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  • Rules of Civility: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Amor Towles
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising 25-year-old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

    Emily - Audible says: "Like a Country Pastoral for City Rats"
    "Much better than the editor/publisher indicate"
    Any additional comments?

    In the Audible Editor's review and the Publisher's review, Katy Kontent is portrayed as a scheming, wise-cracking social climbing legal secretary in the 1930s. I must have read a different book. Yes she is looking for a better life and she is socializing in the upper echelons of New York society but that seems to be more by circumstance than design. Maybe the editors were judging her by the company she keeps but in doing so, they missed the boat.

    Kontent is a legal secretary from a Russian immigrant background who has a far more insightful, thoughtful view of life than the empty socialites in her crowd. In that context she is a far more interesting character than portrayed.

    This is one of the best books on tape I've purchased. It was beautifully written and narrated and I found it surprising that one reviewer dismissed it as "overwrought" - I disagree completely with that assessment. The imagery is beautiful and while some of the dialogue between her socialite friends is a bit superficial and silly, it was probably very accurate for that time in history and was a perfect frame for Kontent's own quiet and thoughtful demeanor.

    Absolutely one of the best books I've "read" in years.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "Your teen will love it. You will roll your eyes."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I bought this because I have a long commute with my teenagers and thought they would enjoy it. They did. I did not. My teenagers enjoyed it so much that I've bought the other two books in the series. We just finished the second and I don't think I can force myself to listen to the third, so it's going on the iPad for them to listen to on their own.

    The book's premise is silly. It's based in a walled off Chicago where society is set up into 5 factions. All the people in each faction are supposed to have one dimensional lives. They all live in a world lacking any sort of happiness. The food is bad, they live in institutional settings, even the relationships are marked by anger and very little love. Getting a tattoo is really cool. Having passionate arguments with your boyfriend so you can kiss and make up is really cool. Being tortured and living through it is really cool. Sigh…

    Apparently the reason for this societal division will be more thoroughly explained in the last book but I've now lost interest. Of course the 5 factions hate each other and the war that eventually erupts makes you hope they'll all kill each other off. The protagonist Tris is alternately cooing in love over her boyfriend and being physically assaulted in her quest to be the hero, save everyone, save herself and get back to groping her boyfriend. She is constantly having her head smacked against a concrete wall, her shoulder wrenched, her arm half torn off, shot, stabbed - you name it. You end up thinking that you wish someone would just kill her with an axe and get it over with already.

    Throughout the book, I found myself being unable to control the "You are an IDIOT" or "Oh how RIDICULOUS!" remarks that just came flying out of my mouth - to the great irritation of my daughter. If your kids would like it, buy it and let them listen to it. Don't torture yourself with it.

    What do you think your next listen will be?

    We are going to listen to audio versions of some of the lit they've read this year at school as a refresher for up coming exams. They need it and I'll enjoy it. On our beach trip I'm going to look for something we can both enjoy. Something light.

    Would you be willing to try another one of Emma Galvin’s performances?

    Oh good Lord no. I think I might have been able to tolerate this book if it hadn't been for the narration. All of the dialogue - I mean all of it - is spoken with either anger, sarcasm or truculence. You feel like you're listening to several hours of an angry whiney child berate her friends. Even my children thought the narrator was terrible. I really might have actually liked Tris if it hadn't been for the narrator. UGH!

    Do you think Divergent needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Well, it has two follow up books but it shouldn't have. They should have killed everyone off in the first book.

    Any additional comments?

    Meh. There is better teen lit out there. Fault in our Stars, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, etc.

    2 of 2 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

    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.

    Jeanne says: "A Wonderful Listen!"
    "A little overwrought, exaggerated southern accents"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. It was marginally entertaining, had moments of humor but being a southerner, I was irritated by the exaggerated southern accents. The story starts out with a little girl who has a mentally ill mother. She ends up going to live with her great aunt in Savannah and from that point on, it's saccharine.

    Would you be willing to try another book from Beth Hoffman? Why or why not?

    Probably not. She has a heavy hand with metaphors and her idea of what it means to be a southerner is silly.

    What three words best describe Jenna Lamia’s voice?

    She did a pretty good job. She worked hard to give everyone a different accent so you could tell all these southern belles apart, but for a couple of the characters, she got them all wrong. For example, the headmistress of the private school had a distinctly redneck accent.

    Could you see Saving Ceecee Honeycutt being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Maybe a Hallmark movie. Or straight to video.

    Any additional comments?

    It's a pretty good story but all the sweetness and light almost put me into insulin overload.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Etiquette & Espionage: Finishing School, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Gail Carriger
    • Narrated By Moira Quirk

    Fourteen-year old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. More interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea - and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy - Mrs. Temminnick is desperate her daughter become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

    But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish all right - but it's a different kind of finishing.

    Lynne Phelps says: "Fans of the Parasol Protectorate, Rejoice!"
    "I didn't realize it was a book for children/teens"
    What made the experience of listening to Etiquette & Espionage the most enjoyable?

    That it was a combination of Harriet the Spy and Harry Potter with a dash of Sense & Sensibility. I can't say it was more than the sum of its parts, though. As an adult, I was disappointed. I probably would have enjoyed it as a 12 - 14 year old.

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The parallels with Harry Potter - wayward child going off to odd school with odd characters - was a little too much.

    What does Moira Quirk bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Very enthusiastic. The french accents were annoying. Would probably keep kids/teens interested however.

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

    Harriet the Spy meets Harry Potter.

    Any additional comments?

    It's a cute book. I guess I didn't read the description well, because it's really more suited for kids and teens. It doesn't match up to Harry Potter or Harriet the Spy but it was a fun listen. For adults I'd rate it a 2. For kids, higher.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Forgotten Affairs of Youth: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the eighth installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling Isabel Dalhousie series, the inquisitive heroine helps a new friend discover the identity of her father. Jane, a visiting Australian philosopher on sabbatical in Edinburgh, has more questions than answers. Adopted at the age of six, she knows little about her father, other than he was a student in Edinburgh years ago. Always up for a challenge, Isabel is more than happy to help.

    glamazon says: "Smitten by Smith once again!"
    Would you listen to The Forgotten Affairs of Youth again? Why?

    Listening to one of the Isabel Dalhousie books is a great way to step away from stress when life becomes too rushed. Yes the book contains a large number of passages where Isabel contemplates "right vs. wrong", but I believe that is part of what makes this series of books enjoyable. Most of the time life does not give us time to think about these issues ourselves and these passages are uplifting, not judgmental. The only person Isabel "judges" on these issues is herself. It is refreshing to hear discussions of right vs. wrong from an author that is presented in a light context without preaching.

    If you’ve listened to books by Alexander McCall Smith before, how does this one compare?

    This is probably one of my favorites so far, but I have listened to only a few.

    What about Davina Porter’s performance did you like?

    Loved her accent and expression. Her voice makes me want to visit Scotland again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Litigators

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The incomparable master of the legal thriller takes us deeper into the labyrinth that is the American justice system, always drawing us in with an irresistible hook, pulling the thread of tension tighter and tighter, and then knocking us out with a conclusion that's never "by the book". Maybe that's why, after more than 20 years of consecutive number-one New York Times best sellers, a new novel by America's favorite storyteller is still a major publishing event.

    Amazon Customer says: "Typical Grisham, entertaining"
    "Fun light story."

    The story is entertaining. I listened to it on a long day of driving and when I arrived home, there were only a few chapters left. I walked into the house, put on my earphones and threatened the children with death if they didn't let me finish it.

    The character development was on the light side. I liked the protagonist but I didn't really form any kind of strong feelings one way or another. Findley and Figg were buffoons but entertaining. Kind of. There were a lot of good laughs.

    It's a fun story and will keep you entertained on a long drive but it's not that deep. If you're looking for a thought provoking novel on tort reform you won't get it here. But the next time you see a television ad for lawyers on television or on the side of a bus, you will laugh and remember this book.

    The narrator was pretty good but he didn't significantly change his voice for each character so if you like that kind of narration you won't find it here. But honestly, sometimes that's preferable to the screechy histrionics of some narrators.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Burnt Mountain

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Anne Rivers Siddons
    • Narrated By Kate Reading

    Growing up, the only place tomboy Thayer Wentworth felt at home was at her summer camp - Camp Sherwood Forest in the North Carolina Mountains. It was there that she came alive and where she met Nick Abrams, her first love...and first heartbreak.

    A User says: "Not so great"
    "Histrionic and weak"

    Thayer Wentworth O'Neill (sp?) has less gumption than any character in literature. She does very little but cry. In one of her crying jags, as an adult, she's shrieking and screaming "I want my momma!" even though her mother is (of course) pure evil.

    She is supremely irritating. The plot (if that's what it is) is silly.

    Don't bother.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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