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Roberta

Sensitive critic

HALF MOON BAY, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

25
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 102 ratings
  • 319 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3514)
    Performance
    (2512)
    Story
    (2517)

    Always leave a little salt on the bread. Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.

    karen says: "Best audiobook of the year!"
    "Really enjoyed it - great, sweeping novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book and also learned a lot about the history of Australia, plus Ikey Solomon, who was a real person. The novel goes into great detail (sometimes too much detail - I found myself saying, "Come on, just get on with it!" in several places) - but as a whole, I thought it was very good.

    There are comments that the novel is anti-Semitic and I went into listening to it with an open mind, but unfortunately I think the comments are true. I found out five years ago that I'm Jewish, so I'm more sensitive to things like that and I was resenting a few of the things he said. I don't know if it was because there was a lot of prejudice in the early days of London and Australia against the Jews - after all, he was very historically accurate - however some of the comments - at least to me - were not necessary. There are racially-biased comments against the Aborigines, but I know that there has been a lot of prejudice against them in the past.

    The novel covers a lot of time and I enjoyed it. I would have given it five stars if it wasn't for the too-extensive detail at times, plus the prejudiced remarks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Revival: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (997)
    Performance
    (942)
    Story
    (951)

    In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.

    Thug4life says: "Not fit for a King"
    "Like watching paint dry...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Stephen King, and have ever since his first books came out. However - I don't understand the "excellent" reviews I read of this book before I bought it. Perhaps they were written to drum up enthusiasm, I'm not sure. I kept waiting and waiting for the story to get better - but it was dull all the way through until the last 30 minutes - and even then, it was impossible to follow.

    I know that Tabitha King reads all of her husband's books, so I don't know how this one passed muster. Stephen, I love you to death but please try to ramp it up for the one after this.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Enemy

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2559)
    Performance
    (1800)
    Story
    (1803)

    New Year's Day, 1990. The Berlin Wall is coming down. The world is changing. And in a North Carolina "hot-sheets" motel, a two-star general is found dead. His briefcase is missing. Nobody knows what was in it. Within minutes Jack Reacher has his orders: Control the situation. But this situation can't be controlled.

    Corinne says: "Made me really admire Reacher"
    "Overly complicated plot and too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If I could give this book 3-1/2 stars for Overall and Story, I would do that. To me, complicated plots are more difficult to keep track of when I'm listening to a book instead of reading it - kind of hard to go back a few pages and check out one of the details. It seemed like it took FOREVER to get to the end of the story, and by the time I reached it, I had forgotten a majority of the convoluted plot.

    The performance was good, except for the fact that the reader just was unable to do female voices. They all sounded masculine and they all sounded alike.

    The main reason I bought this book was because I had read one of the most recently published Reacher novels, and I wanted to see how everything started out. I'm now re-thinking whether I want to read number two in the series, because that book's reviews aren't really that high. I think I'll go back to John Sandford and re-read some of his - his "Prey" novels, which are just outstanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1619)
    Performance
    (1419)
    Story
    (1423)

    Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

    Larry says: "What a great book."
    "Impressive and excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first started reading this book in the 80's but it was so upsetting that I stopped after the first few chapters. I guess I've changed over the years, because this time I was totally enthralled.

    I came away from this experience realizing that 1) Vincent Bugliosi was a genius at law; 2) the LAPD blew this case so much, it was almost unbelievable (like shaking-your-head unbelievable at how inept they were, or were they simply lazy and didn't care?); 3) there was a lot that happened behind-the-scenes that I never knew - example: I didn't realize that Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, the girl who attempted to assassinate Gerald Ford, was a linchpin in the Manson "Family" and took his place as head of the Family after he was jailed - 4) there were many more people killed by the Family than those in the Tate/LaBianca murders. Bugliosi goes into great detail about those in the epilogue portion of the book, stating that perhaps as many as 60 were murdered by them through the 70's; 5) also realizing that if it weren't for Bugliosi's independent investigation at the time, Manson and his family would have gotten away with murder.

    This is a good book to have in your car while you're commuting because it's long and there are lots of details, Scott Brick did an outstanding job of narrating it, especially with the sometimes endless details about the case - altho I have to say it was seldom that I was bored with those details. I've served on juries, and it's hard to imagine being sequestered for the 9 months it took for the trial to end.

    The details of the Tate-LaBianca murders can be difficult to hear, but I highly recommend Helter Skelter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Sleep: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7170)
    Performance
    (6646)
    Story
    (6662)

    Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

    D says: "The sequel to the book; not the movie"
    "Wonderful! Don't hesitate, buy it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been a fan of Stephen King for a long time, since he first started publishing. I didn't want to get my hopes up in regards to this book because the original was so good - heck, you know what they say about sequels.

    Be aware that the book takes a while to build the characters and give background information. The first half was interesting, but I started getting really hooked on the story when I was about halfway thru, when I was glued to my (car)seat, on tenterhooks and waiting anxiously for the next chapter to begin.

    King doesn't disappoint with old characters, new ones, and a really good showdown at the end. Will Patton was EXCELLENT as the narrator - he voiced Danny Torrance so well (and King wrote the character so realistically) that I'm a little embarrassed to say I had a bit of a crush on Danny when I finished the novel.

    Buy this book and listen to it - you won't be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shirley Jones: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Shirley Jones
    • Narrated By Shirley Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (103)

    For those who only think of Shirley Jones as the prim and proper Marion the librarian or the chaste and demure Mrs. Partridge, a massive surprise is in store. In this hilarious and heartwarming, shocking and intimate memoir, Shirley dishes the raw truth about her own highly charged sexuality, her two husbands - the charismatic and deeply troubled Broadway star Jack Cassidy and the wacky TV comic Marty Ingels - her legendary Hollywood costars, and her interactions with the cast of The Partridge Family, including her rock star stepson David Cassidy.

    Jeffrey says: "A Rare Gem!"
    "Really liked it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've always been a fan of Shirley Jones, and I spent a large part of my childhood and teenager years enjoying her in Carousel, Oklahoma, etc.

    It was a bit of a surprise to find out a lot of her intimate details, such as her active sex life over the years with her two husbands. She also did a lot of good dishing on other actors she worked with, and at times I was at rapt attention, wondering who she'd talk about next.

    I understand that Joan Collins threw a fit when she found out about Shirley's description of a foursome years ago, and demanded that her name be taken out of the book (she succeeded, subsequent printings will have her name removed).

    If you are a fan of musicals, you'll really enjoy this - trust me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3295)
    Performance
    (3057)
    Story
    (3060)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Jacqueline says: "Finish to Start Excellent is Novel This"
    "Excellent!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Loved the book - you'll think you're listening to a Stephen King novel. This kid can write. Buy it, you won't be disappointed!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Pearl S. Buck
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2022)
    Performance
    (1170)
    Story
    (1185)

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

    SHEILA says: "The Good Earth"
    "Even better than the book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first read The Good Earth when I was in elementary school and I still have that book in my bookcase. I've read it numerous times and since I wanted to listen to a book that I was familiar with, I picked this one.

    Anthony Heald did an outstanding job on this book. He actually sounded Asian while he was narrating, and he felt the parts instead of just reading them. I never knew this was a trilogy until now and I downloaded the next book Sons, but it just isn't the same. It's narrated by someone else and it sounds flat and dull.

    As someone who loved this book most of my life, I highly recommend this audible version of The Good Earth. You won't be sorry!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11006)
    Performance
    (6197)
    Story
    (6246)

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"
    "A little slow at times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was different than I had expected and I found myself skipping over large parts. I don't dislike slow books as long as they are interesting, however I found it really hard to get into it during the first half.

    After the shipwreck, I found it much more interesting. I would recommend it, but probably only to people who had seen the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs)
    • By David Nasaw
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (246)
    Performance
    (214)
    Story
    (206)

    Joseph Patrick Kennedy - whose life spanned the First World War, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the Cold War - was the patriarch of America’s greatest political dynasty. The father of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert and Edward Kennedy, 'Joe' Kennedy was an indomitable and elusive figure whose dreams of advancement for his nine children were matched only by his extraordinary personal ambition and shrewd financial skills.

    Robert says: "Wonderfully entertaining and engaging"
    "Very well done, but a bit slow at times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have always been interested in the Kennedys and found this book to be fascinating, however the author goes into so much detail that at times I found myself skipping a few parts. I'm also interested in history, so believe me, it had to be a LOT of detail to turn me off a bit.

    Otherwise extremely well done, I'd recommend it to my friends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moloka’i

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Alan Brennert
    • Narrated By Anne Noelani Miyamoto
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (792)
    Performance
    (607)
    Story
    (604)

    The powerful debut novel from Alan Brennert, Moloka’i tells the story of Rachel Kalama, a seven-year-old Hawaiian girl who contracts leprosy and is quarantined on the island of Moloka’i during the 1890s. Separated from her family and forced to grow up in the leper colony of Kalaupapa, Rachel experiences intense isolation. But she remains strong, finding moments of joy, and even love. Rich in Hawaiian history, this novel proves itself a stellar piece of historical fiction.

    Blaine says: "Unexpected Jewel"
    "Still thinking about it....cried at the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really recommend this excellent book. Not only did I learn many details about the leprosarium on Kalaupapa, I felt at the end of the book as if I had actually been there. The author was so skilled that I also felt I knew the main character personally.

    The book starts in the late 1800's with the main character, Rachel Kalama, at 5 years old. While I was reading, I was horrified to find out that little children who were diagnosed with leprosy at the time were forcefully parted from their families - from everything they had known - and sent to Kalaupapa. The book follows Rachel's journey to the island thru her girlhood, teen years, adult, and old age.

    While listening I found it hard to believe over and over again that this book was written by a man. He captured every kind of nuance and thought that was female.

    Because of this book I would someday like to visit the island and the area that housed the people with leprosy. It is now a the national park. Very much recommended, you won't regret purchasing it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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