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Linda

Librarian, blogger, reader

SOMERVILLE, MA, United States | Member Since 2013

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 47 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • The Lucy Variations

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Sara Zarr
    • Narrated By Sara Zarr
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain. That was all before she turned 14. Now, at 16, it's over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented 10-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano - on her own terms.

    The Reading Date says: "Quietly Powerful"
    "Not my favorite Zarr, but still good."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This wasn't destined to be a book I love because I'm fairly uninterested in the lives of musical prodigies. But there was, of course, more to the story and it was well done so I did end up enjoying it. The author narrates quite well, and I enjoyed the addition of the background music except the one time it included vocals, which competed with the narration. But overall, I liked it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Handmaid's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3624)
    Performance
    (3272)
    Story
    (3292)

    Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

    Emily - Audible says: "My Top Pick for 2012"
    "A classic, very well told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Claire Danes somehow seems a surprising choice to narrate, but I found her tone and style to be quite perfect for this classic feminist novel. I hadn't read The Handmaid's Tale in probably close to 20 years, but it's still just as good as it was then, maybe even better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Burial Rites: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Hannah Kent
    • Narrated By Morven Christie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (234)

    A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her.

    Yvonne says: "One of the absolutely Best Books"
    "Well narrated, but a slow story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really thought I'd like this. The premise of the story was intriguing, as was the setting. But it failed to keep me interested. It began promisingly enough, and the ending wasn't bad, but in between...well, nothing really happened. I know I'm in the minority - reviews from critics and laypeople alike have been positively glowing, and it has been nominated for awards. Somehow though, it just fell sort of flat for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tampa

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Alissa Nutting
    • Narrated By Kathleen McInerney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (69)

    Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. But Celeste's devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession: 14-year-old boys. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure. With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.

    Linda says: "This author is pretty gutsy"
    "This author is pretty gutsy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The whole premise of this book is off-putting to some, and if that's how it strikes you just stop there. Because not only is it about an adult woman preying on 14-year-olds, it's quite sexually graphic, and since it's written from Celeste's perspective, the sex is actually pretty sexy. I'm not bothered by anything in fiction (no 14-year-old boys were actually harmed in the writing of this book!) so I found it a bit fascinating. Celeste is a great unlikeable protagonist and I thought the story progressed well all the way to its satisfying ending. I actually tried this one in print first and found the quality of the writing inconsistent, but the audio worked much better for me. The narrator somehow made Celeste's voice more palatable and I binge-listened to this over the long weekend. I like when authors take risks by tackling taboo subjects, and Alissa Nutting pulled it off quite well.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Paper Towns

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (979)
    Performance
    (812)
    Story
    (826)

    Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.

    FanB14 says: "John Green Fans Will Enjoy"
    "One of John Green's Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare Paper Towns to and why?

    In some ways it reminded me a bit of Green's Looking for Alaska. There is a girl who is mysterious and misunderstood, one boy is sort of obsessed with her but doesn't really know her, she is suddenly gone and then everyone tries to figure out what happened to her. But that's where the similarities end.

    I love a good road trip novel, and I enjoyed the one in this book even more than those in An Abundance of Katherines (also John Green) or Amy and Roger's Epic Detour or Going Bovine. There's something wonderful about teenagers heading out together on an unsupervised trip without permission or proper provisions. I liked seeing them find their way to their destination, while strengthening their friendships along the way.


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

    On their trip to find Margo, it became clear that each character had a different way of seeing her. Nobody really knew her because she kept herself veiled and only revealed what she wanted others to see, but everyone interpreted those clues through their own filters. It became clear just how much our views of other people are shaped by our own lenses.


    Any additional comments?

    I've read most of John Green's books at this point and this is definitely one of my favorites (along with The Fault In Our Stars). His characters are clever and witty, yet still have the faults inherent in being a teenager. The narration was well done and I very much enjoyed listening to it.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Velvet

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Mary Hooper
    • Narrated By Ruth Sillers
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Velvet is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry's work is back-breaking and Velvet is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Velvet is noticed by Madame Savoya, a famed medium, who asks Velvet to come to work for her. Velvet is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame.

    Linda says: "Good idea, not well executed"
    "Good idea, not well executed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This was a great idea for a story and I found many aspects of the plot interesting. But the main character, Velvet, was just unbelievably naive and gullible and it took her FAR too long to learn what was obvious to me early on. The narrator was ok, but the production was not great. There was NO space between chapters at all, and twice during the book it did this odd skipping thing where, for a couple of seconds, I think there was a bit of a different book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rules of Civility: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Amor Towles
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1802)
    Performance
    (1438)
    Story
    (1419)

    Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising 25-year-old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

    Emily - Audible says: "Like a Country Pastoral for City Rats"
    "Excellent book, beautifully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What does Rebecca Lowman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I would listen to this narrator read anything. She has a slightly deep, slightly husky voice that was perfect for this book. She read the characters different enough from one another that it was easy to tell who was speaking, without making those differences exaggerated. Lovely job!


    Any additional comments?

    This is not a book of action - it's more about people living in a specific time, but I was interested in those people and the time in which they lived. I felt quite transported by it. Tinker Grey reminded me a bit of Jay Gatsby, perhaps because I was rereading The Great Gatsby at the same time. Although it wasn't plot-heavy, I still thought it was a good story, but the real strength is in the beautiful writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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