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Cassandra

  • 9
  • reviews
  • 161
  • helpful votes
  • 40
  • ratings
  • Bring Me Back

  • A Novel
  • By: B. A. Paris
  • Narrated by: Kevin Hely, Cathleen McCarron
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,709
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,593
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,588

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone - never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Is something happening here?

  • By Cassandra on 06-27-18

Is something happening here?

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

Reviewed: 06-27-18

Because what it is ain’t exactly clear.
I can’t remember the last time I listened to an audiobook where, for the first 80 percent of the story, absolutely nothing happens.
I enjoyed Paris’s Behind Closed Doors-suspenseful, engaging characters, full of action. I kind of liked The Break Down- some interesting plot twists. But Bring Me Back? Please, bring ME back out of this book and put me somewhere where I can watch paint dry.
Summary, no spoilers. Finn had a girlfriend, Layla. Layla has red hair and also has a sister, Ellen. Layla disappears one cold winter’s night in France. Twelve years later, Finn is happily engaged to Ellen. Ellen has an obsession with Russian nesting dolls. A Russian doll shows up at the house. A possible sighting of Layla (of a woman with red hair) plus Russian doll equals OMG! Layla’s back! Layla emails Finn. I’m coming for you/Ellen. Finn doesn’t know what to do. Everything stays stagnant as the emails sound more and more ridiculous (you have three days left. Two days. One day). More dolls show up.
It is benign and boring. It’s downhill from there. I give the book two stars because 1. I finished it; and 2. Eventually some stuff happens.
I didn’t really enjoy this book and I don’t think I would choose to read it again if I had the time and credit back. I hope for better from BA Paris’s next offering. Not recommended, because it’s just not that good.
As for the narration, I love Cathleen McCarron, but she has so little to work with in this novel.

51 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • The Darkest Lies

  • A Gripping Psychological Thriller with a Shocking Twist
  • By: Barbara Copperthwaite
  • Narrated by: Alison Campbell
  • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 608
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 548
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 548

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village. Nothing can shake her happiness -- until the day that Beth goes missing, and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home. Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter's attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won't they talk?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • super psychological drama

  • By Janie on 06-10-17

Slow paced, weird POVs, insipid characters

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

Reviewed: 12-03-17

This story did not resonate with me because I didn’t like the writing style and because I couldn’t develop a strong interest in any of the characters, and the story just didn’t hold my interest.
The author employs a clunky multiple point-of-view style to tell the story using one of my very least favorite POV styles as the main one: a sort of first and second person mix where the second person is not YOU the reader but YOU, another character. So mom is saying, ‘Beth, we looked for you but you were gone, weren’t you, Beth?’ (Interspersed are tiny parts told from the bad guy’s POV and then Beth’s own story). This is probably a personal preference but it really bugged me.
In addition, I found the characters insipid and too many aspects of the plot were just pushed past the point of fictional unbelievability. The parents came across as too naive and so did Beth, even for small town residents. When characters are pushed too far past the mark, it makes me disconnect from the story. The narration was good, but it could not save the book for me.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Give Me the Child

  • By: Mel McGrath
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 57

Dr Cat Lupo aches for another child despite the psychosis which marked her first pregnancy. So when Ruby Winter, a small girl in need of help, arrives in the middle of the night, it seems like fate. But as the events behind Ruby's arrival emerge - her mother's death, her connection to Cat - Cat questions whether her decision to help Ruby has put her own daughter at risk.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Give Me the Child will give you a heck of a read!

  • By Cassandra on 08-04-17

Give Me the Child will give you a heck of a read!

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

Reviewed: 08-04-17

I was thrown over, under, around and through by this book, surely a 'sleeper hit' that, in my opinion, knocks down the competition among some big-name new releases this summer.

