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Nancy J

Tornado Alley OK
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  • North by Northwest: Paula Poundstone Live!

  • By: Paula Poundstone
  • Narrated by: Paula Poundstone
  • Length: 2 hrs and 12 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66

In North by Northwest, Paula is at her best in two memorable performances, one recorded in Bayfield, Wisconsin, at Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, and the other at the historic Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon. Join Paula Poundstone in her element: sharing too much information, telling unpredictable stories, and interacting with her audience with a spontaneity that is considered without peer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the most intelligent, observant, open commentators available.

  • By VCP on 04-26-17

LOL! The Funniest Thing I've Heard.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-08-18

I have long rated Paula Poundstone as one of the funniest comedians in America. And the best part of her performances is her interaction with the audience. She is a genius at coming up with hilarious responses to audience members' questions or comments. Now, here's the proof. Recorded at two different live performances, North by Northwest gives the listener over two hours of rolling-on-the-floor laughter. I laughed until I cried!

  • Sherlock Holmes

  • By: Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry - introductions
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 62 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,298
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,948
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4,923

Ever since he made his first appearance in A Study In Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes has enthralled and delighted millions of fans throughout the world. Now Audible is proud to present Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, read by Stephen Fry. A lifelong fan of Doyle's detective fiction, Fry has narrated the definitive collection of Sherlock Holmes - four novels and four collections of short stories. And, exclusively for Audible, Stephen has written and narrated eight insightful introductions, one for each title.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Chapter Guide!

  • By Katya Rice on 05-25-18

A Masterpiece of Writing and Performance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-24-18

I have never been a great fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories -- until now. This collection of Holmes stories has converted me. This is primarily because of the wonderful introductions to the individual stories, written by Stephen Fry, and the truly excellent narration, also by Stephen Fry. His knowledge of the stories, combined with his wonderful plummy voice, make for an excellent listening experience.

I really cannot praise Mr. Fry's performance enough.The voices he gives to all the characters, from Holmes and Watson to several Americans and numerous London street people, are marvelous and add immeasurably to the enjoyment of the stories.

Sherlock Holmes fan or not, I highly recommend that you try this book. Just think, 62 hours of enjoyment for only one credit!

  • A Breach of Promise

  • William Monk, Book 9
  • By: Anne Perry
  • Narrated by: Terrence Hardiman
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70

The plaintiffs in a sensational breach of promise suit are wealthy social climbers Barton and Delphine Lambert, suing on behalf of their beautiful daughter, Zillah. The defendant is Zillah's alleged fiancé, brilliant young architect Killian Melville, who adamantly declares that he will not, cannot, marry her. Not even to his counsel, distinguished barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone, will Killian explain his rejection of rich and charming Zillah.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Favorite Anne Perry Book

  • By Nancy J on 08-03-17

A Favorite Anne Perry Book

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-17

"A Breach of Promise" has long been one of my favorite Anne Perry stories. The thing that first drew me to her books is the interesting detail of daily life in Victorian England, especially including the depiction of the place of, and restrictions on, women in that day and age. They were truly chattels under the law, the property (like livestock) of their fathers and then their husbands, totally dependent upon the men in their life. When upper-class women married, their entire fortunes (if any) became the property of their husbands. They were not allowed to work or engage in any past time which might provide them with an income to live on, and their only chance of independence was to survive the death of their husbands with no other male available to inherit.

This book in particular takes a hard look at the prospects of an unmarried woman in that society. It has all the features which I enjoy in reading Anne Perry: well-rounded characters, both the leading characters (Monk, Hester, and Oliver Rathbone) and the secondary and incidental ones. There is also the obligatory trial that occurs in almost every William Monk story. And this book also has a surprise twist that leads to the ending; an ending that is smoother and not as jolting as some of Ms. Perry's "tacked on" climaxes. She also gives us a peek at Monk and Hester's future at the very end.

Although I still miss hearing Davina Porter's narrations of the Anne Perry books, I found Terrence Hardiman's reading to be quite good and better than David Colacci's efforts.

I do wish that all the books of the Pitt and Monk series were available from Audible so that I could listen to the entire series in order. But this book does very well standing alone.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Patience and Sarah

  • By: Isabel Miller
  • Narrated by: Jean Smart, Janis Ian
  • Length: 5 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 519
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 479
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 471

Set in the 19th century, Isabel Miller's classic lesbian novel traces the relationship between Patience White and Sarah Dowling, whose romantic bond does not sit well with their puritanical New England community. In addition to being an inspiring love story, the audiobook for Patience and Sarah is an ideal listen for young-adult audiences. It is a story that shows how irrelevant race, religion, and gender are to love and that loving and being loved are what keep us human and sane.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A beautiful tale blooms with great narration.

  • By Nancy J on 05-14-16

A beautiful tale blooms with great narration.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-14-16

I first read Patience and Sarah more than 40 years ago, and remembered it fondly as one of the first LGBT novels to contain three-dimensional characters, and to give those characters a happy ending. I was a bit apprehensive about listening to this audiobook -- I didn't want the tenderness and innocence of the plot and characters to be ruined by an insensitive interpretation by the narrators.

