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M. Layton

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  • 10
  • helpful votes
  • 183
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Slow start improves

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

Reviewed: 09-04-19

I bought this novel because I visited Lüneburg in 2017 and wanted to revisit the city in fiction. The novel ends up a pretty good police procedural about the investigation of a serial killer’s crimes, but it started very slowly. I think the exposition of the detectives’ lives before they meet in the novel should have been cut at the start and interspersed more through the actual plot. The novel was good enough for me to buy the next book in this series.

I marked the narrator down because although she reads very well, she does no voice characterization at all, which makes it hard at the beginning to know when it’s the killer’s point-of-view being represented. Also, anyone who knows German at all would know that the people of Munich/Bavaria speak a German with a completely different accent from the rest of Germany—even when they speak standard a High German. You’d never know that the lead character originated in Munich. There are great German narrators who do voice characterizations, which adds to the quality, just as it does in English.

What genre is this?

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

Reviewed: 08-10-19

In the end, my feelings about this novel weren’t very strong, and I decided it was because it didn’t fit anywhere. It’s not science fiction though time travel is the source of most of the action. It’s not historical fiction either because its purpose is not to tell us anything much about the early nineteenth century or even about Jane Austen. It’s also not a romance novel, though the protagonists fall in love. That lack of a focus simply produced very little in the way of a reaction in me.

I also thought the narrator, Saskia Maarleveld was generally quite good, switching easily between American and British English accents, but she needs to be better educated to avoid pronunciation errors such as the total failure to pronounce Anthony Trollope‘ s name correctly. There were others, but that was really indicative of a lack of knowledge of English literary history. Given the subject of this novel, that should be something directors/editors listen for.

Disappointing in the end

Too bad the original audiobook isn’t available

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

Reviewed: 02-11-19

I listened to the original book read by Tim Curry alone when it came out years ago. Curry was unbelievably good. As Mr. Poe, you’d have thought he was going to cough up a lung. As the voice of Lemony Snicket alone, he’s still very good, but the original was excellent. This is a good performance, but it’s not the original.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Only the first book is truly worthwhile

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

Reviewed: 10-29-18

As other reviewers have stated, these two novels show off the early talent of Karen White. However, they're a poor match for each other. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON is a well written and Americanized total knock off of OUTLANDER. Despite that copycat nature, it was wonderful and wonderfully read by Susan Bennett. The second is a gothic novel with not small hints of JANE EYRE as well as REBECCA. There are too many possible villains, and the male protagonist is too cruel in his jealous nature. What is painful is the reading by Pilar Witherspoon. It shows why directors are a necessary part of the recording process. She misses intonation, pauses in the middle of phrases, holds final voiced consonants, and these errors and poor choices happen every few minutes, not occasionally. Unforgivable really. The first book is five-star all the way; the second two-star all the way. Pilar Witherspoon is on my list of narrators to avoid.

Victorian Wannabe

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

Reviewed: 07-26-18

Clearly, Tracy Rees is an admirer of Victorian novels. At first, Amy Snow seems rather Jane Eyre-like, but it quickly becomes clear that she is not all that interesting. There is little mystery in the story either; even Amy realizes what Aurelia's secret was long before she receives the final letter. This is less a historical novel than a dull copy of a Victorian novel, with not enough conflict and a boring heroine.

Good story in this series

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

Reviewed: 06-08-18

Although I don't read much in this genre at this stage in my life, I have enjoyed this series and am working my way back through. There's suspense, and there's romance without too much graphic sex. The narrator is quite good except with accents and voice characterization. For some reason, the Cajuns screech, and the Latina character sounds at best Italian. No accent was more than suggestive of the region. Accents should be left out if they're not well done. Listen for the story if you like the genre.

Wish there were more forensics

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

Reviewed: 02-11-18

Book seven 2018: THE SERPENT'S TALE by Ariana Franklin. The second in the MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH series is excellent, starting right out with the murder of "the rose of the world," the favorite mistress of Henry II. Adelia has to investigate again, while Rowley (now a bishop) works to prevent a civil war between the forces of the escaped Eleanor of Aquitaine and her estranged husband Henry. There are gory scenes of Rosamund's body decaying at a desk and later on her bed. In reality, Eleanor's cause is just an excuse for a malevolent priest and a cruel acquisitive lord to try to take land and power. There are wonderful lines from Rowley when he first sees his daughter ("Any man can have a son; it takes a real man to father a daughter!" and that Adelia is good for nothing except "causing the sun to rise every day." This series is a great mystery series set in the twelfth century and a wonderful love story. My only criticism: there is not as much opportunity for Adelia to use her forensic skills in this second novel. Kate Reading is great again.

A Family Survives the Civil War

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

Reviewed: 07-12-17

This novel shows why I love the epistolary form so much. Through diary entries and letters written by the titular Mrs. Hockaday, her cousin, and two of her sons, readers learn about the series of events that led to her being accused of murdering her own baby. The organization of the novel is complex and moves between the 1860s and the 1890s, making the story more suspenseful. The two narrators are wonderful, especially Julie McKay as Mrs. Hockaday. How does a family survive a war? Through love.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Narrator misidentified

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

Reviewed: 05-01-17

Although I have enjoyed several Alyssa Bresnahan narrations, I was disappointed to see her name listed on THE GUESTS ON SOUTH BATTERY because Aimee Bruneau had done such a wonderful job with the first four books in the Tradd Street series. However, I was wonderfully surprised to hear Ms. Bruneau narrating this wonderful book as well. Wish the app would correct for that. I can hardly wait for the sixth book. Highly recommended!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Protagonist's Humor Relieves Angst

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

Reviewed: 07-26-16

What made the experience of listening to The Martian the most enjoyable?

I loved most of all the humor of the protagonist. If he weren't funny and didn't look at the funny side of his situation, he would never have survived, and the book would be much too scary.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Martian?

All of the scenes with the potatoes: preparing to grow them, growing them, realizing he's the first Mars colonist, losing a great deal of his crop due to his own human error, ketchup!

What does R. C. Bray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The humor shines through.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it most definitely was, and I believe it took me only two days to finish as it was.

Any additional comments?

Listen to it!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful