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FanB14

FanB14 Rockville, VA, United States Member Since 2011

Short, Simple, No Spoilers

HELPFUL VOTES
3030
ratings
REVIEWS
116
111
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
165
3
  • "Character-Driven Mystery"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alternating between 2011 and 1940, a dying mother, visited by her children, hints at a past regret to her daughter, Laurel. Present day Laurel visits libraries, families and spends her day digging into the past to determine what changed her mother all those years ago. Dorothy's past unfolds with love interest, Jimmy and you walk beside her experiencing the decisions she made for better or worse.

    At first, I thought this book would be predictible. I adored, "The Secret Garden," liked "Distant Hours," but didn't care for "House at Riverton." Hesitant to pick up this fourth offering from Morten and happy I did. She introduces complex characters whose desires make them human; neither perfect nor wrong. There are many corners you turn in the story and just when I thought I'd figured out the ending, I was led down a divergent path. Enjoyed the journey and hope you will, too. Excellent choice for women who like a good character driven mystery.

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    The Secret Keeper

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2510)
    Performance
    (2142)
    Story
    (2152)

    England, 1959: Laurel Nicolson is 16 years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

    Maria says: "Kate Morton (and Caroline Lee) does it again!"
  • "Pure Poetry"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Can a novel composed in iambic pentameter be relatable, detailed, and meaningful? The answer is a resounding yes! Rakoff's lyrical rhyming composition doesn't detract or sacrifice story. It's not just a novelty for he packs each character's storyline with ironic and heartbreaking realism. A girl suffers a tragic event only to be dismissed by insecure mother; a secretary navigates a sexist boss in a loveless affair, and many other stories and scenarios I won't spoil.

    This novel is brief, yet loaded with satirical and tragic tales of ordinary people dealing the hand they're dealt. It's heartbreaking, yet beautiful. The vocabulary, turn of phrase, and irony transform this "poem" to a higher level. Felt I needed to revisit the 500 core GRE words to keep up! Listened on 1X to absorb the meaning and paused frequently to take in all the information. Short, yet thought-provoking and sad this is his last work. If you enjoyed this, check out another of his books, "Fraud."

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    Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By David Rakoff
    • Narrated By David Rakoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (116)

    From the incomparable David Rakoff, a poignant, beautiful, witty, and wise novel in verse whose scope spans the 20th century. Through his books and his radio essays for NPR's This American Life, David Rakoff has built a deserved reputation as one of the finest and funniest essayists of our time. Written with humor, sympathy, and tenderness, this intricately woven novel proves him to be the master of an altogether different art form. Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish leaps cities and decades as Rakoff sings the song of an America whose freedoms can be intoxicating, or brutal.

    FanB14 says: "Pure Poetry"
  • "24 Karat Collection"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The title pays homage to Robert Frost and each story has a reference to gold therein. Characters from all age ranges tied to the Appalachian landscape fill this raw, real collection of tragic short stories. Trapped physically or mentally, each person navigates their ineffectual circumstances in hopes of reaching for sunlight only to realize the futility of their dreams. For example, in "Cherokee", a man and wife win big at a casino only to realize their victory is fleeting. I don't want to give away anymore details so you can enjoy each story as you go.

    Rash is a master story teller placing you in the middle of each story, connecting quickly with the characters, standing in their rough landscape, and facing the consequences of their choices some ending with dark consequences.

    Don't forget to press pause after each story; the next one begins quickly and you'll want to mull over the details from the last.

    If you enjoyed this, check out "The Cove," and "Serena," also by Rash and "Winter's Bone," by Danny Woodrell.

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    Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ron Rash
    • Narrated By Alexander Cendese, Robert Petkoff, Prentice Onayemi, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times best-selling author Ron Rash turns again to Appalachia to capture lives haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear, in unforgettable stories that span from the Civil War to the present day. In the title story, two drug-addicted friends return to the farm where they worked as boys to steal their former boss' gruesomely unusual war trophies. In "The Trusty", which first appeared in The New Yorker, a prisoner sent to fetch water for his chain gang tries to sweet-talk a farmer's young wife into helping him escape, only to find that she is as trapped as he is.

    FanB14 says: "24 Karat Collection"
  1. The Secret Keeper
  2. Love, Dishonor, Marry, Di...
  3. Nothing Gold Can Stay: St...
  4. .

A Peek at connie's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
3210
 
Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 395 REVIEWS / 1442 ratings 1433 Followers / Following 142
 
connie's greatest hits:
  • A Son of the Circus

    "If you liked "Q+A"..."

    Overall

    ...you might like this bizarre tale of family, community, hierarchy, missionaries, twins separated at birth, and transexual serial murder in India. Unlike Q+A's Vikras Swarup, Irving isn't Indian, but he avoids cultural appropriation (I think--I'm not Indian) by stating upfront in the intro that he doesn't know India well, thanking a host of South East Asian artists for their help, and creating an ex-pat main character who is alientated from his birth country but not assimilated into the West.

