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Alexis☺

U.S.A.
  • 20
  • reviews
  • 99
  • helpful votes
  • 106
  • ratings
  • The Quiet Side of Passion

  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 80

Isabel Dalhousie grapples with complex matters of the heart as she tries to juggle her responsibilities to friends, family, and the philosophical community. With two small boys to raise, a mountain or articles to edit for the Review of Applied Ethics, and the ever-increasing demands of her niece, Cat, who always seems to need a helping hand at the deli, Isabel barely has any time for herself. Her husband, Jamie, suggests acquiring extra help, and she reluctantly agrees. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wish publishers would publish more intellectual women’s mysteries

  • By Alexis☺ on 08-04-18

Wish publishers would publish more intellectual women’s mysteries

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

Reviewed: 08-04-18

For the most part, I have looked forward to Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie installments, though I know there will be maddening segments in which she rants and pronounces self-righteous judgments like an aging Anglo-Saxon Protestant man raised in an African colony. Still, I like Edinburgh and can’t afford to travel there, and as a literature professor and editor who has to publish analyses that include philosophy, this character gives me familiarity with a pleasant level of escapism. Unfortunately, there are times when the author’s masculinity of perspective not only shines through but grates on the story, such as when Isabel used to whine on and on about how lucky she was to be providing an upper class lifestyle for the impoverished musician, Jamie, who is now the henpecked father of her two sons. Some experiences and perspectives simply don’t translate across gender and ethnicity divides in a culture as hierarchical as the British and Anglo-American. This problem arises again in The Quiet Side of Passion. Three young women come precipitately into Isabel’s life and home, where she keeps her lovable little sons and supposedly delectable husband, and all three are sexually incontinent and emotionally dishonest. Yet, the gender indistinct Isabel not only is slow to suspect or condemn the obvious foul plays all three of these women are perpetrating, involving and exposing her innocent sons, but she goes to two men for sympathetic advice or support. Seriously? Does an editor read these Dalhousie mysteries before they are published? Can we strive for just a little verisimilitude ? At some point, even the most determined fan has to speak up for characterization . I am wildly grateful that a mystery series is published with an intelligent female protagonist in a beautiful city following human interest stories with minimal or no blood and guts for readers to slog through. I wish my support of Dalhousie had inspired publishers to publish more series like this, perhaps even written by women (imagine that!), so the characterizations might be refreshing instead of incredibly annoying or even tension-inducing. I will continue to support the concept of Dalhousie because her city is charming, her philosophical musings are engaging even when Eurocentric, and she too is a highly educated woman in a badly misogynistic environment. But how I wish competing publishers would seek to capitalize on Dalhousie’s legacy!

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Imago

  • By: Octavia E. Butler
  • Narrated by: Barrett Aldrich
  • Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,057
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 944
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 949

Human and Oankali have been mating since the aliens first came to Earth to rescue the few survivors of an annihilating nuclear war. The Oankali began a massive breeding project, guided by the ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA, in the hope of eventually creating a perfect starfaring race. Jodahs is supposed to be just another hybrid of human and Oankali, but as he begins his transformation to adulthood he finds himself becoming ooloi - the first ever born to a human mother.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By Lynnette on 10-16-16

The original tale of alien tentacles on a hybrid human

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

Reviewed: 07-17-18

Octavia Butler gave the sf world this groundbreaking vision of how the earthly apocalypse results in a changed human species at the end of the 1980s. The work was bold, detailed and undeniably original. While the politically required blaming of all human societies for the inventions of racism, classism and atomic warfare remain off-putting and problematic, the author’s overall investment in her rebuilding dream, with all its adventurous nightmares to enliven the three Lilith’s Brood stories and make them credible, is nonetheless extraordinary.

  • A Rule against Murder

  • A Three Pines Mystery
  • By: Louise Penny
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,905
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,401
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,392

When wealthy, cultured Irene Finney and her four grown-up children arrive at the Manoir Bellechasse in the heat of summer for a memorial for her late husband, the staff springs into action. But as a heat wave gathers strength, old secrets and bitter rivalries begin to surface. And the morning after the ceremony, a body is found. The family now has another member to mourn.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Summer Mystery

  • By Sara on 07-16-14

Overly Ponderous

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

Reviewed: 08-31-17

For some reason, this addition to Louise Penny's usually engaging series comes across as self conscious, almost pretentious in its navel gazing effort at weightiness. There are plenty of interesting characters, particularly the mysterious genderless child. But the parts crumble under the ponderous slow-going of the whole. Even Ralph Cosham's reading seems to become bogged down in the word-heavy grasping at deeper meaning than an entertaining story. Let this stumble be a lesson to all novelists to remember to entertain first and let the message, if there is one, speak for itself.

  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

  • By: Alan Bradley
  • Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,906
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,170
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,159

It is the summer of 1950 and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Phenomenal!

  • By 'Nathan on 03-03-10

Heartachingly realistic humor

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

Reviewed: 07-06-17

Alan Bradley's eleven-year-old intrepid chemist sleuth is surprisingly credible, as her adventures escalate into genre-formulaic extravagance. The believably scarred and fallible members of her household and her world are brush-stroked with minimalist impressionism, so that they tug at the reader's sympathetic imagination long after they've exited the scene. And Entwhistle's superbly arch reading is simply not to be missed. Pitch perfect entertainment: lighthearted, thoughtful and thought- provoking.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Bookshop on the Corner

  • By: Jenny Colgan
  • Narrated by: Lucy Price-Lewis
  • Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,372
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,267
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,263

Nina Redmond is a librarian with a gift for finding the perfect books for her readers. But can she write her own happy ever after? In this valentine to readers, librarians, and book lovers the world over, the New York Times best-selling author of Little Beach Street Bakery returns with a funny, moving new novel for fans of Meg Donohue, Sophie Kinsella, and Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Misleading

  • By Alexis☺ on 05-28-17

Misleading

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

Reviewed: 05-28-17

The title and blurb may lead a reader to think that this book will be about a downsized librarian starting over with a mobile bookstore, which does begin the story. Throughout, however, there is the sense that, for a literary exploration, or for women's fiction, or even a slice-of-life meditation on bibliophilia as a coping tool, something is always off: too melodramatic, too one-dimensional, too contrived, too histrionic. And then, three fourths of the way through the book, the reader realizes that this book is a formulaic "romance": staged misunderstandings, obsessive insecurities, noncommittal sex, and all. The descriptions of the Scottish Highlands are vivid and invigorating, and the book recommendations for certain problems and character types are thought-provoking or just laugh-out-loud fun. But the main character's blithe disregard for other people's feelings, safety, privacy, emotional needs, and vulnerabilities may wear on a reader who doesn't realize all this occasionally aggravating plot is going to be about will be learning to bond through sex. This may be a very good read for romance fans. Unfortunately, I went from loving the narrator's handling of each voice (except the protagonist's) and sharing the excitement about starting over with a bookstore of withdrawn books to hating the thought of slogging through one more minute of the main character's sexual forays and whining self-centeredness.

73 of 77 people found this review helpful

  • Lady Fortescue Steps Out

  • The Poor Relation, Book 1
  • By: M. C. Beaton
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 4 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,644
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,382
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,384

Life is not easy for the poor relations of England’s upper crust, but fate and clever schemes bring them together. Lady Fortescue and Colonel Sandhurst hatch a plan: What if they were to transform her decrepit Bond Street home into a posh hotel, offering their guests the pleasure of being waited upon by nobility? With the help of other down-and-out aristocrats, they do just that, and London’s newest hotel, The Poor Relation, is born. The establishment is an immediate hit with London’s most illustrious citizens, save the Duke of Rowcester....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Charming Regency Fun - Romance & Adventure

  • By Clare on 05-04-12

Delightful!

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

Reviewed: 05-03-17

Uplifting in unexpected ways, entertaining at every turn, and expertly crafted, if at rare times disappointingly improbable or marred a bit by unlikely twentieth century grammar lapses. Still, wonderfully engaging and fun, even if Regencies are not a reading preference or habit.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Study in Death

  • Lady Darby Mystery Series #4
  • By: Anna Lee Huber
  • Narrated by: Heather Wilds
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 253
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 228

Scotland, 1831. After a tumultuous courtship complicated by three deadly inquiries, Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fiancé in Sebastian Gage. But with her well-meaning - and very pregnant - sister planning on making their wedding the event of the season, Kiera could use a respite from the impending madness. Commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, Kiera is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness' eyes.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Warning: don't read this series out of order

  • By Kathi on 09-28-15

Somewhat uneven entertainment

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

Reviewed: 04-14-17

Huber's fourth Lady Darby mystery is notable for family intrigues surrounding her sister's impending childbirth: why is the brother-in-law so distant, what are her sister's thoughts alone in the dark, and will she survive a childbirth she was warned not to undertake? Other mysteries, including the murder of a domestically abused woman, lose immediacy and take a bit of a back seat. But inventive plot twists and turns, along with Wilds' understated, occasionally sensuous reading, make this an overall enjoyable listen. One troublesome plot element is the author's apparent assumption that readers will support the heroine's emotionally aggressive insistence on learning her fiance's painful secret before their wedding. Lady Darby descends into manipulative tyranny to get at her fiance's backstory. I kept thinking, "Accept him as he presents himself, or let him go. Isn't this story about domestic abuse?" Once the supposed mystery is revealed, I kept hoping the heroine might self-scrutinize and realize that emotional insecurity and her own suppressed trauma made her scrape away at her fiancé's soul so voyeuristically. But the story ends with Lady Darby's reminder that her husband can have no secrets, and their agreement to share everything. . . Perhaps if I listened again, that aspect of the story might not be so off-putting, but in the context of a murder mystery tied to marital abuse, I will settle for warning sensitive readers, and move on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Cruelest Month

  • A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Book 3
  • By: Louise Penny
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,361
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,152
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,156

Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat. It's spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees, and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life.... When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil - until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This one made be the best of the series so far !

  • By Brian on 09-02-16

Vivid layers of storytelling

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

Reviewed: 03-24-17

This was my first Gamache listen, and I am pleasantly surprised that the third book in the complex series works so well as a standalone. One doesn't expect a book about spring to be so layered with individual tales about hauntings, the destructive cruelties of love, ugliness, and betrayal, but Penny works these together into her ultimate theme of cyclic resurrection. The police procedural ending of the pileup of mysteries strikes me as disappointingly unconvincing and contrived, but, in the overall scheme of ratings, not worth lowering the score. The narrator, too, comes in for his share of praise, particularly for his pronunciation of French names and his indication of female voices by a sensitive change of tone rather than pitch. Well done. Overall, this is a thoughtful and engaging take on springtime, love, art, death, and renewal.

  • Pagan Spring

  • A Max Tudor Novel, Book 3
  • By: G. M. Malliet
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 419
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 379
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 382

Vicar Max Tudor, reveling in his new-found personal happiness with Awena Owen, feels that life at the moment holds no greater challenge than writing his Easter sermon. With Awena away, he looks forward to a dinner that includes newcomers to the village like West End dramatist Thaddeus Bottle and his downtrodden wife Melinda. But when one of the dinner guests is found dead in the pre-dawn hours, Max knows a poisonous atmosphere has once again enveloped his perfect village of Nether Monkslip.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book for Agatha Christie fans!

  • By Byron on 10-29-13

French Resistance to WWII Occupation

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

Reviewed: 03-17-17

In the end, without giving away the plot, the reader comes away from this installment in the Father Max series with a somewhat broader understanding of the range of horrors of the Nazi occupation of France. As always, the narrator's voice and pleasantly cultured accent are enjoyable, though I do wish his Max didn't sound quite so harsh, even when he's speaking gently or lovingly. Like many deep-voiced men, his women tend to sound a bit mincing, which is only unavoidably distracting when a supposedly strong-willed, independent character such as Max's girlfriend is speaking at length.

  • The Lady Vanishes

  • By: Ethel Lina White
  • Narrated by: Kim Hartman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 23

Iris Carr is tired and exhausted. Travelling by train from Switzerland to England she is surrounded by alien languages and situations which she finds difficult to comprehend. She is relieved therefore when talkative old English governess Miss Froy becomes her impromptu travelling companion. But when Iris wakes from a short sleep Miss Froy has vanished - and none of the passengers will acknowledge her existence. Is Iris mad? Or is there some more sinister reason for the woman's vanishing?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ripping good mystery

  • By Alexis☺ on 03-17-17

Ripping good mystery

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-17-17

Old-fashioned complex series of double-takes and flashbacks makes the reader shakily aware, as the train plunges on, of just how much trouble our plucky protagonist has gotten herself into by discovering her inner lonely core of stubborn integrity at a most inconvenient time. Superb narration, though I occasionally thought the heroine's voice became too aged for the character the author described; but that is a minor quibble about a great read that makes an even better "listen"!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful