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Kelly Howard

Oregon
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  • Columbus Day

  • Expeditionary Force, Book 1
  • By: Craig Alanson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,819
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25,517
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,461

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sci Fi I didn't know I wanted

  • By Gary Glenn on 06-27-17

Terrific SF; fast-paced and wildly entertaining

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

Reviewed: 03-03-18

I've been a hard SF fan for decades, and Alanson is a refreshing voice --though if you have low tolerance for wry, snarky wit with a dose of smart-a$$itude, you may not enjoy this one. The main character is a regular Joe who rises to meet invading aliens in extremely unconventional ways. The other main character, "Skippy," is a near-omniscient, millions-of-years-old AI that looks like a beer can & has a frequently juvenile sense of humor, & who looks down on humans as dumb monkeys...but you just know there's a virtual heart of gold down there somewhere. The give & take between Joe and Skippy is snappy, and Alanson has an excellent touch with dialogue in general; his people sound like real people, something that's all too rare in any genre.

The situations that Alanson throws his characters into are exciting and creative, and the ways they get themselves out of them are equally entertaining.

One complaint I had with the first book in the series is that we're just dumped immediately into the alien-invasion scenario. This ordinarily would be a good thing --no long, draggy build up-- but it's so quick that I was left feeling like I had no idea who the aliens were or why they were here. This is clarified later, but I would have liked to have a better grasp of the Ruhar earlier; it would have made the later twists more intriguing. I realize Alanson would've had to walk a fine line between filling in & revealing too much too soon, but he seems quite a competent enough author to manage the balancing act.

I almost didn't get the book because of the reader; my only other experience with RC Bray is "Island 731" by Jeremy Robinson, and I found Bray to be incredibly annoying. The joke appears to be on me, because he does an outstanding job with this series. I have to think that the annoyance factor in "731" is mainly due to Bray doing a such great job --unfortunately, one of the main characters in that book is a loud, obnoxious, brassy guy with an incredibly adolescent sense of humor, & Bray came off as obnoxious...which is odd, since in some ways that describes Skippy, yet here Bray totally worked for me but his rendering of "731" left me wanting to jam icepicks into my ears.

I only had 3 credits left after getting this first book in the series, but immediately got the 2nd and 3rd books as soon as I finished each one. I really can't afford to re-up for another year of membership, but if the quality of this series stays this high, I'll have to think of something.

  • The Fold

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,035
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,031
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27,984

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn't much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he's content with his quiet and peaceful existence. That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fun premise, great performance, weak story

  • By J. Klinghoffer on 08-06-15

Excellent book, excellent reading

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

Reviewed: 04-18-17

I first read Peter Clines' "14" & enjoyed that quite a bit. The only thing I have to say against "The Fold" is, don't start listening to it if you plan on going to sleep before it's over.

I suppose some of the book isn't exactly a literary newsflash --DOD/DARPA scientists come up with something that could destroy the world & are secretive about it. But, Clines does it in a good way; the main character is interesting, though I confess I got tired of hearing the word "ants." I'll have to listen to it again to see if there were clues to what was going on that I missed; I thought one of the characters had a drastically unrealistic change of personality, but it turned out not to be so unrealistic. Most of the characters rise nicely above the level of cardboard.

It does intersect (so to speak) with "14", but you could come to this book without having read that one without missing out on anything, though I suppose one might wonder about the significance of green cockroaches.

I hadn't really gotten hooked on Ray Porter before I listened to "We Are Legion, We are Bob." But he did such an excellent job on that book, I cruised over here to see what else he's narrated, which is how I found "The Fold" (dunno how I missed it before!).

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Voyager

  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 43 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,195
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19,913
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,882

Set in the intriguing Scotland of 200 years ago, the third installment in the romantic adventures of Jamie and Claire is as compelling as the first. Now that Claire knows Jamie survived the slaughter at Culloden, she is faced with the most difficult decision of her life. She aches to travel back through time again to find the love of her life, but, in order to do that, she must leave their daughter behind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My favorite Gabaldon book

  • By Karen on 12-09-09

Continues the series with the usual good --& bad--

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

Reviewed: 10-19-16

I have conflicting views on most of the entries in the "Outlander" series. In some ways they're decent:
--it's interesting to dive into Scotland of the 18th century,
--Gabaldon's basic writing mechanics are pretty good; her dialogue is realistic (tho the content can leave the reader wanting to reach in & strangle the speakers); she produces clear prose without the many defects so common to writers these days (run-on sentences,* etc), tho she does have a tendency to hugely overuse the same phrases over & over; as certain things never appear without the same descriptor attached; Jamie's nose is ALWAYS "long, straight," his & Brianna's mouths are ALWAYS "wide," etc.
--she does a decent job of delineating characters & manages to create a large stable of them without being confusing; every person stands out clearly, largely because of their own varieties of stupidities & personality disorders.

Then there are the serious down sides which show up in each book:
--Claire, supposedly an intelligent, trained physician (after book 1) has the emotional maturity of a 2-year-old, flying wildly off the handle at minute or nonexistent provocations. I can just see her in her Boston hospital, where she's Chief of Surgery (in 1967, no less; mighty impressive for a woman at that time), & when something goes wrong during an operation she screams at the O.R. staff & flings the patient's gall bladder across the room. This is particularly egregious when (SPOILER) she gets back to the 1700s & after meeting up with Jamie again, finds out that (*GASP!!*) he hasn't lived as as a monk the 20 years she was gone, supposedly never to return. She gets insanely jealous any time any female speaks to Jamie, and when she finds out he's gotten married to Lirah (sp?) she really becomes unhinged. I can see how she'd not be happy that he married the twit who tried to have her killed, but he didn't know about that. No matter; she turns bloody barking mad & rages out of the house, never to return to that horrible bastard who dared to try to sort of have a life in the 2 decades she was gone, even tho he had every reason to believe she'd been gone for good, & didn't enjoy the life anyway. And no, by God, she won't listen to anything from anyone. She apparently, during those 20 years of missing him, longing for him, etc etc ad nauseum, never once considered that he might've had a life, not even after she learns he survived Culloden. Clearly, by her rules, he wasn't allowed to have a life.

So basically Claire is just a curl shy of hair-on-fire crazy; an incredibly selfish, immature, narcissistic, tantrum-prone snit machine. Gee, what a delightful main character! She suffers either from bipolar or multiple personality disorder, or both. In between insane rages & tantrums she has episodes of channeling Florence Nightingale & oozing gooey romance & caring. Until the next explosion. Living with her must be like snuggling up to a large bottle of nitroglycerin; you never know when the slightest movement will bring about dramatic flaming death.

--I have to wonder if Gabaldon watched WAYYY too many Meet Cute/RomCom/farce-type movies before writing her books: most of the charged interactions between characters & the very plots arise from what the late great Roger Ebert defined as an "Idiot Plot" (i.e. movies which would be 5 minutes long if all the characters weren't idiots). I would amend this description for DG's books to "Idiot/Snit Plots," because the action is moved forward at least as often because the characters throw snits & tantrums worthy of two-year olds in addition to behaving like idiots. When they're not diving into raging tantrums at the slightest provocation, they regularly manage the astounding feat of managing to say exactly the wrong things to create havoc while simultaneously NOT letting slip any of the myriad bits of info which would immediately clear up the situation & resolve the tangle --& not incidentally cut several hundred pages from the books. I would advise that those who are prone to slapping themselves on the forehead when confronted with criminal stupidity to avoid Gabaldon's books, lest you end up with permanent brain damage & begin to behave like her characters yourself.

Her books also rely heavily upon characters' tendency to develop sudden & mysterious attacks of muteness; if they merely spoke a word or two, the whole argument/scene would end in seconds. Characters in "Voyager" develop it more often than people in soap operas get amnesia. Example: Claire gets stashed in a brothel for a night, for silly reasons. Tired of waiting imperiously in her room for breakfast to be delivered (she seems to think she's in the Ritz), she wraps her otherwise nude self in a quilt & waltzes down to dine with the working girls, who immediately assume she's the new stock. They assess her attributes as if she were a cow at auction. Ho ho ho. Then they begin to tell her that the New Girl gets the worst customers & give her graphic pointers on how to deal with 'em & hurry them to a finish. Ha ha, Big Laffs. Throughout, Claire sits like a mute moron. This passes for clever dialogue & scene development, I suppose.

At other times, huge arguments arise, some to violence, because the person with the simple, clarifying datum just stands around like a rock. If these are supposed to be humorous, or clever ways to develop tension or humor, they're not. They're just stupid laziness on the part of the author.

One might wonder why I've continued to read the entries in the "Outlander" series after this less than glowing review. I've wondered at times myself, & I did in fact give up on the series later on. I read "My Own Heart's Blood" with appalled fascination & a bedrock determination never to waste my time with any more of the books, if any appear(ed). I stuck with them that far partly because there are good elements of the books, partly because it is so hard to find new, listenable, quality audiobooks. Davina Porter does an outstanding job with every entry of this incredibly long series, and I salute her sustained quality, endurance, & apparent leather larynx (I do not, in truth, tend to enjoy female readers --so burn me at the stake-- but her voice & readings are pure, honeyed pleasure.

*like this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • How to Be a Vigilante: A Diary

  • By: Luke Smitherd
  • Narrated by: Luke Smitherd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54

It's 1998. The Internet age is still in its infancy. Google has just been founded. Eighteen-year-old supermarket shelf-stacker Nigel Carmelite has decided that he's going to become a vigilante. There are a few problems: how is he going to even find crime to fight on the streets of Derbyshire? How will he create a superhero costume - and an arsenal of crime-fighting weaponry - on a shoestring budget?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Being a Superhero Can Hurt

  • By JoanneG on 10-17-16

Luke Smitherd is wonderfully unpredictable

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

Reviewed: 09-30-16

I've read all of LS's books, and (at the risk of sounding like a book blurb) he's one of the most creative, fresh voices in recent fiction....or even distant fiction. I got this book without reading anything but the title so had no expectations what it would be like. I think this is a great way to approach Smitherd's books, since they are so wildly different & different from each other. If you have no preconceived notions, you're guaranteed to be surprised. Or even if you do.

The main character in this book is one of the more problematic characters I've run across in a long time; the guy's basically a socially inept, clueless nutjob with delusions of grandeur, but among laughing (or groaning) at his cluelessness & wincing at his insane ideas, there were times when I felt genuine sympathy for him. He often would then proceed to do something so self-rationalizingly wacko that I'd want to reach into the book & strangle him, but I would never say he's a cardboard character.

I have no serious and few minor gripes with Smitherd's writing; the pace of the book was pretty even, with very few only mildly draggy parts. He is wickedly funny at times. His dialogue is excellent --a very, very rare thing. The only nitpicks are that he seems to use the term "floor" to describe the outdoor substrate sometimes, whether road surface or dirt, which occasionally can be confusing, but maybe that's due to he & I being from different sides of The Pond. He did commit one of my own personal bugbears in this book, which probably won't bother most (normal) folks, but he did actually use that dreadful cliche about pain being almost an old friend. After decades of chronic pain I guarantee that is only said by people who haven't experienced it. Unless they're true, hardcore, long-term masochists, I guess.

Smitherd also does a great job of reading his books (tho it took me a while to stop trying to figure out where he'd messed up & blasted off with extremely hilarious profanity after listening to an 'outtakes reel' on his website.* But the recording was seamless). His pacing & expression is excellent, his voices for characters are recognizable & believable, & his accent is lovely to my ears, as is his voice. He mentions in the afterward of this book that he's got a contract on his next book for pro publishing, which probably means he won't read it; I have very mixed feelings. I'm extremely happy for this terrific emerging writer that he's finally getting attention from pro houses, but I really do like his self-narration.

I continue to look forward to more books by him & really hope he finally gets the major publishing contract he deserves. There are SO many "best-selling" writers out there churning out barely literate, formulaic crap that it's a travesty that someone as interesting & good has had to scramble with self-publishing. Tho I suppose that the publishing houses would have a problem with Smitherd partly because he is so different & almost uncategorizable; they like to slot books & authors into simple, 1- or at most 2-word slots, & he's one of the least slottable writers I've ever run across.


*if you're offended by naughty words, do NOT check this out. If you're not, it's pretty hysterically funny. But then folks who want strictly G-rated language probably don't last long with his books anyway.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dead Aim

  • By: Joe R. Lansdale
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 2 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

Dead Aim marks the always welcome return of Joe R. Lansdale's most enduring fictional creations: Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. The story begins simply enough when the two agree to provide protection for a woman harassed by her violent, soon-to-be-ex-husband. But when a protracted stakeout ends in a lethal shooting and a pair of moldering corpses turn up in an otherwise deserted trailer, the nature of this "routine" assignment changes dramatically.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • very weird review to write...

  • By Kelly Howard on 08-30-16

very weird review to write...

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

Reviewed: 08-30-16

I'd forgotten since I got this that it's a novella...would explain why I thought it seemed kinda short. But it's a pretty good novella, & Phil Gigante does his usual excellent reading...but. Having just learned why they stopped using him, I now can't help but feel seriously creepy listening to him.

I just re-listened to the Hap & Leonard books I have, & came to see if there were any new ones I'd missed. Sure 'nuff, I found I don't have "Hyenas." I was really torqued to see that they'd changed readers, after I've come to completely associate Phil Gigante's voices with H&L. Gigante's been one of my fave readers for a long time. Then I read a review of "Hyena" that explained there was a really serious reason for getting rid of Gigante. So I googled Gigante's name & learned the reason. Oy. Makes the doling out of stars for 'performance' quite the moral quandary...rate the performance, or the performer? And how to separate them, under the circumstances. Tough one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Island 731

  • By: Jeremy Robinson
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,068
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,922
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,921

Mark Hawkins, former park ranger and expert tracker, is out of his element, working onboard the Magellan, a research vessel studying the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But his work is interrupted when, surrounded by 30 miles of refuse, the ship and its high-tech systems are plagued by a series of strange malfunctions and the crew is battered by a raging storm. When the storm fades and the sun rises, the beaten crew awakens to find themselves anchored in the protective cove of a tropical island...and no one knows how they got there.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting fun story

  • By Rise on 01-24-16

not a great beginning to the "Project" series

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

Reviewed: 07-07-16

I listened to Projects Maigo, Nemesis, & 731 before Project Hyperion & Island 731. First problem with I731 is, I don't like the reader nearly as much as Jeffrey Kafer. Bray is one of those near-monotone readers who apparently are so concerned with 'not getting in the way of the book' that they sound like they took a large dose of horse tranquilizer before sitting down to read each time. Bray isn't actually awful, but he just doesn't have the zip of Kafer nor bring the story & characters alive like he does (tho even Kafer starts to sound somewhat lobotomized in the later books, as if the seriouser the world situation gets, the drabber he must sound to emphasize that. He was especially terrific early on, when John Hudson was running around basically being a smart-alecky goof-off, chasing after Bigfoot & chupacabras.)

I'm not sure whether it's an issue with the book itself or I happened to listen to it at one of those times when Karma decided to put a big bulls-eye on top of my head & have all the Celestial Seagulls shat upon me, but I had a hard time getting into I731. I had to repeatedly go back & listen to chapters to get a grip on what was going on. Same for the characters --other than the familiar ones like Hawkens & Joliet (& to a much lesser extent Lily, since she barely appears), none of the characters really stood out or stepped out of the book as breathing, 3-D persons. The monsters also seemed much of a muchness, tho Lily's Mom Kaiju was interesting...& should make anyone with 'mother issues' put a lid on further griping about maternal problems (tho Kaiju did have her good side).

I sorta reluctantly give this 3 stars, wishing I could do 3.5. The ease with which mydecided the issue, tho I liked the first 3 "Project" books so much I sorta feel guilty not giving this a better rating....but I don't think it deserves one. I'd definitely recommend anyone interested in fast-paced, fun, inventive Monster/Kaiju thriller books start with the "Project" books --you don't need this prequel to understand them. (Tho "P Hyperion" also seemed to fall well short of the other 3 "Project" books, also)

  • Project 731

  • A Kaiju Thriller
  • By: Jeremy Robinson
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 840
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 771
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 770

In the wake of a Kaiju assault that left the nation's capital in ruins, Jon Hudson - director of the Department of Homeland Security's Fusion Center, Paranormal - is preparing his team for an uncertain future. While hiding Lilly, a chimera cat-girl rescued from Island 731, from GOD - the Genetic Offense Directive, a black ops organization within DARPA - Hudson attempts to raise Maigo.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great follow up to two fun books

  • By Shaun on 02-19-15

Monstery fun

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

Reviewed: 06-20-16

I've enjoyed the heck out of the "Project" books. They're not exactly Shakespeare, but they're fun & funny, have lots of action, realistic dialogue, fairly creative monsters, & interesting characters that rise above the cardboard level, especially for a Kaiju book. The narrator does a great job of reading, giving the various characters distinctive (but not overdone) voices, & has good pacing on the non-dialogue sections...tho in this installment of the series, for some reason he sounds more robotic, as if the producers told him to 'be more serious' or something. It's not drastic, but different from "Maigo" & "Pr 731."

However, I do really, really wish that Robinson, or his editor(s), or SOMEbody would actually pay attention to the books they're creating; Maigo is said to be at least 2 different ages (10, 13) when her murder takes place. At one point John is thinking about his parents & mentions that his father died 5 years before his mother. Then, not too much later, he's wondering where his father is & contemplating tracking him down & seeing what he's doing. I realize that John is a paranormal investigator & this could be a sly way of saying he's going to track down where his DEAD father went in the afterlife, but (given other mistakes) I'm pretty sure it's just a copy-editing/inattention screw up. It's annoying.

  • The Terror

  • By: Dan Simmons
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 486
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 356
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 356

Their captain's insane vision of a Northwest Passage has kept the crewmen of HMS Terror trapped in Arctic ice for two years without a thaw. But the real threat to their survival isn't the ever-shifting landscape of white, the provisions that have turned to poison, or the ship slowly buckling in the grip of the frozen ocean. The real threat is whatever is out in the frigid darkness, stalking their ship, snatching and brutally killing their fellow seamen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story - better if unabridged

  • By Edward A. Kokkila on 01-26-07

slithers fr/ historical accuracy to deep weirdness

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

Reviewed: 01-02-16

I've read nearly all the books written about John Franklin's final, fatal (& idiotic) expedition, and so, clearly, has Simmons. The title of the book could be seen as merely derived from the name of one of Franklin's two ships; Erebus & Terror...but it gets to meaning a great deal more.

The beginning of "The Terror" segues from staying close to historical facts about the ludicrously overloaded, overpopulated expedition --with the addition of a fictional character, the Inuit woman "Lady Silence", who seems deeply mysterious at first...then gets more mysterious & a whoooole lot weirder. As does the plot. Simmons follows, as faithfully as can be known, the tragic trajectory of Franklin's doomed men. The farther he gets into historically unknown territory, the deeper he gets into just plain mystical/bizarre/darn near alien territory, as when (for instant) the reason for Lady Silence's silence is revealed. It's not just because she's shy & doesn't speak English.

There may be some who can't deal with a book which begins so grounded in fact about a true polar exploration and then veers so far into mystical territory. I really can't go into plot details partly because I don't want to do any spoiling, partly because it's darned near impossible to describe without just inserting great chunks of the book.

There is certainly terror ongoing throughout the factual and the imaginative parts, and by the end pretty much only the possibly other-worldly mind of Dan Simmons could've produced the deeply unsettling strangeness...but it's a seriously unique & creative strangeness. If you can let your mind wide open & let it wash over you, it's a heckuva ride.

  • Summertide

  • The Heritage Universe, Book 1
  • By: Charles Sheffield
  • Narrated by: Geoffrey Howard
  • Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 317
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 123
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 124

It was just before Summertide, the time when the twin planets, Opal and Quake, would orbit closest to their sun, subjecting both - Quake in particular - to vast tidal forces. It was to be the most violent Summertide ever, creating something that only happened every 350,000 years. Planetary Administrators Hans Rebka and Max Perry had no choice but to go to Quake - risking their lives to protect the others - and to learn, just maybe, the secret of Summertide and the Builders.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing and leaving you wanting for more...

  • By Herve Bronnimann on 08-09-05

deadliest dull reader of all time

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

Reviewed: 08-08-15

I've had this book for about 2 years. In that time, i have tried I dunno how many times to listen to it. I can't, I just can't; the reader is so deadly dull, so completely monotonous, lacking in inflection, lacking change of voice or pacing or character or anything whatsoever that if you showed his performance on a graph, it would look like this:

_________________________________________________________________________

I have no idea what the book is like so i gave it a mid-grade, figuring that won't really help or hurt it. Wish I could give the performance negative stars. Geoffrey could be reading a phone book, and it wouldn't sound much different. No, that's not true, the phone book would be more interesting, probably; at least there'd be the change from numbers to words & back. Bore-you-to-tears dull. Bore-you-to-death dull. But not, oddly, bore-you-(or at least em)-to-sleep dull; he's so boring that I can't even use the book as a way to distract me from the roiling stresses of life & lull me to sleep. It's so impossible to keep my focus on the book that the real world keeps slithering back into my conscious.
Oh, how I wish I'd returned this dog.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Immortal in Death

  • In Death, Book 3
  • By: J. D. Robb
  • Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,212
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,338
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,356

She was one of the most sought after women in the world. A top model who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted - even another woman's man. And now she was dead, the victim of a brutal murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • so I had to buy the 3rd

  • By Yuriko on 07-04-10

Early Eve is interesting, good story

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

Reviewed: 06-26-15

It's been years since I read/listened to the earliest "in death' books, & I'd forgotten that Eve started out as a realistic, reasonable character, as opposed to the one-note, cast-iron, bad-mannered, short-tempered bee-yatch she turned into. I suppose it's hard not to get lazy when you're expected to turn out two books a year, but Robb (Roberts*) went downhill fast. Eve became a caricature of herself later, but in the first few books she's actually an interesting character and a fairly complicated one, considering the genre. She's tough without being unreasonable, whereas later on, "strong" merely means she has a hair-trigger temper and no manners whatsoever.

Peabody starts to make a bigger showing in this one, which is a good thing as (at least IMO), she's a more interesting character than Eve is, and she stays that way over the dozens of books to follow, growing & changing far more than any other character. She gets her first love interest & it plays a big part here, & sets the tone for her being such a sympathetic & likeable character.

Roarke isn't such a doormat this time around, either; when Eve is a witch, he makes it clear he's not happy about it, unlike later when, practically no matter how viciously she abuses him, he just strokes the dent in her chin & says how adorable she is when she's mad. And even more astonishingly, early Eve actually apologizes when she's been a jerk!!! This is unthinkable in the later books.

"Immortal" has all the elements that made folks like me get involved in the series to start with; the developing relationship between Eve & Roarke, between Eve & Peabody, Eve galloping to the rescue in some murderous intrigue, sprinklings of humor.

I really don't know if I'll be able to read/listen to the later books again, after being re-introduced to the reason I got hooked on them in the first place. Eve didn't start out a nasty, bad-mannered witch, she just turned into one. I think Robb just got lazy.


*actually, I can't even imagine how many books she cranks out a year between her various pen names, or if they're written by committee or underlings, like some other 'romance' novelists.

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