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Laura Smith



  • 4 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 27 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • And the Mountains Echoed

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, Shohreh Aghdashloo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Khaled Hosseini, the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

    FanB14 says: "Does the End Justify the Means"
    "Great listen, but only small stretches at a time"

    I partly enjoyed this listening experience because of the readers who gave the narrative an authentic sound. Having said that, it was also at times difficult to fully melt into the story because listening to it required attentive listening, lest I misunderstand the *thick* speech. Definitely listen to the sample to determine if you can handle it. My husband couldn't make it through three minutes.

    The story itself was beautiful, with rich depth and a lovely balance between characters. Many of the characters were touched upon from the POV of that character for one segment of the book, and then that person might appear in another chapter from someone else's POV, and this spanned some 60+ years so sometimes we would see the same character as a child, an adult, and an old person. Brilliantly written.

    After finishing the book, I was left a little melancholy... a few of the loose ends were tidied in an unsatisfactory way. I'm not sure I would call this uplifting. Also, I will add that this is heavily character-driven and not a lot "happens." Sometimes I would be so totally bored I had to switch to another novel for a while. But when I came back to this one, I enjoyed it again and dove into it. I've read character novels with better pacing and I think this could have benefited from a better edit through some of the slower parts... having said that, I still recommend it. Good history, great descriptions of many landscapes and cultures in different parts of the world, excellent capturing of numerous characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Burgess Boys: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Strout
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan - the Burgess sibling who stayed behind - urgently calls them home.

    Molly-o says: "Loved, loved, loved it!"
    "Ugh, made myself keep going but had to stop"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who likes fake accents and over-articulation.

    What could Elizabeth Strout have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I think the book might have been okay, I really couldn't focus on it. I originally had this as a physical book and then decided to listen to it. I should have stuck with *reading* it. Having said that, the story wasn't captivating enough for me to keep with it despite the performance, so I suppose that says something about the book itself.

    How could the performance have been better?

    A different narrator.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

    Keith says: "Ken Follett and John Lee / Audible's Dream Team"
    "Solid story with interesting weave of characters"

    First: I started the novel *expecting* to like it because I'm already a Follett fan. Second: I enjoy historical nonfiction very much, so this is close to my wheelhouse... if you aren't fascinated by history, you may not enjoy this.

    The basic story here is the leading up to, and the time during World War I. The characters represent German, British, Russian, and American cultures. The plot touches on love and loss, sexual choices, womens' liberation, freedom of speech, corruption and loyalty. There are a few cliches (the demanding father) and a few turns that I didn't see coming.

    What I particularly *loved* about this novel was how the characters were all different - age, class, and culture. I loved feeling the story from multiple perspectives and it actually helped shed some light on things I hadn't considered before.

    This was long and short at the same time. It was a long novel but it ended somewhat abruptly, and a little too tidy for my personal taste. I understand that is a set up for the next in the trilogy, but it was distracting in a way, and I wasn't totally satisfied upon the book's conclusion.

    I really enjoyed this story, and I recommend it to either Follett fans, historical nonfiction or fiction fans. I can't give it 5 stars because I didn't rush out to get the second book as soon as I was done (though it was available at the time of my reading). All in all: a great, solid read... but not a new favorite.

    A note about the performance: I almost stopped listening about three hours in, because I don't really care for the narrator. I'm glad I stuck it out, but I would have enjoyed this much more with a clearer speaker.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    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"
    "Literary dessert served by talented narrator"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beautiful Ruins to be better than the print version?

    The audio version was a better choice for me, given the dialogue and accent. Ballerini is so talented a narrator my kids thought throughout the book it was a cast of people telling the story. For this book, the audiobook is a better choice than the physical book.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beautiful Ruins?

    Any of the parts set in 1962 were so lovely. I don't typically enjoy books that skip back and forth between times, but it was flawlessly done here.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes and no. I couldn't wait to listen to more, but I also enjoyed stretching it out and enjoying it over a longer period. One thing is for sure, when it was over I was so sad.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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