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Kimberly

VERONA, PA, United States | Member Since 2008

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 54 ratings
  • 479 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014
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  • Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1188)
    Performance
    (1019)
    Story
    (1029)

    Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.

    Darwin8u says: "Mantel Pulls the History out of the History"
    "Not up to Wolf Hall's standards"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Bring Up the Bodies in three words, what would they be?

    condemned by infertility


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Thomas Cromwell remains my favorite character because in him we see the makings of a statesman who held his own with royalty. Indeed, Henry VIII does not understand yet just how valuable Cromwell is. Cromwell is one of the few common men of humble birth who has ever been able to ascend to the pinnacle of power without having to be born into it or win it by combat. He is an everyman, a bureaucrat and a bit of a polymath. Kind to his servants, intuitive about what motivates people and skillful at using that motivation to benefit his king and country. He behaves humbly around those who think they are his betters but his humility is just a ruse. He subtly asserts himself and no one puts Cromwell in a corner.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where Henry is knocked unconscious during a jousting tourney is my favorite. Suddenly, everyone's ambitions are revealed. But Cromwell puts his state and country first by defending the body of the king and he does this because he knows how close the country still is to a civil war. This scene is particularly well written and one can only imagine what Cromwell saw in the eyes of the dukes and other high level courtiers when the chance to sieze the throne was only a breath away.
    One can only imagine what the courtiers saw in Cromwell's eyes and whether this was the moment of realization that lead to his eventual downfall. It was a moment when ancient feudal rite met modernity and for a moment, the feudalists blinked.


    Who was the most memorable character of Bring Up the Bodies and why?

    Jane Seymour comes across as a very clever girl. Maybe it wasn't always her goal to become queen, like Anne Boleyn, but Jane was someone who took advantage of opportunity and used her naturally reserved demeanor to promote her family. She's more like a cunning fox than a wolf.


    Any additional comments?

    My biggest problem with this book is that it hold up well in comparison to Wolf Hall. I realize that some listeners may have had problems with Wolf Hall because it is written in a non-linear style, part historical fiction, part biography. It tended to meander a bit with parts of Cromwell's domestic and inner life juxtaposing with current events in a not altogether easy to follow manner. But these are minor quibbles for a listener. Hilary Mantel is an author of extraordinarily lovely and powerful language. I was completely swept away by Wolf Hall because I had such a clear picture of what made Cromwell tick.
    But Bring Up The Bodies seems to have "benefitted" from a more rigorous editing step. Someone slashed the size of this book down to an more manageable size but left a lot of material on the cutting room floor. Virtually nothing is said of the histories of the men who went to the scaffold with Anne. Some information comes through in their interviews with Cromwell but this is quick and not well fleshed out. We still don't know why Henry cut Anne off after her last miscarriage. I thought miscarriages were more common back then so there had to be another reason, perhaps medical, why Henry didn't think Anne would ever produce a son. There's no insight from doctors where they are saying, "Ah, yes, we've seen this kind of thing before. The first child is healthy but no other children live. No one knows why but we have seen that some families are plagued with it."
    And then there is the motivation of Cromwell himself. It sounds like a combination of just serving the king and the desire to wreck revenge on the courtiers who continually pushed their social superiority in his face. I am unconvinced. It could be the lack of documentation but if anything, the earlier parts of Cromwell's life were more sparsely documented while this part was historic. Where Mantel allowed her mind to wander in Cromwell's in the first book, making for a coherent and consistent picture of this complex man, she pulls back in the second leaving Cromwell's personal feelings and motivations more mysterious and inscrutable. He comes across as more Iago than a Renaissance man, leaving us to continue to puzzle over the Anne Boleyn incident and his role in it. What a shame. She needn't have hurried the second book. Some things take time and need to develop at their own rate. I hope she reverts to form with the third book.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2808)
    Performance
    (2507)
    Story
    (2493)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "Narration is ruining it for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What three words best describe Edoardo Ballerini’s voice?

    Something about Ballerini's narration drives me batty. There's an irritating softness and slowness about some of his oral interpretation that makes me want to reach through my iPhone and tell him to quit dicking around and hurry up already. The reading is ponderous and full of ominous mystery when all that's required is simple reading of exposition.
    I'm trying to get through part I and struggling because even though the story is interesting, it's narration is boring me to tears.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (17966)
    Performance
    (15975)
    Story
    (15934)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Decisions, decisions"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up 11-22-63 in three words, what would they be?

    Nostalgic, romantic, chilling


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jake and Sadie. Either of them without the other is only half a character


    What does Craig Wasson bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Actually, I found Wasson's narration to be uneven. Some characters he did remarkably well, the main character's especially. Some character voices sounded too affected. I kept thinking of what my college speech class instructor said about oral interpretations. You need to be careful to not substitute impersonation for interpretation. The voice of the FBI agent was particularly irritating. I nearly fast forwarded through that portion. But overall, I think Wasson has a nice voice and his reading is pretty good.


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

    How many realities does your life touch?


    Any additional comments?

    I hadn't read a Stephen King novel for a long time. They started to get predictable. You knew there was going to be a crunching bone and brains moment created by heavy moving objects. But out of desperation for something that wasn't another supernatural witch based fantasy set in a mythical world involving a young man or woman with secret powers that gets them ejected from the only community they've ever known to go on a quest for a maguffin that will {save the world, save a person, restore someone else's power, lead to some deep insights}, I turned to this new King book. My expectations were not high. King exceeded them. I was drawn into this book because of the well developed characters and the way King can invoke a period of time so vividly I can almost have an aftertaste of rootbeer in the back of my mouth. Who knew that it would also end up being a book about the supernatural where a young person with secret "powers" is ejected from his community to go on a quest for a maguffin that will {save the world, save a person, restore someone else's, etc}. The ending is exceedingly touching but not maudlin. Some things are worth waiting for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • State of Wonder: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4288)
    Performance
    (3104)
    Story
    (3102)

    Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend's death, her company's future, and her own past.

    F. B. Herron says: "Do yourself a favor and listen to this book!"
    "Thoroughly silly book"
    Overall

    As a pharma researcher, I can tell that Patchett's background research into the pharma industry was spent at a bar one evening with a couple of labrats who were playing a practical joke on her. There is absolutely nothing in this book that even remotely resembles the drug discovery process in real life. Patchett does the public and researchers a disservice by not being more accurate.
    Some of her descriptions of the Amazon river basin are vivid and lyrical. But the plot is ridiculous and her portrayal of an driven female scientist in the deepest, darkest jungle borders on misogynism. That plus the stereotype of women in science being awkward geeks or eccentric hardasses made this book very difficult to enjoy.
    And it took about 3/4 of the book before something even happens to advance the plot.
    But if you have already decided that drug companies are evil exploiters of gentle native people, that women scientists are cold-hearted and unpleasant, and you are content to suffer through a story that wallows in its own inertia, this book is for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doomsday Book

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2113)
    Performance
    (1425)
    Story
    (1443)

    For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong.

    Sara says: "A Haunting First Book in the Series"
    "Good but needs more editing"
    Overall

    The premise was interesting. I like stories about the Black Death. But something about this book didn't come together for me. For one thing, it seemed wildly improbable. No, I don't mean the time machine aspect. I mean sending a single person into the past without company. Who in their right mind would do such a thing, unless they're publications obsessed academics who want to be the only names on the paper. But I digress.
    The characters feel a little thin. There's not enough background on them. Colin is a pain, sort of like Jar-Jar Binks. He's a bit too cheery for the dire circumstances.
    But my biggest complaint is that the narration seems repetitive. The characters repeat themselves in the same scenes. And the reader seem to go so slowly that momentum is lost while the listener ponders, "Didn't Agnes already say that two sentences ago?"
    The epidemic in real time doesn't seem as interesting as the one in 1348. It's really hard to make connections between the two groups. I would like to be less picky in my review but there you are, I'm a stickler.
    It's not a bad book. I just doubt it deserved all of the accolades.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Agincourt

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Charles Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1490)
    Performance
    (609)
    Story
    (620)

    Young Nicholas Hook is dogged by a curse, haunted by what he has failed to do and banished for what he has done. A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man, and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, Hook heads home to England, where his capture means certain death.

    Andrew says: "Fantastic!"
    "If you like battle history, this one's for you"
    Overall

    This book is well researched, full of historical minutiae and a satisfying plunge into the life and times of Henry V's superb English longbowmen. The character development is only briefly sketched and the characters themselves only serve to propel the action towards the final battle at Agincourt. But the narration is excellent and while the characters will not keep you engaged, what they do certainly will.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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