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susan

ratings
425
REVIEWS
9
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
10

  • Looking for Me

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Beth Hoffman
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (715)
    Performance
    (634)
    Story
    (634)

    Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me.

    Debra says: "Another fascinating story from Beth Hoffman!"
    "My favorite female reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ever since listening to The Help, i have looked for other books read by Jenna Lamia, and she is equally wonderful reading Looking for Me. This story is very engaging and i liked it almost as much as Saving CeeCee Honeycut. I felt the storyline, as it relates to the brother, was a bit farfetched -- which is why i gave the story itself 4 stars. Otherwise a great read...funny, sad, very moving and well written.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ballistic: A Gray Man Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2839)
    Performance
    (2493)
    Story
    (2503)

    Ex-CIA assassin Court Gentry thought he could find refuge living in the Amazon rain forest. But his bloody past finds him when a vengeful Russian crime lord forces him to go on the run once again. Court makes his way to one of the only men in the world he can trust - and arrives too late. His friend is dead and buried. Years before, Eddie Gamboa had saved Court's life. Now, Eddie has been murdered by the notorious Mexican drug cartel he fought to take down. And Court soon finds himself drawn into a war he never wanted.

    Jean says: "Action Packed"
    "Couldn't even finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No one whom i can think of...


    Has Ballistic turned you off from other books in this genre?

    It didn't necessarily turn me off from this genre but definitely for other books by this author.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Can't imagine, unless he can become less dramatic and excitable in the performance. It was WAY over acted!!


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not that i could find.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to The Gray Man and liked it pretty much, which is why i purchased Ballistic when it went on sale. It turned out to be a major disappointment so my recommendation is to save you money or credit for something better!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Other Typist

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Suzanne Rindell
    • Narrated By Gretchen Mol
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (179)

    Rose Baker seals men’s fates. With a few strokes of the keys that sit before her, she can send a person away for life in prison. A typist in a New York City Police Department precinct, Rose is like a high priestess. Confessions are her job. It is 1923, and while she may hear every detail about shootings, knifings, and murders, as soon as she leaves the interrogation room she is once again the weaker sex, best suited for filing and making coffee. This is a new era for women, and New York is a confusing place for Rose. Gone are the Victorian standards of what is acceptable. All around her women bob their hair, they smoke, they go to speakeasies.

    Pamela says: "Intriguing, Original Story"
    "Okay story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This Other Typist provides an interesting enough background of the 1920s era (complete with prohibition, the mood of the times, and great settings) but for me the actual story was contrived and hard to believe. Plus the naivete of the protagonist was ridiculous to the extreme.

    I won't repeat what others have already written with respect to the theme and agree that, up front, the less you know about it the better. Probably my biggest complaint is with the narrator. Admittedly there are many run-on sentences within the text, but that alone isn't always a bad thing. However, the narrator lacked helpful pauses and read with so little inflection that even i felt out of breath by the time the full stop presented itself.

    In my opinion it's probably best to forego the audio version of this book and maybe read it instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Calculating God

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2133)
    Performance
    (1512)
    Story
    (1526)

    In this Hugo-nominated novel, an alien walks into a museum and asks if he can see a paleontologist. But the arachnid ET hasn't come aboard a rowboat with the Pope and Stephen Hawking (although His Holiness does request an audience later). Landing at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the spacefarer, Hollus, asks to compare notes on mass extinctions with resident dino-scientist Thomas Jericho.

    Ione says: "Interesting book, very enjoyable narration"
    "Compelling..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It took me a while to get into this book, but overall it was an interesting listen. It abounds with scientific terminology and as a non-scientist, there were times that i got a bit lost. However, and as the title suggests, there is a lot of "is-there-a-god" discussion, addressing the philosophical question about the reality of a higher power/creator rather than the theological Christian ethic--an important distinction for me, an agnostic bordering on atheism. These heady discussions mostly occur between the paleontologist at a Canadian museum and and a very likable alien and are hugely thought-provoking and well conceived. I ended up caring a lot for the characters, and though the ending was a tad contrived, the story was engaging and the narrator excellent. Recommend...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Martin Sixsmith
    • Narrated By John Curless
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (558)
    Performance
    (508)
    Story
    (506)

    Now a major motion picture directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) and starring Judi Dench (Skyfall, Notes on a Scandal) and Steve Coogan (The Trip, Hamlet 2): the heartbreaking true story of an Irishwoman and the secret she kept for 50 years. When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a "fallen woman". Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him.

    Linda says: "Misled by description"
    "So much more & totally different from expectations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book for two specific reasons: 1) it was on sale; and 2) i knew the movie got rave reviews and was nominated for various academy awards. I also knew it is a true story about an unwed mother who gave her son up for adoption and later spent many years searching for him. On the surface, the appeal was not particularly obvious to me but i purchased it on the strength of the movie (which i have not seen) and didn't even read the customer reviews beforehand. The story is in fact incredibly multi-layered and addresses several moral and social issues as it gradually unfolds.

    As noted by other reviewers, it is mostly about the life of the child, Anthony Lee/Michael Hess, and less of his birth-mother, Philomena. Born in a convent in Ireland where his mother was able to care for him, he was then adopted (along with another child, Mary) by an American couple when he was three. Throughout his life, Michael struggles to understand why his birth mother abandoned him. He believes it must be because he is a bad and unworthy person. Concurrently he strives to come to terms with his sexual orientation in a homophobic environment, both at home and at work.

    I am tempted to describe in more detail the many issues this story explores--the general attitude toward unwed mothers in the mid-20th century, how it must feel to be adopted for some people and why it might partly define who they are, the difficulties gay people encountered--and to an extent still do--in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, just to name a few--but will stop here. I feel the less one knows about the story, the more powerful the impact. The book provoked in me a whole spectrum of emotions and i thought it outstanding; plus the narrator is excellent.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • An Officer and a Spy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (359)
    Performance
    (311)
    Story
    (314)

    Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.

    Ryan says: "Top Notch Historical Fiction"
    "Good but not his best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a huge fan of Robert Harris--Fatherland and Ghost Writer among my all-time favorite books--and downloaded this book as soon as i read about it. In my opinion, this one falls a tad short of the high standards Harris has previously set. Having said that, i did learn a great deal about the history of the Dreyfus affair, which involved a series of disgraceful coverups, lies, and extensive corruption in the French military and some of the politicians of the time.

    A quick recap: Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French military, was wrongfully convicted of leaking secrets to the Germans in the mid-1890s. He was subsequently stripped of his rank and military honors and thrown into prison for life. The fact that he was Jewish clearly added to the military's rush to conviction. When protagonist and fellow officer Georges Picquart found evidence that would prove Dreyfus' innocence, he went to great lengths and enormous personal hardship (including his own imprisonment) to set the record straight.

    However it was difficult for me to feel much empathy for, nor particularly like any of the characters until probably halfway through the listen (though in truth many of the characters are just plain unlikable, including Dreyfus himself). As a result i struggled to care much about what was happening in the earlier parts and found my mind wondering off at times. It wasn't until well into the story when Picquart began to defy his superiors' orders in favor of following his own moral/ethical code of conduct that i finally became absorbed in the story. And while i never felt much love for any of the characters, the various outrageous behaviors of so many powerful people and the utter wrongness of their actions made me care enormously about how the story ended--I so totally wanted to see the wrongs made right and good prevail over evil.

    Overall it is a fascinating piece of history and i would have given the story itself three and a half stars if that were an option. It is a good listen, and i recommend it, in spite of the above caveats. Plus David Rintoul is a superb narrator!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10193)
    Performance
    (9330)
    Story
    (9349)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "An aspect totally unexpected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I greatly appreciate and depend on the reviews of other listeners for most books i select, though admittedly rarely contribute my own comments. In this case though i feel compelled to mention an aspect of The Goldfinch that is strikingly omitted in both the summary and the reviews i have read. First though, i must preface my comments by admitting that i listened to this book non-stop while driving from Alabama to Maryland and then sneaked "listens" whenever possible, despite a house full of family who gathered for the Thanksgiving holiday. So needless to say i found the story utterly engrossing and entertaining. That said, however, i was pretty turned off by the excessive drug and alcohol use that was a huge presence throughout the story. These abuses had an enormous impact on bad behavior throughout, influencing the actions and infiltrating the oft-described dreams and even hallucinations of Theo and some of his friends/acquaintances. I would have preferred it had some of these "scenes" been edited out and strongly believe the story would not have suffered by such omissions. It became a bit of an overkill for me and i found myself thinking, "Oh come on...not again!!!" In any event, overall i did enjoy the book but could not unconditionally recommend it to friends.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Anansi Boys

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Lenny Henry
    Overall
    (4193)
    Performance
    (2024)
    Story
    (2038)

    Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times best seller American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny, a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him."

    A. Hawley says: "Beautifully narrated"
    "Excellent reader!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not my usual genre...the story being a rather outrageous and farfetched fantasy while i prefer mysteries and general fiction...but it was overall very entertaining and laugh-outloud funny in places. Lenny Henry is one of the best narrators i've come across--almost on par with Humphrey Bower, who i feel sets the audio reader gold standard, and i've listened to well over 300 audiobooks. Overall a fun book and worth the credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night Soldiers

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Alan Furst
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (543)
    Performance
    (345)
    Story
    (348)

    Widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel, New York Times best-selling author Alan Furst takes listeners back to the early days of World War II for a dramatic novel of intrigue and suspense.

    Theresa says: "Chilling..Fantastic"
    "couldn't even finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of the more boring books i've listened to yet (member since 2007, ~350 books)! Came across more like diary entries than anything else: First this happened, then this, etc. Not at all compelling and never kept my interest up for a second. As a result, i didn't even finish listening to this book, an action i have taken maybe 4 or 5 times in the past. Also, and advanced apologies to all you George Guidall fans, the reader in no way enhanced the experience. Though GG is not one of my personal favorite readers, i do listen to a book he reads if the story sounds intriguing/interesting. My recommendation is to skip this book altogether...

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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