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Chana Goanna

New Jersey
  • 56
  • reviews
  • 210
  • helpful votes
  • 240
  • ratings
  • The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

  • A Novel
  • By: Joanna Cannon
  • Narrated by: Paula Wilcox
  • Length: 11 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 279
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 261
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 259

England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy is missing, and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but 10-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren't convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by the local vicar, they go looking for God - they believe that if they find him they might also find Mrs. Creasy and bring her home.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WARNING: Fantastic book but missing key section of last chapter

  • By HL on 07-21-18

Tedious, trite, and ultimately confusing

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

Reviewed: 07-08-18

I kept falling asleep during the first few chapters and had a hard time keeping the cast of characters straight. The writer can turn a lovely phrase, but there are so many writerly tricks that they all feel a bit contrived after awhile. This is one of those books with a moral message that the author is so desperate for you to get that she repeatedly batters you over the head with it. The effect is about as subtle as a jackhammer.

The end left me so confused that I had to resort to GoodReads to see if others were as confused as I was (they were). I don’t mind endings that leave something to the imagination, but this one 1) seemed to open a new question entirely that couldn’t be answered by information already given, and 2) hinged on a detail that appeared entirely unbelievable to me.

The author paints beautifully detailed pictures of people’s private lives and how carefully hidden secrets morph into behaviors (she is a psychiatrist after all), but when portraying casual racism after an Indian family moves in, is so heavy-handed as to be cringe-inducing. And the event that appears to briefly bring everyone together was quite ridiculous. I am willing to suspend my disbelief only so far.

The narrator did a wonderful job, and while this book had its charming moments, there were too many other moments that left me scratching my head and thinking “whuuuut?”

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Death of Mrs. Westaway

  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,938
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,697
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,677

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person - but also that the cold-reading skills she's honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased...where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it. Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware's signature suspenseful style, an addictive thriller.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • It's good, but the end?...could have been better

  • By Adrienne on 06-06-18

Excellent moody psychological thriller

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

Reviewed: 06-12-18

I was very impressed with Ware's debut novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood, as well as her subsequent novel, The Woman in Cabin 10. I didn't really enjoy her third one, The Lying Game, and was thinking Ms. Ware might be out of juice. She must have recharged her batteries before writing The Death of Mrs. Westaway, because when I got to the end (narrated by the wonderful Imogen Church, whose performances I always enjoy immensely), I did something I never, ever do.

I wound it back to the beginning and listened to the whole thing again, so I could enjoy how cleverly she set everything up.

There were so many elements of this book that I loved. The plot is as twisty and winding as an English country road; and having been a devoted young fan of Victoria Holt, who often set novels in Cornwall, Trepassen felt like returning to a favorite vacation spot from childhood. The scary housekeeper Mrs. Warren is a definite nod to Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca. The Tarot cards themselves are used often in the story...not in an airy-fairy way, but more evoking the Jungian archetypes they represent. The main character Hal, and her mother, who taught her to read them, view them in a completely unsentimental way. Still, the cards are an immensely fun and intriguing element in the story. The solution was surprising, and the clues, seen in hindsight, are really very clever.

I give this one top marks. If you love gothic atmospheres, well-developed characters, and Hitchcockian psychological suspense, don't leave for the beach without it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sometimes I Lie

  • By: Alice Feeney
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Racine
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,951
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,496
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,488

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can't move. She can't speak. She can't open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn't remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from 20 years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller audiobook asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book. Highly recommended.

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-17-18

Baffled by the high ratings

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

Reviewed: 06-12-18

I purchased on the strength of the high ratings and one critic's remark that this was on a level with Gone Girl and Girl on a Train. I should have known better. If Gone Girl was a DaVinci of twisty suspense, this was a paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa on black velvet. Instead of the satisfying and admiring "oh wow!" at the moment of revelation, the reader is left with more of a "wait--what?" The disparate pieces never come together into a coherent whole; there are too many gaping plot holes, inconsistencies, and generally unbelievable occurrences. One gets the feeling that the author sat down and plotted out "twists" with little regard as to whether the actions the characters took felt authentic. The diary is perhaps meant to evoke the journals in Gone Girl, but it doesn't work; Gillian Flynn may turn our perception of Amy completely on its head, but ties all the clues together into a tightly worked and neatly completed puzzle. This novel, by contrast, feels like a messily bound package of live ferrets trying to escape: shove a tail in at one end, only to find a nose wriggling out from the side. She leaves us with a cliffhanger at the end which promises to be resolved in a sequel...but I won't be fooled twice.

(I feel bad for narrator Stephanie Racine, who did a fine job with her part.)

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • A Room Full of Bones

  • A Ruth Galloway Investigation, Book 4
  • By: Elly Griffiths
  • Narrated by: Jane McDowell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 621
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 547
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 537

It is Halloween night, and the local museum in King's Lynn is preparing for an unusual event - the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But when Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise, she finds the museum's curator lying dead beside the coffin. It is only a matter of time before she and DI Nelson cross paths once more, as he is called in to investigate. Soon the museum's wealthy owner lies dead in his stables, too. These two deaths could be from natural causes - but Nelson isn't convinced.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Changing, evolving, genre....

  • By karen on 11-24-12

What happened?!?

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

Reviewed: 05-27-18

I was enjoying this series so much until this book. The heroine was unconventional; the love story was messy, complicated, and unresolved; the science was intriguing; and the mysteries themselves were enjoyably unpredictable. Then the author inexplicably decided to stuff as many boring, politically correct stereotypes as she could possibly fit into this one moralizing, preachy, miserable botch-up. I will give the series one more chance in the strength of the prior books, but I’m a bit sick that I wasted a credit on this vapid piece of dreck.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Broken Girls

  • By: Simone St. James
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,174
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,013
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,003

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants - the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming - until one of them mysteriously disappears.... Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Drama, Suspense, Intrigue and a Ghost

  • By Anna Landry on 04-13-18

Interesting premise, awful writing. Can't finish.

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

Reviewed: 03-23-18

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Fans of romance novels, maybe. The writing is too much about "his gorgeous mouth" and "his sleek muscles" for me.

Has The Broken Girls turned you off from other books in this genre?

Mysteries and thrillers are my favorite genre, so no.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator delivers terrible, amateurish writing in a monotone. A couple of chapters in, I'm giving up.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Again, the premise seemed interesting, and the parts about the girls seeing the ghost at the old boarding school was intriguing, but not so much that I can continue.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • The Mountain Between Us

  • A Novel
  • By: Charles Martin
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,923
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,615
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,606

When their last outgoing flight is cancelled, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single-engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley, knowing that she needs to get home just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack, and the plane crashes into one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well done.

  • By Sher from Provo on 10-14-16

Threat of long slow painful death—by the listener

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

Reviewed: 03-02-18

I’ve never used the term “mansplaining” in my life till now, but this book is a long boring explication by the first-person narrator, who’s a doctor, of how clever and resourceful and resilient he is. His companion in the tale is a woman who constantly marvels at him, breathlessly asking at every turn, “how do you KNOW all this?”—though she does manage, at one point, to accomplish the astonishing feat of boiling some water. She never has any ideas on how to extricate them from the situation. No, ingenuity is solely the provenance of the good doctor. Did I mention he’s a doctor? I promise you won’t forget that detail because the writer hammers over the head with it so often that you may end up with a concussion. Oh, AND he’s a state champion runner with a 4.0 GPA AND an Eagle Scout AND completely, utterly, boringly honorable. Every character is flat and one-dimensional; the dialogue is unbearably trite, and so maudlin at the end I thought I might go into a coma. I kept listening only to hear how the writer got to the “twist” ending—which was obvious halfway through. This is one of the most unlikeable narrators I’ve ever encountered. But it’s okay because he’s a DOCTOR, y’all.

41 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Good Me Bad Me

  • A Novel
  • By: Ali Land
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,359
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,044
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,027

Milly's mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school. But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother's trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW! Good Wolf &Bad

  • By Linda on 11-22-17

A gripping tale

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

Reviewed: 01-15-18

Where does Good Me Bad Me rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I listen to a lot of books and it's pretty difficult to rate one thriller among them all. Audible, why do you insist on this format?

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

It did. I couldn't stop listening.

What about Imogen Church’s performance did you like?

Church is so good. She really nails the mounting intensity of the plot, and voices everyone from the jovial psychologist to the spaced-out mother to the mean girls with nimble skill. She's an incredibly talented narrator whom I always enjoy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Lying Game

  • A Novel
  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 13 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,376
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,115
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,111

On a cool June morning, Isa Wilde, a resident of the seemingly idyllic coastal village of Salten, is walking her dog along a tidal estuary. Before she can stop him, Isa's dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick - and to her horror, Isa discovers it's not a stick at all...but a human bone. As her three best friends from childhood converge in Salten to comfort a seriously shaken-up Isa, terrifying discoveries are made, and their collective history slowly unravels.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • REALLY LET DOWN, I'm not gonna lie! (No spoilers)

  • By Very disappointed on 07-27-17

So disappointing.

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

Reviewed: 01-15-18

I loved In A Dark Dark Wood, and enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10, so I was excited to see a new book from Ruth Ware. Alas, this is not even in the same time zone as her other books. Ham-handed foreshadowing, an unlikable narrator, mile-wide plot holes, and a yawningly predictable solution. Bonus: fiction’s most annoying baby! Imogen Church turns in her usual standout performance, but the book itself is not worth the time investment to listen to it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Dark Saturday

  • A Novel
  • By: Nicci French
  • Narrated by: Beth Chalmers
  • Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 459
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 430
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 424

A decade ago 18-year-old Hannah Docherty was arrested for the shocking murder of her family. It was an open-and-shut case, and Hannah has been incarcerated in a secure psychiatric hospital ever since. When psychotherapist Frieda Klein is asked to meet Hannah and give her assessment, she reluctantly agrees. But what she finds horrifies her. Hannah has become a tragic figure, old before her time.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • It was a lot of work to listen to

  • By Kimberly on 09-16-17

I love Frieda Klein!

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

Reviewed: 12-11-17

I have enjoyed all of Nicci French’s books, but I especially appreciate the Frieda Klein series. The brooding atmosphere is wonderful, as are the different characters in Frieda’s life and the way they develop over the series. There are no one-dimensional characters here; each is fleshed out and feels real. (My favorite character is this book was the slightly manic hoarder, who is both funny and pathetic, but not in a cruel way.) This latest offering lives up to the high standard set by the previous books; I never saw the solution coming, misled by the clever red herrings French strews along the path. If you haven’t read any of these books, do start with the first one, Blue Monday, to fully immerse yourself in the engaging world of Frieda Klein.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Good Daughter

  • A Novel
  • By: Karin Slaughter
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Early
  • Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,430
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,805
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,749

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father - Pikeville's notorious defense attorney - devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night. Twenty-eight years later, Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself - the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again, Charlie is plunged into a nightmare.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Karin Slaughter has done it again!

  • By shelley on 08-09-17

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 08-09-17

One of my favorite thriller authors, but this one was a letdown. One thing I've always loved about Slaughter is her tremendous pure storytelling abilities, with no agenda. This one had more than a few politically correct passages, which to me gets in the way of the story. The story itself was convoluted and the solution neither very believable nor satisfying. I am sorry to say that I can't recommend this one as highly as I have all her other books.

7 of 15 people found this review helpful