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Christina

Member Since 2005

60
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 101 ratings
  • 283 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015
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  • The Virgin in the Ice: The Sixth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Vanessa Benjamin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (23)

    The winter of 1139 will disrupt Brother Cadfael's tranquil life in Shrewsbury with the most disturbing events. Raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester. Among them are two orphans from a noble family, a boy of thirteen and an 18-year-old girl of great beauty, and their companion, a young Benedictine nun...

    Vivian says: "THE BEST"
    "One Star Off"
    Overall

    Benjamin does an adequate job of narrating this book; not on par with Ward, but adequate. There were a few odd pauses that sounded the way a misplaced comma might read and which threw me out of the story just a little. Also, the characters could have been better distinguished. Not so bad that I won't listen to it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eric: Discworld #9

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    Overall
    (756)
    Performance
    (345)
    Story
    (353)

    From Terry Pratchett's famed Discworld series. 14-year-old Eric is the first ever demonology hacker. Fortunately, he doesn't succeed in raising any devils, but he does raise Rincewind (the most incompetent wizard in the universe) and the Luggage (the world's most dangerous travel accessory).

    Glen Phipps says: "Good things in small packages."
    "Rincewind saves the day!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The only problem with this story is that it's too short and I want to know what happens next! Rincewind is my favorite anti hero. He always wins if only because he has perfected the art of running away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • World War II: A Military and Social History

    • ORIGINAL (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Thomas Childers
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (110)

    Between 1937 and 1945, approximately 55 million people perished in the series of interrelated conflicts known as the Second World War. No continent was left untouched, no ocean unaffected. The war led to the eclipse of Europe and the emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union as global superpowers; ushered in the atomic age; produced, in the Holocaust, the most horrific crime ever committed in the history of Western civilization, and led to the end of Europe's colonial empires around the world.

    John M says: "My favorite Great Courses lecture"
    "Gripping. Simply Gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've listened to several of The Great Courses offerings, and by far my favorites are those on history. Done well, and most of them are, it's a lot like listening to someone read you an epic novel. In this case, it's the story of the single most important event in human history - WWII. Childers delivers the scenes and the names we know, but also fills out with lesser known facts and weaves them into a narrative that covers both theaters, European and Pacific. That he does so in a rather matter-of-fact voice only serves to underscore the drama.

    There are quotes from the names you know, and snatches of personal letters from people you've never heard of. You get the background information, the cultural factors that lead into the start of the war. You get all the numbers and dates that so bored you back in high school, but in a context that makes them anything but boring. You learn of the Allied triumps and the heartbreaks. You learn that some of the most pivotal moments were combinations of mistakes on both sides, and plain luck, both good and bad. You'll hear about the Miracle of Midway, the heroic bloody battles fought in Russia, the incredible feat of the Army Rangers in climbing Pointe du Hoc under enemy fire, the Bataan death march, and more.

    And in the end, you'll know why it was The Greatest Generation.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Medieval World

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dorsey Armstrong
    Overall
    (202)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (183)

    Far from being a time of darkness, the Middle Ages was an essential period in the grand narrative of Western history. But what was it like to actually live in those extraordinary times? Now you can find out.These 36 lectures provide a different perspective on the society and culture of the Middle Ages: one that entrenches you in the daily human experience of living during this underappreciated era.

    Dr. Cosens-Hellstrom says: "Excellent introduction to Medieval History!"
    "Quite good!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Each lecture is a bit too short to really do its topic justice, but the series provides a good overall view. The lecture is given with obvious enthusiasm, which contributes to the positive experience. My only quarrel is with attempts at reproducing accents when reciting from written documents. They all tend to sound the same, something vaguely middle European, and that includes the Old English passages. But barring that, I enjoyed the series very much.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The History of the United States, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (43 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Allen C. Guelzo, Professor Gary W. Gallagher, Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (319)
    Performance
    (279)
    Story
    (279)

    This comprehensive series of 84 lectures features three award-winning historians sharing their insights into this nation's past-from the European settlement and the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, 19th-century industrialization, two world wars, and the present day. These lectures give you the opportunity to grasp the different aspects of our past that combine to make us distinctly American, and to gain the knowledge so essential to recognizing not only what makes this country such a noteworthy part of world history, but the varying degrees to which it has lived up to its ideals.

    Saud says: "Everything You Need to Know about US History"
    "Wow!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my third Great Courses lecture series, and it was as amazing as the other two. I especially enjoyed Professor Guelzo's enthusiasm, which was contagious, but I give high marks to all three. They did a great job of breaking the series at logical points, which makes it possible to break off listening for a bit while you go read or listen to something less weighty, then come back and pick it up, no problem. I really feel, after listening to this series, that I have a more well-rounded grasp on American history, more than just the cold dates and facts. The various eras and the individuals who left their marks really came alive for me. I'm so glad that Audible and The Great Courses have teamed up! And now off to find another new favorite.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Written in Red: A Novel of the Others

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Anne Bishop
    • Narrated By Alexandra Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1401)
    Performance
    (1281)
    Story
    (1287)

    As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut - a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg's Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard - a business district operated by the Others. Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job.

    Angela says: "WOW!!!!! JUST WOW!"
    "A Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Written in Red better?

    The story needs no improvement, but the narration is terrible. It really needs a different reader.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There are many elements at play in this story. First, it's a 'revised history' paranormal. Although the author never comes out and says so, the story clearly takes place on earth and in North America. But things have developed differently, with the 'others' or paranormal beings as we would call them, being the first and most dominant species. So there's some fun in recognizing the locations and in wrapping your mind around the way things are different. In this version of earth, humans are the outsiders, and the others are neither good nor bad. They are true to their nature, and their nature is predatory. The author is always very clear about that - no sparkly vampires or werewolves here. And yet, I was firmly on their side every time. They find humans useful and are willing to tolerate them provided the boundaries are understood.

    Humans are not portrayed as all evil, either. Yes, the antagonists are human here, but we are introduced to several human characters, chiefly on the police force, who respect the others and understand why things are they way they are. These characters are, in turn, respected by the others. You get the impression that the two sides could make a heck of a good team when their interests are aligned.


    What didn’t you like about Alexandra Harris’s performance?

    I've read the printed copy, and it's a favorite story. I can't wait until the next one in the series comes out. I enjoyed it so much that I bought this audio version within just a month or so of reading the book. I was left disappointed. This is a story with strong paranormal and horror elements, but Alexandra Harris does not do it justice. Her voice, inflection, etc. made it sound like she was narrating a children's book. She would probably be a very good narrator for children's books, as her voice does put me in mind of a kindergarten teacher, but she's not right for this book. As much as I would like to encourage others to read this excellent book, I would also discourage anyone from making this audio version your first introduction.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Written in Red?

    I wouldn't cut anything. The pacing is very good, and each scene was drawn for a reason.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Fool Moon: The Dresden Files, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    Overall
    (9668)
    Performance
    (7562)
    Story
    (7535)

    Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is Chicago's only openly practicing wizard. He is also dead broke. His vast knowledge and magical skills are unfortunately matched by his talent for making powerful enemies and alienating friends. With little more than his integrity left, he accepts an offer of work from Lt. Karin Murphy of Chicago's Special Investigations Unit. He wants to redeem himself in Murphy's eyes and make enough money to quiet his rumbling stomach.

    pterion says: "I'm liking Harry more and more"
    "Harry Dresden Rocks"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Fool Moon the most enjoyable?

    James Marsters. I didn't feel like I was just listening to him read; he brings the characters to life and really nails Harry Dresden. I could see the story taking place in my mind's eye. It's a great book anyway, filled with so many twists and turns; but Marsters reads it perfectly.


    What about James Marsters’s performance did you like?

    He's not just reading, he's really acting out the parts.


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

    Harry's irreverant attitude often makes me laugh. He's the Indiana Jones of the wizarding world.


    Any additional comments?

    I've read all the books in the Harry Dresden series and am a huge fan. I'm not a big paranormal fan. I detest sparkly vampires and the modern tendency to romanticize legendary evil creatures. What makes Butcher's books different is the homage he pays to the origins of these myths and legends. He writes them they way there are meant to be. And he ties it together with Harry Dresden, the world's most sarcastic and trouble-prone wizard. For a wizard, he's very human! Added to that, I think Butcher has created one of the best ever series arcs. Any of these books can stand alone, but read - or listened to - in order and it feels seamless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Small Gods: Discworld #13

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Nigel Planer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1090)
    Performance
    (589)
    Story
    (592)

    Brutha is the Chosen One. His god has spoken to him, admittedly while currently in the shape of a tortoise. Brutha is a simple lad. He can't read. He can't write. He's pretty good at growing melons. And his wants are few. He wants to overthrow a huge and corrupt church. He wants to prevent a horribly holy war.

    Ursula Krischer says: "The Turtle moved for me"
    "You Just Might Learn something"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Small Gods to be better than the print version?

    I'm a great reader so I never consider the audio to be better, but I will say that I think it does justice to the book.


    What other book might you compare Small Gods to and why?

    Good Omens. Nation. What they have in common with Small Gods is Pratchett's take on modern culture, the way he turns things on their heads and makes you look at things differently.


    Which character – as performed by Nigel Planer – was your favorite?

    Hard to choose just one. I did especially enjoy his Didactus, but he does them all justice.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Is the world round, or isn't it?


    Any additional comments?

    This book is chock full of all the delightful things Pratchett brings to any story: quirky characters that are somehow so much like people you know and a slyly irreverant but never cruel humor being just two of them. Pratchett isn't just a fantasy author, he's a brilliant satirist who uses the fantasy genre to poke fun at the way we see the world. He makes you think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Agnes and the Hitman

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Jennifer Crusie, Bob Mayer
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    Overall
    (672)
    Performance
    (384)
    Story
    (387)

    Agnes Crandall's life goes awry when a dognapper invades her kitchen one night, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that she's staked her entire net worth on. Then a hero climbs through her bedroom window. His name is Shane - no last name, just Shane - and he has his own problems.

    Sharon11675 says: "Ditzy Agnes?"
    "So Much Fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Agnes and the Hitman the most enjoyable?

    Burr does a really excellent job of portraying Agnes, and captures the pacing of the story perfectly.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Agnes and the Hitman?

    Without a doubt my favorite scene was when the bridge shows up.


    What does Sandra Burr bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    This is a hard one for me to answer, because I read the story before I listened to it. I do feel she did justice to some of the trickier parts, such as the Agnes' inner dialogue.


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

    Both! Of the 3 that Crusie and Mayer wrote together, this is by far my favorite.


    Any additional comments?

    In this book you get the fabulous bantering dialogue that Jennifer Crusie does better than almost anyone, but it's the contrast/compliment of the quirky Agnes and the solid, stoic Shane as written by Bob Mayer that makes this book so perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Clocks: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (99)

    Sheila Webb expected to find a respectable blind lady waiting for her at 19 Wilbraham Crescent - not the body of a middle-aged man sprawled across the living room floor. But when old Miss Pebmarsh denies sending for her in the first place, or of owning all the clocks that surround the body, it's clear that they are going to need a very good detective. "This crime is so complicated that it must be quite simple," declares Hercule Poirot. But there's a murderer on the loose, and time is ticking away.

    Christina says: "Too little of Poirot"
    "Too little of Poirot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The thing about this book is that it drags a little. And there's really very little of Hercule Poirot in it. Hugh Frasier is very good. His Poirot is almost indistinguishable from David Suchet's, probably from all those years playing opposite each other in the movies.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Not that I would dare to think I could improve on Christie, but in this instance I felt it could have moved a lot faster, and I felt that the central character - who was not actually Poirot, so calling it a Hercules Poirot mystery is misleading - was not as worldy as he was supposed to be. In fact, he felt rather flat. I just didn't care what happened with him.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Night Watch: Discworld #27

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1368)
    Performance
    (801)
    Story
    (808)

    Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch had it all. But now he's back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in when the lightning struck.

    Terry A. Austin says: "Another brilliant Pratchett"
    "Pratchett + Briggs = Unbeatable Combination"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Night Watch again? Why?

    It's Pratchett at his best, with all the quirky characters and deft wordplay, plus the superb Stephen Briggs reading it. Listen again? I've listened too many times to count!


    Which character – as performed by Stephen Briggs – was your favorite?

    He does them all so well ... he IS Sam Vimes, but he brings all of them to life so well. I really think he was born to read these books.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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