STORY - (romance/fantasy/mystery) I enjoyed Key of Light. It's not just a sweet contemporary romance. There is also an interesting Celtic mystery, magic, Gods and a big silly dog. The lead characters are smart, likeable, and their clever banter will make you chuckle.
This is Book #1 of a trilogy, and in each book the characters will be searching for one of three keys which will unlock a magic box and release a soul which has been imprisoned inside for centuries. This is the story of Mallory's search. It comes to a nice conclusion, so the book can stand alone, but you will probably want to continue the trilogy and learn what happens when the other two keys are found.
PERFORMANCE - Susan Ericksen does a great job. She is the same narrator who reads the In Death series, so you will recognize Roarke's voice/accent in one of the characters.
OVERALL - Recommended for romance readers, especially if they might like an ancient mystery mixed in.
STORY (new adult romance) - Easy is a contemporary romance which takes place on a college campus involving college students. There are some difficult issues and a lot going on besides just the romance...BUT...it is what it is, a college romance. I'm an adult with a grown child and it was still a great escape for me, but you may think differently. There's are classes, roommates, parties, fights, breakups, hookups, etc. Nevertheless, I loved it.
The story is told from Jacqueline's perspective. She is a music major who's just been dumped by her long-term boyfriend. She meets Lucas, who has kind of a bad-boy image, but he's noticed Jacqueline. He's sensitive, romantic, sexy...and complicated. They have some issues which must be overcome before they can have a relationship, but I won't spoil them in this review. I will say that I wouldn't have titled this book "Easy."
PERFORMANCE - She reads with good expression, and the "male" voice she gives Lucas is pretty good. Some of Jacqueline's female friends, however, sound a bit too bouncy or nasally for my personal taste. All in all, though, she does a good job.
OVERALL - This is Book 1 of the series, but it stands alone. I understand Book 2 tells the same story from Lucas' perspective and gives a bit more detail in some areas. Recommended for college-age listeners or older (like me) who are in the mood for a walk down memory lane and a romantic escape. There are quite a few makeout sessions that are romantic and steamy, but they don't really go anywhere. Then there are a few sex scenes where the concentration is on kissing and touching with only a minor reference to the actual act. Quite a bit of profanity due to the age of the characters, but it's not "overdone."
STORY (personal memoir) - Lawrence Anthony is "The Elephant Whisperer." He lives in South Africa and runs an animal preserve called Thula Thula. He is persuaded to adopt a herd of rogue elephants to save them from being killed, and he establishes a form of communication with them. Though they still live in the bush and remain wild, he learns from them and earns their respect. They form a strange bond, and his life is forever changed and enriched.
Much of this story is about the day-to-day running of Thula Thula. Anthony must deal with poachers, fire, Zulu tribal politics, animal attacks and running a preserve teeming with all kinds of creatures. In a place where only the fittest survive, there is the beauty of life but also the sadness of death. I'm an animal lover and must admit to shedding a tear or two, but I'm so very glad I heard this story. I was impressed with Anthony's patience and kindness, and I was amazed by the intelligence of the elephants! The message I take away from this book is one which is mentioned in the beginning, that there is much more to life than yourself, your family and your own kind. Makes me think...
PERFORMANCE - He does a good job. I liked his African tribal accent.
OVERALL - I'd recommend this book to everyone except younger children, due to some intense scenes. There is no profanity. Animal lovers who are softies (like me) will cringe and cry a little, but the book is wonderful so don't let that hold you back!
UPDATE AFTER THE BOOK - Mr. Anthony died in 2012 of a heart attack. According to news articles, two herds of elephants mysteriously traveled for 12 hours to his home shortly after his death. It had been approximately 18 months since their last "visit." They stayed two days, as if paying their respect, and then returned into the bush. Yet another example of the unusual communication and bond Anthony had formed with the elephants.
STORY (historical fiction) - I didn't want to put this book down. Yes, Auschwitz was a horrible place and you will hear some awful things, but I didn't find it depressing. From the very beginning you will become invested in the characters and their lives. You will learn how Jacob, the main character, is captured and sent to Auschwitz, and you will hear his reactions to the atrocities he finds there. Existence at Auschwitz was not living-- it was barely surviving -- but a small group of exceptional characters develop relationships and manage to keep each other strong. Needless to say, this book is about an escape. It's fascinating to listen as the characters plan and make their preparations, and you will be on the edge of your seat as they are actually carried out!
PERFORMANCE - Good job with French and German accents.
OVERALL - I highly recommend this story for all adults. There's no profanity, but lots of death and suffering. Be prepared for an emotional ride.
STORY (fiction) - This story takes place in Scotland, sometime near the present day. When I bought this book, I was expecting a heartwarming family-oriented story about a six-year-old child. There is that component to the story and it's very sweet (Bertie and his overbearing mother), but there's two other story lines of equal importance -- a story about some newlyweds and another about two women vying for the attention of one man. The stories are all basically about navigating through life's various ups and downs, and there's lots of character development. I almost returned this book after about an hour or so of listening to it because there wasn't enough going on to hold my interest, but I persevered. Soon I became involved with the characters and their various personal journeys.
PERFORMANCE - Good job.
OVERALL - Recommended for adults only. Even though there's no sex or profanity, children would find it boring. It's part of a series, but the story stands alone. This book is basically rambling around in the daily lives of richly developed characters. I prefer a little more "going on" in books so I won't be continuing with the series, but I enjoyed this book nonetheless.
STORY (horror/suspense) - First of all, this book is creepy and scary, but it's not blood and gore like the cover art suggests. In fact, there is no character that bleeds from her eyes and there's very little bloodshed. The story is about an investigation into a house that is supposedly haunted -- to be filmed live on Halloween! The book begins with the haunted history of the house, moves to assembling an investigative team and prepping for the show, then culminates in the live broadcast. I enjoyed all aspects of the story but, as in all mysteries, there are lots of clues that the reader is trying to figure out and understand. During the live broadcast, when I thought things would start to be revealed and make sense, the book seemed to just drag on and on with very little becoming clear. Then there's a short prologue where the main characters get together months after the broadcast and talk about what had actually occurred. It is only then that the mystery of the haunting becomes clear, and I doubt any reader would have seen it coming. It's a decent explanation, but I didn't like the way it was revealed.
There are lots of characters that are all important, so you will want to keep them straight. Sometimes they're referred to by their first names, sometimes their last and sometimes by their job in the story. "The Supernaturals" refers to the team who assembled to assault whatever is haunting the house -- a professor, an Indian dreamwalker, a psychic, a genius in inventing ghost-detecting gadgets and a woman who is possessed by a male ghost. They're all likeable and you will root for them as the suspense in the story progresses. The other characters in the story each have their own motivation for wanting the live program to succeed or fail, so there's television politics, police conflict, double-crossing, etc., which keeps the story interesting.
PERFORMANCE - Good job. Characters that were on the phone or radio sounded as if they actually were, and the ghostlike voices were pretty creepy.
OVERALL - Quite a bit of scary occurrences and also profanity, so not suitable for children. While I chose not to listen to this book as I was falling asleep (as I often do), I don't think it would cause anyone bad dreams unless you're pretty easily scared.
SLIGHT SPOILER ABOUT THE AUTHOR'S VISIT TO THIS HOUSE - While this story is fictitious, the house itself is a real house which is supposedly haunted. A realtor showed the house to the author, but she wouldn't go inside. The author, after driving several hours, went in alone. He said he felt like an ominous presence was watching him and wanted to be left alone, so he left the house after only a couple minutes. That visit was his inspiration for writing this book!
STORY (short detective stories) - This is a collection of maybe 10-15 short stories by Agatha Christie, set in the early 1900's. The star is a Belgian detective named Hercule Poirot, a small man with a big ego who always manages to outsmart everyone and crack the case. The publisher's summary gives hints about the different stories so I won't repeat that here, except to say that there's a bit of everything -- kidnapping, murder, robbery, etc.
I think the mysteries are well-written and interesting. My only negative comment is that, since the stories are short, there is very little "fluff." Everything is important, so you must listen carefully. Unfortunately, I'm used to much longer books and, as I'm commuting to and from work, my mind wanders a bit. In a mystery which is, say, 30 minutes in duration, you can't afford to "zone out" for two or three minutes without missing something important. I found myself lost several times and having to rewind and rehear to understand. Alternatively, I often just continued and was completely lost at the end of the story.
PERFORMANCE - Throughout most of the book, Mr. Suchet performed convincing French and British accents, great emotional performances and probably the best female voices I've ever heard performed by a male narrator. The only reason he received a four-start rating is because the last few stories (about the last hour) seemed like a completely different narrator was reading! The great voice of Hercule Poiroit was gone and blended in with the voices of the other minor characters. What happened? Anyway, he went from a five-star rating to a four just because of the final hour.
