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Laura

Homewood, AL, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
138
REVIEWS
14
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
12
HELPFUL VOTES
183

  • Gone Tomorrow: A Jack Reacher Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2080)
    Performance
    (1066)
    Story
    (1067)

    In a novel that slams through one hairpin surprise after another, Lee Child unleashes a thriller that spans three decades and gnaws at the heart of America...and for Jack Reacher, a man who trusts no one and likes it that way, it's a mystery with only one answer the kind that comes when you finally get face-to-face and look your worst enemy in the eye.

    Laura says: "Child Needs an Editor"
    "Child Needs an Editor"
    Overall

    I gave this book four stars because I love the Reacher series and Lee Child and I'm glad there's another book. However . . . this novel is badly in need of editing. There are numerous interminable conversations that recap information we already know. I actually carried on conversations with other people while listening to parts of this book with one earbud in, just waiting for something to happen.

    As usual, Reacher kicks the bad-guys around, and there are a couple of satisfying twists, and plenty of national and international intrigue. The evildoer is very evil, the stakes very high, and the conclusion ties up loose ends. But I get the sense that Child was just going through the motions, trying to keep a best-selling character alive and fill up a few hundred pages, without really feeling it. Usually I'm at the edge of my seat with the Reacher books. This time, I could have used a fast-forward function.

    If you're new to Child and Reacher, pick one of the earlier books, like "The Killing Floor", to start with.

    28 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Charlaine Harris
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2835)
    Performance
    (2585)
    Story
    (2592)

    Number-one New York Times best-selling author Charlaine Harris has won numerous awards for her Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series, which has been adapted into the hit HBO show True Blood. In this 13th and final book, a murder rocks the town of Bon Temps and Sookie is arrested for the crime. After making bail, she sets out to clear her name - but her investigation only leads to more deaths.

    k says: "Bitter ending? Cleanse your palate."
    "Not with a bang, but a whimper . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The best part of this book, by far, is Johanna Parker's narration. Ms. Parker's charming characterization makes the Sookie Stackhouse finale easy to listen to, although this book lacked much in the way of plot and I found Sookie far less interesting than in the previous novels.

    I could understand Sookie's basic lack of ambition - and even her complete absence of hobbies or interests (apart from sunbathing) - in the first couple of books, as she was trying to find her way as a telepath in a world noisy with thoughts. But she more or less figured out how to cope with that several books ago, and still the only things she really has going for her is an unusually active dating life and a strong sense of Southern hospitality. Ultimately, I found myself caring very little whom Sookie ended up with, and even who was trying to kill her this time around. I felt like the book wasn't even sure where it was going, as various characters from previous books wandered in, had long conversations, and wandered back out.

    I've been finding it less and less probable over the series that an entourage of supernatural heart-throbs would be getting all hot and bothered about a telepath who doesn't so much as crack a novel, follow a TV show or sports team, or crochet pot-holders, and in this book I just didn't buy it at all. Sookie is not a strong female protagonist trying to make her way in the world. She's a waitress with no hobbies who feeds off drama so much that she might deserve a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

    I'm disappointed with how this series ended - I have enjoyed many of the books, and hoped that some character development would take place and that maybe Sookie would evolve somewhat because of the ordeals that she has been through. She hasn't. She has the same fairly limited worldview and approach that we saw in Book One. This book was less a thrilling wrap-up to a beloved series, and more a puttering out of an engine that was out of fuel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Flashman and the Mountain of Light

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By George MacDonald Fraser
    • Narrated By David Case
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (52)

    This ninth volume of The Flashman Papers, faithfully edited and transcribed by Fraser, finds that Sir Harry Flashman is back in India, where his saga began. This time, our hero is sent by Her Majesty's Secret Service to spy on the corrupt court of Lahore, on India's Northwest Frontier. Flashy's most challenging exploit yet is as politically shrewd and thoroughly lewd as ever.

