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Natalie

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  • Bookplate Special

  • A Booktown Mystery
  • By: Lorna Barrett
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179

Bookstore owner Tricia Miles has put up - and put up with - her uninvited college roommate for weeks. In return, Pammy has stolen $100. But the day she's kicked out, Pammy's found dead in a dumpster, leaving loads of questions unanswered.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • surprises till the very end.<br />

  • By Vickie Oehring on 09-04-17

Obnoxious, judgmental sleuth

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

Reviewed: 03-01-16

What would have made Bookplate Special better?

The main character, Tricia Miles, is very annoying. She's judgmental and rather small-minded.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

It was utterly predictable. Predictability does not bother me when I read an excellent book, but this one does not meet that criteria.

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

Campbell has a good voice and I would seek out her other narrations. Her inflections are nice, and she is clear and a pleasure to listen to. Had I been reading the book in paper, I might have skipped parts or put it down.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It's very easy to listen to and I sort of enjoyed disliking most of the characters. There's a lot of implausibility. Side plots went nowhere and just took up space (smashing pumpkins, cats, the freegans).

Any additional comments?

I probably will not continue with this series. If the main character were a bit more amiable I might continue. It's odd that many reviewers say that the book has liberal viewpoints. I think that Tricia is very conservative and lacks imagination.

  • Naked in Death

  • In Death, Book 1
  • By: J. D. Robb
  • Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,903
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,841
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,864

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over 10 years on the force, she's seen it all - and knows that her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire - and suspect in Eve's murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about - except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't Judge the Series by the First Book!

  • By Felicity Fairchild on 03-10-12

Note so much as mystery as a sexcapade

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

Reviewed: 09-27-14

Would you try another book from J. D. Robb and/or Susan Ericksen?

No, I would not try a JD Robb book although I have nothing against Susan Ericksen. The writing is filled with every sexual cliche possibly. It you like to read about throbbing and pulsating and golden orgasms you might enjoy it.

Would you ever listen to anything by J. D. Robb again?

No--I like well-written mysteries and thrillers. And it they are not well-written, they should be suspenseful. I am quitting just about mid-way through because there was a hour-long sex scene that bored me to deep irritation with all of the bad writing. I am not a prude; I just cannot tolerate writing that offers me nothing.

How could the performance have been better?

Performance was fine.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed. This book is well-reviewed. It's a poorly spent credit and I can not return it because I have had it over a year.

Any additional comments?

I have resolved to be more careful about buying books on Audible so that I can listen to them within 12 months. What a waste of a credit! I knew that Nora Roberts/JD Robb was very popular, but this foray into the tripe is too much for me. I do not consider myself a literary snob, so I am disappointed. I wish that Amazon had categorized this novel as "romance" instead of "Mystery/thriller".

  • The Vacationers

  • By: Emma Straub
  • Narrated by: Kristen Sieh
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 659
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 571
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 578

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging beginning, but interest declines

  • By Toby on 06-01-14

Review in the New York Times let me astray!

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

Reviewed: 09-20-14

What disappointed you about The Vacationers?

There was little substance. The characters were mainly stereotyped wealthy New Yorkers. The plot is that their smugness gets a little bit rattled, but then they can return to "Eliteness".

Has The Vacationers turned you off from other books in this genre?

It has changed my opinion about the kinds of books reviewed and praised by the NY Times. I will do much better "due diligence" before I invest in books again.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I think that the narrator was just fine; she could not have done much better with the flimsy material.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Vacationers?

I would have said: "DO not publish this book". Or I would have given it some sort of Trigger Warning: Wealthy Smugness to Ensure"

Any additional comments?

It's a summer romp. And I should have stuck to the genres I can trust and the authors I have tested.

  • After I'm Gone

  • A Novel
  • By: Laura Lippman
  • Narrated by: Linda Emond
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 747
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 652
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 656

Dead is dead. Missing is gone. When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette "Bambi" Gottschalk at a Valentine's Day dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative - if not all legal - businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July in 1976, Bambi's comfortable world implodes when Felix, facing prison, vanishes. Though Bambi has no idea where her husband - or his money - might be, she suspects one woman does: his devoted young mistress, Julie.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sisters are doing it for themselves...kinda

  • By Bookmarque on 03-26-14

Pace of story is glacial

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

Reviewed: 09-20-14

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I think it would be a good book for those who like to get into the minutia of people's lives; but for people hoping to have a typical Lippman mystery, there's going to be disappointment

If you’ve listened to books by Laura Lippman before, how does this one compare?

I have read other books by her. The Tess Monaghan series reflects Lippman at her best. Her stand-alone novels are widely uneven, ranging from excellent to disappointing.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I thought that the narrator did a fine job. Linda Emond is a Broadway actress and singer who has a very pleasant voice.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I think not. I might get it from Netflix.

Any additional comments?

I am a bit torn. It is NOT just a mystery. It is NOT a romance. It is insufficient as a family saga: I feel as if it is, like Pirandello's play, "Six Characters in Search of an Author", "SIx plot lines in search of unity".

If anything, the genre is anthropological or sociological. Ultimately a letdown. I would recommend that Lippman fans procure this from the library and see what they think. Or give it a speedy try and return it if you are not swept in with the first hour.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Millionaires

  • By: Brad Meltzer
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 725
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 721

Charlie and Oliver Caruso are brothers who work at Greene & Greene, a private bank so exclusive you need two million dollars just to be a client. But when the door of success slams in their faces, they're faced with an offer they can't refuse: three million dollars in an abandoned account. No one knows it exists, and even better, it doesn't belong to anyone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Possibly the best Meltzer to date

  • By Snoodely on 07-27-12

Fun caper

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

Reviewed: 06-11-14

Would you listen to The Millionaires again? Why?

Yes, I enjoyed the book. I might not listen to it a second time because I recall the plot, but I would read other books by the same author.

If you’ve listened to books by Brad Meltzer before, how does this one compare?

n/a

Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

I liked both Charlie and Oliver.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was amused, but not extremely so.

Any additional comments?

This is a fun romp/caper.

  • Advance First Chapter of The Malice of Fortune

  • By: Michael Ennis
  • Narrated by: Adrian Paul, Carlotta Montanari, John Lee, and others
  • Length: 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 41

Against a teeming canvas of Borgia politics, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci come together to unmask an enigmatic serial killer, as we learn the secret history behind one of the most controversial works in the western canon, The Prince. Traveling across an Italy torn apart by war, they will enter a labyrinth of ancient superstition and erotic obsession to discover at its center a new face of evil - and a truth that will shake the foundations of western civilization.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • What she say?

  • By Monika on 09-07-12

Terribly difficult narration

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

Reviewed: 06-11-14

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The female narrator elides her words so that they are extremely difficult to understand. For example the word "Balconies" sounds like "bakkanies" I had to give up after 15 minutes of tortured attempts to comprehend.

Would you ever listen to anything by Michael Ennis again?

Maybe but I would need to sample the narration first.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Listening to her words meant that I could not follow the plot line. I guess I cannot comprehend and listen at the same time!

Any additional comments?

Please avoid this unless you are fluent in navigating thick Italian accents. The book might be superb, but we cannot get around the narration.

  • Whodunnit?: Murder in Mystery Manor

  • By: Anthony Zuiker
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,315
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,101
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,102

Ten excited guests arrive at the Westlake Estate, expecting a lavish retreat. They are the winners of a sweepstakes to "Live Like a Billionaire for a Week." But what was supposed to be a promising escape soon turns into a horrific nightmare. Within hours of arrival, the guests sit down for an extravagant dinner. When they pull their party poppers as instructed, a loud chorus of bangs resounds, followed by earsplitting screams as the guest seated at the head of the table bursts into flames and slumps to the floor.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Felt Cheated

  • By Karen on 09-30-13

No motive, means, or explanation

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

Reviewed: 06-11-14

What would have made Whodunnit?: Murder in Mystery Manor better?

I wish that an explanation had been provided. It is heinous to listen to a mystery for several hours and then have the murderer be revealed with not one single word as to motive, means, or opportunity.

Has Whodunnit?: Murder in Mystery Manor turned you off from other books in this genre?

It has made me very wary of listening to free books.

The narrator, however, was quite good.

Which scene was your favorite?

Probably the very first one---the set-up because I was oblivious to the face that the denouement would be such a let-down!

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It was a good traditional murder mystery in a time-honored genre---there was simply no mention of any motivation or means.

Any additional comments?

I was terribly disappointed!

  • Wicked Autumn

  • A Max Tudor Novel
  • By: G. M. Malliet
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 961
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 847
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 847

Max Tudor has adapted well to his post as vicar of St. Edwold's in the idyllic village of Nether Monkslip. The quiet village seems the perfect home for Max, who has fled a harrowing past as an MI5 agent. But this new-found serenity is quickly shattered when the highly vocal and unpopular president of the Women's Institute turns up dead at the Harvest Fayre. The death looks like an accident, but Max's training as a former agent kicks in, and before long he suspects foul play.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Classic Cozy English Village Mystery

  • By Sara on 10-08-14

Homage to Miss Marple and her village?

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

Reviewed: 06-11-14

Would you listen to Wicked Autumn again? Why?

Yes, I would. It is a good story with a great narrator and a complex mystery is woven. The tone is a bit breezy and tongue-in-cheek, which makes it a good listen for lighter moments.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Wicked Autumn?

Learning about the background of Max Tudor, a former MI5 agent turned Anglican priest in the small village of Nether Monkslip.

Which character – as performed by Michael Page – was your favorite?

Max Tudor although other characters, who are less developed are memorable. I hope that some of them continue on in the series.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found it gripping and I enjoyed the homage to the traditional Golden Age of the British cozy mystery and the small town. I could imagine Miss Marple set down here. I like the town shops and the fair. On the other hand, I suspect that the author is am American because there are some non-Britishisms that I caught here and there, (but do not recollect).

Any additional comments?

I plan to continue with the series. It is the equivalent of "comfort food" for me. I hope that the minor characters will return and be better developed. Some readers might not be entirely comfortable with all aspects of this book--it is very contemporary despite the fact that I kept thinking it was the 1930's. Mentions of google or the internet sometimes seem jarring in contrast with the Olde Tyme Englishe Fayre.

  • Bent Road

  • By: Lori Roy
  • Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 47

For 20 years, Celia Scott has watched her husband, Arthur, hide from the secrets surrounding his sister Eve’s death. As a young man, Arthur fled his small Kansas hometown, moved to Detroit, married Celia, and never looked back. But when the 1967 riots frighten him even more than his past, he convinces Celia to pack up their family and return to the road he grew up on, Bent Road, and that same small town where Eve mysteriously died.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Great writing--not great story!!

  • By Byron on 12-06-12

Boring Road--not much of a mystery

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

Reviewed: 06-11-14

Would you try another book from Lori Roy and/or Marguerite Gavin?

Not from Lori Roy. Marguerite Gavin seems to be a fine narrator. I cannot believe that this book won an Edgar!

What was most disappointing about Lori Roy’s story?

The title, "Bent Road" is a misnomer. It should be straight and tedious road. It's very slow and tedious, plodding and repetitious, and the characters do not stand out in any way.

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

I liked her voice and she did as well as she could with the narration. In the end, however, if the words are ploddingly tedious, the best narrator cannot make a book come alive.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed---even angry---because this book has won an Edgar Award for best first novel. I suppose it looks atmospherically at dysfunctional families in Kansas, but the view is too claustrophobic for the listener.

Any additional comments?

I have decided to abandon listening after slightly over 2 hours. I don't care about this book or the characters. I listen to books because I like to be gripped and curious and eager to return. When I dread the "listen" it means it's time to toss the book. If the first two hours do not pull me in, why continue with a purgatorial listen?

  • Down Home Murder

  • Laura Fleming, Book 1
  • By: Toni L. P. Kelner
  • Narrated by: Gayle Hendrix
  • Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 475
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 390
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 396

When a tragic family accident brings Laura Fleming back home to Byerly, North Carolina, the sleuth discovers that her beloved grampaw's fatal fall from a ladder in the old mill was not an accident.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • My favorite cousin is a nice young boy in the KKK!

  • By Natalie on 04-19-14

My favorite cousin is a nice young boy in the KKK!

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

Reviewed: 04-19-14

What disappointed you about Down Home Murder?

It was a listing of terribly unhealthy fast food consumed by a very large family. The narrator felt so very sympathetic towards her cousin, a new member of the KKK.

What was most disappointing about Toni L. P. Kelner’s story?

I will never fall for a "deal of the day" again without doing much more investigation. This "mystery" was a disaster for me. None of the characters had any character except a love for fast food. The narrator cum "detective" is mainly memorable because she loved sausage biscuits. Having moved to Boston, she evidently could find nary a sausage nor a biscuit. Is this book an advertisement for Hardee's and McDonald's?

What didn’t you like about Gayle Hendrix’s performance?

Too much Southern, too much lightness--I really did not like her drawls and wondered seriously if the speed on my iPod was off. It was not.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was angry and disappointed. I did not like the trite treatment of race; I did not like the huge cast of greedy characters who cared more about the menu than the death among them.

Any additional comments?

I won't be fooled again. This is most certainly the worst "read" I have had on audible.com.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful