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Kelly

I am a lover of good stories, a mom, a wife, and an educator.

Member Since 2011

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 51 ratings
  • 177 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • The Kitchen House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kathleen Grissom
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy, Bahni Turpin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7108)
    Performance
    (5050)
    Story
    (5039)

    Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction.

    B.J. says: "Good, but with reservations"
    "Give me a Break!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Really...That is how I felt reading this book. It was well-read and at first pleasant enough to listen to. The relationships between the characters were nice, but it didn't take long for a dark element to enter the book and never relent. It is one enormous soap opera set in the antebellum south. I am not opposed to a story that is hard, tragic, or realistic in its slant, but this story was too much. I felt as if I could not come up for air, and felt utterly hopeless through most of the story. While it had its twists and turns, it eventually became predictable, and I felt I was just waiting to see if I had figured it out correctly and wanted it to end so I could get myself out of the vortex of misery.

    This was recommended to me as a book I would like because I loved The Help. That is not the case. It was an unfair comparison. While they are similar in that the relationships between slave / servant and master / employer are the basis of the stories, that is where the comparison ends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Water for Elephants

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sara Gruen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux, John Randolph Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13671)
    Performance
    (6060)
    Story
    (6140)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

    Kindle Customer says: "Great Narration!!"
    "The Narration Makes it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I am sure that I would have enjoyed this book immensely if I had read it rather than listened, I doubt that I could have matched the performance of these readers in my mind. The narration was masterfully done, and at times I felt as if I was watching a movie or experiencing the same sensations and events along with the characters. I would give more stars for the performance if I could!

    The story itself is very human, very emotional, very real. Quite different from any novel I've read before in that the story is so unique, but yet I found that I could relate deeply to the characters and their experiences.

    Don't miss this listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1907)
    Performance
    (1726)
    Story
    (1737)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Janice says: "Do you believe in miracles??"
    "Hated for this to End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Boys in the Boat has become one of my favorite books. Written with tremendous respect for what the men of that era had to endure, the author delivers a touching tribute to these wonderful icons of our culture. I love the way the author weaves the stories of the lives of these men together, and then sets them in contrast to the simultaneous events occurring in Germany, then brings them all together in high drama at the 1936 Olympics. I found myself searching youtube to find the actual videos of the events and was not disappointed. This is a story that will immortalize these men and help us to remember that honor, courage, and perseverance will never be wasted. I hope to have my son read or listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Black Ships Before Troy

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Rosemary Sutcliff
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (24)

    A masterly retelling of Homer’s epic poem 'The Iliad' recreates the age of heroes in this spellbinding introduction to the Greek Classics.

    Kelly says: "Captivating for kids and adults"
    "Captivating for kids and adults"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am preparing to teach a unit on Ancient Greece and mythology to my kids and their homeschool co-op. Black Ships before Troy is the version of the Iliad that they were assigned. I found this version to be perfectly appropriate for both my daughter (8) and my son (12), though both of them have a fairly refined sense of story and have been exposed to a lot of different kinds of literature.

    Black Ships is beautifully written and even uses much of the verbiage from the epic poem to retain the imagery that resonates through Homer's Iliad. What it leaves out is the many details such as the listings of the various commanders and kings and how many ships were under their authority, among other types of details that may be lost on children. The interplay between the gods and men is retained and the feelings and emotions of the characters throughout the story are beautifully portrayed. The essence of the Iliad is perfectly intact, making this a perfect introduction of a foundational story to young audiences.

    For younger children, the scene in which Hector's body is dragged is hard to take--it is supposed to be, and elicited strong reactions from my children and gave us material for discussion. Why did Achilles do what he did? What kind of things can grief do to a person? What should he have done, and do you think he could have resolved this a different way? The redeeming factor is that Hector's body is preserved by the gods, so that helped a bit.

    I found the reading of this retelling of the Iliad for a younger audience to be a definite enrichment to the literary lives of my children and highly recommend it. We listened over lunch every day and in the car and couldn't wait for the next chance to turn it on. Five stars all the way around.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pollyanna

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Eleanor H. Porter
    • Narrated By S. Patricia Bailey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (39)

    Pollyanna, an expert at her favorite "Glad Game" of always looking at the bright side in her numerous trials, is one of the most popular and enduring characters in all of children's literature. As Pollyanna arrives in Beldingsville to live with her strict and dutiful maiden aunt, she exclaims, "Oh, Aunt Polly, I don't know how to be glad enough that you let me come to live with you!"

    Kelly says: "Another Winner!"
    "Another Winner!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Somehow in my youth I managed to miss the story of Pollyanna. I had never read the book or seen a movie version. When my children's literature list turned up this gem, we decided to listen to it together. We all loved it!

    The story itself is precious. We described it as "Anne of Green Gables meets the Secret Garden and The Railway Children." Pollyanna's difficult situation and her positive take on practically everything actually challenged my thinking and helped me to look at the bright side of things as well.

    The story was wonderful, the performance was great, and we all were uplifted by this story. I Highly recommend for kids to adults.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Call of the Wild

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jack London
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    A bold-spirited dog named Buck is stripped from his comfortable life on a California estate and thrust into the rugged terrain of the Klondike. There he is made a sled dog and battles to become his team's leader and the devoted servant of John Thornton, a man who shows him kindness amid the savage lawlessness of man and beast.

    Kelly says: "A "Great American Boy" Story"
    "A "Great American Boy" Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My son and I enjoyed this Audible version of the Call of the Wild very much. The narration was very well done. The story itself is one that captures the mind and heart, but I believe it especially speaks to young men. The progression of Buck's punishing experiences which lead him from being a pampered prince to King of the Wild, feared by men and respected by beasts, is something that appeals to the emerging man in every boy.

    For the sensitive child, this story may want to be "held" until about age 10-11. The abuse of animals and some violent fighting scenes may cause some difficulty for some.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Anne of Green Gables

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Lucy Maud Montgomery
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (497)
    Performance
    (299)
    Story
    (302)

    When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables send for a boy orphan to help them out at their farm, they mistakenly get Anne Shirley, a feisty, independent but warm-hearted 11 year-old girl. Fortunately her sunny nature and quirky imagination win the hearts of her reluctant foster parents and everyone in the community. But not a day goes by without some memorable adventure or prank in the tragicomedy of her life.

    David says: "Magical"
    "Just Like the Characters we Know and Love"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This performance of Anne of Green Gables was equal to the story! I didn't go back and look to see when it was produced, (i.e. before or after the Megan Follows movies) but the reader seemed to reflect the voices and personalities of the actors in the movies. To me, that was a good thing, because I love the movie versions of Anne and did not have to adjust my thinking to get used to a new set of voices. Matthew and Marilla were especially well-read, but all of them were, really.

    The story of Anne itself is a touching tale that makes me cry at least once every time I read / listen / watch it. Even the men of my household love this book!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Man on Mao's Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China's Foreign Ministry

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Ji Chaozhu
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (31)

    No other narrative from within the corridors of power has offered as frank and intimate an account of the making of the modern Chinese nation as Ji Chaozhu's The Man on Mao's Right. Having served Chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist leadership for two decades, and having become a key figure in China's foreign policy, Ji now provides an honest, detailed account of the personalities and events that shaped today's People's Republic.

    Adam says: "Very enlightening"
    "Very interesting perspective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I so thoroughly enjoyed the story of this man's life and times that I would sometimes forget "the source." The story of Ji's life in America and his eventual return to China and rise to high office within China's foreign ministry was fascinating. Ji Chaozhu criticized communist China just enough to make it believable, and did not skirt the issues of his own suffering, though I expect it was far greater than he described. Within the story, he deified Zhou Enlai and disparaged Mao, which would be the acceptable rhetoric for a good cadre of that time and place.

    It is worth noting that he is a communist through-and-through and this is probably the most interesting aspect of the book. I believe that his devotion to China and the party were (for the most part, or at least in the beginning) sincere. He spoke as a Chinese citizen would only dare speak on the world stage--carefully and reverently about his homeland, the Party, and the leadership. Even so, the story of his life, the historical figures who cross his path, and the events from his perspective were exciting to observe. I highly recommend this book, though one must listen through the veil of communist rhetoric.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs)
    • By Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
    • Narrated By Stockard Channing
    Overall
    (237)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (207)

    Meet Ramona. She lives on Klickitat Street with her mother, father and big sister, Beezus. She’s not afraid of anything and is always up to something. And that’s just the beginning…. In this audio collection, join Ramona, one of Beverly Cleary’s most beloved characters, on all her wacky adventures!

    Christopher says: "Very entertaining and delightful listen"
    "We LOVE Ramona!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My kids and I listened to the entire Ramona series together. Stockard Channing is the perfect narrator for this book and the performance was consistent throughout. As Ramona grew, Channing's interpretation of the character grew appropriately. It was a delightful listen.

    Beverly Cleary's beloved stories of Ramona were so entertaining I found myself laughing out loud at the characters' antics. I could identify with the children both from memories of my own childhood and as a mom, which led to me sharing stories of funny things I did as a girl and things my kids had done when they were smaller. Ramona is best shared with the kids--they should not be the only ones getting to read about her!

    As soon as it ended, both kids wanted me to dowload and listen to the Henry Huggins series, which I promised we would do this summer.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Frances Hodgson Burnett
    • Narrated By Finola Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (29)

    Few children's classics can match the charm and originality of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, the unforgettable story of sullen, sulky Mary Lennox, "the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen." When a cholera epidemic leaves her as an orphan, Mary is sent to England to live with her reclusive uncle, Archibald Craven, at Misselthwaite Manor.

    Kelly says: "Hated for it to End"
    "Hated for it to End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My children (ages 10 and 6) and I recently listened to The Secret Garden. The narrator (Finola Hughes) was lovely. I loved her delivery of the characters' voices, especially those with Yorkshire accents. It affected my children such that they were practicing their accents and talking to each other using Yorkshire expressions in the days we were listening to the book!

    The story is as rich and full of life as the secret garden itself. I longed to meet the characters personally and experience the same magic they children felt in the garden.

    All three of us hated for the book to end.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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