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sherry

Kirkland, WA, United States | Member Since 2004

33
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 72 ratings
  • 549 titles in library
  • 47 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Single & Single

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John le Carré
    • Narrated By Michael Jayston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    A lawyer from the London finance house of Single & Single is shot dead on a Turkish hillside by people with whom he thought he was in business. A children's magician is asked by his bank to explain the unsolicited arrival of more than five million pounds sterling in his young daughter's modest trust. A freighter bound for Liverpool is boarded by Russian coast guards in the Black Sea. The celebrated London merchant venturer "Tiger" Single disappears into thin air.

    Darwin8u says: "The spy who came back to the bank"
    "Not Le Carre's best listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    John le Carre is a master at knowing when to cut a scene and what to leave out, how to give just enough information to make you pay attention and figure things out. The way he layers out information can be as puzzling as life but not so puzzling that, even listening, you can't keep track. Except with this book. I recommend it as a book to read rather than to hear because it jumps around in time and place so quickly and frequently that the listener is constantly playing catch-up, especially if you listen while doing something else and your attention is split.

    Those who find the book fully absorbing might be OK with it. It's harder to follow the narrative thread if you're not invested in the main character, Oliver Single. He's a cipher, a blank slate on which others write. That's his purpose in the book. He might summon up some backbone in the end--I won't know until I get a hard copy from the library and finish reading with my eyes instead of my ears.

    The main strength is that Michael Jayston is such a good narrator that you will know who is talking even when you don't know where or when the scene is occurring.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Cheryl Strayed
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3664)
    Performance
    (3230)
    Story
    (3243)

    At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

    FanB14 says: "Glad I Took the Trip"
    "I am trying to like this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is the "I met disaster and came through it a better person" memoir genre, its popularity reminiscent of "Eat, Pray, Love." It's vividly written and the narrator is highly competent, but I couldn't stand listening. Instead of sounding like a woman in her mid-twenties, Dunne sounds like a 65-year-old with forty years behind her of a pack-a-day smoking habit. Her voice is truly like sandpaper.

    I lost sympathy with and interest in Strayed's trail bumblings early in the book. You only have to carry a book-pack around on a college campus for a day to understand that weight matters. Or pack a suitcase and shlep it around an airport. Yet it never occurred to her to try out her backpack and contents before she set out to walk the PCT? We learn about the weight of the pack and its effect in exhaustive detail.

    Fortunately, it might be possible to read just the back story in the print version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Coroner’s Lunch: The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (587)
    Performance
    (483)
    Story
    (483)

    Laos, 1975: The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old Paris-trained doctor, is appointed national coroner. Although he has no training for the job, there is no one else: the rest of the educated class have fled.

    Jane says: "a splendid story"
    "Delightful surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I first started listening, I thought, "Oh no, another man-against-irrational-communist-bureaucracy story." Then I started to chuckle. Then I laughed out loud and was completely hooked on the series. This book is a fresh take on classic conventions. The detective is one stubbornly honest man in a corrupt world. He must constantly get around the dictates of his boss. (You will love the name.) The craziness of communist rules satirize our own. What stands out brilliantly is the character of Siri, which sounds like "Silly." He's a cheerful person with a lively sense of irony and a connection to the spirit world that veers from absurd to menacing. All the other characters are drawn with depth. Relationships shift and develop. These are people you want to live with through book after book. And, oh yes, there is a mystery in each novel.

    I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri series or Ruth Downie's Medicus Fortunately it avoids some of the problems that plague the latter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Chris Ewan
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (787)
    Performance
    (701)
    Story
    (705)

    Charlie Howard travels the globe writing suspense novels for a living. To supplement his income - and keep his hand in - Charlie has a small side business: stealing for a very discreet clientele on commission. When a mysterious American offers Charlie 20,000 euros to steal two small monkey figurines to match the one he already has, Charlie is suspicious; the job seems too good to be true, and of course, it is. He soon finds the American beaten nearly to death, while the third figurine has disappeared.

    adrienne says: "A delightful surprise!"
    "No cliche left unused"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I approached with anticipation--wonderful title--quickly grew bored, but slogged on for a while. The rakish, ne'er-do-well protagonist takes on a job against his better judgment. All goes wrong, of course. People lie, he gets arrested, he gets kidnapped and beaten, he makes a clever escape, he discovers more layers of lies, etc. This is a time-honored formula that requires interesting, well-drawn characters, a clever stylist, and/or some kind of emotional grabber early in the story to make the formula fresh. This novel has none of those characteristics. And the protagonist is puzzling about the significance of plaster monkeys when there's a prized first edition of Dashiel Hammett framed on his wall? Duh! It's not badly done; it's merely so boring that I don't care "who dunnit."

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Kim Newman
    • Narrated By Tom Hodgkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (66)

    Imagine the twisted evil twins of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson and you have the dangerous duo of Professor James Moriarty - wily, snake-like, fiercely intelligent, terrifyingly unpredictable - and Colonel Sebastian Basher Moran - violent, politically incorrect, debauched. Together they run London crime, owning police and criminals alike. When a certain Irene Adler turns up on their doorstep with a proposition, neither man is able to resist.

