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Leslie

sonoma, CA, USA | Member Since 2004

110
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 94 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Their Eyes Were Watching God

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Zora Neale Hurston
    • Narrated By Ruby Dee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (905)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (458)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel begs to be read aloud, and Ruby Dee answers the challenge with utter perfection, capturing the wide range of characters and their diverse accents with grace and power. Their Eyes Were Watching God is the luminous and haunting novel about Janie Crawford, a Southern Black woman in the 1930s, whose journey from a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance has inspired writers and readers for close to 70 years.

    Leslie says: "a pleasure"
    "a pleasure"
    Overall

    This is the story of a woman struggling against the expectations of everyone in her life who is supposed to care for her; her grandmother, the man she wanted her to marry so she would have a "good life" but without love, and the man she ran off with to make a "better life" and what she thought was love, which turned out to be yet another disappointment. It is a bittersweet story, beautifully written with memorable, full-bodied, thought-provoking characters, and expertly read by Ruby Dee. I was pleasantly surprised from beginning to end. If you have a long, tedious project, pop this one in and you will be finished with both before you know it. Definitely recommend!

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • The Loved Dog: The Playful, Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Tamar Geller, Andrea Cagan
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (40)

    More than 15 years ago, Tamar Geller began her career as a dog trainer by observing a scientific study of wolves in the wild. She realized that the socialization and parenting techniques they used to raise their cubs were rooted in bonding, communication, and play: not in aggression, dominance, or punishment. If people used these techniques when training their dogs, she realized, there would be no need for prong collars, choke chains, or any kind of physical or verbal aggression.

    Leslie says: "Maybe better read but a terrible listen"
    "Maybe better read but a terrible listen"
    Overall

    Two hours into this book I was still waiting for something about dog training. Then it just went on with a lot of stories about her own dogs and her encounters with celebrity dogs for what seemed like forever. Heavy on reward/treat reinforcement. Heavily critical of other methods, which I found to be a bit of a turn-off regardless of whether I thought she was right. After listening to her bash her family for the first hour or so of the book, and then go on to bash other trainers/training methods, it just seemed to be a lot of "me! me! me!" Seems to me that if a person has confidence in their technique it should stand alone without having to drag down the competition. As for airing the family's dirty laundry - that had nothing whatsoever to do with dog training, so I don't know what that was supposed to be about, except perhaps to garner sympathy. Didn't work on me. Just made me a little uncomfortable. It may be a better hard copy, where you can just flip past all the filler and drama, and focus on the method, but it wasn't a worthwhile purchase for me at all. Not well written, an abundance of irrelevant material, no new techniques; unless you have no experience with dog obedience at all, you've probably heard/tried all of this before.

    53 of 58 people found this review helpful
  • Les Miserables

    • ABRIDGED (33 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo
    • Narrated By Walter Covell
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (43)

    Les Miserables is set in the Parisian underworld. The protagonist, Jean Valjean, is sentenced to prison for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. After his release, Valjean plans to rob monseigneur Myriel, a saint-like bishop, but cancels his plan. However, he forfeits his parole by committing a minor crime, and for this crime Valjean is haunted by the police inspector Javert. Valjean eventually reforms and becomes a successful businessman, benefactor, and mayor of a northern town.

    Leslie says: "astounding"
    "astounding"
    Overall

    I went into this title expecting it to be a challenge, and it was that. But oh what a wonderful challenge!! Anyone who has ever said "you are what your read" would be telling the truth having read Les Miserables, because having finished it I truly believe it has become a part of who I am. One thing is for certain, when Victor Hugo sets out to make a point he definitely makes one, whether you want to wait for it to finally be over with or not! And just when you think you cannot bear for him to continue, he stops and returns back to the story, weaves it together perfectly, and you feel a sublime sense of awareness at having listened and understood exactly what he is trying to convey. While spinning on a point until it is driven into the ground, describing multiple complex details of dozens and dozens of characters that you are certain you will never be able to retain, like the composer of the most intricate symphony, the result is magnificent, and the characters are alive in your heart and mind. Initially I thought the narration had a somewhat "high school documentary" tone to it, but as it progressed it became enchanting, and although I do not speak French so I do not know if his pronunciations were correct, I thought it was beautifully done. Some of the recording/play quality was a little off, and there was a point where a whole "chapter" was repeated (when Cosette goes to the well at night), and another where a "chapter" heading was repeated, but other than that it was very clear and well done. Definitely time well spent! Some day I will try to tackle the double-length unabridged version to get more of the "thoughts of the day" from Hugo.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • The Pieces of the Puzzle

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Robert Stanek
    Overall
    (197)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    With The Pieces of the Puzzle, Robert Stanek masterfully creates an intelligent thriller that weaves the excitement and intrigue of a sophisticated mystery with the fascinating secret world of international espionage. The leader of a special operations unit returns home after a mission gone terribly wrong to find himself a wanted man.

    Debra says: "Made me think"
    "not good"
    Overall

    I do not know if Stanek narrated this himself to save money, but he read it as if he was being charged by the minute for studio time. Once he calmed down it was not as bad, but still not good. The story itself wasn not bad, but it was written like a formula, as if he had read a book on "how to write espionage". It seemed very poorly planned, and never really came together well. Things seemed to be left hanging, and the main character seemed to be the only one who knew what was going on, but the author never explained it to the reader...or his narration was just so distracting that I did not pick it up. Overall, I did not get anything out of this book, but I am not going to listen to it again to get what I missed. Hopefully if he is planning another installment (this being "A Scott Evers Thriller", I assume he is) he will get someone to read for him, and he will manage to complete a thought in his writing. I would not recommend this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Memoirs of a Geisha

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Arthur Golden
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3588)
    Performance
    (918)
    Story
    (924)

    In a voice both haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri describes her life as a geisha. Taken from her home at the age of nine, she is sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Witness her transformation as you enter a world where appearances are paramount, virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder, women beguile powerful men, and love is scorned as illusion.

    Stephanie says: "Best Book in a while"
    "for the love of simile!"
    Overall

    Excellent excellent story, very well read. The characters are fabulously developed, the writing is enchanting. I didn't make it to bed before 1 a.m. once I popped on the headphones. My only "issue" with the writing is the saturation of figurative phrasing. However, given that this is a story being "told", I suppose this is how a person who would be telling rather than writing their story would behave, so while it got to be a bit thick, I can understand why Golden chose to write that way, and it didn't get in the way of the story or the characters so it is only a minor issue. It is not a "girly" type of story either, so guys...dig in and enjoy!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Grass for His Pillow: Tales of the Otori, Book Two

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lian Hearn
    • Narrated By Kevin Gray, Aiko Nakasone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2708)
    Performance
    (593)
    Story
    (592)

    The exhilerating tale of Takeo continues in book II of the internationally best-selling Tales of the Otori trilogy, a sweeping saga set in a mythical, medieval Japan.

    RacerX says: "Good book. First one was better"
    "beautiful writing, excellent reading"
    Overall

    I have now enjoyed parts 1 and 2, and starting part 3. I did not get the sense of "male-bashing" that some readers complained about. I am missing the characters since finishing part 2, and look forward to "visiting" them again in the 3rd book. The writing is beautiful, and the reading is wonderful. Aiko Nakasone seems to be a little slow and stilted at first, but with listening it is so suitable for the story and the characters that it ads to the telling of the story rather than distracting from it. Both narrators are excellent.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susanna Clarke
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (3221)
    Performance
    (1216)
    Story
    (1220)

    English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

    David says: "Hang in there!"
    "not for the hyperactive"
    Overall

    If you need nonstop action to hold your interest, this is not the book for you. This is not a book "about" magic in the sense that there are a lot of magical things happening. It is the best writing I have experienced in a very long time, and it is read beautifully. The characters are very well developed. The story may sometimes seem to be disjointed, but that is part of its charm, and everything comes together in a very clever and creative way that kept my attention. It is not to be compared with any particular genre, or (insultingly) any other author, it is altogether wonderful and unique. I would recommend Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell without hesitation to anyone who loves to read for the pure enjoyment of good writing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Bourne Identity

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Robert Ludlum
    • Narrated By Darren McGavin
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (28)

    He is a man with an unknown past and an uncertain future. A man dragged from the sea riddled with bullets, his face altered by plastic surgery - a man bearing the dubious identity of Jason Bourne. Now he is running for his life, the target of professional assassins, at the center of a maddening, deadly puzzle. Who is Jason Bourne? Listen to the sample below to hear Ludlum explain how an event in his life gave him the idea for The Bourne Identity.

    Franklin says: "Then Bourne Identity"
    "Never abridge Ludlum"
    Overall

    Ludlum should never ever ever be abridged. Don't bother with any of his titles until they are UNabridged or you will definitely be disappointed by his better titles, and wonder how the lesser were ever published in the first place. If you think you will get a better handle on the storyline by watching the movies, again a mistake, as they are not even close to the skilled intricacy with which he weaves a story, builds a character, twists plots, subplots, conspiracies. Can't be crammed into a 90 minute movie, or a 2-1/2 hour book. Nice try, but big waste of money. He is not an author for the easily distracted, so plan to commit your attention, and enjoy (unabridged!) when they decide to carry his early better titles. Later writings got a little tedious and contrived, but still better than most "copycats".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Da Vinci Code

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6844)
    Performance
    (1604)
    Story
    (1644)

    While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, a baffling cipher found near the body. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, sort through the bizarre riddle, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci, clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

    Alexandra says: "Incredibly entertaining"
    "please make it STOP!"
    Overall

    I am a huge historical fiction fan. I am also a huge mystery/thriller fan. So, I was very excited about how this book started out. I really didn't know much about it in advance, and the first hour or so of listening I thought I had hit the jackpot. With about 4 hours to go, I just want it to be over. The art/history/religion aspects are very interesting (if a little -lot- slanted), but they are repeated ad nauseum to the point of near torture. The characters are so incredibly boring and flat, and the narrator's version of a female French accent is just horrible. In fact, most of the character voices are a bit over the top, but his normal reading voice is pleasant enough. Giving the author some benefit of the doubt (some people do seem to like this book), it's not that the book is so horrible (if you have a 5th grade reading level, or a short-term memory problem)....I just really don't care how it ends, I really don't care about any of the characters, and that seems kind of important, especially in a "mystery".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7662)
    Performance
    (2848)
    Story
    (2900)

    When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

    Sandra says: "Utterly Awesome!"
    "impressive beginning"
    Overall

    I admit I purchased this, my first audiobook, mostly out of curiousity after hearing about the author in a review. I am not typically a fantasy reader, although I do try to keep my book choices varied. After listening to the preview, I was not particularly optimistic, but decided to give it a try anyway. While Paolini's inexperience is apparent in some places, I would have to say I was pleasantly surprised and quite impressed overall. I have seen this book compared to (or accused of stealing from) Tolkien, and that is unfair, setting the bar way too high. I have also seen it compared to Harry Potter, also unfair, and setting the bar way too low (I found the writing in that book to be incredibly amteurish even for a "children's" book, and wasn't able to get past the first few chapters). Eragon is overall well written, easy to follow, and holds your attention. The narration was very good. If I had one tiny criticism, it would be that sometime the dragon's voice was a bit muppet-like, which could be a little distracting. I will be following up with the next installment by this young author, and hope he will venture out of the fantasy genre when this story is complete. I would also say this is not a story for "children". I'd give it a PG-13, unless you skip over the sacked village scene.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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