Cat Lupo, forensic psychiatrist and leading researcher of childhood psychopathic disorders, has a problem on her hands. The police have shown up at her door in the middle of the night, accompanied by an 11 year old child named Ruby Winter. Ruby's mother has died in a freak accident, and Cat's husband Tom's name is on the girl's birth certificate. Suddenly, Cat and Tom are adding a second daughter to their family, a half-sister to their sweet and sheltered daughter Freya, who is also 11. But 'happy families' this is not. Things start to go missing from the house; Freya starts withdrawing and acting secretive and not in a healthy way forming a friendship with Ruby; the girl is horrendously rude to Cat, who can barely hide her own dislike; and Tom is getting more and more defensive about Ruby, and Cat starts to wonder what is going on behind the thin veneer of her seemingly happy marriage. Cat had an episode of psychosis herself when pregnant with Freya, which quickly resolved when she had the baby and no harm befell anyone. But the stigma follows her around like a phantom, and when Cat questions Ruby's behavior, it's Cat whose mental state gets scrutinized- and now Cat isn't sure if she can trust those she loves the most. Add in some serious work stress, and you are in for a roller coaster ride!

This book is very well written, intuitive and intelligent. The author describes Cat's own feelings as well as the children she deals with who have various forms of mental illness and disorders with sensitivity and insight. These parts of the story were very interesting and shed light on a subject that I was not familiar with- that is, severe personality disorders in young children. The dichotomy between Cat at home and Dr. Lupo at work was quite well done also. We see her struggle to balance the weight of the personal crisis in her family with the stress of workplace politics especially for an institute relying on grant money, and the upper crust of society who holds the pursestrings.

Cat will stop at nothing to protect her daughter Freya. Readers will love her spirit and her absolute focus on fighting for what is most important. Added to this is a host of great supporting characters, who each lend a hand to help her get to the ugly but necessary truth at the heart of Ruby's story.
This is truly a great read- I enjoyed it so much I couldn't put it down, and finished it on a roll in one weekend. Highly recommended!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Perfect

  • A Novel
  • By: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrated by: Paul Rhys
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 382
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 346
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 346

A spellbinding novel that will resonate with readers of Mark Haddon, Louise Erdrich, and John Irving, Perfect tells the story of a young boy who is thrown into the murky, difficult realities of the adult world with far-reaching consequences.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Touching and Fragile - Once Untangled.

  • By Amanda on 01-19-14

Perfect is Perfect in nearly every way

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

Reviewed: 07-19-17

This novel was one of those amazing surprise-finds for me- of a genre that I may not usually choose, but am I ever grateful for having done so. Rachel Joyce has penned a miracle, in my opinion. Full of heart but not sentimental, portraits of individuals showing, in one, the imperceptible tremors of a slide from perfect, that grow big as earthquakes in the haven of a young family; and in another, the present and aftermath of a genius in breakdown who must ascend the mountain decades later back into himself in a changed world.


Ephemeral, beautiful. I listened and I became Byron- I whispered secrets half in French to my best friend who is forbidden to come to my house, bent behind schoolbooks in stolen moments. I made plans, I drew diagrams, I listened behind cracks in doors in darkened hallways, forgetting to breathe. I filled in the blanks, I counted the seconds, I was careful I was the only one who could save my beloved mother.

I lost myself in the moor, in Cranham House, and became Diana, mesmerized by her dancing and fluttering laugh and watching for the goose to lay its egg to save it from the crows, sitting in a row like executioners. I bathed in the false dawn created by bonfires burning mint-green cardigans and pencil skirts. I languished in the twilight, glass in hand, curled in a red velvet chair in a field of daisies by the pond, the poppies just visible over the hill.

I saw what we were meant to see, and I prayed for an accident to befall Beverly to render her paralyzed and mute or possibly dead. I wanted to throw Jeannie out a window onto her horrible face.

I wanted to shake the stupor out of the boy-genius who led his best friend's family into the little life of horrors for his own selfish amusement and, later, to strategically spy on Diana while she crumbled. But then I grew to empathize with the man who never could forgive himself for his childish errors.

