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Jana

Member Since 2007

ratings
197
REVIEWS
35
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
119

  • Mansfield Park

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Johanna Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (119)

    Fanny Price, a poor relation of the rich Bertrams, is reluctantly adopted into the family, to be brought up at Mansfield Park, where she is condescendingly treated. Only her cousin, Edmund, a young clergyman, appreciates her fine qualities. Fanny soon falls in love with him, but Edmund is, unfortunately, drawn to the shallow and worldly Mary Crawford.

    Youngna says: "Monotone narration."
    "Tiresome"
    Overall

    I haven't finished the book and hardly think that I will. Am writing this to let others know to be careful in choosing this audiobook.

    The narrator is a little better than adequate for a professional narrator - there is often very little difference in voices of characters. However, that is not why my mind wandered so often while listening. It is so extremely verbose without much action going on in the story. Characters talk endlessly at each other, in a way, that I would describe as genteely and politely argumentative, on and on and on. Most of the characters are set up quickly and early in the story and then it's just their mundane long winded conversations of little or no consequance. Take into account that I've not finished the book, but there is nothing that I've listened to or know about the overall story that makes me think the remainder of the book will be much less tiresome than what I've listened to so far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thunder and Rain: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Charles Martin
    • Narrated By Daniel May, Luci Christian Bell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (84)

    Third generation Texas Ranger Tyler Steele is the last of a dying breed - a modern-day cowboy hero living in a world that doesn't quite understand his powerful sense of right and wrong and instinct to defend those who can't defend themselves. Samantha and her daughter, Hope, are on the run from a seemingly inescapable situation. They are in danger, desperate, and alone. Though they are strangers, Ty knows he can help - protecting the innocent is what he does best.

    Dennis says: "A mans story, a love story?"
    "My thoughts for anyone considering this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can understand that some people would like this novel, but it did not appeal to me. It wasn't overall bad - it stated out well and at times, a tear fell, but overall, too slow and far too much narrative over action/events. And far too sugary sweet. I listened to Chasing Fireflies (on sale when I bought it), then bought this one even before I was done with that one because I liked it, but this is such a completely different book. I think if you like Nicholas Sparks books, you would like this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • We Were the Mulvaneys

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Joyce Carol Oates
    • Narrated By Scott Shina
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (109)

    Judd is the youngest of the four Mulvaney children - three boys and a girl - on their parents’ lush farm in upstate New York. In his childhood, Judd is swept along by the sheer energy of the Mulvaneys and their wealth of beloved family stories. But now, 30 years old, Judd looks back through his memories to tell the secrets that eventually ripped apart the fabric of his storybook family.

    Jason says: "Overlooked Masterpiece"
    "This was really written by Joyce Carol Oates?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't like to write many reviews - usually only to help other listeners find gems or avoid books that I think are just overall bad (but not because they just don't meet my taste in books). This the latter. Fortunately, I got it when was a low price, so that didn't hurt so much.

    I was maybe a third into the book when I wanted to immediately call Carol Joyce Oats and let her know that some untalented teenager was using her name on a book titled We Were The Mulvaneys.

    This is a very character driven book, but they are amazingly one dimensional. In the book synopsis, these excerpts: "… Judd looks back through his memories to tell the secrets that eventually ripped apart the fabric of his storybook family." and "….Oates’ novel tells a tale that could be tragic, but is, instead, a ringing affirmation." OK, so going in we know that there will be some event or events that are bad and hidden and that things turn out alright in some way. And that is what we get, but it's like seeing it on TV, except with little drama and no humor.

    There is absolutely no introspection of either the writer (Judd) or any of the other characters for why people are doing what they are doing. We just see them do it. This could have been about how the family members and others felt about what happened, their perceptions and perspective on events and why they made the good or poor choices in their lives. The Judd character is just writing an article where other members of the family have apparently told him the events but not why they did anything they did or what they thought to themselves. And the affirmation ending is just as one dimensional as the rest of the book. There is no catharsis or reflection by any of the characters. We just see them going about their lives. To me, this is a very flimsy story. I expected more from this author.

    Oh, and to add to the poor experience, the reader is quite bad on this book. Believe I have listened to him another time and liked his performance, but not on this book. Too often, it's clear he's reading a book he's not that familiar with, pausing in inappropriate places, like he thought that was the end of the sentence, but oh wait, here it continues on the next page.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Joel Salatin
    • Narrated By Joel Salatin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (371)

    From farmer Joel Salatin's point of view, life in the 21st century just ain't normal. In Folks, This Ain't Normal, he discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love.

    Erin says: "Sometimes preachy, but informative"
    "Thanks Joel Salatin for a very informative book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got so much out of this book that I really wanted to write a review for people who might be considering it. But there is so much in this book, where to start? After I listened to the book (twice), I came across a review in Huff Post that I think hits the book nail on the head. It's by Darya Pino. Don't know if Audible will let me post a link here but it's easy to search for it and she says it so much better than I could.

    I don't think that anyone (except maybe inside his own family) would agree with or advocate all of his ideas in the book, but that didn't diminish one bit, my overall enjoyment of it. While I'm not a libertarian, I was interested in his views on everything he wrote about - it seems obvious to me that he came by his views honestly after much consideration.

    We listeners generally agree that authors shouldn't narrate their own books, but in this case, no one else could have done even half as well. His energy gives more power to his words and ideas. Why four stars after this stellar review? Well, it would be 5 stars or more if compared to any other non-fiction and certainly any books about the food industry. And so happy to realize that I'll be able to visit his farm during my summer trip to that area (Polyface is a short trip off route 81, exit 220, in Virginia).

    I thought that I was weaning myself off agri-business with my new vegetable garden and buying from Whole Foods, but now I see that there is so much more I could be doing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • River of Smoke

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Amitav Ghosh
    • Narrated By Sanjiv Jhaveri
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (89)

    The Ibis, loaded to its gunwales with a cargo of indentured servants, is in the grip of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal; among the dozens flailing for survival are Neel, the pampered raja who has been convicted of embezzlement; Paulette, the French orphan masquerading as a deck-hand; and Deeti, the widowed poppy grower fleeing her homeland with her lover, Kalua. The storm also threatens the clipper ship Anahita, groaning with the largest consignment of opium ever to leave India for Canton.

    Jana says: "Review of Part 2 of the Ibis Trilogy"
    "Review of Part 2 of the Ibis Trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read a number of professional reviews of this book (not on this site) before buying and now that I've listened to it, I feel like I read a different book from them. This book is so very dissimilar from Sea of Poppies - that book introduced a variety of characters and we followed them on their complex interesting journey that brought them together and beyond. What I found in this book was soooo much description of the time in place (ie: Canton and the pearl river delta area). It didn't seem very much happened. Diti's story opened the book, but then disappeared. Included in this story is Ah Fatt, Neal and Paulette as well as some new characters.

    While short on storyline, the book is full of descriptive details that seem very authentic and vivid. But for much of the book, you'll need to be content with that and anticipating a third book that may bring more action, since the author is leading up to the Opium wars. I feel like this book should be part 1 of the next book. But as I say, my take on this book is different than others, so you may feel differently.


    I wish that this book had been narrated by the narrator of SOP. This narrator is good except his very over-the-top rendition of Robin. Yes, we get he's gay. That's not the problem, it's that he often sounds like a Saturday Night Live spoof of a flaming gay man. He sounds so modern. We get most of the description of Canton in letters Robin writes to Paulette, so we hear a LOT of that character. And I think that is why so much of description was annoying to me - a little of the Robin voice as they chose to do it goes a long way. Ghosh added some light-hearted humor with Robin (ie: his unlimited pet names for Paulette), but the humor was lost to me in the extreme performance of Robin. I would not recommend this book other than it continues the trilogy and probably will be needed to get the full experience of the third part when it comes out.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Hungry Tide

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Amitav Ghosh
    • Narrated By Firdous Bamji
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (68)

    Internationally best-selling author Amitav Ghosh, winner of the Pushcart Prize and numerous other prestigious accolades, pens a sweeping novel full of romantic adventure. Favorably compared to the masterworks of Joseph Conrad and V.S. Naipaul, The Hungry Tide is an atmospheric tale set in a world of wondrous sights...and terrible danger.

    Elizabeth says: "One of the Best Audio Books I've Read"
    "Among the Best"
    Overall

    Excelllent nuanced narration + historical epic event + a moving story + immersion into a very different culture + gifted writing = a great listen.
    Should not be missed by anyone who values historical fiction.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1094)
    Performance
    (785)
    Story
    (790)

    The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.

    John says: "Priceless! Best book I've read in years"
    "Fascinating Look at Paris & Americans in mid 1900s"
    Overall

    I agree with Rick and jesse's reviews. I didn't know what to expect but I took a bit of chance because: a) author has been so reliable; and b) outline of book.
    The story is not a linear unfolding of a person's life as in 'John Adams'. It is a somewhat linear story (although the timeline is not always straight*) of some noteworthy Americans (some readily known and some more obscure) and how their journey's to Paris impacted first, their lives and ultimately their impact on art, medicine, innovation and on a growing America.
    At that time, the knowledge and experience of the arts and medicine in Paris was vastly more than in the US. The people profiled in these pages mostly traveled there, in difficult circumstances, to gain knowledge and expertise. But it isn't only about how Paris affected some Americans. Many of these people also made their own impact on Paris and the arts. The particularly heartwarming story of Elihu Washburne illustrates how an American affected so many lives compassionately in a time of war.
    I was very glad I chose this book and looked forward to listening to it every day. The stories of the struggling and ultimately acclaimed American artists will prod me to investigate them more and see some of their artworks.
    *Often, Mr McCullough will unfold the actions of a main character when he/she is an adult at the time of traveling to or being in Paris. Then, later, he will tell the back-story of that person. It was easy to get used to.

    29 of 30 people found this review helpful
  • Past Caring

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Robert Goddard
    • Narrated By Paul Shelley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (136)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (87)

    Why should distinguished Edwardian Cabinet minister Edwin Straford resign at the height of his career? Why does the woman he loves so suddenly reject him? Why, 70 years later, should people go to such lengths to prevent the truth coming out?

    Janice says: "What a tangle web we weave..."
    "Read the Reviews, not the poor publisher's summary"
    Overall

    I hesitated so long whether to get this book.. It had relatively few reviews despite being out for 2 years and the cover artwork and publisher's summary are bland. I eventually took the plunge and glad I did! I highly recommend it.
    There are 2 main characters that contribute to telling the story. A man about 30 in early 1970's is hired to find out what happened to a man who was an English Cabinet Minister (at about 1930, if I remember correctly). That sounds kind of boring, but there is quite a robust plot with a couple of unexpected revelations and some duplicitous characters. Even though there are 2 stories with a fair amt of characters, the book is not overly complex to be thoroughly entertaining. Narrator was good, not great, but I would listen to other books narrated by him. I will look for more from this author.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Faithful Place: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3599)
    Performance
    (1991)
    Story
    (1994)

    New York Times best-selling author Tana French has won the prestigious Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards. As her third novel featuring the Dublin Murder Squad opens, 19-year-old Frank Mackey is waiting in vain for Rosie, who he’s supposed to run away to London with. But when she doesn’t show, Frank leaves Dublin without her—thinking never to return.

    Buffalogal says: "Incredible"
    "Absorbing Story, Great Narrator, Weak Ending"
    Overall

    An intertwined story of love lost, family relationships (painful and rewarding) and police detectives doing their work set in Ireland in current day with flashback scenes to 1980s. I found it very character driven, intelligent and very entertaining. Looked forward to listening to it everyday! I think others agree since there are so many positive reviews for this book. I have two additional comments to pass along.

    Listening to this book proved again, to me, that even good fiction can be made more entertaining with a great narrator's performance. Especially in this case with the Irish accent and the peculiar way (to Americans) they say some words at end of sentences, like sure,yeah. Loved this narrator!

    Secondly, I have to say that I was greatly disappointed with the ending - that is why 4 stars. I don't want to give anything away, but I was expecting much more. Maybe it was to set up a sequel, but to me, the ending did not measure up to the rest of the book. But even with the ending, I'm glad I used a credit on this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Lives of the Kudzu Debutantes: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Cathy Holton
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (38)

    Packed with authentic Southern flavor and characters as colorful as an azalea in full bloom, The Secret Lives of the Kudzu Debutantes serves up stinging one-liners and earthy wisdom in equal measure.

    Marilyn says: "Could have been much better..."
    "Chick Lit Lite!"
    Overall

    I don't like the term "Chick Lit", but surely this book can fall only into this category I'm not going to give away the ending, but you'll quickly realize that one character is going to be tried to be brought down big-time. To get to this penultimate scene, we have to:

    -Accept as normal southern behavior of an alcoholic degree of hard drinking as the almost everyday norm;

    -Endure almost non-sensical metaphors,

    -Accept a story line that is inexplicable in some areas (Now, I know we all don't do rational things all the time, but some of the actions or inactions of these characters are obviously only included to set up the big scene near the end). And,

    -Characters that are not very likeable.


    The narrator tries hard, and is OK, - sometimes I was impressed with her characters and sometimes I noticed how stilted her delivery was. She's not the best, but not a reason not to listen.

    Most of us like light reading now and then, but I suggest finding something that is entertaining. Two stars because 1 star has to be reserved for the worst.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Anthony Powell
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (489)
    Performance
    (290)
    Story
    (282)

    Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art.

    jennifer says: "A Masterpiece on All Counts"
    "A Wasted Credit - This is Unlistenable!"
    Overall

    I don't know what I was thinking when I chose this book, because many reviews are bad and boy are they right, now that I look at them more closely after my bad experience starting this book. I am only 1 hour into this and know that I will never pick it up again. Even Simon Vance can't make this an enjoyable listen. Dull, set in a time and place that is not identified and the author writes in a way that seems meant to obfiscate for no good reason. And did I mention dull? Do yourself a favor and look elsewhere.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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