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Linda the Writer

ratings
5
REVIEWS
5
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
6

  • Double Forté: A Gus LeGarde Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Robert King Ross
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Gus LeGarde's life essentially ended four years ago, when his beloved wife, Elsbeth, leapt from the Letchworth Gorge cliffs. These days, the music professor plays endless Chopin etudes on his antique piano and lavishes love on his family and dog - but nothing buries the pain or answers his burning questions. What made her jump? Why didn't she say goodbye? And how will he be able to live without her?

    Linda the Writer says: "A perfect book for a long drive"
    "A perfect book for a long drive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook was given to me as a gift, the first I've read by Aaron Paul Lazar. I found Gus LeGarde an enjoyable companion on an interstate drive. The plot was involving but not so edge-of-seat as to make me a menace on the highway - a perfect drive-time book. Some people might object to the lengthy breaks between action sequences and concrete plot developments, but they can write their own reviews! IMO, the pace suited Gus's character and gave Lazar time to paint wonderfully sense-appealing details about the setting and to develop the romantic element.
    I docked Robert King Ross a star because he often crooned the ends of words to no purpose and because his pronunciation of some words was distractingly incorrect, especially Siegfried's German comments. (I'm not expecting a perfect accent, just correct basics.) Otherwise, the performance was very good.
    I definitely will read more by this author. (In fact, I already did - I liked Tremolo even better!)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Essentially Yours

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Hannah Seusy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Marcella's first love has been MIA for eighteen years. Callie, her best friend and Sky's sister, flips out when a mysterious package from Sky arrives on her doorstep. Inside his old backpack are bottles of precious essential oils, a memory stick, and a bag of emeralds. Are these his final effects? Or is Sky alive? When Marcella's husband Quinn hears about it, his jealousy spikes. He and Marcella have been married for seven years, and he's not about to let some punk from the past mess that up.

    Linda the Writer says: "Sexy, suspenseful, sensitive, smart"
    "Sexy, suspenseful, sensitive, smart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Aaron Paul Lazar heats things up for Marcella Hollister (and the reader), as her long-lost hottie boyfriend brings several varieties of danger back to town with him. Essential oils furnish a clever hook for the suspense plot. I'm not a huge fan of the mystic crystal vision stuff, but it was all entertaining.

    Lazar's characters always command center stage, and he gives us some beauties to root for and revile in this book. For example, if I hadn't been listening to the audiobook while I was driving, I would have stood up and cheered when Marcella realized she was only dreaming about-- Well, you'll have to find that out for yourself. Then my cheers immediately switched to boos when it turned out she was actually in the sleazy clutches of-- Sorry, don't want to spoil it. I was back to cheering when she-- Oh, buy the book and enjoy it all firsthand! :)

    Adding the cherry on top of Lazar's terrific writing, Hannah Seusy's gutsy narration practically yanks you by the ears into Marcella's mind and heart.

    Well done all around!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • For the Birds: A Tall Pines Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Hannah Seusy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    What happens when a parakeet named Ruby gets an unexpected mind-meld with Marcella Hollister's quarrelsome mother, Thelma? After Thelma is kidnapped from her hospital bed, Marcella must find her - somewhere in the tall pines of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. With the help of her Native American husband Quinn and bizarre "tips" from Ruby, Marcella butts heads with quirky bird psychic Earl Tiramisu, much to the chagrin of the FBI, who want her to stay out of the investigation.

    Linda the Writer says: "Didn't see THAT coming. Or that. Or that ..."
    "Didn't see THAT coming. Or that. Or that ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a fan of Aaron Paul Lazar's Gus Legarde series. This is the first of his other books I've read. Right from the opening pages, I really appreciated the quality of his writing--narration and dialogue were spot on. Lazar gives this story the rich setting details he's famous for (well, if he isn't yet, he should be!) plus an even more engaging lead than Gus Legarde (and that's saying a lot). Marcella Hollister and her supporting cast of zanies offer loads of raw material for the series.
    As for plot, Lazar delivers a kooky sequence of events with a well-developed showdown with the villains. Then the story slowed down. I was thinking with furrowed brow, Hmmm... this is a bit of an anticlimactic tail-off ... Then Lazar sucker-punched me with a twist you'd have to be really psychic to see coming, and then a final zinger to wrap things up.
    This is a fun light read (listen, in my case), but it contains occasional glimpses of very poignant subtext--another signature feature of Lazar's novels that make him one of my favorite up-and-coming authors.
    This is also the first time I've heard Hannah Seusy's narration. To be honest, my first reaction was that her diction lacked clarity. But within a few minutes I got into the swing of her voice and ended up being completely won over by her outstandingly natural characterization of not only Marcella but also the other characters.
    Two thumbs up, all around.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Let the Wind Catch You

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Erik Synnestvedt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    When young Gus LeGarde befriends a cranky old hermit in the woods who speaks to an Oneida Indian spirit named Penaki, he wonders if the man is nuts. But when Penni rattles tin cups, draws on dusty mirrors, and flips book pages, pestering them to find evidence to avenge her past and free her from earthly bondage, things change.

    Linda the Writer says: "Lazar continues to impress"
    "Lazar continues to impress"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I received the audiobook as a gift (not with any expectation of a review) and enjoyed it more than you'd think an old bat would enjoy a book with a 12-year-old hero. Then again, Gus LeGarde is an exceptional (though entirely ordinary - go figure) 12-year-old. Lazar combines great sensitivity and rich descriptive details to create engaging characters in fascinating relationships within original plot scenarios. The paranormal element was a gentle, entertaining exploration of what-if. Not everyone will agree with Lazar's take on certain relationships, but his unconditional love for all of humanity shines through every book of his that I've read. I'd recommend this book for both young adult and adult readers.

    I'm a big fan of voice artist Erik Synnestvedt too. He brings Gus to life perfectly and does a great job individualizing the other characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tremolo: Cry of the Loon

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Aaron Paul Lazar
    • Narrated By Erik Synnestvedt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    Summer 1964: Beatlemania hits the States, and the world mourns the loss of JFK. For 11-year-old Gus LeGarde, the powerful events that rocked the nation serve as a backdrop for the most challenging summer of his life.

    Lorre says: "A terrific story that contains a mystery"
    "Wonderfully written, brilliantly narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my second Lazar book, and I enjoyed it even more than the first. I previously read Double Forte, which featured Gus LeGarde as a grandfather. Reading about Gus's antics as a kid in Tremolo, knowing how life was going to treat him and his family and friends in years to come, gave a special depth to the characters, even in the tiny details like Gus's grandfather calling him "sport" as Gus later calls his own grandson.
    Obviously, Tremolo is set several decades before Double Forte, in 1964 to be exact. Lazar's rich array of details of the time and place obviously calls upon personal experiences, not mere research into the Maine lakes in the 1960's. In fact, a good share of my enjoyment of this book was in those "Oh, yeah!" moments from my own youth in Maine. I cut my feet on lake mussels, and tripped over protruding roots on pine needle-padded paths, and worked at a small family-run resort, and a million other things Lazar weaves into his tale.
    As with Double Forte, there are broad gaps between action sequences and developments of the mystery plot, which are filled with Gus's narrative about the life going on around and inside him. In Tremolo, Lazar adds cultural references (e.g., JFK's assassination, To Kill a Mockingbird) that provide social commentary as Gus is educated in the summer school of hard knocks. It all adds up to a very good read.
    Erik Synnestvedt was perfectly cast to narrate Tremolo. I'd listen to this guy read the phone book aloud. He portrayed young Gus's first person narrative brilliantly and switched from one character's voice to another flawlessly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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