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Sheri C

Wylie, TX United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
457
REVIEWS
30
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
50

  • The City of Ember

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jeanne DuPrau
    • Narrated By Wendy Dillon
    Overall
    (531)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (241)

    The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she's sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.

    Jolie Brewer says: "Good story; annoying narrator and background sound"
    "Flat and full of holes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm tempted to attribute the dumbed down world building, logic flaws, and flat characters to the fact that this is written as children's literature, but I've read far too many excellent stories in that category to accept that children don't need or deserve better. Much of the ignorance of the people of Ember is explained at the end - that the adults who were chosen to populate that world were under strict orders to not pass on knowledge of the world before, but that just seems like a cop-out to me. Children ask questions, and their caregivers didn't have anyone preventing them from answering after they were dropped off in Ember. There was no satisfactory explanation for why the Builders demanded that their history be erased. In fact, it's nonsensical, if they expected that their descendants would need to emerge from Ember and re-integrate into the outside world some 200 years later. This is just one of the many logical flaws that kept me disengaged from the book. The characters and their relationships with one another had no depth. Lina feels very little grief for her grandmother, and forgets her death almost immediately. She seems to feel very little for her sister except concern when the child wanders off and is lost. When she refuses to leave Ember without her sister later, it seems borne of a sense of responsibility rather than any actual connection. She might as well have been refusing to leave without her only pair of shoes. I finished the story mostly because it was on audio and kept me company while doing some chores around the house, but if I had been actually reading the book, I probably would have put it down halfway through and not picked it up again.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Edgar Allan Poe - The Complete Short Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Edgar Allan Poe
    • Narrated By Bob Thomley
    Overall
    (371)
    Performance
    (316)
    Story
    (328)

    All of Edgar Allan Poe’s great short stories in one 16-hour collection.

    Julia says: "A rare treat."
    "Probably too complete"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Forty two short stories later, I can say that I'm not sorry I've reached this advanced age without having previously experienced a greater range of Poe's work. Of course there are the three that I was already very fond of - the Masque of the Red Death, the Tell Tale Heart, and the Raven. Of the rest, only Berenice and The Black Cat were actually engaging. 90% of the other stories were interminable rambling followed by a brief and unsatisfying payoff.

    Crossposted from Booklikes

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Doug Bradley's Spinechillers Audio Books Volume 1: Classic Horror Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens, William F Harvey, Edgar Allan Poe, and others
    • Narrated By Doug Bradley
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    Classic stories from the original masters of horror, including Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft and Charles Dickens. Read by horror icon Doug Bradley with music and sound design by Alistair Lock. This volume features William F Harvey's original undead hand story "The Beast with Five Fingers" that sparked many movies including Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead".

    Sheri C says: "Perfect performance and production"
    "Perfect performance and production"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The perfect kick-off to Halloween season. Five of the six stories were new to me, and the sixth was Poe's TTH, which never gets tired. Unlike most audiobooks of classic short story collections, the production was wonderful. The narrator is lively and clearly having fun with the material, the sound is crisp and clear, and the music and sound effects add atmosphere rather than intrude on the consciousness. I will keep an eye out for the other volumes in this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shattered: The True Story of a Mother's Love, a Husband's Betrayal, and a Cold-Blooded Texas Murder

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kathryn Casey
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (129)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (116)

    In Creekstone, Texas, a small, quiet suburb of Houston, football was king and David Temple was a prince. A former high school and college gridiron-star-turned-coach, he had a fairy-tale marriage to bright, vivacious Belinda Lucas, a teacher at the local high school who was so warm and popular her colleagues called her "The Sunshine Girl". The fairy tale ended savagely on January 11, 1999, when Belinda's lifeless body was discovered in a closet. Her skull had been shattered by a shotgun blast at close range. She was eight months pregnant.

    Linda Lou says: "WELL DONE STORY IN A DECLINING GENRE"
    "Somewhat dull and lots of mispronounciations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked this up because (1) true crime is one of my guilty pleasures (2) this happened very close to where I grew up, even though it was many years after I moved away from Houston. As a true crime, it was not bad. The storyline was unfortunately too common to be of much real interest and the writing was serviceable. The setting being of particular interest to me adds another star to the overall rating. The narration performance unfortunately detracted from my enjoyment, but I don't blame the Coleen Marlo for her consistent mispronunciation of place names. Tantor Audio should have given her the necessary information to do her job. But hearing Alief pronounced as "uh-LEEF" instead of "AY-leef", amongst several other gaffes, was annoying. Also, like many audio narrators, she substituted a vaguely Southern U.S. accent for a Texas drawl.

    Crossposted from Booklikes

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Coreyography

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Corey Feldman
    • Narrated By Corey Feldman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (267)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (255)

    In this brave and moving memoir, Corey Feldman is revealing the truth about what his life was like behind the scenes: His is a past that included physical, drug, and sexual abuse, a dysfunctional family from which he was emancipated at age fifteen, three high-profile arrests for drug possession, a nine-month stint in rehab, and a long, slow crawl back to the top of the box office.

