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Bette

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  • The Neighbors

  • By: Hannah Mary McKinnon
  • Narrated by: Mary Jane Wells, Alex Wyndham, Billie Fulford-Brown, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 41

After a night of fun back in 1992, Abby is responsible for a car crash that kills her beloved brother. It's a mistake she can never forgive, so she pushes away Liam, the man she loves most, knowing that he would eventually hate her for what she's done, the same way she hates herself. Twenty years later, Abby's husband, Nate, is also living with a deep sense of guilt. He was the driver who first came upon the scene of Abby's accident, the man who could not save her brother in time. It's this guilt, this regret, that binds them together. Then, Liam moves into the neighborhood....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 💖😭😭😭

  • By Taylor on 03-21-18

Oh, That ENDING!!!

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

Reviewed: 04-16-18

This is a tricky audio book to review- part steamy 80's soap opera, part Greek morality play, The Neighbors is a mostly enjoyable ride with occasional boggy patches. It's the story of two couples whose paths seem destined to cross, read in alternating chapters by four different narrators. The four characters (six, if you count their bratty teenagers) are a relatively unsympathetic bunch. Each has a unique POV and voice but they all come off as childish rather than childlike and selfish rather than quirky. McKinnon's storytelling is solid; a little TOO solid with only one surprising twist in an ending that should have had many (like 6?) had McKinnon not over-laid the groundwork and given a little too much away.

It's a bit of a strange brew considering the production is one of the best audio productions out there. The director & readers chose to push the steamy soap aspects to the level of vocal Kabuki. While far from my usual cup of tea, the style is kind of brilliant, particularly at the ending. I'll say it again: oh, that ending!

About three-quarters of the way through the Neighbors, I believed I knew everything that would happen and rather wanted the author to get on with it, but once the denoument started- well- author McKinnon used a literary device I have always despised. I found myself laughing with glee at the audacity and inevitability of it's use. It made sense of the story and of the near theatrical emotion of the production."Bravo!", I laughed.

While it was sometimes difficult to engage with the characters and the novel could have used a bit more editing, it's a very well crafted tale. I found much to admire and enjoy in this production of The Neighbors.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Isabel's Bed

  • By: Elinor Lipman
  • Narrated by: Grace Conlin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

When Harriet Mahoney first saw it, Isabel Krug's bed was covered in sheared sheep and littered with celebrity biographies. The unpublished, fortyish, and recently jilted Harriet had fled wintry Manhattan in response to a mysterious ad in The New York Review of Books: "Book in progress? Why not share my Cape Cod retreat? Roomy and peaceful, your life will be your own."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a Gem

  • By Bette on 03-24-18

a Gem

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

Reviewed: 03-24-18

Isabel's Bed has no great revalations, no action, little mystery; it's just a lovely story read in a suitably brash and wonderful voice .Author Lipman's story and reader Conlin make one of those rare gems of a production; perfect for the small, sweet story that it is.

  • The Time in Between

  • The Magdalene Series, Book 3
  • By: Kristen Ashley
  • Narrated by: Erin Mallon
  • Length: 19 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,086
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,019
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,022

After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began 18 years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart. Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn't and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing...and life-altering betrayal.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Definitely NOT Going on My KA Favorites Shelf!!

  • By Dorsey on 11-09-17

Pretty Sappy

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

Reviewed: 09-29-17

I enjoyed the other 2 books in the Magdalene series, but this verged on insufferable.The story was far less meaty than most of the Ashley brand; The time in between has a lot of backstory but rather than filling it out and answering many unanswered questions, it concentrated too much on the 'now', which is a rather lackluster, 'does he or doesn't he?' then 'of course he does!' story in which the heroine seems emotionally arrested at the mooney-eyed age of 16.

This is re enforced by reader Erin Mallon, whose general performance is excellent, but the childlike inflection and breathy choices for protagonist Cady that work when the character is 23 years old make her sound just too childlike and needy for the 41 year old woman of the 'now'.

I finished it, but I think this is the first time I've considered returning a Kristen Ashley brand book.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • They Call Me Crazy

  • A Cass Adams Novel, Book 1
  • By: Kelly Stone Gamble
  • Narrated by: Talmadge Ragan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

Cass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn't stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly enjoyable

  • By Daisy on 02-09-17

Charming, Quirky and Oddly Noir

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

Reviewed: 08-19-17

What a refreshing domestic thriller in this era of humorless, tropey, cranked-out 'Gone Girl' wanna be's! Gamble has written an engaging, charming and dark story peopled with fully fleshed characters in a clean, thoughtful prose.

This would have been 5 stars, but for some production issues. I loved reader Talmadge Ragan's work, but no one reader can carry off the five different voices needed for five different narrators. I was often confused as to which character was telling the story; in fact, I'm not certain it was 5.


A note to Audible; please consider rerecording this with five readers under your 'Originals' brand, retaining Ragan as Cass.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Breakdown

  • By: B. A. Paris
  • Narrated by: Georgia Maguire
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,773
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,339
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,329

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside - the woman who was killed. She's been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It's a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she'd broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she'd stopped.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I tore through it within a few days

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 10-02-17

A Dull Parade of Tropes

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

Reviewed: 07-19-17

Oh, wait; did I write dull? This story is downright boring. If BA Paris had constructed
believable- or even vaguely interesting- characters, I'd wait until I finish the last few hours of this insufferably cliched story before reviewing, but I'm pretty certain I won't make it to the end.

Why was this billed as "the Summer's most anticipated thriller"? Did MacMillan think readers wouldn't notice their own lack of engagement? The Breakdown has barely enough story for a short novella.

The bright spot in this production is the production team itself, fronted by reader Georgia Maguire; they manage to create the illusion of propulsion in this wash-rinse-repeat slog of repeating tropes.

I've awarded the actual story two stars because BA Paris' prose is very good. The writer just needed a knowledgeable editor- and perhaps a different house.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Breath of Scandal

  • By: Sandra Brown
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 15 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,779
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,214
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,208

On a rainy Southern night, Jade Sperry endured a young woman's worst nightmare at the hands of three local hell-raisers. Robbed of her youthful ideals and at the center of scandal and tragedy, Jade ran as far and as fast as she could. But she never forgot the sleepy "company town" where every man, woman, and child was dependent on one wealthy family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lifted by Narration

  • By Margaret on 05-01-09

Lackluster Early Brown

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

Reviewed: 05-20-17

The blurb for 'breath of scandal' is far more exciting than the novel. It's a straightforward A happened then B happened then C happened story-line with a lot of cliched secondary characters. It's nothing like the richly tapestried stories we all love from Sandra Brown.

Unless you're a Brown scholar interested in her developing voice, give this one a miss.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Confess

  • By: Colleen Hoover
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Louise, Sebastian York
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,412
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,282
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,279

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight, and there's no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn't expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed

  • By meaghan3927 on 03-30-15

It's YA for starters

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

Reviewed: 05-15-17

I am experiencing difficulty believing that this book was written by the same author who wrote 'This Ends With Us", a very well crafted story in every way.

This book is populated by characters in their early 20's in adult situations whose thinking and emotions are that of 13 year old children 'trying to be good'. It's creepy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Torment of Rachel Ames

  • By: Jeff Gunhus
  • Narrated by: Lisa Stathoplos
  • Length: 4 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 248
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 216
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 218

Suffering from writer's block, novelist Rachel Ames escapes to a lake cabin to calm her mind and regain a sense of herself. The location is perfect. Isolated. Beautiful. Inspiring. It even comes with a good-looking landlord who shows an interest in her. But she can't shake the sense that something terrible has followed her to the lake, something just beyond her consciousness, something out on the edge where the sounds of a raging fire and sirens linger whenever she slows down to listen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • You Are Now Entering.....

  • By Bette on 05-02-17

You Are Now Entering.....

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

Reviewed: 05-02-17

So yeah, this would have made a perfect Twilight Zone episode (well, double episode). I've always loved this kind of mindbending, 'just sit back and enjoy the ride' story, but it's been so long since I've read (well, listened to) one, that it took me a while to recognize it.

The Torment of Rachel Ames is an excellent production of a most excellent trip through psychosis, but if you need your t's crossed and i's dotted, don't bother. It is what it is.


Ummm, before I go, just let me say that the story is extremely unpleasant and harrowing. It's the kind of story I would normally have returned unfinished. I suppose it's a testament to author Jeff Gunhus' mastery of storytelling that I not only finished it, but stayed up into the morning hours to do so.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Apartment

  • By: S L Grey
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Guy Smith, Fiona Hardingham
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 96

Mark and Steph have a relatively happy family with their young daughter in sunny Cape Town until one day when armed men in balaclavas break in to their home. Left traumatized but physically unharmed, Mark and Steph are unable to return to normal and live in constant fear. When a friend suggests a restorative vacation abroad via a popular house swapping website, it sounds like the perfect plan.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Creepy and Enjoyable

  • By Candice on 01-06-17

Ghost, Monster or Folie a Deux?

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

Reviewed: 05-02-17

Who cares? The Apartment is a creepy slow burn of a book and a superb production. It's the kind of book that really gets under the reader's skin - just read the other reviews- it's as though we listened to different books! No, the Apartment is not perfect, I wanted a bit more padding, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • After You Left

  • By: Carol Mason
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 542
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 467
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 468

When Justin walks out on Alice on their honeymoon, with no explanation apart from a cryptic note, Alice is left alone and bewildered, her life in pieces. Then she meets Evelyn, a visitor to the gallery where she works. It's a seemingly chance encounter, but Alice gradually learns that Evelyn has motives, and a heartbreaking story, of her own. And that story has haunting parallels with Alice's life. As Alice delves into the mystery of why Justin left her, the questions are obvious. But the answers may lie in the most unlikely of places...

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I kept thinking 'what the heck???'

  • By Bette on 05-02-17

I kept thinking 'what the heck???'

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

Reviewed: 05-02-17

For better or worse, After You Left will keep you on your toes. Is it a mystery? Well, yeah- but not the one you think it is. Is it literary? Maybe; some aspects of the book are quite fine while others are straight out of the chicklit handbook. Is it engaging? Yes- except when it isn't. And last, 'What did she say?' Narrator Knoweldon does an excellent job but in that whispery-childwoman voice that keeps me rewinding.

Yep, I am ambivalent about After You Left. The story line seemed forced at times but the storytelling was excellent. I'll certainly try more Carol Mason novels because despite everything I've said, After You Left is better than 2/3 of the books I listen to.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful