After reading The Bloodletter's Daughter, I was interested in reading this new novel by Linda Lafferty, which also deals with characters in the age of Rudolph II. I thought the conception of this story was very ambitious. Ultimately, I think it did not create very sympathetic characters, which is very important if you expect to keep a reader's attention in a back and forth, whiplash plot scheme. The present-day plot was less interesting to me than the one taking place in the the Countess's castle. Ultimately, however, I think the effort falls short on the work of the narrator Kathleen Gati. Gati does accents well, by she doesn't breathe life into the story, failing Lafferty's prose time after time. A good narrator can take a so-so book like this and sell it too us, make us believe in its quality and value. But here, we get just the opposite: a terrible job of narration that does severe damage to the writer's work, cheapening it. How did I manage to finish the entire story, you ask? By listening to it on an advanced speed, allowing the narrator's annoying habits to be submerged in a rapid processing of words.
I gave a positive review to the first book in this series by Martin Jensen; however, this time around I feel that we readers have been let down a bit. Winston takes much more of a back seat to Halfden this time around, as the murder of a monk baffles the duo. I found the story much less compelling here, and recalled that the threat of the King's wrath added necessary tension to "The King's Hounds." I did enjoy the addition of Alfilda to the sleuthing pair, but wish her character could be given more to do than brood and stare out windows. Would it be a better series if the author took us into the minds and perspectives of the three central characters? I think perhaps so. Napoleon Ryan does a good job again in his narration, though his pacing is very languid and occasionally it sounds as though he needs to spit.
This is a perfect recording. First, an impeccable translation of a top science fiction classic. When I listened, I kept having to remind myself that this novel was first published in Polish in 1961! According to Wikipedia, this edition was rendered specifically for Audible through the estate of the author, Stanislaw Lem. That kind of care and attention really show through in the quality of this production. I have read a ton of Audible books in the past year - over 50 - and this one right near the top.
First, the story: there is something so immediate and timeless about this story. An eerie sense of disorientation, a psychological mystery in the best sense. How can writing this fresh be over 50 years old? I can only credit the author and the translators in bringing together a remarkable work of art. And please be aware: this is not some standard, cliche-ridden potboiler. If you're looking for that brand of genre sci-fi pulp, you can easily find that elsewhere on this site. Solaris, on the other hand, has an amazing energy and organic quality to the way it unfolds. Read it with your full attention, in a quiet space. It's so easy to see how its nightmarish atmosphere have been co-opted by countless science fiction stories and movies since it was written.
I have read another story narrated by Alessandro Juliani, from the Amber series. In that, he was good, but in this endeavor, he absolutely shines. He lends the perfect tone to Chris's voice and observations. it is obvious Juliani made a very careful study of the story before beginning his job, and the care shows throughout in his considered inflection.
I can't recommend this more to a true connoisseur of science fiction literature.
This is the second in the series of police procedurals by L.J. Sellers. She has based these books around Eugene, Oregon, with gruff, good-hearted Detective Jackson as her protagonist. Sellers has a gift for creating a compelling narrative that swiftly moves the reader through the plot without a lot of fluff. The story plays out just as a good police investigation. There are red herrings, blind alleys, and department politics to contend with. The book reads like an episode of Law and Order, complete with a few moral lessons along the way. Such as...
SEMI-SPOILER ALERT: In "The Sex Club," we learned to keep a sharp eye on our children, and to avoid extremist religious viewpoints with an unbending moral code. Here, in "Secrets to Die For," we continue the theme of broken parent/child relationships with children withholding things about themselves from their parents. In both these first two novels, the fanatical parents wind up bringing great harm to their children through their misbegotten actions. Karma is tough in Sellers' universe!
The narrator, Damon Abdallah, is purely perfunctory in his delivery. He is annoyingly monotone during most of the narration. We only hear vocal variety during the moments of dialogue. His Detective Jackson is a morose bore, though I found him more tolerable this time - perhaps simply because I was used to Mr. Abdallah from "The Sex Club." But even he couldn't sink the book for me.
I really enjoyed this book. Ms. Sellers does an excellent job of building suspense and intrigue as the story builds towards its conclusion. Unfortunately, Damon Abdallah's narration did no service to the story, particularly in his choice of voicing the main character, Detective Jackson. Jackson comes off as cold and wooden - even bored! I think Abdallah was probably going for gruff and brooding, but he just couldn't bring that off. Narration is a great art, and it can make or break an audible book. Please, Books in Motion - be choosy in your hiring of narrators!
Another brief warning to the reader: there are slight difference in the audio version and kindle version of the book. I wrote to the author, asking why this is, and she told me that those changes were made by her publisher. Strange.
Patrick Thibeault's "My Journey as a Combat Medic" is a nice personal memoir. I appreciate his honesty and his interesting anecdotes from his military experience. Having a spouse with PTSD, it was particularly interesting to me to hear Patrick describe his own PTSD symptoms and experiences. Do realize that the book is written by a man without a lot of writing experience. As a result, the sentence structure is simple and often repetitive, and the book lacks a strongly organized narrative. That being said, I found his words sincere and unaffected, which kept me listening throughout. The narrator, Joe Bronzi, does a decent and serviceable job with the book, though he does nothing to enhance the listening experience. He seems to me to be a "nonfiction" narrator, but I wouldn't trust him with a single work of fiction.
I liked the story, and in the hands of a good narrator, I think it had some nice potential. But unfortunately, Jeff Cummings was not the man for this job. Because of a serious lack of variety in voicing characters, he fails in setting the mood of tension and mystery this book demands. His delivery is flat and strangely pedantic for most of the minor characters. As a result, the story loses what little depth and texture it possessed, becoming as light and inconsequential as an hour of Hawaii Five O.
I bought this story on the cheap as a whispersync set, hoping for something good, and I was not disappointed. This is the first book in a series from Danish author Martin Jensen, his first translated into English. It promises to be an excellent mystery series with great, enjoyable characters. The story takes place during 11th Century England in which the country has not enjoyed much recent stability in leadership. The new king Cnut, a Dane, is trying to unify the various sects of the English population in order to provide a lasting peace across the land. Unfortunately, during a large gathering of his most important Saxon and Danish subjects, a murder takes place that implicates him, as well as threatens to bring complications to his plans for his country. Our two protagonists, Winston (a smart, sensible illustrator of books) and Halfdan (a sly, womanizing opportunist) are placed on the case by the king, and our mystery story takes off from there. There is a fun Sherlock/Watson rapport between the two very different personalities of Winston and Halfdan, and the reader is quickly drawn into the story, with a good appreciation for the historical setting. Not knowing much about this time period in England, I found this aspect fascinating. The narrator Napoleon Ryan has one of those mellifluous English voices that you could listen to all day. His pacing was a bit pokey for my taste, but an adjustment to 1.25 speed helped to alleviate that problem. All in all, it was an excellent listen, and I look forward to the release of the second title in this series in spring of 2014!
I found the stories in this volume at the least, interesting and very creative, and at most, touching and telling of all the problems we Americans face in our American world. None of the characters in George Saunders' universe feel a sense of confidence or control in the way we are often used to from story protagonists. Instead, they struggle with the deluge of concerns, sometimes frightening and sometimes comically absurd, that we recognize in our own experiences. I think what makes this set of stories so telling is the way they connect with us as members of a strange (and often crazy) modern society, reflecting back into our gaze all the things we do and think: the conceits, the follies, the frustrations, the terrors, and the small acts of heroism.
Saunders narrates his own stories here, and I think he does a brilliant job illuminating the subtle elements, as only an author might. The stories are so layered and rife with comic detail that some other speaker would have to spend a great deal of time thinking through every intonation in order to do the book justice.
I was to read this book in college, got through a piece of it, but failed to finish it at the time. It's so nice to come back to it now, with the added patience and wisdom of adulthood, so that I now can appreciate it fully. Aside from being one of the first examples of the mystery/detective novel (one can easily see the Sgt. Cuff/Betteredge dynamic emulated later by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), it is incredibly funny and satirical, also. Drusilla Clack is one of the most hilarious, well-meaning buffoons in all of English literature!
I can't say enough about the narration of British actor Peter Jeffrey. He was so insightful in illuminating all the novel's great characters. There's a temptation with an epistolary novel to get a full cast together to read it, as when I read Dracula a few weeks ago. But this man was amazing at voicing all characters, male and female, old and young. I was confounded in trying to guess his age at the time of the recording!
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