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Sheri C

Wylie, TX United States
  • 30
  • reviews
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  • Whispers Under Ground

  • Peter Grant, Book 3
  • By: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,191
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,026
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,009

It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher - and the victim's wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom - if it exists at all - is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects...except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer's apprentice Peter Grant.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lesley's Back!

  • By Tango on 04-06-13

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith - All Day Every Day Please

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

Reviewed: 11-10-17

Another fun murder mystery in magical London, solved by the Metro Police’s apprentice wizard, Peter Grant. I enjoyed it as a mystery, although I’m not sure I could have figured it out from the clues sprinkled throughout the book – it depends on an intuitive leap on Peter’s part at the end. The charm, though, is in the story, the characters, and the world created by the author.

Every book in this series adds to the magical London that the metro police’s “unusual” events unit must deal with. We got a little visit with our old friends, the sassy river goddesses, and to meet new ones, half-fairy (or is that half-goblin?) and those who live in the secret places that they’ve carved out underneath London, all of whom have their own set of natural laws and etiquette that Peter must learn to navigate. It becomes apparent that Nightengale isn’t exactly infallible or omniscient. And more Lesley – I’m really looking forward to how her character evolves over the series.

Audiobook, via Audible. Once again, the performance by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is perfect in every way. I could listen to that man’s voice all day, every day.

  • The Girl You Left Behind

  • By: Jojo Moyes
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Penny Rawlins
  • Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,377
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,056
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,045

France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything - her family, her reputation, and her life - to see her husband again.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Exquisite Portrait of Sophie and Liz

  • By FanB14 on 09-03-13

Unexpectedly Grim

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

Reviewed: 12-06-16

I was expecting another light romance, so I was surprised by such a grim read. This story is really more about coping with loss and persevering in the face of adversity, and contains some strangely joyless and certainly uncompelling romance on the side. It was interesting enough to keep me reading until the end, although most of it was while I was a captive audience for the audio on the long drive home from my family after Thanksgiving.

Penelope Rawlins and Clare Corbett provide a very good performance as narrators.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Edgar Allan Poe - The Complete Short Stories

  • By: Edgar Allan Poe
  • Narrated by: Bob Thomley
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,053
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 934
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 941

All of Edgar Allan Poe’s great short stories in one 16-hour collection.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A rare treat.

  • By J.G. on 07-23-11

Probably too complete

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

Reviewed: 12-02-13

Forty two short stories later, I can say that I'm not sorry I've reached this advanced age without having previously experienced a greater range of Poe's work. Of course there are the three that I was already very fond of - the Masque of the Red Death, the Tell Tale Heart, and the Raven. Of the rest, only Berenice and The Black Cat were actually engaging. 90% of the other stories were interminable rambling followed by a brief and unsatisfying payoff.

Crossposted from Booklikes

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Doug Bradley's Spinechillers Audio Books Volume 1

  • Classic Horror Stories
  • By: Charles Dickens, William F Harvey, Edgar Allan Poe, and others
  • Narrated by: Doug Bradley
  • Length: 2 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56

Classic stories from the original masters of horror, including Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft and Charles Dickens. Read by horror icon Doug Bradley with music and sound design by Alistair Lock. This volume features William F Harvey's original undead hand story "The Beast with Five Fingers" that sparked many movies including Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead".

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect performance and production

  • By Sheri C on 12-02-13

Perfect performance and production

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

Reviewed: 12-02-13

The perfect kick-off to Halloween season. Five of the six stories were new to me, and the sixth was Poe's TTH, which never gets tired. Unlike most audiobooks of classic short story collections, the production was wonderful. The narrator is lively and clearly having fun with the material, the sound is crisp and clear, and the music and sound effects add atmosphere rather than intrude on the consciousness. I will keep an eye out for the other volumes in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Shattered

  • The True Story of a Mother's Love, a Husband's Betrayal, and a Cold-Blooded Texas Murder
  • By: Kathryn Casey
  • Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 281
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 255
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 256

In Creekstone, Texas, a small, quiet suburb of Houston, football was king and David Temple was a prince. A former high school and college gridiron-star-turned-coach, he had a fairy-tale marriage to bright, vivacious Belinda Lucas, a teacher at the local high school who was so warm and popular her colleagues called her "The Sunshine Girl". The fairy tale ended savagely on January 11, 1999, when Belinda's lifeless body was discovered in a closet. Her skull had been shattered by a shotgun blast at close range. She was eight months pregnant.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • WELL DONE STORY IN A DECLINING GENRE

  • By Linda Lou on 02-03-14

Somewhat dull and lots of mispronounciations

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

Reviewed: 12-02-13

I picked this up because (1) true crime is one of my guilty pleasures (2) this happened very close to where I grew up, even though it was many years after I moved away from Houston. As a true crime, it was not bad. The storyline was unfortunately too common to be of much real interest and the writing was serviceable. The setting being of particular interest to me adds another star to the overall rating. The narration performance unfortunately detracted from my enjoyment, but I don't blame the Coleen Marlo for her consistent mispronunciation of place names. Tantor Audio should have given her the necessary information to do her job. But hearing Alief pronounced as "uh-LEEF" instead of "AY-leef", amongst several other gaffes, was annoying. Also, like many audio narrators, she substituted a vaguely Southern U.S. accent for a Texas drawl.

Crossposted from Booklikes

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Coreyography

  • By: Corey Feldman
  • Narrated by: Corey Feldman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,357
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,265
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,264

In this brave and moving memoir, Corey Feldman is revealing the truth about what his life was like behind the scenes: His is a past that included physical, drug, and sexual abuse, a dysfunctional family from which he was emancipated at age fifteen, three high-profile arrests for drug possession, a nine-month stint in rehab, and a long, slow crawl back to the top of the box office.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Didn't like the Two Coreys, but liked this.

  • By ricketsj on 04-29-14

Serviceable

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

Reviewed: 12-02-13

As a chronicle of Feldman's descent into and recovery from addiction and an explanation of his relationships with Corey Haim and Michael Jackson, this is a serviceable record. He walks through the steps and missteps of his careers in acting and music. He addresses the physical and sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of family and "friends" and the effect that sexual abuse had on Haim.

But this is a rather dry and emotionless story which only seems to touch the surface of events. Feldman explains himself, but I didn't find myself emotionally engaged at any point. Even the break with Jackson, who had been practically the only genuine friend in whom he could trust, as Jackson was physically and mentally deteriorating toward the end of his life, seemed strangely bloodless. Feldman tells us he felt bewildered, hurt, and embarrassed, but I could not feel those things with him. In fact, he seemed more embarrassed and hurt that he was refused backstage passes and a ride on the bus than hurt that Jackson had withdrawn his friendship.

One last bit that actively annoyed me. After (very appropriately) pointing out that a teenage Haim was still the victim of abuse even though he was the initiator in a sexual relationship with an adult man, he then goes on to crow with satisfaction about his own earliest sexual experience, which occurred as a teen with an adult woman ten years his senior. Evidently he only considers it abuse if the adult is male.

Crossposted from Booklikes

  • Tinsel

  • A Search for America's Christmas Present
  • By: Hank Stuever
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 116
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 104
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 107

When Stuever's narrative begins, he's standing in line with the people waiting to purchase flat-screen TVs at Best Buy on Black Friday, the opening of the Christmas shopping season. From there he follows a number of key residents of Frisco, Texas, as they navigate through the nativity and all its attendant crises.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Christmas wishes: the elusive mega-moment

  • By Sheri C on 02-03-13

Christmas wishes: the elusive mega-moment

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

Reviewed: 02-03-13

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially as it was a refreshing change from the usual current holiday glurge. The author seems to give an honest picture of the families he followed, treating them with respect, affection, and humor. I think he did a pretty good job of capturing, from an outsider's perspective, what we all want Christmas to be, how we try to go about making it happen, and how it can sometimes fall short of that dream. He completely nailed Stonebriar Mall, Frisco, a certain type of affluent North Texas demographic, and Canton. I laughed out loud at his description of Canton, remembering my own WTF-moment when I saw the scooter-people last time I was there. My only criticism is his seemingly hurried treatment of the last two years of the book. He really only covers a single Christmas - 2006 - and just checks in and gives us an update of the 2007 and 2008 Christmases. It's unfortunate, because he was in a unique position to thoroughly document how the changing economy impacted our attitudes between those years. I remember 2008 as the year we could no longer pretend that there wasn't something seriously wrong with the economy, and that Christmas as especially black. But I suppose it wasn't *that* kind of a book.

Ray Porter's reading was excellent. He lent a dry tone of voice to the text that seemed just right, and he gave a pretty good approximation of the Texas drawl. Most audiobook narrators seem to substitute a southern accent for Texans.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Letter to My Daughter

  • By: Maya Angelou
  • Narrated by: Maya Angelou
  • Length: 2 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 722
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 579
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 577

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou's path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that led Angelou to an exalted place in American letters and taught her lessons in compassion and fortitude.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wisdom that not only experience can give...

  • By Theodore on 09-17-11

Mistakes and personal insights, beautifully read

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

Reviewed: 12-27-12

Maya Angelou has a voice like warm butter. If she read it aloud, she could make her grocery list sound wise and sensual and beautiful. When listening to her, I just want to nod my head and agree, grateful that she's sharing her thoughts with me. In this book, she recounts many of her personal experiences across eight decades of life. It's honest and sincere, and I was touched that she generously shared some of her own most embarrassing mistakes and what she learned about herself and the world through them.

