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Laura

EVERETT, WA, United States | Member Since 2009

97
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 38 reviews
  • 274 ratings
  • 1103 titles in library
  • 55 purchased in 2014
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  • Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Marilee Strong
    • Narrated By Deb Thomas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (159)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (62)

    Based on five years of investigative reporting and research into forensic psychology and criminology, Erased presents an original profile of a widespread and previously unrecognized type of murder: not a hot-blooded, spur-of-the-moment crime of passion, as domestic homicide is commonly viewed, but a cold-blooded, carefully planned and methodically executed form of erasure.

    Dave says: "A Fascinating Barrage of Painful Truth"
    "repetative, contradictory and poorly written"
    Overall

    Wow, I am surprised at the good reviews. The poor writing of this book was awful. It repetitive and contradictory at the same time. Nearly every sentence had three or more descriptors that mean the same thing like "deceptions, lies, falsehoods". Or "eerily, hauntingly, mistifyingly". It drove me crazy. The contradictions were confusing. I was constantly rewinding to see if I'd miss heard. For example, she says that "eraser" killers are not psychopaths and then goes on to describe how they are. She says at one point that psychopaths have no emotional reactions, but then tells how one killer throws up upon hearing his mistress in an interview. Sounds like an emotional reaction to me. The term "eraser" is used to describe a type of killer who are methodical planners, like studying forensics, and then kill cleanly and dispose of the body, effectively "erasing" the victim. But she identifies killers who shot their victims and stage it as a robbery or suicide as "erasers" but they don't really fit the definition she gave. The author also states her own judgments and conclusions as fact. Such as saying these men are motivated by a blank desire to be rid of an outdated possession when they kill their wives, but there is no evidence given or any killer interviews. The writing meanders badly as well. There are whole paragraphs describing psychopaths, then a few words about something different, but then more paragraphs reiterating what she'd already said about psychopaths with no tie in! She also claims to know things known only to the killer such as when one bought cigarettes that it was his "reward". It looked to me like she was jumping to conclusions and making her own biased judgments. I paid 8.95 for this book and am kicking myself. The author said she had worked in journalism, but I saw absolutely no evidence of any experience or skill in writing. Disappointing.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • The Cabinet of Curiosities: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Jonathan Marosz
    Overall
    (800)
    Performance
    (708)
    Story
    (708)

    In an ancient tunnel underneath New York City a charnel house is discovered. Inside are 36 bodies all murdered and mutilated more than a century ago. While FBI agent Pendergast investigates the old crimes, identical killings start to terrorize the city. The nightmare has begun. Again.

    Nancy says: "Enjoyable, but not my favorite"
    "Why so many negative reviews?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    I've listened to the first two books, and have grown to enjoy the characters, the strange yet somehow familiar and facinating settings and plot lines. This story in particular, was an unexpected history lesson in the strange and the facinating.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was set in the book's past, envoked by a letter written by an owner of a curiosity cabinet in 1870 (I think it was), the horror, the vivid descriptions, the tangible suspence, and the morbid facination was riviting.

    And, I rather enjoyed all of Pendergast's manners and the ease with which he manipulates and deflates the arrogant poeple who get in his way. It never failed to be satisfying.


    Any additional comments?

    I missed the characters from the first two books. Pendergast and Smithback was kind of a more minor character in the first two, but they are the only two left in this book in addition to a new female scientist character that while interesting and likable was new and not what I expected. I miss the main characters I had grown rather attached to from the first two books.

    In addition, the narrator does a great job. I read some pretty terrible reviews, and almost didn't buy this audio book. I must have the same narrator, but I kept thinking that couldn't be so, because I quite enjoyed his reading. Some complained of an uplift in tone (as if asking a question) at the end of sentences that weren't actually questions. I anticipated this, waited to be annoyed by this verbal affect, but honestly, I didn't notice the narrator doing this AT ALL. Unless, of course, he really was reading a question. There were a few, very few, technical mistakes where a sentence was repeated twice in a row, but it was only a few seconds, and happened so infrequently, it didn't in the least take away from the overall story. I am rather baffled by those reviewers who professed that these things completely ruined the book for them, because it was really no big deal at all for me.

    I know a change in narrator can be irritating. I felt the same way when a book in Butcher's Dresden Files series was narrated by a different person, and it completely ruined the book for me. So, if you've listened to any of the other books in this series, I would recommend to listen to the sample first. But I encourage you to give this book a chance. I almost didn't and I'm glad I did. I would have missed out on something great if I had passed it by.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Clear and Present Danger

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By J. Charles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (374)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (210)

    Jack Ryan, who has just been named CIA deputy director of intelligence, is enraged when he discovers that he has been left out of the loop of Columbian operations. Several of America's most highly trained soldiers are stranded on an unfinished mission that, according to all records, never existed. Ryan decides to get the men out.

    T. Webb says: "Hard listen"
    "No tone difference between characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great book, great movie, pretty good audio book.

    I've read Tom Clancy's books over and over. I own them all, well, all the ones he himself wrote. I haven't gotten into the newer franchise books written in conjunction with other writers. I also own all the movies based on his books. I'm not typically into military novels, but I've always ranked Tom Clancy in my top 10 favorite authors. I've read and enjoyed Clear and Present Danger multiple times, and my enjoyment has never diminished. Clancy always has just enough detail to make his books interesting to me, but never so much as to make me feel like I'm reading a technical manual or military play book. I enjoy his characters, again, enough information that they are real people to me, but never so much that character descriptions take over the plot. I get to feel like I'm really there, along side these characters, engaged in mundane routine military life or exciting action packed battle scenes. I rediscovered all of these things in this audio book. I just have one complaint, and its a pretty big complaint, the narrator, while not terrible, has no variation for characters, female, male, latino, irish, whatever, they all sound the same! Sometimes, I litterally couldn't figure out who was speaking and had to rewind. I kept thinking, its good I've read this book so many times and know what it going on, and even then, I had trouble keeping characters and speakers straight. It was very frustrating. If not for Clancy's skill as a writer, I would have stopped listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Relic: Pendergast, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4233)
    Performance
    (2664)
    Story
    (2692)

    Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing.

    Snoodely says: "Non-Perishable"
    "Great movie, great book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really like this movie! :) And I really enjoyed this book. Its a little formulatic with stock characters and plot, but its got good scenes, exciting suspense, fun setting and a great monster.

    The characters might be stock characters types, but there can be something satisfying with stock characters if done well, a reader can know them, understand them, they are familiar, and yet there are quirks and personalities to make them interesting and fulfilling. I cared about the characters and worried about what would happen to them.

    The setting of a museum built on a catecomb of old, unmapped, dark, dank drainage and sewer pipes seems hard to believe at first, but it was very well done, and made for a great environment for this spooky monster story. I especially liked the details of museum life and employees, archeology digs and scientists. It made everything vivid and real. Great details that added to the story.

    I usually like books better than the movies, but I really enjoyed the movie and the book both. The book added a lot with great, funny, enlightening internal dialogue and commentary. I found this book entertaining, humorous, suspenseful and thrilling. I laughed out loud at work. I listened in my car on my way home unable to put it down. I listened at night and skipped one of my favorite shows. I would recommend this book to others.

    In addition, the narrator does a great job. Voices seemed right on. Sarcasm comes through perfectly. A joy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Man’s Song: The Pine Deep Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (394)
    Performance
    (356)
    Story
    (364)

    From the powerful imagination of a horror master comes a bone-chilling tale set in a small town where good and evil are joined in a terrifying, deadly battle. Once an idyllic Pennsylvania village, Pine Deep awoke one morning to find itself bathed in a massive bloodletting. Twice in 30 years, the townsfolk have endured the savage hungers of a murderous madman—but if the residents think the death of serial killer Karl Ruger put an end to the carnage, they’re dead wrong.

    Flavius says: "The Shadows Grow Longer . . ."
    "Where is this going?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator did a good job. 5 stars to him.

