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Carol

ratings
309
REVIEWS
27
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
15
HELPFUL VOTES
206

  • Sunshine

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Robin McKinley
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    Overall
    (487)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (252)

    There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while. Unfortunately, she wasn't alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don't, when they're vampires.

    Amazon Customer says: "An absolutely riveting, addictive tale"
    "Refreshing"
    Overall

    Interesting and well-written, with strong characters. I especially like the community the author shows us, and the rapport the main character has with a wide range of other characters. If you're looking for a paranormal romance this isn't it, though it dances around the edges; it's more a science fiction/fantasy book about a character coming to terms with herself.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Peacemaker: Foreigner Sequence 5, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel May
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (92)

    At last - Cajeiri has his young guests from the starship, three young folk entranced by weather and trees and creatures with minds of their own. It’s all he dreamed of.... But now safety is foremost: Cajeiri’s grandfather has been assassinated, hostile Assassins Guild invaded Great-uncle’s house, and now Bren Cameron, paidhi-aiji, who was sent to keep the aiji’s son safe, has more than the young guests on his mind. The aiji-dowager knows who’s to blame for the attacks, and they’re going after him.

    Charlie Russel says: "Excellent addition But no WhisperSync for Voice :("
    "Great book, great performance, great series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a tour de force! I thought I'd listen to the first thirty minutes or so the night this book was released. Ha! I couldn't put it down. I stayed up most of the night listening to it, then took the day off work and listened to the rest of it nonstop to the end. And it was worth it!

    Lots of excitement, engaging characters, important conflicts, and satisfying outcomes. I was braced for long boring summaries of what had gone before, but happily Cherryh sidestepped all that. She slipped in the needed background information through interesting new content.

    Many cheers for Danial May's brilliant reading and C.J. Cherryh's brilliant writing.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Wilma's Wicked Revenge

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Kay Umansky
    • Narrated By Claire Higgins
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (3)

    Wilma's older sisters are not only bossy, but are wicked queens too. Wilma is too young to be a wicked queen, but she does have her Grade Three Magic certificate, which will help her to plan her revenge on her bossy sisters.

    Carol says: "Funny. original, and well-read"
    "Funny. original, and well-read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wilma's grown sisters would treat pond scum better than they treat Wilma. But then, they're professional Wicked Queens. Their mother is too busy being Queen of the Night to bother about fairness. Their father, a mere mortal, means well, but can't keep up, so he focuses on gardening (not that there's enough sunlight for vegetables in the Queen of the Night's domain). And, after a more-than-usually-distressing crisis, Grandmother shut herself into the belfry, where she fires blasts of magic at anyone who disturbs her.

    Since Wilma has no one to defend her, she resolves to defend herself, and to take revenge on her sisters while she's at it. (Anyone who has ever been the picked-on youngest will sympathize.) Interfering with her powerful sisters' plans requires all Wilma's cleverness, all her magic (she's passed Level 3), plus all the help she can get. Her father's new garden assistant is willing to help her, although he and Wilma have extremely different ideas of what's acceptable behavior. In the process, they rescue a dog, and uncover (and solve) a mystery.

    This is an entertaining, light-hearted story, and Claire Higgins reads it very, very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pride of Chanur: Chanur, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (211)
    Story
    (212)

    No one at Meetpoint Station had ever seen a creature like the Outsider. Naked-hided, blunt toothed and blunt-fingered, Tully was the sole surviving member of his company -- a communicative, spacefaring species hitherto unknown -- and he was a prisoner of his discoverer/captors the sadistic, treacherous kif, until his escape onto the hani ship The Pride of Chanur.

    Ellen says: "A whirl of worlds."
    "Great, fascinating, and exciting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a remarkable book, with vivid, complex characters, well-built worlds, and alien species that are clear and memorable. These species are thoroughly alien, and yet, when we consider them through Pyanfar Chanur's eyes, they make their own kind of sense.

