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Bonny

Addicted to books, both print and audio-.

ratings
86
REVIEWS
57
FOLLOWING
13
FOLLOWERS
68
HELPFUL VOTES
492

  • Still Midnight

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Denise Mina
    • Narrated By Jane MacFarlane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (136)

    Alex Morrow is not new to the police force - or to crime - but there is nothing familiar about the call she has just received. On a still night in a quiet suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, three armed men have slipped into a house, demanding a man who is not, and has never been, inside the front door. In the confusion that ensues, one family member is shot and another kidnapped, the assailants demanding an impossible ransom. Is this the amateur crime gone horribly wrong that it seems, or something much more unexpected?

    Bonny says: "Great listening experience!"
    "Great listening experience!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read Denise Mina's latest, Gods and Beasts, and decided to try listening to this one, the first in the Alex Morrow series. Jane MacFarlane is a wonderful narrator and Denise Mina's writing is intelligent, riveting, often funny. She writes fascinating characters with depth and believability. Her writing reminds me of Kate Atkinson's; the same sort of intelligence and humor, the same kinds of interesting plot turns. Highly recommended. You'll have to excuse me; I'm downloading The End of the Wasp Season (Book 2 in this series, I believe) and I have to go now . . .

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Harder They Come: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By T.C. Boyle
    • Narrated By Graham Hamilton
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Set in contemporary Northern California, The Harder They Come explores the volatile connections between three damaged people - an aging ex-marine and Vietnam veteran, his psychologically unstable son, and the son's paranoid, much older lover - as they careen toward an explosive confrontation.

    Bonny says: "Intense, gripping, absorbing"
    "Intense, gripping, absorbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of those books that grabs you and doesn't let go. It's close to a thriller, a fast-moving meditation on the theme of social and personal alienation. The three main characters: a 70-year-old recently-retired Vietnam vet, his disturbed son, and his son's older lover, a far-right woman who denies the legitimacy of state and federal government. Each is experiencing profound alienation, and their actions in response propel the plot. The writing is excellent, the story is involving, and the narration is well done. It's not going to make you feel much better about humanity, but it's well worth the listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Buried Giant: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Kazuo Ishiguro
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (288)
    Story
    (286)

    "You've long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it's time now to think on it anew. There's a journey we must go on, and no more delay..."The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.

    Pete says: "The beauty of the reveal"
    "Not particularly successful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is often referred to as a fantasy novel, but in my opinion it bears very little resemblance to fantasy. I'd describe it as a philosophical novel with a few fantastic and mythical elements. The concept is good, the questions asked are valuable, but the execution, while often beautifully written, is so labored and dialogue-heavy that it only occasionally gets off the ground.

    So much of the book is in dialogue, and there is so much repetition, that although events are happening to the characters, it feels as though nothing is happening. The fantastic elements have little weight and are almost beside the point. The book's truth could have been discovered as well if it had concerned an elderly couple living today, experiencing the memory loss that frequently comes with advanced age.

    The author asks good questions: is the love between two people still valid if they can't remember their past? Is peace between peoples desirable or meaningful if it is based on their inability to remember their arguments and their wars? They are excellent questions, but this is a long, labored, roundabout way of exploring them.

    The narration is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ghosts of Belfast

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Stuart Neville
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1177)
    Performance
    (554)
    Story
    (556)

    Fegan has been a "hard man" - an IRA killer in Northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by 12 ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he's going to have to kill the men who gave him orders. As he's working his way down the list, he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too.

    David P. McGivern says: "What an unexpected good read!"
    "Sebastian Barry meets William Boyd"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Thanks to Janice, who reviewed this book and addressed the issue of the violence. I might not have taken a chance on this without her review. I agree that the violence is not gratuitous and that what is there is necessary. This is a suspenseful thriller with a lot of history and a lot of depth. The protagonist is coming to terms with what he did during Ireland's Troubles, trying to put things right so that he can go on with his life. I don't want to say too much about how he goes about this, but it's a great story. Stuart Neville uses the kind of history and emotional depth found in Sebastian Barry's works, and puts them into a thriller worthy of William Boyd's Restless and Ordinary Thunderstorms. The writing is very good and the characters are very much alive, sometimes uncomfortably so.

    Gerard Doyle's narration is excellent and he keeps the characters so clear and vivid that I forgot I was listening to one person.

    I will definitely look for more by both Stuart Neville and Gerard Doyle.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Dark-Adapted Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Barbara Vine
    • Narrated By Harriet Walter
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (57)

    Like most families, they had their secrets...and they hid them under a genteelly respectable veneer. No onlooker would guess that prim Vera Hillyard and her beautiful, adored younger sister, Eden, were locked in a dark and bitter combat over one of those secrets. England in the '50s was not kind to women who erred, so they had to use every means necessary to keep the truth hidden behind closed doors - even murder.

    Jennifer says: "Even better in audio form"
    "Well-written, absorbing psychological mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this on the basis of audible reviews and was not disappointed. This is not an edge-of-your-seat mystery. It unfolds slowly and moves deeper and deeper into the characters, their histories and their motivations. It is beautifully narrated by Harriet Walter. If you're looking for something to lose yourself in and spend some time with, I recommend it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Diane Setterfield
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5413)
    Performance
    (2235)
    Story
    (2252)

    All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain.

