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Toby

Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.

Portsmouth, NH, United States | Member Since 2010

ratings
53
REVIEWS
53
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
77

  • Just One Evil Act: A Lynley Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (354)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (306)

    Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: The daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can't really help - Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn't on Hadiyyah's, their daughter's, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold. Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace.

    Ruth Nielsen says: "Not a Fan Anymore!"
    "Perhaps the best ever of Elizabeth George mysterie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Just One Evil Act the most enjoyable?

    Many things made this book captivating. I liked the focus on Barbara Havers. I loved that most of the "action" took place in Lucca, Italy. I liked that Lynley had a new love interest. There was just so much about this book that I adored. I liked the new character, Salvatore.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Just One Evil Act?

    When Barbara Havers is up all night trying to figure out what to do next. I won't reveal more as no reader wants to know in advance too many details!


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

    Davinia Porter is one of my favorite readers. As I am legally blind and have no option but to listen to books, the reader is key. Ms. Porter is excellent.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Barbara sees Lucca from the rooftop terrace. Also, the various emotional encounters.


    Any additional comments?

    A brilliant read. I especially enjoyed that the book was not hurried and that it was long. I liked this very much. As always with Ms. George, the characterizations were marvelous. She is such a grand and enjoyable author.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Girl Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Noble
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Here is a gorgeous and unforgettable novel set in a turn-of-the-century New York apartment building on the Upper East Side. The Girl Next Door features four interwoven stories about love, life, and living together. This emotional listen is full of fascinating characters.

    Margaret says: "Even reversed, an engrossing story"
    "A pleasing romp through the lives of New Yorkers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not sure. Probably only to those who don't want to be overly taxed intellectually or depressed by the medical stuff/death.


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

    I liked the details of New York life, but always wanted to know more about some of the characters. It was not an even representative of the characters. I wish the author hhad developed some of the characters more fully.


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

    She was good enough. Her accent for British men was a bit lame.


    Was Girl Next Door worth the listening time?

    Meh. Had I been in better health and not stuck in bed, I probably would have not finished it.


    Any additional comments?

    Such great potential for a good tale, but left me wanted more in-depth and realistic depictions. I thought NYC got the short drift in this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sunshine on Scotland Street: A 44 Scotland Street Novel, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Robert Ian Mackenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Once more, we catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith. With customary charm and deftness, Alexander McCall Smith gives us another instalment in this popular series, now running in its eighth season in The Scotsman.

    Monterey Brookman says: "This deserves 10 stars!"
    "Another enchanting addition to this series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Sunshine on Scotland Street?

    Being able to spend time again with the cast of characters. I would have liked a bit more of Pat, but this series just keeps one wanting more and more.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The adventures of Bertie and the manipulative ways of Irene, his mum. It was entertaining that the husband finally stood up a bit. Comical, yet so real.
    I also always like the attention AMS pays to architecture and societal customs and changes.


    Have you listened to any of Robert Ian Mackenzie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, all in the series. He is talented.


    Who was the most memorable character of Sunshine on Scotland Street and why?

    This was answered above. In general, I cannot pin it down to one event. Not possible. The overall is the total of my enjoyment.


    Any additional comments?

    I only wish it was longer! I hope the next one will not take so very long to be available on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Karen Le Billon
    • Narrated By Cris Dukehart
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    When she moved her young family to her husband's hometown in northern France, Karen Le Billon expected some cultural adjustment. But she didn't expect to be lectured for slipping her fussing toddler a snack, or to be forbidden from packing her older daughter a school lunch. Karen is intrigued by the fact that French children happily eat everything-from beets to broccoli, from salad to spinach - while French obesity rates are a fraction of what they are in North America.

    Toby says: "A must read for those who care about food"
    "A must read for those who care about food"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up French Kids Eat Everything in three words, what would they be?

    This book was a great read, even if you do not have children. I learned much and was engaged from the first page. This is a well written and insightful book about not only food, but manners and cultural differences


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed how the author coped, wrote about, and expanded her experience of living in France and eating.


    Which character – as performed by Cris Dukehart – was your favorite?

    The author, of course.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    Eating while sitting, eating a little bit of everything, eating vegetables. The socialization of dining. I could continue ....


    Any additional comments?

    I hope this author will write a second book. I would read it with relish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vertigo 42: A Richard Jury Mystery, Book 23

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Martha Grimes
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (83)

    Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the 42nd floor of an office building in London’s financial district. Despite inconclusive evidence, Tom is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered 17 years ago. The inspector in charge of the case was sure Tess’ death was accidental - a direct result of vertigo - but the official police inquiry is still an open verdict and Jury agrees to re-examine the case.

    Alice says: "As always, Martha Grimes comes through"
    "Yet another stellar Richard Jury mystery by Grimes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Vertigo 42 the most enjoyable?

    As a longtime Martha Grimes fan, I was not disappointed. Unlike some, this one didn't have Jury in a love affair ... but every other element was present.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. The odd couple of an engaging British mystery series


    Have you listened to any of Steve West’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, all the ones he narrates of Martha Grimes. He is good.


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

    Yes, but I tried to pace myself as I know there will not be another one for some time.


    Any additional comments?

    A most enjoyable read. The one brief appearance of Agatha, Melrose's not blood related aunt, was limited and I didn't mind this. Would have like more of the antiques dealer. All in all, however, a wonderful book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Courtney Maum
    • Narrated By Sam Deveraux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    Despite the success of his first solo show in Paris and the support of his brilliant French wife and young daughter, thirty-four-year-old British artist Richard Haddon is too busy mourning the loss of his American mistress to appreciate his fortune. But after Richard discovers that a painting he originally made for his wife, Anne, has sold, it shocks him back to reality and he resolves to reinvest wholeheartedly in his family life - just in time for his wife to learn the extent of his affair.

    Toby says: "A tremendous romp through the Paris art world"
    "A tremendous romp through the Paris art world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is up near the top. A most enjoyable read and my short headline does not say it all as the book is clearly more than a romp through the art world of Paris.


    What other book might you compare I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You to and why?

    One other does not come readily to mind. Perhaps, along the lines of India Knight and Ian Moore.


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

    The reader was wonderful and never did that over-acting, shouting thing that is so annoying in some audible books.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I liked the scene where the artists videotaped his parents in the kitchen of the seaside house in England.


    Any additional comments?

    There are many levels to this novel and all work well together. I would read more by this author.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Death in Cyprus: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By M. M. Kaye
    • Narrated By Julia Farhat
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Twenty-year-old Amanda Derrington is on an extended cruise with her uncle when she decides to make a short trip to the sun-washed island of Cyprus. But even before the ship arrives in the port, there is a suspicious death. Once the passengers reach the island, it soon becomes clear that the death was in fact an act of murder. What Amanda had meant to be a pleasant excursion quickly takes a turn for the worse in this classic novel of suspense and romance by one of our most celebrated writers.

    Kathi says: "I Just Love The Oldies!"
    "Now I know why I've never read this author before"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. I kept thinking it would improve and didn't have another new book on hand. The lack of descriptive prose, given this was Cyprus, was unbelievable.


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

    That it was set in Cyrpus. The characters, except for the southern american and the eccentric old woman, were boring and predictable.


    What three words best describe Julia Farhat’s voice?

    not too awful


    Could you see Death in Cyprus being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Given that I never watch tV because it is so banal, juvenile and boring, then yes. This would probably do nicely.


    Any additional comments?

    This read like a juvenile book. Makes some of Gerogette Heyer's romances seem positively Booker prize quality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Fall Down

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jennifer Weiner
    • Narrated By Tracee Chimo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (200)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (188)

    Allison Weiss is a typical working mother, trying to balance a business, aging parents, a demanding daughter, and a marriage. But when the website she develops takes off, she finds herself challenged to the point of being completely overwhelmed. Her husband’s becoming distant, her daughter’s acting spoiled, her father is dealing with early Alzheimer’s, and her mother’s barely dealing at all.

    Michelle says: "Love Jennifer Weiner!"
    "The beginning leads one to expect a bit more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I did listen to the entire book as I have long been a fan of Jennifer Weiner. The reader was very good. That said, I felt that the last 1/3 of the book became just a tad predictable and not so interesting. The major issues of sexism, class divisiveness, etc. bode well, but then something happened. I also felt the husband was not portrayed as fully as he could have been. He wasn't developed enough as a character - or, perhaps this was the point.


    Would you recommend All Fall Down to your friends? Why or why not?

    I do not have any friends that would read this book as they tend to not read what the media continues to call "chick lit." While I do not agree with this labeling, I do understand their point. In Ms. Weiner's earlier books, the sharp humor and fast pace was very different from this book. I kept wanting a bit more and more descriptive prose.


    Which character – as performed by Tracee Chimo – was your favorite?

    I think the daughter, actually.


    Any additional comments?

    I was unhappy that I felt let down. I was sad that I felt compelled to read to the end because I had such high hopes for this book. I don't know what happened, but somehow the core got tangled. The overly long descriptions of the rehab place became tedious and repetitive.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2249)
    Performance
    (2093)
    Story
    (2086)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    H James Lucas says: "A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters"
    "A Sensational, quirky mystery full of character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Silkworm to be better than the print version?

    N/A as I am visually impaired and cannot read in print.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The detective and his assistant. The way they play off each other is masterful and classic of the great duo sleuths throughout time. There is always that tease of a developing romantic interest.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Difficult to say. One would be the birthday dinner party Strike's sister gives him when he shows up with an unexpected date.
    The drive when a near accident is averted ...`


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

    I listened over the course of two days. It was riveting, but then I am a fan and loved the first book in this series.


    Any additional comments?

    The descriptive and atmospheric prose is wonderful. The portrayals of the diverse cast of characters rings true. If I had one negative to make, it would be that I skipped over the graphic descriptions of the murdered body. That was a bit too much for me.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Nantucket Sisters: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Nancy Thayer
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    When they meet as girls on a beach in Nantucket, Maggie McIntyre and Emily Porter become fast friends - though Emily’s well-heeled mother would prefer that she associate with the upscale daughters of bankers and statesmen rather than the child of a local seamstress. But the two lively, imaginative girls nevertheless spend many golden summers together building castles in the sand, creating magical worlds of their own, and forging grand plans for their future.

    Toby says: "A predictable Tale that doesn't develop much"
    "A predictable Tale that doesn't develop much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. I bought this one because I used to live on Nantucket and wanted to hear local color, etc. I had read some of Ms. Thayer's earlier books. This one was so cliche-riddent and predictable. I felt as if it could be a young adult book. There was almost no plot twists or originality in the development.


    Has Nantucket Sisters turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I will not read any more. There are very few american women authors I find as rewarding as the British writers. I could name them for you, but anyone who reads my reviews knows who they are and what I like.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kate Rudd?

    This reader was very annoying. Her male voices, in particular, were alienating. Yet again, the male characters were so stereotypical and underdeveloped, she didn't have much to work with, did she?


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

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    A sadly disappointing book. I skipped about 1/4 after the half because it was already too obvious how it would end. And end as I predicted it did. Sad that the females were so darn stereotypical. The most interesting character in the book, Frances, was not given enough space. Also, almost nothing about Emily's parents.
    A letdown on most fronts, even the descriptive prose.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Susan Jane Gilman
    • Narrated By Susan Jane Gilman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (31)

    In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street. Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck.

    Toby says: "Don't sue me! I loved every minute of this novel"
    "Don't sue me! I loved every minute of this novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Only one-third into this book, I was tweeting about it and telling friends. The story was captivating and the characters complex and interesting. Also, the historical aspects were brilliantly placed and informative.`


    What other book might you compare The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street to and why?

    Perhaps the author's earlier book, Hypocrite int he Pouffy White Dress. Her style is her own, so comparisons are a bit meaningless.


    What does Susan Jane Gilman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The early years of the immigrant in lower Manhattan and the struggles to survive, succeed and thrive -- with humor.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I never answer this question because I think a novel is a novel and a film is a film It's a silly comparison.


    Any additional comments?

    This book made me laugh, think and cry a little, too. It was so rich in detail and characterization. I wanted to be there and be a friend to Lillian. I also thought the social commentary of this period of American history was so well done and thoughtful. I can only hope that Ms. Gilman is working on her next novel. I know I'll buy it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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