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C. Telfair

Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

Shepherdstown, WV, United States

ratings
222
REVIEWS
209
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
258
HELPFUL VOTES
1054

  • The Obituary Writer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Ann Hood
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (360)
    Story
    (355)

    A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras.... On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, a young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless but secure marriage or to follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover, who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

    Kathi says: "Parallel stories of love and loss"
    "Good and Bad News"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved Vivien, the 1919 title character of "The Obituary Writer". Her story is haunting and leaps off the page. She's a survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake with unresolved issues of loss and uncertainty - and she fills some of her own need and anguish in dealing brilliantly with the grief and mourning of others in her obituary tributes.

    The book is divided, alternating Vivien's story with that of Claire, an early-1960's suburban housewife. Claire's life and trials are, unfortunately, not as compelling. She's a very familiar example of "Feminine Mystique" discontent of the era. There's a wonderful bit about the local wives' betting pool on what Jackie Kennedy will wear to the Presidential inauguration festivities, but mostly I was just anxious to get back to 1919.

    Much of the anticipation and suspense of "The Obituary Writer" is in connecting these two women somehow. Unfortunately, that process isn't entirely successful and comes across as rushed and pretty much contrived. It's not a crime for a novel to leave some unanswered questions and unresolved issues - confusion, frustration, and the feeling that something is deeply wrong do not, however, add up to a satisfying conclusion.

    So, there was disappointment in this listening experience, but I will not soon forget the lessons that Vivien has to teach about grief and memory. Because of that, and because of Vivien's early story, I do give something of a qualified recommendation to this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Etiquette & Espionage: Finishing School, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Gail Carriger
    • Narrated By Moira Quirk
    Overall
    (1129)
    Performance
    (1042)
    Story
    (1048)

    Fourteen-year old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. More interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea - and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy - Mrs. Temminnick is desperate her daughter become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

    But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish all right - but it's a different kind of finishing.

    Lynne Phelps says: "Fans of the Parasol Protectorate, Rejoice!"
    "Finished"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought I would really like this. It started out well: a great premise, witty and feisty female protagonists, and the author has all her vampires and werewolves in a row!

    Then, not much. The promising characters just never came to life for me. The tone became increasingly more arch than witty, the situations contrived. No heart.

    Too bad.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Kiss Before Dying

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Ira Levin
    • Narrated By Mauro Hantman
    Overall
    (352)
    Performance
    (314)
    Story
    (315)

    Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures.

    karen says: "Nothing like a classic....."
    "Lip smacking good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What fun to discover a classic that has not come my way before. Loved everything about this: the plot, the structure, and the narrator.

    Levin's story is riveting, featuring a very believable bad guy with mind boggling self confidence and resourcefulness. The book is structured around three episodes, each one with memorable characters and building suspense, capped by surprise. And the narrator guides us well, bringing it all to life.

    If I'd been reading this, I'm sure I'd have skipped ahead to find out the ending - love that that's a lot harder in Audible versions!




    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Neverwhere [Adaptation]

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Christopher Lee, James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, and others
    Overall
    (517)
    Performance
    (498)
    Story
    (500)

    A BBC Radio six-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel, starring James McAvoy as Richard and Natalie Dormer as Door. Beneath the streets of London there is another London. A subterranean labyrinth of sewers and abandoned tube stations. A somewhere that is Neverwhere....

    Jenn says: "Absolutely Perfect Casting"
    "Never Better!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's been years since I read (and absolutely loved) "Neverwhere." This is a terrific way to re-discover a fantasy classic.

    Others have mentioned the perfect performances here. They are wonderful, and the work has been lovingly and beautifully adapted for radio (and Audible).

    If you read the book, dive into this version of "Neverwhere". If you haven't yet experienced Gaiman's crazy world, take a moment to get used to the accents and the background noises, and enter. Like radio, it's presented in episodes - but be prepared to stay up late listening to all of them in one sitting! It's that good!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Murder at Five Finger Light

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Sue Henry
    • Narrated By Staci Snell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Sled dog racer Jessie Arnold stars in a series that's "suspenseful, intelligent, and filled with the spectacular beauty of the northern wilds" (Dallas Morning News). Her friends, Laurie and Jim, have acquired their dream, an old lighthouse on the Alaskan Inside Passage, and invited everyone to a party. Not a party in the typical sense, but one where guests earn their keep by restoring the old building.

    Teri says: "A little rocky"
    "Only for the Whales"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having recently been in the Alaska Inland Passage, I thought this was worth a try. And, because of my own good memories, it was, if only for the location and the whales.

    There's some decent intrigue here, as well. But the entire work is marred by the really terrible reading of the story. Meaning that this narrator only READS the book, and with not a lot of interest or enthusiasm at that.

    I can only recommend this book if you have a thing for remote lighthouses and/or the magnificent Inland Passage of Alaska.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Colin Woodard
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (432)
    Performance
    (384)
    Story
    (390)

    North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn't confront or assimilate into an "American" or "Canadian" culture, but rather into one of the 11 distinct regional ones that spread over the continent each staking out mutually exclusive territory. In American Nations, Colin Woodard leads us on a journey through the history of our fractured continent....

    Theo Horesh says: "One of a Kind Masterpiece"
    "Of course, Of course!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! This is one of those books after which you never look at things quite the same way again. And, oh, it all makes so much sense!

    I'm sure there are experts who would question whether this is exactly the number of "American Nations" or the precise boundaries and variances within each district. However, the weight of historical fact and intuitive "rightness" of this general theory is, in my view, absolutely undeniable. So much of what puzzles us in the disagreements and different philosophies of America's regions is explained forcibly and persuasively by Colin Woodard.

    All of the regions display good and appalling mindsets and inclinations in this description - no one escapes scathing criticism for actions throughout American history. Naturally, there are sweeping generalizations and stereotypes involved in presenting such a thesis, but I found myself often smacking myself on the forehead (figuratively speaking, mostly) and expostulating: "Oh, of course! of course!"

    I'll never forget this book - it will come to mind especially at Election time. I recommend it highly for anyone from any region. You may not agree with it all, but you won't deny it offers intelligent insight into much of America's past and present - and probably foretells the future all too well!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Any Other Name: Walt Longmire, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (671)
    Performance
    (613)
    Story
    (605)

    Sheriff Walt Longmire had already rounded up a sizable posse of devoted readers when the A&E television series Longmire sent the Wyoming lawman’s popularity skyrocketing. Now, in Any Other Name, Walt is sinking into high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Conally, asks him to take on a mercy case in an adjacent county. Detective Gerald Holman is dead and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend to take his own life.

    C. Telfair says: "Lost in Fog with Buffalo"
    "Lost in Fog with Buffalo"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Huge fan; I want to make that clear. I have gobbled up all the Longmire mysteries and am in awe of George Guidall's narrative abilities. Love the humor and the interaction of the characters.

    That said, I was a bit disappointed in "Any Other Name". For the first time in the series, I felt myself being manipulated here. One too many demonstrations of Walt's doggedness, one too many wounds in one too many extended confrontations, and for what? Would the man we know and love really put so many strangers above a frightened Katie in her hour of most need?

    There are excellent moments. I just loved, for instance, the fog-and-snow storm that finds our hero unknowingly in the midst of a herd of potentially dangerous buffalo.

    I'm just hoping for a return to top-notch form in Book 12.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Venetia

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Phyllida Nash
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (103)

    Venetia Lanyon, beautiful, intelligent and independent, lives in comfortable seclusion in rural Yorkshire with her precocious brother Aubrey. Her future seems safe and predictable: Either marriage to the respectable but dull Edward Yardley, or a life of peaceful spinsterhood. But when she meets the dashing, dangerous rake Lord Damerel, her well-ordered life is turned upside down, and she embarks upon a relationship with him that scandalizes and horrifies the whole community.

    Carol says: "Heaven for Heyer Fans"
    "No Guilt Here!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave up calling Georgette Heyer a "guilty" pleasure a long time ago. A literature major, I was taught that certain genres of writing are just inherently inferior - and one of them, of course, is Romance. Now I know that good writing is good writing, whatever the genre, and writing doesn't get any better than in "Venetia"!

    The story is a fairly common one in historical romance: "good" girl heroine attracted to "bad" boy hero. But Heyer does it so well here. The characters (major and minor) sparkle with humor, wit and personality. There are even valuable lessons in tolerance and reserving judgment.

    Venetia is an exceptional leading lady, full of life and heart, and I predict that anyone (even those who aren't big Romance fans) will fall in love with her, with her flawed love, with her brother, and even with those minor characters who so perfectly reflect the oddities in our fellow humans.

    And no small credit goes to the wonderful Phyllida Nash, who narrates this with great energy and skill. "Venetia" has long been a favorite read; now it's also a favorite listen! Along with Audible's versions of "Sylvester" and "Sprig Muslin", this will certainly appeal to Heyer fans and would be an excellent introduction to her really superior books.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Sidetracked: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (444)
    Performance
    (246)
    Story
    (245)

    While tracking a demented serial killer, Detective Kurt Wallander is beset with obstacles: a department distracted by the threat of cutbacks and the frivolity of World Cup soccer, a tenuous relationship with a widow, and an unshakably haunting preoccupation with a girl who set herself on fire.

    Rebecca says: "Gripped again..."
    "Wallender without Kenneth Brannach"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have watched some of the BBC series based on these books, but this was my first "reading" of one. The TV version is bleak indeed, and Sweden is portrayed as a really depressing place.

    I found the listening experience to be more balanced. Because the book is not so entirely focused on Wallander and his demons, it presents a wider view entirely. The detective's frequent depression isn't so much the crux of the story as an intricate part of the puzzle.

    "Sidetracked" is a great thriller. We know who the perpetrator is from nearly the beginning, so this is more a police procedural than a mystery. But it's also a really good study about the psychology and humanity of a seeming monster. It has really intense violence, but it also has great suspense, an interesting and varied cast of characters, and terrific writing.
    Dick Hill narrates beautifully.

    I'll seek out other listens in this series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sherlock Holmes in America

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jon L. Lellenberg (editor), Martin H. Greenberg (editor), Daniel Stashower (editor)
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (215)
    Story
    (214)

    Just in time for Sherlock Holmes, the major motion picture starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law: the world’s greatest fictional detective and his famous sidekick Dr. Watson are on their first trip across the Atlantic as they solve crimes all over 19th-century America - from the bustling neighborhoods of New York, Boston, and D.C. to fog-shrouded San Francisco. The world’s best-loved British sleuth faces some of the most cunning criminals America has to offer and meets America’s most famous figures.

    Amy says: "Terrific for Sherlockians!"
    "Holmes (and I) Hit the Road"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Get this one for your car journeys! My husband and I take a lot of short trips- say an hour or two each way. We're always happy to find something to listen to that holds our attention but is short enough that we don't have to keep driving in circles to finish before arrival.

    Does that sound like faint praise? Well, it is. As anyone might expect, this selection of non-Doyle Holmes stories is a real mixed bag. Some of the stories are clever and involving; others not so much. But the advantage of the short story format is just that - none requires a major investment of time or attention.

    So, if you enjoy the original Holmes canon and are looking for an entertaining way to pass the time and/or miles, this is a pretty sure pleaser.

    Note: There are a number of non-fiction diversions, including some fairly lengthy author bios and two final essays on Doyle and his attitude to Americans and (rather strangely) to the Irish. Interesting, perhaps, but definitely not short stories.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Chiefs

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Stuart Woods
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1473)
    Performance
    (886)
    Story
    (884)

    In 1919, Delano, Georgia, appoints its first chief of police. Honest and hardworking, the new chief is puzzled when young men start to disappear. But his investigation is ended by the fatal blast from a shotgun. Delano's second chief-of-police is no hero, yet he is also disturbed by what he sees in the missing-persons bulletins. In 1969, when Delano's third chief takes over, the unsolved disappearances still haunt the police files.

    Old Hippy says: "Absolutely Terrific!"
    "Falling in Love"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yep, I fell in love with this book! With 2 of the Chiefs, with lots of other characters and a town, and especially with a narrator!

    Narrator is too weak a description of what Mark Hammer accomplishes with "Chiefs". His voice seems relaxed and unhurried, but it conveys all the heart and soul of a small town called Delano and its residents. He's flat out fabulous!

    The book, too, is a real find. I agree with all the reviewers who note that this is obviously a deeply felt, deeply personal work by Stuart Woods. As the section for each chief ended, I grieved and thought the next one couldn't possibly be as good, but each time I was wrong and got just as engulfed in the lives and cares of the next set of people. There are wonderful and sometimes surprising connections among the 3 stories. There's suspense, emotion, and a just-plain-good-old plot in "Chiefs". And a progression through the years which reflects perfectly the changes in all of America during the period from 1920 to 1963.

    Everyone can relate to this story and to these people. And that's pretty much what a good book and a good listen should be, isn't it?

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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