OVERALL - No sex or cursing. There's kidnappings and killings but they're described with basically no violence. Recommended for any audience, but must be prepared to listen carefully and concentrate!
STORY (vampire romance) - I usually love Molly Harper's books, especially those set in Half Moon Hollow, but this one fell a little short for me just like the last one. I think it's because I've listened to several of her books and the "newness" is wearing off. Don't get me wrong. This is probably an awesome book, but I'm just not the right audience for it right now. Maybe I need to wait a year or so and then I'd appreciate her wonderful writing style all over again. That said, this is the typical Molly Harper story with lots of clever, snarky humor and a bit of romance. Her characters are quirky and loveable, as always.
This story is about Jane Jameson, who is accidentally shot and killed by a hunter who thought she was a deer. A vampire sees the accident and bites her, making her an immortal vampire but saving her life. This book begins with that incident and then follows with Jane's adventures as she attempts to resume her previous life but with her new nighttime hours, blood diet, immortality and new-found vampire boyfriend. It's a hoot.
PERFORMANCE - Nobody but Amanda Ronconi should ever narrate a Molly Harper book. She is awesome in this story, as always.
OVERALL - Recommended for mature females only. Moderate cursing and sexual content. There's lots of humor and a little mystery with a bit of romance tossed in.
STORY (medical thriller) - Abbe is a young surgical intern with a bright future and a great guy. Everything is going perfectly until she starts to wonder about certain things going on in the operating room. The publisher's summary doesn't give much away, so I won't either. I'll just say that some of this book takes place on an ocean-going vessel, but most of it takes place in and around a Chicago hospital. Abbe has stumbled onto something that's as dangerous as it is suspicious. As she struggles to learn what's going on in the OR, she is pressured by those who want to keep things secret. Her career and her very life are at stake.
There's interesting medical situations and lots of suspense in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
PERFORMANCE - George Guidall does a very good job reading this book.
OVERALL (Actual rating 4.5) - Moderate violence and some cursing. Recommended for mature listeners(male or female) due to the subject matter.
STORY (gay/lesbian romance) -- I'm not gay/lesbian, but I was curious. I stumbled on Clear Water in a sale and decided to check it out. I got a little bit too much information, but this cat isn't curious anymore so all is well. I didn't find this book in the gay/lesbian section since I don't shop there, but I will try to review this book for those who do.
Whiskey is 30-something, bisexual and a marine biologist. Patrick is 20-something, gay, has ADHD and teaches yoga. They meet when Whiskey saves Patrick from nearly drowning. Most of the story takes place on a marine research vessel near Sacramento where Whiskey lives and does research on water pollution and marine anomalies.
The characters were likeable, and the romance is sweet. Patrick is pretty screwed up emotionally, but Whiskey is supportive and wants to take care of him. The marine biology background of the story is pretty light, and I would have liked the book much better if there had been more depth in that area. All in all, the book held my interest but, if it hadn't been for "satisfying my curiosity," I would have found it pretty boring.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator had a nice voice and read well, but often he would get lost in a sentence and didn't seem to know what words to accent or where to pause for emphasis. Also he didn't differentiate between characters.
OVERALL - Recommended primarily for gay male listeners. There are several sexual situations but they only last a couple minutes each. Lots of cursing.
STORY (European classic) - I need my head examined. I'm not particularly "deep," so why did I buy Tolstoy???? I think I was drawn in by a couple of reviewers who said this book really made them put their life into perspective and think about how they should spend the time they have left on earth. Then there's the fact that I'll try anything once. It's only 2 1/2 hours, how bad could it be, right?
PRETTY BAD, unless you were the kid that loved to dissect literature in English class. If you're looking for anything entertaining, you won't find it here. Ivan, the main character, lives a boring life and then he dies. As he's dying, he realizes that his main goal had been to achieve a life of success and to surround himself with members of high society, but he also realizes the fallacy of such a life was that he had never been truly happy. Yeah, that's something we should all probably keep in mind, but I'd suggest you take the money and time you'd spend on this book, buy a "Life is short so be happy" refrigerator magnet and do something you enjoy for 2 1/2 hours.
PERFORMANCE - He did an okay job. He sounded middle-aged and had a British accent.
OVERALL - No bad language or sex. (Maybe Ivan would have been happier if he'd had some.) Recommended only for deep thinkers and lovers of classic literature.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.