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sharrona has commented on (102) products.

Between Worlds: The Making of a Political Life
Between Worlds: The Making of a Political Life

sharrona, July 17, 2013

Hearing this book, I could almost imagine that Bill Richardson is sitting over in the corner telling me stories. He reads this abridged version of his published memoir smoothly, and makes the listening most enjoyable. As in most of his public life, he takes a positive point of view on events and people, and when there's something negative to say, he does so simply and directly, without rancor. Richardson is one of my most admired Americans, and being reminded a little more about his background and work history only intensifies my respect for him.
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13 1/2 by Nevada Barr
13 1/2

sharrona, June 24, 2013

These comments apply to the unabridged audio version, read by Dan John Miller:

What a huge disappointment for my family! We've enjoyed every one of Barr's Anna Pigeon series over the years and looked forward to hearing this one. A few lines of dialog in the first chapter leapt out at me and ruined whatever suspense/mystery might have carried the story. I wondered later if perhaps the reader, knowing the whole story at the time he read aloud, might have tried too hard to make a couple of comments seem unimportant. Something in his delivery made me ask a question and then mentally answer it. Not until the last chapter did the author give the answer -- the same answer -- but by then I was too bored to care.

The characters were not very compelling. Good people, striving to succeed and live a full life in spite of horrendous childhood experiences...shouldn't it be fairly easy to make them appealing? And the villain was one-dimensionally evil, with no real background on why he was that way.

Even a favorite author falters once in awhile, but I will not seek out any future non-series books Ms. Barr chooses to publish.
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Joe Pickett Novel #13: Breaking Point by C. J. Box
Joe Pickett Novel #13: Breaking Point

sharrona, April 25, 2013

Another excellent addition to the Joe Pickett series. I have to admit, halfway through I scanned the rest of the book looking for Nate Romanowski's name! He's definitely my favorite among the continuing characters.

As with other books in the series, BREAKING POINT makes a compelling case in favor of environmentalism, and a strong case against ineffective/corrupt government bureaucracy. These aren't the most subtle points of the story, but whether you agree or disagree with Box' political views, the people carry the story. The characters are distinctively written, easy to understand (though not always easy to admire), and bring the story to life in a way that seems chillingly real, or at least possible.

I had only one criticism of the storyline. Without giving spoilers: The main character chose a difficult and high-risk solution to a problem when a much simpler and almost foolproof, low-risk solution was available. I wondered why, as I read about his decision, and also wondered why none of the other characters suggested it. Soon I realized this implausible choice was necessary to get to the rest of the story.

One of the most rewarding things about following a series is that the continuing characters and locations become familiar. A one-sentence reference to a past event, or to a person not in the present story, evokes a memory of another whole book. In this way, each book gets better and richer with the accumulated history of the series.
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Music of Ghosts (Mary Crow Novels) by Sallie Bissell
Music of Ghosts (Mary Crow Novels)

sharrona, April 16, 2013

5th in the Mary Crow mystery series -- it was a long wait for this excellent addition to a favorite series, but well worth it. I have missed the two main continuing characters as I would distant family, and it's good to reune. The story was easy to follow but tough to figure out, with subtle clues that were apparent only after they were no longer needed! I said "I shoulda known that!" more than once. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and I'm so glad that another book is scheduled for next year!
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Two Graves by Douglas J Preston
Two Graves

sharrona, April 7, 2013

Impeccable narration by René Auberjunois could not overcome my disappointment at this implausible, fragmented, and frustrating "visit" with Special Agent Pendergast. Three or four separate plots--and I do mean separate--never connected the characters we usually enjoy as an ensemble. Pendergast was in South America, Corey Swanson was in Kansas, Constance Green was following her own story line, and NYPD Detective Vincent D'Agosta was mere window-dressing. None of the plots overlapped or worked together, yet none was strong enough to stand alone. They are not improved by being bound together in one volume.

I usually enjoy suspending disbelief, at least a little bit, when going on an adventure with Pendergast. But the main plot, focusing on him, was a deadly combination of "timeworn" and "ridiculous."

Pendergast remains one of my favorite continuing characters, and I will most likely read the next novel as soon as it's available. By then I hope the bitter taste of this one will have dissipated.
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