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Ellen

De Pere, WI, United States | Member Since 2006

62
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 162 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3

  • Macbeth: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By A. J. Hartley, David Hewson
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1281)
    Performance
    (1060)
    Story
    (1057)

    Macbeth: A Novel brings the intricacy and grit of the historical thriller to Shakespeare’s tale of political intrigue, treachery, and murder. In this full-length novel written exclusively for audio, authors A. J. Hartley and David Hewson rethink literature’s most infamous married couple, grounding them in a medieval Scotland whose military and political upheavals are as stark and dramatic as the landscape in which they are played.

    Beverly says: "Narrator choice inspired"
    "More than an audiobook - a work of art"
    Overall

    The idea to create an audio-only novelization of Macbeth is a wonderful one, but having Alan Cumming narrate it elevates this into a work of art. The characters are beautifully fleshed out. Macbeth comes off as a patriot instead of a traitor, doing what he believes is best to save Scotland's traditions rather than allow a weak king to appoint his son to replace him. Alan Cumming's narration is brilliant -- superb acting combined with Scottish flair. I could listen to his voice all day (and just did!).

    Having just returned from Scotland, I can also say that the atmosphere of the Scottish Highlands comes alive in this novel, as much a character as any of the people. Understanding the Scots, their fierce pride and love of the land, puts Macbeth and his wife into a setting which makes, to me, much more sense than the Shakespeare version. Sorry Will.

    I encourage everyone to take advantage of this unique and beautiful book.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Circle

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (894)
    Performance
    (813)
    Story
    (824)

    When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity.

    Darwin8u says: "A solid, just not great social network dystopia"
    "Disappointing and predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big Dave Eggers fan but I was disappointed in this. The plot is predictable and hangs on the unbelievable gullibility of the main character, who continues to buy the company line at The Circle instead of the voices of friends and family despite only having been at the Circle for a few short weeks. Yes, it's a warning, but I'm not sure what the warning is. Should we fear the brainwashing effect of invasive technology? Are we all sheep? Do we have to fear the Circle or stupid people?

    And I'm sorry, I didn't get into the narration either. Dion Graham portrays every young man with a sinusy nerdy voice, and every young female talks quickly and has a faint Valley Girl upswing to the ends of sentences.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Snow Child

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Eowyn Ivey
    • Narrated By Debra Monk
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1286)
    Performance
    (1124)
    Story
    (1111)

    Debut novelist Eowyn ivey’s experience living in the Alaskan wilderness brings a palpable authenticity to The Snow Child. Alaska in the 1920s is a difficult place for Jack and Mabel. Drifting apart, the childless couple discover Faina, a young girl living alone in the wilderness. Soon, Jack and Mabel come to love Faina as their own. But when they learn a surprising truth about the girl, their lives change in profound ways.

    Bonny says: "Magical, realistic and well worth listening to"
    "An enchanting, haunting story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I fell under the spell of this book within the first few sentences. The author creates a magical setting in the Alaskan wilderness where the northern lights, snow-covered meadows, frozen rivers and wild animals seem perfect and beautiful. When you live with Jake and Mabel, you live in this land, and you get to know it as they do -- living fully within it and accepting its harshness as well as its beauty. In this setting, a child who seems to come to life from snow seems almost logical -- and although Jack and Mabel wonder about Faina, they come to accept her as their own, just as they accept the rest of Alaska's mysteries.

    I loved the gentle tone of the narrator, and loved the beautiful, magical story. This one will stay with me for a long time.

    8 of 8 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
    (6262)
    Performance
    (5565)
    Story
    (5561)

    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"
    "A magical experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a rare and magical book. The world Erin Morgenstern creates is beautiful and imaginative, and you care about every character in it. I've seen several reviews which comment negatively on the non-linear writing but I loved it -- it underscored the strange world the characters inhabit. One of the reasons this audiobook is especially wonderful is the performance by Jim Dale, who narrated all of the Harry Potter books. Unlike those who were distracted by the familiar voice, I found it reassuring -- knowing that I was in the hands of an expert. I loved every minute of this and hated for it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Before I Go to Sleep

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By S. J. Watson
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (81)

    Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is 47 years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories. Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.

