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Olivia

  • 51
  • reviews
  • 186
  • helpful votes
  • 57
  • ratings
  • Don't Close Your Eyes

  • A Novel
  • By: Holly Seddon
  • Narrated by: Mandy Williams, Elizabeth Knowelden
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 98

In a bustling suburban neighborhood in Kent, England, sits an unassuming house. There is no sign of life behind the unwashed windows, but Robin Marshall is inside. Driven by fears and obsessions, racked by anxiety, Robin is frantically pushing her body through punishing workouts, eating little, haunted by what happened to her family when she was a girl. Robin's only connection to the outside world is through her rear windows and the lives she spies upon in the apartment house across the way.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just okay

  • By Olivia on 07-15-17

Just okay

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

Reviewed: 07-15-17

I loved Try Not to Breathe, so I was excited to listen to Seddon’s sophomore effort but this one fell a bit flat for me. The storyline was just intriguing enough for me to stick with it, at 1.25x speed.

Because it’s about a dysfunctional family, the story by nature is somewhat depressing. We see the ramifications that bad parenting can have on children, especially when they become adults. Of the two main characters Sarah was the most likable, with Robin being simultaneously boring and aggressive. Whereas I was interested in Sarah’s story and felt compassion for her, I had trouble relating to Robin or really caring much about her struggles. Callum’s character was also kind of boring, despite the fact that he acts out.

Not sure if this was intentional, but the narrator for Robin had a weird negative tinge to her voice and odd cadence. The tempo was waaay to slow at 1.0x speed but actually perfect at 1.25x speed.

The narrator for Sarah, on the other hand, was great and had a normal tempo (same narrator as main character in Try Not to Breathe). But because the perspectives switched so often, I wound up listening to her voice at 1.25x speed as well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Behind Her Eyes

  • A Novel
  • By: Sarah Pinborough
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck, Josie Dunn, Bea Holland, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,838
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,855
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11,861

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar, and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she's thrilled she finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar...who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can't keep his eyes off Louise.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • BEST AUDIBLE BOOK EVER .....GRIPPING and UNEXPECTED

  • By Trisha on 03-06-18

Mind-bending

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

Reviewed: 07-11-17

Suspense novels involving 30-somethings in British suburbia seem to be trending these days. This one is refreshingly different in that it involves paranormal activity, specifically the concepts of lucid dreaming and astral projection, which I learned about years ago when reading Lois Lowry’s Stranger with My Face, another awesome thriller on the topic. The storyline is definitely not for everyone but I liked that it combined realistic, down-to-earth elements with trippy, out-there ideas. I was able to predict the main plot twist, but definitely did not see the final reveal coming at all.

Overall the narration was well-done and I loved the voices for Louise and Adele.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • 5 Steps to Unleash Your Inner Confidence

  • How to Free Yourself from the Fears That Hold You Back
  • By: Aziz Gazipura
  • Narrated by: Aziz Gazipura
  • Length: 1 hr and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49

This book contains the essential strategies used by leading social confidence expert Dr. Aziz Gazipura, who has helped hundreds of men overcome their shyness and social anxiety. If you have been struggling with shyness and social anxiety for any period of time, there is only one way out - by taking new action. Once you start trying new things, your whole world will open up. Get started today!

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good info, but repetitive.

  • By Darcy A. Schlitt on 06-22-15

Good but inadvertently sexist

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

Reviewed: 06-23-17

Overall the content was strong. Gives some basic cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques that were a helpful refresher for me as I'm already familiar with some of these ideas. The author seemed genuine and shared stories both about himself and his clients that helped to illustrate his points. He also had a fun sense of humor which made the material more engaging.

That said, his naivite belied him at times such as when he presupposed throughout the book that the reader was a man. As a coach he ought to have known that his ideas were applicable to both sexes and that women can struggle with social anxiety and confidence just as much as men. It disrupted the flow to hear him make references to the reader being a man and it just came across as sexist and myopic. If men were his target audience the title of the book should have been "Unleash your confidence as a man."

I found that he could have enunciated more, particularly at the end of sentences when his voice dropped off unprofessionally. Otherwise as a narrator he was refreshing and easy to listen to.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • My Cousin Rachel

  • By: Daphne du Maurier
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Pryce
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,448
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,341
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,330

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and there he dies suddenly.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • AN INCREDIBLE NOVEL -- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

  • By Janna Wong Healy on 07-08-15

Absorbing

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

Reviewed: 06-07-17

For anyone who is a fan of gothic novels set in 19th century England, this audiobook is gold. I had been in the mood for something Rebecca-esque, so I looked up du Maurier on audible and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had other acclaimed books with high ratings. I loved Rebecca when I read it years ago, but I like this one better though Rebecca was probably more memorable. The narration was fabulous - perfect tone, voice, intonation. I found it to be a smidge too fast and sometimes I had to replay certain sections so I didn't miss anything. As far as the writing itself goes, my only critique is that it seemed to be a little xenophobic of Italian people, particularly with regards to the character Renaldi. I was reminded of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White, another old school gothic novel in which there is an Italian antagonist. I don't purport to know much about xenophobia of Italians in England during the time when du Maurier wrote this, but I suspect it may have had an influence.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Try Not to Breathe

  • A Novel
  • By: Holly Seddon
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden, Katharine McEwan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,362
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,085
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,082

Alex Dale is lost. Destructive habits have cost her a marriage and a journalism career. All she has left is her routine: a morning run until her body aches, then a few hours of forgettable work before the past grabs hold and drags her down. Every day is treading water, every night is drowning. Until Alex discovers Amy Stevenson. Amy Stevenson, who was just another girl from a nearby town until the day she was found unconscious after a merciless assault.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn't stop listening

  • By Kathleen Ammon on 02-28-16

Addictive

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

Reviewed: 06-03-17

This book is similar in some ways to The Girl on the Train, but I thought it was much better. The main character Alex is an alcoholic, which creates interesting tension throughout the novel; however, she’s also likable and earnest. Her quest to discover the truth about what happened to the victim Amy Stevenson many years before requires that she start getting her act together. Thus, the unraveling of Amy’s cold case becomes tied to Alex’s recovery and redemption. To a certain extent it’s necessary to suspend disbelief to wrap one’s head around Amy’s predicament and p.o.v. as someone in a coma for 15 years; however, within the context of the book it makes sense and doesn’t seem too far-fetched. I did suspect who the perpetrator was fairly early on in the book, so it wasn’t much of a reveal for me at the end and it seemed pretty obvious. That said, I will definitely be getting Holly Seddon’s next audiobook. I was also very impressed by Elizabeth Knowelden - she has a very soothing yet dynamic voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Killer Next Door

  • By: Alex Marwood
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,072
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,766
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,754

Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn't, they wouldn't be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash - no credit check, no lease. It's the kind of place you end up when you you've run out of other options.The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don't know is that one of them is a killer. He's already chosen his next victim, and he'll do anything to protect his secret.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Incredible--but not for the faint of heart

  • By Lesley on 01-11-15

Unique and quirky thriller

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

Reviewed: 05-28-17

I generally find books in thriller / suspense genre to be formulaic, and filled with clichés and weak writing, so I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this gem. The plot is nuanced, clever, and unexpected; the characters are idiosyncratic and compelling. There's a subtle satirical undertone that takes the edge off of the more sinister aspects of the book, such as the killer's bizarre activities which are described in graphic detail. Imogen Church gives a flawless performance as always.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Kushiel's Dart

  • By: Jacqueline Carey
  • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
  • Length: 31 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,509
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,988
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,007

The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good...and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Kushiel series in order

  • By Glen Gaines on 10-27-09

Different, to say the least

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

Reviewed: 12-18-16

In my opinion, the audiobook was well worth the credit. At 31 hours, the story was long and immersive. The plot was elaborate, clever, and certainly very unique. The narrator was excellent. Still due to the somewhat taboo nature of the plot, my guess is it's not for everyone. 

In Carey's imagined country of Terre d'Ange, prostitutes are "servants of naamah," a religious / spiritual designation. The protagonist Phedre is sold into indentured servitude by her mother at the age of 4. Fortunately for her, she is purchased by a cunning but ultimately kindhearted nobleman who sculpts her into a first-class courtesan with espionage capabilities, and the ability to speak multiple languages.

Phedre is unique among her kind in that she is marked by a god called Kushiel with a red mote in her eye. This mote essentially signifies that she enjoys being on the receiving end of s&m. Accordingly, her "patrons" tend to be on the more brooding and aggressive side. 

Surprisingly, though, the book really is not that erotic. The sex scenes are glossed over and often all together omitted, serving mainly to move the plot and Phedre’s character development along.