    Laura says: "Flashy is Magnificent, Narration is Superb!"
    "Flashy is Magnificent, Narration is Superb!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Flashman is a scoundrel, a rogue, a coward, and a philanderer, and I thoroughly adore him! David Case's rendition of this classic heroic villain is simply inspired. The way he renders Flashman's alarmed and yet hilariously sardonic observations in this deadpan voice is just perfect. I found myself laughing out loud at the combination of Fraser's wordcraft and Case's performance in many places.

    You'll likely find this story more enjoyable if you are fond of anti-heroes, if you like dry British humor, and you have a yen for adventures. Flashman travels around the globe having wildly improbably adventures (this time in India), having sex with all the women he's physically able to, and being given credit he absolutely does not deserve for heroic feats he did his best to avoid performing.

    I love, love, love this book, and all the others in the Flashman series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8697)
    Performance
    (7978)
    Story
    (8015)

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "Decent story, unfortunate narrator."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this series, and I love audible; but this is the first George R.R. Martin book for which I selected the audio version. While I simply could not put down the paperback books in this series, I could not finish listening to this narration.

    I do think that the story itself is a little weaker than the previous three - two of my favorite characters, Arya and Tyrion, fade nearly into oblivion as the action pounds along, and we spend way too much time, in my humble opinion, on plot background and exposition. And why does Daenarys mostly vanish? What happened to her? Seems like she might be important, what with the dragons and all. We spend a tremendous amount of time inside the heads of folks with, from my perspective, less significant insights and back-stories, such as Brienne and random members of the Greyjoy clan.

    However, the weakest part of this book is the narration. There is very little vocal differentiation between characters, and his rendering of the female characters is almost impossible to listen to. They sound like crazy old women. I have switched over to the paperback version of this book, which I am enjoying rather more. Although I almost always prefer to listen to audiobooks, and I have a serious audible addiction, this is one series I'll be completing visually instead.

    33 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • Dracula [Audible Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2291)
    Performance
    (2088)
    Story
    (2113)

    The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.

    N. Houghton says: "Gothic Horror Never Sounded So Good"
    "Great narration . . . but, really, Mr. Stoker?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I actually liked the way Martin Scorcese ended his film version of


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    However - and this is a big however - the narration is SUPERB. Reading this novel, I would probably have set it down and walked away, but I couldn't stop listening to the intense and evocative reading by this exceptional cast. The performances were tremendous. If you are considering buying this book in paperback, don't bother. The only reason to read it is to hear the phenomenal narration.


    Any additional comments?

    There are better ways to spend your credits - there are a huge number of truly amazing audiobooks on Audible. But if you're interested in reading the original vampire tale, there is simply no better way of doing it than listening to this audiobook.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Tandia

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1157)
    Performance
    (621)
    Story
    (620)

    Tandia is a child of all Africa: half Indian, half African, beautiful and intelligent, she is only sixteen when she is first brutalized by the police. Her fear of the white man leads her to join the black resistance movement. With her in the fight for justice is the one white man Tandia can trust, the welterweight champion of the world, Peekay. Now he must fight their common enemy in order to save both their lives.

    Thomas Andrews says: "Thanks for this wonderful collaboration"
    "I wish I could give it more stars . . ."
    Overall

    I really don't understand how anyone could write this beautifully. This is a traumatic listen in many ways - Courtenay doesn't pull any punches on his disturbing subject matter, all based in the horror of apartheid, from rape to murder to the worst injustices you can imagine. But the incredible transcendent beauty of the story, the vivid, breathing characters, the reality of their struggles and the strength of their passion, make it a book well worth listening to. There were times I felt like I couldn't possibly listen to another word because my heart was breaking, and more than one night when I stayed up way too late listening for what happened next. If you are looking for a light, pleasant read, then get something else. But if you want something that will transport you to another world, and engage your heart and mind for days, weeks and months to come, then don't hesitate - buy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Forgotten Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5069)
    Performance
    (2864)
    Story
    (2901)

    Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone, and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident 10 years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and dear to her.

    avid reader says: "Hours of enjoyable, fun listening"
    "Incredibly slow moving . . ."
    Overall

    There's nothing really wrong with this story, per se, the problem is there's not a lot right with it, either. There's a lot of very, very slow buildup to a climax that isn't all that astounding. I have a little difficulty being compelled by any of the characters, except perhaps Eliza, who ends up behaving in a way so completely incomprehensible to me that in the end I can't relate to her at all. The writing is pretty solid. If you like a really slow-moving, relaxed book, this is it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Lover Mine: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By J.R. Ward
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    Overall
    (1974)
    Performance
    (1186)
    Story
    (1203)

    John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown. Taken in by The Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was-or his true identity. Xhex has long steeled herself against the attraction to John Matthew. Until fate intervenes and she discovers that love, like destiny, is inevitable.

    Patsy G. says: "MMMMM WOW..."
    "Consistent writing, somewhat jarring narration."
    Overall

    If you're looking for another steamy Black Dagger Brotherhood book, in the tradition of the other Black Dagger Brotherhood books, this more or less fits the bill - better than some, worse than some - but chances are, you're not buying this to be surprised. I wasn't, and I wasn't disappointed by the plot. Whenever JR Ward takes her story back in time, the writing is stilted - Ward's just not in her element trying to make language or description seem historically accurate. Lots of "verily" or "hereunto" and just random historical accent words that good historical novelists wouldn't dream of using - but chances are, you're not reading the Black Dagger books because of the historical detail either. I wasn't. I wanted a steamy, paranormal, fast-paced adventure/sex/love story, and that's what you get.

    However, the narration was a little jarring. Clearly the narrator would have been better suited to reading Thomas Hardy or Mark Twain or one of the other classics. JR Ward writes much of her prose in 21st-century slang, using terms like "fidiot" or "POS", to list a couple of the more vanilla. The prose is sort of a stream-of-consciousness of semi-thug vampires and other supernatural beings. Listening to this narrator try to master the perpetual slang was not unlike listening to an accountant read rap lyrics on public radio. Mostly the extremely correct pronunciations just made me smile - a few times I came close to laughing. If you can get past that, or it doesn't bother you, this book may be worth that credit.

    Essentially, no surprises here in terms of what you'd expect from the book, and if you can hang in there with the narration, you'll have a basically satisfying experience.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Coraline

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1341)
    Performance
    (523)
    Story
    (530)

    In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

    Amazon Customer says: "Creepy Fun"
    "Dark and Delicious - but not for small children!"
    Overall

    Although this is ostensibly a children's book, I would hesitate to let my 10-year-old listen to it because it's really rather disturbing. For anyone older than ten, though, it's a lovely read, and Gaiman's narration adds a great deal. Coraline's dark adventure with the "other" mother is chilling and paced exquisitely. Highly recommended!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34552)
    Performance
    (25672)
    Story
    (26030)

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "Fantastic Listening for ALL ages!!!"
    Overall

    This may be listed as a book for adolescents, but as a 33-year-old woman who isn't generally fond of Sci Fi, I can assure you that this novel is a terrific listen for ANYONE. I would award it more stars if I could. I am an avid fan of audiobooks and have had difficulty pausing many of my listens from audible, but I absolutely had to listen to this one nonstop - no choice. I literally paused my life for this book.
    From the opening scenes in the dystopic former U.S. where 16-year-old Katniss has to grapple for her family's survival on a daily basis to the heart-stopping scenes in the arena in the Hunger Games, the action never lets up. The strategy and conflict involved in the brutal gladiator-style combat are stark relief to the story of Katniss herself and her unlikely ally - and love interest - Peeta. The narration, while at first a little off-putting because it doesn't sound like a 16-year-old girl, turns out to be spot-on and a perfect complement to the story.
    In short, I can't recommend this book highly enough. I'll probably listen to it again before too long. I usually listen to crime novels and historicals, but this book easily outpaced the most nail-biting crime novel I've ever read. Use your credit - get it, get it now.

    82 of 93 people found this review helpful

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