    I found the novel humourous and tremendously entertaining, but it's not for everyone: Know that there are multiple quirkly characters weaving through several intersecting storylines highly dependent upon coincidence, like a modern day tale from Trollope or Dickens with a twist of PG Wodehouse's mania, all held together by excellent narration.

    Irving asks, in a postcolonial global village, "where are you from?" rather than the usual, "who are you?", and the only viable attitude he offers to complexities of human nature is that of a child's wonderment at a circus, despite the probability that the acts are based on cruelty to participants. The opposite of such wonder is fundamentalism. Many characters are shackled by fate, but a few escape predictable ends through human imagination or altruism.

    Irving presents an unflattering but loving portrait of Bombay/Mumbai in the late 80s, before the terrorist bombings of 1993 and economic boom of 2000s. I'm not sure how an inhabitant would respond to the outsider's view. Also I'm not sure how a transexual might react to some of the characters. Some also might be put off by the novel's use of "cripple"/"crippled" to describe what we refer to now as disability, but all the charaters are "crippled," if not physically than emotionally or socially.

  • A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement

    "The epic Ken Follett wished he could write"

    Overall

    James from Vancouver describes this series so well - I want just to add that the prose as an audiobook becomes music and underline the subtle humour in its unfolding. Simon Vance handles the words like a master musician. I so look forward to the remaining three "movements" because this series is new to me. If you like Brit lit, pass over Follett for Powell. I'm glad Follett wrote his "Giants" -- that's probrably why a publisher reproduced Powell for us now. Long live audiobooks for making accessible novels some of us would never otherwise experience.

  • Buddhaland Brooklyn: A Novel

    "engaging listen"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a feel good listen with dharma (though the Buddhist sect depicted is fictional). The novel is unique and not at all saccharine, though it fits in the "happily ever after without angst" category. It's such an easy read, yet this novel has substance and poetry! I'm tempted to call it Paulo Coelo light, but I don't mean that as negative.

    The publisher's label of "fairy tale" and "fable" may mislead fantasy fans. While it can be heard as a fable about finding oneself, it's a storyline/fictional memoir from everyday life with little of the fantastic except a belief in a spiritual world - one that is shared by many faiths.

    I listen to a lot of novels, and this one landed just as I needed something fresh - It really gave my spirit a lift. I've listened to many Christian and Buddhist books about becoming less judgemental-- this novel worked better than nonfiction at getting me there. I haven't enjoyed a listen so much since many, many books ago.

  • A Dance to the Music of Time: Second Movement

    "not just for nostalgic posh Brits!"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Unfortunately we can't hyperlink in these reviews, but even Ian Rankin testifies to the enjoyableness of this series. When replying to a question something like, "best gift book ever' he wrote in The Guardian: "I started reading the first book, thinking: not sure I'm going to like this. All snobby privilege and a world I won't be interested in. By volume two, I was hooked. Widmerpool and the others were such good company, and the writing was elegant and concise, so I bought the rest of the books in the series."

    No matter if you are an Oxbridge or a Rebus type, a Brit, a Yankee or a Commonwealther, give Powell a chance, and your mind will dance with delight: elegant, concise, good company -- what more can we ask of a novel? Maybe that it's beautifully read to you - and Vance does just that.

Peregrine

Peregrine Los Angeles, CA, United States 12-12-10 Member Since 2006

If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.

HELPFUL VOTES
267
ratings
REVIEWS
200
44
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
18
3
  • "Possibly superior as an audio book"

    14 of 15 helpful votes

    This is a sprawling, weird novel consisting almost entirely of dialogue. I usually follow audiobooks by leapfrogging with a paper copy which I read when I have time. This novel is actually easier to follow on audio, since Nick Sullivan does a very good job giving each character an idiosyncratic accent. On the page it can easily become just a sea of words.

    As a novel it's certainly not for everyone, a withering critique of American capitalism told mostly through a little boy's farcical creation of a virtual financial empire made of leveraged purchases of bad businesses, with a frustrated writer and an aristocratic beauty the only ones who can see through it. It's also a bit of an historical artifact, giving us little bits of life in 1970's New York and Long Island. But it's a classic of 20th century American literature, sort of a cross between Ulysses and Doonesbury.

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    JR

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By William Gaddis
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    Absurdly logical, mercilessly real, gathering it's own tumultuous momentum for the ultimate brush with commodity training, JR captures the listener in the cacophony of voices that revolves around this young captive of his own myths. The disturbing clarity with which this finished writer captures the ways in which we deal, dissemble, and stumble through our words - through our lives - while the real plans are being made elsewhere makes JR the extraordinary novel that it is.

    Peregrine says: "Possibly superior as an audio book"

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    Stephanie says: "Best Book in a while"
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    Melinda says: "Heavy Load"
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    Mica says: "Hurt version decidedly superior"
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    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Khaled Hosseini
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    (6230)
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    Story
    (1602)

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    Joseph says: "A storyteller's story"
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    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
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    Overall
    (25)
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    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now.As Harry nears the end of his 11th life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message." This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

    Rosa says: "Sociopathic tendencies"
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    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 50 mins)
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    Story
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    Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

    Jen says: "Exceeded My High Expectations"
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    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (225)
    Story
    (227)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    FanB14 says: "Michael C. Hall in Your Ear + Capote = Bliss"
  • Trying to Save Piggy Sneed

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Trying to Save Piggy Sneed contains a dozen short works by John Irving, beginning with three memoirs, including an account of Mr. Irving’s dinner with President Ronald Reagan at the White House. The longest of the memoirs, The Imaginary Girlfriend,” is the core of this collection.

  • Bliss, Psychology, and Her First Ball

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 10 mins)
    • By Katherine Mansfield
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Ryder
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Three delightfully intriguing short stories from the pen of Katherine Mansfield (born Wellington, New Zealand, 1888 - died Fontainebleau, France, 1923). In "Bliss" the listener is introduced to 30-year-old Mrs Bertha Young. She has everything…. The nameless He and She in "Psychology": He is 31; she is 30. She has invited him to tea. Their discourse turns to the future of the psychological novel.... Exactly when the ball began 18-year old Leila would have found it hard to say. This, "Her First Ball", is an enthralling experience but, at the same time, quite terrifying.

  • Of Withered Apples

    • UNABRIDGED (21 mins)
    • By Phillip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Mike Vendetti
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Laurie, a city girl, marries and moves with her husband to Vermont and has an encounter with an apple tree, the only living tree in a dying orchard. The tree is determined to survive - somehow.

  • Follow Me Home

    • UNABRIDGED (14 mins)
    • By Cassandra R. Fowlie
    • Narrated By Cassandra R. Fowlie
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    There has been an accident. A girl sits inside a car, her behavior seemingly indifferent to the chaos outside. Karle has been there for hours. Her eyes will not focus on what is happening outside. Instead she remembers the hours before she came to be there. She and her mother had been in the airport waiting for her brother Benjamin to come home. Karle’s brother was a soldier who had just come home for shore leave. They had always been close.

  •  
  • Off Course: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Michelle Huneven
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The year is 1981, Reagan is in the White House, and the country is stalled in a recession. Cressida Hartley, a gifted PhD student in economics, moves into her parents' shabby A-frame cabin in the Sierras to write her dissertation. Cress, increasingly resistant to her topic (art in the marketplace), allows herself to be drawn into the social life of the small mountain community.

  • The Salinger Contract: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Adam Langer
    • Narrated By Adam Langer
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    An enthralling literary mystery that connects some of the world’s most famous authors—from Norman Mailer and Truman Capote to B. Traven and J. D. Salinger—to a sinister collector in Chicago. Adam Langer, the narrator of this deft and wide-ranging novel by the author of the same name, tells the intertwining tales of two writers navigating a plot neither one of them could have ever imagined. There may be no other escape than to write their way out of it.

  • My Last Confession

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Helen Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Louise Jameson
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    A naïve parole officer in her first month on the job. An extremely good-looking convicted murderer. What could go wrong? These are some of Krissie's tips for fellow parole officers: Don't smuggle heroin into prison. Don't drink vodka to relieve stress. Don't French-kiss a colleague to make your boyfriend jealous. If only she'd taken her own advice... When she starts the job, Krissie is happy and in love. Then she meets convicted murderer Jeremy, and begins to believe he may be innocent.

  • The Steady Running of the Hour: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Justin Go
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    In 1924, the English mountaineer Ashley Walsingham dies attempting to summit Mount Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson - whom he has not seen in seven years. Ashley's solicitors search in vain for Imogen, but the estate remains unclaimed. Nearly 80 years later, new information leads the same law firm to Tristan Campbell, a young American who could be the estate's rightful heir. If Tristan can prove he is Imogen's descendant, the inheritance will be his.

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  • Acts of Contrition

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jennifer Handford
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby, Christopher Lane
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    Mary Morrissey is living the life of her dreams. She has a loving husband, Tom, two daughters, and twin boys. But beneath the shiny veneer, Mary hasn’t taken a calm breath in 10 years. She lives in a constant state of panic, afraid the secret she’s kept hidden for so long will be revealed, shattering her perfect life. When addictively charismatic ex-boyfriend Landon James reappears during his high-profile Senate campaign, Mary’s fears become even more real.