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L. Williams

Philadelphia, PA USA | Member Since 2011

  • 18 reviews
  • 203 ratings
  • 491 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2015

  • Persona Non Grata: A Novel of the Roman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Ruth Downie
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home - to Gaul. Having received a note consisting only of the words "COME HOME!" Ruso has (reluctantly, of course) pulled up stakes and brought Tilla to meet his family. But the reception there is not what Ruso has hoped for: no one will admit to sending for him, and his brother Lucius is hoping he'll leave.

    Laurie says: "Well worth the wait!"
    "The Best Ruso Book To Date"

    As a fan of Lindsey Davis and Stephen Saylor, I am thrilled to have found Ruth Downie. In her third book featuring Roman medicus during the reign of Hadrian, she takes it to the next level. The first two books were enjoyable, but this volume is in an entirely different league. The change of setting from Roman Britain to Transalpine Gaul (modern Provence), takes Ruso into the bosom of his very dysfunctional family (who had been alluded to in previous books). While it's possible to read this book as a stand-alone, I would highly recommend reading the books in order in order to appreciate the characters' histories and development. I have a background in Classical History, and while I won't pretend there aren't some anachronistic elements, I was impressed by how much research Ms. Downie must have done to recreate the period. Unlike the more free-thinking Falco of Lindsey Davis's books, Ruso seems more a product of his era and culture.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Gotham

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Lyndsay Faye
    • Narrated By Steven Boyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is 1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.... Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, fantasizing about the day he has enough money to win the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this new "police force".

    Joanne says: "A wonderful book"
    "For fans of Caleb Carr and "Gangs of New York""
    Where does The Gods of Gotham rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's someplace in the upper middle. I liked it well enough that I plan to listen to the sequel.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Gods of Gotham?

    There are a couple of revelations near the end of the book that I really didn't see coming. I definitely enjoyed the atmosphere the author created of old New York.

    What about Steven Boyer’s performance did you like?

    Steven Boyer always does a good job - particularly with accents and differentiating one character from another.

    If you could rename The Gods of Gotham, what would you call it?

    I don't think I would - the title was one of the things that piqued my interest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fundraising the Dead: A Museum Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Sheila Connolly
    • Narrated By Robin Miles

    At The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques, fundraiser Eleanor "Nell" Pratt solicits donations - and sometimes solves crimes. When a collection of George Washington's letters is lost on the same day that an archivist is found dead, it seems strange that the Society president isn't pushing for an investigation. Nell goes digging herself, and soon uncovers a long, rich history of crime.

    wookie's mom says: "Slow Start"
    "Good First Book in a Series"
    Would you listen to Fundraising the Dead again? Why?

    Perhaps. Since I'm a Philadelphia museum fundraiser myself, I really enjoyed the inside jokes and details that might be a bit tedious to others.

    If you’ve listened to books by Sheila Connolly before, how does this one compare?

    This was my first.

    Have you listened to any of Robin Miles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not really, though I think that it COULD be listened to in one sitting. It's not overly complex (even formulaic at times), but it's a fun, light read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Monstrous Regiment: Discworld #31

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    War has come to Discworld...again. And, to no one's great surprise, the conflict centers around the small, insufferably arrogant, strictly fundamentalist duchy of Borogravia, which has long prided itself on its ability to beat up on its neighbors. This time, however, it's Borogravia that's getting its long-overdue comeuppance, which has left the country severely drained of young men.

    omahonycm says: "Who's who?"
    "Wish I could give this more than 5 stars"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Monstrous Regiment to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version, but the narration is so stellar that I can't imagine any way that I could enjoy this more than on Audible. In fact, I have a friend who is a fan of Terry Pratchett and am constantly telling him that he ought to get Audible to enjoy the books to their fullest.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Terry Pratchett makes the characters so real that I'm invested in them almost immediately. These are people I want to meet. They're layered and complex. The writing is among the best I've ever encountered in any genre. My favorite Discworld books feature Sam Vimes and the Watch - some of whom make an appearance here.

    What about Stephen Briggs’s performance did you like?

    He brings every one of the characters to life and captures Pratchett's gorgeous and funny prose with pitch perfection.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Don't Ask, Don't Tell

    Any additional comments?

    While this book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone, I think the impact is even greater when read after the City Watch books and The Truth. It really is a triumph of storytelling and brought tears to my eyes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Sara says: "The Time Travel VS Romance Quandary"
    "This book really needed an editor"

    I'm rarely inspired to write a review of an Audible purchase, but I felt the reviews currently out there (largely extremely positive) needed some balance.

    I wanted to like this book. I like historical fiction and the time travel premise is one that I usually enjoy as well.

    But I just couldn't finish it. I got about half way through the third of four segments and began to fast forward (which I never do with an Audible book).

    Ms. Gabaldon is a good writer - her knowledge of the period seems sound and her prose is quite elegant. The reader, Davina Porter, was excellent. It was just that the book went nowhere and took hundreds of pages to do it.

    To be fair, I'm not a fan of straight romance, so that could have impacted my impression. I prefer more intrigue. If you are a fan of historical romance - especially of the bodice ripper variety - this might be right up your alley. While not what I would call pornographic (though some other reviewers have said so), Outlander is highly erotic. But oddly - and perhaps it's due to the literally dozens of sex scenes - rather than being exciting or titillating, it became unbearably dull. A good three-quarters of the sex could have ended up on the cutting room floor and it might have helped the story's momentum.

    I think I read that this was a 600 page book and that the five sequels just get longer (up to twice as long). Judiciously edited, I think Outlander could have been decent. Sadly though, this is one time that I would have preferred an abridged version of an Audible book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Doomsday Book

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong.

    Sara says: "A Haunting First Book in the Series"
    "Where Was The Editor? Such A Shame."

    This book has a great premise and, as a Medieval historian, I really wanted to like it. The major problem for me is that it could have worked as a short story, or even a short novel, but not the tome that it is. A truly ridiculous amount of time is spent going over the same ground - maybe the reader is meant to be living the horror of the protagonists in real time, but it's painful and really boring. Even the jokes, which elicit a chuckle the first time they appear, become tiresome when repeated over and over. The last part of the book picks up a bit, but by then it's much too late.

    The other big issue for me is how incredibly stupid the protagonists are. These are supposed to be academics at England's top university, but my 12-year-old niece could figure out "surprises" that they seem oblivious to until nearly the end of the book. I can suspend disbelief about the sci-fi elements that didn't make much sense, but it was hard for me to imagine anyone being as willfully blind as this cast of characters.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Changes: The Dresden Files, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry.

    Amazon Customer says: "WOW. I'm stunned!"
    "6 stars - How could it get any better?"

    I was hooked on Harry Dresden practically from the first moment of Storm Front. While early books were a little shaky - and James Marsters took a while to reach his stride as a reader - by the time I listened to White Knight, I was convinced that Butcher & Marsters were at the top of their games. Yet over the course of the next several books, Harry and the cast of supporting characters became even more complex, more interesting, more human. And Butcher kept revealing surprises and "Aha!" moments that kept me engrossed.

    From the opening moments of Changes, I knew that Butcher had trumped himself with this one. Everything - and I do mean everything - comes together here in a deeply satisfying way (despite a cliffhanger conclusion). Plots that have been unfolding for several books are finally resolved and new ones introduced.

    Changes reminded me a lot of the final chapter of The Lord of the Rings - a series referenced by Harry as he and his friends (and even former foes) form a fellowship in order to complete the ultimate quest. The book culminates in a battle of good vs. evil of epic proportions and has a valedictory feel to it. But according to Butcher, there are several more books planned for the series - good news for his devoted fans.

    I urge anyone who has not read previous Dresden Files not to begin with this. The impact of this book is meant for devoted fans - it is a payoff 12 books in the making - as well as a glimpse of new directions for Dresden and Company.

    Any criticism I have seems petty by comparison to the towering achievement Butcher has realized in Changes. There are a few moments where I felt the editing should have been tighter - which is perhaps why Butcher has pushed back the release of his next outing - Ghost Story - from April to July, 2011. The worst part of being a Dresden Files fan is figuring out how to feed our addiction between fix.

    Bravo, Mr. Butcher! A tour de force.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Alexandria: A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Lindsey Davis
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In first century A.D. Rome, Marcus Didius Falco works as a private "informer," ferreting out hidden truths and bringing villains to ground. But even informers take vacations, so in A.D. 77, Falco and his wife Helena Justina travel to Alexandria, Egypt. Before long the Librarian of the great library is found dead and Falco quickly finds himself on the trail of dodgy doings, malfeasance, and the lowest of the low - book thieves! As the bodies pile up, it's up to Falco to untangle this horrible mess and restore order.

    Eva Gannon says: "A Bit Disappointing"
    "Not the Falco of old"

    I read the Falco books when they first came out - and I was hooked. But over the years they have deteriorated badly. Occasionally, there is a winner (such as Saturnalia), but more and more, they are bogged down in interminable history lessons (and I was a Classics major, so I enjoy historical detail). But when Helena is opening her mouth every 5 lines to deliver 2 pages on a particular esoteric detail, it's just too much. The author also confuses matters by having dozens of characters (suspects) not one of whom is developed. It was a chore listening to this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Devil-May-Care

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Peters
    • Narrated By Grace Conlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ellie is young, rich, engaged, and in love. In the carefree days before marriage and new responsibility, she decides to house-sit at Aunt Kate's palatial estate in Burton, Virginia. With its nearly invisible housekeepers and plethora of pets, Ellie feels right at home. But when she opens an antique book about the town's aristocracy, she finds disturbing secrets that extend to her own family.

    Book reader says: "One of Elizabeth Peters' best!"
    "Out of date"

    When I first read this book some 20 years ago, I remember it being a delight. It has not aged well, however. This time around, it seemed hopelessly dated, particularly with regard to all the allusions to then in-vogue "women's lib." When it finally wraps up and the mystery is solved, I found it hard to believe the motives of the villain/s.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Knocker on Death's Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble

    The day after a Gothic door is returned to its original place in the Mottisham village church, two men are found dead. The Welsh villagers, closed and suspicious of outsiders, believe their deaths were not accidental, but part of an ancient legend that told of an unrepentant monk who tried to enter to the church by grasping the door's iron knocker.

    Yvette says: "More Inspector Felse, please!"
    "My favorite Inspector Felse mystery"

    Ellis Peters' prose is always a pleasure to read and Simon Prebble's narration is a joy to listen to. If you enjoy, Peters' Cadfael books, give Felse a try.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Historian

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kostova
    • Narrated By Joanne Whalley, Martin Jarvis, Dennis Boutsikaris, and others

    Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor", and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of: a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

    John S. Atherton says: "I give the book a five but I won't buy it..."

    I just couldn't make myself listen to this beyond the first couple of hours. First, I generally don't enjoy it as much when books are read by multiple readers - I find it distracting. Additionally, the eerie music playing between each chapter was over the top. Finally, the story is just poorly written - absurdly melodramatic - I kept expecting to come across the sentence "It was a dark and stormy night."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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