    Amazon Customer says: "Newman at His Best"
    "Lively action and equal opportunity insults"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Unlike Newman's Dracula book (I didn't find Anno Dracula interesting), this one is fast-paced, humorous and worth a listen for the bon mots alone. Colonel Moran is hilariously amoral and cynical. The Holmes-Watson world is turned inside-out. Moriarity, for instance, cultivates wasps and takes great satisfaction in their deadly effects on experimental subjects. The action rushes along a little too quickly in places. I don't know if I cared whether there was any action at all; I was that captivated by the language.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Apple Tree Yard: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Louise Doughty
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    Overall
    (159)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (141)

    Yvonne Carmichael, renowned geneticist, public authority, happily married mother of two, sits in the accused box. The charge is murder. Across the courtroom, not meeting her eye, sits her alleged accomplice. He wears the beautiful pin-striped suit he wore on their first meeting in the Houses of Parliament, when he put his hand on her elbow, guided her to a deserted and ancient chapel, and began to undress her.

    Melinda says: "No Scarlet 'A' in Apple Tree"
    "Just hang them and get it over with."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't mind the slow start that bothered others. By the time the action began picking up and something significant happened--relevant! a statement! important in the world!--I was so sick of the tiresome, navel-gazing protagonist that I lost interest. Will she be jailed? Bring back hanging for this character and her lover. She certainly needs major editing to rid the book of those endless what-ifs and pointless speculations that even the peerless Juliet Stevenson cannot save. The story gives an accurate portrait of a woman obsessed with someone, a woman of status and accomplishment who thought herself confident and self-possessed becoming as nutty as any teenager. But good literature needs more than accuracy and this book doesn't have it. Instead of creating tension, the hook at the beginning merely results in impatience. Without it, would anyone get past the first few pages or minutes?

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Semper Fidelis: A Novel of the Roman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Ruth Downie
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (234)

    As mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to appear in the medical ledgers, it's clear that all is not well amongst the native recruits to Britannia's imperial army. Is the much-decorated centurion Geminus preying on his weaker soldiers? And could this be related to the appearance of Emperor Hadrian? Bound by his sense of duty and ill-advised curiosity, Ruso begins to ask questions nobody wants to hear. Meanwhile his barbarian wife Tilla is finding out some of the answers....

    Margaret says: "Hadrian is here!"
    "Total enjoyment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is Downie's best yet. Without losing any of the humor of the his tactlessness or inability to "control your wife," the Medicus' character is more consistent with his actions than in the previous books. He has lost the sad-sack bumbling that belonged to a less intelligent character. Humor, horror, and danger are perfectly balanced. I sped through this one, listening every chance I could get, completely absorbed in the all-too-modern politics of the Roman Empire; the characters; and of course, the plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Half of a Yellow Sun: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (343)
    Performance
    (307)
    Story
    (301)

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Adichie’s brilliant historical novel follows the fortunes of five characters living through the tumultuous 1960s—a time when the Biafran-Nigerian War raged in southern Africa.

    Alla says: "Horrifyingly human - mandatory reading"
    "Gone With the Wind in Nigeria"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm comparing this book to Gone With the Wind for the way it focuses intensely on a small group of people, through them showing the effects of a ruinous war. The book gives us personal melodramas enacted throughout changing times. Our personal absorption in these characters makes each event of the war all the more shocking. Although it's overly long, the extraneous details are absorbing, thanks to Robin Miles' brilliant narration through which each voice becomes a fully realized character.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Galveston: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Nic Pizzolatto
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (645)
    Performance
    (551)
    Story
    (555)

    From the creator, writer, and executive producer of the HBO series True Detective and soon to be a major motion picture comes a dark and visceral novel set along the wastelands of Galveston. On the same day Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he learns that his employer has put a hit out on him. After narrowly escaping an attempt on his life, Cady goes on the run with a young prostitute named Rocky and her three-year-old sister, from New Orleans to Galveston, Texas. But though they run, they cannot hide in this explosive, atmospheric, impossible-to-pause thrill ride.

    Stephanie says: "Richly Layered"
    "Just shoot me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book might win runner-up in the bad Hemingway contest. " I thought of Maria. I checked the .9 mm in my shoulder holster. I needed the .45, but it was lost somewhere in the sea of dust bunnies under Stella's bed." All read in a gravelly monotone that is supposed to sound hard-boiled.

    The hero is a wounded soul. Check. Everyone's a bad guy. Check. Everyone's corrupt. Check. A few have a spark of integrity. Check. I cannot finish. Check.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kolbert
    • Narrated By Anne Twomey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (372)
    Performance
    (341)
    Story
    (340)

    A major audiobook about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

    Male Perspective says: "Better than expected! Great Book!"
    "Unendurable narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a popular science book that expertly combines research with anecdote. I thought I wouldn't mind the narrator but after an hour, couldn't stand any more of her. She reads in a hushed, whispery voice (reverence for the death of species?) with little change in intonation, expertly combining boredom with irritation.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Splendor of Silence

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Indu Sundaresan
    • Narrated By Sneha Mathan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (80)

    In 1942, Sam Hawthorne, a young U.S. Army captain, arrives in a tiny, princely state in western India. He carries combat wounds and several secrets, one of which is the real reason behind his visit: to find his brother Mike, an idealistic American soldier who disappeared after joining the local struggle for independence from the British.

    Alice says: "Loved this audiobook"
    "The book could use more silence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In a great book, the author knows what to leave unsaid. This book would be improved by cutting half the overly detailed and sometimes overwrought description. You could practically hear the violins playing in the background when hero and heroine meet. We already know from previous heavy hints that they are to be star-crossed. Description sets scene and mood, but each detail should also serve a purpose in moving the story forward. There may be an engrossing story buried here, but I lost interest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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