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S. J. Grider

Audio Girl

Central Valley, CA | Member Since 2006

21
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 63 ratings
  • 424 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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  • Inner Harbor: The Chesapeake Bay Saga, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Guy Lemonier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (637)
    Performance
    (428)
    Story
    (428)

    Phillip's brothers, Cameron and Ethan, are now happily married. The family boat-building business is starting to thrive. And the Quinns are closer than ever to keeping Seth permanently protected from his errant mother who would sell her own son rather than loving him the way the Quinns do.

    Darlene says: "One Word WOW!"
    "Fourth in the line"
    Overall

    This book, the fourth in the Chesapeake Bay series, is a very nice closure to the tales. It is well written, as are all the books. Although Inner Harbor does very well as a stand alone novel, it is probably best heard after at least one or more of the other books in the series. I think you'll want to hear them all. The narrator is excellent. The story is romantic, varied, and has a very happy ending. I have listened to this several times. It's a great curl-up-and-listen treat.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Loving Frank

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Nancy Horan
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (695)
    Performance
    (274)
    Story
    (282)

    I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current. So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them.

    Eva Gannon says: "Fascinating"
    "Could have been a little less "dry.""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Nancy Horan and/or Joyce Bean?

    I don't think I will ever search out another book by Nancy Horan. However, if someone recommended a specific book by the author, I would read it without hesitation. The writing was a little rough--transitions weren't always smooth, vocabulary was a pretty limited. I have not listened to any of Joyce Bean's work before, but I did enjoy her voice and style. It is quite clear and soothing. I found it a pleasant listen.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I found the way that the children's situation was described--or NOT described--to be distressing. It is as if the author was as insensitive to the children's needs as were the characters. However, the descriptions of Frank Lloyd Wright's work, his habits, and his personality were interesting and revealing--not what I thought I knew about Wright before reading the book.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    While the topic was interesting, it doesn't meet the standard of romance and poignancy that, Bridges of Madison sets, although the topic is quite similar. Still in all, it might make an excellent movie with the right screenwriter.


    Any additional comments?

    The social implications of this story are quite sobering, knowing that it was real as opposed to fictional. I don't think the situation would gain the notoriety in this day as it did in the early 1900's. It is a common tale today, which might help explain the weak character of such a large portion of our 21st century society.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter: Dixie Hemingway Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Blaize Clement
    • Narrated By Julia Gibson
    Overall
    (394)
    Performance
    (304)
    Story
    (303)

    Dixie Hemingway is a pet sitter for some of Florida's most pampered pets. But when she happens upon a man drowned in a cat's water bowl, Dixie's sleuthing powers from her time as a deputy sheriff return full-force. And as more bodies keep turning up, she'd better find out whodunit.

    A Wicked Old Lady from Boston says: "Incredible"
    "Delightful listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks. I listen to my favorites again and sometimes again. To me it's like listening to music. We don't just listen to songs once and say, "Oh, I've heard that before." I listen to good audiobooks more than once and repeat good videos. On the scale of 1 - 10 of audiobooks I listen to again, I'd rank Curiosity Killed the Catsitter as a 9. The story was creative and both funny and poignant. The narration was excellent. The pet parts really added to the interest.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    I had a little trouble hitting that pause button. Throughout, there was just enough information given that I always had an idea of where it was going next. I was surprised some, but that's great, because anticipation is an enjoyably involving aspect.


    What does Julia Gibson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Julia Gibson has one of those voices that make me feel very comfortable. The inflection in her reading is very natural. When she is frightened, she sounds frightened and the speed and intensity of reading speeds up. Her different voices sound like different people, and natural rather than affected. When she reads, I almost feel like she is right there in the room with me telling me the story.


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

    Yes. In fact I was glad that I was in a position to finish it in one weekend, which I did. I carried my iPhone around with me as I did other things and just kept this going.


    Any additional comments?

    I am a voracious reader. I love the written/spoken word. Fiction or non-fiction, reading is always my "downtime" activity." I've been in a shift toward audio over the past 10 years. I loved being read to as a child. I now find that listening to a really good narrator read me a story is a very comforting experience--whether the book is a romantic comedy, a mystery, or a thriller. I get lost in the story that I'm listening to. This one was a pleasure indeed. Can't wait to listen to Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just Desserts: Savannah Reid, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By G. A. McKevett
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    Overall
    (250)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (210)

    Finding herself in over her head with a case involving a politician's infidelities, Memphis-born karate expert Detective Sergeant Savannah Reid is told that she must turn in her badge because she is overweight.

    S. Droski says: "Confusing title for a great book"
    "Suffered from poor narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from G. A. McKevett and/or Dina Pearlman?

    It was almost painful to listen to this recording. I gave up on the audio about 1/3 of the way through. I got the large print version and finished it. I enjoyed the story and will look for more McKevett novels, but I won't buy another book performed by Dina Pearlman.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Just Desserts?

    The scenes where Savannah had the confrontation with her supervisor which ended in her dismissal was pretty good--well, bad for Savannah, but well written. At the time that I listened to that I knew it was going to be a turning point in the story.


    Could you see Just Desserts being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I think this has great TV series potential. I love to see Emily Deschanel from Bones or Katee Stackhoff who plays Vic in Longmire play Savannah. I think as a series it has the potential for fast action. In the book, the great descriptions of character and settings make it very interesting and realistic. I really enjoy that aspect in a book. However in video format that would all be visual, and therefore faster moving.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Barefoot Season: A Blackberry Island Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Susan Mallery
    • Narrated By Sarah Grace
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (214)

    Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she’s still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner’s suite occupied by the last person she wants to see. Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn’s cheerful veneer.

    Cynthia L. Powers says: "Good story. Wooden performance."
    "Uncharacteristically vague for Susan Mallery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I'm not sure that the narration is not to blame for this irritating book. I went back to check to make sure I was reading the first in the series. Details were doled out piecemeal to explain actions and comments were already completed. By chapter 6 I was seriously frustrated by how unnecessary the confusion, rudeness and lack of communication between the characters was. I have read almost all of Susan Mallery's books. This book is not the Susan Mallery I am used to. Part of this could have been the slow speed and the overly dramatic inflection of the narrator. Where was Therese Plummer, for example, when they chose the narrator? I will try the book in print, but I almost resented the time I spent listening to this.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Susan Mallery again?

    I really enjoy Susan Mallery's books. Most of them are light with just enough conflict to make the story keep flowing. I have listened to many of them more than once, just because they are entertaining, without requiring serious emotional involvement of the audience. I believe that such is the role of romantic comedies in our lives. Any book by Susan Mallery goes on my "must read" list. This one is the first exception to that personal policy.


    What didn’t you like about Sarah Grace’s performance?

    The pace was too slow. Increasing the speed of the narration on my iPhone just made it really choppy. At any speed the inflection that she used in an attempt, I assume, to stress the importance of somewhat mundane actions or comments, was distracting and eventually irritating. Every detail in a story is not of equal importance.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    With the right actors, I believe this book might have good movie potential. Part of the benefit would be that the details that were so sparingly doled out could be built into the scene rather than needing to be explained verbally.


    Any additional comments?

    I read many books in hard copy. I may give this one a try in that format.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye: Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Victoria Laurie
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Michaels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1508)
    Performance
    (1171)
    Story
    (1165)

    Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn't foresee the death of one of her clients - or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby's future looks more uncertain than ever.

    Roger says: "review of Abby Cooper series"
    "She got me hooked!"
    Overall

    I purchased this book at the try-a-new-series sale. I am really partial to books in a series. This is a delightful book on its own, but I think if you give it a listen, you will want the ones that follow it, as well. They can be read out of order, but the relationships and her business do develop, so I recommend reading them in order. Abby Cooper is delightful. The humor in the story is well placed and pertinent to the story line. Her intuition and her predicaments are interesting and just a bit surprising. The plot is unpredictable enough to make me sorry that the story ended.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Vows, Vendettas, and a Little Black Dress

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Kyra Davis
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1001)
    Performance
    (551)
    Story
    (553)

    Overjoyed at Maryanne’s engagement, amateur sleuth Sophie Katz can’t wait for the wedding vows and party toasts to begin. But then Dena—best friend, bridesmaid and all-around vixen—is mysteriously shot just after the announcement. Leave this to the authorities? No way. Dena may never walk again, and Sophie vows to marry her fists with the shooter’s face.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Must Read!"
    "I love listening to Gabra Zackman"
    Overall

    Gabra Zackman is perfect for the narration to the Sophie Katz books. I choose my recording as much for the narrator as for the author. I have read all the Sophie books, and this is my least favorite. It's not bad, but it goes on and drags a little in the last quarter. Also, I thought there was a little gratuitous sex that wasn't really that interesting nor did it contribute much to the plot. The plot itself was good, but it took longer than necessary to develop ad solve. I'm not sorry I invested the time in it, but don't think I would recommend this very strongly. And not nearly as highly as the other Sophie books.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Black Hills

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1154)
    Performance
    (583)
    Story
    (596)

    A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not 11-year-old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn't as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker's body.

    Lorraine says: "black hills"
    "Intense"
    Overall

    This is an intense story. There is a little gratuitous violence, and the conflict between the love interest was a little unbelievable, but this is fiction. It was a "page-turner" to be sure. It is reminiscent of Northern lights in its feel. So I have to say that it was well worth the listen for me, despite some of the unnecessary trappings.
    And unlike some, I liked the narrator--not the best rhythm, but I do like the quality of his voice. I think that the smooth quality of his voice was necessary to balance out the intensity of the storyline. I liked enough to listen to it again at some point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Fool and His Honey: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Charlaine Harris
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (258)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (140)

    When her husband's niece shows up unexpectedly, drops off a baby, and disappears, Aurora is overwhelmed. And then the niece's husband turns up dead, having met his demise at the end of an ax blade.

    Mary B. says: "Spoiler Alert"
    "Tear-jerker ending"
    Overall

    I have read or listened to the Teagarden books in order and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I am a huge Therese Plummer fan, as well. Actually I enjoyed this one--quite funny in many places--until about 15 minutes before the end. Not at all what I expected. The book is very well written, as are all of Harris's books, but I'm not a fan of tear-jerker endings. So I recommend it with the provision that you are prepared for heart break at the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sizzling

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Susan Mallery
    • Narrated By Alyson Silverman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (504)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (226)

    A spiteful article about the former pitcher and current playboy, Reid Buchanan, questions his talent in the bedroom. And the newspaper's just the first bad news. Reid's grandmother Gloria's broken hip means she needs constant care, but Reid hired Nurses 1 and 2 for their bedside manner with him. So for Number 3 he chooses Lori Johnson, the first candidate who seems immune to his brand of charm.

    Scottie in TX says: "Sizzling!"
    "Entertaining"
    Overall

    Light humor, very entertaining. A great listen to relax by.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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