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Cheryl

Love books and love to put in my two cents' worth

ratings
20
REVIEWS
14
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
8

  • The Painted Girls: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Cathy Marie Buchanan
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan, Danny Cambell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (273)
    Performance
    (234)
    Story
    (230)

    Paris, 1878: Following the death of their father from overwork, the three van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without their father’s wages, and with what little their mother earns as a laundress disappearing down the absinthe bottle, eviction from their single boarding room seems imminent. With few options for work available for a girl, bookish 14-year-old Marie and her younger sister Charlotte are dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seven francs a week, the girls will be trained to enter its famous ballet. Their older sister, stubborn and insolent 17-year-old Antoinette, finds herself launched into the orbit of Émile Zola....

    Carole says: "Abundance of Misery"
    "Pulls you in"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Told from the viewpoints of sisters in an impoverished family with ties to the ballet, the story is surprisingly charming and engrossing -- I say surprisingly because I'm not interested in ballet and don't usually read period fiction. The narrator has a pleasant voice with a likable personality. I would call this elevated light entertainment - you won't learn anything but you won't feel like you've wasted your time on utter fluff, either.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Calculating God

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2128)
    Performance
    (1507)
    Story
    (1521)

    In this Hugo-nominated novel, an alien walks into a museum and asks if he can see a paleontologist. But the arachnid ET hasn't come aboard a rowboat with the Pope and Stephen Hawking (although His Holiness does request an audience later). Landing at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the spacefarer, Hollus, asks to compare notes on mass extinctions with resident dino-scientist Thomas Jericho.

    Ione says: "Interesting book, very enjoyable narration"
    "OH GOD this is so disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe my expectations were unrealistic - I was looking forward to reading this book, but it's a redundant academic tome that gave me nothing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Juliet Blackwell
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (774)
    Performance
    (719)
    Story
    (711)

    Lily Ivory hopes for a normal life when she opens Aunt Cora's Closet. With her magical knack for vintage fashion - she can sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry - her store becomes a big hit. But when a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area, Lily may be the only one who can unravel the crime.

    Sherry says: "Witches and fashion - what's not to like!"
    "Saved me on a long boring drive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found myself on a five hour ride in a shared cab in Greece, with three other people who did not speak a word of English. While this book is not great literature, it kept me entertained and made the time pass pleasantly. In other word, it's a "beach read" - honestly I would not go out of my way to read a second book by the same author, though. It's pretty predictable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Agent to the Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3619)
    Performance
    (3134)
    Story
    (3137)

    The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

    C. Paget says: "excellent"
    "A bit too out-there for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You need to have a particular sense of humor to enjoy this book - just make sure that's you before you buy this or you will be annoyed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Modern Witch: A Modern Witch, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Debora Geary
    • Narrated By Martha Harmon Pardee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (956)
    Performance
    (864)
    Story
    (885)

    Lauren is downtown Chicago's youngest elite realtor. She's also a witch. She must be - the fetching spell for Witches' Chat isn't supposed to make mistakes. So says the woman who coded the spell, at least. The tall, dark, and handsome guy sent to assess her is a witch too (and no, that doesn't end the way you might think). What he finds in Lauren will change lives, mess with a perfectly good career, and require lots of ice cream therapy.

    ShySusan says: "Perfect antidote for vampire & zombie overdoses"
    "No magic here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't expecting much - I like to download a few undemanding fluff-books for when I am out walking my dog. But this fails to deliver even that. The plot is less than banal, the writing is poor and repetitive, and as other reviewers have noted, the whole thing is made still worse by the extremely annoying narrator. The inappropriate, constant happy twinkle in her voice is hard to take.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs Queen Takes the Train

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By William Kuhn
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    An absolute delight of a debut novel by William Kuhn - author of Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books - Mrs Queen Takes the Train wittily imagines the kerfuffle that transpires when a bored Queen Elizabeth strolls out of the palace in search of a little fun, leaving behind a desperate team of courtiers who must find the missing Windsor before a national scandal erupts.

    Robin says: "adorable, for american anglophiles"
    "Can't believe how much I loved this story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was just spectacularly amusing, well written, well read, with an unexpected depth and wealth of characters and story lines. I have no idea why I bought this, but it was my lucky day. The apparent story -- the queen of England decides to "run away" and experience one ordinary normal excursion - is only the thread that holds together the stories of several persons all associated with the palace staff in one way or another. The narrator manages to render all of them compellingly, and even the silly-seeming plot is told in a charming way. I can't think of anyone who would not enjoy this story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Fifty Shades Darker: Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By E. L. James
    • Narrated By Becca Battoe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9424)
    Performance
    (8219)
    Story
    (8233)

    Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist.

    Tracy L says: "I CAN'T LISTEN ANY LONGER! I'M BUYING THE BOOK."
    "Book may be debatable, audio version is a no-go"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read volume 1 out of curiosity and found it reasonably diverting so thought I would try the audio version for volume 2. Not a good idea. In part the book just does not lend itself to being read aloud -- all those email exchanges are unbearably tedious to listen to (from: to: subject:). And the narrator is completely unsuitable, sounds like they grabbed some girl at random from a high school parking lot. Her male voices are headache-inducingly awful and incompetent, the main guy sounds especially ridiculous, she can't even sustain the same voice for more than one sentence, so you have no idea who is talking. It would be better if she had just spoken in her normal voice. Maybe she's secretly a feminist offended by the book and trying to put us off it? That's the only theory I can come up with to explain this terrible performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil in the Junior League

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Linda Francis Lee
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (502)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (295)

    Mercedes Hildebrand Ware is a member beyond reproach...until her life begins to unravel. When her husband betrays her, steals her money, and runs off to places unknown, it's something Frede would prefer to keep under wraps. The last thing she needs is to become fodder for the JLWC gossip mill. And to make matters worse, there's only one person in town who stands a chance at helping her get revenge - Howard Grout, a tasteless, gold-chain-wearing lawyer who has bought his way into Frede's tony neighborhood.

    bebe says: "Loved it"
    "Fabulously entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Obviously this is not War and Peace, but if you are looking for a few light-hearted hours or some good distraction in stressful waiting rooms or while traveling, this is perfect. The characters are well drawn, and the performance is delightful. I gave it five stars within its genre. Amusing without being dumb. This one is worth its credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Family Fang

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Kevin Wilson
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (660)
    Performance
    (566)
    Story
    (564)

    Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist's work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents' madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents' strange world.

    B. Westman says: "Surprisingly Deep"
    "Fantastic - get this one right now!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Family Fang again? Why?

    Yes, I think I would, and that's saying a lot because I almost never listen to or read books a second time.


    What other book might you compare The Family Fang to and why?

    It's actually quite unique. On the one hand it is obviously absurd, but it never leaves the realm of the just-barely-possible. You are constantly thinking - yes, there ARE people like this, and they MIGHT do things like this. It's not like someone waking up as a cockroach...And, despite their overall weirdness, you grow to like and care about each of the characters.


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

    What I actually liked best was that there were several instances where I thought I had reached the end of the book - only to discover that it was another plot turn and the story continued to yet another fabulous entertaining chapter.


    Any additional comments?

    I almost didn't buy this book because it sounded too weird. What a mistake that would have been. This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read, EVER. You can read it on many levels, think about it - or not - be surprised and entertained and moved. Trust me. Get this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Assassination Vacation

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Sarah Vowell
    • Narrated By Conan O'Brien, Stephen King, Dave Eggers, and others
    Overall
    (2049)
    Performance
    (535)
    Story
    (527)

    Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other, a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.

    Rachel says: "extremely entertaining and informative"
    "Not her best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This is just not her best book - I have listened to and enjoyed all the others, but this one is not on the same level.


    What was most disappointing about Sarah Vowell’s story?

    It's OK - noone can hit a home run every time. Her other books are great.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I didn't even listen to the end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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