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Susan

PEARLAND, TX, United States
  • 34
  • reviews
  • 312
  • helpful votes
  • 81
  • ratings
  • The Battersea Barricades

  • By: Jodi Taylor
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 1 hr and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 393
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 363
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 362

It's not easy being a rebel. So many new skills to assimilate. Never mind strategic planning, weapons expertise and the like - there's bicycle-stealing, oil-stain removal and boat steering to be mastered first. And quickly. It's the time of the Civil Uprisings, and two young women set out to make a difference. Their only problem? They don't know where they are. Or where they're going. Or what to do when they get there. Other than that....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • just what the series needed

  • By michael pentecost on 04-23-18

At last, what happened at the barricades

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Readers of the Chronicles of St Mary’s have long wondered what part our sweet old ladies played - and what they were doing on barricades anyway. Now we know. Another great story from the chronicles.

  • This Rough Magic

  • By: Mary Stewart
  • Narrated by: Helen Johns
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49

The pioneer of romantic suspense, Mary Stewart leads her listeners on a thrilling journey to a Mediterranean island paradise in this tale of mystery, murder and intrigue, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Barbara Pym. Lucy Waring, a young, out-of-work actress from London, leaps at the chance to visit her sister for a summer on the island paradise of Corfu, and what's more, a famous but reclusive actor is staying in a villa nearby. But Lucy's hopes for rest and romance are shattered when a body washes up on the beach and she finds herself swept up in a chilling chain of events.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • PERFECT BEACH READ, rediscovered

  • By Susan on 08-02-18

PERFECT BEACH READ, rediscovered

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

Reviewed: 08-02-18

I first read This Rough Magic around the time I was studying Shakespeare as an English major, nearly 50 years ago, and I had forgotten what a good writer Mary Stewart was. Finding several of her books as I scrolled through auduble’s new releases piqued my interest and for some reason this title jumped out as the one to try first. Great choice!

The story involves Lucy Waring, the first-person narrator, a young actress whose first big role was a flop; Sir Julian Gale, an acclaimed actor who has gone into seclusion; Julian’s son Max, an aloof musician; a friendly dolphin; a raft of local Greek characters and the main character of the story — the island of Corfu. Oh, to summer in a fully-staffed villa on a Greek isle! What else could we possibly need?

Romance and murder, of course. And no one has ever combined the two any better than Mary Stewart.

The title is from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Sir Julian Gale and Lucy both know the play well (British stage actors, remember) and they reference it often throughout the book. This is a lot of fun for those familiar with the play, but all of the references are explained in context so lack of familiarity won’t spoil your enjoyment.

Written in the mid-1960s, the novel holds up amazingly well. Those of us who were alive then just shift ourselves back in time. For younger listeners, the idyllic island setting creates such a sense of seclusion that you won’t miss cell phones or the internet. Part of Stewart’s enduring charm is her ability to create an atmosphere through her character’s reactions to their physical surroundings. By the end of the book you will feel like you have visited a Greek island — and you’ll want to book a trip to one immediately!

And I can’t imagine how the narration could have been any better. Actress Helen Johns (you may have seen her recently as Eliza Barry in the TV series “Anne with an E”) brings Lucy fully to life.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Murder in Belgravia

  • By: Lynn Brittney
  • Narrated by: Gabrielle Glaister
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

London, 1915. Just 10 months into the First World War, the city is flooded with women taking over the work vacated by men in the armed services. Chief Inspector Peter Beech, a young man invalided out of the war in one of the first battles, is faced with investigating the murder of an aristocrat, and the man's wife, a key witness and suspect, will speak only to a woman about the unpleasant details of the case. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Preachy

  • By Susan on 07-25-18

Preachy

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

Reviewed: 07-25-18

The wife of a war-damaged man is the only suspect in his murder. A police inspector puts together a unit of women and a couple of other cops to find the truth. The search leads them into London’s underworld of drugs and prostitution during World War I. The violence is brutal.

The writing isn’t bad and the mystery is well-conceived. Unfortunately it read like a 1920s political pamphlet. It begins with wife abuse and goes on to diatribes on child abuse, prostitution, and women’s rights. While I agree with the positions held by the author and main characters, if I wanted a sermon I’d read a book of sermons. The author seemed compelled to deal with every social issue she could think of, spending so much time getting in all the atrocities that there was insufficient space to really develop the characters. Speaking of which, who is supposed to be the main character here? There are at least half a dozen with the potential to be very interesting but the only one who really begins to come to life is young Billy, who recently joined the police force after being wounded in the war.

Maybe my reaction would have been different if this book hadn’t been recommended to me as a cosy mystery. There’s nothing cosy about it. Toward the end I listened at 1.25 speed just to get through it so I could write a review.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Whole Cat and Caboodle

  • Second Chance Cat Mystery Series #1
  • By: Sofie Ryan
  • Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 439
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 400

Sarah Grayson is the happy proprietor of Second Chance, a charming shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine. At the shop she sells used items that she has lovingly refurbished and repurposed. But her favorite pet project so far has been adopting a stray cat she names Elvis. The big black cat with a scar across his nose turned up at a local bar when the band was playing the King of Rock and Roll's music and hopped in Sarah's truck.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mainely Wonderful

  • By Rusty on 01-07-17

Just..... no.

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

Reviewed: 09-07-17

I like the "cat-mystery/struggling-shop-owner" genre for when I'm tired and don't want to have to think much, so I was hoping to like this one .

Nope.

I gave the story three stars on the "benefit of the doubt" principle. I didn't actually listen past the forst chapter.

It's the narration. Does ANYONE actually sound like this? It's like eating a bowl of sugar with cane syrup on top.

  • Billionaire Blend

  • A Coffeehouse Mystery, Book 13
  • By: Cleo Coyle
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Gibel
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 373
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 343
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 339

When a car bomb nearly kills the charming young tech whiz Eric Thorner, Clare comes to his aid and receives a priceless thank you. Not only does the billionaire buy her a barista's dream espresso machine, he hires her for an extraordinary project: creating the world's most expensive coffee blend. The police arrest Eric's alleged attacker, yet death continues to surround the unlucky mogul, leading Clare to question whether the lethal events are premeditated or merely freak accidents.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best cozy series EVER!!

  • By Byron on 06-13-14

Stop with the dream sequences, already!

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

Reviewed: 11-14-16

I really really really enjoy this series. Really. I enjoy the coffee lore. I enjoy the quirky characters. The plots are pretty fanciful, usually not too predictable, The narrator is outstanding.

I would normally give this book the four stars I've given other volumes in the series, but the dream/nightmare sequence near the beginning was just one too many - and it went on forever. Do we have to have one of these scenes in every book? Boring.

And another thing: these are two reasonably intelligent adults. You'd think they'd have figured out by now that they need to call and let each other know their travel plans so they don't try to kill each other because they.think someone is breaking in. Another stale plot device. Stop it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Puppet Masters

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 899
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 677
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 687

At key points throughout North America, an invasion force is taking over communications, government, industry, and people's bodies. And the nation is helpless to stop it, because the invaders multiply far faster than they can be destroyed, controlling the mind of every unsuspecting person they encounter. Enter Sam Cavanaugh, a can-do intelligence officer for the United States' most secret service. Cavanaugh is the only man who can stop the invaders. But to do that he'll have to be invaded himself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An old favorite, but poorly narrated

  • By Mike From Mesa on 03-15-13

A Timeless Classic

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

Reviewed: 12-21-15

This may not be my favorite Heinlein novel but it's the one that most sticks in my head -- entirely appropriate, given the theme. First serialized in an expurgated version in 1951, it is basically a polemic against the mind-control and "group-think" so feared in the Cold War era. The plot is similar to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", published about the same time. Its influence over future sic-fi is perhaps best exemplified by the Borg in the Star Trek franchise. (See also the episode in the original Star Trek TV series in which an alien life-form attaches itself to Spock and controls him -- pure "Puppet Masters".)

While the main character is a younger man whose relationship with an older authority figure is crucial to the plot, this is not one of Heinlein's YA novels. While appropriate for teens (if you don't mind some "adult" but not sexually explicit situations -- the "morals" are loose by 1950s standards, but not so much today's), it is definitely an adult novel. The technology is dated, but the themes are timeless. I first read the shortened version many years ago in my late teens or early twenties and was surprised to find how well it held up listening to it these 40-or-50-some-odd years later.

I had no problems with the narration.

  • Have Space Suit - Will Travel

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Mark Turetsky
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,172
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,066
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,071

First prize in the Skyway Soap slogan contest was an all-expenses-paid trip to the moon. The consolation prize was an authenticspace suit, and when scientifically minded high school senior Kip Russell wonit, he knew for certain he would use it one day to make a sojourn of his own tothe stars. But "one day" comes sooner than he thinks when he tries the suit on in his backyard - and finds himself worlds away, a prisoner aboard a space pirate's ship.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classic tale, One of Heinlein's best.

  • By SGL on 03-20-14

Vintage Heinlein. Ahhhh, the Good Old Days!

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

Reviewed: 12-21-15

Good clean fun. What sic-fi was in the early days, in no way to be confused with the genre as it is today. Let go of your grip on reality, and journey back to the future as envisioned back in the day. Unrealistic, kind of sappy, but what a great ride!

Plot: Kip gets a space suit, goes into space, meets up with a girl and some aliens, has lots of adventures, escapes life-threatening situations, lives happily ever after. Okay, maybe not EVER after, but at least for his near-and-somewhat-foreseeable future.

About the narrator: okay so he sounds like a nerdy kid. Duh!!!! Most of Heinlein's early works were about kids, exceptionally smart if not entirely nerdy. That's what they sound like -- or at least how we thought they sounded in the 1950s.

Pleasant, unchallenging escapism. Fulfills my all-time favorite t-shirt slogan: "I have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy." Cup of coffee, cosy fire, and I'll look for truth and realism some other day.

  • Make Me

  • Jack Reacher, Book 20
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 14 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,116
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,397
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7,395

"Why is this town called Mother's Rest?" That's all Reacher wants to know. But no one will tell him. It's a tiny place hidden in 1,000 square miles of wheat fields, with a railroad stop, sullen and watchful people, and a worried woman named Michelle Chang, who mistakes him for someone else: her missing partner in a private investigation she thinks must have started small and then turned lethal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very reminiscent of BAD LUCK & TROUBLE

  • By shelley on 09-10-15

Who is Mother and why does she need a rest?

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

Reviewed: 09-10-15

I am a dedicated Jack Reacher fan. That said, I have mixed feelings about this entry. On the plus side, we get to see Reacher in some interesting and different predicaments, which is always fun. Some of the bit-part supporting characters are a real hoot. The inevitable girl sidekick has her moments but is pretty one-dimensional. The problem of "how to get in" (always a question in Reacher books) is a real puzzler and the eventual strategy is laugh-out-loud cool. And welcome to the 21st Century, Reacher actually uses some modern technology. Sort of.

But.... huge negative: new depths of gruesomeness. No spoilers here, but you'll figure out what's coming well before you get to that point.

I am continued to be amazed at what a good job Lee Child has done in keeping this series going. There's basically one plot: Reacher wanders into town, stumbles into a heinous criminal conspiracy , starts figuring out what's going on, has to "get in" (often to save a hostage), huge action scene, ride off into the sunset. (Does anyone else keep visualizing Reacher as Clint Eastwood's man with no name?)

Narration: It's hard to imagine anyone but Dick Hill reading a Reacher, but the drawn out laconic drawl tempts me to listen at 1.25x. Tempts, I say, but I remain strong and resist.

So, somewhere around 3.75 stars. Not my favorite Reacher, I'll probably skip this one when I get around to starting over and listening to the Reachers again, but all of us true fans will continue to look forward to every new addition to the series.

49 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • The Plagiarist

  • A Novella
  • By: Hugh Howey
  • Narrated by: Alexander J. Masters
  • Length: 1 hr and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 560
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 495
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 493

Adam Griffey is living two lives. By day, he teaches literature. At night, he steals it. Adam is a plagiarist, an expert reader with an eye for great works. He prowls simulated worlds perusing virtual texts, looking for the next big thing. And when he finds it, he memorizes it page by page, line by line, word for word. And then he brings it back to his world, the real world, and he sells it. But what happens when these virtual worlds begin to seem more real than his own? What happens when the people within them mean more to him than flesh and blood?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The reader lacked tone.

  • By L or D Day on 03-17-15

A Cautionary Tale

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

Reviewed: 03-23-15

Predictble but done reasonably well. Not something I will go back to, but okay for a gloomy afternoon when I didn't feel like stirring. Narrator is a bit pompous.

  • The Martian

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 156,594
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 144,506
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 144,348

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth it even if you've seen the movie

  • By R. MCRACKAN on 12-08-17

Best combination of narrator and text EVER!

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

Reviewed: 03-04-15

I can't imagine anything more suited to be an audiobook, and R.C. Bray does an amazing job of narration. Much of the book consists of excerpts from the astronaut's audio log There is no pretense of carefully constructed prose; rather it reflects someone who is keeping up morale by talking to himself with quirky gallows humor.

By now, everybody knows the story: stranded on Mars, no communication, figure out how to survive. Two things drive the book. First is the fun of watching the protagonist Mark Whatney solve one puzzle after another, with varying degrees of success.

Second is Wahtney's ironic humor in the face of certain death, narrow escape from death, hope of avoiding death, and a general high probability of death.

Both are reflected in my favorite quote from the book:"As usual I’m working with stuff that was deliberately designed not to burn, but no amount of careful design by NASA can get around a determined arsonist with a tank of pure oxygen."

The Martian has been compared to various books and movies, notably Robinson Crusoe, Castaway, Apollo 13, Gravity, and of course the the cult classic Robinson Crusoe on Mars. The book that it most reminded me of is Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff. Those of us who are of a certain age will remember how funny the stories of real-life astronauts' pranks and reactions to ridiculous scenarios were.

Warning: lots of swearing.