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sherri

Kirkland, WA, United States
  • 44
  • reviews
  • 174
  • helpful votes
  • 105
  • ratings
  • The Friend

  • A Novel
  • By: Sigrid Nunez
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 530
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 491
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 493

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: Dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3.97 stars

  • By j phillips on 12-09-18

Suitable for beginners

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

Reviewed: 12-23-18

A college freshman or beginning writer might find something new and revelatory in this book's rehash of old ideas about the writing life. Another aging male professor womanizer? Check. The writer's struggles to write? Check. Jealousy and ambition? Check. Nothing new to see, nothing especially wise or fresh in the rendition of these experiences.

Now, about that Great Dane. This would be a better book if there were more about the dog. Danes have a lot of individualism, a lot of personality. They're worth writing about. Needless to say, the dog's grief is more moving than the writer's.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Firefly

  • By: Henry Porter
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

From the refugee camps of Greece to the mountains of Macedonia, a 13-year-old boy is making his way to Germany and to safety. Codenamed "Firefly", he holds vital intelligence: unparalleled insight into a vicious ISIS terror cell and details of their plans. But the terrorists are hot on his trail, determined he won't live to pass on the information. When MI6 become aware of Firefly and what he knows, the race is on to find him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By jake! on 01-07-19

Better than the usual thriller

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

Reviewed: 11-18-18

With its insight into the migrant experience and top-notch suspense, despite a few too many lost cell phones, this is a thriller worth reading. It avoids the formulaic feel that makes so many thrillers boring to all but die-hard fans, even though it does follow the accepted formula. The "OMG, how will they get out of this one" scene was especially fraught.

I object, however, to the comparisons with John Le Carre and Mick Herron. Firefly lacks the moral ambiguity and the questions that put those authors above the rest of the genre. Of course there's nothing morally ambiguous about a terrorist (and attempts to show their humanity through back-story usually fail), but this book doesn't address the systems that propel the situations found in the book the way Le Carre and Herron do. Herron is far superior, as well, at portraying female characters, i.e. making them seem like real humans.

Even though Firefly doesn't rise above the genre, as some claim, it's at the top of its class.

  • Spook Street

  • By: Mick Herron
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 340
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 312
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 312

A thrilling fourth installment in the CWA Gold Dagger-winning Slough House series. What happens when an old spook loses his mind? Does the Service have a retirement home for those who know too many secrets but don't remember they're secret? Or does someone take care of the senile spy for good? These are the questions River Cartwright must ask when his grandfather, a Cold War-era operative, starts to forget to wear pants and begins to suspect everyone in his life has been sent by the Service to watch him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Series

  • By Aaron on 03-17-17

Daily life stops for Slow Horses

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

Reviewed: 02-26-17

I do this to myself every time: buy the audible version and forsake my own life until I've listened to the end. Herron's Slough House series rises above ordinary thrillers, which I find formulaic and boring, by being character driven while also being as tense as they come. They're also tremendously funny. When Jackson Lamb finally shows up at Slough after a long absence, I cracked up so much that I had to listen to the scene twice.

There's just enough background so that you can enjoy this book without having read the previous three, but why would you deny yourself the pleasure?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Trespasser

  • A Novel
  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Hilda Fay
  • Length: 20 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,957
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,339
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,299

Being on the murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she's there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she's getting close to the breaking point. Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers' quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A literary mystery

  • By oc_artist on 10-08-16

Stunningly bad reader

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

Reviewed: 10-06-16

The sound and timbre of this reader's voice set my teeth on edge--that's purely personal. What isn't personal is the reader's inability to distinguish one voice from another. The main character, Antoinette Conway, (who doesn't sound anything like she did in the previous book) has an accent that I'm guessing must derive from some non-Dublin, lower class pocket of Ireland, since she doesn't sound like anyone you'll hear on the street in Dublin. At one point, she informs the reader that she's the one person on the Murder Squad who doesn't sound Irish. Why, then, does every other character speak in the same accent and voice, with the same mushy enunciation?

Is the novel any good? You can trust all French's works to be highly competent at the very least, though her more recent books haven't risen to the level of "Faithful Place." This one gets off to a very slow start with more explanation than action. I trust it will improve, but I'll be reading it myself to find out.

29 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Lost Among the Birds

  • Accidentally Finding Myself in One Very Big Year
  • By: Neil Hayward
  • Narrated by: Sam Devereaux
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 155

Early in 2013 Neil Hayward was at a crossroads. He didn't want to open a bakery or whatever else executives do when they quit a lucrative but unfulfilling job. He didn't want to think about his failed relationship with 'the one' or his potential for ruining a new relationship with 'the next one'. And he almost certainly didn't want to think about turning 40. And so instead he went birding. Birding was a lifelong passion. It was only among the birds that Neil found a calm that had eluded him in the confusing world of humans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Know a Birder? This will help you Understand.

  • By Carole T. on 08-27-17

Best vicarious Big Year

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

Reviewed: 09-18-16

A backyard birder, I know that the closest I'll ever come to a Big Year is through a book like this. Hayward writes with a typical British self-depreciation: he must have done very, very well in his work (one of the smartest guys in the room) to have financed the travels demanded by such competitive birding. There's some forgivable repetition of form with the way he tries to interweave his ongoing life and love story with each birding adventure, but his obvious enthusiasm for the birds themselves and not just the chance to tick off a list carries the book. His descriptions of fellow birders show that this sport attracts people of all backgrounds, education, and income levels; and they travel to some hilariously uncomfortable places. Ultimately, the message is to go outside, look around, and be very happy that there are birds.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant

  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,780
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,334
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,336

Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort. One fateful night - different from the night he died, which was more inconvenient than fateful - Fred reconnects with an old friend at his high school reunion. This rekindled relationship sets off a chain of events thrusting him right into the chaos of the parahuman world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun for a While

  • By sherri on 09-18-16

Fun for a While

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

Reviewed: 09-18-16

I was delighted with the opening story but wasn't happy to discover this is a compendium of linked stories rather than a novel. There is a bit of overall plot and character development through the book-- i.e. Fred discovers hidden talents-- but the same narrative arc repeats itself in each story to such an extent that they become predictable. The book was saved by a nice twist at the end, making it an overall fun experience but frustrating because it could have been better. The repetitive background explanations were not even edited out of each story.

54 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • A Beautiful Place to Die

  • By: Malla Nunn
  • Narrated by: Saul Reichlin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 745
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 592
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 592

Unfolding in 1952 South Africa, A Beautiful Place to Die is a riveting international mystery that flows from the pen of author Malla Nunn. Police officer Emmanuel Cooper is dispatched to a remote town after a police captain is found murdered in a creek. Even though Cooper judges the crime open and shut, the government's feared Special Branch is summoned, making for an intrigue that will titillate any mystery fan.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth listening to both as mystery and history

  • By Majorie on 05-26-11

Outstanding if...

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

Reviewed: 07-15-16

If you can endure the vivid immersion in the sickness that was apartheid. Of course I've read about apartheid and what it did to people; I've seen the movies; but I've never lived it layer by layer as it's depicted in this novel.
Although events move slowly through most of this character-driven mystery, I found that the tension never let up as the detective uncovers each piece of the story. The shocker at the end is totally worth the journey to get there.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Lab Girl

  • By: Hope Jahren
  • Narrated by: Hope Jahren
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,741
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,536
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,524

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book might have been a revelatory treatise on plant life. Lab Girl is that, but it is also so much more. Because in it, Jahren also shares with us her inspiring life story, in prose that takes your breath away.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A paradigm-shifting perspective on plant life

  • By Elizabeth on 05-20-16

Why authors should not narrate their own books

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

Reviewed: 04-27-16

This fine memoir is yet another example of why most authors should not narrate their own books--or any others. While Jahren has a pleasant voice, she repeats the same intonations and rhythms over and over and over until the book gets boring. At times her voice trembles with emotion. I'd rather discover the emotion for myself, thank you, than have the author tell me what to feel.

Every year universities churn out qualified scientists and academics for whom there are no jobs in the fields they've worked long and hard to master. Jahren's book illustrates what a combination of work, deprivation, luck, and chutzpah it takes to make headway as a research scientist. The book can easily be forgiven for dwelling on too many youthful escapades as it makes its larger point about science, conservation, and the need to fund basic research.

20 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • It Happens in the Dark

  • A Mallory Novel, Book 11
  • By: Carol O'Connell
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
  • Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 110
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 99

The reviews called it "A Play to Die For" after the woman was found dead in the front row. It didn't seem so funny the next night, when another body was found - this time the playwright's, his throat slashed.

Detective Kathy Mallory takes over, but no matter what she asks, no one seems to be giving her a straight answer. The only person - if "person" is the right word - who seems to be clear is the ghostwriter. Every night, an unseen backstage hand chalks up line changes and messages on a blackboard. And the ghostwriter is now writing Mallory into the play itself, a play about a long-ago massacre that may not be at all fictional.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating!

  • By Nancy J on 08-25-13

Tired Tropes

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

Reviewed: 08-22-15

I don't recommend this as an introduction to the Mallory series. I have read or listened to all the Mallory novels; I will probably read or listen to the next one. This book contains all the usual Mallory elements, and that's the problem. There's no new character development, no new challenge, no new revelation about Mallory. Her fan club of middle-aged men continues to adulate her while she treats them with indifference. She continues to exert a near-supernatural power over other people. O'Connell's most vivid and stylish character is New York itself.

Nor was this Rosenblat's best work, either. She read with a little too much ironic disdain.

The plot. Did I care about the plot, who killed whom and why? I was relieved when a particular character finally exited and hoped a few more would drop dead. The story just didn't convince me.

  • The Mangle Street Murders

  • The Gower Street Detectives, Book 1
  • By: M. R. C. Kasasian
  • Narrated by: Lindy Nettleton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 136
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 122

After her father dies, March Middleton has to move to London to live with her guardian, Sidney Grice, the country's most famous private detective. It is 1882, and London is at its murkiest yet most vibrant, wealthiest yet most poverty-stricken. No sooner does March arrive than a case presents itself: A young woman has been brutally murdered, and her husband is the only suspect.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A New Favorite Author --Hope this becomes a series

  • By SophiaMarie on 03-24-14

Uneven

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

Reviewed: 06-04-15

Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot is vain, clever, and quirky, as is Kasasian's Sidney Grice. What makes Poirot work and Grice not is a set of redeeming qualities; Poirot keenly pursues justice and expresses compassion for others. Grice is merely annoying--greedy, self-serving, complacent, dishonest-- so much so that I found it difficult to get through the book. Worse, about two-thirds of the way through, the author seems to change his mind about Grice. In the course of any novel, a gruff character may be shown to be kind underneath, or a character the reader thought mistaken may be proved to be right; but these changes must be justified in terms of the plot. If the writer manipulates characters for the sake of plot instead of the other way around, it shows.

The inspector and other characters are one-dimensional. Narrator March Middleton is the most fully drawn and has some attractive qualities that will carry her through a series. She smokes and drinks at a ladies' club, for one thing. We are given to understand that she is grieving, but that part of her character is oddly disassociated from the rest. It's supposed to be the reason she drinks but doesn't affect any of her other actions or thoughts. She is sometimes intelligent but sometimes not.

All the men make misogynistic remarks typical of fictional portrayals of the era. March sometimes responds in an entertainingly clever but realistic fashion. The horrors of poverty are portrayed to a near caricatural extent, again for effect rather than to support plot or theme.

What about that plot? The book is very slow for the first two-thirds, which can be a good thing if you're listening while driving or performing other tasks that require attention. I'm not bothered by the improbabilities connected with the murders. By the time I get to the big reveal, I don't know that I care.

Readers may hope for improvement as the series goes on.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful