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MAUREEN

Say something about yourself!

MILWAUKEE, WI, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
522
REVIEWS
19
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
36

  • Conquistadora

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Esmeralda Santiago
    • Narrated By Esmeralda Santiago
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (40)

    As a young girl growing up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de León. And in handsome twin brothers Ramón and Inocente - both in love with Ana - she finds a way to get there. She marries Ramón, and in 1844, just 18, she travels across the ocean to a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited on the island. Ana faces unrelenting heat, disease and isolation, and the dangers of the untamed countryside....

    janice says: "Conquuistadora"
    "Should authors read their own books?"
    Overall

    I was looking forward to reading this book--unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. Was it the content? The sing-song Mr. Rogers' style of reading? The boring content?
    After multiple reflections, I gave up--why fight this? The book is boring, the narrator sophomoric in her delivery--MY TIME IS PRECIOSA! Way too precious for this! It was time to press delete.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Orfeo

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Richard Powers
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    In Orfeo, Powers tells the story of a man journeying into his past as he desperately flees the present. Composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police on his doorstep. His home microbiology lab - the latest experiment in his lifelong attempt to find music in surprising patterns - has aroused the suspicions of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid, Els turns fugitive. As an Internet-fueled hysteria erupts, Els - the "Bioterrorist Bach" - pays a final visit to the people he loves, those who shaped his musical journey.

    Darwin8u says: "Nature is a giant work of performance art"
    "A new standard for a 5 star rating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Orfeo the most enjoyable?

    The words, the phrases, the sentences, the paragraphs, the chapters, the imagery---difficult to contain my review--so much beauty & depth


    What other book might you compare Orfeo to and why?

    A rare blend--Powers' knowledge of the musical and scientific rendered so masterfully that it is difficult to compare this brilliant literary contribution.


    What about Christopher Hurt’s performance did you like?

    I liked that his mispronunciations did not annoy me more.


    Who was the most memorable character of Orfeo and why?

    Peter Ells--professor extraordinaire—aware that in teaching others, one reveals his soul. Two warnings from the professor, that discovery leads to creation and fermatas reveal the beauty of the music remained with me and left me wondering what else he teaches.


    Any additional comments?

    The author’s generosity has helped me resurrect fond memories of Mahler, deepen my hopes in life’s mysteries and thank God for these glimpses of the divine.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Katy Butler
    • Narrated By Katy Butler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (59)

    Like so many of us, award-winning writer Katy Butler always assumed her aging parents would experience healthy, active retirements before dying peacefully at home. Then her father suffered a stroke that left him incapable of easily finishing a sentence or showering without assistance. Her mother was thrust into full-time caregiving, and Katy became one of the 24 million Americans who help care for aging parents. In an effort to correct a minor and non - life threatening heart arrhythmia, doctors outfitted her father with a pacemaker.

    Wendy says: "The most important book I've read in recent memory"
    "A better way to narrate a book about death?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Knocking on Heaven's Door better?

    The narrator droned on and on--much like a dirge.


    Would you recommend Knocking on Heaven's Door to your friends? Why or why not?

    Perhaps--although I would suggest he or she try reading the book--and avoid the audible format.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Katy Butler?

    Not sure--John Lee?


    What character would you cut from Knocking on Heaven's Door?

    This question does not pertain to this book.


    Any additional comments?

    The author's thesis has merit, but her atheism was a huge obstacle to my finding it applicable to my life. I would periodically nod to myself agreeing, "She has a point here." But then her super depressing voice and "story" with no twinge of joy or hope would overwhelm my ability to relate.

    I too lost my father recently so have been thinking more about death and agree that our society could benefit from discussing its inevitability. I still miss my father and talk with my mother and siblings about him and the feelings of emptiness brought on by his death --but then I recall his deep faith and how much he looked forward to Heaven. When my father took his last breath, my younger sister rushed to open the windows and doors so that the angels could enter. And later when all 8 of us lovingly zipped up the bag containing his body, and walked alongside staff from the funeral home as they wheeled the gurney to the hearse, we knew he had already gone to Heaven. It was such a comfort and a beautiful memory. In conclusion, I felt sorry for the author quite often—she was without God, faith or community, sisters or any children of her own, left alone with all that grief.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sea Creatures

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Susanna Daniel
    • Narrated By Karen White
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    When Georgia Qullian returns to her hometown of Miami, her toddler and husband in tow, she is hoping for a fresh start. They have left Illinois trailing scandal and disappointment in their wake, fallout from her husband's severe sleep disorder. For months, their three-year-old son has refused to speak a word. On a whim, Georgia takes a job as an errand runner for a reclusive artist and is surprised at how her life changes dramatically.

    MAUREEN says: "Seriously? "Carved a rut in your heart?""
    "Seriously? "Carved a rut in your heart?""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    So full of sophomoric aphorisms and her references to American Sign Language were totally off--she was not using A.S.L., she was gesturing, using signs--not 'speaking' to her child with A.S.L. This is misleading to readers--especially those unfamiliar with the language


    What was most disappointing about Susanna Daniel’s story?

    I was disappointed by her reliance on the trite.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Karen White’s performances?

    The narrator? Her voice added to the misery.


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

    Disappointed that the author did not research more into A.S.L.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sparta

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Roxana Robinson
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Conrad Farrell’s family has no military heritage, but as a classics major at Williams, he saw the sturdy appeal of the Marine ethic: Semper fidelis came straight from the ancient world, from Sparta, where every citizen doubled as a full-time soldier. When Conrad joined the Marines after college, he expected to further along tradition of honor, courage, and commitment.

    MAUREEN says: "Many interesting and revealing insights on PTSD"
    "Many interesting and revealing insights on PTSD"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Sparta?

    LOVE about the book? That's not possible--I liked the honesty that was portrayed by the main characters as they struggled to help their son/brother/friend whose PTSD became so obvious after his return from active duty and multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. I read a few other people's reviews--mostly from veterans that described the author's innaccuracies on PTSD--and I cannot comment on these because I am not a veteran, but I can comment on the family and close friends. The author's treatment of the devastation these wars have wreaked on our society and my immediate family were accurate.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I don't know if 'like' is a prompt that I could respond to in terms of what was liked about the story--except perhaps the ending--it was positive, albeit too abrupt. It was like--okay, you took us here, and now you are just going to leave us here--and many of us already knew what it was like to get there--we want to know what to do next.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Learn how to pronounce words correctly--many words were mispronounced by him. I always wonder if authors listen to the reading of their books--because I think they should and then get these narrators to correct their pronounciations. We pay for audible books and deserve the best in audio presentation.


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

    No. It was too upsetting since much was too familiar--my nephew returned from his third tour and completed suicide with a bullet to his brain.


    Any additional comments?

    The author should have described more about what could have been done to improve the experiences of returning veteran soldiers. I know the criticism of the V.A., the Military etc. about its terrible aftercare for veterans is commonplace--yet we need to know what to do. The author suggested rather superficial (although helpful) strategies to help vets with PTSD such as 'seating in restaurants'-- AHEM--something she mentioned multiple times, yet she never provided the reader with any glimmer of hope for promising methods of care for soldiers with PTSD.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Good Kings Bad Kings

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Nussbaum
    • Narrated By Christina Delaine, Lauren Fortgang, Emma Galvin, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    Told in alternating perspectives by a varied and vocal cast of characters, Nussbaum pulls back the curtain to reveal the complicated and funny and tough life inside the walls of an institution for juveniles with disabilities. From Yessenia Lopez, who dreams of her next boyfriend and of one day of living outside those walls, to Teddy, a resident who dresses up daily in a full suit and tie, to Mia, who guards a terrifying secret, Nussbaum has crafted a multifaceted portrait of a way of life hidden from most of us.

    Shelley says: "Fantastic performances; moving and inspiring story"
    "A great start with disappointing results"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Susan Nussbaum and/or the narrators?

    Why not?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Good Kings Bad Kings?

    The descriptions of the situations the young people were forced into were very good. Since I have worked with children that have challenging behaviors, emotional disabilities and the like, I know about some of these awful experiences.


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

    I appreciated the different accents--although knowing children with cognitive and intellectual disabilities--the words and sentences were so far from what a person would ever hear--if he or she were in a position to converse with the youth.


    Could you see Good Kings Bad Kings being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I can't imagine this--no.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish the author would have continued writing the book with a more indepth look into what was going on in the institution--the one that housed the youth. She had so many different problems coming into focus and then letting them just fade without adequately justifying all the details and hoopla--e.g. the woman with physical disabilities that worked at ILSI--we get to know her so well and understand her role in the story--and then she gets fired and boom--she's gone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mourning Hours

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Paula Treick DeBoard
    • Narrated By Hollis McCarthy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn't been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years - not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family.... Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny - the high school wrestling star and Kirsten's older brother. Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives.

    RueRue says: "Fabulous story"
    "Pathetic story full of trite nauseating phrases"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The story was so predictable, sophomoric and pathetic. The narrator was terrible too--whenever she spoke parts of local folks she mispronounced words and used a terrible accent imitating those she heard in the movie Fargo! The author relied on such off-base information for the plot too--so far off base that I had to turn the speed up in hopes that something good would come of it all--or that it would end more quickly.


    Has The Mourning Hours turned you off from other books in this genre?

    WHAT?


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Hollis McCarthy?

    Anyone but her--not sure who but anyone but this person--she was terrible.


    What character would you cut from The Mourning Hours?

    Can't answer this question--would not help explain the reasons that the book was not good nor shed any light on what could have been done to improve it.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't waste your time unless you like the boring sweet sophomoric predictable types.

    1 of 3 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
    Overall
    (545)
    Performance
    (465)
    Story
    (470)

    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.

    Susianna says: "Some Secrets Shouldn't be Kept"
    "Was the narrator or the story the worst?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Burgess Boys better?

    I could not identify with any aspect of the story--what a disappointment!


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator's voice was so grating that I almost gave up in the first 30 minutes--perhaps I should have because the book was so disappointing.


    What character would you cut from The Burgess Boys?

    ALL


    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Butterfly's Shadow

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lee Langley
    • Narrated By Laurel Lefkow
    Overall
    (173)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (152)

    In a Japan still rigid with tradition, an apprehensive 15-year-old tea-house girl prepares to welcome her first client. In his gleaming white uniform, Lieutenant Pinkerton walks up the hill to a house in Nagasaki to find the female he has purchased for a few weeks. When he sails away, she waits, aching for his return. It is one of the world’s great love stories. And, as the curtain falls on Madame Butterfly, Cho-Cho hands over her son to his American father, before killing herself...

    Mary Catherine says: "Unhappy"
    "Boring, predictable and pathetic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Lee Langley and/or Laurel Lefkow?

    The author--Doubtful; the narrator--perhaps


    What was most disappointing about Lee Langley’s story?

    the Americans were protrayed in embarassingly trite ways and Jo-Jo (aka Butterfly) and anything Japanese in such unbelievably pathetic terms that I could not finish this book--such a sad use of the opera--the author's treatment of people from these different cultures added support to my earlier comment.


    Any additional comments?

    A waste of 5 dollars.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Fault in Our Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10711)
    Performance
    (9839)
    Story
    (9888)

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

    FanB14 says: "Sad Premise, Fantastic Story"
    "Sophomoric Drivel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Not sure--teenagers perhaps?


    What was most disappointing about John Green’s story?

    Endless descriptions of such things as why scrambled eggs are banished from lunchtime fare?


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Narrator was not a detractor.


    What character would you cut from The Fault in Our Stars?

    Can't answer this--the characters were few and don't know whether any could be omitted--perhaps support group members?


    Any additional comments?

    Disappointing!! I read the reviews and shouldn't have used them as the basis of how to use my new monthly credit--which was WASTED on this title. I was a bit put off by the author's smug warning in which he admonished anyone that wanted the skinny as to the veracity of this story--for what reason--I have no idea?

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Plainsong

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Kent Haruf
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (47)

    A high school history teacher in a small Colorado town, Guthrie is raising his two young sons alone. Thoughtful and honest, he is guiding them through a world that is not always kind. Victoria, one of his students, is pregnant, homeless, and vulnerable to the scorn of the town. When Guthrie helps two elderly ranchers take the young woman into their home, an unlikely extended family is born.

    MAUREEN says: "A beautiful read"
    "A beautiful read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    One of those books that when you reach the end, you just wish it wasn't so.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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