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F. Girlando

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Santa Barbara, CA USA | Member Since 2001

85
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 377 ratings
  • 551 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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  • The Ashes of Worlds: The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Kevin J. Anderson
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (802)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (324)

    The culminating volume in The Saga of Seven Suns weaves together the myriad story lines in a spectacular grand finale. Galactic empires clash, elemental beings devastate whole planetary systems, and the factions of humanity are pitted against one another. Heroes rise and enemies make their last stands in the climax of an epic tale eight years in the making. The Saga of Seven Suns is one of the most colorful and spectacular science-fiction epics of the past decade.

    David Arbogast says: "Satisfying Conclusion to a Great Series"
    "An Enjoyable if long listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm the kind of person who has to watch a movie to the very end, even if it's not very good. So I stuck with this and listenend to all the books. Like almost everyone who has reviewed this series, I hated the change in narrator. And even though the David Colacci ended up narrating most of the series, I never got used to him nor liked the different accents he gave the different groups.

    But the story is enjoyable, if not earthshaking, and I don't regret listening to the series. This final book ties up everyone's stories is a satisfying way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10506)
    Performance
    (9999)
    Story
    (10017)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Wouldn't Recommend this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This seemed like an interesting book, but it's a little like Moby Dick - lots of boring details. And while the story line kept me interested enough to finish the book, I really hated the narrator. The reason I love audiobooks and recommend them so highly to everyone is that the narrator adds an extra dimension that you don't get when you read a book. Stephen King has the best narrators! I would listen to his books just to hear them! But this guy's voice just didn't create a sympathetic character for me. He just didn't sound like an intelligent astronaut to me. I would have left him on Mars!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Week in Winter

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Maeve Binchy
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (624)
    Performance
    (529)
    Story
    (531)

    Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms.

    A User says: "Didn't want it to end....."
    "Mixed review on narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a Binchy fan, I enjoyed this book, although not quite as much as some of her others. It blends stories of people who come to stay in a newly formed B&B. My only complaint is with the narrator, who is excellent with her Irish accent for the women's voices. But she put on such a deep affectation for the male voices that they all sounded like 60-year old stodgy businessmen. I'd give her 5 stars for the women's voices and 1 star for the males.

    Note to all narrators: You DON'T have to change your voices so dramatically for members of the opposite sex!!! Just talk in a normal voice. We're intelligent. We'll figure it out.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Bat: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (975)
    Performance
    (839)
    Story
    (829)

    Harry is out of his depth. Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can. He's not supposed to get too involved. When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry. He might just be the next victim.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Probably the best of this remarkable series."
    "Great Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first Harry Hole book I've listened to and it's definitely got me hooked. Interesting detective story set in Australia, but it's the character of Harry that makes me want to listen to more. My only complaint is that the narrator, who was excellent, sounds too old for the character of Harry. I thought, from listening, that he was an older detective and that the Aboriginal detective he was working with was much younger than him. As the story unfolds I learned the opposite is true. This audio book is available with a different narrator. You might want to listen to the samples of both before you decide which version you want to get.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chasing Redbird

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Sharon Creech
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (39)

    It started out as an ordinary summer. But the minute thirteen-year-old Zinny covered the old, overgrown trail that ran through the woods behind her family's house, she realized that things were about to change. Right from the start, Zinny knew that uncovering the trail would be more than just a summer project. It was her chance to finally make people notice her, and to have a place she could call her very own.

    F. Girlando says: "Narrator perfects the story."
    "Narrator perfects the story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sharon Creech is such a great writer and you probably have already read and loved this story as I had when I got the audible version. The voice of Zinnie is perfect! You won't be disappointed.

    If you have never read this book, difinitely get this. It is such a sweet sweet story.

    La de da!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (18694)
    Performance
    (16640)
    Story
    (16602)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "One of my favorite all-time King books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of my favorite all-time Stephen King stories. It is very different from most of his novels because it really feelis like it is the narrator's story. But, when you hear Stephen King's epilogue, you realize it really is his story and much of what I liked about the narrator I could hear in the way Stephen talks and the phrases he uses.

    I loved the narrator from the get-go (and by that I mean the character of Jake/George). The only problem I had with the voice of narrator is that he sounds like a paunchy middle-aged balding man, not a tall, and I assume handsome, lindy-dancing man. But I set that aside because he is such an engaging story teller. (My apollogies to Craig Wasson if you really are tall and handsome--you just don't sound like it. But you are excellent!)

    As many recommended, I listened to IT right before listening to this and, while it is not essential to this story, it did add a very fun element. But you should listen to IT anyway, because it is another awesome novel!

    I found the time-travel aspects of this story very interesting and am going to listen, per Stephen King's recommendation, to Jack Finney's Time and Again. But, as is usual for Stephen King, there is such a sweetness to all the main characters. Yes this is about the Kennedy assination and time travel, but really this is a love story on many levels including love for decent people, and love for community. And as is usual for me, I fell in love with this book and didn't want it to end. Fortunately I still have many more I can listen to.

    And, to Stephen's son, great ending - You do rock!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Playing for Pizza: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Christopher Evan Welch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (675)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (154)

    Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In a championship game, to the surprise and dismay of everyone, Rick actually got into the game and then provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams. But against enormous odds, Arnie finally locates another team that will have him: the mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.

    Patti says: "Give Him A Break!"
    "Not one of his better efforts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've had a hard time liking John Grisham's latest works. Most have been too long and depressing. This looked like it could be fun - I visited Italy for the first time recently. The problem with this book is the main character is completely unlikeable and boring. I kept waiting for him to change or mature or get some kind of revelation but it never happened. He's a shallow uninteresting jock.

    I don't think the narrator helped much either becuase he voiced him as whinny and bored. He never shows an ounce of animation, even when talking about football.

    It could have worked as a travel log since he travels all around with his bossy girlfriend (no iteresting character there) but most of those portions are centered on him complaining about the trip. The food descriptions are the only good thing about the book. Food in Italy is wonderful! I did like some of the Italian characters. The book would have been better focusing on them - they were a lot of fun.

    In comparison, I just listened to a Stephen King book. I really do not like horror, but Grisham could take a lesson from King on how to create a character whom, though very flawed, you end up loving deeply.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Yard

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Alex Grecian
    • Narrated By Toby Leonard Moore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (741)
    Performance
    (647)
    Story
    (647)

    Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only 12 detectives - known as “The Murder Squad” - to investigate thousands of murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley.

    Debra says: "Enjoyable annoying book"
    "Entertaining from start to finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book with its well-written characters, glimpse into the beginnings of forensic science, interesting time period, and very entertaining story. The main characters were extremely likeable and unique. I haven't read or heard anything quite like this. It was a bit unnecessarily graphic at times. I would love to see a sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skippy Dies

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Paul Murray
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, and others
    Overall
    (1485)
    Performance
    (879)
    Story
    (891)

    This touching and uproarious novel by author Paul Murray made everyone’s best fiction of 2010 lists, including The Washington Post, Financial Times, Village Voice, and others. Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the mystery that links the boys of Dublin’s Seabrook College (Ruprecht Van Doren, the overweight genius obsessed with string theory; Carl, the teenager drug dealer and borderline psychotic; Philip Kilfether, the basketball-playing midget) to their parents and teachers in ways that no one could have imagined.

    Laura says: "Funny, touching, entertaining"
    "Funny Poignant Sad & Sweet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The words in my title describe the different ways I felt about the book as I listened to it. It was not at all what I expected. I liked the beginning more than other reviewers seem to. I loved the nerdy group of boys.

    Later, as you see how troubled they all are, it broke my heart. I don't know if this is an accurate portrayal of kids in school Ireland, but it was hard, as a mother, to read and I was going to lower my rating since I was expecting a pretty lighthearted book.

    But like the other reviewers have written: If you're going to listen to this, commit to stay until the end. There is so much sweetness and redemption, it made the painful parts worthwhile.

    The narration is excellent. I thought the Italian accent of Mario a bit much, though.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mockingjay: The Final Book of The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28369)
    Performance
    (22097)
    Story
    (22319)

    Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena live, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge....

    GS says: "Conflicting Emotions"
    "Least favorite book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed The Hunger Games, although not as much as everyone else apparently. But as the series went on, I just found it less and less credible. I could never buy in to this girl being such a motivating factor or a fighter. I totally could not buy into shooting down helicopters with bows and arrows!

    I think the writing dipped into a teen-level in the last two series. I often enjoy reading teen books if they are well written (e.g. Harry Potter, Sharon Creech) but the writing just was not that good.

    I did enjoy hearing the author talk about how she came up with the idea. It made it a little less disturbing.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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