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Santa Barbara, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

  • 5 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 205 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015

  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Tim says: "Brilliant Sequel"
    "Road Trip Story!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Winter of the World to be better than the print version?

    Not particularly.

    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked learning so much more about the war in Europe than one usually gets from a Western perspective. It was news to me that there was a resistance to Hitler in Germany by non-Jewish Germans. No one ever speaks of them. And getting a view of the Spanish Civil War was pretty interesting. It was a rehearsal for World War II, and yet you learn very little about it in school.

    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    He's a pleasure to listen to for the most part, but every now and then he'll have a little rhythmic hiccup that makes it sound like he's not a native English speaker. It's a little odd. Also, his accent for the American females is a little off. He makes Daisy sound a little more shrewish and fish-wifey than she deserves. It's not so off-putting that I'd quit listening, just a bit jarring.

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


    Any additional comments?

    When do I get to listen to the next one?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener

    From tales of chivalrous knights to the barbarity of trial by ordeal, no era has been a greater source of awe, horror, and wonder than the Middle Ages. In handsomely crafted prose and with the grace and authority of his extraordinary gift for narrative history, William Manchester leads us from a civilization tottering on the brink of collapse to the grandeur of its rebirth, the Renaissance.

    Wallen says: "Ruined by the narrator"
    "A Cure For Insomnia"
    Would you listen to A World Lit Only by Fire again? Why?

    I re-listen to it all the time. When I can't sleep, this is a surefire way to drift off. It's fascinating stuff. And the perfect degree of dryness, so that I can fall asleep guiltless.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of A World Lit Only by Fire?

    To be sure, it has to be the section on Martin Luther, a certifiable nut job of the first order! I sleep like a baby until old Barrett starts reading the writings of this bat case and I pop awake completely riveted. How on earth does anyone take Martin Luther seriously?

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Without a doubt it's ol' Martin's fascination with bodily processes. How does anyone read this and not go into hysterical convulsions? Really! And all of it read in Barrett's entertaining monotone. It has the quality of a computer reading porn. Insanely, and, I'm sure, unintentionally funny!

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Nothing in particular.

    Any additional comments?

    This is a fascinating book that is unintentionally hilarious to me. I listen to parts of it all the time because it is William Manchester after all. For some reason it just tickles me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mortal Mischief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Frank Tallis
    • Narrated By Richard Burnip

    Vienna, 1902: A beautiful medium has been found shot dead, and Dr Max Liebermann, a young disciple of Sigmund Freud, is called upon to help his friend Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt investigate her death. The room containing the body has been locked from the inside, and a cryptic note suggests a malevolent supernatural power is at work. Using the new science of psychoanalysis, Liebermann probes the minds of the suspects in an attempt to unravel this bewildering crime.

    Jessica says: "It left me hungry for pastry and Strauss."
    "It left me hungry for pastry and Strauss."
    What made the experience of listening to Mortal Mischief the most enjoyable?

    The setting, the city of Vienna at its best, made this an engaging story that was difficult to leave. One tends to forget how important and influential it was. I loved the policeman and the psychiatrist meeting for musical evenings. It made them both whole people with interests and lives of their own. I did worry about the policeman's wife seeing him with the actress. That never seemed to be resolved. But perhaps it will come up in the next book in the series, which is already on my wish list.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I enjoyed them all.

    Which character – as performed by Richard Burnip – was your favorite?

    Hard to say. Burnip did an excellent job. His accent was believable, and he managed to do credible women's voices without sounding like he was getting ready for transgender surgery. Always a plus.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I have no idea what a tag line is, so I have no answer for this.

    Any additional comments?

    This was a great story and a really interesting opening of what seems like it will be a very engaging series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Revelation: A Matthew Shardlake Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By C. J. Sansom
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley

    C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries whisk listeners back in time to the tumultuous court of King Henry VIII. Shardlake has his hands full this time defending a young religious fanatic who has been thrown into Bedlam. On top of that, Shardlake's friend is murdered, and the quest to find the killer leads Shardlake right to the steps of the king's latest romantic conquest, Catherine Parr.

    Fara says: "Great entertainment!"
    "I love the Shardlake series!"

    I've been hooked on the Shardlake novels for awhile now, taking them slowly because there are only five of them. Revelation was just that - a revelation. It's a fascinating story, with Sansom's usual engaging cast. His characters are human and believable, and the subject matter fascinating. Once again I'm sent to the history section of the library to learn more! I'm very impressed by the research that goes into these novels. This was a book that caused me to look for tedious and repetitive tasks to do so that I had an excuse to listen. Then I would find myself standing stock still and staring into space transfixed. No laundry folded or dishes put away! There's only one left! I want more!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unholy Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Robert Mrazek
    • Narrated By Patrick G Lawlor

    John "Kit" McKittredge is a young Union officer who is terribly wounded in one of the first battles of the Civil War. Still unfit for active duty after nine months in the hospital, he is recruited by an unorthodox colonel named Valentine Burdette to work in the Provost Marshal General's Department in Washington. The beleaguered capital, now swollen to seven times its prewar population, is filled with saloons, brothels, spies, thieves, and murderers. It is also rife with official corruption and political intrigue.

    Jessica says: "This was a great listen."
    "This was a great listen."

    I'm a fan of historical mysteries, and I like stories that inspire me to rummage in maps and history books to get a sense of things. Unholy Fire certainly did that for me! It has all the necessary elements: a flawed hero, interesting perspective on real historical figures, a good mystery, plenty of suspense, lots of interestingly drawn characters, and a spin on the politics of the Civil War that is revealing. I'm a whole lot more interested in the Civil War now that some of the players are a little more real to me than they were in the 7th grade!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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