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Shelly

Gainesville, FL, USA | Member Since 2005

135
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 171 ratings
  • 424 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Julia Quinn
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (212)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (124)

    Miranda Cheever has been blessed with many things, but great beauty is not among them. Still, when she meets Viscount Tuner, she knows she is meant for him. As the years go by, fate is as kind to Miranda as it is harsh on the Viscount. He's skeptical about love with good reason - but he may be falling for Miranda

    Teresa says: "Light and fun romance."
    "downhill fast"
    Overall

    In the initial chapters, this book seemed to have potential. The characters had some depth, the story did not seem predictable, and the imagery did not seem contrived or hackneyed. My first impressions did not last. Quickly, the characters became paper dolls, and the plot and language seemed generated by a computer program. On the positive side, the excellent narrator makes the most of a limp tale. If you are looking for a formulaic romance that provides basic entertainment with no intellectual demands, you could do worse. If you're hoping for emotional depth or insight, look elsewhere.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Mansfield Park (Naxos Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (211)

    At the tender age of 10, Fanny Price is 'adopted' by her rich relations and is removed from the poverty of her home in Portsmouth to the opulence of Mansfield Park. The transplantation is not a happy one. Dependent, helpless, neglected and forgotten, Fanny struggles to come to terms with her new life until, tested almost to the limits of endurance, she assumes her rightful role....

    Neil Chisholm says: "Oh such felicity, such gaiety, such rapture!"
    "Fanny Price, ugh!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Juliet Stevenson's narration is superb in all the audiobooks I've listened to, but even her skill cannot lift Mansfield Park to the heights of Pride and Prejudice. Fanny Price is a drip! Edmund is a doofus! The story is a treadmill of reiteration! But if you feel compelled to read Mansfield Park anyway, this edition is the best I've heard. For those not familiar with Jane Austen's works I recommend Northanger Abbey. It's goofy on purpose.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Language of Bees: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (620)
    Performance
    (310)
    Story
    (307)

    New York Times best-selling author Laurie R. King has won or been nominated for every major award in mystery writing. King's beloved sleuth Mary Russell here attempts to reverse her legendary husband, Sherlock Holmes', greatest failure.

    mike says: "To all Holmes buff's,"
    "not to my taste"
    Overall

    I've read all the previous Mary Russell novels, but I just couldn't induce myself to finish this one; ennui was overpowering. To my mind, the quality of both the writing and the plotting has deteriorated with each new book. Please... not another crazy religion. No more endless boring discourse on Hebraic minutiae. Annoyingly, Mycroft Holmes is all over the place in this one, not as a genuine character but basically as a shortcut for the author to provide things for Sherlock and Mary. By making things oh so easy for them, drama is garrotted. The narrator does a creditable job on the English characters, but tortures French accents to death. Maybe the ending made the beginning worthwhile, but I didn't stick around to find out.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Evil Genius

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By John Bolen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    Wilkie Collins' most financially successful novel, The Evil Genius, opens with a jury determining the fate of a sea captain whose ship allegedly facilitated a diamond theft. The story develops into a powerful novel of Victorian private life, including deception, adultery, and divorce...

    Margaret says: "Story is fine, but not a mystery."
    "Ruined by inept narration"
    Overall

    Lest any reader be deceived by the title of this book, the "evil genius" refers to a general evil spirit or bad influence among the characters, rather than one malevolent person. This is a fairly well-written Victorian melodrama. Interest in the storyline is impeded by narration which is so ridiculously inept, so comically bad, as to induce amazed laughter. Personally, if it were my job to choose a narrator for a novel set in Victorian England and Scotland, I would not choose an American reader with a speech impediment. The Scottish characters sound like an amalgamation of a Swedish Chef, Charlie Chan and the Lucky Charms Leprecaun. The female characters are voiced in breathy falsetto. Every word ending in "ing" is mispronounced. "Singing while walking in the evening" sounds like "Singeen while walkeen in the eveneen." Amazingly, the story was interesting enough for me to accept and overlook these annoyances.
    Far better novels available from Audible with similar themes and plotlines comprise The Forsyte Saga, by (Nobel Prize winner) John Galsworthy. The narration of these novels is far better as well.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Graveyard Book

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6019)
    Performance
    (2822)
    Story
    (2838)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Gaiman’s not just an award-winning author, but a narrator who earns rave reviews – and fields requests from other authors to perform their books, too! Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead....

    Guillermo says: "Masterful Fantasy for the Jaded Heart"
    "Imaginative & Entertaining"
    Overall

    Neil Gaiman narrates his novel beautifully. I loved the atmosphere he created: a slightly creepy but strangely comfortable vibe. I would like to go live in Bod's graveyard! I would love Silas to be my Guardian! The story and characters are memorable and vivid. I know I'll read this book again and again.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Romeo and Juliet

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Michael Sheen, Kate Beckinsale, full cast
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (37)

    Here is the full-cast production of Shakespeare's classic love story, fully dramatized from the complete text, and starring Michael Sheen as Romeo and Kate Beckinsale as Juliet.

    Shelly says: "Sound Quality is the only drawback"
    "Sound Quality is the only drawback"
    Overall

    The sound quality of this production made me imagine someone propping a microphone in front of a television showing Romeo & Juliet being performed. It's tinny-sounding, and there are background sounds of birds, wind, feet scuffling, etc, which dilute and diminish the voices to a small degree. It's not unbearable, just a bit distracting.
    On the positive side, the actors are very good. Listening to this play was different from reading it on paper, or seeing it performed live... I caught different strands of relationship between the characters. The Nurse, played by Fiona Shaw, was especially brilliant.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Sword in the Stone

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (270)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (107)

    This is one of the most popular re-tellings of the story of King Arthur. Like The Lord of the Rings, this fantasy novel has been equally popular among younger readers and adults. White takes an inventive approach that involves animals who speak and Robin Hood! A true Arthurian classic.

    Shelly says: "I've been waiting for this..."
    "I've been waiting for this..."
    Overall

    I've been waiting endlessly for this cherished childhood favorite to be released as an audiobook. This edition is the first section of T.H. White's epic "The Once and Future King." This part encompasses King Arthur's early years growing up under Merlin's tutelage at Sir Ector's castle. This book is more lighthearted and joyous than the sections that follow in "The Once & Future King," which are available on Audible as "The Witch in the Wood" and "The Ill-Made Knight." Although this book and the others are meant to go together as an epic work, "The Sword in the Stone" can easily stand alone as an enjoyable novel in its own right.

    If I tried to tell you how superbly T.H White writes, you probably wouldn't believe me. The narrator does a smashing job of bringing the dialogue to life. I know I'll be listening to this book again and again over the years.

    Sadly, at the time I'm writing this, the final section of "The Once & Future King," which covers the last years of King Arthur, is not yet released in audio format. Hopefully this will be soon be remedied!

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • 'The Witch in the Wood' & 'The Ill-Made Knight'

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (40)

    These two stories are the second and third parts of T. H. White's classic and individual fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. Arthur has become king, Guinevere and Launcelot (The Ill-Made Knight) fall in love, and the kingdom is threatened from the north.

    Shelly says: "I've been waiting for this..."
    "I've been waiting for this..."
    Overall

    I've been waiting endlessly for this cherished childhood favorite to be released as an audiobook. This edition is the second and third sections of T.H. White's epic "The Once and Future King." In order to appreciate this audio version, you really should read "The Sword in the Stone" first. It all flows together beautifully.

    If I tried to tell you how superbly T.H White writes, you probably wouldn't believe me. The narrator does a smashing job of bringing the dialogue to life. I know I'll be listening to this book and "The Sword in the Stone" again and again over the years.

    Sadly, at the time I'm writing this, the final section of "The Once & Future King," which covers the last years of King Arthur, is not yet released in audio format. Hopefully this will be soon be remedied!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Gramercy Park

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Paula Cohen
    • Narrated By Alyssa Bresnahan
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Mario Alfieri, the world's most famous tenor, is preparing to make his debut at the Met. As he rents a house facing Gramercy Park, he discovers a pale young woman hiding in its music room. Her love and secrets soon mesmerize the great man. Set in turn-of-the-century New York, this is a tale of passion, intrigue, and murder.

    I. says: "A romance, not a mystery"
    "disturbing"
    Overall

    The narrator does a creditable job, but the pace of the story seems overwrought and slow. At one point a the narrator says of a character something like "He had never felt so tired in his life." To which I mentally replied "Me too, buddy." But it was just interesting enough for me to keep listening.

    Eventually there came some scenes of pedophilia and death that were disturbing and repulsive. You might ask "is it possible to have scenes of pedophilia and death that *aren't* disturbing and repulsive?" And you're right - these subjects are horrible. It doesn't mean that they can't be valid subjects to arise in fiction. But in my own personal opinion, the situations brought forth in this book were too much for me to find any redeeming value in continuing to read it. Just my opinion, and maybe I'm more sensitive than most people. I just thought I would provide my thoughts as a caution to others.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mansfield Park

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Maureen O'Brien
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (173)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (41)

    Mansfield Park, the idyllic Bertram family estate, becomes home to a poor young relative, Fanny. In this wealthy world of social accomplishments and flirtations, the sensible Fanny finds herself out of place, yet secretly in love with her cousin, Edmund. Jane Austen employs her unerring wit to brilliantly capture the social and moral values of an English society at a time of great upheaval.

    Hadley B Cabral says: "Narrator misses story's subtle tones"
    "Lengthy, but interesting"
    Overall

    The narrator does a creditable job differentiating the various characters and bringing them to life for the listener. The pace of this novel is sometimes a bit slow - I knew where the story was going and wanted to yell at the characters to get a move on! There were moments when I thought I would give up listening... but I couldn't. Jane Austen really is a master of characterization; I cared about the characters and wanted the good guys to gain happiness and the bad guys to get what's coming to them. This is my least favorite of Jane Austen's novels... but still well worth reading!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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