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cristina

Somerville, MA, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
178
REVIEWS
158
FOLLOWING
68
FOLLOWERS
227
HELPFUL VOTES
945

  • Crime of Privilege: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Walter Walker
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    A murder on Cape Cod. A rape in Palm Beach. All they have in common is the presence of one of America’s most beloved and influential families. But nobody is asking questions. Not the police. Not the prosecutors. And certainly not George Becket, a young lawyer toiling away in the basement of the Cape & Islands district attorney’s office....

    cristina says: "The rich get away with murder"
    "The rich get away with murder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You've seen this plot a million times. In fact, you've seen stories based on the family the novel obviously alludes to a million times. The "Gregorys" are a rich, politically connected Massachusetts family that does whatever it wants. A lot of good in the bigger sense...but a lot of amoral actions on a private level. The novel starts with one such instance -- the rape of a young woman by two of the family's sons. George Becket, a casual friend of the sons (and the novel's protagonist) witnesses the crime but keeps his mouth shut even after the girl's family "messenger" (the girl is rich by her own rights) asks him (in no uncertain terms) to serve as a witness.

    Cut to twelve years later. George is now working at the D.A.'s office. He is plagued by guilt over his earlier inaction so when the father of a murdered girl proclaims that the Gregorys were to blame and asks him to investigate, he accepts. His search threatens both George and his career. What's more, as he delves into the Gregory's past, George discovers that his earlier failure to act affected his own life in ways he could not have imagined.

    So it's not particularly original, you say, why the four stars? Well, it's actually pretty well written (for a rich-family-gets-away-with-murder story). It got me from the get-go and I could not wait to see what would happen next. Perhaps the fact that our "hero" is (by his own admission) a rather weak and flawed character makes the story stronger somehow.

    A word of caution: the narrator, in my opinion, is simply awful. He reads every single sentence with such exaggerated drama that it makes the writing seem ridiculous (there were times when I had to "imagine" I was reading the words on a page so as to get the tone I was sure the author intended). Listen to the sample before you buy to see whether you think you might be able to get past him,

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (465)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (428)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    Marci says: "Great story. Genius writing"
    "Yet another excellent depiction of human nature"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had just finished reading "The Last Anniversary" and at first thought "Big Little Lies" gave away too much, too early...Duped, of course, by Ms. Moriarty. There are twists and turns and surprises all the way along. At the bottom, of course, are the author's incredible character depictions. Her knowledge of the best and worst human nature has to offer. These people are REAL. You have met them (or perhaps you ARE them). And she will make you laugh and cry at the smallness (and largeness) of day-to-day life. Towards the end, you are glued to the story--told expertly, by the way, from many points of view in a way that is particularly suited for an audiobook in the hands (voice?) of Caroline Lee.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dear Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By Elizabeth Little
    • Narrated By Bonnie Dennison
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    Former "It Girl" Janie Jenkins is acerbic, whip smart, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at the height of her glamour and fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a philanthropist best known for her string of rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie chops off her trademark hair, determined to chase down the one lead she has about her mother's killer. The only problem? Janie doesn't know if she's the one she's looking for.

    cristina says: "Too many witticisms, too little substance"
    "Too many witticisms, too little substance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was looking forward to this novel because of the great reviews it seemed to be getting everywhere. Someone (I think in People magazine) compared it to "Gone Girl" (clearly, someone who had not read Gone Girl).

    There is very, very little here except one witty, cutting remark after another from the protagonist. And it gets old very, very quickly--particularly because there is absolutely nothing to back it up: no character development (the main character herself is totally unbelievable and it only gets worse with the slew of secondary people...most never progress past the stereotype); no verisimilitude (The plot is based on this girl's quest for her mother's killer. She's released from prison after serving 10 years for the murder...and immediately follows the most implausible of leads EVER -- and I mean EVER -- and, of course, because this book is awful, the lead pans off); no resolution (you keep waiting for some twist to happen...but, no...it's just one runaway train of a plot); no talent (sorry, Ms. Little).

    Perhaps if I had not been expecting so much (or if I was a 16-year-old looking for a very light 'mystery' to read on the beach), I would have given it three stars. As it was, I had to force myself to finish it.

    The narrator compounds the issue. I found her voice grating and her never-changing inflection (perhaps unavoidable because she had nothing to work on) makes the lines seem even triter than they are.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Anniversary

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (63)

    Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an unconventional family, where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger. And dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it's about time she started making her own decisions.

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

    I wondered about this book because it was written in 2005 and not turned into an audiobook until 2014 (timed with the release of the author's new novel). Thought perhaps audiobooks had ignored it because it was not a very good example of the author's work...and almost ignored it myself. So glad I did not! Like in every Moriarty novel, the story is populated with everyday people who have to deal with highly unusual circumstances (two sisters find an abandoned baby and raise it as their own; an old lady leaves her island house to her grandson's ex-girlfriend...). Moriarty uses her unbelievable knowledge of human nature to make all the characters come to life with wit and compassion--and you feel like you know each and every one. The ending of all her novels are always a little sad simply because you have to say good-bye to the 'people' in them.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Executive Privilege

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Phillip Margolin
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (646)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (280)

    When private detective Dana Cutler is hired by an attorney with powerful political connections, the assignment seems simple enough: follow a pretty college student named Charlotte Walsh and report on where she goes and whom she sees. But then the unexpected happens.

    Lu says: "Entertaining"
    "Entertaining enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator does not do the story any favors. His voice is too monotonous, his pauses too long.

    The story itself is not great. A tad too unbelievable. A tad too predictable. A tad too "convenient" in terms of events happening right when they had to.

    AND YET, I give it four stars. It kept me entertained to the end. Sometimes, that's exactly what you want.

    This is my first Margolin book and I might give another a try.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (689)
    Performance
    (631)
    Story
    (629)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Hank Reads! says: "Completely absorbing!"
    "Deeply human"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I started listening to this story, I realized it was the wrong novel for me at this particular time. I needed something lighter. I kept telling myself I'd stop listening and go back to it at another time...but the writing kept me hooked. Something was going on here that went beyond the two children whose day-to-day lives Doerr was describing.

    I am so glad I kept listening. The story builds and builds. The two children's lives connect in magical ways...and towards the last third of the novel, you find yourself holding your breath.

    I don't want to give anything away. Does it have a happy ending? Does it have a sad ending? You'll have to listen for yourselves. I highly recommend the experience. It couldn't be more real, or human.

    Can't wait for Mr. Doerr's next novel.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Privileged Lives: Vince Cardozo, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Edward Stewart
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In a private suite at a New York hospital, Beatrice “Babe” Vanderwalk Devens awakens from a seven-year coma. The socialite and fashion designer is stunned to learn that her husband, Scottie, was brought to trial twice - and acquitted - for her attempted murder. Across town, the naked, mutilated body of a young man wearing a black leather bondage mask is found in an empty apartment in the Beaux Arts Tower, high atop the Museum of Modern Art.

    cristina says: "A bit long-winded, but entertaining nevertheless"
    "A bit long-winded, but entertaining nevertheless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It takes a while for the story to get going because, for a very long time, it seems like you're reading two books. There's a brutal homicide and a woman who wakes up from a seven-year coma...and for almost a third of the novel, the two stories are only connected by the investigator. Then the two stories come together and the book becomes a lot more interesting. Could have been shorter, but it was still entertaining. So much so that I was hooked by the preview of the second in the series and am in the process of downloading it as I write this review.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Wicked Girls

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Alex Marwood
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (673)
    Performance
    (614)
    Story
    (607)

    On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it's the first time they've seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives - and unknowing families to protect - will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?

    Lesley says: "I didn't want to like these girls..."
    "Riveting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A dark and painful tale of misery and lives-gone-horribly-wrong, told exquisitely by an author in full control of his audience (and narrated by the perfect voice). I loved it!

    The tragic events of a day long ago when the two protagonists were 11 years old are revealed chronologically, and interspersed with what's happening in the present day, when a dreadful coincidence brings the two women together as adults. It's hard to say what's more hypnotic: the dreadful events that are unfolding, or to see the paths their two lives took as a result of that one day in their childhood. I could not tear my eyes (ears?) away. And can't wait for more novels by this author.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (588)
    Performance
    (545)
    Story
    (547)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Marci says: "It was good, not great"
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To call this is one of the best 'zombie' books I have ever read (I do like zombie books) would be to make it much smaller than it is. Sure, there are zombies, but this book is about human interactions--about humanity. Without giving any of the great turns and twists away, I have to say that the character development is absolutely brilliant. I can't recall a single instance in the book where a character went off-course in an unexpected way--those who changed (and many did) changed because they were reacting to something outside themselves (and the changes were powerful and moving); those who didn't change didn't change because nothing could have made them do so. You come to know each one of them well, especially Madeleine--the little girl at the center of the story. And what a story it is! M.R. Carey has crafted a tightly knit plot that will keep you at the edge or your seat (or wherever you happen to be while you listen) from start to finish. This was one of those audiobooks that I couldn't wait to get back to. Finty Williams is PERFECT for the narrator. Her rendition of little Madeleine's voice is particularly great (conveying innocence without ever being saccharine). Loved it! Can't wait for this author's next novel.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • While Beauty Slept

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Blackwell
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (52)

    I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told.And so begins Elise Dalriss's story. When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a minstrel's tale about a beautiful princess asleep in a tower, it pushes open a door to the past, a door Elise has long kept locked. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered-and she is the only one left who knows what actually happened so many years ago. Her story unveils a labyrinth where secrets connect to an inconceivable evil. As only Elise understands all too well, the truth is no fairy tale...

    RueRue says: "A Different Sleeping Beauty"
    "Very Bad Writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I plodded through 5 hours of the first-person 'narrative,' thinking that any minute the story would 'start,' but simply couldn't take it anymore. Zero character development. Zero originality (I like these sorts of fantasies so the plot seemed to have promise when I read the publisher's summary, but the characters behave along extremely stereotypical lines). The combination made for a very boring listen. I am planning to get my credit back.

    Skip this one and read "Enchantment" by Orson Scott Card.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Terry Hayes
    • Narrated By Christopher Ragland
    Overall
    (211)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (199)

    An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid. A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square. A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard. Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan. A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Smartest Novel I've Heard or Read in Long time"
    "Should have been three and a half stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is really two stories (a terrorist's plot and a murder mystery) that are force-fitted into one novel through a very implausible connection. That said, both stories are actually quite clever so it keeps your interest from beginning to end--a feat given the length of the book. In fact, I would say Hayes' ability as a storyteller is both the book's salvation and it's biggest problem. He keeps digressing into sub-plots (his childhood, the cop's past bravery, etc., etc....A problem (it seems that he can't help himself), but since all the stories are told well you almost don't mind. The excellent narration by Christophre Ragland helps.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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