    PA Law says: "Haunting and beautiful tale"
    "I really enjoyed this"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this on sale (and it's on sale for one more day, if you're interested), and am glad I did. I needed something involving but not too demanding. This is a gothic mystery, which is not usually my kind of thing. But. It's quite well-written, has a great story, and terrific narration. Both narrators are excellent, but I was especially taken with Bianca Amato. What marvelous delivery! So of course I look to see what else she has done (nowhere near enough considering how good she is . . hello? Audiobook empire, please take notice!) and it's a lot of books I wouldn't normally pay attention to. Do I need to start reading Philippa Gregory? I don't know. Maybe. Anyway, I dithered over getting The Thirteenth Tale, as it seemed not really to my taste, but it's a darned good yarn, narrated beautifully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth Is Missing

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Emma Healey
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (193)
    Story
    (198)

    In this darkly riveting debut novel - a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging - an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

    Amber says: "A contemporary mystery for non-mystery lovers."
    "Can't wait to see what she does next!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a debut! And though this book is very well-written and beautifully narrated, I did not find it an easy listen. The author goes out on a limb in order to put us inside the mind of an elderly woman with serious dementia, most likely Alzheimer's. And the limb bears the weight of this construct. It's very well done, to the extent of being genuinely frightening, along the lines of "that poor woman" and "please don't let this happen to me." The book unravels two mysteries: that of the title, and a much, much older one from the narrator's past. It's gripping and absorbing, and at times so intense that I had to take a break.

    Not the least of the author's accomplishments is to increase our understanding of what it might be like inside the mind of those with dementia.

    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Euphoria: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Lily King
    • Narrated By Simon Vance, Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (594)
    Performance
    (517)
    Story
    (507)

    English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband, Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell's poor health, are hungry for a new discovery.

    David says: "Anthropologists in Love"
    "Fascinating and absorbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A beautifully-written and compelling book about fascinating people. The anthropologists are as interesting as the tribes they are studying. I could have gone on listening to this for quite a while longer and am sorry it's over. I completely disagree with the reviewers who panned Simon Vance. No, his reading of Bankson isn't euphoric, but neither is Bankson's character. So much of what is going on in the book is in the contrast between his approach and that of Nell and Fen, and Simon Vance and Xe Sands (whom I also loved) nailed this aspect. Great book, great narration all around. I loved it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Tower

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Louis Bayard
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (339)
    Performance
    (174)
    Story
    (174)

    Dr. Hector Carpentier leads a very quiet life, until he meets legendary police officer Vidocq, who has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance and his extensive knowledge of the Parisian underworld to capture some of the most notorious and elusive criminals.

    Booksmith says: "Truly Engaging and Clever"
    "Fascinating period of history, good mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book deals with an engrossing mystery surrounding the fate of Louis-Charles, the Dauphin of France, the son of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI. The detective in this case, widely believed to be the first private detective, is Vidocq, and the book is well worth reading just for this character. The writing is skillful, moving, and often very funny. It's hard to go wrong with Simon Vance, and he's chalked up another A+ with his narration of The Black Tower. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • In the Woods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (5588)
    Performance
    (3555)
    Story
    (3557)

    As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

    Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.

    Dottie B. says: "Very mixed feelings (semi-spoilers included)"
    "Another winner from Tana French"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of Tana French's many strengths is the psychological depth of her characters; the criminals, yes, but particularly the detectives. The more we find out about the crime and the suspects, the more we discover about the detectives, and the way she intertwines the backgrounds and stories of the two groups is masterful. Reading through all five of her books, none of whom has the same narrator, we experience the different detectives through their own eyes and through others. In this book, we see through the eyes of Rob Ryan, who is investigating a crime with his partner Cassie Maddox (the primary detective in The Likeness). It doesn't matter in which order you read the books; they all work regardless. The crime Ryan and Maddox are investigating here takes place in the same neighborhood Ryan grew up in, and where he went through an as-yet unexplained trauma. As the investigation progresses, we go deeper and deeper into Ryan's background and his relationship with Cassie. It's heartbreaking, riveting, and very well done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Martin Chuzzlewit

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (78)

    The Chuzzlewits are a family divided by money and selfishness; even young Martin, the eponymous hero, is arrogant and self-centred. He offends his grandfather by falling in love with the latter’s ward, Mary, and sets out to make his own fortune in life, travelling as far as America - which produces from Dickens a savage satire on a new world tainted with the vices of the old. Martin’s nature slowly changes through his bitter experience of life and his enduring love for Mary.

    Carol says: "not my favorite Dickens.... but"
    "Sean Barrett rivals Simon Vance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book, and now I'll have the dilemma of choosing between Sean Barrett and Simon Vance for the Dickens I haven't listened to yet. The narration is exquisite; Mr. Barrett has a lovely voice, and when you listen to Dickens's beautiful writing in Mr. Barrett's beautiful voice . . . well, it's mesmerizing. There are wonderful characters in Martin Chuzzlewit: in particular Mrs. Gamp, the alcoholic nurse who repeatedly violates the Hippocratic Oath, and jolly Mark Tapley, who seeks out trouble and misery because there is "no credit in being jolly" when you're in a good situation. The plot is classic Dickens and if you've read much of his work, you're familiar with his devices, but it's the writing, the characters, and the narration that make this one memorable. As is often the case, Dickens gets pretty Hallmark-ish and treacly at the end, and in his handling of Ruth Pinch, but who cares? It's a great audiobook! Go for it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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