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Marie

Professional librarian type, amateur historian.

WASHINGTON, DC, United States | Member Since 2010

73
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 63 reviews
  • 144 ratings
  • 417 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
14

  • The World of Downton Abbey

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jessica Fellows
    • Narrated By Elizabeth McGovern
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (80)

    Downton Abbey portrays a world of elegance and decadence, a world of duty and obedience, and a world of romance and rivalry. This companion book, full of rich historical detail, takes fans deeper into that period than ever before. Experience the inner workings of the downstairs life and be dazzled by the glamour of upstairs life with profiles of all the major characters, interviews with the actors, and behind the scenes insights.

    Teddy says: "Fun look at the backstory to Downton Abbey"
    "The history to go along with the show"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is more about the history of the period and a little less about show. Yet, if you are history buff and interested in the background character that is the time period this may be worth a listen. Yes, it is slow and can be at times dull, but it is also informative.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Time's Edge: The Chronos Files, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Rysa Walker
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (68)

    To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his band of time travelers from rewriting history, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists’ hands. If she jumps back in time and pulls the wrong key - one that might tip off the Cyrists to her strategy - her whole plan could come crashing down, jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people. Kate’s only ally is Kiernan, who also carries the time-traveling gene.

    Tajmoni says: "No Slump! This takes you full speed ahead!"
    "Maybe I'm too much of an adult for this YA book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved the author's first book Timebound and read it on my kindle. I had some issues with that book but let those issues go because I got a really great and interesting story.
    I wished the narrator had a greater range playing different characters. It was the male voices that seemed very one-dimensional. Luckily one male character had an Irish accent so you could tell it was him, but for all the other men, the female narrator, seemed to only have one voice for all men.
    Unfortunately for me, I'm a middle aged married woman who works in the history field and lives in Washington, DC. There is more of a romance, where our young heroine gets the attention of two hot guys and it is more of the story than in the last book. I'm not really into romances. Though the book is set in the DC metro area, I don't think it really captures the sections of the area it is set. But then again many writers never do get it right. As an adult, I found a few of the supposedly adult characters immature. I probably could have enjoyed it more if I turned my brain off.
    Overall, it was a decent time travel book and the series is still looking promising. I didn't find the different time lines confusing, and despite the other issues I have with the characters, aspects of the story and the narrator, listening was enjoyable enough to pass the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities: 50th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Jane Jacobs, Jason Epstein (introduction)
    • Narrated By Donna Rawlins
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (45)

    Thirty years after its publication, The Death and Life of Great American Cities was described by The New York Times as "perhaps the most influential single work in the history of town planning....[It] can also be seen in a much larger context. It is first of all a work of literature; the descriptions of street life as a kind of ballet and the bitingly satiric account of traditional planning theory can still be read for pleasure even by those who long ago absorbed and appropriated the book's arguments."

    deborah says: "Dated But Relevant"
    "Still good for thought"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I attempted to read the dead tree version of this book and did not get far. I appreciate the narrator because it seemed a bit more accessible in an audible format. I will listen to it again but with a dead tree version close at hand because there are ideas that Jacobs mentions that I'd like to spend a bit more time thinking about before rolling on to the next thought.
    I've read urban planning commentary that quotes or refers to this Jacobs book as if it were the Bible. Listening to it for myself, I wonder if this is the same author people bring up when they talk about historic preservation, because I got a completely different sense of what she was saying, which is why I need a paper version as well.
    Another commenter mentioned the book is dated. Yes, it is, but is informative regarding big cities and the motivations of city administrators and politicians in regards to federal funds and the motivation to big build stupid projects that do nothing for the citizen on the ground. That is still going on, even though those same city administrators may claim a love for Jacob's ideas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Megan McArdle
    • Narrated By Mia Barron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (105)

    Most new products fail. So do most small businesses. And most of us, if we are honest, have experienced a major setback in our personal or professional lives. So what determines who will bounce back and follow up with a home run? If you want to succeed in business and in life, Megan McArdle argues in this hugely thought-provoking book, you have to learn how to harness the power of failure. McArdle has been one of our most popular business bloggers for more than a decade, covering the rise and fall of some the world' s top companies and challenging us to think differently about how we live, learn, and work.

