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ali

Member Since 2010

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 100 ratings
  • 382 titles in library
  • 53 purchased in 2014
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  • Secrets of a Wedding Night: Secret Brides, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Valerie Bowman
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (89)

    Young, widowed, and penniless, Lily Andrews, the Countess of Merrill, has strong opinions on marriage. When she spots a certain engagement announcement in The Times, she decides to take action. She will not allow another hapless girl to fall prey to a man - particularly the scoundrel who broke her heart five years ago. Anonymously she writes and distributes a pamphlet entitled "Secrets of a Wedding Night," knowing it will find its way into his intended's innocent hands.

    CAROLYN says: "Regency romance with secrets, scandals & seduction"
    "Not terrible, not great."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Secrets of a Wedding Night? What did you like least?

    Relatively cute story, not much thinking involved. Light read, good for when your brain needs a break.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Valerie Bowman? Why or why not?

    Maybe. This one had a number of plot holes. The hero spends a lot of time and energy masquerading as poor and addicted to gambling, then is offended when the heroine believes it. They spend a whole lot of time and energy not communicating, in extra stupid ways.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    She did fine, not great. She only had one "masculine" and one "feminine" voice, with the exception of the servants, so it was hard to tell who was talking. I'm not convinced her British accent was real, but whatevs.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Unraveled by the Rebel: Secrets in Silk, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Michelle Willingham
    • Narrated By Sue Pitkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    After being seduced and ruined by her worst enemy, Juliette Andrews has vowed to marry no man - especially not Dr. Paul Fraser, her childhood sweetheart. Content to bury herself in accounts and numbers, she refuses to let the devastatingly handsome Highlander back into her life.

    ali says: "Grab it on sale, probably not worth a credit."
    "Grab it on sale, probably not worth a credit."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I tried to like it, but in the end I grabbed the text version and skimmed it. I was invested enough to want to know what happened, but not enough to sit through the recording.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Sue Pitkin?

    Her accents weren't terrible, but she spoke just about every sentence, whether declarative or otherwise, with roughly the same inflection. I'm guessing her accent was fake, as that seems to be a common problem of narrators putting on a non-natural accent: they spend so much effort trying to sound accurate that they don't sound natural.


    Any additional comments?

    The book itself was pretty slow. There's a lot of backstory and historical accuracy, but there are also a lot of scenes that don't move the plot forward very much. The slow pace combined with the mediocre narrator, and I just gave up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book of Life: All Souls, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3121)
    Performance
    (2915)
    Story
    (2904)

    After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness's enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew's ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches - with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.

    Nicole K. says: "Good but flawed."
    "Are these the same characters from the first book?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you’ve listened to books by Deborah Harkness before, how does this one compare?

    I liked Discovery of Witches a lot better, because it had so much potential and asked so many questions. I'm glad this story answered some of them, but I didn't like the answers as much as I thought I would.


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

    I really liked Ikeda, and she saved the experience for me. She's good with accents, and each character has a separate "voice". She's one of those narrators who truly performs the work, not just reads it.


    Any additional comments?

    In terms of the story, this wasn't terrible, but I felt like I was listening to a story about very *different* people (and not in the "they grew" kind of way) comparatively. In Discovery of Witches, Matthew is suave and confident, Diana is in denial and has no idea about her true powers. In this book, Diana has grown into herself in a good way, but Matthew is just a brat. He's not possessive, he's controlling in an abusive way. There's a lot of talk in the style of "don't make me hurt you", where both characters put the blame on *Diana* if Matthew loses control.

    There also seemed like a couple of weird plot holes that didn't get addressed. Vampire clans/families are a big deal, except Matthew has sired multiple generations (his kids, his grandkids, etc) that we don't hear or care about until uniting the family becomes a central plot point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jasper Fforde
    • Narrated By Susan Duerdan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (905)
    Performance
    (572)
    Story
    (575)

    In Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), 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, renowned Special Operative in literary detection.

    Rosemary says: "A Worthy Read"
    "Meh. Not terrible, not good."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jasper Fforde and/or Susan Duerdan?

    Duerdan does a pretty decent job of reading. Most of the men sound alike, but not so much when they're talking to each other, so it's not hard to figure out what's going on.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jasper Fforde? Why or why not?

    It's weird. The story makes a pretty important point about Jane Eyre being written in the first person, so action that happens away from her makes no sense. THIS book is also written in the first person, and yet there is CONSTANTLY action happening away from the narrator that we know about. Even if it was done to intentionally be ironic, it's stupid. There is no purpose that this book is written in 1st person when the author is going to mind-jump and tell us all sorts of things that would be FINE from a 3rd-person point of view.

    Seriously, at one point the narrator is giving info to a character via radio, and still reporting on facial expressions and thought processes of OTHER people she can't see. Really, it's stuff an editor should have fixed. I don't care if the author was trying to do it to make a literary point/joke. It's dumb.


    Was The Eyre Affair worth the listening time?

    Eh....sort of. I wouldn't spend actual money on this, but for a discount it wasn't a waste of my 3-for-2 (or whatever) credits. I can't say I'll listen again.


    Any additional comments?

    There's a whole series. I may try another to see if the author gets better as he develops, but I haven't decided for sure.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Birthright

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Bernadette Quigley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (384)
    Performance
    (267)
    Story
    (276)

    On a hot July afternoon, a worker at an Antietam Creek construction site drives the blade of his backhoe into a layer of soil - and strikes a 5,000-year-old human skull. The discovery draws plenty of attention and a lot of controversy. It also changes the life of one woman in ways she never expected.

