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Eva Gannon

Chicago, Illinois, US | Member Since 2014

  • 96 reviews
  • 352 ratings
  • 808 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015

  • The Known World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Edward P. Jones
    • Narrated By Kevin Free

    Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor, William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful white man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation, as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow Caldonia succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart.

    Rachel says: "wonderful and highly recommended"
    "Disjointed and Disappointing"

    The premise of the book grabbed me, and I was eager to read it. The Pulitzer it won further whetted my appetite. Although I slogged all the way through it, the book was disjointed in its narrative, the characters were superficial, and there was no conflict, resolution and conclusion. The book jumps erratically from character to character, situation to situation, and even to time and place. The book is so poorly written that the Pulitzer is puzzling. I agree with the reviewer who said the book desperately needed an editor.

    The author's comments in his interview cast some light on it. He states that he did little research and gave each character equal treatment. He also stated this is his first novel; he's written short stories. That was my impression of the book; it reads like a series of short stories with a weak attempt at connection by a central theme.

    The book's subject is unique, one which hasn't been covered much either historically or in literature. Had the author developed his characters and his central theme, he could added a unique layer of perspective to the shameful history of slavery in America.

    Sadly, I wouldn't recommend this book, and I doubt that I'll read anything else by this author.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Command Authority

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    There's a new strong man in Russia but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past. The solution to that mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan.

    Marci says: "Great story with a couple of flaws"
    "Best Narrator Ever"

    Lou Diamond Phillips is the best narrator of audiobooks. He's got it all: great pacing; excellent emphasis; perfect voices for each character, and; his accents are spot on! Scott Brick should listen, he'd learn a lot.

    I read this book after finishing Ken Follet's Edge of Eternity, and it was the perfect follow-up. It continued the Russian theme developed into current events. Sometimes it's hard to find a book after finishing one that's excellent, Command Authority was exactly right.

    I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gray Mountain

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Catherine Taber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track - until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the "lucky" associates. She's offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she'd get her old job back. In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about.

    Jan says: "Sorry John... wanted to like it... love you anyway"
    "Couldn't Force Myself To Finish It"

    Grisham is on my list of favored authors, and I pre-ordered this book. How sorry I am.

    The story line is obvious, I didn't like the main characters, and the narrator is boring. After three tries, I gave it up as a waste of time.

    I may be a little more careful in the future about what I buy from this author. Very disappointing.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • About Face

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The polluted waters of the canals in Venice are an ever-present issue; but environmental concerns become significant in Commissario Guido Brunetti's work when an investigator from the Carabiniere - looking into the illegal hauling of garbage - asks for a favor. But the investigator is not the only one with a special request.

    Tom says: "good but take note"
    "Like Half Baked Bread"

    This could have been a good story, but the author doesn't develop it, and the ending seems disjointed from the beginning. There are segues into tailoring, fashion sense, art, wine, food. It's only mildly interesting that Brunetti notices the cut of a jacket, or the stitching of a cuff. These segues interrupt the plot development to the point that parts of the plot just seem to drop and a new line picks up. The plot fails to hold together in a coherent narrative; it left me dissatisfied. I was just glad to finish the book.

    Characters pop in and out of the storyline without development, and often without explanation of who they are. I was too often confused who was doing what to whom, and why.There are rather a lot of them too.

    David Colacci is one of the worst narrators I've ever listened to. I don't know if he's really Italian and the accent he uses is natural to him, or if it's affected. Either way, it's distracting, and often confusing because of the way he pronounces the names of the rather large cast of characters. His tone of voice frequently makes a character's dialogue sound brutish, in a stereotyped manner. It was extremely off-putting, and I doubt I'll listen to another book he narrates.

    I gather this is a series. I won't be reading any more of it, and probably won't buy anything from this author again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Anne Rice
    • Narrated By Simon Vance

    The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis… vampires have been proliferating out of control; burnings have commenced all over the world, huge massacres similar to those carried out by Akasha in The Queen of the Damned… Old vampires, roused from slumber in the earth are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris and Mumbai to Hong Kong, Kyoto, and San Francisco.

    Bruce says: "There is Wonderous Power in The Blood - I loved it"
    "The Birth of Amel"

    Readers of the Vampire Chronicles know that the first vampire, Akasha, was created when the spirit Amel entered her dying body and became one with her. He entered Mekare when she killed Akasha, and he must continue to live in his host or all vampires, everywhere, will die.

    In this book, Amel become sentient. I can't say more without writing a spoiler, The premise is interesting, even if the resolution is predictable.

    Rice is obviously providing for the continuation of the chronicles in a new environment. There's a huge cast of new characters, so much so that she provides a listing of them at the end of the book. Some of them are, like Amel, spirits; but unlike Amel, these spirits have learned to assume tangible form. I'd expect to see at least some of them in future installments. I'm hoping that Claudia will return based on the inclusion of the other spirit characters.

    Prince Lestat shifts approach, providing a fresh storyline populated by new characters, that should keep us reading the Vampire Chronicles.

    Simon Vance should not narrate them, though. His narration of this book was so off-putting that I shifted to the companion Kindle edition after only a few hours, and finished the book that way. He cannot differentiate accents for the various characters, in fact, his "accents" are awful. French is no different than American Southern than ancient Roman. Nor does he provide "voices" for the various characters, so often I didn't know who was speaking.

    Vance also narrates books written by Ruth Downie, set in ancient Rome. One of the characters is Tilla, and I heard Tilla's voice in Vance's reading of Prince Lestat. I think that's when I bought the companion Kindle book.

    Because Vance's awful narration caused me to spend more money to buy the Kindle edition, I'm thinking of returning the audiobook.

    Overall, Prince Lestat is an enjoyable entry in the Vampire Chronicles, but Simon Vance's narration isn't. I hope he doesn't do any more books in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Handsome Man's Deluxe Café

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat

    In this delightful 15th installment, Mma Ramotswe has her hands full both at home and in the office. To add to her current challenges, her devoted partner, Grace Makutsi, has decided to branch out on her own and open The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe. But even “Miss 97 Per Cent” can't quite meet all the demands of running a business - not to mention those that a lightning strike makes on her building.

    Eva Gannon says: "What Happened to Lisette Lecat?"
    "What Happened to Lisette Lecat?"

    Overall this is another enjoyable entry in the series. It's like a familiar and beloved pair of slippers that give you a sense of well being. In this book, the character of Charlie is explored a bit more than in previous books.

    The narrator seems to have lost her feeling of well being though. She used to have voices for Mma. Ramotswe, Grace Makutsi, Mr. J.L.B. Matekone, and Mma Potokwane. These are no longer present, and as the book goes along she uses the familiar voices less and less and often mixes them up, using Mma Ramotswe's voice for Grace. I found this very distracting, and disappointing. Hopefully she'll regain her technique for the next book, if she narrates it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Cinderella Murder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke
    • Narrated By Jan Maxwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a first-time collaboration, "Queen of Suspense" Mary Higgins Clark partners with best-selling author Alafair Burke to deliver a brand new suspense series about a television program featuring cold case murders.

    Jean says: "Engrossing"

    This book has it all, a gripping story that grabs your attention from the first few words and keeps it throughout, well developed characters, and excellent narration.

    The story has lots of twists and turns, and keeps you wondering until the very end. This is my idea of an excellent murder mystery. I especially liked the premise of a TV show re investigating cold cases.

    Now that I've read this book, I'm going to read more by Alafair Burke, the co-author.

    Jan Maxwell's narration is spot-on, one of the best I've heard. She can do both male and female voices, and has a good sense of pacing and emphasis. She's to be commended.

    This was my first read of 2015 and it was a good way to start my reading year. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Revival: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.

    Thug4life says: "Not fit for a King"
    "Worst King Book Ever"

    I stopped listening this book, a rarity for me. I've read most of King's books, but this one is just plain gruesome. The graphic and detailed descriptions of the accident that takes the life of the pastor's wife and little son were stomach churning. The sermon he later delivers follows suit. It was too much.

