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Crystal

Avid Reader and Listener.... enjoy classics, poetry, memoir. Teach College English.

Bluefield, VA, United States | Member Since 2008

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 60 ratings
  • 398 titles in library
  • 62 purchased in 2014
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  • Flight Behavior

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1624)
    Performance
    (1415)
    Story
    (1430)

    Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at 17. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media.

    mj says: "Tough Message Delivered in Silk"
    "Another Kingsolver classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to the audible edition of this book and love the way Kingsolver reads her own works. She is a master that holds the listener with "rapt attention." It is a real treat to hear her narrate.

    After reading two previous novels by Kingsolver, as well as two volumes of her essays and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I feel that her writing portrays a depth of thinking and passion unlike many popular writers. Her ability to weave a story that contains an important message and realistic characters facing realistic circumstance is to be admired. As I’ve said before in other reviews, I do not always agree with Kingsolver’s position on certain political points but I admire the way she thinks. She brings intelligence and emotion into the perfect, most delicate balance and truly shows the sensibilities of a strong, loving woman, mother and wife.
    Flight Behavior kept me engaged from start to finish. The story of Dellarobia Turnbow honestly portrays a certain type of person who in one way doesn’t seem to be real but in the other is the woman who just lives right down the road here in southern Appalachia. Dellarobia’s complicated life and even more complicated family turmoil carries the story forward and has the reader cheering for her along the way but we are never sure until the end how Dellarobia is changed by the “miracle” she witnesses.
    I was sad to see the book end and sad, yet satisfied with the ending of the book. While I don’t agree 100 percent with all of Kingsolver’s ideologies, she communicates what she feels important in the most eloquent of ways through her well-written, emotional prose that carries the reader along the lines with a real purpose in her prose.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Steven Pressfield
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1279)
    Performance
    (1118)
    Story
    (1107)

    Internationally best-selling author of Last of the Amazons, Gates of Fire and Tides of War, Steven Pressfield delivers a guide to inspire and support those who struggle to express their creativity. Pressfield believes that “resistance” is the greatest enemy, and he offers many unique and helpful ways to overcome it.

    Grant says: "Fighting through procrastination."
    "This one is for the Male Creative type."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So I glad to that I didn't waste an entire credit on this one. I got it on a daily deal. I'm reading about creativity and trying to practice it lately and while this book "kinda" fit the bill it didn't do much for me. The last chapter was the best as far as a spiritual approach. He says that behind every blade of grass there is an angel trying to get our attention and we just can't hear them. That was quite interesting considering the "macho" tone of the rest of the book.

    I don't need roses and rainbows but this one is definitely written from the male point of view.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Haunting of Hill House

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Shirley Jackson
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (676)
    Performance
    (593)
    Story
    (600)

    Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House.

    Mark says: "Superb Reading of Horror Classic"
    "Well written horror tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I chose to listen to this book in order to pass the time while organizing and cleaning the kitchen. I remembered Ms. Jackson's stirring short story, "The Lottery" and hoped this would be just as intriguing. I used the book as an incentive to get done a job I did not want to do and it was treat was to listen to this book as I went about my task. This book has been on my list for a while, after learning that Ms. Jackson wrote in this genre. I don't read many supernatural thrillers but this one was a good one that wasn't too "freaky" that would leave me with nightmares. I would think that it sits solidly in the genre along with Henry James' Turn of the Screw and as well as Stephen King's The Shining. It some ways it reminded me of both. I'm sure that it was on the cutting edge, written in the 1950's when everything was to be happy and pleasant. I appreciated the solid description that helped build the scene in my mind without being overly descriptive and flowery. Her characterization is solid but not overwhelmingly vivid, except maybe for the Doctor's wife. She was maybe a bit too vivid. This "ghost" story sits adequately between the old and the new in the genre. I was adequately entertain without my intelligence being insulted. I look forward to reading other pieces from Ms. Jackson.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Virgin Suicides

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Eugenides
    • Narrated By Nick Landrum
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (758)
    Performance
    (500)
    Story
    (506)

    This nationally best-selling novel from Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides was adapted into an acclaimed film by Academy Award-winner Sofia Coppola. A haunting yet wickedly funny tale, The Virgin Suicides has captivated countless readers with its intoxicating portrait of lost innocence. A brilliant fusion of dark humor and tragedy, it is an atmospheric, allegorical masterpiece about five oppressed, suicidal sisters and the boys who dream of rescuing them.

    Lexi Lou says: "Read this if you want to enjoy this audiobook"
    "Not his best work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! Not because this book was so good; but, because there is such a stark difference between Eugenides' first novel, this one, and his second, Middlesex, which won a Pulitzer. I couldn't put Middlesex down. I’m SO glad I read it first. It's a good thing I was listening to The Virgin Suicides on audio because otherwise I would have put it down about a third of the way through. Eugenides chooses usual topics but adds unusual twists that hook the reader. That’s a strong writing technique. With VS, it is obvious that there are several suicides among a family of girls. Usual topic: suicide. Unusual twist: they are committed by sisters over the span of about a year. Eugenides includes several motifs in this work but I struggled mainly with his use of descriptive imagery: accurate and articulate, but turned my stomach several times. While reading this book I felt like I was sitting in a car waiting for a driver to take me somewhere. It could be that the stagnancy is deliberate but that’s what I felt. That doesn’t mean the book is bad but it did mean that I didn’t care for it nearly as much as Middlesex. When the book was finally over, I could appreciate it a bit better and the ending lines set a tone that was acceptable with proper resolution.
    If you have read Middlesex, be warned, in my opinion, this book is not the same. I’m glad I was driving and multitasking while listening to this book, so I didn’t waste precious hours of my life.

    If you are considering reading Eugenides and wanted to start here, please, go for Middlesex first. And if you still want to, come back this one. I have no idea if I will ever attempt The Marriage Plot.

    0 of 0 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
    (12379)
    Performance
    (11343)
    Story
    (11409)

    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"
    "Will insite the reader to think twice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a solid story - true to life but also altruistic. The expressions and emotions, the high emotional quotient and likeable characters make this book a great read. This might even wind up as required reading in high schools. I believe this one is destined to become a classic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Handmaid's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3929)
    Performance
    (3547)
    Story
    (3571)

    Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

    Emily - Audible says: "My Top Pick for 2012"
    "Well worth the credit!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this audio book. The narrator was very strong and her delivery help keep me interested. The story is a classic dystopian one written well before the genre became so popular. If you are female you will be interested and if you are a thinking male, you should enjoy it as well. And it has a terrific ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6591)
    Performance
    (5863)
    Story
    (5864)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "Lushly written Magic that will draw you in."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Night Circus in three words, what would they be?

    Feast for Imagination


    What other book might you compare The Night Circus to and why?

    This book is Harry Potter for adults but only better.


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

    If you listened to Jim Dale read the Harry Potter books and loved it you will be enthralled with his interpretation of this book.


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

    Oh yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Pure enchanting entertainment with lush imagery and lush imagination. This is what happens when you have an artist and a writer combined that has the ability to create a world where everyone wants to go. The intrigue, the mystery, and the succulent prose drew me in. I will say that the first time I started the book, (on audio) it didn't grab me and I got a little lost - likely because I wasn't giving it enough attention. Upon the second attempt, I listened every time I had the chance and ran an audio marathon for the last third of the book. I could hardly wait to see how it resolved but I also didn't want the beautiful imagery to end. It is easy to see some of Morgenstern's possibly influences and some of her motifs are very direct but I appreciate this in a book I'm reading for entertainment. This book is a feast for adult Harry Potter fans, Alice in Wonderland fans, and even fans of the Hunger Games because there are some similar themes. While I could only endure the first of the Twilight series, the romance in this book is understated yet electric. Perfect summer read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rebecca

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Daphne du Maurier
    • Narrated By Anna Massey
    Overall
    (903)
    Performance
    (668)
    Story
    (676)

    After a whirlwind romance and a honeymoon in Italy, the innocent young heroine and the dashing Maxim de Winter return to his country estate, Manderley. But the unsettling memory of Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter, still lingers within. The timid bride must overcome her husband's oppressive silences and the sullen history of the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, to confront the emotional horrors of the past.

    P. Wade Thompson says: "A Great Listen"
    "Oh to go to Manderly....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Rebecca in three words, what would they be?

    the finest melodrama.....


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Rebecca?

    Rebecca stood up to the housekeeper.


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

    The rich English accent keep me listening.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The final page.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book, plain and simple. The book is just that. Plain and simple and one to escape into. Manderly is dreamy... Maxim... not really. The estate, the romance, the mystery that is dangerous but not too dangerous. Give me a month at Manderly and I could enter the world again,revived. It reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre and made me wish for more well written books like it. I can't do trashy romance novels but this kind of writing with simple plot lines will do as a breather from what I usually read.
    Wonder where I will escape to next?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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