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Old 08-29-2021, 11:44 AM   #3211
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I was expecting something less cringe-worthy.
I've consumed lots of stuff with similarly outlandish situations that were far better. ("The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax" and TV's "Northern Exposure" come immediately to mind.)
I'm sure this book ended up in my Audible library because it was a freebie I found here on the forum. If you happen to have access to it, give the first half hour or so a try and let me know what you think.
Eeek, no thanks! I did notice that the ebook is free at Amazon, and glanced at the first couple of pages. No, no, no. I'm surprised to see that the series has continued for 20 books so far--so there must be readers out there for this kind of thing.

I don't know Northern Exposure at all. It's been a long time since I read any Mrs. Pollifax, but my recollection is that the character was fairly normal, even if the situations were not. What I don't like is the tendency in some cozies to feature an outlandish protagonist--a CIA assassin? Seriously? How is that cozy?
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Old 08-30-2021, 09:05 AM   #3212
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Almost finished with A Lady Compromised by Darcie Wilde. Noting here that Rosalyn Landor's dramatic narration doesn't quite fit the generally lackluster material.
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Old 08-30-2021, 09:36 AM   #3213
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I’’m going into the last few hours of Michael and Natasha by Rosemary Crawford, narrated by Nadia May. It’s an account of the life of Tsar Nicholas II’s younger brother, who was nominally and briefly tsar after Nicholas abdicated in 1917.

It’s been something of a mixed bag for me. The hook is Michael’s great romance with and morganatic marriage to the twice-divorced Natasha. But while the book features stellar research and is always interesting, it’s too repetitive in the first half. The letters of the two are copiously quoted and are constant exchanges of, “oh, I love you so much but you no longer love me.” The narrative really only cranks up with the start of the Great War and not coincidentally pays much less attention to Natasha.

Also, while I generally think Nadia May is wonderful, her pronunciations of names leaves much to be desired here. While the text goes with English usage and she mostly observes that, she gives an odd twist to certain names. Particularly irritating is the way she pronounces “George” (name of Michael’s and Natasha’s son) as “zhorzh” What’s that? It’s neither the English nor Russian pronunciation, and while it approximates French the spelling in the text is “George” and not “Georges” which would justify it. Also grating is how she pronounces “Nabokov”, the father of the author who plays a key role.

But I’ve been enjoying it for all that. However, it’s 18 hours so unless someone’s got a particular interest in the Great War, the Russian Revolution or royal tittletattle, it might be too much of a commitment. And as for the last of these, what is it with royals and inappropriate amours?

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Old 08-30-2021, 09:37 AM   #3214
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What I don't like is the tendency in some cozies to feature an outlandish protagonist--a CIA assassin? Seriously? How is that cozy?
To be fair, I don't think anyone claimed this book was a cozy. I mentioned enjoying cozies just to make the point that I wasn't judging it against a Tom Clancy or Brad Thor thriller, and that I can enjoy a fictional "secret agent" ranging from George Smiley to James Bond to Mrs. Pollifax to Maxwell Smart. And though this does seem to have the trappings of cozy about it, the reviews I saw warned me that this was a bit darker than a cozy, which intrigued me.
The problem is it's neither fish nor fowl, and whatever critter it's trying to be seems badly seasoned and inedible.

OK, I've spilled more eink over it than it's worth.

I also recently finished Philip Margolin's "Executive Privilege," which I enjoyed, and recently started Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's "Cabinet of Curiosities," which I'm enjoying. I'd never read anything by these authors before, so I'm excited to maybe have found some crime stuff to address my Harry Bosch withdrawal symptoms.

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Old 08-30-2021, 10:05 AM   #3215
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I also recently finished Philip Margolin's "Executive Privilege," which I enjoyed, and recently started Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's "Cabinet of Curiosities," which I'm enjoying. I'd never read anything by these authors before, so I'm excited to maybe have found some crime stuff to address my Harry Bosch withdrawal symptoms.
Oh, one amusing nit in "Cabinet of Curiosities," It's read by Rene Auberjonois, who I like as actor very much, and who's "aristocratic" sounding voice is great for this book. But in one early scene about a museum collection, he pronounces "provenance" as "pro-VEEN-ants" (sort of rhyming with "convenience"). I'm sure it was just one-time slip of the tongue, but I found it hilarious for such a ritzy sounding dude with a French name, reading a book about a museum, to mispronounce that, of all words.
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Old 08-31-2021, 12:49 AM   #3216
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...It's read by Rene Auberjonois, who I like as actor very much, and who's "aristocratic" sounding voice is great for this book....
Unfortunately he's the late Rene Auberjonois. He died on December 8, 2019. I can well envision him narrating audiobooks, though. He had quite an authoritative voice.
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Old 08-31-2021, 01:33 PM   #3217
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Unfortunately he's the late Rene Auberjonois. He died on December 8, 2019. I can well envision him narrating audiobooks, though. He had quite an authoritative voice.

Oh dang! I missed that news. I'm sad. I knew him best, of course, as Odo on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" but also earlier as Clayton Endicott III from "Benson," and, unsurprisingly, he also did a lot of voice work.
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Old 08-31-2021, 08:59 PM   #3218
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TV's "Northern Exposure"
That show contributed significantly to the weirding of adolescent taosaur.

I finished up A Natural History of Dragons, which was everything written on the tin: no more, no less. It was a solid piece of work that met expectations.

"Children of Time" had been coming to mind, so I went for a re-listen, which was an excellent idea. I'm nearing the end now and will probably carry on into "Children of Ruin." Using ancestral memory to provide through-line characters for the rise of a civilization is just brilliant.
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Old 09-01-2021, 11:43 AM   #3219
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I've been first time listening to a series I picked up years ago (Kate Lawrence series by Judith Ivie). It appealed to me because the character was roughly my age at the time. I guess I put it off because the first book I listened to (book 4) had some major problems. I was going to listen to the last book today but my Echo randomly chose The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch (translated from German) and decided it was a sign. I love Gardner Grover as a narrator, so win!

OH and FWIW, the first 3 books were better than book 4. Glad I only spent $1.99 for each though.
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Old 09-01-2021, 12:22 PM   #3220
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I love Gardner Grover as a narrator, so win!
Me too!
(And he's still Grover Gardner, not Gardner Grover....)
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:52 PM   #3221
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Well, Rosamund Pike is an excellent narrator and it's better than Into the Water--those are pretty much the only good things I can say about Paula Hawkins's latest, A Slow Fire Burning.

The main characters are almost all women, and it's extremely difficult to keep track of the relationships, especially early on. Everyone gets a backstory--in some cases, it feels like filler. There's a novel-within-the novel--eh. There's one scene, mercifully short, of gratuitous animal cruelty.
Spoiler:
There's a gratuitous attack on the best character.
With a couple of exceptions, the characters are awful people, so it's hard to care about them.

Since Hawkins seems to be a slow writer (four years since her last book), I may change my mind by the time her next one comes out, but right now I feel DONE with Paula Hawkins. She hit a grand slam with The Girl on the Train, but since then? A strikeout and a grounder to first.
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Old 09-07-2021, 04:06 PM   #3222
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Maggie Shipstead's Astonish Me, read by Rebecca Lowman, is wonderful. I've been dipping into novels with ballet settings lately, and found this gem. Some elements reminded me of the film The Turning Point, which I adored. The structure is complex, jumping around in time, offering different POV characters, but somehow Shipstead manages to keep it all from being too confusing. I loved everything about this book, and I wanted it to keep going.
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Old 09-07-2021, 11:05 PM   #3223
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Done with the previous books and now on to Warbound by Larry Correia narrated by Bronson Pinchot. This is the 3rd and final book in the Grimnoir Chronicles. I know there are some short stories, but I'll listen to them when I rejoin Audible in November (free through Audible Plus). I was lukewarm on the first book in this series, but book 2 was great. I'm loving book 3 so far. This series is an alternate history starting before WW1 with various people around the world gaining magic for some random reason.

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Old 09-13-2021, 11:14 AM   #3224
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I just finished Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's "Cabinet of Curiosities." I had not realized that these Preston/Child books had an element of the "fantastical and unrealistic," and had I known, I probably wouldn't have bothered. I was always more a fan of the Scooby Doo series where they unmasked the supposed ghost as old Mr. Smithers, the night watchman, than the later ones where it turned out to be a real ghost.
Aside from that, it struck me as competency porn (my favorite phrase learned on Mobileread!) where Agent Pendergast is just oh-so-much smarter, wiser, and better at everything than everyone else. But, if you like that sort of thing, it was well written, and the story moved along well.
I also noticed that the version in my Audible library read by Rene Auberjonois, is an abridged version that is no longer available. Audible now has an unabridged version performed by Jonathan Marosz.

I'm now looking for something else, maybe a more down to earth mystery or police procedural, and am open to suggestions.

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Old 09-13-2021, 01:11 PM   #3225
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I'm now looking for something else, maybe a more down to earth mystery or police procedural, and am open to suggestions.
Not sure what you've read, so hard to suggest. But, if you haven't, I'd suggest:
  • Dana Stabenow, read by Marguerite Gavin
  • Martin Walker (Bruno, Chief of Police), read by Robert Ian MacKenzie
  • Elizabeth Peters, read by Barbara Rosenblat
  • Jaqueline Winspear, read by Orlagh Cassidy
  • Michael Connelly, read by several depending on series
  • Georges Simenon, read by Gareth Armstrong

That's a fairly diverse list, but should have something in there for you.
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