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Sandra

Arlington, VA, United States | Member Since 2005

119
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 62 reviews
  • 309 ratings
  • 419 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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  • 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
    Overall
    (4945)
    Performance
    (4177)
    Story
    (4190)

    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"
    "No new ground"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    John Lee as narrator does a fine job. Follett was so formulaic that I think an assistant must have written it from an outline. In fact, I was offended in many places. Yes. Offended. His throw-away to gays in the story was at best patronizing and at worst showed an old man trying to pass himself off as modern. It was false and offensive. Perhaps I know too many stories of WWII, seen too many movies, know too much history, but Follett brings no new insights, breaks no new ground. Quite a disappointment.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Bone Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Tess Gerritsen
    • Narrated By Susan Denaker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1187)
    Performance
    (365)
    Story
    (367)

    Julia Hamill has made a horrifying discovery on the grounds of her new home in rural Massachusetts: a skull buried in the rocky soil � human, female, and, according to the trained eye of Boston medical examiner Maura Isles, scarred with the unmistakable marks of murder.

    Book and Movie Lover says: "Back and forth through time"
    "What's up with this listeners"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Though Dr. Petrie had to be at least 60 years old, she sprang easily to her feet" say What? Really? she wrote that and all you reviewers missed that most insulting remark??? Plus the narrator voices her as "old." Hello, I'm 65, working, enjoying my 4 rambunctious grandchildren. I don't think you'd call me spry; you'd call me 50 and scratch your head when I told you my age. This may be minor to everyone else, but I'm stopping right here and taking amazon up on its offer of a free return. Now I just have to figure out how.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Katherine Neville
    • Narrated By Susan Denaker
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (44)

    Katherine Neville's groundbreaking novel The Eight dazzled audiences more than 20 years ago and set the literary stage for the epic thriller. A quest for a mystical chess service that once belonged to Charlemagne, it spans two centuries and three continents, and intertwines historic and modern plots, archaeological treasure hunts, esoteric riddles, and puzzles encrypted with clues from the ancient past. Now the global adventure continues in Neville's long-anticipated sequel: The Fire.

    gene says: "Under rated by most reviewers"
    "Mostly enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like its predecessor, The Eight, the heroine is in pursuit of magical mystery. Unlike The Eight, it's narration of historical events is more tedious to me - probably not the author's fault, but my own since I know only a bit of middle east and African history. So I did spend some time looking up the history to get a better understanding. But not that you have to, that's just a path I travel for an historical novel.

    My only complaint is the narrator. Her voice was much too mature for Alexandra who is suppose to be 22. She sounds 52. Denaker does a nice job with the other characters. That said, I frequently felt her performance to be forced, as if the story bored her and Alexandra as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Parrot and Olivier in America

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Peter Carey
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (60)

    Olivier, an improvisation on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville, is the traumatized child of aristocratic survivors of the French Revolution. Parrot is the motherless son of an itinerant English printer. Born on different sides of history, their lives will be joined by an enigmatic one-armed marquis.

    TX lilbit says: "Like nothing else"
    "Where's the story?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After six hours, I threw in the towel. And I used one of my two credits for this! Olivier a spoiled brat and Parrot an abused child - I should have been sympathetic, but it all felt too alien. The only part that was intriguing was Parrot becoming the chamber pot emptier for a poor abused counterfeiter. And I still don't know what this book was suppose to be about. Too long a journey for this listener.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Storyteller

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno, Jennifer Ikeda, Edoardo Ballerini, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3220)
    Performance
    (2809)
    Story
    (2820)

    Jodi Picoult's poignant number one New York Times best-selling novels about family and love tackle hot-button issues head on. In The Storyteller, Sage Singer befriends Josef Weber, a beloved Little League coach and retired teacher. But then Josef asks Sage for a favor she never could have imagined - to kill him. After Josef reveals the heinous act he committed, Sage feels he may deserve that fate. But would his death be murder or justice?

    Sue says: "Interesting...different than I thought it would be"
    "I don't get it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read Picoult's website, carefully examining her reason for why she wrote this story, but I don't get it. If she thinks she has added to the body of knowledge of the Holocaust, she is sadly mistaken.

    This story has a novel twist in it, but only one. It brings nothing new to the table regarding the Holocaust survivors. In fact, I just finished reading a few months ago the memoirs of women survivors in A Train in Winter before starting the Storyteller. In so many ways Storyteller repeats the exact same story. Picoult brings no new ways of understanding personal dynamics in the camps, no new ways of understanding survivors or their offspring. I'm to going to accuse her plagiarism, but scene for scene in the march out of the camp to the next camp, I could have been in the other book. Yes, I realize she used a lot of research but she should have read the body of literature out there already to be original.

    I read A Train in Winter for book club; Storyteller for my own entertainment because I liked My Sister's Keeper. Picoult's Storyteller is one dimensional. For a nuanced look at suffering in WWII and a book which brings a new perspective to the table, try The Book Thief, or go see the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fragile Things

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (987)
    Performance
    (467)
    Story
    (468)

    Marvelous creations, including a short story set in the world of The Matrix and others set in the worlds of gothic fiction and children's fiction, can be found in this extraordinary collection, which showcases Gaiman's storytelling brilliance as well as his entertaining (and dark) sense of humor.

    Jill says: "Aother winner from Gaiman"
    "Disjointed and Spiritless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Title says it all. He should have kept these stories under wraps. I prefer to remember how much I enjoyed American Gods, the Graveyard, Stardust.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2920)
    Performance
    (2709)
    Story
    (2713)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Jacqueline says: "Finish to Start Excellent is Novel This"
    "Fooled myself"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    End user error. Thought I could enjoy a horror story because 1) I like fantasy, 2) I love Kate Mulgrew. I did enjoy Mulgrew's performance and hope to find another book she narrates. I couldn't connect with Vic on any level and just could not engage with the plot. But if horror is your genre, I'm sure you will rave like everyone else does.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Caroline Moorehead
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (32)

    They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, spirited Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15 who scrawled “V” for victory on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer’s wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to one another, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers.<

    Sher Sutherland says: "A real look at life"
    "Wanted to like"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    But after all the WWII books, fiction and non-fiction, I've read, I expect a new book about the camps and the war to bring something new to the table. It didn't. Re-reading Sophie's Choice is so much more rewarding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8780)
    Performance
    (7918)
    Story
    (7924)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "The Grisham I've Been Waiting For"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Story arc is great. Believable if just a little predictable- but enough plot twists to make keep it interesting. Even though it goes back to Clanton and Jake, it reads all new again and didn't bog down with so many references to A Time to Kill that it got in the way. This is a Grisham book to win new readers.

    Special kudos to Michael Beck, narrator. His performance is outstanding. I now search on his name to see what might interest me if he's reading it.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Bone Season

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Samantha Shannon
    • Narrated By Alana Kerr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1479)
    Performance
    (1359)
    Story
    (1359)

    The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant, and in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.... It is raining the day her life changes forever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford - a city kept secret for 200 years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race.

    linda says: "Engaging, Room for Improvement"
    "Could get better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When writing a dystopian novel for YA, the author still needs to get gritty. Not be afraid of PG-13 ratings. There is something here, but lacks real grit to be worthy of comparisons between the Potter series or the Hunger Games, or a singularly good novel, The Book Thief.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4855)
    Performance
    (4482)
    Story
    (4496)

    A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

    Cynthia says: "Shadows Dissolved in Vinegar"
    "Really? For Adults?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I get the metaphorical aspects - growing up, loss of innocence, tried and true story theme. But this comes no where close to what I would expect for a book enthused by so many readers as "adult." Want to read young adult books that speak to adults, try "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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