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Rochelle

Dunedin, New Zealand | Member Since 2010

32
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 52 reviews
  • 134 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 62 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Q & A (filmed as Slumdog Millionaire)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Vikas Swarup
    • Narrated By Christopher Simpson
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (104)

    Adapted For The Film Slumdog Millionaire. Eighteen-year-old Ram Mohammad Thomas has been arrested after answering twelve questions correctly on a TV quiz show to win one billion rupees. The producers have accused him of cheating his way to victory. Twelve extraordinary events in street-kid Ram's life - how he was adopted as a foundling orphan by a priest; came to have three names; fooled a professional hit man; even fell in love - give him the crucial answers.

    Amazon Customer says: "Cry and laugh"
    "Got 2 part 2s"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As with the first reviewer this book downloaded in 2 parts, however part 1 & part 2 were identical.

    Frustrating & deeply annoying as I got most of the way through reading before I realised I was reading only the 2nd half of the book.

    Double check when you download that you get 2 different parts. Mine were labelled "part one" & "part two", but were both the same.

    The movie was spectacular & was the reason for my choice of this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Minimalists: Essential Essays

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus
    • Narrated By Simon Whistler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    At age 30, Joshua and Ryan both left their six-figure corporate jobs to pursue more meaningful lives. Minimalism: Essential Essays highlights essays from the first nine months of their journey into minimalism. Minimalism: Essential Essays is an edited collection of 29 of The Minimalists' favorite essays about living a more meaningful life with less stuff. This collection also contains a special forward by Joshua and Ryan, as well as two bonus essays you can't find anywhere else: "Dealing with Overwhelm" and "Focus On What's Important."

    Rochelle says: "Amateur self-help"
    "Amateur self-help"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listen to the sample before choosing this book. The narrator has a pompous, sing-song tone that sounds like he's got auto-tune permanently switched on.

    If only the narrator was the worst thing about this book.

    The book sounds like a poorly written blog converted into a book - which it is. The authors ought to have practised minimalism in their writing, with particular regard to their sentence structure. They use the most amount of words to convey the least meaning.

    One of the authors notes he hopes we won't think the advice is "banal platitudes". The choice of term is apt because that's exactly what the book contains. It is superficial & the writing demonstrates a lack of self awareness. It's negative, patronising, judgemental & evangelical.

    Several years ago I read about minimalism in an engaging & inspiring blog (not by these authors). I bought this book hoping to find that again & was disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lucky: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Alice Sebold
    • Narrated By Alice Sebold
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (106)

    In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones) reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an 18-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus. "A rueful, razor-sharp memoir," raves Vogue, "funnier than you'd think was possible. Sebold tells what it's like to go through a particular kind of nightmare in order to tell what it's like - slowly, boldly, triumphantly - to heal."

    Samantha says: "Very raw"
    "A frank account of rape"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had to pause to come up for breath several times in the first few minutes of this book. But once started there was no way to put it down. I have a great deal of respect for Alice Sebold for being able to share this part of her story in such a frank manner.

    Despite having described what happened to her many times to officials and friends the immediacy is replicated here in such a way that it winds you.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Julian Barnes
    • Narrated By Julian Barnes
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    'You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed...' Julian Barnes's new book is about ballooning, photography, love and grief; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded him the 2011 Man Booker Prize described him as 'an unparalleled magus of the heart'. This book confirms that opinion.

    Rochelle says: "Stunning essay on grief"
    "Stunning essay on grief"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A beautifully written tribute to the grief Julian Barnes feels over the death of his wife. The thoughts he shares are keen. He is eloquent on the loss we fear most.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • When the Stars Fall to Earth: A Novel of Africa

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Rebecca Tinsley
    • Narrated By Holly Villaire
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (61)

    When the Stars Fall to Earth is the story of five young Darfuris trying to make sense of their changing world in a time of war. Their lives come together in a tale of love and loss, self-reliance and courage, fear and violence. They overcome the ultimate challenge: to become proud survivors with a future rather than defeated victims, despite the tragedy enveloping them.

    P. Burdge says: "International Disgrace: Our Disinterest in Darfur"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to read this to learn more about the situation in Darfur. I enjoy supplementing news & non-fiction with fiction stories as they can provide wonderful perspective when the author has spent time in the country as Rebecca Tinsley has.

    This was listed under literature, which it certainly isn't. The language used to tell the story seems childlike - not simple in a good way. In fact sometimes there is too much.

    I felt unable to relate to any of the characters, or to feel anything for them. All I felt was annoyance with the author for having done such a poor job of telling their story. Her characters deserved better from her.

    The issues the book is dealing with are incredibly important & need to be told. But this is not the author for the job. For good examples I'd suggested Katherine Boo (non-fiction), Khaled Hosseini and Anthony Marra.

    The sound quality of the recording was fine. The voices chosen for the characters were not great. Some of the voices sounded so unrealistic it made connecting with the character even harder. It distracted even further from the poor writing. From both a story & narrative perspective it felt like listening to a children's book.

    Overall this was a particular letdown as I am not aware of any other fiction based around the issues in Darfur. This is it & it doesn't live up to expectations.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Passage to India

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By E. M. Forster
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (296)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (182)

    What really happened to Miss Quested in the Marabar Caves? This tantalising question provides the intense drama of racial tension at the centre of Foster's last and greatest novel.

    Diane says: "Extraordinary!!"
    "Poor sound quality"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is a problem with the sound quality on this version of the book. It begins in chapter 2 & is very intrusive. I'd advise bypassing this version until Audible can get a quality recording.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1092)
    Performance
    (986)
    Story
    (988)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Melinda says: "Intriguing--Captivating--Altering"
    "Extraordinarily touching"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The publisher's description of the story did little to inspire me to read this book, I picked it up on sale & was blown away.

    Arthur is on first meeting, not terribly likeable. I could pity him, but there is a sense of dishonesty because he is dishonest. He doesn't like who he is & is unwilling to let others know what his life is, to the point of putting on a shirt & tie to answer the door to the grocery delivery man so he can pretend he has been working all day, while in reality he is housebound, completely alone & does little more than eat and watch daytime television.

    We begin to see through him though & what follows is a deeply moving story of loneliness.

    Kel, the popular athletic teenager is equally lonely & his story is heartbreaking from the beginning as he does his best to care for his alcoholic mother without any outside support.

    The two stories are told in parallel until their connection becomes apparent.

    Some audio books I find I can become involved in doing something else while listening. In the case of this book I didn't want to. I found I quickly became emotionally invested in the stories of the two main characters (and the other characters also).

    My only regret is that I didn't pick this book up earlier. It is absolutely a wonderful read.

    The narration is spot on.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (Dramatised)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 57 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Miriam Margoyles, Martin Clunes
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (52)

    Ever since the first night at the St James' Theatre on 14 February 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest has been recognised as one of the world's finest comic dramas. Now Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell leads an outstanding cast in this superb new production of Wilde's masterpiece, mounted to celebrate the centenary of the first performance.

    C. Telfair says: "Funny and Classic"
    "Perfection"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the easiest review I've ever written.

    If you're going to read The Importance of Being Earnest this is the copy you want. The performance is incredibly delightful & there is no way you'll have the same experience simply reading the text. I have read the text & loved it but there really is no comparison. Short of seeing it performed at the theatre this is it.

    The story itself is a hilarious "romp", it keeps your attention 100% and is wonderfully amusing.

    I'm already looking forward to listening to this performance again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Fatima Bhutto
    • Narrated By Riz Ahmed
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (6)

    Set over the course of one morning in a small town in Pakistan's tribal regions, close to the border with Afghanistan, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is the story of three brothers living through a world on fire. Two women – the beautiful Samarra and the unsettling Mina – are at the heart of the novel and through them unfolds a story of love, of loss, and how the backdrop of continuous war forces the individual to make terrible choices; to choose hope over love, the future over the present.

    Rochelle says: "Well crafted, enchanting story"
    "Well crafted, enchanting story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this story greatly. It is beautifully written although I felt it stumbled at one or two points. It's easy to connect with the characters & the descriptive prose is delightful - neither over or under done. It was easy to read in one sitting as the story is a compelling one.

    The stumbles were very small & barely detract from the story - a short cheesy kiss scene, and a brief but dated description of a mobile phone. It's a shame as without those two extremely minor points I felt the story could almost sit beside Khaled Hosseini's work (The Kite Runner). If you enjoy Khaled Hosseini's work you will probably enjoy this book as well. In spite of my comment about these stumbles they really were the only weak points in an otherwise great novel.

    From this book I learned about the diversity that exists in the young country that is Pakistan. It added a further & fascinating dimension to news coverage & other stories I've read about the area.

    It is a beautiful debut novel & I look forward to seeing more from Fatima Bhutto.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Schroder

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Amity Gaige
    • Narrated By Will Collyer
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    Attending a New England summer camp, young Eric Schroder - a first-generation East German immigrant - adopts the last name Kennedy to more easily fit in, a fateful white lie that will set him on an improbable and ultimately tragic course. Schroder relates the story of Eric's urgent escape years later to Lake Champlain, Vermont, with his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, in an attempt to outrun the authorities amid a heated custody battle with his wife, who will soon discover that her husband is not who he says he is. From a correctional facility, Eric surveys the course of his life to understand - and maybe even explain - his behavior.

    Stacy says: "perfect"
    "Hugely Overrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I looked at several reviews online before buying this (not including the ones here on audible). I saw the book described as a combination of Nabokov & Salinger. Nothing could live up to that hype, but this doesn't even come close.

    It's a simple, easy read. It's not exceptional prose, it's not great literature. It barely held my interest as the characters lacked depth & the situations were fairly predictable.

    It flows fairly smoothly from beginning to end & will certainly appeal to many readers.

    I was expecting a great deal more from it & am disappointed. If the storyline description appeals to you & you enjoy a lazy read then you will very likely enjoy this book. But don't believe the hype.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Anthony Marra
    • Narrated By Colette Whitaker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (203)

    Anthony Marra transports us to a snow-covered village in Chechnya, where eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night, accusing him of aiding Chechen rebels. Across the road their lifelong neighbor and family friend Akhmed has also been watching, fearing the worst when the soldiers set fire to Havaa’s house. But when he finds her hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

    Ryan says: "A bleak, beautiful debut"
    "Stunning"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In spite of the bleak setting for this book, every piece of this story is incredibly beautiful. Subtle, wonderful prose, and pure delight at every word.

    I adore this story & it is a new favourite, one of the most beautiful books I've read. I'm so pleased I picked it up.

    If you enjoyed Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns I am certain you will enjoy this book. I can't recommend it highly enough.

    The narrator did a wonderful job in my opinion.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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