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Janet

I'm an avid listener. Audio books are a mini-vacation for me. They fill my "need to read" when I don't have time - which is most of the time. Great element of multi-tasking!

Allen, TX, United States | Member Since 2006

113
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 63 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 518 titles in library
  • 45 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
9

  • Leaving Time

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1268)
    Performance
    (1169)
    Story
    (1174)

    Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest.

    Jan says: "Pickiest Reader Would Be Willing to Give 6 Stars"
    "Not at all the story I expected! Wonderful!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is hard to write much about this book without giving away elements of the story that need to unfold in the context of the telling of the tale. On one level, it is a good "Who dunnit?" mystery. On another, it is a moving account of the lives of elephants in the wild and in captivity. The most unique and moving aspects of the story have little to do with either of these story elements. The title of the book gives you a clue, but don't think you've figured it out, because you haven't....

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Glass Palace

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Amitav Ghosh
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (277)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (178)

    Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel by Amitav Ghosh tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her.

    Janis says: "Wonderful Family Saga Set in Burma and Malaysia"
    "Sweeping Epic or Fictional Memoir?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I expect that Ghosh intended this book to be a Ken Follett-like sweeping story of Burma, India and much of south Asia during the late 19th and early 20th century, but it reads more like a mood piece or memoir with its focus on scenery, social conventions and detailed analysis of family/caste relationships. The plot spans the lives of several families, starting with the deposition of the last Burmese king through the end of the 2nd World War, but isn't really plot driven, or character driven. It's more a series of stream of consciousness depictions of the thoughts of various related characters. The strong suit of this story is the beautiful, detailed description of the thoughts of the varied characters, illustrating the ways in which the misunderstandings between ruler and ruled fueled WW I and II. The author assumes that the listener is clever enough to understand some plot points without his spelling them out. He expects a lot from the reader, but that serves the progression of the book well. Simon Vance is always a great narrator, and does a remarkable job with the numerous dialects and languages.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of Eternity: The Century Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1765)
    Performance
    (1590)
    Story
    (1597)

    Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

    Elisa says: "Some good, some bad"
    "I didn't want this series to end."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having spent almost 100 hours with these characters and their ancestors over the course of this trilogy about the 19th and 20th centuries, I was sad to come to the end. As I have previously written, the first book was stellar, the 2nd was grim and uninspired, but the 3rd captured the ulginess of civil rights in the US, the end of WWII Europe and the Cold War in a fascinating tale of families overcoming their hardships along side their participation in world-changing events. History comes together as reality for me in books such as this in which events in one country are juxtaposed with events in other parts of the world occurring at the same time. If I have any complaint, its about the generally wonderful narrator, John Lee. He manages to get any number of European, Asian and the numerous confusing British dialects right, while completely mangling dialects of the Southern United States. He's not particularly good with Boston, either. He does improve as the book progresses, as if his ear is learning the sounds. Listen to or read this trilogy from the beginning!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Place: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Stephen Hogan, Lara Hutchinson
    Overall
    (1001)
    Performance
    (896)
    Story
    (889)

    "The Secret Place", a board where the girls at St Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

    Jim says: "CAN NOT UNDERSTAND HALF THE BOOK (AUDIO)"
    "First 5-star ever!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a picky listener, and have never given 5 stars until now. Anything by Tana French is going to be "good," but the story telling in this book is terrific. It is told from a number of points of view, which isn't so unusual, but the detectives tell the story from start to finish, while the girls around whom the tale is centered tell it from pre-history to the start of this plot. French is so talented that it isn't messy or confusing in the least. This is among the best books in the Dublin Murder Squad series. I hope to see these characters again. Dual narrators is effective in this book, and probably wouldn't work as well with a single voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Way Home: Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (851)
    Performance
    (774)
    Story
    (769)

    Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole." While Gamache doesn't talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache's help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There’s power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.

    David Walker says: "Back in 3 Pines"
    "Shocking and wonderful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you do not know this series, don't start here. This book requires that you be intimately familiar with the back stories and characters of the previous books. If you are already a lover of the Three Pines series, you will find comfortable, familiar story telling in this book, but you will also be shocked at a couple of plot turns. I was really pleased to see Inspector Gamache's wife featured more prominently in this story, and I also noticed some subtle changes in the use of timeline of events that was a fresh approach for Ms. Penny. I always wish these books were longer!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood: Outlander, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3930)
    Performance
    (3670)
    Story
    (3660)

    Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to 1743 Scotland, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for a young soldier, James Fraser.

    G. House Sr. says: "Eloquent Fabulous Historical - Grand Continuation"
    "Gabaldon has scored again!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Each time I start a new "Outlander" book, I feel as if I am attending a reunion of dear friends - I can't wait to find out what happened since we last met! This book continues the difficult-to-define genre in which these stories are told. There appears that this book has more steamy romance than most of the others, as well as really graphic scenes of violence and medical practice in 2 different centuries. Many plot lines are resolved, and many others just begun. I can't wait for the promised 9th book! Davina Porter is the only possible voice in which I can imagine these stories being told - she is wonderful, as always, with the exception of a few mispronounced words here and there. A bit unexpected. NOTE: Read all of the previous 7 books in the series before you begin this one. Subtle elements will not make sense otherwise. A great listen!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3567)
    Performance
    (3234)
    Story
    (3252)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Michael says: "Who or What defines Quality of Life?"
    "One of my top 5. Ever."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The synopsis of this book's plot might cause you to assume a dreary medical procedural, with lots of discussion of treatments. Almost none of that occurs. The male protagonist is a quadriplegic, but the story is about what happens when people from completely different walks of life are thrust together in co-dependence. The story is told variously from the points of view of several of the primary and secondary characters, weaving together a plot that is driven by need, desire and deep emotional development. It contains every element a memorable book requires: pain, humor, love, fear, selfishness and kindness. A little bigotry and understanding thrown in, too. I am telling everyone to read or listen to this book. One of the best ever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cairo Affair

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Olen Steinhauer
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (313)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (278)

    Sophie Kohl is living her worst nightmare. Minutes after she confesses to her husband, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary, that she had an affair while they were in Cairo, he is shot in the head and killed. Stan Bertolli, a Cairo-based CIA agent, has fielded his share of midnight calls. But his heart skips a beat when he hears the voice of the only woman he ever truly loved, calling to ask why her husband has been assassinated.

    Darwin8u says: "In the widening gyre"
    "if you liked "The Tourist," you'll love this."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story has similar themes of loyalty and betrayal, who can trust whom, etc., but with completely new characters and a contemporary setting. (An attempted overthrow of Kadafi in Lybia) Lots of characters from many nationalities are expertly narrated by Ballerini. He is excellent with both men and women, and his accent rings true (at least, consistent) with all characters. If you want every detail of a plot tied up with a nice bow, don't listen to this story: Life doesn't work that way, so why should this tale? I hope that this signals that there may be another book with some of these characters.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bellwether

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (830)
    Performance
    (522)
    Story
    (524)

    Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennett O'Reilly works with monkey group behavior and chaos theory for the same company. When the two are thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. But a series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions - with the unintended help of the errant, forgetful, and careless office assistant Flip.

    Charles says: "The Lone Naysayer..."
    "This one should have been a short story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a big Connie Willis fan, but this tale was pretty silly. I continue to love her matter-of-fact style of writing about such things as an institute in which PhDs work on such important topics as "Why the Fad of Hair Bobbing Began." I think this story would have been more appealing, however, if the drawn out character development was tightened up and the action was more concise. It was a fun listen, particularly because I got it on a "2 for 1" sale, but don't spend an entire credit on it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Boy in the Suitcase: A Nina Borg Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Lene Kaaberbøl (author and translator), Agnete Friis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (536)
    Performance
    (472)
    Story
    (473)

    Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is trying to live a quiet life. The last thing her husband wants is for her to go running off on another dangerous mission to help illegal refugees. But when Nina's estranged friend, Karin, leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, and begs her to take care of its contents, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous case yet.

    Sarah says: "Not recommended"
    "Scandinavian crime fiction is always dark, but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...this one is especially so. The title sets the listener up: the first scene is a child in a suitcase. The story is told from multiple character's points of view. The tale weaves around several countries, numerous characters and agendas, and mostly resolves at the end, leaving a couple of characters depressingly unchanged by events. In the meantime, there are several unique plot twists and some well drawn characters, but only listen to this if you are ready to walk on the seamy underside of Denmark and Finland.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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