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Hilary

I heart audiobooks! Best way to "read"!

ratings
14
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
21

  • Blue Monday: Frieda Klein, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Nicci French
    • Narrated By Beth Chalmers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (433)
    Performance
    (386)
    Story
    (386)

    Frieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, uncontrollable place. The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, Frieda cannot ignore the coincidence: one of her patients has been having dreams in which he has a hunger for just such a child.

    William says: "Terrific!"
    "Engrossing thriller - an easy "read""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I often listen to books when I'm doing something else: walking the dog, stuck in traffic, doing housework. I listen on my smart phone with ear plugs. So I like books that capture my imagination from the get-go but also "easy" to follow along. For instance, I love Balzac but I'm not listening to one of his novels while doing housework! I'd get lost.

    I enjoy thrillers because when done well they are zippy and engrossing. This is the first in a series with psychologist Dr. Frieda Klein. So there is some ground work laid with the characters who will be regulars, like Frieda's mentor and also, her handyman. Their storylines aren't germane to this plot, really, so the introductions are a bit awkward. But after that business is done, the plot gets going and moves along. Overall, I'd say the book was well written. I was never bored or tempted to "fast forward". I very much liked Frieda as a protagonist. She's flawed but principled. Although, Frieda makes some very questionable ethical choices when it comes to her profession. In the US you might get your medical license revoked. But I am aware that Brits have different rules when it comes to medicine, especially "public" medicine that is paid for by the government.

    I am not sure what the complaints are in some other reviews about the narrator. I loved her, I thought she did a great job with all the voices, both men and women. I could tell which character was talking just by the timbre and cadence.

    The plot is about child abduction, so be warned if you're sensitive to that sort of thing. There are a couple of big twits -- a few I saw coming, a few I didn't. Which is always fun.

    Planning on reading the other books in this series!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale for the Time Being

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ruth Ozeki
    • Narrated By Ruth Ozeki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (463)
    Performance
    (412)
    Story
    (411)

    In Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace - and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox - possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami.

    Karen says: "Engaging story beautifully read"
    "Author gets in her own story's way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a story-inside-a-story. One is of "Ruth" -- the actual author -- who finds a Japanese teen girl's diary washed up on the shore of her remote Canadian island. Ruth, half Japanese herself, is struggling with writer's block and fixates on the diary (and the other items in the plastic bag with it, including a kamikazi pilot's watch.) The other story is of Noa, the Japanese teenager, who is contemplating suicide but first wants to tell the story of her Greatgrandmother, Zen Buddhist nun Jiko. Instead, Noa's diary is about herself, how she was born in America but now lives in social isolation in Japan, her equally suicidal father, and the life-journey her "Old Jiko" inspires. Ruth believes the diary is floatsam from the Japanese Tusnami and sets out to find out if Noa is real/alive.

    Noa's story is overall engrossing and emotional. At times even hard to listen to. But Ruth's story is a snooze. There are no "stakes" for Ruth, I never cared about her and I find the conceit to write a fake narrative about your real self to be pretty insufferable. Especially since she is totally unnecessary to tell Noa's story. Overall, Ruth's sections of the book don't even read real. She and her husband Oliver talk to each other like strangers. I have never heard two married people talk so formally and stiffly. I'm still shocked this was nominated for a Mann Booker prize based on how wooden Ruth's sections are.

    But here's the worse part: Noa's story is eventually hinged on some vague notion of "quantum physics" (???) and Zen ideals about time. Which might have been okay IF there wasn't a sudden, unneeded and off-putting mystical/supernatural element introduced into the plot about 3/4 of the way through. I almost stopped listening when (SPOILER ALERT) Ruth has this incredibly self-involved dream... than ends up saving Noa's life, in the diary! Oh, come on. I slogged through all of this so the author could go on a ego trip??

    The ending is vague, which I'm sure some people find "artsy" but I found a cop out.

    All that said, my biggest issue with this book is the author reads it herself!!! Ugh, I hate when authors do that except when they're professional actors, like Steve Martin or how Mindy Kalling or Tina Fey read their own books. Hey, author: I'm sure you had fun in drama club back in high school, but you're not a great actor. You really suck at doing voices, sometimes even your own! Sure, since Ruth Ozeki is half-Japanese, she pronounces all the Japanese words in the book perfectly. But any decent actor who knows Japanese could have done that! Ruth Ozeki's has no ability to bring the characters alive through her voice. Mostly, it was flat, and when it wasn't, she sounded stiff or over-done, like someone doing bad impressions of mutual friends.

    Please leave the book narration up to the professionals.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Dinner: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Herman Koch, Sam Garrett (translator)
    • Narrated By Clive Mantle
    Overall
    (935)
    Performance
    (821)
    Story
    (827)

    It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a 15-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families.

    Jane says: "Dining at its most distubing"
    "Only the narration saves this "thriller""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hated this book. The reason it gets 2 stars is the performance by Clive Mantle is terrific. He manages to breathe life into what is otherwise a long, dull, and less-than-thrilling thriller where I was both confused and annoyed. The action takes place over one evening, with plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of rambling flashbacks. Two couples -- brothers and their wives -- meet for dinner to discuss their sons who have done something awful. BTW, that "something awful" is revealed pretty early on. There is no mystery here. The only issue being wrestled with at dinner is what to do about the boys' heinous acts. It's thoroughly unbelievable that anyone would be discussing such a private and dire situation in a crowded restaurant, especially since one of the brothers is a famous politician. SPOILER ALERT: the lead brother turns out to be some sort of sociopath with a history of violent assault, and yet is free to walk around and have dinner at a 5 star restaurant. He admits he hasn't worked in years. How does he support himself, much less not be in JAIL for his own crimes? Then there is a Lady MacBeth turn at the end with his wife that felt like a complete cheat. No idea why this got such good reviews in PEOPLE MAGAZINE, etc. Save your money and spend it somewhere else.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Girl Walks into a Bar...: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Rachel Dratch
    • Narrated By Rachel Dratch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1067)
    Performance
    (984)
    Story
    (984)

    Anyone who saw an episode of Saturday Night Live between 1999 and 2006 knows Rachel Dratch. She was hilarious! So what happened to her? After a misbegotten part as Jenna on the pilot of 30 Rock, Dratch was only getting offered roles as "Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians." Her career at a low point, Dratch suddenly had time for yoga, dog- sitting, learning Spanish - and dating. After all, what did a forty-something single woman living in New York have to lose?

    Jeanine says: "Could not stop listening"
    "Terrifically told, but runs out of steam"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Girl Walks into a Bar... the most enjoyable?

    Rachel Dratch is hilariously funny. She does voices, etc., that really brings her own words and stories alive. I laughed out loud many times. Listening to her is like listening to a good friend.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Ultimately, the book loses steam. Rachel herself admits her story doesn't have much of an ending.


    Any additional comments?

    This isn't exactly a "memoir" but I enjoyed the sections more about her comedy days, SNL, and her dating life. MINOR SPOILER: then it becomes a book about having a baby. I felt like that material was less fresh, she didn't really have any new, funny or insightful take on motherhood. But worth the read for the first half.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo - and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Richard Lloyd Parry
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (392)
    Performance
    (337)
    Story
    (337)

    Lucie Blackman - tall, blond, 21 years old - stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000 and disappeared. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave. The seven months in between had seen a massive search for the missing girl involving Japanese policemen, British private detectives, and Lucie’s desperate but bitterly divided parents. Had Lucie been abducted by a religious cult or snatched by human traffickers? Who was the mysterious man she had gone to meet? And what did her work as a hostess in the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo really involve?

    La Becket says: "The best audiobook I have ever heard -- hands down"
    "creepy non ficition"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up People Who Eat Darkness in three words, what would they be?

    Dark. Disturbing. Compelling.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of People Who Eat Darkness?

    The entire book is memorable.


    If you could give People Who Eat Darkness a new subtitle, what would it be?

    The title is horrible. It's a true crime novel of hostess girls in Japan. I'm not great at titles but it could use a better one than this.


    Any additional comments?

    Best true crime novel I've "read" in ages. The narration is spot-on.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Turn Around

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Michelle Gagnon
    • Narrated By Merritt Hicks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side. Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa's talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation called AMRF threatens his life in no uncertain terms.

    Kathleen says: "Gagnon's first audio book, very good."
    "Didn't realize this is a first in a triology!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Don't Turn Around in three words, what would they be?

    Exciting action that begins to peter out at the end.


    What other book might you compare Don't Turn Around to and why?

    GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The opening grabs you from the get-go.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a fast, exciting read. The narration is terrific, Michelle Hicks really hits it out of the park. The action is NON STOP for the first 2/3 of the book and I really liked the characters. So much more human and real than many YA novels. I enjoyed this was NOT supernatural or dystopian. But once I realized this was just a set up for another book, I became a bit disappointed. I want to read a YA novel that is self contained. Also, the story starts to get VERY large at the end and I'm not sure I'm going to like where book two goes. But I'm sure I'll read it to find out!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    Overall
    (16817)
    Performance
    (15214)
    Story
    (15340)

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "poorly written but action packed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Veronica Roth and/or Emma Galvin?

    I will read the final book in this series but won't read another Veronica Roth book. I definitely will not seek out Emma Galvin.


    What didn’t you like about Emma Galvin’s performance?

    Emma Galvin's performance comes off as indulgent, victim-y and whiny. Maybe that's just the cadence and timbre of Ms. Galvin's voice but it made me dislike the protagonist Trice.


    Was Divergent worth the listening time?

    At times, DIVERGENT can be an exciting roller coaster. Something is always happening, plot-wise. But the writing is so amateur it's hard to stay engaged.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16594)
    Performance
    (14750)
    Story
    (14794)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Gripping from moment one..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Gone Girl in three words, what would they be?

    Edge of seat.


    What other book might you compare Gone Girl to and why?

    GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO because the characters and story suck you in.


    Which character – as performed by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne – was your favorite?

    I liked both performances. Honestly, at first I didn't like the timbre of Kirby's voice. But he's such an incredible actor/reader, I got into his story. Julia was first rate.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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