    R. J. Melton says: "Heartrending Loss of Innocence"
    "Serviceable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a chronicle of Feldman's descent into and recovery from addiction and an explanation of his relationships with Corey Haim and Michael Jackson, this is a serviceable record. He walks through the steps and missteps of his careers in acting and music. He addresses the physical and sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of family and "friends" and the effect that sexual abuse had on Haim.

    But this is a rather dry and emotionless story which only seems to touch the surface of events. Feldman explains himself, but I didn't find myself emotionally engaged at any point. Even the break with Jackson, who had been practically the only genuine friend in whom he could trust, as Jackson was physically and mentally deteriorating toward the end of his life, seemed strangely bloodless. Feldman tells us he felt bewildered, hurt, and embarrassed, but I could not feel those things with him. In fact, he seemed more embarrassed and hurt that he was refused backstage passes and a ride on the bus than hurt that Jackson had withdrawn his friendship.

    One last bit that actively annoyed me. After (very appropriately) pointing out that a teenage Haim was still the victim of abuse even though he was the initiator in a sexual relationship with an adult man, he then goes on to crow with satisfaction about his own earliest sexual experience, which occurred as a teen with an adult woman ten years his senior. Evidently he only considers it abuse if the adult is male.

    Crossposted from Booklikes

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Hank Stuever
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    When Stuever's narrative begins, he's standing in line with the people waiting to purchase flat-screen TVs at Best Buy on Black Friday, the opening of the Christmas shopping season. From there he follows a number of key residents of Frisco, Texas, as they navigate through the nativity and all its attendant crises.

    Sheri C says: "Christmas wishes: the elusive mega-moment"
    "Christmas wishes: the elusive mega-moment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially as it was a refreshing change from the usual current holiday glurge. The author seems to give an honest picture of the families he followed, treating them with respect, affection, and humor. I think he did a pretty good job of capturing, from an outsider's perspective, what we all want Christmas to be, how we try to go about making it happen, and how it can sometimes fall short of that dream. He completely nailed Stonebriar Mall, Frisco, a certain type of affluent North Texas demographic, and Canton. I laughed out loud at his description of Canton, remembering my own WTF-moment when I saw the scooter-people last time I was there. My only criticism is his seemingly hurried treatment of the last two years of the book. He really only covers a single Christmas - 2006 - and just checks in and gives us an update of the 2007 and 2008 Christmases. It's unfortunate, because he was in a unique position to thoroughly document how the changing economy impacted our attitudes between those years. I remember 2008 as the year we could no longer pretend that there wasn't something seriously wrong with the economy, and that Christmas as especially black. But I suppose it wasn't *that* kind of a book.

    Ray Porter's reading was excellent. He lent a dry tone of voice to the text that seemed just right, and he gave a pretty good approximation of the Texas drawl. Most audiobook narrators seem to substitute a southern accent for Texans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Letter to My Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Maya Angelou
    • Narrated By Maya Angelou
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (124)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (68)

    Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou's path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that led Angelou to an exalted place in American letters and taught her lessons in compassion and fortitude.

    Teddy says: "Wisdom that not only experience can give..."
    "Mistakes and personal insights, beautifully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maya Angelou has a voice like warm butter. If she read it aloud, she could make her grocery list sound wise and sensual and beautiful. When listening to her, I just want to nod my head and agree, grateful that she's sharing her thoughts with me. In this book, she recounts many of her personal experiences across eight decades of life. It's honest and sincere, and I was touched that she generously shared some of her own most embarrassing mistakes and what she learned about herself and the world through them.

    After finishing this book, which only took a couple of hours, I reflected back on her lessons and can't say that I can embrace them all, perhaps because my experiences are not hers. But I'm nonetheless grateful that she's shared the insight she's gained through her remarkable life, and in her own voice.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2803)
    Performance
    (2462)
    Story
    (2479)

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "It's all about the characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had low expectations for this book for a number of reasons. As a fan of JKR's Potter books, I knew that anything not-Potter would inevitably feel like something of a letdown. For example, any time poor Patricia Cornwell writes any non-Scarpetta book, she gets roasted by her Scarpetta fans. Also, the reviews for this book were generally poor. Although my taste differs significantly from that of professional book snobs, um, *reviewers*, I find the aggregate user reviews on Goodreads and Audible to be generally in the ballpark. Finally, the reviews I read generally indicated that this book was dark and grim, with a downer of an ending. Had I not enjoyed the Potter world JKR built so much, I probably wouldn't have read this book at all.

    Curiously, I had just been listening to Peyton Place on audio, and couldn't help but mentally compare the two. They are similar in theme - both are about the sordid realities hiding behind a small town's pretty facade, including the sort of small-town class politics and power struggles where the successful and unsympathetic fight with the successful and sympathetic over the town's civic responsibility to their "undeserving poor", as Alfred P Doolittle would say. I had the same difficulties at the start of the story, too. So many characters are introduced so rapidly that I simply couldn’t keep track of them all. This is a uniquely audio problem, because in a paper format, I’d be able to flip back and forth to remind myself what each character had been up to previously, until all the dots start connecting and the individual storylines come together.

    I suppose the comparison to the Potter books is inevitable, but JKR is successful in repeating and improving on one of the things I loved about those books. The huge cast of characters is wonderfully drawn. Each character is unique, and each character is flawed in some way, and stays true to itself throughout the story arc. What she has improved upon in this adult book is that there is no clear division between the “good” characters and the “bad” characters. Even her most unlikeable characters have some positive qualities (or at least sympathetic ones, given their eventually revealed histories and situations), and we understand how those positive and negative qualities drive their actions. The characters come from all walks of life and all situations, from the congenitally wealthy to middle class to children of heroin addicts. Had the children’s books been written this way, I wouldn’t have wondered where the inhabitants of Knockturn Alley went to school, because they obviously weren’t at Hogwarts.

    Many reviewers complained that the ending was too grim, but I have to disagree. There is tragedy at the end, but many characters have learned and grown from their experiences to varying degrees, and there is genuine hope for some at the end.

    This is very much a character-driven story, to the degree that there seems to be very little plot at all. Halfway through the book, though I was enjoying the characters, I wondered if there was a point to the story. At the end, I can see the point. But anyone who prefers a story with some action driving toward a particular end will not be happy with this story. It’s really just about people and how they behave and think and interact with one another. It’s about how attitudes and prejudices create the kind of society we live in.

    Tom Hollander did a fantastic job. Although he doesn’t attempt to create a unique voice for each character – that would have been nearly impossible with the number of characters – he read with feeling and I was easily able to distinguish one character’s speech from another. I enjoyed this very much, and may even possibly listen to it again sometime.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Maisie Dobbs

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Rita Barrington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1505)
    Performance
    (926)
    Story
    (923)

    Maisie Dobbs isn't just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence - and the patronage of her benevolent employers - she works her way into college at Cambridge. After the War I and her service as a nurse, Maisie hangs out her shingle back at home: M. DOBBS, TRADE AND PERSONAL INVESTIGATIONS. But her very first assignment soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

    A User says: "A delightful discovery"
    "Dull tale about dull characters, but well-told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not. The story was well-written enough to keep me listening, but the characters were uninteresting and the secrets, once revealed, weren't worth waiting for.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jacqueline Winspear? Why or why not?

    Maybe. There were bright moments when I was immersed in the experiences of the characters that made the time spent on this book worthwhile. For example, I was moved by Maisie's experience as a field nurse during the war.


    Have you listened to any of Rita Barrington???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first I've listened to.


    Do you think Maisie Dobbs needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. The main character is too perfect - a classic Mary Sue. She solves her mysteries mostly by a sense of intuition and fortunate coincidence. If I want a story with supernatural elements, I'd rather have straight out fantasy or horror, or even magical realism. In this case, it felt like a substitution for actually weaving in clues and reasoning.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Mimi Alford
    • Narrated By Susan Denaker
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (98)

    In the summer of 1962, 19-year-old Mimi Beardsley arrived by train in Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the White House press office. The Kennedy Administration had reinvigorated the capital and the country - and Mimi was eager to contribute. For a young woman from a privileged but sheltered upbringing, the job was the chance of a lifetime. Mimi made an impression on Kennedy's inner circle and, after just three days at the White House, she was presented to the President himself....

    faye says: "Disturbing"
    "Depressingly common story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A mildly interesting story from the young woman's point of view. At least from the viewpoint of her older, wiser self. Although she draws life lessons from the experience and feels she has become more self-actualized than she would have without the experience, I still found it a depressingly common story of abuse of power by the men who run our country. Even worse, men whom so many idolize and admire. I'd like to hear about a young woman who gave her political boss a kick to the groin instead of adoringly hopping in his bed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Steve Wiegand, Erik Sass
    • Narrated By Johny Heller
    Overall
    (306)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (139)

    About 60,000 years ago, the first Homo sapiens were just beginning their move across the grasslands and up the ladder of civilization. Everything since then, as they say, is history. Just in case you were sleeping in class that day, the geniuses at mental_floss magazine have put together a hilarious (and historically accurate) primer on everything you need to know---and that means the good stuff.

    A. Hochberg says: "This was just great!"
    ""Romp" is probably an overstatement"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suspect this book would have been much better in a regular book format, rather than on audio. The boring and repetitive lists of events at each chapter (?) start are probably laid out visually in such a way as to allow you to refer back during the meat of each section. Aside from that, it was still a light and entertaining overview of historical events, presented in a way that I wish my dusty old history teachers could have taught it. I was even mightily impressed with the narrator's ability to make coherent sounding sentences using the tongue-twisting names of ancient civilizations and foreign languages. Until the book hit the 1940's and I had to endure hearing "nucular" spoken over and over again. I subtracted a star for that alone, and I'm afraid I had to abandon the audiobook while it was in the home stretch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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