    Had there been redeeming qualities to either the characters or the story line, I might have continued, but there were none. It was gore for gore's sake, and for sensationalism.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Island: Gideon Crew, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David W. Collins

    Gideon Crew, brilliant scientist, master thief, is living on borrowed time. When his mysterious employer, Eli Glinn, gives him an eyebrow-raising mission, he has no reason to refuse. Gideon's task: steal a page from the priceless Book of Kells, now on display in New York City and protected by unbreakable security. Accomplishing the impossible, Gideon steals the parchment - only to learn that hidden beneath the gorgeously illuminated image is a treasure map dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks.

    Mary says: "Their worst book!"

    This book is like skipping stones across the surface of water. It makes ripples, but only marginally holds your attention.

    The plot of the book is, well, pretty silly. Columbus didn't discover America, Odysseus did. I don't want to write a spoiler, but it goes downhill from there. Details aren't developed. For example, ants rain down on Gideon, getting in his hair, crawling in his ears, but we never find out how he gets rid of them. A nit? Maybe, but I expect better from Preston & Child, at least a few words saying "Gideon did blah blah and got rid of the ants still infesting his hair." This is just an example, the book is full of them.

    I won't return the book because I finished it, but I won't recommend it either. I'm not sure I'll read any more Gideon books either.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel, Book 21

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Janet Evanovich
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures.

    G. House Sr. says: "Stagnant Stephanie - Plodding Plot - Not great"
    "Perfect Summer Book"

    This is a perfect book for a summer read. It's got a good plot with some nice twists and turns towards the end, sympathetic characters, it's performed well, and it's very entertaining.

    There's a good dollop of humor, as in most of the Stephanie Plum novels. The chihuahuas are a nice touch. Ranger gets some depth to him, and the "babe" exhalation takes on some meaning.

    Lorelei King is one of the few narrators who can give voice to the opposite sex. Without seeming forced or affected, she uses separate and entirely credible voices for Ranger and Morelli.

    This book isn't great literature and it won't tax your mind, but if you're looking for light summer reading that is just plain fun, you can't go wrong with Top Secret Twenty-One.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wayfaring Stranger

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is 1934 and the Depression is bearing down when 16-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends as Weldon puts a bullet through the rear window of Clyde’s stolen automobile. Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland and his sergeant, Hershel Pine, escape certain death in the Battle of the Bulge and encounter a beautiful young woman named Rosita Lowenstein hiding in a deserted extermination camp.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Outstanding Addition to the Holland/Texas Saga"
    "Three Strikes And Out For the Hollands"

    First, I listened to Lay Down My Shield. It was a shocking departure for James Lee Burke, the character of Hackberry Holland two dimensional and unlikable. The I read Feast Day of Fools. Not sure where that Hackberry fits in, but he was slightly better.

    Now, Wayfaring Stranger featuring Weldon Holland. And I think I'm done with the Hollands. I love Burke's Dave Robichaeux series, gorgeous prose, tight plotting, and fully developed characters, the master at his best. At the end of Glass Rainbow, I sobbed as I'd lost my best friend, so great was the impact of the book.

    The Holland series is another matter. Weldon is another two dimensional Holland, all brass and balls, but not too smart. His motivations are superficial in a macho kind of way.

    Similarly Rosita Lowenstein seems more of a plot device than a real character. And don't get me started on Linda Gail! Are we supposed to believe in this woman who places her husband's well being in the hands of her lover as if he had any responsibility? Clara is a caricature. Roy too, is improbable, but a bit more believable as a spoiled rich kid, although that's a stereotype too.

    The plot is just a bit too convenient too, the Nazi film reels in particular. The Bonnie & Clyde thing seems more of a publicity stunt, a way to gin up interest in the book, rather than an integrated aspect of the plot.

    Finally, the master's prose seemed overheated in this one. The superficial Holland is presented as quite the philosopher and astute political observer. And he does quite a bit of it too, offering up dissertations on everything from the meaning of life to ecological disasters.

    It grieves me to post such a review of James Lee Burke's work, I hope he'll write more books that don't contain any Hollands.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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