I needn't have worried: Jean Smart and Janis Ian are perfect as Patience and Sarah. Jean Smart delivers a lovely and delicate performance as an educated young single woman who, as was often the case in the early 19th Century, has no choice but to live with her married brother and his family. While she is better off than many other single women (her father did settle certain property and money on her, which is, of course, controlled by her brother), she is not a happy woman, and (based upon her sister-in-law's life) is not interested in obtaining a husband.

Janis Ian gives an excellent performance as Sarah, the daughter of a farmer whose farm is a few miles from Patience's brother's land. In the absence of a son in the family, Sarah's father has designated her as the "boy" who works alongside her father in the fields and generally lifts, hauls and performs manual labor. If you are familiar with Janis Ian's speaking voice, you will know that it serves very well as the voice of an unpolished girl who has grown up among men and boys, and speaks roughly.

From the time that Patience and Sarah first meet, each is intrigued by the other. As time goes by, their feelings deepen into emotions that they have no words for. The descriptions of small town life and farming in 1800's New England ring true, as do the objections of Sarah's father and Patience's brother to their relationship. And the apprehension of both women when they are finally able to break free and go together into an unknown world is very well handled by the author. The final joy is a wonderful ending.

This book is well worth a listen, no matter your orientation or your political views.

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • The Long Way Home

  • Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 10
  • By: Louise Penny
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,034
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,773
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,756

Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole." While Gamache doesn't talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache's help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There’s power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointment in the series

  • By Vermonter on 09-29-14

Louise Penny Continues to Amaze!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-02-14

In her "Armand Gamache" series (or "Three Pines" series), Louise Penny has created for her readers beloved characters, most of whom live in a beloved village where most of us would love to live. The enchantment of the village of Three Pines rests both in its size (so small it appeaars on no map) and in the wonderfully eccentric characters who inhabit it.

Penny describes this enchanted place so simply, but so meaningfully, that I for one would move there tomorrow if it really existed. But the real wonder of the Three Pines books is the fully developed, yet still maturing, personality of each and every character. Even secondary characters get a good dose of description so that the reader has a good idea of their characters and emotions. And the primary characters, after nine previous books, are so well known to us in all their strengths, eccentricities, and weaknesses that each of their actions in this 10th book can be interpreted against the background of their characters, their pasts, and their previous actions.

For this reason, I highly recommend that a new reader start with the first book in this series, "Still Life", and read in chronological order up to and including The Long Way Home. Starting with #10 would detract greatly from a reader's enjoyment.

This 10th book is not an action book or thriller, but something more like an old-fashioned murder mystery in which a puzzle must be solved. This type of plot seems to me to perfectly reflect the quieter life being led by Gamache since his retirement. While it may not be the favorite type of plot for some Penny fans, it is immensely satisfying to me, because I have an even greater opportunity to become even more familiar with several of the Three Pines residents.

And of course, Ralph Cosham IS Gamache, and all the other regular characters in these books. His performances are perfect, and make the stories even better than the print books!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The First Rebellion

  • The Waverly Women, Book 1
  • By: Marion Chesney
  • Narrated by: Vanessa Benjamin
  • Length: 5 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 33

The Earl of Tredair has had his fill of balls, routs, and silly misses, and he despairs of finding someone extraordinary - that is, until he meets Miss Fanny Waverley. Most unique and intriguing, Fanny and her two sisters are the adopted daughters of the reclusive bluestocking Madame Waverley. They have been raised as her disciples to spread the word of women's rights and to encourage poor oppressed females to stand up against the iniquities of the male sex. The beautiful and farouche Miss Fanny, however, finds it quite difficult to think of all men as cruel and lustful beasts....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not up to Chesney's Usual Standards

  • By Nancy J on 07-29-14

Not up to Chesney's Usual Standards

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-29-14

Marion Chesney is an extremely prolific author, writing both period and contemporary novels and series of mystery and romance under several names, including Marion Chesney and, probably best known, M.C. Beaton. I have read books from several of her series, including contemporary, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian mysteries. I have enjoyed almost all of them. They are written with a light hand, enjoyable without serious pretension.

I have especially enjoyed her Edwardian series and the Hamish MacBeth series. So when I saw a listing for a Chesney Victorian series, I anticipated the pleasure I had experienced in the Edwardian series. Alas, despite the intriguing underlying concept (a set of sisters who have been raised in, and have adopted, the ideals and goals of women's rights, especially women's suffrage), the book felt flat and uninteresting to me.

This book was missing all the light, humorous touches which I had come to expect from Chesney. The characters, especially the sisters, seemed dull and lifeless despite the fact that the plot contained more than a little action. Finally, many of the occurrences in the plot were simply not believable, and no amount of humor could cover up or diminish that fact. Despite the best efforts of narrator Vanessa Benjamin, she could not give this book enough life to make it enjoyable.

I will continue to read other Chesney books for those times when I just want a light, humorous break, but I doubt that I will continue this Waverly Women series.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Silkworm

  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,060
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,800
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,776

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy In Contemporary London

  • By Gretchen SLP on 08-24-16

Second in the series even better than the first

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-19-14

In "The Silkworm," J.K. Rowling, aka Robert Galbraith, proves that she can write and develop characters in adult detective fiction just as magically as she did in YA fiction where the characters themselves were surrounded by magic. She captivated us through a 7-book series in Harry Potter. Now she/he has created detective Cormoran Strike and Robin, his assistant/protege wannabe. In this second book both Cormoran and Robin grow and become stronger, more mature, and more comfortable with themselves.

Along with the exceptional character development, "Galbraith" provides the reader with lots of characters who are quirky, to say the least, and a great plot which had me keeping up but not able to foresee the twists and turns.

Robert Glenister takes the story and adds even more magic with his narration. He has settled into these characters and, despite a deep voice, he creates believable female voices. All in all, this was a wonderful listening experience. I can't wait for the next book in the series!

20 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • The Profiler's Daughter

  • Sky Stone, Book 1
  • By: P. M. Steffen
  • Narrated by: Gabrielle de Cuir
  • Length: 19 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,656
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,496
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,495

The Profiler's Daughter is a psychologically haunting thriller that combines murder mystery, love triangle, and family intrigue in one satisfying page burner. Sky Stone was born into the wealth and privilege of Boston's oldest Brahmin family but chooses instead to follow in the footsteps of her deceased father, legendary FBI profiler Monk Stone. In the chilly morning hours before the Boston Marathon, when a beautiful university student is found strangled and mutilated, her body left at the base of Heartbreak Hill, Sky returns from self-imposed exile to investigate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a great find

  • By Chris Culkeen on 03-14-14

Some Character Development, Please!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-12-14

I purchased this Audiobook as a result of some good reviews by other listeners whose reviews I respect. Alas, I was not impressed. At times I felt like I was listening to a poorly-written teenage adventure novel. (My apologies to the many extremely well-written and imaginative young adult novels.) I found the main character, Sky Stone, a one-dimensional character who repeatedly goes off on tangents motivated either by anger or by hormones, often ending up in very uncomfortable situations. Secondary characters were not much better, and that only because they appeared in the story for shorter periods of time.

I was made even more aware of the lack of development of the characters in this book when I listened to my next book, The Silkworm, written by J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith, and experienced the marvelous, three-dimensional characters which that writer produces.

That said, the plot of The Profiler's Daughter was fairly engaging, although there were a few too many red herrings. I did enjoy the depiction of the rather stormy relationship of Sky and her Grandmother. I found the narration to be adequate.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Talking Heads

  • By: Alan Bennett
  • Narrated by: Alan Bennett, Full Cast
  • Length: 3 hrs and 15 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Performed by the author and five of Britain's leading actresses, Alan Bennett's tales are full of quirky, insightful detail that bring the characters vividly to life. From Julie Walters' portrayal of an actress seeking fame to Anna Massey's alcoholic vicar's wife, these individuals are linked by their self-delusion, desperation, and vulnerability.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Quirky, funny and brilliant

  • By Nancy J on 06-16-14

Quirky, funny and brilliant

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-16-14

Alan Bennett is my all-time favorite writer of dialogue and monologue. He is a master at showing a character's inner feelings without the character's actually knowing he or she is revealing much of anything. And he has an uncanny knack for creating the talk of women: every line, even when pretty far out, sounds absolutely true to the character.

These talents make the "Talking Heads" monologues memorable, ironic and funny at the same time that they are moving and powerful. In particular, "A Lady of Letters," with Patricia Routledge, and "Bed Among the Lentils," with Anna Massey demonstrate the quiet lives of desperation lived by many women.

This is material guaranteed to make you laugh or chuckle and yet be moved by the speakers. Highly recommended!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • A Kiss Before Dying

  • By: Ira Levin
  • Narrated by: Mauro Hantman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 778
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 688
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 692

Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing like a classic.....

  • By karen on 03-27-13

An Exceptional Groundbreaking Crime Drama

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-07-14

When you listen to this book, it seems as fresh and current as it was when first published in 1953, with a main character psychopath/sociopath who is charming and ruthless, preying on young women and willing to kill to get what he wants.

Ira Levin was 23 when "A Kiss Before Dying" was published, and I marvel at the taut, complex and frightening plot which he produced. This is especially true when you consider that his other works through his lifetime included "No Time For Sergeants," "The Boys From Brazil," "Rosemary's Baby," and "The Stepford Wives."

While I had previously seen a movie of this story, I had never read the book. The book is sooo much better at building the suspense and keeping you guessing. The author even manages to keep the reader guessing for a while over which of three possible young men is the culprit.

The recording also contains an informative introduction about the author and the book, and how the book was received when it was first published.

Highly recommended to anyone who appreciates taut and careful plotting, and enjoys classic mystery stories.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful