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Rosina

I'm a published novelist under my own name and the pen name Sara Donati. I'm also an academic specializing in sociocultural linguistics.

ratings
69
REVIEWS
9
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
12

  • Possession

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By A. S. Byatt
    • Narrated By Virginia Leishman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (293)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (139)

    As a pair of young scholars research the lives of two Victorian poets, they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire - from spiritualist seances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany. What emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passion and ideas.

    Inga E. Calvin says: "audible poetry"
    "Challenging, but Worth It"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Possession the most enjoyable?

    Byatt weaves together two story lines, one set in Victorian England and the other in present day academia, in England. She is an academic herself and this is probably the best (and funniest) portrayal I've come across. At the same time the themes are deep and resonant. It's hard to believe that she made the two Victorian poets out of thin air, they are so clearly drawn.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Byatt writes beautifully, but mostly she can tell a story that works as a mystery, love story, academic send-up, and an historical.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene in the graveyard was the perfect crisis, exciting, evocative, satirical.


    Who was the most memorable character of Possession and why?

    Christabel LaMott, the Victorian writer and poet.


    Any additional comments?

    Byatt composed two sets of poetry for this novel, one for each of the Victorian poets. This is not light reading, but then on the other hand you can get a lot out of this novel even skipping over the poetry. The narrator really delivered, as well.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (121)

    The tough neighborhood of Dorchester is no place for the innocent or the weak. A territory defined by hard heads and even harder luck, its streets are littered with the detritus of broken families, hearts, dreams. Now, one of its youngest is missing. Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro don't want the case.

    Jane says: "Wonderful writing,"
    "Bubba, is that really you?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This story is populated by people from working class Boston neighborhoods, but only a couple of them have any trace of the accent, and that inconsistently. The main characters sound like they grew up in the midwest, and even Bubba -- dear gawd, Bubba -- sounds off. He's got almost a southern tinge. Massachusetts in general and working class Boston in particular stand out for allegiance to the regional language features. I don't know if this was the producer's call or if the narrator made the decisions, but either way, the performance was severely compromised for me. I know the story well, have read the book multiple times, so this was a very big disappointment.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story itself is very dark, but in a way that encourages thought about difficult subjects.


    How could the performance have been better?

    These characters should sound like they were born and raised in Boston. Consistently.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Amanda's uncle finally realizes there's no more hope, and comes clean over a double Scotch.


    Any additional comments?

    The people who produce audiobooks should have a linguist or two on staff -- a sociolinguist (which yes, I am a trained academic linguist specializing in sociocultural language issues) could set them straight when they go off course like this. It happens far too often, and needn't happen at all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26695)
    Performance
    (13333)
    Story
    (13378)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "flawless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is simply the best audiobook I have ever listened to, and I have listened to hundreds. The book is excellent but has what I consider a few weak spots, but the narration is flawless.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    All of them were astounding, but Aibileen was my favorite.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Queen of Swords

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Sara Donati
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (310)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (206)

    It is the late summer of 1814, and Hannah Bonner and her half brother Luke have spent more than a year searching the islands of the Caribbean for Luke's wife and the man who abducted her. But Jennet's rescue, so long in coming, is not the resolution they'd hoped for. In the spring she had given birth to Luke's son, and in the summer Jennet had found herself compelled to surrender the infant to a stranger in the hope of keeping him safe.

    Linda says: "I love this series"
    "my own work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Queen of Swords rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I'm the author of this book and the series, but I'm writing this review to say how really pleased I was to have Kate Reading as the narrator. She does a spectacular job.


    Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Kate has read all of the Wilderness series for unabridged audio, and her performance is consistently excellent.


    If you could rename Queen of Swords, what would you call it?

    This is one of the six books in the series where I actually was able to keep the title I wanted.


    Any additional comments?

    Thanks to Audible for their support of authors.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wallbanger

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Alice Clayton
    • Narrated By Heather Smith
    Overall
    (1198)
    Performance
    (1105)
    Story
    (1113)

    Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, Carolyn is gaining an - um - intimate knowledge of her new neighbor's nocturnal adventures. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed "dating hiatus," and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor.

    Rosina says: "No Sex in the City"
    "No Sex in the City"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Wallbanger? What did you like least?

    There is actually a good premise here, an unusual start to a romance. Unfortunately the author was trying so hard to be witty and funny and urbane that the characters slide right into the ridiculous. The narration actually made the problem worse, as all three female friends are read with a degree of breathless silliness that was hard to stomach.

    Far sillier than Sex in the City, not nearly as entertaining.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator could have toned down the drama and silliness.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Criminal

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Karin Slaughter
    • Narrated By Kathleen Early
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1607)
    Performance
    (1357)
    Story
    (1362)

    Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Newly in love, he is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and he is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda's motivation, until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage they have both been drawn to for different reasons. Decades before - when Will's father was imprisoned for murder - this was his home....

    Melinda says: "Heart Pounding, Gripping Thriller"
    "broads old and young - and a pig's tush"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Criminal?

    Will Trent is such a complex character, there's no way to describe him in a sentence. Let's just say that he's survived hell and somehow remained compassionate and at the same time, filled with anger. So Will is a big part of the draw. But NOTE: You have to read the previous book in the series to really appreciate this one, because here's the real kicker: in that book you meet a whole slew of 60-something women police officers and ex-police officers, tough women, in some cases distinctly off-putting (Amanda, I'm looking at you); in some cases almost awe-inspiring (Evelyn). Then in Criminal you are introduced to Amanda and Evelyn early in their careers. Maybe because I'm just a few years younger than these characters, but I really adored experiencing the way they fought their way into the police department in the seventies. It's gritty, but it's also funny at times. The historical research is really excellent but not in-your-face. This is the way I remember things. But more important, the old broads (as they call themselves) started out their careers with a case that is heart breaking and which also throws light on Will Trent's current day situation, and explains a lot about Amanda and her motivations in hiring and mentoring him.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Will Trent, but it's a tough call.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    In a flash back, when Evelyn refuses to be cowed by a bad experience and mocks it so effectively that even conservative, staid Amanda has to laugh. Pig-Tush.


    Any additional comments?

    There is a great depth to the story, don't' rush reading it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chasing Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1563)
    Performance
    (1055)
    Story
    (1068)

    Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature. But there’s also little else as thrilling - at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive firefighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan’s blood: her father is a legend in the field. She’s been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday.

    M. Davis says: "Another winner by Roberts!"
    "Good Story + Great Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Chasing Fire in three words, what would they be?

    compelling, evocative, Gulliver


    What did you like best about this story?

    I've read a lot of Nora Roberts' novels and many of them blend together for me, which means that they were less than compelling or memorable. Not bad, mind you. Just not exceptional in any way.

    A couple of her novels have stood out for me, and this I think is the one that I like best. I certainly admire Roberts' ability to make the perilous world of fire jumpers come into focus. A lot of research went into this, but (and this is the hard part) she never indulges the temptation to simply show off what she learned -- Roberts provides just enough detail to get a real sense of how physically and mentally challenging fire jumping is. I got a good idea of the current technology and how it's used, and maybe most important, I began to understand the mindset and priorities that would drive an otherwise sensible and intelligent human being to jump out of a plane into a raging fire.

    The primary romance is exceptionally good. Rowan, a veteran fire jumper, and Gulliver, a rookie. I find I can't resist the urge to use the totally predictable descriptive phrase: they generate tremendous heat.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Rowan tells Gulliver the truth.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The scenes between Rowan and her father were very well done. She realizes that he has been lonely, and that she doesn't want him to be lonely, no matter how much change scares her.


    Any additional comments?

    Tremendously interesting, and an alpha-hero who tempers near perfection with a good dose of self-awareness.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bodyguard

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Suzanne Brockmann
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (211)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (83)

    When Alessandra Lamont is nearly blown to pieces in a mafia hit, the last thing she wants is to place her trust into the hands of sexy, loose-cannon federal agent Harry O'Dell, who'll do whatever it takes to bring the mob down - even if it means sticking like glue to this blonde bombshell who unwittingly married into it. She needs him if she wants to stay alive, and he needs her if he is to exact his revenge for the death of his wife and son.

    SassiKassi says: "Excellent narration"
    "akward early effort"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I am a big fan of Brockmann's other books -- especially the last five or so SEAL Team series. On that basis, I thought I'd try this novel, one of her early (earliest?) efforts. Everybody starts somewhere, after all.

    This is not a bad novel, but it is awkward and strained in tone, and the characters are less well rounded than those in later books. The narrator handled all the different regional and social dialects well.

    Somehow it just didn't gel for me.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Hmmm. I'd rather see Izzy Zanella on a big screen, I think.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beast

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Judith Ivory
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (85)

    When the brainy, luminous Louise Vandermeer embarks on a transoceanic quest to marry an aristocrat, she dives into a scorching affair with a stranger on the ship. Their trysts take place in darkness, so Louise does not know her lover is Charles d'Harcourt, the passionate European playboy who just happens to be her intended! Charles is playing a game, but his plan has unexpected results.

    Kathleen says: "This Reader Brings an Expressive Author to Life!"
    "best recording of an excellent romance novel, ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Beast?

    Ivory writes complicated characters who are anything but run of the mill. Louise is, in my opinion, Ivory's best. A young woman raised by loving parents with endless resources, very beautiful, a master of social expectations and conventions of her time (circa 1900) and place (New York, and then then the Côte d'Azur) and she is interested in nothing so much as math and the sciences. She knows her own failings and owns them to Charles telling him that she is vain and self-centered, but he has seen the parts of herself she hides away.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The second half of the story, once Louise arrives at Charles' home on the Côte d'Azur.


    What does Barbara Rosenblat bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She narrates Charles to perfection. Perfect accent, intonation, tone. The dialogue between Charles and Louise is handled so well that sometimes I found myself breaking out in gooseflesh -- and I'm not talking about the sex scenes, which are beautifully done -- but the way they talk to each other.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I wanted to stretch it out.


    Any additional comments?

    Some people find the beginning of the book -- letters between Louise's parents and Charles -- go on too long. Rosenblatt narrates them so well that they fly right by.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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