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Valerie

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2000

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 141 ratings
  • 1086 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • The Charm School

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1632)
    Performance
    (884)
    Story
    (877)

    Something very strange -- and sinister -- is going on in the Russian woods at Borodino. In a place called Mrs. Ivanova's Charm School, young KGB agents are being taught by American POW's how to be model citizens of the USA. The Soviet goal -- to infiltrate the United States undetected. When an unsuspecting American tourist stumbles upon this secret, he sets in motion a CIA investigation that will reveal horrifying police state savagery and superpower treachery.

    Char says: "Incredibly Good"
    "Stunningly bad-Possible spoilers"
    Overall

    I am a rabid fan of spy novels and I don't write many reviews. However, I have to say, this book was so terrible that I felt I must warn other readers. When I bought the book I expected a lot given its high ratings. However, it disappointed on a number of accounts. First of all, half the book is blustery diatribe about the former Soviet Union and the nature of the Russian people. A little of this would be OK to add context to the story, but it is overwhelming and completely bogs down the plot. Second of all, the characters are quixotic and often make irrational decisions which are not consistent with either their previous behavior or their personalities. Lisa Rhodes in particular is probably one of the worst drawn female protagonists I have read. There were several times while listening when I said out loud, "Oh shut up you idiot!". The narrator too is sub-par. I have listened to many books narrated by Scott Brick. The guy has only one tone of voice and he often adds sarcastic inflections at inappropriate points. Give me George Guidall over him any day. Finally, the grand finale, a great rescue attempt, is ridiculous strategically. I don't want to spoil it for you poor souls who shoulder through the 24 hours of listening time, but lets just say that if you think about it for more than a minute, you realize that neither the US military nor the CIA would ever plan or enact such a hair-brained scheme. Honestly, I can't believe I wasted a whole day of my life listening to this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Simpler Way

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Margaret J. Wheatley, Myron Kellner-Rogers
    • Narrated By Margaret J. Wheatley, Myron Kellner-Rogers
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    RJD says: "A simpler way of practicing what you preach"
    "Philosophical babble"
    Overall

    I usually can get at least something out of a book, even bad books, but I found this one absolutely useless. It was a waste of time and money. Lots of philosophical babble about nothing.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John le Carre
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (479)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (133)

    George Smiley, one of the most brilliant spies in the world, is chosen to dig out a mole and destroy him. And so Smiley embarks on his blind night walk, retracing path after path into his own past - its aliases, covers, sleights of hand - burrowing into the dust of unresolved episodes.

    Valerie says: "Wonderful story that exercises the intellect"
    "Wonderful story that exercises the intellect"
    Overall

    While some may find the story hard to follow, I thought it was wonderful for its complexity. Unlike some of the common mystery writers who spoonfeed us plotline, le carre requires an active reader. However, if you are willing to do the work you will be rewarded with an amazing adventure, rich with well developed character and fascinating description. He draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last page. After listening to this book I bought every single one of his books on audible, and he remains my favorite. And of all his books I liked this one the best. I would highly recommend it!!!

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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