    Ray says: "Good Book"
    "Perfect is the enemy of the good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I totally recommend this book to parents, people starting a business, heck everyone.
    The author uses personal and other anecdotal stories to tell a bigger story of how we are forgetting that we learn from our mistakes and not making mistakes or the effort to prevent mistakes does us no favors. One was that of bankruptcy. In America you can start a business, fail, go bankrupt, and later try again (hopefully learning from the 1st effort). In other countries you only get to fail once, with sad results for the country as a whole.
    The narration coupled with the story made this audiobook a good listen. it was informative and a little entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • FREE Masked Ball at Broxley Manor

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 14 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (306)
    Performance
    (287)
    Story
    (283)

    A delectable prequel to the national bestselling Royal Spyness mysteries featuring Lady Georgiana Rannoch—thirty forth in line to the throne, and England’s poorest heiress. At the end of her first unsuccessful season out in society, Lady Georgiana has all but given up on attracting a suitable man—until she receives an invitation to a masked Halloween ball at Broxley Manor. Georgie is uncertain why she was invited, until she learns that the royal family intends to marry her off to a foreign prince, one reputed to be mad.

    Amazon Customer says: "Strident narration, shallow story"
    "Nice short entertaining prequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If Star Wars has shown us anything, it has shown there is a danger in the prequel. No such problem here.
    For one it is short, no need to pack the book with needlessness to endanger the series, confuse characters, and whatnot. The protagonist is not thrown into her full character before it is time but there are glimpses of what could be and doesn't take it any further, thus avoiding what George Lucas can't seem to do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Voice in the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Francine Rivers
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1131)
    Performance
    (694)
    Story
    (705)

    This heart-stirring tale of a young slave girl, torn between her love for a handsome aristocrat and her faith in God, transcends genres with its awe-inspiring power and emotional intensity.

    Allicia says: "Christian Fiction That Doesn't Back Down"
    "Intriguing story, but anachronisms are annoying"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have a great interest in the Roman Empire, and have read/listened to several non-fiction books on the period. I also get that that this is a novel, a work of fiction and thus needs some leeway, but it was still annoying to hit upon an anachronism or something that just didn't seem right for the period. I felt the author was writing more about a modern football player than a gladiator, for one character.
    The book is a Christian novel, but the are sexual situations, nothing explicit. The author puts in cameos of persons who had passing mentions in the New Testament and the main character for this novel is an early Christian. Despite being enslaved and facing other challenges and temptations, she is super-Christian, constantly keeping and living the faith.
    The story itself, despite the little irritating anachronisms was interesting and I managed to listen to the whole book. However I did step away from it at times. The narrator gave a good performance.
    I'm in no rush to get the next in the series, but I may give it a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Laurence Maslon, Michael Kantor
    • Narrated By Laurence Maslon
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (25)

    Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, the Avengers, the X-Men, Watchmen, and more: the companion volume to the PBS documentary series of the same name that tells the story of the superhero in American popular culture.

    Phillip says: "Superlative overview of superhero comics history"
    "Almost documentary in parts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My spouse and I listened to this book on vacation, in the car as we drove to our destination, at our destination and back in the car on the way home. We enjoyed it greatly because we both love comic books.
    This audiobook makes use of recorded interviews so for some parts you get the interviewees' own voices, making it almost like a documentary. We really appreciated this.
    The book covers the origins of characters known and little known and also gets into the real world business part of the comic industry. It seemed a little MARVEL heavy as opposed to DC, but explained, though the history of those enterprises why they are so different and why somethings don't get produced. The book also gets into some industry nitty gritty that explained some quirks about comic book 'cannon' that I'd never given much thought to.
    I am better for having listened to this book and it helped me look at the comics I love differently with a different level of appreciation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Everything That Rises Must Converge

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Flannery O’Connor
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot, Karen White, Mark Bramhall, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (313)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (241)

    This collection of nine short stories by Flannery O'Connor was published posthumously in 1965. The flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment.

    Ryan says: "Pride goeth before the fall"
    "Entertaining but very Southern"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The stories making up this audiobook were addictive and a bit repulsive. Some stories are very generous in the use of the N-word, ans as an African-American it wore on me, even with understanding that it was used to reflect the time and the mindset of the people who inhabited the stories. It probably did not help to listen to the book in several long sittings and I should have listened in small bites to deal with the use (but not over use because it did serve a purpose) of that disgusting word.
    But I couldn't help myself. Flannery O'Conner is a brilliant storyteller and the actors who told the stories, very, very good. One made me think it was a story being read by Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Copote. The rich characters just came alive and I just wanted more. The narrators were very good at taking on an accent or providing the tone needed for the story, the situation and the character. Not so much a dramatic reading but more of a one man or one woman show where they take on several characters in one scene.
    I would like to hear more like this, minus the N-word.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • FREE The Playground

    • UNABRIDGED (44 mins)
    • By Ray Bradbury
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (173)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (157)

    "The Playground" was part of the first hardcover edition of Ray Bradbury's legendary work Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953. In the story, Charles Underhill is a widower who will do anything to protect his young son Jim from the horrors of the playground - a playground which he and the boy pass by daily and the tumult of which, the activity, brings back to Charles the anguish of his own childhood.

    Nothing really matters says: "Something more than just a creepy short story."
    "Okay someone had a rough childhood"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It helps to see that not everything a great author published isn't all that great. This, is one of those less than great stories from a great storyteller.
    Not to give too much away, the playground in this story is a supernatural space, however I have trouble buying that it is the Hell that the protagonist makes it out to be. Yes, bad things happen but not enough to justify his anxiety.
    The narrator is good and his performance is good too. They were good enough to keep me listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Insurgent: Divergent, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12189)
    Performance
    (11033)
    Story
    (11130)

    One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

    Lore says: "Decent but not as interesting as Divergent"
    "Still not as good as Hunger Games"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I still think this series is a low rent version of the Hunger Games. And the only reason I bought Book 2 was I saw the movie (based on Book 1) which made the story line more acceptable/tolerable, or just made me forget the problems I had with Book 1.
    Book 2 did help a bit with the problems I had with the plausibility of the storyline. However it was replaced more with a feeling that the society created in the book was modeled more on the social structures of a American high school. Everyone eats in a big old cafeteria according to their faction and a lot of drama happens there.
    The book did have its high points, however not enough to have me hunger for the next book. Maybe the next movie will get me to bother with that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dad Is Fat

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jim Gaffigan
    • Narrated By Jim Gaffigan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1858)
    Performance
    (1725)
    Story
    (1718)

    In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children - everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills ("they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news"), to the eating habits of four-year-olds ("there is no difference between a four-year-old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor").

    Sean says: "Good for Gaffigan fans - better for expecting dads"
    "Funny with a PG-13 rating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We now LOVE Jim Gaffigan after listening to his book and we highly recommend this book as a funny, funny book, suitable for long car rides. The topic centers around two topics, his 5 kids and his weight, but mostly the challenges of having 5 kids in New York City.
    The best thing about this is that is read by the author who is a comedian, and thus this is a comedy record, not so much a comedy book that happens to be an audiobook. Gaffigan provides the comedic timing and the character necessary in making the whole thing funny.
    Another thing I liked about it was there was little need for blue humor, litanies of foul language or explicit descriptions of sex and sexual situations but he does mention how those 5 kids do come out into the world. Something about an home birth. Home births can be funny, if you aren't the one who is pregnant. So if the record were a movie I'd rate it a PG-13 or even PG, which is good if you want some laughs without the F-word thrown in every two minutes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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