    Pyanfar Chanur is a shrewed space merchant captain. She's swashbuckling enough to thrive in the sometimes-deadly bluff and counter-bluff of trade and politics between six very distinct spacefaring species. Still, despite swagger and sharp dealings she's an honest, decent captain with a fine, honest crew of kinswomen. In fact it's that very decency, shown in the companionable laughter of crewwomen unloading cargo at dockside on a space station deep in alien territory, that makes a desperate human fugitive choose Pyanfar's ship to try to stow away on. It's also that same decency that makes Pyanfar refuse to return the human (a member of a never-before-seen seventh intelligent species) to the predatory Kif who had attacked his ship and tortured his crewmates to death.

    There are some things a decent Hani captain just can't do. Only, by the end of the book, and again by the end of the series, Pyanfar changes her mind about what some of those things are.

    While the human, Tully, proves his worth and earns a place in Pyanfar's small crew, the crisis with other species escalates. The deadly Kif want Tully badly enough to go to war to get him. The devious, physically-fragile, timid but ruthless Stsho want their own safety and profit at any cost to other species, and they will placate the Kif if that seems safest. The primate-like Mahendo'sat certainly want something very badly, but it's hard even for a shrewd Hani captain to detect what exactly they're after. A Mahendo'sat captain called Goldtooth seems to be turning into an ally against the Kif (and Pyanfar and her crew desperately need allies), but Goldtooth represents a Mahendo'sat Personage with unknown motives. Can even captains of sincere good will twist their orders far enough to stand by their friends when the best interests of their species come into conflict?

    And then there are the methane-breathers, who make no sense to anybody who breathes oxygen, and who are wild cards that can change the whole situation.

    Every time I read or listen to this book (and I've listened to it several times already, after having read it many times in hard copy), I'm struck by the book's sheer craftsmanship. It's exciting, and dramatic, but it doesn't slip across the line into melodrama. It's fascinating, and it deals with profound, complex issues, but it isn't pompous, pedantic, or analytical. It's tense and suspenseful, but it's also amusing, often in a wryly self-recognizing "Oh, isn't THAT the truth" kind of way. The story is character driven, but with a rip-snorting plot that could easily steal the show if the characters were weaker and less engaging.

    By the way, this book is a stand-alone story, complete in itself. It's not a cliff-hanger. The next three books (Chanur's Venture, The Kif Strike Back, and Chanur's Homecoming) together tell a second story about Pyanfar and her crew.The fifth book in the series, Chanur's Legacy, tells a third story all in one volume.

    The five books together are a tour de force, but this first book, Pride of Chanur (punning on "pride," the emotion, and pride as in a pride of lions--the Hani are very lion-like) is one of the all-time great enjoyable works of science fiction.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Blue Sword

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Robin McKinley
    • Narrated By Diane Warren
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (144)

    Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl, is pleased with her new home. Life in Istan is certainly easy, but a voice in her ear whispers that the home of her heart is among the Hillfolk, among the descendants of Lady Aerin, who once wielded Gonturan, the Blue Sword.

    Carol says: "Groundbreaking, interestingly dated, & odd"
    "Groundbreaking, interestingly dated, & odd"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In 1982, when this book was published, I loved it without reservations. It broke new ground mixing magic and alternate history, it had a capable, self-aware heroine, and it built an exotically evocative, engaging, and appealing world.

    Thirty-one years later, listening to Diane Warren's excellent performance, I realized that all those things are still true--but there's more to it. Time has brought some disturbing threads and nuances to the surface of the story, as a whole body of other works grew up following in this one's footsteps, and as capable, self-aware heroines became normal instead of oddities. Noticing those disturbing threads adds richness and complexity that, if anything, reinforces simple enjoyment of the story.

    To write this book with this heroine and this plot, McKinley had to fight her way out of confining cultural expectations and stereotypes. She succeeded amazingly well--but the lingering strands of those expectations and stereotypes still show. They certainly don't undermine the book's quality or the importance of what McKinley accomplished, but they do add a kind of fey light that casts odd shadows (rather like the heroine's dual vision in the story itself). The book, caught at the hinge of a literary turning point, is, honestly, rather odd.

