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Ann

Ridge Spring, SC, United States | Member Since 2011

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 64 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Karen Russell
    • Narrated By Ariel Sitrick, Zach McLarty, Patrick Mackie, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (42)

    In the collection's title story, a pack of girls raised by wolves are painstakingly reeducated by nuns. In "Haunting Olivia", two young boys make midnight trips to a boat graveyard in search of their dead sister, who set sail in the exoskeleton of a giant crab. In "Sleepaway Camp for Disordered Dreamers", a boy whose dreams foretell implacable tragedies is sent to a summer camp for troubled sleepers (Cabin 1, Narcoleptics; Cabin 2, Sleep Apneics; Cabin 3, Somnambulists . . . ).

    S. Myers says: "Killed by casting"
    "unique but just OK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I liked a few of these stories (Ava Wrestles the Alligator, Star Gazer's Guide to Summertime Crime, Accident Brief, and the title story). A few were good except for the endings. A few I pretty much hated.

    I loved the author's quirky, original ideas but some of them weren't executed very well. Many of the stories seemed pretentious or obscure at times. The author also likes to use highbrow words that don't really fit the characters/narrators (who are mostly children).

    Overall, I thought the book averaged out to be just OK. There were some high points, some low points, and a lot that was in between. Each story was read by a different person. Some readers were better than others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Outlaw Album: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Daniel Woodrell
    • Narrated By Leslie Bellair, Brian Troxell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal behavior in this wrenching collection of stories. Desperation-both material and psychological - motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the killing of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches her breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behavior; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbor. There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories - between spouses, parents and children, siblings, and comrades in arms....

    Donald Braman says: "Terse, violent, and revelatory"
    "great stories, great writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Except for seeing the movie "Winter's Bone" this was my first exposure to Daniel Woodrell. It will not be my last. I think he's incredible....all the short stories in this book are so well-written and some of them are so complex I think they could be expanded into novels. I will listen to these stories over and over and I will listen to more of Woodrell's books.

    Like any book of short stories, there will always be some stories that are better than others. "Woe To Live On" and "The Horse In Our History" didn't do much for me, although they are well-written. My favorites were "Uncle" and "Dream Spot" and "Returning the River." There were two readers for these stories (one male, one female). They were good, except the guy used a weird accent when he was reading "Woe To Live On." This might be one reason why I didn't like this story so much.

    Overall, very impressive stories and writing! Definitely worth a credit, even though it is a short book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1499)
    Performance
    (1354)
    Story
    (1357)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Deborah says: "Mesmerizing Performance"
    "entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would say Heft is "OK to good." It is entertaining and it held my interest, but I don't think it's a knockout. I liked the parts about Arthur and Yolanda and their relationship more than the parts about Kel. Arthur is a great and unique character and I really cared about him. The guy they got to read for Arthur/Yolanda was fabulous....I can't imagine a better voice for Arthur.

    I thought some of the passages about Kel's sports went on for too long and the author didn't finish a few things that she introduced. For example, at one point Kel gets into some legal trouble but I don't think the author ever lets us know the outcome. I don't need all questions to be answered for me, but some of these loose strings were significant to the story/characters and a few times I was left wondering "what happened with that?" But these are minor issues that don't take away from it being an easy, enjoyable listen.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil All the Time

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Donald Ray Pollock
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (148)

    Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrifi­cial blood he pours on his “prayer log.”

    Kathy says: "WOW What a FIND!"
    "really grabs you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story grabs you right from the start and doesn't let go. It is not for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. It is very gritty and violent and graphic. Bad language, sex, killings, beatings, etc. The writing is good. Not flowery, but it is clear and tight and it flows well. Good dialogue, too.

    I liked this book quite a bit, but I thought the plot line about Roy and Theodore (the preachers on the run) could have used more development. The ending was also maybe a little abrupt and left me feeling somewhat hollow or unsatisfied. I don't know....after such a wild ride, I thought it ended kinda quick and quiet.

    Most of the characters are horrible people with no redeeming qualities. Arvin is definitely the most likeable character....he's not violent unless he has to be. Because of the characters and because there is so much death and so many horrible things that happen, it can be a little hard to listen to at times. I agree with the other reviewer who said it can make you feel dirty or like you need to take a shower. Still, it is gripping and entertaining and mostly enjoyable - - if you can take it.

    Mark Bramhall did an outstanding job reading the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Thursday's Child

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Sonya Hartnett
    • Narrated By Melissa Eccleston
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Through the long years of the Great Depression, Harper Flute watches with a child's clear eyes her family's struggle to survive in a hot and impoverished landscape. As life on the surface grows harsher, her brother Tin escapes ever deeper into a subterranean world of darkness and troubling secrets, until his memory becomes a myth barely whispered around the countryside.

    Nina says: "Difficult to like"
    "well-written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the second book I have read by Sonya Hartnett. I read another of her books (in print form) and she can really write. Her books often get classified as children's books or young adult because of the age of the protagonists, but her writing is beautiful and definitely more literary.

    Thursday's Child is such an original story. I loved the idea of Tin living underground and becoming like a mythical creature or animal (something other than human). I wished he was in the story a little more, because he was such an intriguing character. But there were other characters I liked and the dialogue and descriptions of rural Australia were also quite good.

    Worth a listen if you like unique, well-written stories with a bit of fantasy or magical realism. The narrator has a lovely Australian accent and was a good choice for the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sisters Brothers: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Patrick deWitt
    • Narrated By John Pruden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (374)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (317)

    Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn't share his brother's appetite for whiskey and killing, he's never known anything else. But their prey isn't an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm's gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living - and whom he does it for. With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western....

    Darwin8u says: "Beautiful, Absurd & Melancholic Frontier Noir."
    "fun listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not generally a fan of Westerns, but I do like different and quirky and "The Sisters Brothers" is both. It might be a little light on plot at times, but it's still enjoyable because of the language (great dialogue!) and all the odd/funny things that happen and Eli's philosophical thoughts. I also liked the relationship between Eli and Charlie...it was pretty deep and touching. They are both likeable characters even though Charlie doesn't have as many morals as Eli.

    The biggest problem I had with the book was the two intermissions. I wasn't sure what they meant (or if they were supposed to mean anything).

    Good, unique, fun story. The reader also did a good job and was well-matched to the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bel Canto

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1701)
    Performance
    (873)
    Story
    (879)

    Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

    Brian says: "Surprisingly engrossing"
    "quite good (except for the epilogue)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked Bel Canto. The story is good and unique and it grabbed me from the beginning. The writing is so wonderful....it is beautifully written yet easy to follow and listen to. I thought the pacing was just right and the reader did a great job. There were many characters and many different accents and the reader kept them from running together and sounding the same.

    As much as I liked Bel Canto, it's not a perfect book. I thought the terrorists (especially the three generals) were too nice and permissive and this seemed a little unrealistic. Also, because there were so many characters, some of them weren't very well developed. In particular, I wanted to know more about Roxanne and her early years/background. Some of the characters were great, though. Gen (the translator) was so developed that I had a bit of a crush on him. I wasn't happy with the epilogue. There wasn't ground-work put anywhere in the story for what happens in the epilogue, so it seemed unbelievable to me and like kind of a cop-out. The epilogue also only addressed what happened to four of the characters in the story. There were a lot more characters than that and I wanted to know what happened to more of them.

    Overall, though, Bel Canto is good and enjoyable and I will probably listen to it again at some point. I like Ann Patchett's beautiful writing so much that I will seek out more of her books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lolita

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2018)
    Performance
    (1167)
    Story
    (1161)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Among the great literary achievements of the 20th century, Lolita soars in audio thanks to the incomparable Jeremy Irons, bringing to life Nabokov’s ability to shock and enthrall more than 50 years after publication. Lolita became a cause celebre because of the erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Nabokov's masterpiece owes its stature not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.

    Jim says: "An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience"
    "completely amazing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, they couldn't have found a better narrator for this book. Jeremy Irons is right up there with Jim Dale's readings of the Harry Potter books. His pacing, accents, and tone are all a perfect match for this book.

    I never read Lolita when I was in school and I was intimidated by it for a while (thinking it would be too difficult or I wouldn't understand it). I needn't have worried. The story is pretty straightforward. The langauge is a little difficult, but I suspect that Nabokov just writes in a style that is somewhat complex. I hit "rewind" fairly often and listened to some parts more than once....sometimes to make sure I grasped it but sometimes because the writing was so beautiful and I wanted to hear it again. So I would say Lolita isn't the easiest listen, but it is definitely worth the little bit of effort it takes.

    I was surprised by how funny it is in some parts (laugh out loud funny). It is also sad, beautiful, touching, and revolting. It's always a good sign when a book makes me feel a range of different emotions, and Lolita does this for sure.

    Highly recommended!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spooner

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Pete Dexter
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    Warren Spooner was born after a prolonged delivery in a makeshift delivery room in a doctor's office in Milledgeville, Georgia, on the first Saturday of December, 1956. His father died shortly afterward, long before Spooner had even a memory of his face, and was replaced eventually by a once-brilliant young naval officer, Calmer Ottosson, recently court-martialed out of service.

    Sue says: "Great narration"
    "fun and entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    3 1/2 stars. Spooner is entertaining, it held my interest, and I enjoyed it. Some parts are very funny. The author is a good writer, especially with descriptions and dialogue. There isn't much of a plot. It's more like a lot of vignettes about things that happen to Spooner and his stepfather throughout their lives. Some of these were fun to listen to, but I would have enjoyed it more if there was a more cohesive story the whole way through. There were also several characters that were introduced and developed and then we never heard from them again. I missed some of them and wondered what happened to them. But overall, Spooner is a fun and easy listen. The narrator did a very good job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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