After finishing this book, which only took a couple of hours, I reflected back on her lessons and can't say that I can embrace them all, perhaps because my experiences are not hers. But I'm nonetheless grateful that she's shared the insight she's gained through her remarkable life, and in her own voice.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Casual Vacancy

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Tom Hollander
  • Length: 17 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5,610
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,995
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5,036

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I was surprised by how much I liked it

  • By cristina on 01-14-14

It's all about the characters

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

Reviewed: 12-01-12

I had low expectations for this book for a number of reasons. As a fan of JKR's Potter books, I knew that anything not-Potter would inevitably feel like something of a letdown. For example, any time poor Patricia Cornwell writes any non-Scarpetta book, she gets roasted by her Scarpetta fans. Also, the reviews for this book were generally poor. Although my taste differs significantly from that of professional book snobs, um, *reviewers*, I find the aggregate user reviews on Goodreads and Audible to be generally in the ballpark. Finally, the reviews I read generally indicated that this book was dark and grim, with a downer of an ending. Had I not enjoyed the Potter world JKR built so much, I probably wouldn't have read this book at all.

Curiously, I had just been listening to Peyton Place on audio, and couldn't help but mentally compare the two. They are similar in theme - both are about the sordid realities hiding behind a small town's pretty facade, including the sort of small-town class politics and power struggles where the successful and unsympathetic fight with the successful and sympathetic over the town's civic responsibility to their "undeserving poor", as Alfred P Doolittle would say. I had the same difficulties at the start of the story, too. So many characters are introduced so rapidly that I simply couldn’t keep track of them all. This is a uniquely audio problem, because in a paper format, I’d be able to flip back and forth to remind myself what each character had been up to previously, until all the dots start connecting and the individual storylines come together.

I suppose the comparison to the Potter books is inevitable, but JKR is successful in repeating and improving on one of the things I loved about those books. The huge cast of characters is wonderfully drawn. Each character is unique, and each character is flawed in some way, and stays true to itself throughout the story arc. What she has improved upon in this adult book is that there is no clear division between the “good” characters and the “bad” characters. Even her most unlikeable characters have some positive qualities (or at least sympathetic ones, given their eventually revealed histories and situations), and we understand how those positive and negative qualities drive their actions. The characters come from all walks of life and all situations, from the congenitally wealthy to middle class to children of heroin addicts. Had the children’s books been written this way, I wouldn’t have wondered where the inhabitants of Knockturn Alley went to school, because they obviously weren’t at Hogwarts.

Many reviewers complained that the ending was too grim, but I have to disagree. There is tragedy at the end, but many characters have learned and grown from their experiences to varying degrees, and there is genuine hope for some at the end.

This is very much a character-driven story, to the degree that there seems to be very little plot at all. Halfway through the book, though I was enjoying the characters, I wondered if there was a point to the story. At the end, I can see the point. But anyone who prefers a story with some action driving toward a particular end will not be happy with this story. It’s really just about people and how they behave and think and interact with one another. It’s about how attitudes and prejudices create the kind of society we live in.

Tom Hollander did a fantastic job. Although he doesn’t attempt to create a unique voice for each character – that would have been nearly impossible with the number of characters – he read with feeling and I was easily able to distinguish one character’s speech from another. I enjoyed this very much, and may even possibly listen to it again sometime.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Maisie Dobbs

  • By: Jacqueline Winspear
  • Narrated by: Rita Barrington
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,802
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,963
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,961

Maisie Dobbs isn't just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence - and the patronage of her benevolent employers - she works her way into college at Cambridge. After the War I and her service as a nurse, Maisie hangs out her shingle back at home: M. DOBBS, TRADE AND PERSONAL INVESTIGATIONS. But her very first assignment soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A delightful discovery

  • By Lori on 08-07-09

Dull tale about dull characters, but well-told

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

Reviewed: 03-21-12

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Probably not. The story was well-written enough to keep me listening, but the characters were uninteresting and the secrets, once revealed, weren't worth waiting for.

Would you be willing to try another book from Jacqueline Winspear? Why or why not?

Maybe. There were bright moments when I was immersed in the experiences of the characters that made the time spent on this book worthwhile. For example, I was moved by Maisie's experience as a field nurse during the war.

Have you listened to any of Rita Barrington???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first I've listened to.

Do you think Maisie Dobbs needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. The main character is too perfect - a classic Mary Sue. She solves her mysteries mostly by a sense of intuition and fortunate coincidence. If I want a story with supernatural elements, I'd rather have straight out fantasy or horror, or even magical realism. In this case, it felt like a substitution for actually weaving in clues and reasoning.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful