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V. Sharol Cutrell

Kansas, USA
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 39
  • helpful votes
  • 167
  • ratings
  • The Western Star

  • By: Craig Johnson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,464
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,225
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,202

Sheriff Walt Longmire is enjoying a celebratory beer after a weapons certification at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy when a younger sheriff confronts him with a photograph of 25 armed men standing in front of a Challenger steam locomotive. It takes him back to when, fresh from the battlefields of Vietnam, then-deputy Walt accompanied his mentor Lucian to the annual Wyoming Sheriff's Association junket held on the excursion train known as the Western Star, which ran the length of Wyoming from Cheyenne to Evanston and back.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Warning! This ends in a cliffhanger.

  • By TyrannosaurusRix on 09-21-17

More difficult listen worth the effort

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

Reviewed: 08-30-18

I know I'm late to the game on this. I started listening to The Western Star a year ago when it was released, and I couldn't follow it easily, so I went on to something else. Then last week I realized that the new title is coming out soon, and I wanted to be ready for it.

As I started listening to the book this second time, I realized that my problem had been lack of attention on my part. Because it is an audio, there aren't any obvious chapter changes except for the pauses between them. In a book that alternates between two related story lines that are decades apart, attention is kind of important. Guidall does a fine job with the appropriate pauses, but it does require some concentration on the part of the listener. This one would have been easier to read with my eyes, but I love the narration.

Johnson has created his usual/unique (I know, oxymoron there) story with this one. Each of the Longmire books is different from the others. The series isn't like the usual cop series in which the formula is the same for each book. One book is a flatout mystery and the next a complex evaluation of different cultures dealing with similar problems. Every single book is different. In this one, one story from the 70's is counter-pointed with a second that apparently has no connection to the one that is contemporaneous. The characters are familiar, but a bit younger in the earlier story. We learn more about Walt and his deceased wife in addition to the story line. The ancient train provides an exciting setting for that part of the story. The second story includes all the favorties, Vic, Cady, and Lola in addition to Henry and Lucien who are in both halves.

I can't say too much about the plot without ruining it for people who haven't read the book, but it is a masterful weaving of 2 (actually 3) plot lines. This is the reason I love Craig Johnson's work. He works in words the way an fine artist works in oils. Each chapter creates another layer of the overall story.

Now I am impatient for the next book. When you finish this one, you will know why. I do have to say that I'm not really a fan of cliff hanging endings as a rule, though.

  • Hounded: The Lowdown on Life from Three Dachshunds

  • By: Matt Ziselman
  • Narrated by: Brian Troxell
  • Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21

Living with three strong-willed, highly individual Dachshunds can be equal parts entertaining, frustrating and rewarding. Just ask Matt Ziselman. Armed with a fresh, creative voice that is unabashedly cranky one moment and profoundly poignant the next, Ziselman mixes hilarious canine stories, with heartfelt reminiscences from his own life, the results of which is a memoir of illuminating life lessons, courtesy of the three thoroughly Teutonic Dachshunds that he shares his life (and couch) with: Baxter, Maya, and Molly.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WONDERFUL

  • By R. Taylor on 08-01-13

Life lessons the Doxy way

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

Reviewed: 01-12-16

I thought I was getting a cute little book about a guy and his 3 dogs. This book is so much more than that. Ziselman lets us into his soul in this book. I'm sure it was therapeutic for him, but it touched me deeply. His clear affection for his flawed (but loving) dogs, his wife, and his daughter shine through the stories.

Yes, I have 2 Dachshunds. Yes, they are a quirky as his. That isn't why I loved the book.

I loved the book because it touched something in me as he worked his way through the death of his parents and the lasting damage those deaths did to his life. I like honesty in writing, and I felt that was what I got in this little book.

In addition the author has a nice light style that makes the listening delightful. The narrator does a great job letting the author's voice come through, too. I'll be looking for more books by this author and this narrator.

  • Armada

  • A Novel
  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,956
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,687
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 34,630

It's just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He's daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom - if he can make it that long without getting suspended again. Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great unless you are expecting Ready Player One

  • By Tyler J. on 02-11-18

Kline hits it out of the park again

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

Reviewed: 07-28-15

No, it isn't Ready Player One.

It is a wonderful, imaginative story that holds its own against RPO. I loved it. I LOVE authors who can maintain their styles through a variety of plots and characters. Part of my affection for this book was the fast moving story. The whole thing takes place in a matter of a couple of days. Even though the backstory is extensive, it isn't labored. Zack does a great job telling us what led to the events of TODAY. I liked his humor and dedication. I especially liked the introduction of characters to the story who were supposed to be long gone.

I had a couple of the twists figured out before we got the answer (I'm a Star Trek/Star Wars fan so I'm used to a variety of aliens), but in all the surprises were real surprises. I love the characters and the descriptions.

Will Wheaton did his usual top notch job with the narration. I'll pretty much buy anything he is involved with. His characters were clear and consistent throughout the book.

Thanks guys for a great book. I had to force myself to turn off the mp3 player and save some of the book for the next day. I am to be commended for stretching out the listen to 3 days (OK, 2 days and about an hour the third). Now I'm going to listen to it again to catch the details I missed the first time.

If you loved RPO you will love this one if you don't expect a replay of RPO. It is its own book, not a clone of the first one. And that is a good thing.

  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,353
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,534
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,509

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun! Things you might want to know:

  • By Alexis on 08-29-14

Great story with a twist

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

Reviewed: 09-04-14

I ordered this book early and got both versions. I listened to the Will Wheaton version first, and I thought I had the alternate narrator figured out (I figured it would be from the point of view of the other protagonist and a completely different book).

Hmmm. Not so much. In fact I was disappointed at first when I realized it was the "same" book. Except it isn't the same book. The nature of the protagonist is completely different in the second narration of the thing by Amber Benson. I haven't finished the second one yet, but I can't believe the difference in the way I think of the character. What a fantastic concept. This had to be a very difficult book to write. Kudos to the author.

I don't want to drop a spoiler, and in this case it is extremely difficult not to do that.

The story is quite creative as are all of Scalzi's worlds. I will never think of "robots" the same way again. That is one of the author's strengths. He is able to create a world with unbelievable concepts and make it real for me. I haven't decided which narration I prefer -- both have their strengths. Will Wheaton is one of my favorite young narrators (after Ready Player One), but I really like Amber Benson's take on the character. I'm just glad I got the 2 for 1 special when I did.

9 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • City of Bones: Harry Bosch Series, Book 8

  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Peter Jay Fernandez
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,098
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,473
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,458

On New Year's Day, Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch fields a call that a dog has found a bone - a bone that the dog's owner, a doctor, feels certain is human.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A good read

  • By Pamela on 11-09-03

deserved a re-read

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

Reviewed: 04-12-14

I listened to this book years ago, and when I saw the Amazon drama, Bosch, I decided to listen again.

It was every bit as good as I remembered it being. Bosch is an interesting character in his own right, and this book is good as a stand-alone, but it is also a key piece in the series. Fernandez does a good job with the characters. This series has a variety of narrators, and he does well creating an audio feel for the characters for the most part.

I am a fan of police procedurals, and this one goes beyond the usual ones with characters who are three dimensional and interesting. It has some stereotypical events, but it isn't hampered by them in my opinion (I won't get specific because I really hate spoilers in a review).

All in all it was worth a second listen.

  • Concealed in Death

  • In Death Series, Book 38
  • By: J. D. Robb
  • Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
  • Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,236
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,799
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,803

In a decrepit and long-empty New York building, a man begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, he finds two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. The man is Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s billionaire husband, Roarke, and he summons her immediately. His latest real estate project is going to be on hold for a while, because by the time Eve and her crew are finished searching the premises, there are 12 murders to be solved.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't Read "In Death" LISTEN to it!

  • By amazonian on 02-23-14

A darker, sadder Eve Dallas book

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

Reviewed: 02-23-14

I really like this series as a whole. Generally I lose interest in a series about book 6 or 7 because they are all alike. Not so, this series. Each book has its own story and each book contributes to the development of the characters. This book is unique in the sense that it is a darker, sadder book. The victims, while not necessarily admirable, are complete innocents in some ways. Through their stories, we learn more about one of the secondary characters in the series -- these things also sad and dark.

Robb's perpetrator is also somewhat sympathetic making the whole book come together even better than some of her others

As usual, Ericksen does an wonderful job narrating the book. Her characterizations are spot on and consistent from book to book. She is the voice of the books for me, and when I read them "with my eyes" I hear her voice telling the story.

It is a good murder mystery wrapped in great characters. I would recommend reading the series in order since the characters develop through the books, but I think this one can stand on its own, perhaps not as complete as a part of the series, but interesting alone.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Spirit of Steamboat

  • A Walt Longmire Story
  • By: Craig Johnson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 3 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,379
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,203
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,190

"It' s a question of what you have to do, what you have to live with if you don't." Sheriff Walt Longmire is reading A Christmas Carol in his office on December 24th when he's interrupted by the ghost of Christmas past: a young woman with a hairline scar across her forehead and more than a few questions about Walt' s predecessor, Lucian Connally. Walt doesn' t recognize the mystery woman, but she seems to know him and claims to have something she must return to Connally.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Welcome Holiday Diversion

  • By Carole T. on 01-01-14

wonderful little book

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

Reviewed: 10-19-13

What did you love best about Spirit of Steamboat?

Steamboat is an extremely well written little book about my favorite characters. It adds to the readers' knowledge of a couple of them, but more importantly it emphasizes the humanity of them.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Spirit of Steamboat?

Watching Walt hang halfway out of the underside of an airplane (and I do mean watching, because Johnson has a talent for showing the reader the story rather than telling him/her about it) was hair raising. I mean, we knew he would survive -- after all, the action in this book takes place decades before the books in the series, but that doesn't impact the drama in the slightest.

What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator is fabulous and has become the voice of Walt Longmire for me. When Guidall reads a book, I always give it a second look, but in the Longmire books, he is inspired.

Any additional comments?

This book is especially important to me because I love the ongoing series, but it would be a good stand-alone, also, for those who need an introduction to Walt's world. For an investment of just over 3 hours, the reader gets a good taste of Johnson's amazing writing and Guidall's gifted narration. Top notch.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • As the Crow Flies

  • A Walt Longmire Mystery, Book 8
  • By: Craig Johnson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,670
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,246
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,221

Craig Johnson has won multiple awards and earned starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews for his New York Times best-selling Walt Longmire mysteries. Embarking on his eighth adventure in As the Crow Flies, Sheriff Longmire is searching the Cheyenne Reservation for a site to host his daughter’s wedding, when he sees a woman fall to her death. Teaming up with beautiful tribal chief Lolo Long, Walt sets out to investigate the suspicious death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply one of my favorite series.

  • By B.J. on 07-22-12

Johnson just gets better and better

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

Reviewed: 05-19-12

After Hell Is Empty, I didn't think that Craig Johnson could get better, but I was wrong. While As the Crow Flies isn't as "literary" as its predecessor, it is a wonderful piece of writing.

The new characters are a delight. Lolo is great and I really appreciate her interaction not only with Walt but with her mother (who knows how to deal with her). I hope she will be back so we can see her mature into a fine police officer. I missed Vic in this one, but it was good to have Henry back full time. Dog was also a welcome inclusion this time.

Johnson's strength is in his characters. I know these people, and for the most part, I like them very much. I would know them if I met them on the street. I want to know them better, and he allows them to grow. Lonnie (Lonny?) is a much more mature character than he was in The Cold Dish, and I'm enjoying his new responsibilities as much as he is frustrated by them. Yes, it is so.

The plot had me completely in the dark until the last 30 minutes of the audio (or so). It wasn't as all what I was expecting, and that's all I'll say about that!! As usual the plot is logical when worked backwards.

The only thing wrong with the book is that I have finished it. Now I'm going back through the series again, just to reacquaint myself with the people. Then I suppose I'll just have to wait another year for another book.

(Other reviewers have explained the basic plot, so I will refrain from repeating them.)

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Grave Secret

  • Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 4
  • By: Charlaine Harris
  • Narrated by: Alyssa Bresnahan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,867
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,336
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,336

Lightning-struck sleuth Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver take a break from looking for the dead to visit the two little girls they both think of as sisters. But, as always happens when they travel to Texas, memories of their horrible childhood resurface.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Satisfactory final conclusion

  • By V. Sharol Cutrell on 10-31-09

Satisfactory final conclusion

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-31-09

This is the 4th (and last, [sigh]) Harper Connelly book. Harper is able to find dead bodies as a result of a lightning strike when she was a teenager. She and her "brother" travel from place to place selling their services to people who want more information about their deceased loved ones.

The best part of this series is the developing relationship between Harper and Tolliver. In this book, more family members become involved and the two of them try to figure out what happened to her sister years before. The characters are wonderful, and Bresnahan does a masterful job creating the character of Harper (the book is written in first person).

I'm glad that Harris brought the series to a logical conclusion. She had stated a few months ago that the series was finished after this book, and it leaves the reader satisfied that the lives of the characters have stabilized with the discovery of those "grave secret"s in the title.

It wasn't a typical Harris book, and I'm sure it will be criticized for that, but I enjoyed it very much. It was necessary to bring closure to the series to focus on Harper's personal tragedies, and that made the plot structure slightly more predictable than that of the previous books in the series. However, I REALLY didn't see the climax coming. Harris did a fantastic job of tying loose ends together and having a true conclusion to the series.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful