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Jesse

Kansas City | Member Since 2012

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 82 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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  • The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Eva Stachniak
    • Narrated By Beata Pozniak
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (129)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (108)

    Her name is Barbara - in Russian, Varvara. Nimble-witted and attentive, she’s allowed into the employ of the Empress Elizabeth, amid the glitter and cruelty of the world’s most eminent court. Under the tutelage of Count Bestuzhev, Chancellor and spymaster, Varvara will be educated in skills from lock picking to lovemaking, learning above all else to listen, and wait for opportunity. That opportunity arrives in a slender young princess from Zerbst named Sophie, a playful teenager destined to become the indomitable Catherine the Great.

    Cookie says: "Not a bodice ripper!"
    "Long-winded, boring story, awkward narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this because my book club was reading it. We all agreed that we thought it was mediocre at best. The plot got lost and there were so many characters, whose names changed frequently because of the Russian culture's way of handling names, and the author's writing style wasn't strong enough to keep it interesting. The ending just ends, like the author just suddenly stopped writing.

    The narrator has an awkward way of reading that makes it really, really boring to listen to. She places emphasis on odd places on the sentence, and her accent detracts from the story rather than enhances it. It feels like when I was in high school and we'd go around the room reading, and that one kid who couldn't read very well would have his turn. It was just painfully stilted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Monstrous Beauty

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Elizabeth Fama
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost 140 years later, 17-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect...or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The

    Jesse says: "Implausible, with flat characters"
    "Implausible, with flat characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book tries to tell two stories - one in the past, and one in the future. The story in the past is the only one worth reading, and it's so frenzied and complicated that it can be a bit confusing. The story in the future is driven by a protagonist with no personality. Her character is comprised of two things - not wanting to fall in love (for a really, really dumb reason - she doesn't want kids - because she's never heard of getting her tubes tied) and being obsessed with history. Both things serve only one purpose: for her to research the story from the past. She exists only as a medium through which we can understand the past storyline. Nothing about her makes her interesting as a character on her own. She has a brother who pops up twice in the book, and both times their dialogues are pointless and flat. She tries to conjure up familial feelings between them but it doesn't work.

    The woman who reads the book is too old to read this book (I feel). She does the mermaids' voices very well, but when she narrates a teenage girl, it sounds like an older aunt or grandma reading you a bedtime story badly. This doesn't help to make her sound like a realistic character.

    It was an interesting-ish take on mermaid lore, and entertaining enough if you can get the book for free from a library. But I dislike that I paid for it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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