    The book didn't do anything for me. The writing style seemed forced and over the top. Descriptions are exagerated and repetative. Adjectives are used repeatedly paragraph after paragraph for different things. (a head lulled, a tongue lulled, 2 different subjects described a few sentences apart) Prose is overly dramatic, overly detailed, overly long, and for me detracted from the story instead of creating suspense as I suspect it was supposed to. I felt little suspense. Sentences were very long, and every minute movement or action is described in exhaustive detail.

    A great amount of the story was back story told, just info dumped. I realize this is a second novel, but I felt like most of the it was just backstory or recap of the first book. I kept wondering when the plot/story of THIS book would get going. When it finally did start to go somewhere, late in the book, it was rushed, and finished in a cliff hanger (continued hopefully in the 3rd book) that left so much unexplained I felt let down. I didn't care for this book or this series well enough to contintue.

    Characters were cardboard, uninteresting, and I didn't get into any of them. Plot is predictable yet unfulfilled at the same time, ending abruptly with no real satisfaction. I'm glad I got this on sale. I'm a little surprised to see so many 5 star reviews for this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Callis Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Mark Tufo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (358)
    Performance
    (337)
    Story
    (339)

    Callis Rose is a girl blessed with a gift from above or cursed with a ruthless power she barely understands; it's really just a matter of degrees. As her family life is turned asunder she is thrown into an indifferent Social Services program where she defends herself the only way she knows how. Callis is moved from home to home until she finally settles at the Lowries. As she starts her first day of high school she meets both her favorite and least favorite person. Both happen to be part of the same household.

    Teddy says: "I wanted Callis to have a happy ending but..."
    "Eh . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Callis Rose just didn't do it for me. I'm glad I got it on sale because it wasn't worth much to me. It was a difficult listen, confusing writing style.

    -Strange omnipotent point of view that skips point of view around to every character in a scene.
    -Prose nearly entirely written in passive voice.
    -A story mostly told instead of shown. I prefer showing to telling.
    -Predictable/simplistic plot
    -Unbelievable characters driven by plot instead of their own personal motivations. I prefer character driven plots to plot driven characters.
    -Characters make giant leaps of understanding and insight. They just KNOW things.
    -Oddball personal details about totally random and inconsequential characters that mean nothing.
    -Awkward foul language/behavior that doesn't ring true.
    -Some awkward prose in general. Such as "Spittle issuing forth from her mouth" and after strangulation her neck was "red from rough ministrations".

    I didn't connect with any of the character, and felt no sympathy for any of them. I didn't care about her. People are cruel and horrible with no rational reason, no redeeming qualities.

    The subject of abused psychic children and the havoc they do has been done before far better. Obviously some seem to find the style and plot of this story satisfying. I would suggest listening to a sample first to hear writing style.

    On a positive note, the narrator did a great job! So good I will look him up to see what else he's narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Watch

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (357)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (99)

    In Washington, D.C., a cell phone rings. The White House chief of staff needs Jacob Winter now. His chief investigator and an Army Intelligence veteran, Winter knows how to move quickly and decisively, but he's never faced a problem like this. The disappearances are bad, but when the blackened body shows up barbed-wired to a tree, Winter knows there is much worse to come. And soon enough, there is. Large forces are at work, determined to do whatever it takes to achieve their ends.

    P. Minor says: "Predictable"
    "Look forward to the next book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to the Audible audio version of this book. I was hesitant based on some less favorable books, but I'm glad I gave it a chance. I liked it. This isn't a detective story, not really, as unlike Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowrs, Jake Winter is not a detective, but it is a murder mystery. What makes Dead Watch different is that the hero of our tale is an investigator/fixer in Washington DC with connections to the President's office. I thought it made for an interesting setting. I found the politics and intrigue facinating. I look foreard to more books in this series.

    I did find Jake Winters himself a little lacking. He seemed very similar to Sandfords other characters. While I find Sandfords characters pretty much cut from the same cloth, I like the basic wireframe he bases them all on. And, Jake is no exception except he comes without the nuances and intricacies that make Sandfords other characters into real, well rounded, flawed people. I hope Jake develops more in subsequent books. With a little more oersonality and a good flaw or two, his story would be 5 stars.

