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Ellis

Taylors, SC USA

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 58 titles in library
  • 30 purchased in 2014
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  • Double Forté: A Gus LeGarde Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Robert King Ross
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Gus LeGarde's life essentially ended four years ago, when his beloved wife, Elsbeth, leapt from the Letchworth Gorge cliffs. These days, the music professor plays endless Chopin etudes on his antique piano and lavishes love on his family and dog - but nothing buries the pain or answers his burning questions. What made her jump? Why didn't she say goodbye? And how will he be able to live without her?

    Linda the Writer says: "A perfect book for a long drive"
    "Strong, likeable characters and a good mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed Double Forte, which I read some time ago. I’ve recently found audio books an excellent way to make time pass when doing chores and got this one. The characters and the easy, pleasant descriptions of life in Gus’s house, his interactions with members of his family, and the overtones of suspense appeal to me. This isn’t edge-of-your-seat action but a steady threat that sometimes comes to the fore, sometimes hovers below the surface—perfect for listening to over several days. I even cook more so I can listen. :-)

    Lazar’s writing is smooth and easy to follow without being simple. The story is rich and the subplots add depth. The characters are (mostly) people you’d like to spend time and be friends with. Gus, the protagonist, is a strong family man with many facets--a quiet hero. Siegfried is a wonderful character, Harold is portrayed quite well, and the others are clearly drawn and stand out as individuals.

    Overall, the narrator did a decent job, but to my ear, he made Gus sound like a man in his late fifties, older than I think Gus is. He also mispronounced a number of words, and in some of the tense situations, I thought the dialogue sounded too casual and laid back. Still, it was an enjoyable performance and I’d recommend it. I’ll listen to it again sometime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Write Like the Wind: Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By George Kuch
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Ever wish you could peer into the brain of a published author and learn what tips he's absorbed over the years? How did he get where he is? How many times did he submit manuscripts before he sold his books? Or maybe you'd like to delve into the psychology of writing, and learn what motivates him. How does he balance life with writing? How can regular tweeting help? In Volume 1 of Write Like the Wind, Lazar offers advice on “forbidden words”, “hooking your reader”, and “writing like you talk.”

    Kerry Dexter says: "Encouraging and helpful"
    "Good, solid advice for writers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Aaron Lazar is such a good, prolific writer, I wanted to see how he does it. He mixes his personal story and his own trials and errors with solid advice for writing, making it much more interesting to read than a simple how-to book. His common-sense approach combined with accepted and proven practices is well worth reading (or listening to). Lazar's writing reveals his philosophy about life as well as his attitude toward his stories, and his conversational style translates comfortably to audio.

    His output is amazing to me, but I hope he keeps the books coming. I'm looking forward to more of his novels.

    George Kuch's rich, easy voice is a good fit for this book. I enjoyed listening to him; his matter-of-fact manner works well with Lazar's ideas on writing and life in general. Kudos to both of them!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Essentially Yours

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Hannah Seusy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Marcella's first love has been MIA for eighteen years. Callie, her best friend and Sky's sister, flips out when a mysterious package from Sky arrives on her doorstep. Inside his old backpack are bottles of precious essential oils, a memory stick, and a bag of emeralds. Are these his final effects? Or is Sky alive? When Marcella's husband Quinn hears about it, his jealousy spikes. He and Marcella have been married for seven years, and he's not about to let some punk from the past mess that up.

    Linda the Writer says: "Sexy, suspenseful, sensitive, smart"
    "A Different Kind of Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Until now, I've only read Aaron Lazar's Gus LeGarde novels, which I really enjoy. Essentially Yours is a departure from the quiet, family-oriented LeGarde, but it's well done and held my interest from the beginning. Lazar delves into the mystical properties of essential oils in a knowledgeable way, and the suspense ratchets up as the mystery progresses.
    The story held a number of surprises, from the plot to the unusual characters.
    Hannah Seusy's clear voice provided a variety of emotions, from amusement and chagrin to fear and sympathy, all without overdoing anything. Good job!
    Good listening!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mind Games: A Diana Racine Psychic Suspense, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Polly Iyer
    • Narrated By Gwendolyn Druyor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    During a New Orleans Mardi Gras Ball, psychic entertainer Diana Racine touches the hand of a masked Cyrano de Bergerac and is instantly transported into the icy-cold body of a dead woman submerged in water. As Diana crumples to the floor, water filling her lungs, she hears Cyrano whisper that the game has begun. Diana has been called every epithet in the book: charlatan, cheat, publicity hound...and genius - all at least partially true. But convincing New Orleans police lieutenant Ernie Lucier that her vision of the dead woman is the real thing may be her hardest act yet.

