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A. J. Mcdonald

Bookworm

Yukon, OK | Member Since 2006

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 42 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 56 purchased in 2014
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  • Magic Tree House Collection: Books 17-24

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Mary Pope Osborne
    • Narrated By Mary Pope Osborne
    Overall
    (231)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (121)

    Jack and Amnie are taken on a series of adventures by the Magic Tree House, accompanied by companions such as Teddy, the enchanted dog. With the Magic Tree House, you can experience far away places like Australia and learn about the past on a whirlwind tour through the history books.

    Anne says: "Great Entertainment for 6 year olds"
    "Two thumbs up from my 6yo"
    Overall

    I haven't actually listened to this myself, but it kept my 6-1/2 year old happy and quiet for two days in the car. Afterwards she had to play "Jack and Annie" (the main characters in the series). If your children enjoy this series, they are bound to enjoy this listen. It's nice that the books are short enough to keep a young child's attention.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Princess Bride

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By William Goldman
    • Narrated By Rob Reiner
    Overall
    (303)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (167)

    This adventure story has everything you could want: the good guy, some bad guys, the girl, sword fighting, revenge, romance, of course a happy ending, and rodents of unusual size. Join Westley the plucky farm boy, Buttercup the beautiful young maiden, Inigo Montoya the driven, embittered swordsman, and many other strange and unusual characters in this swashbuckling tale of good-natured silliness. It is read by Rob Reiner, who directed the motion picture based on this classic tale.

    Allison says: "Abridged = buy the whole book instead"
    "An Abridgement, really"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I was disappointed that this was truly an abridged version of the "Abridgement" published by William Golding. The book isn't that long. Read the whole thing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Red Velvet Cupcake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes!

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Joanne Fluke
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    Overall
    (314)
    Performance
    (274)
    Story
    (272)

    New York Times best-selling author Joanne Fluke’s cozy mysteries grow in popularity with each new series entry. One summer in Lake Eden, Minnesota, Hannah Swensen attends the grand opening of a newly refurbished hotel, where her famous red velvet cupcakes will be served in the new Red Velvet lounge. But when a party guest falls from the hotel roof, festivities come to a screeching halt - and Hannah becomes the surprising target of a murder investigation

    Donna says: "Very cute and easy listening"
    "Uh oh, guess who's back in Lake Eden"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The Cookie Jar mysteries are more of an escape for me. If you call mindless entertainment time well spent then you might answer this question yes. Let's just say this is my alternative to reality tv.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Joanne Fluke? Why or why not?

    I will probably HAVE to read the next one given the announcement on the last page.


    What didn’t you like about Suzanne Toren’s performance?

    I didn't like the way she made Barbara Donnelly's character sound so young and stupid. Granted she had a brain injury but in past books her character was described as middle-aged and very competent and the performance didn't bring that out at all. That could partly be the writing as well.


    Did Red Velvet Cupcake Murder inspire you to do anything?

    I might be inspired to try a few of the recipes.


    Any additional comments?

    There were some mistakes in the story--some timing difficulties that I can't get into without a spoiler. The mystery was really easy to solve and I was often (in my mind) begging Hannah to have more of an open mind. Hannah is supposed to be smarter than that. BUT I do love her anyway and keep coming back to this series. Sometimes I just need a mental break and these books definitely provide that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Miracle for St. Cecilia’s

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Katherine Valentine
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    A Miracle for St. Cecilia’s is a heartwarming story that all lovers of Christian fiction will find uplifting and entertaining. St. Cecilia’s, an old, outdated Catholic Church in a small New England town, is about to be closed down, much to the dismay of the faithful townsfolk. What will become of Father James Flaherty and the aging Father Keene - and what of the flock? When faith and hope endure, even miracles are possible.

    Odelia says: "It Makes You Feel Good Inside"
    "Good, but not great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about A Miracle for St. Cecilia’s? What did you like least?

    This faith based story set in a charming small town held the appeal for me. However I had problems following the timing of some of the action. There were flashbacks that I didn't know were flashbacks until later in the story. At the end we skip from Good Friday to Sunday with apparently no Saturday. These kinds of problems spoiled an otherwise sweet story for me.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Katherine Valentine? Why or why not?

    I liked this book enough that I'm willing to try the second in this series.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    It was ok. Not memorable but not terrible either.


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

    I might because I like stories like this


    Any additional comments?

    This book was on a list of recommended reading for fans of Jan Karon's Mitford series. There is actually a reference to that series in this book. I did enjoy the apparent sincerity of faith of the characters. This is a good "Sunday afternoon" listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work, 1888-2006, Volume 1

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 12 mins)
    • By Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Walt Whitman, and others
    • Narrated By William Butler Yeats, W.H. Auden, Ezra Pound, and others
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (6)

    Poetry on Record is an engrossing collection of poems read by the people who wrote them, from the dawn of sound recording to the current day. Over the course of four volumes, it tells the story of the past 120 years of poetry in English. Equally important, it allows listeners to understand exactly how the poets intended their poems to be read aloud.

    Bazbar says: "Terrible audio quality"
    "Very poor recording"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Poetry on Record better?

    If I could understand any of the words


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I will finish David Copperfield


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    I don't know


    What character would you cut from Poetry on Record?

    Since I can't understand the words, it's hard to say


    Any additional comments?

    Don't buy this one without listening to the sample to see if it's been fixed

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • People of the Book

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Geraldine Brooks
    • Narrated By Edwina Wren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1019)
    Performance
    (476)
    Story
    (469)

    This ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in 15th-century Spain.

    When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding - an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair - only begin to unlock its deep mysteries.

    Yvette says: "Amazing, fabulous, wonderful!!!"
    "Loved the narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. An interesting story and I enjoyed the narration.


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

    I thought it was about time Hannah understood the truth. I wasn't surprised because it seemed pretty obvious what had happened given the nature of the characters.


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

    I have not, but I really enjoyed her interpretation of the characters.


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

    I was frustrated with Hannah at a crucial moment. Both WITH her, as I could commiserate with her, but also AT her, because some of the answers seemed so obvious to me.


    Any additional comments?

    This was not what I expected but it was interesting. Sometimes it was unclear how much Hannah understood about the backstory.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Some Wildflower in My Heart

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jamie Langston Turner
    • Narrated By Cynthia Darlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    As manager of an elementary school cafeteria, middle-aged Margaret Tuttle is objective and self-contained. She has no interest in emotions or attachments to those around her. But when Birdie Freeman begins to work for Margaret, things begin to change. With her childlike, unselfish, Christian love, Birdie touches everyone she meets. Soon, Margaret's heart opens in spite of her resolve to remain aloof.

    Debra says: "This Author did it again!!!"
    "Not what I expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Depends on the friend. I liked the book but it might not appeal to everyone.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Loved the literary references. Like the fact that the main character was writing her story on a bunch of spiral notebooks from K-mart.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    On one hand the narration seemed a bit dry, but on the other hand it sort of had to be dry to truly capture the character.


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I was surprised by the ending. She reminds us that we were warned, but I had forgotten. While there was a lot of sadness and bitterness to slog through, the main character learns about herself and about those around her, and that's a good thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    Overall
    (2174)
    Performance
    (1932)
    Story
    (1917)

    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"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I thought the story was really disjointed. There were too many loose ends. Too many parts of the story that didn't seem to have much if anything to do with the main thread.


    What could Khaled Hosseini have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    He could have done a better job in the end of pulling things together and helping the reader to understand the importance of each segment.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    The boy Abdullah.


    Was And the Mountains Echoed worth the listening time?

    Not really.


    Any additional comments?

    I have enjoyed other books by this author. I also enjoyed the different narrators. Though the accents were sometimes hard to understand, they gave me a sense of the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Sherman Alexie
    • Narrated By Sherman Alexie
    Overall
    (1201)
    Performance
    (684)
    Story
    (690)

    Born poor and hydrocephalic, Arnold Spirit survives brain surgery. But his enormous skull, lopsided eyes, profound stuttering, and frequent seizures target him for abuse on his Indian reservation. Protected by a formidable friend, the book-loving artist survives childhood. And then - convinced his future lies off the rez - the bright 14-year-old enrolls in an all-white high school 22 miles away.

    FanB14 says: "Absolutely Entertaining Memoir"
    "Unique Perspective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the unique perspective of a bright teenager growing up on an Indian reservation in today's world. I liked how he seemed to be able to separate himself from the tribe and point out the inconsistencies, the poor choices that people just fell into, and also the sense of community. Sort of the good the bad and the ugly of reservation life.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

    The grandmother's funeral. I loved how he talked about the laughter, and how it is appropriate at a funeral.


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

    This was my first


    Any additional comments?

    Too much realistic teenage boy stuff for my taste--kept me from rating it 5 stars.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The View from Saturday

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By E. L. Konigsburg
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Jan Maxwell
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (30)

    Did Mrs. Olinsky choose the four members of the sixth grade Academic Bowl Team, or did they choose her--and one another? Four stories-within-in-a-story, interspersed with the ongoing narrative of the team's triumphant march to the state championship, introduce each member of the team in his own her own voice, and bring the dynamics of the group into focus.

    Fay says: "Not just for kids. Konigsburg is ageless."
    "Engaging story from beginning to end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read a lot of kids and young adult books because I want to be familiar with what my kids are reading. This time I picked the book. I chose it based on the good reviews and the fact that Jenna Lamia was one of the narrators.

    The story grabbed me from the beginning. I loved how the 6th graders each told some of the same events from his or her own perspective. I spend a lot of time with middle schoolers, as a parent and a volunteer, and these characters were true both in their actions and their motives.

    I loved the character of the teacher. I loved how she was all about decorum, yet she sometimes struggled with her own emotions and impulses. How many teachers have I had, or have my kids have, that were firm but good? Those were always the most memorable.

    The incompetent administrator was wonderful comic relief. With apologies to all the competent administrators here in audible land, I am sure that we all know someone in such a position who constantly says and does things that make us wonder how on earth he ever got appointed.

    The theme of "smart kids get ahead," while common, is also one that is dear to my heart. But the true prize was the prize of lasting friendship. I love books that portray boys and girls at this age developing good, deep friendships.

    The narrators also were wonderful; I love what Jenna Lamia puts into every performance. Jan Maxwell was perfect as the voice of the teacher.

    This was a book I enjoyed from beginning to end, one I couldn't wait to get back to after I had to put it down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Winifred Watson
    • Narrated By Frances McDormand
    Overall
    (1122)
    Performance
    (571)
    Story
    (571)

    Miss Pettigrew is a down-on-her-luck, middle-aged governess sent by her employment agency to work for a nightclub singer rather than a household of unruly children. Over a period of 24 hours, as she becomes caught up in the life of Delysia LaFloss, her own life is changed - forever. This charming, funny, light-hearted 1938 novel was a bestseller on its first appearance. Read by Academy Award winning actress Frances McDormand, who stars in the 2008 film as Miss Pettigrew.

    Holly C. Salley says: "Adorable"
    "Delightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like Miss Pettigrew, I truly couldn't wait for the door to open to adventure one more time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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