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  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Diane Setterfield
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain.

    PA Law says: "Haunting and beautiful tale"
    "For lovers of books"

    Reading is highly personal, we know that what one loves, another may disdain. And so the reading of The Thirteenth Tale cannot please all. It's rare, however, to find so much divergence in reviews of this amazing story. Personally, I became enthralled after the first half hour of listening. As others have mentioned doing, I found excuses to listen. My sessions at the gym lengthened, I drove the long way home instead of taking the shortcut and I hung on every sentence. The narration is absolutely perfect for the story. Let's hope the author is hard at work on her next.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "Talk about unreliable narrators!"
    Any additional comments?

    I found this book a bit tedious in the beginning, as I usually do when protagonists keep making awful decisions and not owning up to them. But as the book went along, the "train wreck" [bad pun intended] that was the principal narrator, Rachel, unreliable and so oblivious, began to grow on me. As other characters were introduced along with separate narrators [I listened to the Audible recording], I became more and more intrigued. Who could we trust? Who was being honest? Who was trustworthy and who was not? The intertwined relationships slowly evolved in the story and I was hooked.

    The book explored themes of obsession, honesty, of false memories, of the power of suggestion and how these all can color our perceptions and behaviors. Characters who we think of as "good" or "bad", are revealed to be something else entirely. The depiction of alcoholism was well handled, cringeworthy but without moral judgement. It was what it was, and the effects it had on a struggling individual were unvarnished and honest.

    There were one or two minor loose ends in the book that didn't get satisfactorily resolved, but all in all, this suspense story was captivating and thought provoking. The use of the train as a metaphor to transporting the narrative and Rachel along her journey was effective.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Annie M. says: "Time well spent"
    "I didn't want the book to end."
    Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print book. I loved the narrated version.

    What did you like best about this story?

    It was a complete, satisfying, engaging and enlightening book about people caught up in events before, during and after WW2. People lived, died, suffered and survived.

    What about Zach Appelman’s performance did you like?

    I loved it. However, I might quibble with some lapses in pronunciation of the occasional French and German words and phrases.. OK, full disclosure… I lived in Paris for 3 years and have also spent a fair amount of time in Germany so I may be a bit fussier about pronunciations than the average listener. Still… I really enjoyed listening and didn't want the story to end.

    Who was the most memorable character of All the Light We Cannot See and why?

    Werner and Marie Laure, the young star crossed protagonists, buffeted by events and circumstances.

    Any additional comments?

    There are many many reviews of this wonderful book available, so no need to add much. I simply loved it. It was a complete, satisfying, engaging and enlightening book about people caught up in events before, during and after WW2. I felt I knew the characters and could feel their emotions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Poet

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Buck Schirner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Our hero is Jack McEvoy, a Rocky Mountain News crime-beat reporter. As the story opens, Jack's twin brother, a Denver homicide detective, has just killed himself. Or so it seems. But when Jack begins to investigate the phenomenon of police suicides, a disturbing pattern emerges, and soon suspects that a serial murderer is at work.

    Tom says: "Is Connelly the Best Crime Writer Or What?"
    "Another fine one from Michael Connelly"

    It was interesting having someone other that Bosch as the protagonist in this Connelly book. The story had plenty of twists and revelations and as always with an audiobook, my test is whether I find excuses to listen longer, including sitting in the garage listening to the book on my car speakers for awhile longer when I get home. The Poet passed the test with flying colors.

    I don't understand the complaints about the narrator. I thought he was excellent, with varied voices and accents for the characters. His voice was deep and pleasant, his pacing spot on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: How do you one-up a book that’s already a global literary phenomenon? Hire Simon Vance to (flawlessly) interpret the loves, lives, and murders of Sweden’s cold and secret-filled world. A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It's about the disappearance 40 years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden.

    Pamela Murphy says: "COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN"
    "Original and compelling"

    It's always a bit disturbing to read comments about books which the reviewers didn't actually listen to. In the case of this highly compelling, intelligently written novel, some just didn't like a character or two, or didn't like the theme, or the slow unveiling of the plot. Why give a low rating to a book you didn't actually listen to? I'd have a lot more respect for their opinions if they'd actually had the patience to complete the novel.

    On the other hand, many of us found ourselves unable to turn off our iPods, drawn in by the terrific character development, the descriptions, the realistically portrayed situations. I am anxious for the sequel, coming soon.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jasper Fforde
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Sastre

    Great Britain, circa 1985: time travel is routine, and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Bronte's novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career.

    Susan says: "What a gem!"
    "A head scratcher"

    Maybe I was just unfamilair with the genre, but I listened for an hour without gaining a clue as to what this book was about. I'm fairly conversant with serious literature and love a good mystery, but I simply felt all at sea without a paddle as I listened. The way it all bounced back and forth between suddenly appearing characters without any insight as to who they might be, or their place in the narrative, left me drifting. After awhile I came to recognize a character or two, but found I really didn't care. It amazes me that so many people seemed to like The Eyre Affair.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Maggi-Meg Reed, Christopher Burns

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six. They were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry was thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future.

    Herve Bronnimann says: "My Favorite Audiobook so far"
    "Time ran out"

    There is much to like in this audio book. Certainly, the excellent dual narration added to the enjoyment and was quite cleverly done. The concept of time travel is intriguing, even as it is implausible. I had to think, to replay sections, to keep all the back and forths straight, which added to the enjoyment of discovery. However, like many other reviewers note, the latter part of the book is somewhat slow and repetitive, as if the author had run out of fresh ideas, but had to plod along anyway, to finish off what had been started. The book would have rated at least 4 stars had the last quarter been more original and better paced.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pompeii: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman Empire's richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. But the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attilius Primus has just taken charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct that brings fresh water to a quarter of a million people in nine towns around the Bay of Naples. His predecessor has disappeared.

    Marty-Seattle says: "Brought my visit to Pompeii back to life"
    "Pompeii lives"

    Always a student of history, and sceptical about much historical fiction, I began listening to this recording with keen interest and fear of disappointment. I shouldn't have worried.

    I was enthralled from the first chapter. Beautifully narrated in a lively and experience enhancing manner, I felt as if I was walking with the Aquarious. I've been to Herculeniium and Pompeii and seen many of the structures mentioned, but that isn't necessary for the enjoyment of this book, though it did enhance my listening experience. A book on the excavated cities would be a delightful visual supplement, if one is interested. I suspect many will be visiting the library after listening.

    I was amazed at how suspenseful the story was, even though we have a pretty darn good idea how the story concludes. Each character, whether fictional or historic, was well defined and interesting. The historic references were valid and true to the period. I was particularly delighted with the vividly portrayed Pliny.

    I didn't want the book to end. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Death in Holy Orders

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By P.D. James
    • Narrated By Charles Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Atop a sweep of low cliffs stands the small theological college of St. Anselm's. Not far away, smothered beneath a fall of sand, lies the body of one of the school's young ordinands. When Commander Adam Dalgliesh is called to investigate the death, the college is torn apart by another death, a sacrilegious and horrifying murder.

    Jannice says: "Death in Holy Orders - good PBS"
    "P.D. James and Dalgliesh thrill again"

    Once again, James has pulled me into Dalgliesh's world. As always, she slowly unrolls her story, always ordered, always beautifully described, always disturblingly undermined by corruption and murder most foul. This time we're at St. Anselm's, a theological seminary just holding on as an anachronistic institution, even while the buildings are barely holding on as the sea threatens to send them tumbling down the eroded cliffs. Murder strikes in this unlikely locale. We find ourselves pondering the extremes of human behavior, pitting tradition against modern venality.

    James is a superlative writer, skilled, measured, precise. This is not a thrill a minute story, Jame's never are, but if you allow yourself under her spell, if you give your attention to her narrative, get to know the well drawn characters, the rewards and pleasure are considerable.

    Keating is a wonderful narrator/reader who brings distinctive nuance to each character without histrionics.

    I usually "read" Audible books while commuting. There were times when I'd linger in the car, even after parking, just to hear a bit more from Death in Holy Orders.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Tulip

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Bolen

    The tulip craze of 17th century Holland has a dark side! Cornelius van Baerle, a wealthy but naive tulip grower, finds himself entangled in the deadly politics of his time, and he must decide where his true love lies.

    Ron says: "terrible narration"
    "A major disappointment"

    I loved the idea of the book, but the execution of this audible recording is terrible. The most annoying aspect was the narrator, whose rising and falling inflections bore no connection to the words he was speaking. I recommend listening to a sample before selecting this title for yourself. I failed to do so, and deeply regret my error.

    Another problem was the awkward translation. It was overly wordy, convoluted and difficult. Dialog was stilted, and the poor reading of the text compounded my frustration.

    The story itself is compelling, and is worthy of a better rendition.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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