    In some ways, this is a book about possession. The main characters perform brave, unexpected, history-changing deeds--but usually when they perform them, their will and choice is compromised by being under the influence-compulsion-control of another force. In some ways, it's a book about abduction. The main character is kidnapped, and although McKinley carefully foreshadows and justifies the character's change of allegiance, there are still queasy echoes of the Stockholm syndrome in the shift of her loyalty and affection.

    Ultimately, it's a tribute to McKinley's accomplishment that even today the book succeeds on its own terms despite the overtones that were invisible (though powerful) more than thirty years ago. One believes in the romance. One cheers the shift in allegiance. The possession is more enviable than creepy.

    This isn't a simple book, but it's certainly an interesting, enjoyable, and worthwhile book to listen to.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Knights' Tales Collection: Book 1: Sir Lancelot the Great; Book 2: Sir Givret the Short; Book 3: Sir Gawain the True; Book 4: Sir Balin the Ill-Fated

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Gerald Morris
    • Narrated By Steve West
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Many years ago, the storytellers say, the great King Arthur brought justice to England with the help of his gallant Knights of the Round Table. Sir Lancelot the Great: Of these worthy knights, there was never one so fearless, so chivalrous, so honorable, so…shiny as the dashing Sir Lancelot. Sir Givret the Short: Poor Givret: His size makes him so easy to overlook. But there’s more to knighthood than height. Sir Gawain the True The knights didn’t always act quite as gallantly as a true knight should. Even King Arthur’s nephew....

    Carol says: "Lively, engaging, and smart"
    "Lively, engaging, and smart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm giving these stories to my nephews and nieces, but I also got a copy for myself. These are funny, lively, and inspire a second--or even a third--thought. They're well-informed by older versions of the Arthurian stories, without being one bit stuffy.

    Three cheers for Steve West's excellent performance, and at least a dozen cheers for Gerald Morris's great storytelling. His scholarship gives his stories life and backbone, but his exuberant imagination and his smart, perceptive characters make them sparkle.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • False Colours

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Phyllida Nash
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (172)

    The honourable Christopher Fancot, on leave from the Diplomatic Service in the summer of 1817, is startled to find his entrancing but incorrigibly extravagant mother on the brink of financial and social ruin - and more than alarmed that his identical twin, Evelyn, Earl of Denville, has disappeared without trace. Christopher, or Kit, the respectable brother, is forced into an outrageous masquerade by his wayward family's tangled affairs. But in the face of Evelyn's continued absence, even Kit's ingenuity is stretched to the limit.

    Carol says: "Wow! A great listen!"
    "Wow! A great listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Phyllida Nash's excellent performance lets the quirky, likeable characters sparkle in this wonderful, witty comedy.

    After a few calm pages that let us find our balance, Kit learns that his mother and brother are teetering on the brink of crisis. After that, it's unexpected turns and convolutions all the way to the end.

    The story would be amusing and thoroughly satisfying even if you've never heard of Regency England. But having more background lets you appreciate its breadth and depth of authenticity.

    If this were a movie, it would get a whole bundle of Oscar nominations: screenplay, leading and supporting character performances, costumes, setting, cinematography, and direction. It all seems light and effortless, but wow, it's a delightful masterpiece.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Cloaked in Red

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Vivian Vande Velde
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    So you think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the girl with the unfortunate name and the inability to tell the difference between her grandmother and a member of a different species? Well, then, try your hand at answering these questions: Which character (not including Little Red herself) is the most fashion challenged? Who (not including the wolf) is the scariest? Who (not including Granny) is the most easily scared? Who is the strangest? (Notice we’re not "not including" anyone, because they’re all a little off.) Who (no fair saying "the author") has stuffing for brains?

    Carol says: "Grin, snicker, laugh out loud"
    "Grin, snicker, laugh out loud"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These stories are hilarious. So is the introduction. As the author points out, if you think about this story, every line is worth a chuckle.

    "What big eyes you have, Grandma."

    Really? The kid notices size but not the fur, the claws, even the tail?

    All the stories are clearly "Little Red Riding Hood," but every one is different. They range from just plain funny, to very surprising, to even kind creepy, to stand-up-and-cheer.

    Can't say more without spoiling the twists and surprises--but I'm giving this to all my favorite family members who have a witty, wry, or snarky sense of humor.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Battles at Thrush Green

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Miss Read
    • Narrated By Gwen Watford
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    Feelings are running high in the Cotswold village of Thrush Green. The rector's plan for the neglected churchyard doesn't meet with universal approval; there is a clash of personalities at the local school; and someone has returned to the village after an absence of 50 years.

    Debi says: "A trip back in time to a gentler place."
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wonderful characters with believable friendships, tensions, and resolutions in a small old-fashioned village. This book makes me smile. Gwen Watford's performance is perfect.

    I wish all the Miss Read books about Thrush Green and Fairacre were available on Audible--I'd buy them in a minute.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Precursor: Foreigner Sequence 2, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (211)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (186)

    National best-selling author and winner of three Hugo Awards, C.J. Cherryh returns to the universe of her acclaimed Foreigner trilogy - with an epic tale of the survivors of a lost spacecraft stranded on a planet inhabited by a hostile, sentient race. The beginning of a second trilogy, Precursor follows a single human delegate living among aliens, who are just gaining access to space.

    Professor says: "3 Years have passed!! )-: !!!!"
    "Great book; a few slow moments due to backstory"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Daniel Thomas May's performance is outstanding. It's insightful and compelling, going beyond just making all the book's vivid characters distinct and memorable.

    This book is at least as good as the first three. In fact, I thought Precursor had even more action and suspense than the first three volumes. It introduces people and places of great interest. And the plot takes surprising twists that sometimes made me cheer out loud.

    One heads-up: by now there's a lot of background needed by new readers. Cherryh provides the backstory while moving the action ahead, so you might not even notice unless you're reading the books back-to-back. However, since I'm gulping them down one right after the other, I found backstory slowing the usually-brisk pace now and then. Once, when the story had me sitting on the edge of my chair, I wanted to shake Bren and holler, "Stop brooding and do something, already!" (He did.)

    I admire how well Cherryh makes each book a complete, satisfying whole. These are NOT cliff-hangers. Each book resolves its story's issues. (Well, so far, at least. I can't swear about the rest of them.) Each book is a complete novel, but they all tie together, and it's worth reading them in the correct sequence.

    Audible has released the first six of the 14 books in this series. (The hard-back of volume 14 is due to be released in April.) I hope Audible quickly adds the other eight!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Foreigner: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (459)
    Performance
    (406)
    Story
    (416)

    The first book in C.J.Cherryh's eponymous series, Foreigner begins an epic tale of the survivors of a lost spacecraft who crash-land on a planet inhabited by a hostile, sentient alien race. From its beginnings as a human-alien story of first contact, the Foreigner series has become a true science fiction odyssey, following a civilization from the age of steam through early space flight to confrontations with other alien species in distant sectors of space. It is the masterwork of a truly remarkable author.

    Tango says: "A Sci-Fi Neville Chamberlain"
    "Fresh, deep, & intriguing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Everybody's on the brink of war: humans against atevi, atevi against atevi, even humans against humans (small surprise). And trying to balance on that brink is Bren Cameron, a human/atevi language expert plunged into politics and violence.

    He's struggling to understand alien motives, to find decent answers to explosive problems, to advise and explain without betrayal, and to hang onto his humanity while submersed in alien culture. Oh--and while Bren dodges lies and bullets, his mom is ill, his brother's marriage is on the rocks, and he himself is dangerously attracted to the younger of his alien bodyguards.

    Daniel Thomas May does an outstanding job narrating this fresh, in-depth, and fascinating look at the dangers and rewards of alien contact.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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