At times the story seemed a bit dull and drawn out. I felt there could have been more romance and that some of the characters like Hyacinth, Joscelin, and Melisande could have been more developed. They seemed a bit two-dimensional and I couldn't get myself to care that much about them. I also noticed that Phedre continually (as in every 2 minutes or less) would say something like "whether it did any good I do not know," or "what they thought of me I cannot say," or "how much it grieved him I cannot guess." I'm sure Carey, clearly a skilled and gifted writer, was aware of this tendency so I'm wondering if this was merely a literary crutch or intentional, as in that was the manner of speaking in Terre d'Ange. Either way, I found it distracting.

All this being said, overall I thought it was a great audiobook and those who like historical fantasy novels with intricate plots, without the excess blood lust / testosterone of Game of Thrones, ought to give it a try.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Likeness

  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Heather O'Neill
  • Length: 22 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,780
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,360
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,348

Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really on a Different Level

  • By Michael on 07-05-10

Way too far-fetch

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

Reviewed: 11-09-16

I had loved In the Woods and the character Cassie in it so I was excited to move on to this one, especially given the high overall rating.

It started out pretty strong. The narrator is excellent and French has an absorbing writing style. But the plot gradually became so far-fetched that towards the middle I just could not suspend disbelief anymore.

First of all, it's impossible for two people who are not biological twins to have identical physical characteristics. And even identical twins have small differences that become more pronounced when you spend time with them. This was one of my issues with Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White, though overall I liked that book.

Secondly, the idea that a group of detectives would create such an elaborate scenario to solve the murder of a random girl in her twenties was completely absurd.

With regards to the five post grad housemates, it was clear that French was taking a page from Donna Tartt's The Secret History, a gothic novel about a group of close-knit intellectuals at a prep school. And as much as I loved that book, the concept didn't really work as part of a detective / crime novel. It seemed like French was trying to conflate too many things at once.

The book dragged on, particularly the dialogue. I wanted to find out what Lexie's real story was so I listened to it at 1.25 speed and actually went through a good chunk of the audio at 1.5 speed. Without giving too much away, I'll just say I found the ending to be very anticlimactic.

Into the Woods was more gritty and realistic, as well as better paced. If French comes out with more books like that I may read or listen to it, but I'm taking a break from her for now.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Every Time I Think of You

  • By: Tracey Garvis Graves
  • Narrated by: Kristin Condon, Chris Patton, R.C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24

Thirty-year-old Daisy DiStefano has two people she holds dear: the grandmother who raised her and her three-year-old son, Elliott. But when Daisy's grandmother is killed, Daisy must take steps to protect herself and her child.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Cheesy but good

  • By Olivia on 11-07-16

Cheesy but good

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

Reviewed: 11-07-16

I had loved On the Island (print version because narration sample sounded shaky), so when I saw that this had good reviews and liked the audio sample I didn't hesitate to get it.

Like On the Island I finished this in a few days. It's a sweet, interesting though fairly predictable story narrated pretty well. I like that Garvis-Graves books are straightforward and pithy in a way that's makes the reading experience easy. I also appreciate that her protagonists are in their early 30s as opposed to 20s, the way they are in most new adult books.

I did notice that her dialogue is a bit unrealistic at times. People in her book talk how they would write and the sentences in the dialogue are overly polished.

The audio had some glitches where it was clear from abrupt changes in tone that the narrators were re-reading to fix errors in in the original narration.

In my opinion, the regular price seems rather high, especially since it's just 10 hours. But if you have a spare credit or it's on sale, go for it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • In the Woods

  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 20 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11,557
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,067
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,052

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Very mixed feelings (semi-spoilers included)

  • By Dottie B. on 02-14-13

Loved it but ending was frustrating

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

Reviewed: 11-01-16

I was totally enthralled by this first installment of the Dublin Murder Squad series. It simultaneously fun, whimsical, thrilling, disturbing, tragic, and haunting. French has a quirky but beautifully fluid way of writing that feels like stream of consciousness at times.

Like many of the other reviewers, I did feel more than a bit frustrated by the ending. I was expecting a big, electrifying, and shocking reveal and for all the loose ends to be tied up. But the end leaves an important aspect of the plot / subplot open to speculation and interpretation. And while I'm sure French had her reasons for doing this, I felt the novel would have been stronger if she delivered on the promise of what we expect when we read a mystery - that the pieces of the puzzle will work out and come together in the end.

The narrator Steven Crossley was good though he sounded about 20 years older than the character Rob who is in his 30s.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful