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Carolyn Gwaltney

Durham, NC USA
  • 15
  • reviews
  • 47
  • helpful votes
  • 94
  • ratings
  • Envy

  • By: Sandra Brown
  • Narrated by: Victor Slezak
  • Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,721
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,708
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,702

New York book editor Maris Matherly-Reed knows a best seller when she sees one - even if it is just a tantalizing partial manuscript submitted by a writer identified only as P.M.E., with the return address of an obscure island off the Georgia coast. Maris is intrigued enough to search for him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Envy

  • By DMHVetSurveyor on 05-26-07

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 06-12-12

Envy an amazingly well-crafted suspense story with a multilayer plot and perfect pacing. Sandra Brown creates a solid sense of place for every setting, whether it's a big city, a college frat house, Key West or an obscure Georgia island. The book consists of two story arcs that eventually intersect. One story arc starts with Maris, a publisher, tracking down a reclusive author. Parker Evans is the author who submits an unsolicited manuscript to her publishing house. The second arc is the book Parker is writing, titled "Envy." The intertwining of these two plots is well done, with Brown doling out the backstory contained in the manuscript in tantalizing installments. In addition to the mystery in Parker's book, there is intrigue and betrayal going on in the present day story of Parker, Maris, Maris's husband and her father. The twists and turns are wonderful and the timing is superb. Brown also manages to write a compelling romance, even with such unlikely circumstances.

Victor Slezak voices all the characters well, but he has a special knack for the southern accents of Parker and his assistant, Mike. Slezak's voice for Parker is deep, rough, and perfect. Slazek doesn't use a high voice for the female characters--no falsetto here-- but he still manages to soften his voice and differentiate between the genders with no problems. I can't think of any way to improve the narration of this book.

  • The Cinderella Deal

  • By: Jennifer Crusie
  • Narrated by: Susan Boyce
  • Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,288
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 861
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 875

Daisy Flattery is a free spirit with a soft spot for strays and a weakness for a good story. Why else would she agree to the outrageous charade offered by her buttoned-down workaholic neighbor, Linc Blaise? The history professor needs to have a fiancée in order to capture his dream job, and Daisy is game to play the role. But something funny happens on their way to the altar that changes everything.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Definitely worth it

  • By Carolyn Gwaltney on 05-03-12

Definitely worth it

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

Reviewed: 05-03-12

The narrator has a nice, strong voice and does a fine job with the story. I usually listen to audiobooks while I occupy myself doing chores or walking. However, this time I simply listened to the last 2 hours of the book while sitting quietly with my eyes shut. It was a great way to experience the story, being immersed in it. I felt the anxiety of both Linc and Daisy as they came to grips with their feelings while trying to understand what best to do about them. Linc turns out to be a great hero, and Daisy is equally wonderful.

This book is different than the other lighthearted contemporaries I've read by Jennifer Crusie, although Bet Me had some serious moments. The Cinderella Deal is certainly humorous, even laugh-out-loud at times, but the humor is laced with poignancy. This story about two mismatched people trying to work things out could have been simply another zany tale of opposites attracting, clashing, and finally getting it right. But for Linc and Daisy, getting it right was at times a painful experience. Both struggle with who they think they are suppose to be, and who they think the other person is. I've read several fun books with the basic "pretend fiance/spouse" plot line, but I've never gotten so caught up in the characters or their feelings. This book may be a fairly short, easy read, but it certainly has depth.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • No Rest for the Wicked: Immortals After Dark, Book 3

  • By: Kresley Cole
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,854
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,641
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,649

Centuries ago, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire - a nightmare in his mind - against his will. Burdened with hatred and alone for ages, he sees little reason to live - until an exquisite, fey creature comes to kill him, inadvertently saving him instead. When Kaderin the Cold Hearted lost her two beloved sisters to a vampire attack long ago, a benevolent force deadened her sorrow - accidentally extinguishing all of her emotions. Yet whenever she encounters Sebastian, her feelings emerge multiplied.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I LOVE THIS SERIES!!

  • By Lupdilup on 04-17-12

Excellent narration

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

Reviewed: 04-20-12

The audiobook is narrated by the talented Robert Petkoff. His voicing of the many accents and his ability to do both male and female characters well makes him a perfect choice for this series. He differentiates the characters very well, even when voicing two males with Slavic accents, or two Valkyrie sisters. His timing and inflection when reading dialogue is excellent. He delivers humorous lines with the right "punch" and is good at knowing just the right inflection needed for the context. My only caveat, and this is a small one, is that the love scenes are delivered a little too dramatically for my tastes, and Kaderin sometimes ends up sounding too breathy. Overall, however, this is an enjoyable story made even better by an excellent narration.

  • Now You See Her

  • By: Linda Howard
  • Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 547
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 479
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 482

A talented painter in her early thirties, Samille Sweeney has achieved enviable success. Her work sells at an exclusive New York City gallery and her popularity is at an all-time high when she begins to experience lush, vivid dreams drenched in vibrant hues that influence her artwork. When Sweeney paints a graphic murder scene that mirrors a recent real-life murder, she is thrust into suspicious light.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So glad the Unabridged version has been released!!

  • By M. Davis on 03-21-12

Great fun!

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

Reviewed: 03-30-12

I'm so glad I listened to the audiobook instead of reading the book. While I would have liked the book in print, I can't help but think the narrator increased my enjoyment quite a bit. Narrator Laura Lefkow's unusual delivery worked perfectly for the heroine. The reader felt the distracted way Sweeney's mind worked, complete with her vagueness and social unease. It was very well done.

Although I figured out the killer early on, I still enjoyed the mystery. The characters, from Sweeney and Richard to the secondary characters, like the police detectives, were well fleshed out and enjoyable. The dialogue was well written and made sense, something I always appreciate!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Komarr

  • A Miles Vorkosigan Novel
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 12 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,855
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,272

Komarr could be a garden with 1,000 more years' work, or an uninhabitable wasteland if the terraforming fails. Now, the solar mirror vital to the terraforming of the conquered planet has been shattered by a ship hurtling off course. The emperor of Barrayar sends his newest imperial auditor, Lord Miles Vorkosigan, to find out why.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • More of a set up book for the rest of the series

  • By Nathan on 03-25-08

Fantastic

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

Reviewed: 03-12-12

Beautiful writing, clever dialog, great story and well-developed characters--everything you can expect from a Bujold book. Add Gardner's excellent narration, and you have an unbeatable combination. I enjoyed this book even though I haven't read any of the Vokosigan books except Shards of Honor, which was also incredibly good. I will be going back now getting the entire series.

  • Whitehorse

  • By: Katherine Sutcliffe
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 77
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

Childhood sweethearts Leah Starr and Johnny Whitehorse had nothing in common. She was a senator's daughter. He was the grandson of an Apache medicine man and the local "bad boy". But their passion made the rest of the world seem unimportant, until a cruel deception forced them apart. Years later, Leah has returned to her hometown, burdened with memories, familiar with struggle and hard work, but when she sees Johnny again, her strength is tested.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Have to listen again

  • By Barbara on 10-15-06

Interesting story

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

Reviewed: 02-16-12

This is a difficult book for me to rate. For much of the story, I was uncomfortable with the actions of both lead characters. I was also frustrated by their lack of communication. As the story unfolds, you understand the characters better, and even sympathize, but both Whitehorse and Leah are very flawed and stubborn individuals and not always likeable.

Johnny Whitehorse, as introduced in the beginning of the book, is selfish and opportunistic. His relationship with Delores is self-serving (for both) and put me off. The entire restaurant scene with Delores and Johnny, and Leah and her date is weird and unsettling. And I guess that's the watch-word for the entire book: it's unsettling.

Sutcliffe gets on a few soap boxes during the novel, mostly about the plight of Native Americans and the needs of children with cerebral palsy. The monologues are informative and even moving, but feel forced.

My last complain is the abrupt ending of the book. I'm not a big epilogue fan, but there is absolutely no denouement after the final climatic scene.

On the plus side, the writing is excellent, and the author does an marvelous job giving the reader a sense of time and place. The descriptions were detailed without being wordy, drawing the reader into the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions. The main characters, while not always likeable, are very real, flaws and all. Some of the best scenes in the book are between Leah and her son--very beautifully done.

Kate Reading's narration is excellent!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Slave to Sensation

  • Psy-Changeling Series, Book 1
  • By: Nalini Singh
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,987
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,594
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,609

Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind - and none of the heart. Born a Psy, Sascha Duncan must hide the emotions that mark her as flawed. But a passionate Changeling will tempt her to reveal everything - and risk her very soul.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better than I remember.

  • By Diana on 05-30-11

Lots of fun!

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

Reviewed: 02-16-12

The world-building was interesting and well done. After finishing the book I do have some questions about the psy-net, but overall the descriptions and explanations for the world were excellent. Lucas and Sascha were likeable, well-drawn characters who grew and developed as the story moves forward.

I had a few, albeit minor, problems with the story and the writing. For one, the author tends to be repetitive. The reader endures Sascha thinking about her brokenness and the possibilities of death or rehabilitation a couple of dozen times, for example. Of more import was the conclusion of the suspense plot toward the end. Without giving spoilers, I can only say it was less than satisfying for the majority of the action to take place "off camera." The summary of events felt like an afterthought. I'm assuming the fall-out from that event will be part of the successive stories of this series.

The narrator, Angela Dawe, has a curious lack of tonal inflection in her delivery (she rarely drops her voice at the end of sentences) which took some getting used to. However, her character voices are excellent and I never thought "Oh, that's a woman reading a man's part." Overall 4 star narration.

  • Archangel's Kiss

  • Guild Hunter, Book 2
  • By: Nalini Singh
  • Narrated by: Justine Eyre
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,095
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,761
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,769

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find that she has become an angel and that her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, likes having her under his control. But almost immediately, Raphael must ready Elena for a flight to Beijing, to attend a ball thrown by the archangel Lijuan. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan's power lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a find!

  • By Sydney on 06-28-10

Bloody and violent

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

Reviewed: 12-26-11

This is a very difficult book for me to rate. On one hand, Singh has written a complex world and a multi-layered plot. On the other hand, there were many repetitive phrases and thoughts, especially in the first half of the book, that got old. On top of that, the book is stuffed full of really sick torture and scenes of cruelty.

So, while I appreciate that Singh can be a creative and skilled writer, I do not enjoy her characters or her stories. There was no one to like in these books, except perhaps Elena and a few of her Guild friends. The angels and vampires, especially the archangels, are almost without redeeming features. They are casually cruel, jaded, careless of life, and after centuries of living, need ever increasing stimuli to feel anything, making them especially prone to torture for pleasure.

The slow reveal of Elena's nightmare was disturbing and revolting. Really, there wasn't much to like here, at least not for me.

I will not continue with the series. I was very tempted to give this 2 stars, but will concede 3 stars based on the quality of writing...or the potential, for I felt like Singh wasted pages on repetition in this book.

The narrator, Justine Eyre, is quite popular, but her voice and delivery didn't work for me. The entire book is delivered in an emotionless, almost monotone, voice. I can understand using that voice for the angels, especially the archangels, but not for Elena or even the vampires. Eyre does distinguish well between the characters, but they all had the almost identical flat tone.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Future Perfect

  • By: Suzanne Brockmann
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 6 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 210
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 185
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 184

Dressed in Victorian attire, Juliana Anderson gives guests at her cozy New England bed and breakfast a taste of old-fashioned hospitality. Whether she’s cooking up delights in her kitchen or maintaining the rooms in her beautifully decorated inn, Juliana stays busy and content. Until Webster Donovan arrives - tall, rugged, and sexy beyond belief. The lean, dark-haired author has a bad case of writer’s block and he’s planned a six-week stay to cure it.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just Okay

  • By SHIRLEY on 01-12-12

so-so

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

Reviewed: 12-26-11

There was nothing and no one in this story to make the reader actually care. Juliana is, in a word, pissy. Webster is appealing except for this one huge lapse in judgement--for some unknown reason he falls head-over-heels in love with Juliana--who, as I think I mentioned, is pissy.

Then there is the part at the end where I think she makes him grovel way too much.

I generally like Brockmann's non-Troubleshooter books, but this was a general fail for me.

I've listened to Patrick Lawlor perform several audiobooks in the past and I like his voice and delivery. I particularly enjoyed his reading of Brockmann's Infamous. In this case he didn't have much to work with. I do think his delivery of love scenes to be a bit too enthusiastic. A more subtle approach would make the scenes more sensuous

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Yours to Keep

  • By: Shannon Stacey
  • Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 690
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 560
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 565

Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he's recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiance;. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother's upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn't like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma's offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there's no chance he'll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he's not planning to call home.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Melt-the-heart kind of good!!

  • By SIMARA on 05-11-12

Enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 12-26-11

This was an enjoyable book with likable characters and some humorous moments. The overall plot of "be my pretend fiance" is eye-rolling, but the author does manage to give that a new twist, so I went with it. The book isn't as sharp-edged, or as funny, as the first book in the series, but it also doesn't have characters I wanted to put hits out on. ;-)

It doesn't get a better rating because, all-in-all, not that much happens in the book and too much time is spent in the characters heads while they repeat the same thoughts over and over. So, a book worth the time, but not unique.

Narration on the audiobook is quite good.