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Carol Meissner

Putnam County, NY | Member Since 2012

ratings
83
REVIEWS
15
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
43

  • Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (1138)
    Performance
    (972)
    Story
    (981)

    Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.

    Darwin8u says: "Mantel Pulls the History out of the History"
    "Remarkable story of how to kill off a queen..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you do not find intrigue breathtaking, don't read this well written and well researched book. Hilary Mantel is my new favorite author, and what a remarkable writer and teller -of-tales she is! Her writing is dense, insightful, and rich in nuance. She takes the story of Anne Boleyn and makes it come to life (and death), as witnessed through the actions of Thomas Cromwell, one of King Henry VIII's chief counselors. It appears no accusations can be too bold, and no recriminations too slanderous if you are king and want to be rid of a wife you just spent ten years courting into marriage. The dicotomy of a king's whim and a queen's rights could not be more opposite, and if you can rid yourself of a few extra people along the way, why not...

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Time In Between: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Maria Duenas
    • Narrated By Zilah Mendoza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (92)

    The thrilling, internationally bestselling novel about a haute couture seamstress who becomes an undercover spy for the British Secret Service during World War II. #1 bestseller in Spain with more than 1.5 million copies sold, The Time In Between has taken readers by storm with its unforgettable tale of adventure, tragedy, love, and war. Readers will fall in love with MarÍa DueÑas’s dazzlingly inspiring heroine, Sira Quiroga.

    Sarah says: "terrible narration"
    "Woman's story of perseverance and courage…."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hated this book to end. From the very beginning, the story held my interest. A woman's story told in a woman's voice. Nothing fake here. The main character is a woman, written by a woman who understands that the unfortunate decisions we make when young, will have ramifications for the rest of our lives. And yet there is spunk and courage, and grit and perseverance and luck that also matter in how a life turns out. The story line follows a woman of Spanish origin through the turbulent time of Spanish unrest prior to World War II. Do yourself a favor and allow this story to build your own resiliency and hope, knowing that perseverance will help you make a life worth living.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Chemistry of Tears

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Peter Carey
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays, Susan Lyons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Critics have used every possible superlative to praise the works of two-time Man Booker Prize winner Peter Carey. In The Chemistry of Tears, Carey continues to astound with a story of love, death, and human invention. Museum curator Catherine’s affair comes to an abrupt end with her married lover’s untimely death. Denied outward grief by the nature of their relationship, Catherine retreats into isolation. Delving into notebooks more than a century old, she feels a growing connection to Henry Brandling, who in 1854 gave life to a mechanical creature.

    Carol Meissner says: "Not worth reading…"
    "Not worth reading…"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great! How exciting to write a negative review of a book others seem to love. And how annoying! The main character is someone I would never want to know. She is a woman who has been the lover of a man for thirteen years but thinks no one knew of their relationship. Catherine is egotistical and manic. For a "mature" woman to behave with the poor judgment she displays toward one who is kind, over and over again, is rephrehensible. Catherine acts like a baby. She drinks, snorts cocaine and feels sorry for herself. Frankly, as a woman, it was easy to tell that the author was a man. Catherine is a caricature of how a man might see a woman in such a position. And, if that is not bad enough, another woman is added to the plot and she is equally crazy and unlikeable. Follow that with a bizarre secondary story about a mechanical contraption and surely you will understand the title. No? Well, that's what is supposed to be so innocuous, right? Hardly. Avoid at all costs or prepare to be irritated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Helen Simonson
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2421)
    Performance
    (1140)
    Story
    (1133)

    You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction.

    txkimmers says: "A great surprise"
    "Endearing story of a surprising type of courage..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I first began listening to this book, I found the slight lisp of the reader disturbing and somewhat annoying. Then I realized it was all part of the way the reader, Peter Altschuler, was creating the character of Major Pettigrew! Like the reader's vocal idiosyncrasy, I found I liked "The Major" more over time. In fact, by the end of the book I found the major delightful and wished I could have been loved by him! Sign me up! I'm a fan.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Fisher Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2753)
    Performance
    (1310)
    Story
    (1320)

    Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more (except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdalan) and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.

    Hope says: "A Worthy Book, indeed"
    "Ugh!...not nearly good enough to merit a read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So juvenile, poor writing, trite, not even funny, certainly not thought provoking. After listening to two hours I simply gave up. If someone is going to write a revised version of the story of Jesus, it had better be really good. This book wasn't. Whoever wrote the synopsis did a great job of hawking the book. Unfortunately, that synopsis offered hope where there really wasn't any.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1937)
    Performance
    (1208)
    Story
    (1213)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    S. Marie says: "A unique perspective of history"
    "Incredibly interesting story, remarkably written.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very few books totally capture both my imagination and interest, "Wolf Hall" is one of those rare book that does. The story tells of times in Britain's history where a king's marriage, and its legality, based on questions of virginity and "incest" (by marrying your brother's wife), are debated in courts, in pulpits, and in other countries. Intriguing and filled with intrigue, Hilary Mantel's story of the trials of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, as told through the character of Thomas Cromwell weaves an intricate story that is impossible to ignore. Surely the only complaint I can make is that I had to actually pay attention to the story as I listened to it play out! No sentence was superfluous. No introduction of characters without merit. No storyline irrelevant.

    Outstanding in every way, I award this book my highest praise. As a persnickety reader and listener, I usually read and listen to books that meet some of my criteria for being worthwhile. This book met all my criteria. Interesting, fast paced, strong women protagonists, great vocabulary, believable story, heart wrenching in some category, a yearning for more, sense of loss when the story ended. Brava to Hilary Mantel, bravo to narrator Simon Slater, bravo to all of us smart enough to read this book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Angela's Ashes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Frank McCourt
    • Narrated By Frank McCourt
    Overall
    (2489)
    Performance
    (1273)
    Story
    (1279)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: There’s no gentle way to put this – Frank McCourt’s performance of Angela’s Ashes is just better than the Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Frank McCourt shares his sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking story of growing up poor, Irish, and Catholic in the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes.

    Karen says: "A classic book *and* a classic audiobook"
    "Great story about a life I would never want..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Frank McCourt is a fabulous writer and a superb narrator of his own story. Unfortunately, his story is so depressing that I simply can't give it a five star rating. Growing up in Ireland where the Catholic Church seems to influence every aspect of life creates an atmosphere of oppression and lost hope. Having a father who is a drunk and and a mother who keeps having children with no real way to care for them adds to the depression of the story. Yet other reviewers talk of Mr. McCourt's forgiveness, which I do not understand nor see. Great writing. Great narration. Horrible story. Thanks anyway, but I think it's time for another romance novel...

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Rose Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1563)
    Performance
    (1365)
    Story
    (1391)

    Acclaimed author Susanna Kearsley's previous works have won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award, and finaled for both the UK Romantic Novel of the Year and the RITA awards.

    Eva Ward is a modern woman thrown back three centuries to 1715 - only to find that might be exactly where she belongs. There, she finds true love with Daniel Butler, but the discord surrounding Hanoverian King George plunges the lovers into a world of intrigue, treason, and romance.

    Angel Claire says: "Amazing story."
    "OK, I'm Hooked...Sort of..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Who likes romance? Certainly not me! Still, having read "The Winter Sea" by Susanna Kearsley, and really liking it, I decided to try "The Rose Garden". I was not disappointed. Mixing historical references with modern age normalcy, Kearsley stirs the heart of the reader/listener and brings the 'fairytale' of love's longing to life. Good men act with honor, bad men are bad, and the female lead learns to follow her heart. Good stuff. Unfortunately, I did not think the reader, Nicola Barber, did justice to the character of Daniel. The inflection she used when reading his parts did not have the tenderness I believe he deserved and that is why I would rate the performance with only 3/5 stars. However, the book delivers what is promised and serves to fill a need all of us might feel from time to time. Although I downloaded another of Kearsley's books, "Marianna" to my kindle, if the formula turns out to be the same one used for these two romance novels, I believe I'll pass on her others. A good romance works for awhile, and then it's off to search out other genres.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winter Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2696)
    Performance
    (2263)
    Story
    (2268)

    History has all but forgotten.... In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next best-selling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write. But then she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction....

    Martha says: "Get Out Your Hankies"
    "Scottish love story mixed with history...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not a huge fan of romance novels but I like historical fiction and this book gave me both in good measure. The reader was superb in speaking with an authentic Scottish accent that is so much a part of the Scottish experience. And the female lead was intelligent, thoughtful, resourceful, and discerning - all good qualities that enhance a love story. Thank goodness the male characters were presented in mostly the same fashion, not an idiot among them! I don't think anyone who enjoys a good love story would be disappointed in purchasing this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mudbound

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Hillary Jordan
    • Narrated By Ezra Knight
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (459)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (242)

    Hillary Jordan's mesmerizing debut novel won the Bellwether Prize for fiction. A powerful piece of Southern literature, Mudbound takes on prejudice in its myriad forms on a Mississippi Delta farm in 1946. City girl Laura McAllen attempts to raise her family despite questionable decisions made by her husband. Tensions continue to rise when her brother-in-law and the son of a family of sharecroppers both return from WWII as changed men bearing the scars of combat.

    Betty says: "May this South never rise again."
    "People as true as any you personally would know..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Why ever listen to dribble? I don't, and my recommendation of "Mudbound" is designed for others who feel the same way. Excellent story development, people who sound and act like "real" people would, a setting in place and time that is (hopefully) never to be repeated. The various readers did an excellent job of reading their parts with the conviction, or lack thereof, which was true for their particular character. Women played an active, if not central, role in the story and were portrayed in a manner consistent with women of that time period. Neither maudlin nor pollyanna-ish in it approach, Mudbound tells a clear and concise story of life in rural Mississippi following World War II in a way that elicits interest, revulsion, and compassion. Splendid. Heartfelt. True.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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