endless, tedious, bloody descriptions of what the characters were going to do to each other when they got ahold of each other. I gave up after the first few chapters, when I realized my mind was wandering and I was forcing myself to listen. Too bad, the first book could have used a good editor, but it had promise. The narration was too slow and a bit ponderous for my taste, but otherwise good enough.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Treatment

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Mo Hayder
    • Narrated By Damien Goodwin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (75)

    In a quiet residential area in London, a couple is discovered bound and imprisoned in their own home. Savagely battered and severely dehydrated, the worst revelation is yet to come: their eight-year-old son has been abducted. But when the body is found and forensic evidence turns the case on its head, revealing disturbing parallels to events in Detective Caffery's own past, Caffery realizes he's dealing with much more sinister forces than he'd anticipated - and finds it increasingly difficult to maintain his distance.

    Alcairha says: "INTENSE MASTERPIECE"
    "INTENSE MASTERPIECE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the most intense books I've ever read-or I should say listened to (I switched back-and-forth). The story is so horrifying that you want to stop, but you can't. It feels kind of like falling off a cliff. The plot and characters draw you in almost immediately and after that you have no choice but to continue to the end. The story, like every single Mo Hayder book I've ever read, is not for the faint of heart. It contains graphic and riveting descriptions of pedophilia and the torture of families held hostage by a schizophrenic. Mo Hayder has Stephen King's knack for portraying disturbed and crazed psyches in a highly realistic and believable way, so that it really gets under your skin. One minute you hate them, one minute you feel sorry for them, and the next you wish you could wake them up to what's really going on. And that's not just the criminals. Jack Caffery Is back, more tortured and obsessed than ever with solving the riddle of what happened to his younger brother. The reader will find out, although as you can guess, it is not a warm fluffy story. The depiction of the intense psychic anguish experienced by families after their ordeal is over is also extremely realistic. It reminds me of "Sophie's Choice" in its intensity. I won't easily forget this book, nor will I ever feel quite safe again in my comfortable middle-class existence. I think this book is a masterpiece, but be prepared for what you're in for, before you start reading!
    Narration was quite good- not my favorite though. Loved the accents.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Royal Pain: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (2570)
    Performance
    (2231)
    Story
    (2214)

    The Queen of England has concocted a plan in which penniless aristocrat Lady Georgie is to entertain a Bavarian princess and conveniently place her in the playboy prince's path, in the hopes that he might finally marry.

    But queens never take money into account. Georgie has very little, which is why she moonlights as a maid-in-disguise.

    Coffee Lover says: "More Royal Fun!"
    "Perfect book to put you in a good mood"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about A Royal Pain?

    I absolutely loved the descriptions of the characters- they were witty, engaging, humorous and above all they felt alive. The heroine was an unconventional independent thinker with remarkable courage and solid moral values, so that you really found yourself rooting for her. Meanwhile the depiction of the trials and tribulations of the impoverished British aristocracy was absolutely hilarious. The mystery was not very deep. I think most readers will figure it out well before the heroine, but it's hardly the point of the book. So if you want an engaging, highly entertaining depiction of the 1930's British upper crust wrapped in a very light mystery, well then, start reading...


    What other book might you compare A Royal Pain to and why?

    for some odd reason the book reminded me of the Bridget Jones novels, perhaps because of an equally sympathetic, self-deprecating heroine, surrounded by many unsuitable and one suitable lover and struggling to make the right choices. The Bridget Jones novels also made me laugh out loud, just like this book


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

    I am fairly picky and easily annoyed when it comes to narrators. Having said that, in my opinion Katherine Kellgren is an outstanding narrator in every way. I have loved every single one of her performances. She is without question one of my favorite narrators!!


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

    Not sure about the tag line, but I would be first in line to see it! I'd love to see Emma Stone as Georgiana...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Snow White Must Die

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Nele Neuhaus
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1364)
    Performance
    (1183)
    Story
    (1179)

    On a rainy November day, police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: a woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer. On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace.

    C. Vincent says: "Great narrator, unbelievable, never-ending story"
    "Terrific mystery & study of German small town life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I absolutely loved this novel by Nele Neuhaus, which was as much a character study of the worst of small town life in Germany as it was a mystery story. Lots of engaging characters and interesting plot twists combined with good writing and atmospheric descriptions of the scenery and homes. I think it's not much of a spoiler to say that you know from the beginning that Tobias must have been framed, but listening to it all unravel kept me hooked to the very last minute of the highly satisfying conclusion. I grew up in Germany and can say that the scenes and descriptions are very authentic. The translation was well done and the narration was outstanding. Highly recommended!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chasing Darkness: An Elvis Cole - Joe Pike Novel, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By James Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (457)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (203)

    It's fire season, and the hills of Los Angeles are burning. As the residents of Laurel Canyon are being evacuated from their homes, Police and Fire Department personnel find the corpse of a recluse who apparently committed suicide. Clutched in his lap is a photo album containing photographs of seven young women who have been murdered.

    J says: "Elvis & Pike Ride Again"
    "compelling thriller, but letdown at end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've listened to a few of the Elvis Cole novels and I pretty much like them all. They get me hooked quickly and I can't stop listening to find out what's going to happen next.Plenty of twists and turns to keep the story interesting. I love the characters, although I'd have liked to see more of Joe Pike. My main beef with this one is that the end unraveled pretty suddenly and left me unsatisfied. Too many loose ends for my taste, too little build up. Some very spooky scenes went nowhere. The narrator was terrific. I didn't care too much for the "authentic" sound of the phone conversations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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