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Carol T. Carr

Lake Monticello, VA
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  • 64
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  • A Gentleman in Moscow

  • A Novel
  • By: Amor Towles
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Guy Smith
  • Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,618
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20,962
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,883

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in an elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Reprieve Amidst Ugly News, Relentless Negativity

  • By Cathy Lindhorst on 08-27-17

Another Elegant Read

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

Reviewed: 08-07-17

Amor Towles has done it again--written a compelling story with exquisitely drawn characters that is in sum the epitome of elegance.The premise of a man held under house arrest in a setting that for most of us would be a vacation experience of a lifetime evolves from being suspiciously unrealistic to a reasonable backdrop, and by the end ultimately proves the worth of a man is determined through adversity and opportunity. The narration adds its own form of elegance; Nicholas Guy Smith conveyed with remarkable accuracy the voices of Russians, Americans, French, young girls and sophisticated women. There is much wisdom in this book that is highlighted by his perfect expression and cadences.

Up to this time, I've held Towles's Rules of Civility as the most elegantly written contemporary book I've read. With A Gentleman in Moscow he has written the bookend to that thought. Many kudos to both writer and narrator for a beautiful job done.

  • Night Film

  • A Novel
  • By: Marisha Pessl
  • Narrated by: Jake Weber
  • Length: 23 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,775
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,511
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,534

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive, cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova - a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than 30 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What's Real?

  • By Amanda on 01-12-14

Excesses of Convolution Exquisitely Narrated

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

Reviewed: 07-27-15

I've just forged my way through all 23+ hours, and I feel like at least half of that time was unnecessary to make the point (or lack of point) of this story. Calamity Physics gave me high hopes that this would be another exquisitely crafted volume with characters who grew with every new facet exposed. Wrong. The characters, even as unique and unusual as many of them are, are primarily two-dimensional. The main character, McGrath, does evolve, but it is never really clear what he has ultimately learned from his experiences and insights.

I can live with uncertain endings, and I relish the opportunity to craft different endings in my own mind. But with this book I felt cheated of even that opportunity, as it is never clear what is real or what is part of fiction in which all the characters are playing a part. All that said, it is lovely prose, and Pessl can create any atmosphere or mood with her words. I would read her books for that alone, and just hope that as she matures as a writer, she learns how to craft a tighter and less ambiguous plot.

Outstanding, flawless narration. Weber is a genius with his accents.

  • The Cater Street Hangman

  • By: Anne Perry
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 961
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 797
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 797

When a maid in the upper class Ellison household is strangled, Inspector Pitt is called in to investigate. He finds a world ruled by strict manners and social customs, where the inhabitants of the Ellison's neighborhood appear to be more outraged by the thought of scandal than they are by murder. Inspector Pitt finds a most unlikely ally in Charlotte, the Ellison's spirited daughter. But as the murders continue, Charlotte and Pitt find themselves drawn together by more than the investigation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Nancy on 05-12-12

Excellent Narrator--Deficient Plot

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

Reviewed: 09-23-13

Once again, Davina Porter (not Christina Moore) nails the characterization of a broad range of characters, but it's not enough to save a tedious plot. The story could have been accomplished with half the murders, for each of which the reader must sit through pages of hand-wringing, finger-pointing, and internal dialogue of doubts and counter-doubts. The classic antagonism between upper-class Brits and the police was also carried to extremes to make that point. I was hoping for a series to keep me going through the fall and winter, but I could barely finish this first volume. Multiple thumbs down.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Judith and the Judge

  • Carson City Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: Stephen Bly
  • Narrated by: Laurie Klein
  • Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

When a wealthy woman is found battered and abandoned, her womanizing embezzler of a husband mysteriously vanishes. His sister arrives from the East to avenge his reputation, and Carson City's spunky and beloved Judith Kingston, wife of Judge Hollis A. Kingston, finds herself caught up in a hurricane of intrigue and innuendo. Will she stay safe in the eye of the storm until justice is served?

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • A Disappointment

  • By Carol T. Carr on 06-03-13

A Disappointment

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

Reviewed: 06-03-13

I had hoped for another series where I could get to know some characters well and follow them through several books. I can barely make it through a quarter of this one. The plot is slow and plodding, I haven't yet found a character worth investing in, and the narrator is killing it with all her variations on the cliche accent of a Western hayseed. I refuse to waste any more time with it. Buyer beware!

  • Her Royal Spyness

  • By: Rhys Bowen
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10,731
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,542
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,511

Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932. So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Happy addition to a difficult genre

  • By Alice on 08-16-10

This Series Has Hooked Me On Mysteries

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

Reviewed: 05-15-13

I was a non-believer in the magic of mystery until I discovered this series. Bowen enchanted me with her well-crafted characters and the unpredictable plots she places them in. At first blush, Georgianna seems a character hard to identify with--a young royal, 34th in line for the British crown, educated at a finishing school in Switzerland, whose social crowd is the royalty of Europe. But it's 1932, nearly everyone, including her family, has lost nearly all their money. Georgie is penniless, and struggling like all the common folk to find a job, get a stable home, and hopefully find someone to love. It's not much help that she is a regular guest to tea with the Queen who wishes to arrange a marriage for her or send her off to the country to be lady-in-waiting to an aging princess, and has no compunction about asking her to spy and do other illegal things on her behalf.

The strength of this book (and the four that follow in this series) is the fine crafting that Bowen has used to create her characters. Georgie is human, basically good to the core and lovable, and we can all identify with her struggles to make it on her own in the world. She also has a penchant for finding dead bodies strewn in her path and a remarkably good head for solving mysteries. Bowen has also provided a charming rogue to bring the tease of romance into the stories, which makes each one the equivalent of a page-turner. And a Cockney grandfather you want to hug.

The best part, however, is the narration. Kellgren is outstanding with not only her accents, which abound in these books, but also with bringing the characters to life with richness and authenticity. She is a master with her interpretation and gives a tour de force performance.

All in all, a great read and one that will make me search out other mysteries. However, I doubt I'll find any that will rise to the level of Bowen's.

  • New York

  • The Novel
  • By: Edward Rutherfurd
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 35 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,511
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,990
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,977

New York is the book that millions of Rutherfurd's American fans have been waiting for. A brilliant mix of romance, war, family drama, and personal triumphs, it gloriously captures the search for freedom and prosperity at the heart of our nation's history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic!

  • By Rachel on 12-17-09

Well-crafted and well-performed

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

Reviewed: 04-09-13

Stunning in its breadth and detail, this book conveys the history of one of the world's most important cities in an intensely personal manner. It will be impossible to visit New York now without sensing the influence of the Indians, the Dutch, the British through their occupation during the Revolution, and all the immigrant cultures that followed.

Rutherford weaves a story based substantially on commerce and banking in a human manner that brings to life all the issues and challenges that New York faced, as it grew into the metropolis of today, through the stories of individual families. Much to his credit, he maintains a solid character development of entire families through many generations, from the 1600's to 2009. Bramhall's narration is outstanding, conveying young girls, ancient grandmothers, and a multitude of ethnic accents with great skill and authenticity.

I marvel most at the construction of the story. It takes great skill to tackle such a large history and convey it with enough human interest to keep a reader spell-bound for 36 hours. I could have listened for many more. All in all, a great book and fine performance that I highly recommend listening to.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Forgotten Garden

  • By: Kate Morton
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 20 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,892
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,180
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,213

Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone, and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident 10 years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and dear to her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enchanting, intriguing, mysterious, and beautiful

  • By Joseph on 12-10-08

Artfully Crafted Tapestry

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

Reviewed: 12-03-12

What could easily be a recipe for confusion--a storyline that spans a century with chapters that jump back and forth decades at a time, interspersed with the timelessness of fairy tales woven throughout--results instead in a remarkable blending of the lives of multiple families across four generations to tell a story of love, treachery, an ultimately a celebration of the will to survive. Every main character is portrayed with multiple levels, being slowly fleshed out as the story discloses the reasons behind their actions. (That said, I felt the relationship between Rose and Eliza was never drawn clearly enough to justify the decisions they both made.)

The narrator was outstanding--sensitive, clear, carrying off an assortment of accents with great competency. I will search her out for other readings. And the scope of the story, as grand as it was, encompassing a century and half the globe, was pared down to the essentials enough so that the reader has a good sense of the various eras. A part of me feels that perhaps the story could be told with fewer words, but it would be hard to sacrifice some of the lush descriptions and lovely language.

  • Beautiful Creatures

  • Beautiful Creatures, Book 1
  • By: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
  • Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
  • Length: 17 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,900
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,212
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,249

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • warmed over young adult supernatural fiction

  • By BumbleBee 456 on 12-27-12

Too Many Flaws

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

Reviewed: 10-09-12

It's rare that I can't finish a book, but I knew it was time to quit when I found myself cringing at the thought of picking it up again. So I'm bailing at 75%. I just don't care what happens at the end. And I don't care about these characters either, after hoping all that time for the authors to build them into people you want to know better and understand. For the past few chapters I've continued to listen to try to figure out why, as I'm a writer too and want to know how not to make this mistake. But I've lost patience with that process as well as the book.

Part of the problem is the narrator who has a strange understanding of Southern accents, which seem to heighten and disappear like passing clouds. Even his main character is difficult to identify at times because his accent is constantly changing. And, yes, it's a story about teenagers and teenage love, and I get that it's YA, but teenagers these days have far more depth than any of the characters the authors have created. High school is so much more than petty spats between warring cliques, and I believe the authors passed up some fine opportunities in the HS setting to add meaning to the story and to the characters.

The other challenge to this story is the artifical construct of the "caster" world the authors try to create. While I know the book has been praised for placing a story in the present time in a place any one of us could recognize, supposedly making it that much scarier, it felt more contrived to me than the fantasy world created in the Harry Potter books. And even though I haven't finished it, I know this book is too long for the story it's trying to tell.

All in all, a big disappointment, and one I regret spending a credit on.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Black and Blue

  • By: Anna Quindlen
  • Narrated by: Ruth Ann Phimister
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 204
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 159
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 159

When 19-year-old Fran married Bobby Benedetto, she never dreamed that she would find herself in an abusive relationship. Every time her New York City policeman husband hit her, she would think of convincing reasons to stay. Now, with her 10-year-old son in tow, she is running for her life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Quindlen Jewel

  • By Carol T. Carr on 09-11-12

Another Quindlen Jewel

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

Reviewed: 09-11-12

Spousal abuse is a challenging, difficult topic to both write and read about. I put off reading this book for some time, despite having read several other gems in Quindlen's repertoire and knowing the quality of her work. And though it was still a hard book to take in, the skill with which she developed every character in this book made it well worth the effort. Spousal abuse doesn't happen in a vacuum between a husband and wife; children and families are equally victimized and scarred for life, and Quindlen uses every bit of her remarkable writing expertise to make this point. As well, Quindlen used those skills most effectively to show the birth and evolution of an inherently flawed relationship.

Phimister's verbal portrayal of every character was equally well-done. She captured well the painful suffering and confusion of the main character as well as her moments of joy, but easily slipped into the voice of a Bronx cop, an aged holocaust survivor, an eleven-year old boy and a Southern belle. Her reading was thoughtful and sometimes pensive, totally fitting a story wherein the main character is struggling to understand what happened to her life.

There are some stories in life where there can be no happy ending. This is certainly one of them, but it still ends on a note of realistic hope for the future, and I thank the author for that. I highly recommend this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Escape

  • By: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • Narrated by: Shannon Cochran
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 954
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 822
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 821

Instead of saying "I do" to Mr. Irresistible, Lucy Jorik hitches a ride on the back of a beat-up motorcycle with a rough looking, bad-tempered stranger who couldn't be more foreign to her privileged existence. While the world searches for her, Lucy must search for herself, and she quickly realizes that her customary good manners are no defense against a man who's raised rudeness to an art form. Lucy needs to toughen up - and fast. Her great escape takes her to his rambling beach house on a Great Lakes island. Here, she hopes to find a new direction...and to unlock the secrets of this man who knows so much about her.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • good story but narrator ruined it for me

  • By Linda on 07-14-12

A Very Long Tale With Unlikeable Characters

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

Reviewed: 07-24-12

I too looked forward to this book's coming with full expectation of another entertaining story. For the first time, I was disappointed in SEP. Lucy was a multi-dimensional character in First Lady, with so many unusual facets that could have been explored. In this volume, she's primarily petulant, irritating and wishy-washy. Somewhere between the two volumes, we missed a major part of her character development when she became an obedient over-achiever unable to know her own mind.

The story drags, made worse by a poor narration by Shannon Cochran. I know Anna Fields is a hard act to follow, but Cochran's range of emotions is limited, with angry petulance and inappropriate excitement being the primary colors she draws with. The end result is that none of the characters feel "real." The story also suffers from several flaws: Panda's problem is well-hidden until nearly the end of the book, and yet it dictates so much of his behavior. Lucy's inability to understand her own behavior is hard to believe when she is supposed to be so intelligent. Both characters' unwillingness to accept their own feelings gets old quickly. This is a story that could be easily told in half the words.

Although I love Audible books, my recommendation is to read this one; it's a book that merits skimming. And without being limited by Cochran's narrowed abilities to portray characters, the story will likely have more life to it when you depend on your own imagination.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful