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Maria

Member Since 2014

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 180 ratings
  • 415 titles in library
  • 40 purchased in 2015
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  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6545)
    Performance
    (5665)
    Story
    (5656)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "I wish this book had never ended."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Beautiful Ruins rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the first five.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pascale. Such a gentle, honest soul


    Which character – as performed by Edoardo Ballerini – was your favorite?

    Pascale. Loved the accent.


    Who was the most memorable character of Beautiful Ruins and why?

    Pascale. So many things to learn from his life story.


    Any additional comments?

    Masterful writing, gorgeous performance. It was really a true pleasure to listen to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sideways

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Rex Pickett
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (123)

    Sideways is the story of two friends, Miles and Jack, going away together for the last time to steep themselves in everything that makes it good to be young and single: pinot, putting, and prowling bars. In the week before Jack plans to marry, the pair heads out from Los Angeles to the Santa Ynez wine country.

    C. D Strother says: "if you liked the movie, you will like the book"
    "Thoroughly enjoyable and sweet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed the writing, and was surprised by it's depth . I wasn't expecting it, I think I was expecting a tale about two guys drinking and screwing their brains off, and the story really turned out to be much more than that. I thought the narration was excellent. I couldn't have enjoyed it more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (3383)
    Performance
    (1714)
    Story
    (1718)

    This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

    Jamie says: "Do Not Miss This"
    "Great story, wonderful narration, A bit too long."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Shantaram again? Why?

    No, I would not. I really enjoyed this book, however it felt like the author often dwelt too long on some topics, which made the listening a little cumbersome. At times, I'm ashamed to admit, I just pressed the fast-forward button for for quite a few seconds, without ever missing the thread of the story at all.


    What other book might you compare Shantaram to and why?

    I can't think of any.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no I haven't


    If you could take any character from Shantaram out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Prabaka. (not sure if that would be the correct spelling of his name). He was a happy person, with simple needs, a positive attitude and a wonderful heart.


    Any additional comments?

    As I said, it dragged for a little too long at times but this is definitely a book worth reading or listening to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (10368)
    Performance
    (8295)
    Story
    (8335)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Amazon Customer says: "Word Thief"
    "Awesome Book! I wish it didn't end!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Book Thief rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 10, undoubtedly.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was interesting to experience the Holocaust from the point of view of a Non-Jewish German family who sympathized with the Jews. It was incredible to view humanity from Death's point of view. I found Zusak's interpretation of death very original and intriguing, and it fascinated me.


    What about Allan Corduner’s performance did you like?

    He was just amazing. I was totally immersed in the experience.


    If you could take any character from The Book Thief out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Death. I am fascinated by Zusak's rendering of this character. It mesmerized me, really. Very, very touching.


    Any additional comments?

    I haven't seem the movie, but from what I hear, the book seems to be sooooo much richer!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magician's Assistant

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Karen Ziemba
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (701)
    Performance
    (415)
    Story
    (419)

    When Parsifal, a handsome and charming magician, dies suddenly, his widow Sabine - who was also his faithful assistant for 20 years - learns that the family he claimed to have lost in a tragic accident is very much alive and well.

    glamazon says: "Patchett Has It"
    "Disapointing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Magician's Assistant? What did you like least?

    Well written, interesting plot. Just didn't deliver.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Predictable, flat, uninspiring.


    Did Karen Ziemba do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes, she writes well, the characters have depth.


    Was The Magician's Assistant worth the listening time?

    Sometimes, but not often enough.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Queen of Bedlam: A Matthew Corbett Novel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1479)
    Performance
    (1341)
    Story
    (1331)

    Robert McCammon brings the hero of his previous novel, Matthew Corbett, to 18th-century New York, where a killer wields a bloody and terrifying power over a bustling city carving out its identity - and over Matthew's own uncertain destiny.

    The unsolved murder of a respected doctor has sent ripples of fear throughout a city teeming with life and noise and commerce. Who snuffed out the good man's life with the slash of a blade on a midnight street? The local printmaster has labeled the fiend "the Masker," adding fuel to a volatile mystery...

    Kathy says: "Addicting"
    "I could not finish it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Perhaps someone suffering from insomnia


    What was most disappointing about Robert McCammon’s story?

    I could not get farther than chapter 5, not sure of it was because the of story or the narrator.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Edoardo Ballerini’s performances?

    I chose this novel because of Edoardo Balerini, I loved his work in "Beautiful Ruins", and also when he read another of R. McCammon's stories (and a few other works he's read) , but boy! ...was I disappointed with this one!!! He sounded bored, and was totally uninspiring.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    None, but but remember I couldn't go past chapter 5


    Any additional comments?

    I hope you have a better experience with this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jolie Blon's Bounce

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (618)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (208)

    Return to James Lee Burke's "timeless, parallel universe" with detective Dave Robicheaux, as he investigates the murders of two women, tries to prove one man's innocence, and faces an enemy unlike any he has ever known. Gothic, dense, brutal, touching, and always compelling, Jolie Blon's Bounce is classic storytelling from a writer who has been dubbed "the Faulkner of crime fiction."

    JD. says: "Sorry I was wrong"
    "Boring!!!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Jolie Blon's Bounce?

    The characters were flat and poorly developed, and often times behaved in conflicting and contradictory ways, and a significant part of the story seemed to be quite unimportant to the plot and could have been left out all together. I had to make an effort to listen to the book until the end, and I only did so because I had already paid for it (but it was hard!).


    Has Jolie Blon's Bounce turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Certainly to HIS books, it has.


    What three words best describe Mark Hammer’s voice?

    Versatile, nuanced, pleasant. I only chose this book because I wanted something read by Mr. Hammer, since I really enjoyed his reading of "Chiefs".


    What character would you cut from Jolie Blon's Bounce?

    Don't get me started!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Everything Is Illuminated

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman, Scott Shina
    Overall
    (779)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (383)

    Jonathan is a Jewish college student searching Europe for the one person he believes can explain his roots. Alex, a lover of all things American and unsurpassed butcher of the English language, is his lovable Ukrainian guide. On their quixotic quest, the two young men look for Augustine, a woman who might have saved Jonathan's grandfather from the Nazis. As past and present merge, hysterically funny moments collide with great tragedy, and an unforgettable story of one family's extraordinary history unfolds.

    J. Kovler says: "What a brilliantly original work!"
    "I love Foer's writtings, and this is no exception"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Everything Is Illuminated?

    I love it's luminescence.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The rendering of the realization that time, and individual history is an illusion.


    What about Jeff Woodman and Scott Shina ’s performance did you like?

    The most pleasurable listens are those from which you get a feeling that the performer understood the story exactly the way you are learning to understand it yourself, and the experience becomes symbiotic in that sense. That's the feeling I got listening to this book.


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

    All of them.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the movie as well. I am waiting for more works from Foer anxiously. He touches my heart with one hand and my brain with the other, it's an odd and addicting feeling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29022)
    Performance
    (25618)
    Story
    (25690)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "I couldn't stop listening!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Gone Girl to be better than the print version?

    Don't know. Haven't read the print version. The performance, however, was marvelous.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The psychological angles and unexpected turns.


    What does Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Their own interpretation of the text, I assume.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Neither. I thought it was an intelligent and entertaining book, well written and well read. I was surprised and pleased with the insights into the relationships and personalities of the characters, and thought it a grabbing, smart, and very pleasurable book.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cutting for Stone: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Abraham Verghese
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5278)
    Performance
    (2638)
    Story
    (2655)

    Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics - their passion for the same woman - that will tear them apart.

    Mary Lynn Richardson says: "Brilliant story, pitch perfect narration"
    "What a wonderful time I had with this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Cutting for Stone again? Why?

    Yes. Beautiful, touching story, full of insight into what it means to be social animals and how it affects our relationships and ultimately who we are.


    Which character – as performed by Sunil Malhotra – was your favorite?

    Gohsh and Shiva


    If you could rename Cutting for Stone, what would you call it?

    I am not one


    Any additional comments?

    What a wonderful physician the author must be, if he was able to write such a compassionate book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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