    jennifer says: "Fabulous book"
    "Well worth the credit"
    Overall

    I had read other reviews of this novel before purchasing and so was looking forward to a taut psychological thriller/ I wasn't disappointed, but the only reason for 4 stars instead of five is that the thriller part took quite a while to play out. The premise is unsettling: a woman has a rare form of amnesia that means she wakes up each morning not knowing who she is and remembering nothing of her past. I wasn't sure how the author would be able to play that out, but she uses the device of having the character start keeping a journal, so the reader's memories can start to accumulate even if the character's do not. Knowing that this was a psychological thriller, or would eventually turn into one, I didn't fully trust any of the characters, but when the twist came it was played out very well. I think it is well worth a credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Love You More: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter, Katie MacNichol
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2243)
    Performance
    (1138)
    Story
    (1132)

    One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self-defense, and bears the bruises to back up her tale. For veteran detective D. D. Warren it should be an open-and-shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter? As the homicide investigation ratchets into a frantic statewide search for a missing child, D. D. Warren must partner with former lover Bobby Dodge to break through the blue wall of police brotherhood, seeking to understand the inner workings of a trooper’s mind while also unearthing family secrets.

    Molly says: "Keeps you guessing all the way through!"
    "My first from this author - not my last"
    Overall

    I bought this because of positive reviews on Audible and I'm glad I did. I've read so many mystery novels and thrillers over the years that it's hard to get fully engaged in many of them now because I can see what's coming. It's a rare skill for an author to be able to keep my attention throughout the entire novel, but Gardner did. The characters were immediately engaging, and the author skillfully let just enough of the story out at one time to keep my attention. The twists and turns kept coming, but were done so skillfully that each one made sense. Loved it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Swamplandia!

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Karen Russell
    • Narrated By Arielle Sitrick, David Ackroyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (374)
    Performance
    (250)
    Story
    (250)

    The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly number-one in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost.

    Suzn F says: "Sometimes Brilliant, Sometimes Disappointing"
    "Enjoyable - but not totally engrossing"
    Overall

    The problem with "quirky" novels is that you either get into the world the author has created, or you don't. I enjoyed this book and even admired it at times, but I did not fully engage with the characters or the semi-supernatural world they inhabited.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 22 Britannia Road

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Amanda Hodgkinson
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (77)

    "Housekeeper or housewife?" the soldier asks Silvana as she and eight-year-old Aurek board the ship that will take them from Poland to England at the end of World War II. There her husband, Janusz, is already waiting for them at the little house at 22 Britannia Road. But the war has changed them all so utterly that they'll barely recognize one another when they are reunited.

    Ellen says: "Haunting"
    "Haunting"
    Overall

    This lovely book unfolds deliberately, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the characters of Janusz, Sylvana and Aureck. The book goes back and forth between the present day, as they are trying to get to know each other again after being separated during the war, and the past, as we gradually learn what they have faced. Janusz's desire to be a proper Englishman and have a perfect small town life seems impossible considering what they have faced and the secrets they keep from each other. But as we get to know them, they get to know each other, and the horrors of war become part of what they share instead of what divides them. The narrator of this book is excellent, easily able to switch between Polish, French, and British dialects. I especially appreciated that the stories of their separate lives during the war were presented honestly but not dramatized or over-emotionalized. Just like the present day, the past is what it is -- nothing more.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Bossypants

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Tina Fey
    • Narrated By Tina Fey
    Overall
    (17521)
    Performance
    (13393)
    Story
    (13334)

    Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told....

    Warren says: "Tina Fey broke my new SUV"
    "Love Tina Fey, Loved the book"
    Overall

    Tina Fey was one of the funniest people on television, and now she is one of the funniest people anywhere. I loved listening to her read this audiobook -- it was like sitting in her living room and hearing behind-the-scenes SNL and 30 Rock moments. She also touchingly bares her soul about her love for her daughter and decision to have a second child (obviously this was written before she became pregnant again). One of the best purchases I have made on Audible! My only question is -- where is the PDF she kept referring to (as in "refer to the PDF for the picture)??

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Paris Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paula McLain
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1878)
    Performance
    (1295)
    Story
    (1296)

    Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet 28eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

    Pris says: "Delighted in Del Mar"
    "Good book, not so good reader"
    Overall

    As a fan of Ernest Hemingway, I was really looking forward to this book. Several chapters in, I realized that I was not enjoying it. I soon realized that it was not the book itself, but the reader that was getting in my way. Carrington MacDuffie reads this book with a cultured tone that softens the edges of Ernest and his macho friends, and gives a simpering, whiney tone to Hadley. I wish I had chosen to read the book instead.

    29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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