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L. Piazza

  • 14
  • reviews
  • 6
  • helpful votes
  • 76
  • ratings
  • The Witch Elm

  • A Novel
  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Paul Nugent
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,853
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,674
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,668

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life - he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden - and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Yes, the Main Character Comes Off Poorly, But...

  • By Marina on 10-19-18

A bit disappointing

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

Reviewed: 10-25-18

Tana French is a brilliant story teller as well as writer. I've been a fan since her first book. This book read more like "there's a moral to this story " than what I've enjoyed from her previous novels, which are intriguing, mysterious and very conscience-driven stories. Because her writing is exceptional (she's a very lyrical writer, her prose has such flow) I couldn't stop listening--with all her books. The main character did not develop -- whatever intrigue and mystery came from the other characters, whose actions had no effect on the main character (backstory as well as the present day narrative). This read like a confessional but there was no confession from the main character. It was an epiphany story except that the epiphany the main character has seems to be one most people have by the time they're in high school -- which I feel was probably the point. Perhaps this book was meant to be a study on society and entitlement vs the rest? Or it may not have been meant to be taken in any way but a story about a guy who didn't fully appreciate who he was or what he had until he lost it all? According to the other characters in the book, he wasn't that great of a person to begin with so I was left wondering why the story was told from his point of view. There was a lot of sustained emotional description about death from different perspectives. The conversation that would come out of a book club meeting from this story would be interesting bc there are so many 'why' or 'what was the point of that' or 'what if' moments.

While I can appreciate this book, I was disappointed. I'm still very much looking forward to the next French novel.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • West Cork

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Narrated by: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22,984
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,522
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20,524

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • EXCELLENT.

  • By Ilia on 03-07-18

Excellent character study

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

Reviewed: 04-12-18

I really enjoyed this -- instead of watching a documentary, you're listening to one. The authors as well as individuals in the story are telling their part of the investigation. You hear the inflection in their voices, the tone of their voices vs one narrator's informed perception of each person.

Great choice for true crime, something different.

  • The Lying Game

  • A Novel
  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 13 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,464
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,194
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,190

On a cool June morning, Isa Wilde, a resident of the seemingly idyllic coastal village of Salten, is walking her dog along a tidal estuary. Before she can stop him, Isa's dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick - and to her horror, Isa discovers it's not a stick at all...but a human bone. As her three best friends from childhood converge in Salten to comfort a seriously shaken-up Isa, terrifying discoveries are made, and their collective history slowly unravels.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • REALLY LET DOWN, I'm not gonna lie! (No spoilers)

  • By Very disappointed on 07-27-17

Back to a Dark Dark Wood!

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

Reviewed: 09-20-17

I loved her first novel; was disappointed in her second (well written for sure but a bit difficult to relate with the characters) and so glad I read her third--The Lying Game. I cannot say which is my favorite between Dark Dark Wood and Lying Game. For anybody who might feel reluctant after reading Woman in Cabin 10 to try the Lying Game--don't be.

  • The Sister

  • By: Louise Jensen
  • Narrated by: Natalie Blass
  • Length: 9 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,590
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,284
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,281

Grace hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend, Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie's words the last time she saw her and, in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn't know about her best friend. When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister, steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and her boyfriend Dan's home. But something isn't right.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great suspense with unsual twists, turns and spill

  • By green ice cream garden on 10-05-16

Predictable plot and unnecessary description.

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

Reviewed: 02-01-17

From the many positive reviews, I ignored the obvious from the very beginning of this book. The obvious being an overdone, predictable story line. There are, actually, very naive people in this world but to keep recreating this type of character in fiction has become tedious for readers. It's like watching a B-movie with a group of friends and everyone is shouting out what's going to happen next or screaming at the main actor for their stupidity. Except you're not reading (or listening to) a book with a group of friends so all the frustration and annoyance becomes a complete waste of time. And then there's the writing. Every movement, from walking to the door, out the door--putting on clothes, picking up the box to look inside the box to setting back down the box to trying not to look at the box. There are many descriptions like these that seem more like detailed minutes taken from a weekly business meeting. In fairness to the narrator, not sure there's much more she could've done with the minute detailing.

  • The Woman in Cabin 10

  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11,579
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,525
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10,487

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first Lo's stay is nothing but pleasant: The cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, and gray skies fall.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Hours and hours of tired...

  • By ROBIN on 07-28-16

Too much in the character's head

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

Reviewed: 01-15-17

I enjoyed the author's first book (Dark Dark Wood) more than this one. The premise was great, very Agatha Christie with the cast of characters, the scene being on a cruise ship. The main character was, unfortunately, not that interesting. What transpires around her is very interesting -- if this was the point the author was trying to make, well done. As a reader, I needed the main character to at least think incredible thoughts, wish for incredible things--bc her life is so mundane. What happens to her in the beginning isn't incredible but, unfortunately, very much common. What ends up happening to her later is incredible but -- in my opinion -- related in a very typical, melodramatic way. What's interesting to me is to compare the author's first book to this second one, because both stories are psychological thrillers. The difference is the lead character's personality, which could be compared to the second book's lead character: they're both very typical day by day, working women with the same routine. In a Dark Dark Wood (first novel), the character was well fleshed out and interesting bc she was relatable, as well as the other characters in the story. Even though I didn't care so much for the second book, I'm looking forward to Ruth Ware's 3rd novel. She is a talented writer. I'm sure there are fans who, unlike me, may like this book more than a Dark Dark Wood. If you're on the fence about this book, don't be -- it's definitely worth reading.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Light Between Oceans

  • A Novel
  • By: M. L. Stedman
  • Narrated by: Noah Taylor
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,508
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,713
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,673

In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Three years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel is tending the grave of her newly lost infant when she hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up on shore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful story.....terrible narrator.

  • By Sandra on 08-14-12

Seemed a bit more politically correct

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

Reviewed: 04-11-16

. . . just than true to life. it read a lot like a hypothesis: what if an upstanding, strong willed, deeply moral person made the absolute wrong choice . . . there needs to be a reason for that to happen. The author makes a point of describing loss, from all sides but especially as a parent, and each character's understanding of that specific kind of loss. Then she seems to choose one character to act irrational while constraining the others to tolerate--and worse--to justify the irrational behavior. At this point the narrative began to sound more like a lecture about empathy vs morality. The worse part is that she chooses to make all the women act crazy. Every female character displays emotional weakness and it's all based on being or not being a mother. I found this incredibly juvenile. I felt like this was a missed opportunity because I liked the writing and the premise of this story has such a strong truth to it. The characters just seemed to follow direction, like puppets, instead of being fleshed out to perform from their own will.

  • The Burning

  • A Novel
  • By: Jane Casey
  • Narrated by: Sarah Coomes
  • Length: 14 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,116
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,014
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,013

The Burning Man. It’s the name the media has given a brutal murderer who has beaten four young women to death before setting their bodies ablaze in secluded areas of London’s parks. And now there’s a fifth.Maeve Kerrigan is an ambitious detective constable, keen to make her mark on the murder task force. Her male colleagues believe Maeve’s empathy clouds her judgment, but the more she learns about the latest victim, Rebecca Haworth, the more determined Maeve becomes to find the killer.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Better than I expected! Close to a 5 🌟

  • By Ruth Nielsen on 04-21-15

Confusing Narrator

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

Reviewed: 03-22-16

Would you try another book from Jane Casey and/or Sarah Coomes?

No--to Sarah Coomes, unless all characters are women.

What did you like best about this story?

The main character.

What didn’t you like about Sarah Coomes’s performance?

She creates really strange sarcastic and comical voices for each male character in this book. It's like listening to cartoon voice-overs, which causes a lot of confusion because the women characters sound completely normal. The main character's narration throughout the book is, also, very natural (it is a woman). The tone of this story seems a bit dark comedy, though the synopsis does not read as one.

Could you see The Burning being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

As a dark comedy (something like Fargo), maybe? Because in this narration, the men come off as caricatures of themselves.

Any additional comments?

The male characters became more prominent towards the end. I had to force myself through all that drama.

  • Eileen

  • By: Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Narrated by: Alyssa Bresnahan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 685
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 639
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 638

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father's caretaker in a home whose squalor is the talk of the neighborhood and a day job as a secretary at the boys' prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Strange, unsettling, but engrossing

  • By S. Yates on 01-09-18

Ended full circle

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

Reviewed: 02-18-16

One of the most interesting and at the same time strangest story I've ever read. The performance was a perfect match--not sure I would've enjoyed this book as much had I read it myself (instead off listening to it). The character has a very strong personality and the narrator did an excellent job at portraying this in a tone that was relatable.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • In a Dark, Dark Wood

  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,140
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,375
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,359

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her nest of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn't seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora ( Lee) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable, yes, but mostly just frustrating

  • By De Plume on 07-31-17

Sit Back and Relax

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

Reviewed: 09-13-15

The whole experience of getting together with friends and taking turns in telling a scary story is found with this book. Some people have the talent in creating the story, and others have the talent in the telling of a story. Both author and narrator work in perfect tandom here, making my experience--as a listener--effortless. I could pause when needed and go right back into it without forgeting a moment of where I left off.

  • The Insect Farm

  • By: Stuart Prebble
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 181
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174

Each of the Maguire brothers has his own driving, single-minded obsession. For Jonathan it is his magnificent, talented, and desirable wife, Harriet. For Roger it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents' garden, populated by millions of tiny insects. While Jonathan's pursuit of Harriet leads him to feelings of jealousy and anguish, Roger's immersion in the world he has created reveals a capability and talent that are absent from his everyday life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Darkly Heartbreaking

  • By Janice on 12-05-15

Subtle, very well written.

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

Reviewed: 08-07-15

The narrator did an amazing job. The soft inflections in his voice for the woman's character--her reactions--played out so naturally. I don't want to put any spoilers as to why, especially as all characters in the story were very well portrayed.

The complexity behind living the 'normal, every day life' is described so well--appearances are not always what they seem. Stuart Prebble has a talent for creating subtlety within this story that another author might've exploited for shock value. There are moments when the narrator, while trying to maintain composure, conveys this desire for the reader to do the same--and you do. Nicely done.

While I don't like to compare authors (being that reading a story and writing one are two separate things), I'm a fan of Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell, and Stuart Prebble stands right alongside her in the psychological aspect of telling a story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful