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cristina

Somerville, MA, United States | Member Since 2014

1149
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 172 reviews
  • 193 ratings
  • 1087 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
72
FOLLOWERS
259

  • Sharp Objects

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Ann Marie Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4125)
    Performance
    (3344)
    Story
    (3367)

    Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker's troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, Camille's first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

    Kelley says: "I agree with Stephen King"
    "Excellent!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As was the case with other reviewers, I listened to "Gone Girl" first. Given how dark that novel was -- and based on some of the other reviews -- I was almost hesitant to read this one... afraid it might be way too depressing. I am glad I listened! Of course, the story IS dark. The darkest. But Gillian Flynn (I almost wrote "Ms. Flynn" and shuddered, thinking of what she might make of the affectation!) has the power to make all of her very dark characters come alive. Whether or not you grew up in a town as inbred and putrid as the one she describes, you will feel that these people are people you KNOW....and how can you think that a story about people you KNOW is too depressing? You know them, after all!

    So, why four stars and not five? I guess some of the "coincidences" (the fact that Camille happened to be sent to cover the story) were a bit too hard to believe. Still, perhaps I am now demanding 'perfection' out of the author simply because her obvious control of the scenes and the people are so masterful...It's like giving the A+ student a B+ simply because you know she could have done better if she had tried a little harder (even though you would have given a lesser candidate an A+ for effort...and I guess I am attempting to make up for what might be perceived as less-than-full enthusiasm by the "Excellent," with an exclamation point in the 'headline' for my review.

    I think there's third Gillian Flynn out there. I will definitely download it...and flinch at what the author unleashes.

    I just HOPE that her books are not too closely related to her real life!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    Overall
    (1206)
    Performance
    (1017)
    Story
    (1021)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    Paula says: "Mind Boggling Thrilling Mystery! Don't Miss It!"
    "Don't count on getting anything else done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have to admit I could not stop listening. Rushing by real life just to get back to this. Great writing (yes, there are some actions that stretch credibility, but it didn't really affect my enjoyment). Rachel is one of the best unreliable narrators I have encountered. She is giving you the wrong account of what happened but only because that's the account that she believes at the time...and because she can't quite remember. The 'truth' is that everything here is not as it seems: the way the characters remember the past is unreliable, the way the characters perceive the present is unreliable, and--most importantly--the way the characters see each other is not to be trusted.

    The three narrators (Rachel is one of three female first persons telling the story) are excellent readers. Their voices pitch perfect.

    I can't wait for this author's next book. What will she think of next?

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pursuit: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (113)

    Thirteen bodies are found in a Louisville restaurant. When the police can find no suspect or motive, the family of one of the victims seeks the services of the enigmatic and solitary specialist Roy Prescott, known for his ability to find people who don't want to be found.

    Maxine says: "Great book"
    "Couldn't get into this one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It starts out great. You expect to see two cunning, ruthless masterminds pitched against each other. Except it goes nowhere. One step forward (the current plot line from the murderer's point of view), two steps back (a story from his past that is supposedly going to help us understand him). One step forward (the current plot line from the hunter's perspective), two steps back (a story from his past that is supposedly going to help us understand him). One step forward again, two steps back again; one step forward again, two steps back again...It would have been fine if the current plot line got farther faster...or if the backflashes actually felt meaningful, but after the first one all of them start sounding the same...and the whole thing becomes extremely tedious. I tried, but could not finish this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Troop

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Nick Cutter
    • Narrated By Corey Brill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (501)
    Performance
    (474)
    Story
    (474)

    Once every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip - a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfre. The boys are a tight-knit crew. There’s Kent, one of the most popular kids in school; Ephraim and Max, also well-liked and easygoing; then there’s Newt the nerd and Shelley the odd duck. For the most part, they all get along and are happy to be there - which makes Scoutmaster Tim’s job a little easier.

    Charles says: "Engrossing"
    "Stephen King does Lord of The Flies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was expecting a long set-up where we get to know the characters, so was surprised when the troop comes in contact with the stranger almost immediately. I thought, "now what? how will he keep this going?" But Mr. Cutter keeps your interest because the character development happens AS the different personalities deal with what is happening to them. Excellent writing. Great narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Warm Bodies: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Isaac Marion
    • Narrated By Kevin Kenerly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1057)
    Performance
    (984)
    Story
    (981)

    R is a young man with an existential crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. His ability to connect with the outside world is limited to a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend, Julie.

    Charles says: "Surprising"
    "Surprisingly enjoyable after having seen the movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the movie (very cute, heartwarming), so I did not expect to enjoy the book (the surprise element being gone). I was wrong. Even though the two are nearly identical, the novel was still a fun listen. The narrator is excellent. The story is still endearing the second time around.

    0 of 0 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
    (187)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (165)

    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!"
    "Horrible things told beautifully"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The other reviews already mention the bizarre cast of characters. The darkest of the dark. We follow them along their twisted and on-and-off converging paths. Horrified, mesmerized...and, one has to admit, very much entertained at the hands of an expert storyteller and an excellent narrator. Bravo!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • You

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Caroline Kepnes
    • Narrated By Santino Fontana
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (138)

    Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: she's gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and sexy beyond his wildest dreams. Joe needs to have her, and he'll stop at nothing to do so. As he begins to insinuate himself into her life - her friendships, her email, her phone - she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom-made for her. So when her boyfriend, Benji, mysteriously disappears, Beck and Joe fall into a tumultuous affair. But there's more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade.

    cristina says: "Loved it"
    "Loved it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The "stalker" theme seems to be all around us lately and is, quite frankly, not my favorite. Would probably not have even considered this had it not been for a post on Facebook by a friend whose tastes on books I usually share (the fact that this is how I came upon this book is actually ironic). So glad I followed her advice! And so glad I listened to "You" rather than read it on paper. Mr. Fontana is PERFECT as the first person narrator--the stalker who becomes increasingly obsessed with his prey. And Ms. Kepnes keeps your interest throughout, with the lies and deceptions becoming more and more involved, preposterous...and believable. It will make you want to reset all your social media privacy settings. It will make you cringe. And it will make you laugh! Yes, there's a lot of humor here. (Considering the theme, it is actually a pretty light--if riveting--read). Well done! I can't wait for her next one.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Bird's-Eye View

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By J. F. Freedman
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    The novels of New York Times best-selling author J.F. Freedman combine gritty realism with gripping suspense. Bird’s-Eye View is a vivid thriller that will keep listeners enthralled from start to finish. Ex-collegiate professor turned loner, Fritz Tullis dropped out of academia for all the right reasons. He now spends his time thinking, drinking, fishing and photographing birds from a sweltering, screen-windowed shack at the edge of a swamp in southern Maryland.

    Charles Atkinson says: "A Riveting Tale Read Masterfully"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book started out great, with what seemed like an original premise...then it derailed. Read only if you don't mind that police officers and government officials are portrayed as absolute imbeciles (there is no other explanation for how the main character is allowed to continue on his merry way, investigating a situation on his own with disastrous consequences for all). The main character is an imbecile too--so many of his actions are simply preposterous (two of the female characters mention his "boyish" nature...and he does indeed behave like a fifteen-year-old several times...perhaps his actions might have seemed more believable if he was indeed a teenager). The dialogue between him and the women of his life is painfully stilted and hard to listen to. The female characters are mostly stereotypes (the author uses the word "vulnerable" as a compliment when describing two of the female characters, need I say more?) Towards the end I was tempted to stop listening several times.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Killer Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Alex Marwood
    • Narrated By Imogen Church
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (62)

    Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn't, they wouldn't be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash - no credit check, no lease. It's the kind of place you end up when you you've run out of other options.The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don't know is that one of them is a killer. He's already chosen his next victim, and he'll do anything to protect his secret.

    cristina says: "Excellent"
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alex Marwood might just be my new favorite author. I liked "Wicked Girls." "The Killer Next Door" is even better. A brilliant portrayal of urban life--with all its forgotten, discarded lives--coupled with a serial murderer that, as the title states, lives next door to the novel's 'inhabitants.' Brilliantly plotted. Brilliant character development. Brilliant narrator. I was riveted...and so incredibly disappointed when it came to an end. Highly recommend.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of Eternity: The Century Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2436)
    Performance
    (2177)
    Story
    (2182)

    Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

    Elisa says: "Some good, some bad"
    "Write By Numbers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    SO incredibly disappointing. At first I was OK with listening to the ridiculously trivialized view of history, but then it got simply BORING. To be honest, I have a mere 45 minutes left to listen to and I had to go off and read a 'real' book. ZERO character development: The thing that made Follett's previous pseudo-historical pieces fun was that the characters seemed to come to life. NONE of that here. The characters are cartoon stereotypes who are obviously 'acting' with the benefit of historical hindsight. ZERO subtlety, Mr. Follett. Did you have interns write this or did you simply phone it it? (And ZERO plot: A fast-forward through the last century's main events with the characters--every single one of them--having inane discussions or thoughts about the other characters' butts or nipples or the possibility of sleeping with them...even as cataclysmic events are supposedly taking place.) #ACartoon

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • 600 Hours of Edward

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Craig Lancaster
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1146)
    Performance
    (1052)
    Story
    (1054)

    A 39-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10:00 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10:00 p.m.). But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone....

    Lulu says: "A Very Good Book with a Very Difficult Hero"
    "A sheer delight"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was such an unexpected treat. Touching. Funny. Real. And ultimately uplifting.

    The narration is also perfect. In fact, I went in search of more books read by this author and found, to my extreme surprise, that there was a sequel. Of course I downloaded it, knowing that it could never match "600 Hours," but I was simply glad not to have to let go of Edward just yet.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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