    I also thought the narrator did a great job!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John M. Barry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1270)
    Performance
    (620)
    Story
    (629)

    No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

    Nancy says: "Gripping and Gory"
    "Slow to get to the good stuff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have mixed feelings about this book. The narrator does an excellent job, and kept me listening after I would have quit. The book is excruciatingly slow to get to the meat of the story, the influenza outbreak. I read a lot about infectious disease, and some of the books are slow and/or dry, but this one was worse by far. The first hours are just back ground stuff, in great detail, history of John Hopkins, history of medical degrees, doctors, researchers, down to how they dressed and looked and spoke, where they lived, how they rented rooms from, who their friends were, how those friendships changes. Quite frankly - I DON'T CARE! I want to know about the flu epidemic! Any pertinent back ground, what little was important, could have been given in a few paragraphs, a few pages at the very most, and I'm not exaggerating. Not at all. I kept looking at the time, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3.5 hours, and still this book had gone no where! I finally put the speed on fast. I was greatly tempted just to fast forward, but was afraid to miss anything that was actually about the supposed subject of the book, you know, the Great Influenza that is the TITLE of the book. In addition, I found the frequent and blatant American elitism extremely annoying. The author is very condescending about non-American medical professionals, institutions, colleges and researchers even though the early American medical degrees are described as nothing more than a certificate for attending a few lectures while other countries had actual colleges and real medical degrees. It is also clearly stated that these American researchers built upon work already done by foreign researchers. Statements such as "american doctor/researcher such and such was THE BEST in the WHOLE WORLD or the leader in such and such field in of the whole world. It got old and tiresome really quickly.

    Once you get past the beginning fluff (literally hours) and get used to or ignore the rather heavy handed america elitism, the books gets more on topic and was more interesting. Though the narrator does a great job, I wish I had read this one so I could have skimmed through the beginning fast and easy instead of wasting hours of listening time.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Norman F. Cantor
    • Narrated By Bill Wallace
    Overall
    (257)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (68)

    Much of what we know about the greatest medical disaster ever, the Black Plague of the fourteenth century, is wrong. The details of the Plague etched in the minds of terrified schoolchildren – the hideous black welts, the high fever, and the final, awful end by respiratory failure – are more or less accurate. But what the Plague really was, and how it made history, remain shrouded in a haze of myths.

    Anne says: "Don't waste time or money"
    "I'm surprised at the negative reviews!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this audio book. Great content. Great narrator. Narrator is perfect.

    Some of the negative comments I read were:
    1) Skewed negative skew on part of author, making the dark ages out to be all bad, evil, backward and generally horrible.
    2) Made out all lords and church officials out to be greedy, murderous villains and the root of all evil.
    3) Incoherent book structure, dry presentation and cherry picked fact, and incomplete narrative of the black death because origin is not sufficiently covered.

    I am not a expert of the Dark Ages but I have read SEVERAL books on plagues and epidemics including the black death. This was the best book I have read so far. The mysterious inconsistency of the recorded history of the black death was well explained here. The current leading theories the explained, symptom, time lines, outbreaks and environments were described/explained effectively, and researchers and historians and historical records were referenced. Through the whole book, records from the time are referenced. I found the entire book to be well referenced, well explained, effectively presented and believable. Sections were separated by population class, and had a timeline through and after the many waves of plague. For example, gentry, peasants and church officials had their own sections on how they were effected during and after the plague. I found this presentation effective, easy to follow, and in my opinion, this format was by far the best choice.

    As for those complaining about the negative portrayal of the Dark Ages, well, uh, it is called the Dark Ages for a reason. People were greedy, racist, and locked into a class system that left many people stuck in poverty and servitude through the generations. Jews were blames for the plague and burned. People were tortured routinely. Officials were bribed. The medical/scientific people were ineffective against the plague and believed the plague was caused by sin, witchcraft, Jews poisoning, "bad humor"ect. But, even so, the author gives examples of educated female intellectuals, generous lords taking care of their surfs, providing churches, mills, and such, churches having female preachers and leaders. I'm not sure what some readers expected, chivalry, noble knights, fairytales and robinhood heroes? But, the Dark Ages certainly wasn't all white knights and gentile lords and ladies, but neither does the author portray all people and everything as horrible evil darkness.

    As for the complaints about lack of focus on the origins of the black death, the author DOES address/explain it effectively and thoroughly. But, the title of the book is "The Wake" of the black death, meaning AFTER the black death, and so this is the focus of the book, which I found fascinating. There is many details and examples given that illustrate the times and effects of the black death perfectly.

    I highly recommend this book. It appears to be well researched and referenced. It is well laid out and conveys its content extremely well. This, coupled with a talented narrator, made for an enjoyable as well as educational listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joyland

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Michael Kelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3159)
    Performance
    (2920)
    Story
    (2922)

    Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

    Cozy Reader says: "The sweest and creepiest coming of age story!"
    "Great Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed King's Joyland. I had seen some negative ratings, and wasn't sure what to expect. Joyland exceeded my expectations in every way. It is one of my favorite King stories now, up there on my list by Bag of Bones. I felt like Joyland was a lot like Bag of Bones, though I can't exactly put my finger on why. It might be the first person point of view, the great characters, the element of a child who can see what others can not, and the relationship of the protagonist to the child. In any case, I had the same feelings when i listen to Joyland when I listened to bag of Bones. I listen (or read) to Bag of Bones usually twice a year, sometimes 3 times. I can see myself adding Joyland to my repeat listen list.

    Michael Kelly did an excellent job narrating. He was perfect, perfect inflection, perfect tone, perfect voice all around. I expecially appreciated how he read the children and female characters. Many men read female voices as nasal and valley girl, which totally ruins the story for me. Kelly did a great job, and I could enjoy the story. In fact, I felt the narration added to the story rather than just disappeared into it.

    So, I went back and read some of the negative reviews, and they mostly seem to be a negative reaction to the fact that Joyland isn't a blood and guts, scary HORROR story. As if horror is ALL that Kind writes. King has never written ONLY blood and guts scary horror. He writes fantasy and sci-fi to horror to the strange and fantastic. I would say all his writing has elements that carry through all of his works, but not all of them are the same. Joyland is a ghost story, but that's not the only story. There is also a story about a young man and a woman, a young man and a sick child, an amusement park, and so on. King's works are always stories within stories within people and Joyland fits that mold. If you like King for his well drawn characters, fantastic yet somehow down to earth and believable plots and settings and the way he can make those people and places come alive, then you will probably like Joyland. If you are only interested in blood and guts and scary horror, you might not like Joyland at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good House

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Tananarive Due
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    Overall
    (1196)
    Performance
    (610)
    Story
    (604)

    Tananarive Due, author of The Living Blood won the American Book Award and is praised as Stephen King's equal by Publishers Weekly. In The Good House, Due sets a story of ancient powers and modern retribution in a small Pacific Northwest town. When a young woman returns to her grandmother's empty mansion, she is pitted against demonic forces that have poisoned her family for generations.

    Rebecca says: "FABULOUS!"
    "Great book!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Good House?

    What did I like best . . . well, the setting, I liked that it was set in the Pacific Northwest. I liked the realistic characters and their relationships. I liked the magic that was integral to the plot but not the WHOLE plot. I liked just about everything about this book.


    What other book might you compare The Good House to and why?

    This book reminded me a little of The Shining, in that the PLACE itself felt haunted, like the hotel in The Shining was, but it also reminded me of the movie Poltergeist, in that not EVERYTHING haunting the house and the land, the people, was evil.


    Which character – as performed by Robin Miles – was your favorite?

    I enjoyed the young adults the most. The adolescent boys seemed especially realistic to me. I also like the - well, i just liked them all, and I thought the narrator did a great job reading them.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I found this book to be exhilarating in its descriptions, heart poundingly real. I didn't feel like The Good House was blatant in your face Horror like other books in the horror genre, but it was definitely spine tingling and suspenseful, and I couldn't stop listening. I was on the edge of my seat.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was slower to start than I expected. I was thinking there was going to be more jump out and scare you type action from the very beginning, but it was a slower build than that. I appreciated the slow build in that I got a firm grasp of the characters and their families just in time for everything to start coming undone. The slow build up lead to more impact for me. A great story, a great performance, a great book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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