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Aliza

Rural New Hampshire | Member Since 2010

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 29 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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  • 1861: The Civil War Awakening

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Adam Goodheart
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (615)
    Performance
    (449)
    Story
    (452)

    As the United States marks the 150th anniversary of our defining national drama, 1861 presents a gripping and original account of how the Civil War began. 1861 is an epic of courage and heroism beyond the battlefields. Early in that fateful year, a second American revolution unfolded, inspiring a new generation to reject their parents' faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal.

    James says: "Fascinating."
    "Moving and enlightening"
    Overall

    I first learned of this book by hearing author Adam Goodheart interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air. My interest was immediately aroused, and I'm very glad I purchased "1861-The Civil War Awakening". To read this detailed account of the first year of the Civil War provided me with a fresh perspective. Adam Goodheart mentioned in his interview that he wished to shine a spotlight on the very beginning of a historic war, seeing parallels with 9/11. (In that what may be later viewed as a "natural unfolding of history" is, at the time, often chaotic and uncertain, and profoundly influenced by key individuals. A most colorful as well as eye-opening account, at least for history novices like myself.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Suicide Run: Three Harry Bosch Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Len Cariou
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (723)
    Performance
    (615)
    Story
    (617)

    Here is LAPD Detective Harry Bosch as we've never seen him before, in three never-before-collected stories. In "Suicide Run", the apparent suicide of a beautiful young starlet turns out to be much more sinister than it seems. In "Cielo Azul", Bosch is haunted by a long-ago closed case: the murder of a teenage girl who was never identified. In "One Dollar Jackpot", Bosch works the murder of a professional poker player whose skills have made her more than one enemy.

    B. brown says: "Not what you expect"
    "Compact, compelling and well-constructed."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Suicide Run in three words, what would they be?

    Succinct, satisfying and solid.


    What other book might you compare Suicide Run to and why?

    This feels consistent in quality to Connelly's other crime novels. For some reason, Bosch seemed more accessible in this… perhaps because his energies were directed productively, not in locking horns with his coworkers.


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

    Yes. I find his gravelly voice somewhat distracting - find myself somewhat short of breath hearing the effort forcing the voice beyond his chest. At the same time, I think he gives a good characterization of Bosch.


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

    Actually, as these were short stories, I engaged more on an intellectual level than a visceral one. Connelly tends to build mood over time. Nevertheless, these moved quickly and concluded cleanly. I love how the care with which the author builds his narratives.


    Any additional comments?

    I felt this was well worth my time… I recommend it to anyone who wants hour-long entertainment - 3 of them, in fact.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7248)
    Performance
    (6640)
    Story
    (6647)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Luxuriant (if wordy) odyssey of the spirit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

    Spectacular. Moving. Universal yet deeply personal.


    What did you like best about this story?

    What I liked the best was the author's profound empathy and rich portrayal of the characters.


    Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

    Hobart won my heart - his humanity anchors the tale, and his friendship provides essential solace for storm-damaged souls. Hobie is the one who eloquently describes the path from psychic dislocation to some form of wholeness.


    If you could rename The Goldfinch, what would you call it?

    I would not think of renaming The Goldfinch.


    Any additional comments?

    I see that others' comments range from ecstatic to resentful. Some object to the wordiness and the philosophizing at the end. Although I felt it was dense and long, I trusted the author, Donna Tartt to navigate through the smoke, cinders, wastrel nights and haunted regrets. And I feel she more than came through. I have just re-listened to the last 45 minutes or so 3 or 4 times. I feel immensely moved by the sentiments expressed. To my way of thinking, the novel is a study of trauma. It expresses the profound disorientation and subsequent miscues that send people reeling in directions incomprehensible to onlookers. Three characters in particular - Theo, Borys and Pippa reveal just what different courses might be taken in the aftermath of unspeakable damage. That the moral compasses are skewed in two cases is the entire point. The book is written, I believe, for those who wrestle with alienation borne of early betrayal. Whether some readers judge the weaknesses of the protagonist and dismiss the book is besides the point. For those whom this book is written for, it's a treasure for a lifetime of reflection.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Ice: Harry Bosch, Book 2

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (55)

    Narcotics officer Cal Moore's orders were to look into the city's latest drug killing. Instead, he ends up in a motel room with his head in several pieces and a suicide note stuffed in his back pocket.Years ago, Harry Bosch learned the first rule of the good cop: don't look for the facts, but the glue that holds them together. Now, Harry's making some very dangerous connections, starting with one dead cop and leading to a bloody string of murders that winds from Hollywood Boulevard's drug bazaar to the dusty back alleys south of the border and into the center of a complex and lethal game - one in which Harry is the next and likeliest victim.

    Aliza says: "Well-paced and engaging"
    "Well-paced and engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Black Ice again? Why?

    Yes, I'll listen to it again, to appreciate the construction of the tale and to assimilate the information about each character more thoroughly.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Black Ice?

    Don't wish to give anything away, but the last third of the book is fast-paced and exciting.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed the denouement, when all the pieces fell together.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator gives a pitch-perfect characterization of Harry Bosch and his colleagues. I would like to see him portray women more effectively - they sound rather stilted and mincing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lincoln Lawyer

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Adam Grupper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6520)
    Performance
    (2833)
    Story
    (2844)

    Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense pro who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, to defend clients at the bottom of the legal food chain. It's no wonder that he is despised by cops, prosecutors, and even some of his own clients. But an investigator is murdered for getting too close to the truth and Haller quickly discovers that his search for innocence has taken him face to face with a kind of evil as pure as a flame.

    Steven says: "Great Legal Thriller, Great Reader"
    "Phenomenal Ride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Lincoln Lawyer again? Why?

    I will most certainly listen to this again - in fact, as soon as I finished it, I listened to the last hour for the sheer satisfaction of hearing the conclusion of the story all over again.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plot is excellently paced, and fueled by sharp observations as well as action.


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

    Adam Grupper was perfect for the narration - bringing a rough edge to Mickey Haller's voice as tension mounts, and a fine characterization of the other characters.


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

    The book was perfect for me in that it was engaging enough to listen to for as much time as I had available at any given time, but satisfying enough to savor what I'd read and think over it when I had to stop.


    Any additional comments?

    This was my first legal thriller, and now I'm looking forward to checking out Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thursdays at Eight

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Debbie Macomber
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (69)

    Clare has just been through a devastating divorce. She's driven by anger and revenge...until she learns something about her ex-husband that forces her to look deep inside for the forgiveness and compassion she's rejected - and for the person she used to be.

    April says: "nice and entertaining book"
    "Journeys through changes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Debbie Macomber and/or Laural Merlington?

    No, but I sense I'd like the author as a person.


    Would you recommend Thursdays at Eight to your friends? Why or why not?

    No, but I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys novels about the power of friendship among women, and who likes books of this genre. Likeable characters, no dark surprises, life-affirming messages and a happy enough ending, despite losses along the way.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration was skillful and heartfelt. I feel it complemented the story very well.


    Did Thursdays at Eight inspire you to do anything?

    The general messages - forgiveness, integrity, autonomy are all positive messages. When characters are created to be very easy to relate to, they do become rather generic and plot-driven, to my way of thinking. I decided to try the book to read about forgiveness, and I felt supported re the story line.


    Any additional comments?

    Although I realized pretty early in the book that it was going to be one of a genre I don't generally read, I genuinely liked the characters, and listened to the book to the end. I was pleased that the author didn't sew things up as fully as some would have… although the prognosis was positive for each major character.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (673)
    Performance
    (545)
    Story
    (548)

    More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows the creation a worldwide trade network....

    Amazon Customer says: "fasinating new perspective on history"
    "Provocative and invigorating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to 1493 the most enjoyable?

    1493 is not intended to be "the last word" or even non-controversial, as best as I can understand. It's something even better -1493 is an invitation to become astonished, question and explore, formulating your own conclusions. Any attempts to make sense of history long gone needs to make inspired leaps of imagination. Charles Mann provides a sumptuous feast of discoveries about "The New World". As few records and even populations remain, we need everyone's active engagement, teasing out possibilities. I love how it has captured my full attention. I care more about how the Columbian Exchange reshaped the planet and its civilizations, and have a far better understanding of the massive implications for our planet today.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I appreciate Charles Mann's scholarship and profound caring about those who came before us and the concerns we face now.


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

    This is the first of Robertson Dean's performances I've heard, and I like it.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to 1491 prior to this. Every bit as compelling, and just as highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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