    Ellis says: "Exciting, full of twists and turns!"
    "Exciting, full of twists and turns!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Polly Iyer is one of my favorite authors. I read this book a couple of years ago and had forgotten many of the details, so I got the audio. I still love the story and the characters--it's not often you can feel any sympathy for the bad guy, but I did in Mind Games. Diana and the other characters are believable and likeable, and I found the plot just as exciting and full of twists and turns this time as I did the first.
    Ms. Druyor's narration is excellent. I never had difficulty separating the characters, and thought she created a great villain as well as the fascinating heroine, Diana Racine. The narrator really touched me at one point when a character had reached her limits and thought she was dying. (You'll know when you hear it.)
    I highly recommend Mind Games, both the book and the audio.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Playing With Poison: Cue Ball Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Cindy Blackburn
    • Narrated By Caroline Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (49)

    Pool shark Jessie Hewitt usually knows where the balls will fall and how the game will end. But when a body lands on her couch, and the cute cop in her kitchen accuses her of murder, even Jessie isn't sure what will happen next. She also isn’t sure how to catch a killer, but she's about to learn.

    hellkatjen says: "Engaging and amusing"
    "Just Plain Fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book more than a year ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I got the audio--so glad I did! Playing with Poison is just plain fun, and narrator Caroline Miller brings exactly the right touch of dry skepticism to Jessie Hewitt’s voice. Miller's voice and the author’s tongue-in-cheek wit are a great match. Her interpretation of the other characters is very good, from matter-of-fact Wilson Rye to the sweetly dim Candy Poppe, and “Geez Louise” is spot on. I found myself laughing out loud more than once.

    One of the things I like is that though the heroine is well aware of others’ flaws (and her own), her remarks and treatment of her friends is always kind. She cares about them and accepts their quirks and foibles. Jessie is someone I'd like to know.

    I didn’t remember the villain, and once again I didn’t figure it out until late in the story. I’m looking forward to more of Ms. Blackburn’s stories and to Caroline Miller’s narration. Kudos to both!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tremolo: Cry of the Loon

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Erik Synnestvedt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    Summer 1964: Beatlemania hits the States, and the world mourns the loss of JFK. For 11-year-old Gus LeGarde, the powerful events that rocked the nation serve as a backdrop for the most challenging summer of his life.

    Lorre says: "A terrific story that contains a mystery"
    "A Pleasure to Listen to"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Aaron Paul Lazar is a fine writer, and his richly detailed story easily takes the reader back to the summer of 1964. Most of the historical details are familiar, and the songs bring back memories.

    Gus LeGarde takes a big step toward becoming the man he is in later books, a character I love. He and his best friends, Sigfried and Elspeth, are spending the summer at Gus’s grandparents’ cabins in Maine, along with a mystery visitor traveling under the name “Mrs. Jones,” whom Gus befriends. Mrs. Jones has suffered a tragedy, and Gus’s ready sympathy and understanding help her through a bad time. The scenes with Mrs. Jones are among my favorites.

    A girl Gus glimpses in the woods captures the young trio’s attention and sets them on the path to risky adventures and a mystery. As the summer progresses, tragedy mixes with simple pleasures, and Gus becomes aware of some unexpected adult experiences. The tolerant, realistic way the adults around him handle things, and Gus's own reactions help shape the man he'll become.

    Narrator Erik Synnestvedt handles the different voices well, making it easy to distinguish them. He conveys emotions believably and without overdoing them. I really enjoyed his reading of some of the same characters in Don’t Let the Wind Catch You and was pleased to find him narrating this book. I highly recommend Tremolo: Cry of the Loon for reading or listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ring of Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Victoria Howard
    • Narrated By Michelle Ford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    When English accountant Daniel Elliott dies in a car accident one rainy night, his widow, Grace, is overcome with grief... and panic. Daniel was controlling and their marriage loveless, but he always took care of the sheltered Grace. Or so she thought. She soon discovers Daniel kept secrets: an alias, mob ties, a list of numbers, a mysterious beach house in Florida... and a girlfriend who looks like Grace. Swallowing her fear, she flies to Miami to claim the house Daniel left her. But the price of her curiosity is peril.

