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Jennifer

Member Since 2011

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 79 reviews
  • 225 ratings
  • 551 titles in library
  • 108 purchased in 2014
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  • Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Kelly Williams Brown
    • Narrated By Anjili Pal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    If you graduated from college but still feel like a student...if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store...if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean...it's OK. But it doesn't have to be this way. Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can't act like one. And it all begins with this funny, wise, and useful book. Based on Kelly Williams Brown's popular blog, Adulting makes the scary, confusing "real world" approachable, manageable - and even conquerable.

    steve says: "Great for Young Adults"
    "Common Sense and Thank You Notes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So far a lot of the advice in this are things I already have under my belt or had heard before and stored away in mind for future reference. For instance - whole chapter about moving, domesticity, cleaning... Got it down. Well, all except the consistently cleaning bit; it comes in spurts. Whole chapter about kitchen and cooking - I got the supplies and well-stocked ingredients, smart shopping, recipe following etc down, though in reality my fiancé does most of the actual cooking, and we've never hosted any kind of house/dinner party. Whole chapter about social adeptness - being patient and kind with strangers (like people who cut in line), be comfortable by yourself in public/at social gatherings, be informed/know local and national news ... Those things I have down (yay for podcasted newspapers for listening while on public transportation!). Whole chapter about having/getting a job- I got it down, or at least have managed it at least once since college, though the networking part is fledgling still. Whole chapter about money and budgeting - I have got that SO down that it's second nature. Finances are one thing I think I can say I have got under control. Some things have arisen in her tips that I have not done though, like devoting time to do something you care about, like volunteering ... Not something I had given thought to lately. So far making me feel pretty successful at the whole being adult thing.
    Second half of this book was more if the same kind of things, standard stuff that helps out day to day (like a whole chapter on maintenance, i.e. laundry, cars, plants, pets etc., much of which didn't apply to me at the moment, though I did take special note of a few stain fighting tips) and then several chapters on people and relationships (including the whole gambit from friends and family to lovers and significant others). Some good advice about emergency prevention and preparedness (though, again several things here I know because of where I grew up but that don't currently apply as I don't have a car). She couldn't stress the thank you notes enough.
    Overall, not a bad read, but not something I think I'd feel the need to read again. I fit the target audience demographic, and have already independently achieved many of the steps outlined, noted down a few tips about the things I haven't yet (like on buying a and maintaining car, even though that's not going to be in the budget any time soon). This would be kind of book for an aunt or older cousin type to give to a recent college grad, someone who has never lived on their own before. It is full of the kinds of stuff that will help them in starting out, but that I have already passed in my few years since I graduated.

    The reader did fine, nothing remarkable, and I think she captured the author's tone well throughout (sometimes sarcastic) and deftly adopted a few pop culture speaking patterns when they came up but - my one issue was that she never once did anything vocal to distinguish quotes from others in the text, which often left phrases sounding weird or out of context until you suddenly caught a quick "...so and so said" tagged on at the end.

    Probably more useful for reference or just pursuing step by step in print form, rather than audio. Also, there is occasional gratuitous swearing. It helped her point sometimes, and reinforced her voice as an every-woman 20-something with attitude making her way... and several references to rap and hip hop singers. She and I have different tastes, to say the least, but she got the message across.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder in Mesopotamia: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Anna Massey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    Nurse Amy Leatheran had never felt the lure of the "mysterious East", but she nonetheless accepts an assignment at Hassanieh, an ancient site deep in the Iraqi desert, to care for the wife of a celebrated archaeologist. Mrs Leidner is suffering bizarre visions and nervous terror. "I'm afraid of being killed!" she admits to her nurse. Her terror, unfortunately, is anything but unfounded, and Nurse Leatheran is soon enough without a patient. The world's greatest detective happens to be in the vicinity, however....

    Jennifer says: "Odd to hear a Poirot case narrated by a female"
    "Odd to hear a Poirot case narrated by a female"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story was unique in the telling, from a first person point of view by a character on scene at the time of murder but unconnected with the group and who helps Poirot in his investigations (but who is not wholly above suspicion). I liked the perspective, as she lent her own practical and no-nonsense take of the people and events. And she distinguished herself from the few previous storytellers in the way she expressed herself, her calm evaluations, and I rather appreciated her conduct with the investigation and Poirot. Unlike Hastings, she didn't outwardly fall for red herrings or show Poirot some insight by way of grasping everything that was ultimately unimportant. She was on hand and helpful and gave useful info to him in just the manner of her profession, as she herself describes, a nurse there to help the attending doctor.

    As far as the whodunit, I had many surmises along the way, and new info on alibis and motives was still surfacing right up until the big reveal. I had my suspicions proved right about the monk, and I was partially right about Mr. Kerry, but hasn't figured him out entirely. I was greatly amused by Coleman, and as a reader of PG Wodehouse, I appreciated the reference and found it a wonderful comparison. But honestly, this case had me fogged for the most part, and I had not come close to guessing the solution that Poirot unveiled in the end.

    Appropriately, for this female-narrated volume, they chose a female narrator rather than the usual voice of Poirot I am accustomed to. She took a few chapters to get used to, but she was pretty good on the whole. Her weakness was in maintaining numerous male characters' voices, and some times their accents would blend into each other. It made a few dialogues a tad confusing, but on the whole didn't obfuscate the actions. What bothered me more was the fluctuation of her Poirot voice - it always held his "foreign" accent as the nurse put it, but at various times it sounded as if it was that accent applied to Emmott's tone or the husband's or the nurse herself, rather than a single consistent voice.

    An enjoyable journey. Interesting, chronologically this case takes places just prior to that of the murder on the Orient Express, though this volume is several books later in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Think and Grow Rich

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Napoleon Hill
    • Narrated By Erik Synnestvedt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1903)
    Performance
    (1260)
    Story
    (1259)

    Think and Grow Rich is the number-one inspirational and motivational classic for individuals who are interested in furthering their lives and reaching their goals by learning from important figures in history. The text read in this audiobook is the original 1937 edition written by Napoleon Hill and inspired by Andrew Carnegie - and while it has often been reproduced, no updated version has ever been able to compete with the original.

    Dave says: "It's a must."
    "Very disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was disappointing. The description I read had given me the impression that this was like a compilation of advice and mini bios of the successful men mentioned, most of them from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, just before this was written. Instead I got an inane self-help book. Which was hardly helpful, and only rarely gave me new food for thought.

    Some of the things that I felt were so awful were just out of date and wrong, including the sexist attitude and some if the "science" cited. Other perspectives were still somewhat relevant, given the parallels that might be drawn between the Depression era and our own recent 'great recession' and the general attitude of the public loss if faith and distrust of Wall Street and political leaders... but that aspect was hardly redeeming.

    There were a few surprising and mildly interesting anecdotes, such as about Ex-King Edward and Mrs. Simpson, Ghandi, Ford, Schwab, and others. But mostly it was just babble about generally obvious paths and obstacles applicable to any kind of goal one wants to achieve.

    If self help and repetitive mantras, long lists of things to practice, and fears to conquer is what you want - then by all means this is for you. It put me to sleep, and when I did manage to stay awake I found it generally frustrating and useless. The narrator at least was not inappropriate for such a book, but there wasn't much in the way of great dialogue or depth of emotion to make a voice really take the gold medal. And like I said, with the help of his boring subject-matter, he put me to sleep.

    I only paid a few dollars for this on sale, but even so I think I will be returning it. Thanks for nothing, Carnegie and Hill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Da Vinci's Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Toby Lester
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (110)

    Toby Lester, author of the award-winning The Fourth Part of the World, masterfully crafts yet another century-spanning saga of people and ideas in this epic story of Vitruvian Man, Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic drawing of a man inscribed in a circle and a square. Over time, the nearly 550-year-old ink-on-paper sketch has transformed into a collective symbol of the nature of genius, the beauty of the human form, and the universality of the human spirit.

    Paul says: "Haunting Expierience"
    "fun history of a man and his drawing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an intriguing story, a whole 'biography' of one of Leonardo da Vinci's most widely recognized pieces -the drawing of the Vitruvian man. It began in ancient history, with Vitruvious himself (who first described such a figure), not only the story of the man, but with full context of the times and his patron, Augustus, and the prevailing philosophies and all of the considerations in publishing his set of volumes 'On Architecture'. I can hardly imagine such a compendium on all manner building that wasn't illustrated - it's such a given today - and hadn't thought of it before, but once mentioned it makes some sense that it was entitely text, given the manuscript-written-by-scribes process of publishing in use until the fifteenth century. Still, to think there was no drawing done of the concept for so many centuries after... until the artist engineer Leo came along.

    The book transitions to a biography of the young man and all of his studies and artistic and scientific pursuits which eventually lead to his drawing of the Vitruvian man. His talent and ambition are impressive, and I love some of the lists from his notebooks of ideas to investigate and experts to question. He really did research in nearly every field imaginable for the time, and even pushed the boundaries beyond those fields with his own studies in anatomy.

    Then comes the drawing itself, and all it embodies in form and theology/philosophy. This discussion got a bit tedious for me in repeating the Vitruvian (and Leo's modified) measurements and proportions of the body. But the other topics about the symbolism and the self-portrait qualities were interesting. Throughout the book the discussion of the man-as-microcosm is introduced and reiterated in the varrying contexts - it was interesting in a way, a glimpse back to the ancient ways of thinking, somewhat inspired while at the same time permitting gaps and inaccuracies in representation. Misguided and outdated concepts were still in use-and I would have been right there with Leonardo in self-educating and learning by experience when such things confronted him.

    And while I did enjoy most of the book (the greater part of which was devoted to Leo's early life), one of the topics I liked the most wasn't mentioned until the epilogue: the journey taken by that piece of late fifteenth century paper. It came to life with the descrption of the compass holes which were poked in it and the stylus grooves, the glue residue on the back, and the tracing of it's ownership over the centuries, in near-complete obscurity until about 60 years ago. And then it flooded into popular culture. What a life for a drawing.

    Nonfiction narration can be tricky and I think often sounds monotone, dry, just read aloud. Not so here. It was well narrated throughout, always kept me engaged, and his voice was not of that particular quality that has a tendency to sooth me to sleep even when I am interested in what I'm listening to.

    Well worth the read for anyone who is a fan or wants to know more about Leo and his man circumscribed in a circle and a square.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mansfield Park

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (93)

    Shy, fragile Fanny Price is the consummate "poor relation". Sent to live with her wealthy uncle Thomas, she clashes with his spoiled, selfish daughters and falls in love with his son. Their lives are further complicated by the arrival of a pair of witty, sophisticated Londoners, whose flair for flirtation collides with the quiet, conservative country ways of Mansfield Park.

    deborah henderson says: "Jane Austen Classic"
    "Great novel, though distressed by Fanny's family"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had previously attempted to read this once or twice, but had been put off of it early on by the ill treatment of Fanny by all but Edmond. Even this time it gave me unease, but I was determined to finish reading it in order to be satisfied of a happy ending at last. The poor girl, to grow up first nearly ignored in her own impoverished home, and then ripped from it to live in a grand house with overbearing aunts and uncle - who to my mind did her great disservice and mistreatment and I can hardly comprehend how good-natured and accepting of her inferior lot Fanny was - and with cousins who abused her and gave her no thought except that she was so inferior, and judged her so wrongly by any account. It was not Fanny's fault she had never been taught geography or to speak French, and yet this perceived ignorance became innate stupidity to the girl's minds...
    Thank goodness Edmond took notice of her and became a source for at least some happiness. It broke my heart that she remained his confidant when he fell for another woman, and she could not give her full confidence or opinions to him. That he was blinded to her greater-than-fraternal feeling I had little doubt or surprise, as she'd never show it, but she bore more distress on that account than such a kind and soft person ever should. She was stronger than any of them imagined.

    **slight spoilers in this paragraph**
    I was even more pained at the family's disapproval and even disdain at her refusing Mr. Crawford and without even bothering to comprehend why. I was more than impressed by her staying true to her principles and morals in the face of such pressure and the strife caused. Again I was impressed by her fortitude when confronted with the home and lifestyle of her parents, and trying to cope with the change it brought in her own activities. I am glad she was able to be of use to her sister Susan, I'd have been sad if that end had bot been provided for. Of Fanny's cousins, no less resulted for them than expected, and the faults of the spoiled unprincipled girls I think we'll deserved their fates. And the same for the Crawford siblings. I was happy at last for Edmond and for Fanny.
    **end of slight spoilers**

    Austen never ceases to depict so wonderfully so many different characters in her portraits of society. The frivolous and the insipid are just as much attended to and detailed by her pen as the noble and happy individuals, making up just as an important part of the gatherings - for there could hardly be as much truth without them, nor as much appreciation for the quick-witted and gracious without the indolent and dull. And she always incorporates beautiful scenes of the wonderful country parks and villages. Retired and peaceful woods and estates, always coming into contrast with the bustle and greater vice in London, and the darkness and lack of vegetation (so missed by Fanny when spring came to Portsmouth) in the city. But no matter the hardships of situation or degree of trying relatives, Austen did not disappoint me in bring about the well deserved happiness for her most reserved and most deserving heroine.

    Wanda McCaddon narrated very well. Most main characters had distinct voices, and the were seldom inconsistent or confused in dialogue. A few male voices now and then became similar and hard to differentiate by sound alone, but that's not to be unexpected -and there were rather more male characters about the place than usual during the theatrical fiasco. In general though it was well done, and her emotions, especially in the letters and Fanny's thoughts were well conveyed.

    I quite enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Spirit Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Rachel Aaron
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (617)
    Performance
    (504)
    Story
    (503)

    He's not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age - and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners - a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls - he’s going to put his plan into effect. The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he’ll need to steal some big things. But he’ll start with somethingsmall. Something like a king....

    Bronwyn Soell says: "Entertaining light fantasy"
    "Epic Adventure, Magic, and a little Silliness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an adventure! I'm not one for fantasy novels, but this one kept me listening long enough that I needed to see how it all turned out. My usual trouble stems from being plopped into unfamiliar realms with unknown forms of magic and beings and not being given any proper introduction, explanation, description, etc... That was the case here, but what kept me listening past the first chapter was the attitude of Eli in the introductory scene -escaping from the dungeon and his blithe observation that you shouldn't pin your hopes on a gullible door... While this whole world and the idea of the spirits and wizards took me a bit longer to come around to, I immediately knew I'd enjoy Eli's take on things. He provided a magnificent dose of lightheartedness to the epic tendencies of the fantastical and dangerous mission. And too add to that, when we were introduced to Miranda the spiritualist - I immediately admired for her good character and good sense. Her righteousness was occasionally a little overdone, but I like a girl who sticks to her principles. And I thanked the author for using her to explain (to the servant librarian girl and thus me) about her magic, her court, and their code of ethics. Gotta love me some explainin. And I was intrigued about the different uses of wizard powers, and Miranda's confusion when she couldn't figure out how in the world Eli pulled off the things he did. And then came the appreciation of both of their methods when drawn out in stark contrast with Reynaud's. Add in Eli's interesting and mysterious traveling companions, and a giant ghost hound, and I became wrapped up in wanting to know more.

    So, aside from my taking to the principle characters, some of the action was none too shabby either, and it entertained me, though it was somewhat predictable. Of course things get dicey when ransom exchanges, multiple bounty hunters and banished princes are involved. Handy to have the goodwill of the countryside indeed! I'm tempted to make pleasant small-talk and flirt with the trees when I'm next out and about in the wilderness, just in case I may ever need a favor from them... =P Not to give any spoilers, the plot of course thickens and complications compound, forcing alliances in order to fight the inevitable battle against a great evil in a massive showdown that tests everyone's strength and will. It was a hell of a fight, but well fought. I'd have been disappointed if it had turned out any differently.

    The narration by Daniels was fantastic. Each character had a unique voice, which were consistent and identifiable. I don't recall a single instance where any voices were accidentally swapped in dialogue. The emotions were on point, and I enjoyed the casual, even flippant tone often employed to match Eli. The swordsman Corianno had a Spanish sound to his voice, which combined with his quest for a fight with another swordsman (though for different motives), brought Inigo Montoya promptly to mind. Only I wasn't really rooting for him - though it would have been interesting to know a little more about him. And Daniels did very decent female voices, which I often find to be the downfall of all but a select few male narrators I've listened to in the past. I thought Miranda's was properly feminine, strong and noble, without any forced higher pitch or unnatural sound. Very well narrated indeed.

    A light fantasy adventure. Epic and yet sometimes silly. It was good as a stand-alone, but clearly set up to be a series. Some things were definitely left unexplored or unexplained, so I'd hope that ground is covered in future books. I have yet to decide whether I will continue to read them though. Some of the fantastic runs up against the boarders of what I can handle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Marc J. Seifer
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (933)
    Performance
    (829)
    Story
    (818)

    Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots, and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology.

    Jean says: "Tesla was a hundred years ahead of his time"
    "Amazing and unfortunate life of a forgotten genius"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a very long book, rather longer than my usual audiobook undertakings. It covered anything and everything you could think of relative to the life of the great inventor and overambitious thinker who most people have never heard of despite the numerous technological advances he made which we rely upon today. I had heard of him previously numerous times, via both fact and fiction. For one, I have studied physics, and if nothing else, he has a unit of measurement named after him. Second, I grew up near Colorado Springs and the sites where he did his experiments at Pike's Peak. My fictional knowledge of him came from the movie The Prestige and the tv series Warehouse 13, both of which drew on his advanced technological work and mad-scientist/wizard persona. I break my review up here based on the three parts which audible parsed, just for more ease.

    Part one covered his childhood through 1894, when he was really starting to make it big, and so far so good. The intro on the history of his homeland and culture was a bit tedious and beyond my interest, and I have never learned about the goings on of those empires and people's before, so it was hard to keep track of unfamiliar and alike-sounding names and unknown regions on a map. But there were interesting stories of his family, his days growing up and at university; he had quite the series of trials trying to support himself, even once in America. I began to root for him to get his first footholds and recognition then, but already saw the signs of his faults (i.e. major lack of fiscal responsibility, and poor contract making) which I foresaw hurting him more and more as he went. I hadn't realized he spent a short time actually working for Edison before their philosophies clashed... which lead into the discussion of the major AC vs DC argument and professional competition between Edison and Westinghouse. I knew there had been one, but had not nearly a clue to what extent and cause... Seems to me Westinghouse had better business sense and foresight while Edison just had better PR. Anyway, the section on the Chicago Worlds Fair was great, painted a magical picture of all of the fantastic new technologies and extravagance of the era. Now onto more of his work in New York on wireless communication and harnessing the power of Niagara Falls.

    Part 2 has went from a high to taking a terrible turn. Great research and progress and then a fire took out the lab. I loved hearing about his work in Colorado Springs. The lightning storm sounded incredible (though I don't recall anything quite of that magnitude while I lived by Pike's Peak). I had such high hopes once he got financial backing from Morgan, but it seems to me he sealed his own fate by squandering- no, not exactly squandering, but re-appropriating the funds towards loftier goals which they could not reach, rather than producing the promised tangible results. I can easily see why Morgan was displeased. I think if Tesla had perhaps done as arranged, and made commercial advances with his oscillators and lamps from the get-go that would have opened the door for his further development of the telegraphy station... Both by those proceeds and the continued confidence of investors. As it was he just dug himself into a hole. Which lead to withheld further investments, strained relations and a deeper hole. And not to mention the rest of the field making their little advances by pirating his work. So many blows... This five year span just saw things go further and further downhill for him financially, with a finally of his friend's murder and his own mental collapse. Sad. I think some of his ideas really would have revolutionized things, as he said, had he been but able to implement them then. Oh, and why he seems to adverse to paying rent to anyone, and consequently finds himself further in debt is beyond me...

    The final section took me longer to finish reading... primarily because it was kind of depressing. Tesla had such over-ambition and no way to fund it. His investors all left or didn't have interest in his preferred projects, what successes he did have were pirated and any proceeds lost to competitors and litigation costs, and to top it off several of his friends and past associates passed away in the '20s. And he still seemed to think very little of failing to pay rent. Self-destructive to say the least. I was intrigued by the mysteries of his last several years, the death ray project, and supposed relationships with characters leading up to and during the world war that may lead to questions of his allegiance. And I really don't understand the whole pigeon obsession, especially in someone so health-conscious. It is unfortunate, and only too believable that someone of his genius and caliber was by turns disbelieved and then shut down and buried by his contemporary scientific and industrial societies. Just to think, how much further advanced could technology have become that much sooner, if only he'd been taken seriously and his work recognized earlier. I am glad he was eventually recognized in some ways, even if most have been posthumous, and his eccentric character and 'mad scientist' persona live on in our culture, even if most of the general population are ignorant of his significant contributions to the power generation and communication systems we still use today, not to mention his work in aeronautics and even early AI. I didn't care so much for some of the psychological analysis speculated in later chapters, though I've never cared much for Freudian theory in any context. And I'm not sure why people seem to be so curious or astounded by his apparent/declared asexuality/celibacy. For a man with so much scientific ambition, whose work constituted his whole life and whose habits hardly left room for a companion let alone a romantic one, I am not at all surprised that such a person never entered into the picture. And if any kind of friend or helper did manifest (such as his Wycliffe foreman or the young man in his later years who helped him), they were very much under-appreciated and overworked in their services.

    The narration was perfect for a biography. Adapted appropriate alternate voices for quotes and correspondence, keeping those individuals distinct and consistent, so I could always tell if it was in Tesla's narrative or a phrase from a letter from the Johnson's etc, separate from the general text. Simon Vance has a lovely tone, and expert execution, so that even non-fiction is does not come off sounding dry.

    Sad that such a life is not more generally known nor his genius more widely celebrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On What Grounds

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Cleo Coyle
    • Narrated By Rebecca Gibel
    Overall
    (664)
    Performance
    (577)
    Story
    (578)

    Clare Cosi used to manage the historic Village Blend coffeehouse…until she opted for quieter pastures and a more suburban life. But after ten years and a little friendly cajoling from the owner (a fresh pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain was all it took), she's back to the grind. With a sprawling rent-free apartment directly above the Village Blend, her cat Java by her side, and plenty of coffeehouse redecorating ideas, Clare is thrilled to return to work. Until she discovers the assistant manager unconscious in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere.

    Pam says: "Stands out"
    "Very Cozy Coffeehouse and Cozy Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A good cozy mystery. I was horrified by the nature of Annabelle's fall and death, but it was an all-too-believable story in the end. The drips and drops of coffee trivia and prep tips were nice, would even be useful if I had the budget for such things - alas, Claire would be appalled by my Folgers consumption. The Village Blend atmosphere was as cozy as the mystery, and I liked the sound of the antiques and decor of the place. Way better than your average Starbucks (which is sadly mostly all there is around me).

    Claire's relationships with Lt. Quinn, her ex Matteo, and Madame were great. The way she took on the investigation herself, interviewing people etc, was believable. At once both inexperienced and determined, she was attentive and effective enough to connect with people to get the info she needed. Or to find it with the help of Matteo and a little lie or two to open doors (literally). She certainly had guts to face suspects and burglars all across the city, from the Waldorf ballroom to the bars of Christopher St. It was pretty light throughout, and pretty predictable, though I may still have held my breath when she was closing up alone at night - knowing that whomever had been there to cause harm before had managed not to leave a sign of forced entry, so not even the locked doors felt secure enough for me. Thank goodness for Java (the cat and the drink)!

    The narration by Gibel was okay. She tried to create different voices for characters, but they were often inconsistent. Aside from Madame and the Jamaican dance teacher, whose voices were distinct enough to be kept apart from all others, most characters' sounds were mixed up in dialogue several times. I was really confused when it happened between Claire and Quinn, as well as between her and Matteo. I would have thought some editing could have caught more of that kind of thing. But the attitude she gave Claire I thought was spot on, and the emotions were done well.

    A decent read for snuggling up with on a lazy Sunday, and worth it at the sale price I got. I could tell it set itself up to be a series, which I might find worth it to look for at the library if my current collection of mysteries needs a 'light and cozy' supplement down the line.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sense and Sensibility

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (897)
    Performance
    (537)
    Story
    (540)

    When Mrs. Dashwood is forced by an avaricious daughter-in-law to leave the family home in Sussex, she takes her three daughters to live in a modest cottage in Devon. For Elinor, the eldest daughter, the move means a painful separation from the man she loves, but her sister Marianne finds in Devon the romance and excitement which she longs for.

    Jo says: "Superb - Justice to Jane Austen and Emma Thompson"
    "Charming"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It had been some years since I read this, and it was a longer book than I remembered. It's title is most apt as a description of the two sisters. While I did find reproach and worry over Marianne's imprudence and open affections, I was always comforted by the constancy of Cl. Brandon. Eleanor's situation rather excited more anxiety and compassion from me, not only for her suffering it alone for so long, but for the meanness of Lucy and the unfeelingness of her friends and relations about herself and Edward. I adored Mrs. Jennings for her kindness and looking after the girls, but her nature towards teasing them and for gossip did grate on my nerves. So fortunate to have her and the Middletons and Palmers though, when their own brother and his in-laws treated them so coldly. Austen is a master at painting portraits of the different sorts of society in town and in the country, of the selfish and greedy social elitists to the warm and humble, the noble and deserving. It is a great depiction of the era in England, and the kinds of situations individuals lived with before the time of greater legal/financial independence for women. As many books as I read about such times and circumstances, it still boggles my mind that my sex's only option in the hopes for a stable livelihood was to marry well/wealthy.

    This narration wasn't fantastic, but it was read with great conveyance of emotions. Many of the women had little to distinguish their voices in dialogue, but context usually helped, and their speech style if not the actual sound could make some distinction (Mrs. Palmer and Mrs. Jennings style being VERY different from Fanny or Mrs. Ferrers). The same went for most of the men - while given a sound different from the ladies, they often had to be told apart by their conduct of speech rather than a vocal contrast by the narrator.

    A wonderful read. I am always charmed by Austen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Worst Ideas Ever: A Celebration of Embarrassment

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Daniel Kline, Jason Tomaszewski
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (627)
    Performance
    (571)
    Story
    (571)

    From memorable disasters such as New Coke, the XFL, and Tiger Woods’ marriage to less-remembered failures such as Yugo, Cop Rock, and Microsoft’s BOB, Worst Ideas Ever revisits history’s biggest blunders. Whether it’s a pop culture failure or a political one, Worst Ideas Ever uncovers the ridiculous stories behind mistakes so huge, you’ll have to constantly remind yourself that they actually happened.

    Sara says: "Wears out quickly"
    "Short, sweet, entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was pretty entertaining. Lots of stories and trivia about some of the worst products, foods, ad campaigns, political moves, policies, and to top it off -celebrity baby names. I didn't particularly care for some of the sports content in the later chapters, but a few of the mentions did give me childhood flashbacks. The entertainment industry section was pretty funny - failed tv shows and movie flops, from Cop Rock to Godfather 3 and others. I was entertained by the long lists of microwaveable and fried foods and some of the terrible product launches that had to be retracted.

    Some of the stories (like the evolution and failures of the Yugo, certain game consoles, and laser disks) were long and detailed histories. Other topics were given shorter blurbs, or even just listed anecdotes without giving full detail. In any case, they were all wonderfully bad ideas that just had to make you wonder -how did this get marketed/made public?

    The narration wasn't remarkable, nor was the content demanding that. His tone had an appropriate sarcastic tone when called for, and delivered a lot of the lines about our biggest goofs (prohibition, Esperanto, New Coke ... ) in a deadpan and with an understood "can you believe somebody really invented the ___?" I mean, I would hardly want to try a segue after hearing its company owner died when he drove his over a cliff, nor will I have an apatite for the Krispy Kreme burger anytime soon.

    A fun, if short, interlude in ridiculous mistakes of all kinds.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Good Thief's Guide to Paris, The: Good Thief Mysteries, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Chris Ewan
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Charlie Howard - mystery writer and professional thief - is flush with the success of his Paris book reading when he agrees to show a novice the basics of his other trade by breaking into the man's own apartment. Trouble ensues when it turns out the apartment belongs to someone else. The next day, Charlie's fence hires him to steal an ordinary-looking oil painting - from the same address. Mere coincidence?

    Jennifer says: "Art theft and murder in Paris, what else?"
    "Art theft and murder in Paris, what else?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was fantastic. I get a kick out of the unusual perspective on a mystery - burglar/crime writer obliged to aide in an art theft and solve a murder in order to clear his name of said crimes. Loved the tid-bits and insight on security and his other commentary throughout. Not only were there some interesting and colorful character portraits, the city was nicely portrayed too - having now been there and seen many of the sights described, it was easier to follow his progress through the streets and landmarks, but even those which were not familiar to me were brought to life, from Montmartre to the wasteland banlieu.

    A great tangle of mysteries too, burglary turned art theft, turned murder... all kinds of trouble. I had not seen the twists at the end coming, though, in retrospect I might have caught one or two of I'd paid a bit closer attention, but by the time he discovered the forgery, I was just enjoying the ride. I think his relationship with his agent Victoria has got to be the most unique I've ever read of, and I was entertained that she morphed her role willingly from listener/counselor to being an active participant in helping Charlie pull off parts of his scheme. I don't know that he needs her as a full time sidekick, but I hope she keeps her role as a resource for him.

    Narration was fantastic. English and French accents mostly this time, both male and female voices were done well, and dialogue was always consistent. Vance's tone and rhythm matched that of Charlie's voice and attitude very well, to my mind.

    I look forward to the next adventure and new city!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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