    Krista says: "Nora must be mad"
    "Good story, weak narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What didn’t you like about Bernadette Quigley’s performance?

    The narrator really didn't do well with this book. Every sentence, be it spoken by a character, exposition, or exciting action, was read in the exact same tone of voice. She uses a bizarre cadence for most of her readings, and seems to be channeling William Shatner as she. Regularly ends. Sentences in weird. Places.

    I'm probably in the minority, but I didn't think her character voices were terrible. Many of the men sounded similar, but that's a common flaw with female narrators reading male characters (and vice versa).


    Any additional comments?

    The story is light and cute. Typical Nora fare--romance and mystery and family. Paced well, not too taxing on the brain and not boring. The story is good enough that I'm continuing despite a lackluster narrator. I grabbed this book on sale, so it's worth it to me. Think carefully (or listen to the preview!) before spending a credit or paying full price.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jacob: Nightwalkers Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jacquelyn Frank
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1196)
    Performance
    (1050)
    Story
    (1048)

    Since time began, there have been Nightwalkers - the races of the night who live in the shadows of the moonlight. Love with humans is absolutely forbidden, and one man makes certain to uphold this ancient law: Jacob, the Enforcer. For 700 years, he has resisted temptation. But not tonight... Jacob knows the excuses his people give when the madness overtakes them and they fall prey to their lust for humans. He's heard every one and still brought the trespassers to justice. Immune to forbidden desires, uncontrollable hungers....

    Dorothea says: "Awesome!"
    "Pretty decent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Jacob?

    Nice world building, good story overall.


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

    She does a good job overall with different accents, and is definitely one of the better narrators I've heard. Several of the males had almost indistinguishable voices, so if they were talking to each other, it was a bit hard to keep track of the conversation. However, this wasn't a huge issue overall.


    Any additional comments?

    The story line was good overall, but it felt like there were holes. There are some little details that weren't a huge issue, but made the story a bit harder to follow. How old is Bella? She seems to have the archivist skills of a PhD librarian....or not. She suddenly can read and speak another language? Why? Sometimes it seems that several days have gone by somewhat unexpectedly.

    Nothing that created huge plot holes, just things that made me skip back to make sure I hadn't missed an important detail. (I hadn't; the info just didn't seem to be there.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie: Highland Pleasures, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jennifer Ashley
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1579)
    Performance
    (1436)
    Story
    (1438)

    It was whispered all through London society that he was a murderer, that he'd spent his youth in an asylum and was not to be trusted - especially with a lady. Any woman caught in his presence was immediately ruined. Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy.

    Lupdilup says: "FANTASTIC BOOK, NICELLY PERFORMED."
    "Weak performance, good story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie again? Why?

    Probably not. I'd sort of like to re-read, but I'll probably get the text version. The narrator isn't the worst I've heard, but she's pretty weak. Part of it is (I think) an engineering issue: there were weird long pauses between sentences, and then sometimes no pause between chapters. The other half is definitely a narrator issue, as she had a very?! bizzare?! cadence?! I'm guessing that her accent was not natural, and the stress of maintaining a fake accent made it hard to read naturally, but for whatever reason almost every sentence, whether declarative, inquisitive, etc, had exactly the same inflection. It got pretty annoying, pretty quick.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Angela Dawe?

    Almost anyone. Publishers tend to go with a British accent for this type of book, so Emily Gray, or Davina Porter, or Bianca Amato have done a great job with other books.


    Any additional comments?

    There have been two books that I actually couldn't finish because the narrator was so bad. This wasn't one of them, but she DEFINITELY made it hard to listen to. I find that an excellent narrator can bring an average book up to great, and a poor narrator can bring a great book down to middling. This book is the latter case, unfortunately.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12345)
    Performance
    (9159)
    Story
    (9161)

    A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.

    Tom says: "Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering"
    "Fabulous narration work."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What does James Marsters bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The story is told in first person, and he really brings life to Harry's inner monologue. I'm not usually a fan of fantasy (I picked this up on prodding from a friend, AND it was on sale) but I was totally drawn in by Marsters.


    Any additional comments?

    The story is sort of a typical mystery, with some magic thrown in. However, I think that the narrator really made it come alive, and brought Harry to life in a way I didn't expect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Gail Carriger
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3224)
    Performance
    (2403)
    Story
    (2429)

    Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit—and werewolves—in Gail Carriger’s delightful debut novel. Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.

    Pamela I Greene says: "Amelia Peabody has competition"
    "Cute story with the perfect narrator."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Soulless again? Why?

    The narrator is spot on, which *really* adds to the story in this case. I love Miss Tarabotti, I love the take on Vampires and Werewolves. It's a fast, fun, sweet read.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Search

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3134)
    Performance
    (1844)
    Story
    (1854)

    To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life — a quaint house on an island off Seattle’s coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescue. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare.

    amyjh98 says: "Not very exciting"
    "Narrator almost ruins it :("
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Search to be better than the print version?

    Definitely not.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Fast pace, good action, sweet romance, fun read overall.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator is confusing. She can barely express emotion at all, and everything tends to come out as vaguely surprised. She has two voices: male, and female. So if two females are conversing, it's very *very* difficult to keep track of who's talking because they're played identically, and very easy to have it blur into almost a monologue.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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