I love this book so much. I loved every minute of it. Beautifully written. These characters will kill you with their grace, romance, firerceness, rottenness, beauty, anger, selfishness, and despair.

The narration by Paul Rhys is truly wonderful. He does an excellent job bringing out the truth in all aspects of this novel. I would love to see Mr. Rhys narrate more titles.

Highly recommended.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • No Turning Back

  • A Novel
  • By: Tracy Buchanan
  • Narrated by: Henrietta Meire
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

Anna Graves' whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she's just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late-night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she's attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Going to any lengths- a good story, with caveats

  • By Cassandra on 06-26-17

Going to any lengths- a good story, with caveats

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

Reviewed: 06-26-17

Anna, a popular radio host of a regional network morning show, has just returned back to work from maternity leave. She is struggling to get used to the change and to the fact that her husband Guy left three months earlier. Things are going okay until one evening when Anna is taking her daughter Joni for an evening stroll along the beach, and is suddenly confronted by a seemingly out of it teen boy wielding a knife. Anna is able to defend herself and Joni using a sharp stick comb from her purse, but in doing so, fatally wounds the boy.

Self-defense is clear, and Anna must try to move on even though a very angry mob of people including the boy's mother and father start stalking her. For a while, the police protect her and public opinion goes in her favor.

But then the storyline strays into a morass of baseless assumptions, public overreactions, trumped up speculations of guilt, going so far as ruinous character assassinations and accusations of evil intentions akin to Satan's spawn. Anna's family members are a split jury, and those who arbitrarily decide she is guilty treat her with outright contempt, going so far as to hint to police that she might have a hidden motive. They make my family look like saints by comparison. Despite the fact that Anna had clearly acted in self-defense, and was not charged with a crime, her ex proclaims that HE wouldn't have killed to protect their child, so therefore, the baby would obviously be safer with him. When Anna receives very suspicious emails from an individual called "The Ophelia Killer," who had terrorized the town one summer ten years ago by murdering 5 teenage boys, she offers this evidence to the police, who tell her she shouldn't worry about it but they'll look at the emails if she wants them to. It's things like this that make you stop and wonder what backwards logic is going on in Anna's world- especially at the point where she has no one to turn to except for her Gran and the dead boy's diamond-in-the-rough ex-con brother, who just wants to help her out (again, suspend disbelief).

In that vein, the Ridgmont police come off as highly inept and lacking in basic investigative skills. The Ophelia Killer emails, and other evidence of possible wrongdoings going on in town that Anna tries to give the detectives, is either ignored or used against her for no apparent reason until she becomes a target of hysterical vigilante justice following the police hinting around that Anna herself just might have had a motive to kill that night, rather than straightforward self-defense. I will leave the rest for the reader to discover.

That said, the story kept me listening like crazy even as it drove me crazy. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I did have empathy for Anna but I wished she would get some backbone especially with that ass of an ex-husband.

There are twists that reveal themselves in the last third of the book that had me reeling and I loved every minute of it.

If the reader can put up with the illogical mess of random, baseless suspicions and accusations and public acts of violence that people stand and watch without jumping in to help her; and can overlook the utterly ridiculous roller coaster of crap propagated by the police, then the reader will be rewarded by an ultimately well written and entertaining psychological thriller. I will be interested in reading more of Tracy Buchanan's work and I do recommend "no Turning Back" as a good use of a credit.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • What Was Lost

  • By: Catherine O'Flynn
  • Narrated by: Catherine Skinner
  • Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

In the 1980s, Kate Meaney is hard at work as a junior detective. Busy trailing "suspects" and carefully observing everything around her at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping mall, she forms an unlikely friendship with Adrian, the son of a local shopkeeper.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heartwrenching, Eloquent, Beautiful Story

  • By Cassandra on 06-25-17

Heartwrenching, Eloquent, Beautiful Story

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

Reviewed: 06-25-17

It is not surprising that "What Was Lost," Ms. O'Flynn's debut novel, was a stand-out among its peers in the year of its release, winning the First Novel Award at the 2007 Costa Book Awards and shortlisted for the overall Costa Book of the Year award. This book was also long-listed for the 2007 Man Booker Prize AND the Orange Prize for fiction, and again shortlisted for the Guardian first-book award- plus being a BBC Radio 5 Book of the Month...
I say all this because I think readers should know that this book was so well received critically, but somehow, sadly, was either underrated among us normal readers or not really visible to readers when it was released. Because What Was Lost is truly so wonderfully good. It is also beautifully narrated by Catherine Skinner. She brings these characters right to life and puts so much feeling into their stories. It is an incredible skill to be able to portray so many personalities at so many emotional stages, not to mention different ages and genders.
One can read the plot summary here on Audible or on Amazon. It gives you the basic plot but the book is so much more. Beautifully written, it has subtext, it is haunting, and you will want to re-listen to catch what you may have missed the first time around. There is a sad irony in the story of Kate Meany. I read one summary on a blog that said "Kate pretends to be a detective." I can't think of a worse way to characterize this girl! Kate doesn't pretend. To this 10 year old girl, she IS a detective. One must be able to empathize here with the mind of a child- Kate is a precocious but lonely kid who watched American cop shows with her dad when she was little. Right before he died, her dad gave her a book called "How to be a Detective." Well, it soon becomes Kate's bible and a symbol of what she wants to achieve for her father. But as you read, you learn that Kate's surveillance work has such a sweet naïveté that will eventually put her in great danger. If she were pretending...well, she would know if she sensed danger, when to stop.
This book is short but it's not breezy, in my opinion. It will stick with you. There are metaphors to think about. How the past meets the present and how someone's actions or failure to act 20 years ago may have changed things drastically...but was it supposed to be different? Ultimately, the reader is given the chance to think, and that, to me, is what makes a book excellent. I highly recommend What Was Lost. Thank you to the author for writing such a beautiful novel.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Lie to Me

  • By: Jess Ryder
  • Narrated by: Lorraine Coady
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 347
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 316
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 315

Three minutes. That's all it takes for Meredith's entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother she's never known. Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera? The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim? The problem is, she's not the only one looking....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Unique premise held up by good storytelling!

  • By Cassandra on 05-23-17

Unique premise held up by good storytelling!

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

Reviewed: 05-23-17

I enjoyed Lie to Me mainly for its characters. Each one, whether a minor player or one in a more "starring" role, was well-written to the extent that they all evoked some type of feeling In me, from minor dislike to sort of irritating, to "wow,she reminds me of myself!" Or noticing an appreciation for a good sense of humor. The story is told from different POVs, some positioned as historical to show the background - is there, after all, a lie? Who is behind the lie? And who is the liar trying to protect?

Sometimes our actions have terrible consequences despite our best intentions and most fervent beliefs, those we would fight to the death for. So many things get tarnished over time that no one can put the shiny back into it. For some, no justice can be found. And throughout the plot is the undercurrent of mental illness, and misunderstandings about what happens to those who live with it and the people closest to them.

Overall, well-done, highly readable and enjoyable. The characters often had a flair for the dramatic, not over the top, but appropriate to showcase how the mystery develops. I look forward to seeing more of Jess Ryder's work on Audible and I recommend "Lie to Me."

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • The Missing Ones

  • Detective Lottie Parker, Book 1
  • By: Patricia Gibney
  • Narrated by: Michele Moran
  • Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,023
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,662
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,666

When a woman's body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It's clear the pair are connected, but how? The trail leads Lottie to St Angela's, a former children's home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of layers

  • By A. Palla on 11-09-17

Tangled, strange murder mystery a disappointment

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

Reviewed: 05-22-17

Irish church and state history of corruption erupts in vengeance and violence- to what end?

I am left scratching my head after finishing "The Missing Ones," perhaps more so than after any mystery/suspense novel in recent memory- and not in a positive way.

The mystery or mysteries(?) exist, that is true. In retrospect I can untangle a few different strands of mystery-type plot that either run throughout the whole book or start somewhere and maybe end somewhere, some resolved to some satisfaction or sense, some not at all. I felt that some of the many tangential plots going on were not helpfully contributing to what I think was the author's intended main idea. Some of them were not interesting. Some were just strange.

For example, DI Lottie Parker herself is the root of many odd side-plots and anachronisms that I could barely stand. I found this character extremely unlikeable. Often, a main character who is prickly of personality has other redeeming qualities, such as, loyalty to her team, or brilliant detective skills, or extreme dedication in search of the truth. Here, I saw an attempt at a cliched "flawed personality" taken to an unpleasant extreme, if that makes sense. She is unlikeable. No sense of humor (only her loyal sidekick Boyd thinks she is endearing when she swears at him and puts him down constantly, and I mean constantly, and uses him as a drunk-dial when she's black-out drunk, which he falls for every time). To me, no underlying heart of gold. She acts unkindly to pretty much everyone. She is disrespectful to her investigative team. There is no sense of morale. The author deftly describes the cold weather at every turn. We can imagine the cold, gray expanse. We can also imagine a cold, gray incident room. For example, when one of her DCs tries to actually do his job and draws a diagram to try and connect different victims, she publicly insults him, meanwhile sitting at her desk bemoaning it's messiness and making fun of Boyd for being so neat and orderly.

DI Parker "solves" the main mystery, kind of, through the use of archival records which she accesses only through the kindness of a rogue priest who risks excommunication for her. Then she gets lucky when other people sort of show up out of the woodwork and tell her stuff. She doesn't do much, truly. She sends out her people, then yells at them for doing a bad job, but I'm serious- she doesn't really do a lot of detective work unless it falls in her lap, and even then she has trouble connecting the dots when the reader has figured it out 250 pages ago.

Overall, I finished the book because I wanted to see a resolution. The last 1/4 finally got good. The first 3/4 dragged with little progress. DI Parker was not pleasant or interesting enough to make up for the lack of action happening. The other characters were mediocre. The boss cop was a bad caricature of a cranky boss again taken to painful extremes. The crimes were strangely evil without ever really being explained or their reasons examined. The snapshots back to 40 years ago could have been so much more interesting, but they were just blips. I didn't get it.

I won't even discuss her family life. It was just as annoying if not more so than her sad performance as a detective and leader.

I am disappointed with The Missing Ones and disheartened that this first in a potentially great new series is a let-down. I will, however, give the next one a try, because I don't give up easily. I hope that the author gives Lottie Parker some redeeming qualities in the next book, and also tightens up the plot for a more suspenseful and interesting mystery.

40 of 46 people found this review helpful

Her Last Tomorrow
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Adam Croft
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Elizabeth Knowelden,
    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Nigel Patterson
    
    


    
    Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
    62 ratings
    Overall 3.9
  • Her Last Tomorrow

  • By: Adam Croft
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden, Nigel Patterson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 57

Nick and Tasha are a couple held together by their five-year-old daughter. Until one ordinary morning, when Ellie vanishes amid the chaos of the school run. Nick knows she can't have gone far on her own, which can mean only one thing: she's not on her own. Who would take his daughter, and why? With no motive and no leads, Nick is thrown into a tailspin of suspicion and guilt.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A good little mystery!

  • By Cassandra on 01-31-17

A good little mystery!

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

Reviewed: 01-31-17

I enjoyed Her Last Tomorrow more than I thought i might! The main characters were interesting and i liked seeing their progressions throughout the story. These are self-absorbed parents whose ways of thinking are turned around ultimately by the abduction of their 5 year old daughter, and they come to some understanding of and compassion for each other as the story progresses. The plot was interesting and involving, and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself hooked on this book. I recommend it highly.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful