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VanDelay

Boston, MA | Member Since 2011

55
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 89 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 82 purchased in 2015
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  • Simply Irresistible

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Rachel Gibson
    • Narrated By Kathleen Early
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (140)

    Georgeanne Howard leaves her fiancé at the altar when she realizes she can't marry a man old enough to be her grandfather, no matter how rich he is. Hockey superstar John Kowalsky unknowingly helps her escape, and only when it's too late does he realize that he's absconded with his boss's bride. This bad boy isn't looking to be anybody's savior but his own. Still, a long night stretches ahead of them - a night too sultry to resist temptation.

    L.W. says: "Is this a re-release????"
    "Her First is My Favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first found Rachel Gibson in one of her later books, in her series about the Chinooks hockey team (True Love and Other Disasters), and that was my first in the category of "Romance". I enjoyed that book so much, I went on to listen to others she had written. When I ran out of Audible versions, I switched to Kindle (not my preferred method, as a spine injury makes reading difficult) and so I read this book before I listened to it.

    In both book format and audio, this story remains my favorite by Gibson and one of my favorites in the category of Romance. Georgeanne's character is immediately likable, as are the other characters in the story. The story, like all romances, follows a typical pattern, but the story and its characters pull you along as boy meets girl, gets girl, loses girl, and chases her again.

    As another reviewer remarked, what Georgeanne hides at the start of the story is not a act that one can condone, however, I feel that Gibson makes it at least an understandable move by Georgeanne and does not promote that kind of behavior.

    Overall, I appreciate Gibson's ability to develop her characters well and create romantic tension without the melodrama I've seen in other books (tragic pasts of poor behavior or treatment--it's just not necessary and kills the escapism of the genre). Gibson's books don't go to any extremes describing intimate scenes, and she concentrates on the story between the two lead characters without getting overly sappy.

    The narrator was quite good and did not detract from the story (which I already knew). This book was definitely worth a credit.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Wicked Girls

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Alex Marwood
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1346)
    Performance
    (1194)
    Story
    (1188)

    On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it's the first time they've seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives - and unknowing families to protect - will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?

    Tina says: "Really my rating is 4 1/2 stars."
    "Character Driven, Depressing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was difficult to get through, not because it wasn't interesting, not because it was poorly written, but because it was a sad story of two young girls of poor circumstances who made a few poor decisions when they were young, and more when they were older and who pay dearly for those mistakes (and one more so than the other).

    The story unfolds in the present, when by chance the two women meet again as adults, and in the past, as we are slowly fed tid-bits of their infamous past. It is interesting to see how each turned out, what motivates them, and how they interact with others. They have become people who are both different from the convicted girls they once were and different from each other.

    Although it did move a bit more slowly than I would have liked, I don't regret listening to this book. I would recommend it with the caveat that the reader know that it is in no way an uplifting or light book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautifully Damaged: Beautifully Damaged, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By L. A. Fiore
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (606)
    Performance
    (564)
    Story
    (571)

    Ember Walsh is a trusting soul with the quiet beauty of her late mother, who perished in a mysterious car crash when Ember was three. A little tomboyish from being raised by her father, Ember packs a punch when a stranger gets pushy with her in a bar, catching the steely blue eyes of a tall, gorgeous tattooed man — Trace Montgomery. Still damaged from her last disastrous relationship and warned off the bad boy by friends, Ember fights the smoldering heat that Trace sparks in her when he begins shadowing her like a dark angel.

    Donna Thomas says: "Great Story"
    "A little too neat in parts, but overall good read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you've read the Crossfire series, this book has some similarity, but its treatment of characters' backgrounds is much lighter, with resolution of some of the major issues coming too soon, too thoroughly, to be truly realistic.

    The book starts out mostly dedicated to the building up of the relationship between Ember and Trace, but then weaves a bit of mystery into it as the couple hits their stride. Overall, both are entertaining and kept me listening.

    I thought a while before giving the story 3 stars rather than 4 (I rarely, if ever, give 5) and leaned toward 3 stars because I thought that the characters could have been a little better developed with respect to how their pasts shaped their present, (although that would have likely lengthened the book).

    There were some characters or scenes where you knew the author was leaving breadcrumbs for another book, but there were no cliffhangers.

    The narrator's performance was lackluster. I gave it two stars only because I've heard some really terrible narrations and this was palatable albeit less enjoyable than desired. It was not so much monotone as it was passionless. If you've heard this narrator previously, expect more of the same.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Mary Kubica
    • Narrated By Lindy Nettleton, Johnny Heller, Tom Taylorson, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3004)
    Performance
    (2559)
    Story
    (2567)

    Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, Colin Thatcher seems at first like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

    Roger says: "Brilliant performances, moving story"
    "Cheap Trick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has been compared to Gone Girl, and in the way that it is told (moving fluidly around a timeline from different character's perspectives) as well as the inclusion of seriously narcissistic characters, it is akin. And in the same way as Gone Girl, this book ended leaving me annoyed.

    In Gone Girl, I was annoyed at the lack of redeeming characters; in The Good Girl, it's more the author that I'm miffed at. And it's not because all doesn't end happily ever after--I like an unexpected twist, an incompletely resolved ending, a modern tragedy, what have you--but this was not that.

    What we find out in the end could have been a perfectly good ending, however, the author wrote the book in such a way that that very last piece is not truly congruent with the rest of the book. There is little foreshadowing and its abruptness leaves the reader feeling like the author decided at the last minute to change the ending into something more controversial.

    Three paragraphs of complaining aside, the book as a whole was a compelling read. I did want to learn how the characters got to the end (which was easy to predict, minus the very last character perspective) and there was a decent amount of suspense building up to it. The author used a writing technique that could have been confusing, but her writing is clear and she develops most of the characters quite well (two characters are fairly flat).

    The performance, like Gone Girl, was excellent and I really enjoyed the multiple narrators; it enhanced the book's enjoyment.

    54 of 62 people found this review helpful
  • Still Missing

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Chevy Stevens
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1839)
    Performance
    (1163)
    Story
    (1169)

    On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old Realtor, had three goals: sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

    Richard Delman says: "A singular voice; a horrendous story."
    "Don't start until you've got the time to finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! This book was riveting; disturbing, hardbreaking, nightmare- and anguish- inducing.

    I can't quite remember how I stumbled upon this book, perhaps it was recommended after I'd bought Abducted, another harrowing story of kidnapping and torture, but I'm so glad I purchased it.

    I started it last night and stopped only to sleep, finishing it today. I couldn't wait to hear the whole awful story, which felt so much like a true crime story, I found myself feeling almost guilty at times for being so enthralled in Annie's journey.

    I was skeptical of the author's design of using one-sided therapy sessions to relay the story, but she did it with it skill, and this allowed her to unfold the story of both the kidnapping and the aftermath through the main character's eyes. While I think it would have been fine to include the therapist's interaction, (as in The Silver Linings Playbook), doing it in a one-sided fashion emphasized the character's feeling of being all alone in her ordeal and her recovery.

    This book is not for the faint of heart; if you're looking for a light read, this isn't it. It is dark and sad but ends on a hopeful note.

    I liked the ending; I didn't find it to be a cliffhanger or a set up for "book 2" in the trend of trilogies, but I'd happily purchase another book by this author, especially if it were a continuation of Annie's story.

    Lastly, the narration was spot-on. I've heard other books by Dawe and I didn't even recognize her voice in this one; she did a great job evoking the characters, particularly Annie. Fantastic.

    Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Abducted: Lizzy Gardner, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By T. R. Ragan
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (730)
    Performance
    (659)
    Story
    (661)

    Escaping from a madman should have been the end of her nightmare. Instead it was only the beginning...Lizzy Gardner was just seventeen when she was kidnapped by the psychopath known as Spiderman, a serial killer terrorizing her California hometown. Imprisoned and tormented for months, Lizzy narrowly escaped with her life and Spiderman vanished without a trace. But if she thought he would forget her, she was dead wrong.

    Kathryn says: "Was hoping for better..."
    "Not for bedtime, but a great listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked this book, but its beginning was creepy. The character is abducted and the villain likes to instill fear in his victims, particularly with creepy, crawly, poisonous critters. The author's descriptions are good enough for you to feel like you're there, too. Eeeeww.

    I liked the main character Lizzy, and I appreciate the way Ragan has not rushed her (in this book, nor the next 2) through the healing process of a traumatic event and the subsequent PTSD and flashbacks that revive themselves as her nightmare, Spiderman, returns.

    The plot was interesting and suspenseful, and the characters were engaging. I no sooner finished this one when I raced through the next 2. Now I must wait until July for book 4, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

    This is a stand-alone mystery, but the characters continue in the series and you'll want to find out how they are handling themselves after (this) crisis subsides.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Weight: Lizzy Gardner, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By T. R. Ragan
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (152)

    Twenty-one years ago, Carol Fullerton's car was found abandoned by the side of a California highway. The teenager hasn't been seen or heard from since, and the case has long since gone cold. Now Carol's mother is dying. But before she draws her last breath she wants to know, once and for all, exactly what happened to her daughter... Six months ago, Diane Kramer emptied her savings account and vanished. According to her sister, the only clue is her obsession with a charismatic weight-loss guru.

    Matthew says: "Don't Bother"
    "Not as good as the first, but still worth a listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had no sooner finished book 1, Abducted, when I bought books 2 and 3. I liked this book, but not as much as the first.

    I multi-task while I listen, and change the type of books I read depending on my activity and need to concentrate on the task vs. the book. This book required a little more attention, particularly in the beginning where you get the set up of the two plot threads.

    While some readers found the book disjointed because of the two stories, I did not. It seemed perfectly reasonable that a PI would work on multiple cases simultaneously, especially when she has other employees. However, I did have to go back and remind myself which secondary characters were in which thread at one point because I hadn't committed it well enough in my head the first go-round. I bought both the book and audio, so this was easy to do.

    The book is not equally divided between the two stories, and does follow the "dead weight" thread more heavily, especially toward the end. There was some interesting character development in this book, building upon those characters of the first book. This continues into book 3, and as the way book 3 left it, I assume in book 4, but there are no major cliff-hangers.

    While this is a stand-alone mystery, the character development is not. It's best to read book 1 first and then enjoy the next several in the series.

    I like this author and will look up other novels she has written under TR as well as Theresa Ragan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Dark Mind: Lizzy Gardner, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By T. R. Ragan
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (137)

    They call him the Lovebird Killer, a merciless fiend unleashing a flood of unspeakable cruelty upon Sacramento’s most loving couples, young and old. This real-life monster’s reign of terror has left the city’s residents paralyzed with fear. All but Lizzy Gardner. Because hiding from monsters isn’t Lizzy’s style, not since she faced the madman who kidnapped and terrorized her as a teenager. So when a routine workers’ compensation case suddenly leads her and her two young assistants onto the killer’s trail, Lizzy revels in the chase. She is determined to bring this psychopath to justice before he has the chance to claim another victim.

    s. walsh says: "Great Book! Did not want to put it down"
    "Enjoyable Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have zipped right through all three Lizzy Gardner books and eagerly the fourth, coming out in July. The author does a good job with the story as well as the character development. I listened to this book in just 2 days; it immediately captured my attention and held it throughout. This book was more on par with the first book, having a single core plot rather than 2 parallel and a bit confusing stories in book 2, where I kept having to remind myself who was in which story thread.

    I will warn readers, that while the mystery plot is a stand-alone, the character development is not. Reading books 1 and 2 first help the reader move with the characters as they are affected (or learn to deal with) the things that have happened to them and to their loved ones.

    Definitely a good read/listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Third Victim

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By C. J. Critt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (161)
    Story
    (162)

    Officer Rainie Conner is leading her first homicide investigation, a school shooting. The police chief's 13-year-old son is the prime suspect, but Rainie doesn't believe he pulled the trigger. With the help of FBI profiler Pierce Quincy, she races to uncover the truth. But a ruthless killer watches from the shadows--and lives to destroy her as he has destroyed her peaceful little Oregon community.

    Jay says: "The worst narrator I have ever heard"
    "Like Other Books by Gardner Better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I recently started reading quite a few of Gardner's books and really enjoy them (the kind where you listen every chance you get), but this older one is not as enjoyable as others. It's clear Gardner's writing has improved with time and while this novel follows her typical plot twisting format, I found it a bit over researched and with too much "tell vs show" on the subject of school shootings. A shorter version may have been better, but overall a decent read with good character development and plot. I recommend The Killing Hour and The Survivors Club over this one, however.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flat-Out Love

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jessica Park
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1046)
    Performance
    (957)
    Story
    (962)

    He was tall, at least six feet, with dirty blond hair that hung over his eyes. His T-shirt read Nietzsche Is My Homeboy. So, that was Matt. Who Julie Seagles likes. A lot. But there is also Finn. Who she flat out loves. Complicated? Awkward? Completely. But really, how was this freshly-minted Boston transplant and newbie college freshman supposed to know that she would end up living with the family of an old friend of her mother’s? This was all supposed to be temporary.

    Patricia says: "I Loved this book!"
    "Enjoyable Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Flat-Out Love again? Why?

    I don't generally repeat a book (I have a few too many new ones to catch up on), but this was an enjoyable listen (I found this book by searching for narrator Julia Whelan) and a story that kept my attention. It's YA, but perfectly suitable for anyone (it is certainly less YA than say, Twilight). I would describe it as in the vein of Little Miss Sunshine, though a completely different story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The snarky banter was great. I've know people who hide behind sarcasm, as these characters seem to do, but truly good "snark" is a honed skill. I would definitely enjoy hanging out with these crazy people.


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

    Yes, I first heard Julia on Gone Girl and loved her performance. I've searched for her specifically and liked the two (this included) books I've listened to since. Not all narrators invoke the characters and story as well Julia; some sound as though they are reading the book for the first time. Julia pulls you into the story and enhances the experience.


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

    I appreciated the way in which the author describes the paths the characters take in this story (to be vague enough not to reveal story spoilers). She avoids melodrama for the most part.


    Any additional comments?

    Time and a credit well spent!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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