    Ellis says: "Kept my attention throughout"
    "Kept my attention throughout"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ring of Lies had plenty of twists and lots of danger and suspense. I really wanted to know what would happen next. Even though I sometimes found the heroine a bit frustrating (she's not too bright or what I'd call "spunky" but not stupid either), she was still likeable and probably realistic for her background. I cared what happened to her.

    The narrator handled the different voices well and expressed emotions and reactions clearly without overdoing it. There were a few British words and pronunciations that should have been American, but there was never any doubt about the meaning and it didn't bother me.

    I enjoyed this audio performance and recommend it to suspense and romantic suspense fans--very entertaining story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Upstaged: A Gus LeGarde Mystery, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Robert King Ross
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    When Gus LeGarde agrees to play piano for the high school drama club's production of "Spirit Me Away", a '60s-style musical he wrote in college, he doesn't expect to face a barrage of menacing pranks played on his fiancée, Camille, and the drama club. Who's sabotaging the show? And what do they have against Camille? Is it sex-crazed Armand, the Latino teen infatuated with her? Something happened last year that Camille won't talk about, and it has to do with Armand. Gus wants to know what happened, but she's not talking.

    Maria says: "Charming Whodunit"
    "Wonderfully entertaining mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Aaron Lazar is a skilled writer who weaves the details of reality into his stories; his characters are people I'd love to know. Gus LeGarde is one of my favorites, and his love for his family and genuine kindness shine through--a good man who takes care of those who come into his circle.

    The lovely singing voice added to the story and provided welcome breathing room to the tension-filled plot.

    Sigfried stays true to his character, which is wonderful, and I loved Cindy and the others. Their personalities are well done and each is unique and distinct. Camille is the most layered character, with new facets and secrets revealed as the story unfolds.

    Robert King Ross's laid-back voice kept some of the scenes from descending into melodrama--he was just right for this book.

    The story held my attention from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it. I'm looking forward to my next Lazar book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fallen Angel: Gabriel Allon, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (1442)
    Performance
    (1204)
    Story
    (1198)

    After narrowly surviving his last operation, Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, has taken refuge behind the walls of the Vatican, where he is restoring one of Caravaggio's greatest masterpieces. But early one morning he is summoned to St. Peter's Basilica by Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII. The body of a beautiful woman lies broken beneath Michelangelo's magnificent dome.

    Audiophile says: "When will Gabriel retire?"
    "Outstanding!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Both the story and the narration were excellent. I enjoyed the details about art, the insight into the workings of the Vatican, and the Israeli and Hezbollah political information. The story was fascinating, and I like the author's explanations at the end of what was true and what he'd imagined.

    The narrator was terrific. I hope to hear more of his work, and I'll listen to this again sometime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder Deja Vu

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Polly Iyer
    • Narrated By Fred Kennedy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Wealthy architect Reece Daughtry spent 15 years in a Massachusetts prison for a murder he didn't commit. Released on a technicality, he now makes his home in the mountains of North Carolina, building rock fireplaces for a waiting list of clients. His self-imposed solitude is shattered when author Dana Minette asks him to build a fireplace in her new house. Dana becomes more than a client, and for the first time in 20 years, Reece longs to be with someone other than himself.

    Ellis says: "A story you won't forget"
    "A story you won't forget"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The audio was just as compelling now as the book was when I read it a couple of years ago. I’d forgotten many of the details. Polly Iyer, one of my favorite writers, knows how to get into a character’s mind and let you share the emotional journey. The plot takes many surprising turns, with events both pleasant and tragic, that keep you wondering what’s next. The characters, especially Reece, are deep and complex. The settings are rich and convincing, taking you there, and sadly, the tragedies behind this story are real. This is a book to keep and reread or listen to again.

    In the beginning, I had difficulty accepting the narrator’s slightly breathless style, but as the story progressed, either he adapted or I did. I’m so glad I persisted. Fred Kennedy handled the emotional scenes masterfully, and one with a dying character brought tears to my eyes. I won’t give away what happens, so you’ll have to listen to figure out which one, but you’ll know. I especially liked his portrayal of some of the minor characters, such as Sheriff Payton and the bartender in North Carolina. Well before the end, Mr. Kennedy earned his five stars.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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