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Simeen

Avid reader and foodie. I read mostly fiction but thanks to my awesome book club I am branching out and finding some great books!

Chicago, IL, United States | Member Since 2011

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 114 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Lowland

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (609)
    Performance
    (526)
    Story
    (536)

    Born just 15 months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan - charismatic and impulsive - finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.

    Simeen says: "My least favorite of all her work."
    "My least favorite of all her work."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Lowland? What did you like least?

    Maybe because I'm such a fan of her other work, I am more critical, but I thought this book was a bust.

    I thought the characters were really dull and not fleshed out well. I certainly didn't sympathize with them, nor did I care what happened to them. I didn't get a good sense of their motivation for the choices they made- and overall it was just dull. That's the best I can say.

    If you want to read Lahiri, I suggest starting with something else- if I had read this first, I wouldn't have gone back for any more.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jhumpa Lahiri again?

    Sure- The Namesake is a masterpiece and 10x better.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Sunil Malhotra?

    Yes, I thought he did a nice job.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Nope.


    Any additional comments?

    There was a moment where a character goes through a big shift (sorry I don't want to write out a big spoiler, but it's about 3/4 way through and you'll know it when you hear it), and it was just so out of left field and silly, all I could do was roll my eyes. Usually Jhumpa Lahiri's characters are so complex, and through her writing you really understand them- good and bad. But here- it was like reading about a family of paper dolls. Flat and dimension-less.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Bad Beginning, A Multi-Voice Recording: A Series of Unfortunate Events #1

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Lemony Snicket
    • Narrated By Tim Curry, Full Cast
    Overall
    (846)
    Performance
    (369)
    Story
    (365)

    Like a car alarm, bagpipe music, or a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night, hearing this all-new audio edition of The Bad Beginning will only upset you. This unique multi-voice recording brings the first book in Lemony Snicket's alarming A Series of Unfortunate Events to such terrible life that no one should really have to experience it.

    Diana - Audible says: "Books Will Save You"
    "What a gem."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Bad Beginning, A Multi-Voice Recording again? Why?

    YES! It was so brilliant- the writing is great and the performances just made it that much better.


    Any additional comments?

    Listening to this book was a real treat. I laughed, I sighed- it was great. Even my husband, who is not an audiobook listener, came in to the kitchen one night as I listened to it and was prepping dinner, and even he became enthralled. I would highly recommend to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Fine Balance

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Rohinton Mistry
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (611)
    Performance
    (305)
    Story
    (303)

    In the India of the mid-1970s, Indira Gandhi's government has just come to power. It institutionalizes corruption and arbitrary force, most oppressive to the poorest and weakest people under its sway. Against this backdrop, in an unnamed city by the sea, four people struggle to survive. Dina, Maneck, and two tailors, the Untouchables Om and Ishvar, who are sewing in Dina's service, undergo a series of reversals.

    JOHN says: "Nearly a perfect book"
    "Wish the narration was better."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to A Fine Balance the most enjoyable?

    A Fine Balance is one of my favorite books, so having it to listen to in the car is a nice treat.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This book is an epic, sweeping novel about a really troubled time in India's history. It is written such that you feel every emotion, you see the landscape... few writers have Mistry's gift. His writing is amazing. I would read (and have!) anything he writes.


    Any additional comments?

    I was not happy with the narration- mostly because I'm Indian, and almost every Hindi word was mispronounced. These were not difficult words- any Indian could have told the narrator how to pronounce, but as I listened it was just really off-putting.
    For example, "loata" is pronounced "low-ta", not "low-AH-ta", and loata is a super common indian word so hearing it wrong over and over was painful. Same with so many others, and even the names. "Naaa-waaaz" (Nawaz) should have been "Na-waaaz." I could go on and on. So while I think the book is literally a masterpiece, I was disappointed at the narration. However if you are not a Hindi/Urdu speaker, you'll probably be none the wiser and enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Anne Lamott, Sam Lamott
    • Narrated By Anne Lamott, Sam Lamott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (61)

    Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at 19, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson, Jax's, life. In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam - about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions - struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax's mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child.

    Renee says: "Not her best work"
    "Lowest rating I've ever given on Audible!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Better story and different narrator. So basically, this would have had to be a totally different book :)


    What could Anne Lamott and Sam Lamott have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    For starters I thought the material was terrible. Anne and Sam sure are self righteous! I didn't "like" any of the people in the book and I thought they all thought too highly of themselves. Even the self-deprecation was like "humble-bragging." Not appealing.
    Sorry Anne but you are a terrible narrator. Flat and emotionless. Maybe a different narrator would have made this more palatable... but I doubt it.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Anne Lamott and Sam Lamott ’s performances?

    No, never.


    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
    (4399)
    Performance
    (3199)
    Story
    (3200)

    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!"
    "Started out so promising, then went downhill."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about State of Wonder? What did you like least?

    I thought the premise was fascinating, and as it started out I was really into it. About halfway through, though, it just got ridiculous. I was rolling my eyes left and right, thinking "come ON, Ann Patchett, really?!?" And I like her other stuff. Do yourself a favor and read Bel Canto before you waste a credit on this.


    Was State of Wonder worth the listening time?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't want to give away the story but it goes from believable and engaging to downright ridiculous. I couldn't wait for it to be over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6695)
    Performance
    (5958)
    Story
    (5958)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "Good narration, mediocre book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I thought the writing was lush and beautiful, and so descriptive- I could really see what the author was describing. The book started out nicely, and then I think it just fell flat. It just never went anywhere- there's all this buildup... to... nothing. I was disappointed. I would recommend it for the beautiful description and fantastic narration, but other than that, this book is a C+.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Ann Leary
    • Narrated By Mary Beth Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1523)
    Performance
    (1373)
    Story
    (1368)

    The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston's North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She's also a raging alcoholic. Hildy's family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place - "if they invite you over for dinner, and it’s not a major holiday," she advises "run for your life" - and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key.

    Rhonda Morrison says: "What a great book, Hildy is a great character!"
    "Perfect combo of story and EXCELLENT narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Good House to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version but I thought the audiobook was amazing. They could not have found a better voice for Hildy.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hildy! The narrator does the best job really getting you to visualize the character.


    Any additional comments?

    I have to agree with all the other reviewers- the narrator makes this a can't-miss audiobook. The story is great- I thought it was really interesting, but also pretty dark. Some amazon reviews of the book described it as lighthearted and funny. It had funny moments, yes, but the subject matter is not funny- so don't expect light chick-lit. But that being said, I really loved this audiobook and would highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Godfather

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Mario Puzo
    • Narrated By Joe Mantegna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (721)
    Performance
    (664)
    Story
    (667)

    More than 40 years ago, Mario Puzo wrote his iconic portrait of the Mafia underworld as told through the fictional first family of American crime, the Corleones. The leader, Vito Corleone, is the Godfather. He is a benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power. His command post is a fortress on Long Island from which he presides over a vast underground empire that includes the rackets, gambling, bookmaking, and unions. His influence runs through all levels of American society, from the cop on the beat to the nation's mighty.

    Dana says: "Huge fan of the movie, loved this audiobook!"
    "A classic for good reason."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Godfather?

    The story is epic! You're really drawn in to the lives of these characters.


    Any additional comments?

    I have read this book in print a dozen times, but it was a treat to have the audiobook going in the car and on the treadmill. I really enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Saving Ceecee Honeycutt

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Beth Hoffman
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2773)
    Performance
    (1468)
    Story
    (1482)

    Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.

    A User says: "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Saving Ceecee Honeycutt better?

    The reviews really led me wrong on this one. This was so saccharine sweet and silly... I just couldn't like it. Every time there was a moment where you thought, oh, look! Some conflict! Nope, it was cleared up in 5 minutes. Whew! Back to sunny and cheery.

    I thought this was just too fluffy to like. If you're looking for something in this vein, I'd stick to The Help.


    Which character – as performed by Jenna Lamia – was your favorite?

    The narration was great- the story was lacking.


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe a few years ago I'd have appreciated this more- but now I need at least SOME substance and I just didn't get it from this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Little Bee: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Chris Cleave
    • Narrated By Anne Flosnik
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1607)
    Performance
    (871)
    Story
    (871)

    British couple Andrew and Sarah O'Rourke, vacationing on a Nigerian beach in a last-ditch effort to save their faltering marriage, come across Little Bee and her sister, Nigerian refugees fleeing from machete-wielding soldiers intent on clearing the beach. The horrific confrontation that follows changes the lives of everyone involved in unimaginable ways.

    Katerina says: "Good book, well told"
    "Started out better than it ended"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was most disappointing about Chris Cleave’s story?

    I thought the book started out strong- it was interesting and engaging. And then... it just seemed to lose its way. I understand all the thematic elements so it's not that I don't appreciate them- I just thought as the book progressed, the story lacked focus. I started liking Little Bee less and by the end I was just glad it was over. I didn't feel strongly about the book despite the author's best efforts to make this heart-wrenching.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I liked Little Bee's voice.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought the performance was better than the story itself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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