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A. Kiss

ratings
33
REVIEWS
20
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
17

  • The Ballad of Peckham Rye

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Muriel Spark
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    When the firm of Meadows, Meade & Grindley hires Dougal Douglas (a.k.a. Douglas Dougal) to do "human research" into the private lives of its workforce, they are in no way prepared for the mayhem, mutiny, and murder he will stir up. In fact, this Music Man of the thoroughly modern corporation changes the lives of all the eccentric characters he meets, from Miss Merle Coverdale, head of the typing pool, to V.R. Druce, unsuspecting Managing Director.

    A. Kiss says: "Disappointing"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall

    I've really liked some other books by Muriel Spark (Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; Loitering With Intent; Memento Mori) but this one is quite different and I stopped listening after about the first hour. Very unpleasant characters that I didn't want to spend time on. Maybe the book was going somewhere but I couldn't really tell and couldn't be bothered to find out. The narration was good but perhaps a bit heavy on the accents, almost sounded like caricatures.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Almost French

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Sarah Turnbull
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (30)

    After backpacking her way around Europe journalist Sarah Turnbull is ready to embark on one last adventure before heading home to Sydney. A chance meeting with a charming Frenchman in Bucharest changes her travel plans forever. Acting on impulse, she agrees to visit Fredric in Paris for a week. Put a very French Frenchman together with a strong-willed Australian girl and the result is some spectacular - and often hilarious - cultural clashes.

    Jan says: "Just okay"
    "Sort of interesting, not all that funny"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    One of numerous "foreigner as fish out of water in Paris" books I've read. Fairly interesting but not riveting, and nowhere near as funny as David Sedaris' "I Talk Pretty One Day."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Forever Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (46)

    Amanda and her husband, David, feel fortunate to be raising their son and daughter in the close-knit community of ex-pats on Grand Cayman Island, an idyllic place for children to grow up. Their firstborn, Sally, has always listened to her heart, deciding at age four that she would rather be called Clover and then, a few years later, falling in love with her best friend, James. But the comforting embrace of island life can become claustrophobic for adults, especially when they are faced with difficult situations.

    Rio Delta Wild says: "Comic relief? Too much tension."
    "Boring, don't bother (sorry, AMcCS)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Alexander McCall Smith and/or Susan Lyons?

    I'm a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith, love all his Botswana and Scotland series. I would certainly read the next book in any of those series, but not sure I would chance another "free-standing" book


    Have you listened to any of Susan Lyons’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I like her reading overall, but she doesn't make any distinction at all for the voices various characters (male and female) except for the occasional American accent. Everyone else sounds exactly the same.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom


    Any additional comments?

    Nothing of any interest happens in this book. It's just endless rounds of frustrated love among characters who are not sufficiently interesting to care much about. Page after tedious page of a teenage girl moaning over the fact that the boy she loves doesn't love her, or she thinks he doesn't but she can't bring herself to ask... I guess we're supposed to appreciate how the daughter's love live (or lack thereof) mirrors her mother's, but all it says to me is that they share the same annoying character flaws. Mr. McCall Smith's books are always rather slow paced, of course, but I usually don't mind as the characters are richer and there is an actual plot line, such as a mystery or unexpected developments. I'm finishing this book just because I almost always finish books that I start - not because I could care less about whether Clover eventually winds up with James or not...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Valley of Amazement

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Amy Tan
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu, Joyce Bean, Amy Tan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1201)
    Performance
    (1060)
    Story
    (1078)

    Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West - until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

    Pamela J says: "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    "OK but not Tan's best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Amy Tan and/or the narrators?

    I've liked her previous books a lot; this one was OK but not her best


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The end was reasonably satisfying, but mostly I was more than ready for it to come already


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Most of the narration was good and easy to listen to, but a few of the women's voices were irritatingly high pitched and babyish. I'm sure they were meant to be that way, based on those characters, but I didn't enjoy hearing them.


    Could you see The Valley of Amazement being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I'm sure it will be made into a movie some time


    Any additional comments?

    The depiction of the Courtesan House culture in Shanghai in the early 1900's was interesting, but there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary repetition. Some of the description of sexual encounters and seduction are fairly graphic, maybe unnecessarily so. I did get a bit tired of the main character (Violet's) whining about not feeling sufficiently loved. The secondary characters seemed a bit shallow, more like plot devices than people in some cases.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken: Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Tarquin Hall
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (198)

    When the elderly father of a top Pakistani cricketer playing in the multi-million-dollar Indian Premier League dies during a post-match dinner, it’s not a simple case of Delhi Belly. His butter chicken has been poisoned. To solve the case, Puri must penetrate the region’s organized crime, following a trail that leads deep into Pakistan - the country in which many members of the P.I.’s family were massacred during the 1947 partition of India. The last piece of the puzzle, however, turns up closer to home when Puri learns of the one person who can identify the killer. Unfortunately it is the one woman in the world with whom he has sworn never to work: his Mummy-ji.

    Maine Colonial says: "Delightful Delhi detective (see recipe too)"
    "Best Vish Puri case yet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken again? Why?

    I rarely listen to books more than once, so this question is irrelevant to my review


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story is well crafted, the characters are well drawn and entertaining, and the history relating to the partition of India and Pakistan is very well presented and fascinating and elevates the book from a light hearted romp to a memorable read.


    What about Sam Dastor’s performance did you like?

    He strikes the right level of enthusiasm and performance without going over the top, except maybe for some of the female characters whose high-pitched, nasal voices get a bit annoying


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I did find it difficult to put down


    Any additional comments?

    A refreshingly different detective series, perhaps just a bit derivative of The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency series, but different enough to stand on its own. Does for moderm India what TNOLDA does for Botswana, but has a much bigger canvas to paint on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Garth Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Evan Welch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5928)
    Performance
    (3841)
    Story
    (3855)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you’ve ever loved a dog - or even patted a dog - this book, told from the perspective of man’s best friend, will tug at your heartstrings...and won’t let go until long after Welch performs the last word. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively and by listening very closely to the words of his master.

    FanB14 says: "Artful Surprise"
    "Not a dog story, but a good read"
    Overall

    If you're looking for a story about a dog, this isn't it. The author just decided to put the very human (sentient, rational, philosophical) narrator's voice into the head of a dog, whose thoughts we hear so that his eyes (and ears and nose) become our window onto the events. The only really doglike aspect of this character is his unquestioning devotion to his human family.

    That said, the "dog's" point of view is interesting and charming so the device works, and the story is complex and engaging. My brother, who is a fan of car racing and an occasional amateur race driver, really liked the car racing element and felt it was authentic and really captured the thrill. I'm not a racing fan but enjoyed getting a glimpse into that world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Christine Montross
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    Christine Montross was a nervous first-year medical student, standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class, preparing herself for what was to come. Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags is shocking, no matter how long you've prepared yourself, but a strange thing happened when Montross met her cadaver.

    A. Kiss says: "Astonishingly good -- who'd have thought it?"
    "Astonishingly good -- who'd have thought it?"
    Overall

    When one of my book club members chose this for our next read most of us were pretty skeptical -- reading about someone dissecting a cadaver?? But the book grabs you and holds on to you from first page to last... a wonderful mix of story telling, philosophy, history, science and even humor.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Spies of the Balkans

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Alan Furst
    • Narrated By Daniel Gerroll
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (109)

    Greece, 1940. Not sunny vacation Greece: northern Greece, Macedonian Greece, Balkan Greece, the city of Salonika. In that ancient port, with its wharves and warehouses, dark lanes and Turkish mansions, brothels and tavernas, a tense political drama is being played out. On the northern border, the Greek army has blocked Mussolini's invasion, pushing his divisions back to Albania, the first defeat suffered by the Nazis, who have conquered most of Europe.

    writerly says: "historical insights, not much suspense/tension"
    "Intriguing story with captivating characters"
    Overall

    A good story about some good people in a very bad time. Not much has been written about this particular theater of the war, so this book is a good contribution.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Year That Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Michael Meyer
    • Narrated By Ed Sala
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (118)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! President Ronald Reagan's famous exhortation when visiting Berlin in 1987 has long been widely cited as the clarion call that brought the Cold War to an end. The United States won, so this version of history goes, because Ronald Reagan stood firm against the USSR; American resoluteness brought the evil empire to its knees. Michael Meyer, who was there at the time as a Newsweek bureau chief, begs to differ.

    Susan says: "Great book about a great year for democracy."
    "A good insider's view of some amazing history"
    Overall

    Anyone interested in Eastern European history or the end of the cold war will enjoy this inside view of the amazing events and courageous acts which led to the tumbling of first the iron curtain and then the Berlin wall. Who would have thought some obscure Hungarians were behind it all?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lacuna

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (836)
    Performance
    (324)
    Story
    (320)

    Born in the United States, but reared in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers and, one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed muralist Diego Rivera. When he goes to work for Rivera, his wife, exotic artist Kahlo, and exiled leader Lev Trotsky, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution.

    Tricia Stevens says: "Great story!"
    "Slow start, annoying reader, disappointing"
    Overall

    I'm a big Barbara Kingsolver fan so really was looking forward to her latest. Unfortunately I haven't been finding it very captivating, and the reader is so annoying I just couldn't stand it and gave up after about an hour of listening. The reader speaks in a sing-song voice, over-emphasizing words and over-enunciating consonants... basically, it sounds like she's reading a picture book aloud to a group of not overly-bright kindergarteners. She also has a slight lisp which is a bit irritating but I would have overlooked that if that were the only problem. Because of my faith in Kingsolver I might try reading the book instead of listening to it, but I have to say it's a pretty slow start and I'm not impressed so far...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Anthologist: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Nicholson Baker
    • Narrated By Nicholson Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    The Anthologist follows Paul Chowder - a once-in-a-while-published kind of poet who is writing the introduction to a new anthology of poetry. He's having a hard time getting started because his career is floundering; his girlfriend, Roz, has recently left him; and he is thinking about the great poets throughout history who have suffered far worse and deserve to feel sorry for themselves.

    Orson says: "Ramblings of a narcissist"
    "Deleted it after about 10 minutes"
    Overall

    Unfortunately, the reading was so slow and tedious I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes. Maybe it's a good book, but I won't know unless I pick it up in paper form.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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