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Carol Mello

San Jose,CA USA
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  • 59
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  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

  • By: Dorothy Gilman
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
  • Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,442
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,009
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,010

Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. This first in the series sends Emily on her first case after she successfully persuades a skeptical CIA recruitment officer that she is the best person for the job.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara Rosenblatt: THE Voice!

  • By Barbara on 01-14-12

Mrs. Pollifax audio book

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-01-18

Well narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, this is the first book in the Mrs. Pollifax series. I read this in paperback format when it was first published. I was in my 20s. I enjoyed the book back then and I am enjoying my reintroduction to Emily Pollifax now that I am in my 60s.

Mrs. Pollifax, a widow, applies at the CIA to be a spy. Her appearance at the CIA coincides with Mr. Carstairs needing an unknown person in the guise of a tourist for courier work: to pick up a package at a bookshop in Mexico City on a certain date. Just to be sure of herself, Mrs. Pollifax visits the bookshop early, to browse for a book to read. She gets into a conversation with the kindly bookshop owner who convinces her to take up solitaire. On the pick up date, the old bookshop owner is gone and the new one offers her tea. It is only when she finds the owner's parrot is missing that she realizes something is wrong. When she wakes up, she and a man named John Farrell are prisoners. At first she does not trust him but eventually she realizes they are both working for Carstairs. They are flown to a prison in Albania where they are to be interrogated by the notoriously vicious General Perdido. To avoid interrogation, Farrell jumps off a cliff but manages to survive, though shot and badly hurt. Throughout their time in Albania, Mrs. Pollifax copes with all their ordeals and devises an escape plan.

Mrs. Pollifax is both naive and capable. She is a charming not too old senior citizen. When I first read the book, 60 years old seemed quite old to me. Now that I am in my 60s myself, I realize that for many people, even though one has some health problems, 60 is not that old. Still, I do get similar treatment as Mrs. Pollifax does from much younger people (people below 45). Which is one of the reasons that the whole idea of Mrs. Pollifax getting away with the things she does is believable. If you are over 60, people tend to underestimate your capabilities and treat you as if you are 87. What seemed fun but fantastic in my 20s becomes completely plausible now that I truly know what being in one's 60s is really like.

  • Illusion Town

  • By: Jayne Castle
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
  • Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 475
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 433
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 433

Hannah West and Elias Coppersmith have no regrets about their impulsive wedding since they can't remember it. All either can remember is that they were on the run. With Hannah's dubious background and shaky para-psych profile, she could have done much worse. The competent mining heir arouses her curiosity - as well as other parts of her mind and body. A honeymoon spent retracing their footsteps leads them into the twisting underground catacombs, where secrets from both their pasts will come to light.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Where is Joyce Bean?

  • By Nini on 07-29-16

Charming fun

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-30-18

This is the last Harmony novel Jayne Castle wrote. I keep hoping there will be more Harmony novels. I like this fictional other world of Jayne Castle.

While I enjoy the development of a relationship between Hannah and Elias, the real star of the book is Virgil the dust bunny. The funniest parts involve Virgil.

  • Deception Cove

  • A Rainshadow Novel, Book 2
  • By: Jayne Castle
  • Narrated by: Joyce Bean
  • Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 548
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 491
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 493

As a light-talent, Alice North has the rare ability to make things disappear, including herself - a gift that comes in handy during her magic act with her dust bunny Houdini. Business mogul Drake Sebastian is day-blind, since his sight was nearly destroyed in a lab accident. But he’s the one man who can see Alice when she disappears - and he needs her. On Rainshadow Island, two dangerous Old World crystals are missing, igniting a paranormal storm. Drake thinks Alice is the key to finding them, and proposes they head there, but only after a marriage of convenience.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jayne Castle produces another winner

  • By Captain Skurvy on 08-31-13

Dust bunnies, love, magic, and giant mutant insects

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-16-18

This is a favorite read and a favorite listen. I like the hero and heroine. I love them fighting off giant mutant insects together in Deception Cove. And, of course, I love this novel's dust bunny, Houdini. Yes, it is over the top, but I think the author deliberately went over the top for the sheer fun of including giant insects in one of her books. The female narrator does a good job with the male voices. Her pacing is good, not too slow. Two other audio books I listened to recently by this author (different pseudonyms, different series, different narrators) were too slow; this one was just right.

  • The Man with the Sack

  • By: Margery Allingham
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

"Albert dear, we are going to have a quiet family party at home here for the holiday, just ourselves and the dear village. It would be such fun to have you with us." Faced with an invitation he can't refuse, Albert Campion is spending Christmas with the Turretts at Pharaoh's Court, along with the Welkins and Mike Peters, a young man trying to shake off his father's reputation. But when Santa Claus is implicated in a burglary, Campion's skills are put to use.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellently narrated Campion short story

  • By Carol Mello on 05-13-18

Excellently narrated Campion short story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-13-18

David Thorpe does an enjoyable narration of this Albert Campion Christmas short story. The voice of Campion is perfection. The story, though short, is good. Uncle Albert saves the day and routs the the thieves.

  • The Red Lamp

  • By: Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Narrated by: Gary Dikeos
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

William Porter has just inherited Twin Hollows, an isolated lakeside estate shrouded in mystery and doom. But William and his wife aren't easily swayed by ghost stories and whispered rumors. Until a shadowy apparition beckons to them from the undying glow of a red lamp. Is a stranger with a deadly purpose trying to frighten them away? Or are they being haunted by a chilling warning from the grave?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classic murder mystery novel about Spiritualism

  • By ernest drown on 01-07-14

A paranormal mystery with a strange red lamp

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-30-18

I enjoyed listening to this audio of the novel. The narrator does a good job. There's the element of "well, this cannot be really happening" among the characters as events proceed. I found this fun story.

  • The After House

  • By: Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Burns
  • Length: 4 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 4

Just out of the hospital and totally out of funds, Ralph Leslie jumped at the chance to sign aboard millionaire Marshall Turner's luxurious super-yacht as steward to the passengers lodged in its after house. His job was easy sailing until one sultry summer night the dream voyage suddenly became a nightmare of blood and terror.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Needs a male reader, not a female reader

  • By Carol Mello on 03-30-18

Needs a male reader, not a female reader

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-30-18

The narrator reading this book is not right for the content. The novel is told in the first person by a young man who is a doctor. I think a male narrator would have made this a more interesting novel to listen to.

Plenty of mayhem on a boat that was fitted out to be a yacht. The boat is cursed and there's a homicidal maniac on board. With the right audio narration, it could be a fun listen.

  • Axel

  • The Jaded Gentlemen, Book 3
  • By: Grace Burrowes
  • Narrated by: James Langton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

Axel Belmont, though a wealthy and much-respected botanist, occasionally takes a turn serving as magistrate in his rural corner of Oxfordshire. When the owner of a neighboring estate is the victim of a homicide, Axel initially suspects the man's much younger wife, Abigail Stoneleigh, of committing the crime. But then Abby appears to be in harm's way, and Axel's investigation uncovers longstanding deceptions aimed at cheating her out of wealth and happiness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well done mystery and romance

  • By Carol Mello on 02-21-18

Well done mystery and romance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-21-18

Axel Belmont, botanist, widower, and magistrate, investigates the murder of Gregory Stoneleigh. He soon discovers that the late Mr. Stoneleigh was a nasty piece of work. In fear for Gregory's widow's life (she was being poisoned by someone), Axel moves Abigail Stoneleigh to the safety of his home, Candlewick, while his investigation continues into the life of her late husband. A deep mutual love grows between the widower and the widow. It is hamper by the on going murder investigation, neighborhood gossip, and Axel's ambition for a fellowship at Oxford University (mere fellows are not allowed to be married).

I enjoyed this book tremendously, especially the character of Axel Belmont. Alas, he a fictional character.

  • Lady Osbaldestone’s Christmas Goose

  • Lady Osbaldestone’s Christmas Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: Stephanie Laurens
  • Narrated by: Helen Lloyd
  • Length: 7 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58

It's December 1810, and Lady Therese Osbaldestone is looking forward to her usual Christmas with her family at Winslow Abbey, her youngest daughter Celia's home. But then a carriage rolls up and disgorges Celia's three oldest children. Their father has contracted mumps, and their mother has sent the three - Jamie, George, and Lottie - to spend this Christmas with their grandmama in Little Moseley.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love Stephanie's books

  • By Richard T. Strecker on 10-30-17

Excellent Christmas novel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-09-18

More than a romance, this novel is a mystery (where are the missing geese?) and a celebration of village life in an English village in 1810 at Christmas time. A satisfying story by a romance author, to be treasured annually like Dicken's A Christmas Story.

  • The Unknown Ajax

  • By: Georgette Heyer
  • Narrated by: Daniel Philpott
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,165
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 923
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 928

Miles from anywhere, Darracott Place is presided over by irascible Lord Darracott. The recent drowning of his eldest son has done nothing to improve his temper. For now he must send for the unknown offspring of the uncle whom the family are never permitted to mention. Yet none of that beleaguered family are prepared for the arrival of the weaver’s brat and heir apparent.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another great Georgette Heyer romance

  • By bebe on 06-04-10

Well done narration by Daniel Philpott

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-19-18

Daniel Philpott does a marvelous narration of this regency romantic comedy by Georgette Heyer.

Ajax refers to Hugo Darracourt (sp?), the grandson of a weaver turned woolen mill owner on his mother's side and the grandson of a haughty baron on his father's side. Lord Darracourt never expected his second son's "weaver's brat" to end up being his heir. When the unexpected happens, his eldest son Granville and Granville's son Oliver have both died, his Lordship invites the surviving family to his country home (in smuggler territory) and tells them about the half common born grandson no one had known about who is now his heir. He has also invited the new heir, Hugo Darracourt, to his country home to be trained and polished up. The Darracourt family will never be the same once they meet Hugo. The Darracourts all make the wrong assumptions about Hugo. Hugo does not correct them and let's them assume the worst about him because he has had a tendency to levity his whole life. Intending only to stay a week or so, Hugo ends up falling in love with his cousin Althea, the first to realize what a jokester Hugo is. He loves her laughing eyes and the gurgle she makes when suppressing laughter at Hugo's jokes.

Much of the story revolves around Althea's brother, Richmond, who is headed for trouble and Hugo's efforts to avert trouble.

  • A Viscount's Proposal

  • By: Melanie Dickerson
  • Narrated by: Anna Parker-Naples
  • Length: 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 290
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 253

Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society's shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She's determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents - or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage, the ensuing gossip may force them together.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Horrible Edward voice

  • By Ben on 03-05-17

A long prosy and pious regency romance with audio problems

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-01-18

I am glad that I listened to this romance novel using Kindle Unlimited. It is not one I would have been happy paying full price for even though it is low priced. This is the first romance I have read/listened to by the author. It is a very prosy romance. With its extensive praise for Hannah Moore and pious evangelical content, it did not appeal to me.

I did listen to the full audio so I gave it three stars. It does have two audio problems. As mentioned by other reviewers, the voice the narrator used for the hero is atrocious. The second audio ptoblem is numerous "skips" in the first half of the audio. If you are old enough to remember vinyl records, you will know what a skip sounds like. If you are not old enough, suffice it to say that skips are what happens when playing a vinyl record that is scratched or if the record player is jostled while a record is being played. It sounds somewhat like stuttering. There were perhaps forty of these skips in the first half. I am wondering if they were caused by reading and listening at the same time or if there truly are digital flaws in the audio file.

Because I actually listened to the entire book despite too much piety and bad audio quality, I am giving this audio/book three stars.

I am definitely not listening to it ever again. I will also not be reading nor listening to anymore books by the author. It is not the type of romance I enjoy. Overly long and way too pious for me.

(There are lines in this book spoken by the "good" characters that are IMHO cringe worthy.)