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Catherine

  • 83
  • reviews
  • 95
  • helpful votes
  • 99
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  • The Unexpected Consequences of Love

  • By: Jill Mansell
  • Narrated by: Beverley A. Crick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 117
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 107

Sophie Wells is a successful photographer with a focus on putting the past firmly behind her. When Josh Strachan returns to the seaside town of Cornwall from the States to run his family's hotel, he can't understand why the fun, sexy girl has zero interest in letting him--or any man, for that matter--into her life. He also can't understand how he's been duped into employing Sophie's impulsive friend, Tula, whose crush on him is decidedly unrequited.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the story, not the narrator

  • By TikiSan on 05-24-15

Charming characters. Thank you again to Jill Mansell

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

Reviewed: 02-02-19

Jill Mansell writes many-layered, charming characters that you want to get to know and that you come to love. The characters in this book do not disappoint.

If I have a criticism of this novel, it is that the all the loose threads come to gather a little bit too sweetly, all the uncertainty resolves with very pat answers.

Beverly Crick’s narration is paced properly for the story and she differentiates male and female voices well. The dialogue is sometimes difficult to follow when characters of the same gender are bantering rapidly...but in those cases it rarely matters which one said what.

I wholeheartedly recommend anything by Jill Mansell.

  • The Heartbreaker

  • By: Carly Phillips
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 33

Chase Chandler is head of the town newspaper, a role he took over when his father died, sacrificing any hopes and dreams he had for himself. But when his mother falls seriously ill, Chase realizes how lonely he's become and that it's time to find a wife--and life--of his own. When he promises to look out for a friend's daughter, he is shocked to discover she's the young woman with whom he once spent a secret night of passion.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Mediocre writer, horrible reader

  • By Catherine on 01-28-19

Mediocre writer, horrible reader

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

Reviewed: 01-28-19

William Dufris ruins any interest there might have been in Phillips’ dialogue. His female voices SUCK. He turns women into cliche cartoons, insulting the characters Phillips meant to create.

Phillips’ writing is weak. For example, most writers describe characters with “nice butts”. Phillips uses the term bee-hind. Descriptions of the sex scenes are awkward and forced. The reader makes them even more stiff.

Phillips does not trust the reader to discern motives and feelings of the characters for themselves. Instead of letting them reveal themselves through their actions, she insists on explaining the significance of each motion or turn of phrase. The way she constantly points out which details are important gets very patronizing. In the end, “reading” this book is more work than the story is worth.

I read the first in this series a year or so ago. I must have forgotten how BAD this reader/writer combination actually is. I’ll be returning this one quickly. And I’ll give up on any curiosity I have about the third brother. The listening is just too exhausting!

  • Ninja at First Sight: An Origin Story (Knitting in the City)

  • Knitting in the City
  • By: Penny Reid
  • Narrated by: Em Eldridge
  • Length: 4 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 694
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 657
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 658

He has a girlfriend, and she's never been kissed. He's sullenly sarcastic, and she's earnestly empathetic. He can't stop thinking about her. She knows she should keep her distance. Nevertheless, when opposites attract, the results may be unexpected, but they're also undeniably magnetic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Penny Reid is a Master!

  • By Ian on 03-08-16

This series just keeps getting better!

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

Each character Penny Reid creates for this series is more interesting than the last. Here she gives us two characters who have been formed into interesting and complex persons by the challenging and atypical lives they have led. Fiona’s reasoned decision to start living her life by meeting new people and trying new things leaves the listener more frightened for her feelings than she is for herself. And seeing her go toe to toe with the disputatious Greg Archer reveals the nucleus of the woman that will become the wise and enigmatic motherly member of the knitting group around which this series revolves. Plus, as romance stories go, seeing Greg’s adoration of and respect for Fiona is completely enchanting and left me wistful for a Greg of my own.

  • Slightly Wicked

  • Bedwyn Saga Series, Book 2
  • By: Mary Balogh
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 604
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 565
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 565

With his laughing eyes and wild, rakish good looks, Lord Rannulf Bedwyn is a hard man to resist. To Judith Law, a woman in need of rescue when her stagecoach overturns, Rannulf is simply her savior, a heroic stranger she will reward with one night of reckless passion before she must become a companion to her wealthy aunt. Imagine Judith's shock when the same stranger turns out to be among England's most eligible bachelors, and when he arrives at Harewood Grange to woo her cousin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Something For Everybody

  • By Lady M on 01-01-17

Disturbing start

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

Reviewed: 12-20-18

The first half of this book was very uncomfortable. The heroine made choices that seemed unreasonably inconsistent with the person that she was raised to be and the hero behaved in ways that were very unheroic.

I began to care about Judith fairly early, but I was uncomfortable with Rannulf deep into the book. So uncomfortable that I began to doubt my loyalty to Mary Balogh and only my faith in Rosalyn Landor’s standard for quality kept me listening long enough for Rannulf to discover his heroic side.

Everything else about the quality of writing, storytelling and character development is what I have come to expect from Balogh. I do think she allowed Rannulf to treat Judith like a cortisone for far too long, but it does have a happy ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Silver-Tongued Devil

  • Portland Devils, Book 1
  • By: Rosalind James
  • Narrated by: Tanya Eby
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 788
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 720
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 718

Blake Orbison's pro football career with the Portland Devils may have come crashing to an end, but not calling the signals anymore just gives him more time to devote to his business enterprises, including the latest and greatest: the opening of the Wild Horse Resort in scenic north Idaho. And that other one, too. Blake's on the marriage track now, and he's got a game plan.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • That Blake is a smooth Southern dude!

  • By Michele Z on 01-26-17

Disappointing near ration

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

Reviewed: 12-12-18

It’s too bad that Tanya Eby is not as good a reader as Rosalind James is a writer. I say reader because she doesn’t rise to the level of a narrator.

  • Remember When

  • Remember Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: T. Torrest
  • Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 441
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 415
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 416

Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class. This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone, himself included, could even dream he'd turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great book full of young love and humor!

  • By Debbie on 04-19-14

Deceptive Advertising

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

Reviewed: 11-28-18

The publishers’ description of this book did not mention that a person had to listen to the entire trilogy of books to get the whole story. It also did not mention that Book 1 only covered the one year of Layla’s senior year in high school. It didn’t mention how tedious it was going to be to listen to this girl go through all of the high school angst to get absolutely nowhere in the story!

I was 13 chapters into Book 1 before I had the sense to jump ahead looking for the book to arrive at the adult Layla and Trip. That is when I realized there is an entire 2nd book to get through before that! Now, do I bother with Book 2 (free in the romance package) or do I jump to Book 3 to satisfy my curiosity about Layla and Trip? Or do I just dump T. Torrest and move on to a more reliable author?

Per the narration, Allison Ryan was not the best casting. Her choice to perform Layla as representing herself to her peers as casual and off-hand did not work because there’s something too brisk in Ryan’s voice; a sharp clip in her speech that doesn’t leave room to incorporate Layla’s teenage vulnerability. Ryan misses the mark.

I can’t recommend Book 1 at all. Therefore, I think it would take more endurance than I have to enjoy the trilogy.

  • Devil of the Highlands

  • By: Lynsay Sands
  • Narrated by: Marianna Palka
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,224
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 872
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 869

They call him the Devil.... He is the most notorious laird of Scotland: fierce, cold, deadly...and maybe even worse. Yet Evelinde has just agreed to wed him. Anything, she thinks, is better than her cruel stepmother. Though Evelinde should be wary of the rumors, she can't help but be drawn to this warrior...for the Devil of the Highlands inspires a heat within her that is unlike anything she has ever known.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Eeyore

  • By Rebecca on 07-20-11

Good writing mired in bad reading

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

Reviewed: 10-03-18

The reader sounded like her high school English teacher had told her to read aloud in class. I won’t call it narration because there is no nuance to distinguish the performance from reading aloud. She handles the dialogue of the two main characters okay, but the descriptive narrative in between is stilted and flows like she is seeing the words for the first time. It made it hard to recognize that the book is actually well crafted and the characters are actually well developed. The writing underneath this horrible reading may in fact be pretty good. I’ll try another book by Lynsey Sands as long as it is not read by Marianna Palka.

  • The Family Gathering

  • By: Robyn Carr
  • Narrated by: Therese Plummer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 950
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 874
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 871

Dakota Jones is the second youngest of four children who had a difficult upbringing living with parents who struggle with mental illness. He escaped his family as soon as he could by joining the military. Now, after several tours of duty he has been discharged. He has nowhere to go and no solid plans for the future. Refusing to return home to his parents he arrives in Sullivan's Crossing where his brother Cal and sister Sierra have each experienced the healing power of the place and its people. Nestled at the crossroads of the Colorado and Continental Divide Trails, the area attracts those looking for answers or direction or a new lease on life. Dakota will come to terms with his less-than-perfect family and will plant the roots he's never had.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • HOME RUN AGAIN!!!!!!!

  • By Artkeep on 04-23-18

Like spending time with old friends

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

Reviewed: 09-16-18

I enjoy this series. It is not quite as entertaining as early Virgin River books, but they pass a rainy afternoon pleasantly.

  • The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek

  • By: Jane Myers Perrine
  • Narrated by: Chris Sorensen
  • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 95

The first novel in a charming new series, award-winning author Jane Myers Perrine's The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek is an amusing, warmhearted look at a small town's reception of its newly ordained minister. The mission of committee members Miss Birdie and Mercedes is to educate Adam Jordan on how things should be done in town. But soon the ladies decide on a new goal - to find him a wife.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Would that it were possible!

  • By Sara on 09-24-13

Misses the mark

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

Reviewed: 06-22-18

It seemed as if the author aspired to be James Herriot or Jan Karon by writing a book about quirky small town characters, but she misses the mark.

There was nothing lovable about her core character and for a book about a minister and his relationship with his church ladies, no one EVER suggested trusting their concerns to God. She wrote a book about women I would not want to go to church with, and I am certainly not interested in listening to any more about Miss Bertie.

Oh, bad choice of narrator. He sounded more suited to read children’s stories. He did not ruin the story, but he did not improve it either.

  • The Substitute

  • Wedding Pact Series #1
  • By: Denise Grover Swank
  • Narrated by: Shannon McManus
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,678
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,559
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,551

Megan Vandemeer meant to tell her parents about her broken engagement, but a month and a half later she finds herself boarding a plane home to her wedding. Having stretched avoidance to its limits, it's time to come clean - a terrifying prospect since her mother is sure to blame her rather than her cheating, emotionally frigid ex. A couple of drinks and two Dramamine later, Megan finds herself spilling her sob story to the tall, dark, and handsome stranger in the seat next to her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable & Fun Story

  • By Amy M on 10-23-16

Far fetched premise made unbelievable by unremarkable narrator

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

Reviewed: 04-06-18

This book could have been passable with a more experienced narrator. Shannon McManus was reading rather than performing, and her inability to to infuse substance into the characters made it difficult to believe in the emotional bond that Denise Swank was trying to develop. The result was that the whole package came across as lame.

For the first two thirds of the book Josh kept describing Megan as amazing and special, but there was absolutely nothing in her words or actions that supported such an appraisal. She was afraid of her mother, she persisted in perpetuating a colossal deceit, she had no backbone and the only coping mechanism she thought to employ was avoidance. Other than being pretty and making a couple of witty remarks, there was nothing about her to warrant Josh’s admiration. Watching her fall for him as he stood up for her and supported her was conceivable, but the idea that Megan had enough substance to earn Josh’s love was far fetched.

I got this as part of the Romance package...so it did not cost me a credit. If it had, I would be asking for my credit back.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful