Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 

You no longer follow Michele

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Michele

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Michele

I'm a designer (interiors and graphics) with an English degree. I recovered my love of reading after a disastrous bout with grad school.

SEATTLE, WA, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
52
REVIEWS
36
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
29
HELPFUL VOTES
200

  • This Is How You Lose Her

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Junot Díaz
    • Narrated By Junot Díaz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (403)
    Performance
    (348)
    Story
    (354)

    The stories in This Is How You Lose Her, by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts. They capture the heat of new passion, the recklessness with which we betray what we most treasure, and the torture we go through - "the begging, the crawling over glass, the crying" - to try to mend what we've broken beyond repair. They recall the echoes that intimacy leaves behind, even where we thought we did not care.

    josh says: "Good collection of short stories"
    "Bad Boys"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yunior (Diaz's alter ego) is doggiest of dogs: a compulsive womanizer, he nonetheless falls in love with one serious, ambitious woman after another, each of whom eventually leaves him with not a glance back. He suffers greatly -- the last story in the collection features a Job-like catalog of sufferings -- but also energetically, hilariously, floridly. Reading this book reminded me that depression is an intensely active state. Yunior is flailing and drowning in his own misery and chaos, but also in the misery and chaos of his history, that of his fellow Dominicans and of the immigrant experience. And he's also glorying in it, with an acuity of observation and a jazz-like ecstasy of description that is profane, filthy, funny and beautiful. He's a mess, and he's a searching mess. Diaz touches upon many possible sources of Yunior's dysfunction, but is too shrewd and humane to manufacture insight, to tie it up with a bow and present it to Yunior or to the reader. You don't want to do more than touch, lightly, bruises so fresh and deep.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Anna Quindlen
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (472)
    Performance
    (408)
    Story
    (405)

    Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

    Jen says: "Exceeded My High Expectations"
    "A Gentrified Harlequin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book got an unqualified rave in the New York Times Book Review. I was led to expect a wry, tough-minded, light-hearted, clear-eyed look at the plight of a single, sixty-year-old artist and her world.

    Not so! Stuffed with clunky stereotypes, improbable coincidences and dubious epiphanies, this book gives "chick lit" its reputation for triviality. Our heroine, Rebecca, is tall and effortlessly slender, like any romance novel heroine, except much more tastefully dressed -- black everything, straight un-dyed hair and no makeup, which I suppose is meant to signal her stature as a serious artist. (This is the first wrong note: If Nora Ephron taught us anything, it's that sixty for women is nothing if not relentless grooming). It has been twenty years since her divorce, but she chews over this old failure endlessly, with no apparent insight: her ex-husband is portrayed in terms so exclusively negative I half-expected him to start twirling a pair of mustachios. The village in which she finds herself has an equally manichean populace: one is either good and simple (the baker) or cruel and incompetent (the baker's husband). Our heroine's love interest is a rough-hewn, straight-talking man's man, who spends an awful lot of time setting a good example and threatening the folks who won't follow it. Lest you excuse him as just the male counterpart of Rebecca, acquiring the habit of warning kids off his lawn, he's much much younger than she. And an environmentalist. And, true to the romance genre, he has a Secret Sorrow, which provides the pivot on which this creaky tale balances. So careless is the plot that at one point I thought perhaps Rebecca was going to be revealed, thrillingly, as not an artist, but a dimwit: she writes a crucial letter to her love, but never sends it, because she does not know his address. Though she HAS been to his house, which is just down the road. And he's been faithfully plowing her drive all winter.

    The author has some good descriptions of the domestic woes of a young mother, and has a sharp eye for the customs and citizens of high culture: I found myself wishing Rebecca would stay in this world and fight for her work. It would have been a truer, and harder-won, victory. But instead, I think we can confidently expect a middling Hollywood movie, starring Diane Lane or Julianna Margulies, with whoever is taking over Viggo Mortensen's roles as the younger hunk.

    I now picture the NYT reviewer: well-educated, well-connected, in head-to-toe Eileen Fisher, who would never be caught with anything like Fabio on the cover of a book she reads, but who nonetheless yearns for Romance. The cover is completely respectable -- you can carry it without shame on the subway -- but the goods within are shoddy indeed.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2308)
    Performance
    (2064)
    Story
    (2046)

    Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meet - in person - the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isn’t Turner behind the CO’s desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about.

    DMT says: "My favorite Reacher story yet"
    "A Tired Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No one loved Jack Reacher more than I did, at least for the first 6 or 7 installments. The plots were taut and unexpected, our hero intriguing and the wit as dry as the Mojave. But these wonderful books have devolved into self-parody. This novel has a ridiculous plot -- with such risible features as an inflight brawl in an airplane restroom. As if two small people could fit in one of those, much less the Frigidaire-sized Reacher and his opponent! Also, Reacher has theories about himself that involve campfires and howling wolves and he's happy to share them. The mystery of Reacher's stunning fitness (the man eats pancakes and cheeseburgers exclusively, logs countless hours riding around in cars and never so much as skims a gym contract) is explained, basically, as "born this way". I am very very sorry to be unable to recommend this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Tenth of December: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By George Saunders
    • Narrated By George Saunders
    Overall
    (456)
    Performance
    (403)
    Story
    (412)

    One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, "Victory Lap", a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In "Home", a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned.

    Molly-o says: "I could never have known"
    "Head and Heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Saunders is a formalist who loves to play with form. He is also funny, also witty. His characters are put through excruciating trials. They are often not bright. They are very earnest. Their relatives and bosses are often not bright, and are often also earnest. Everyone in these stories is suspended somewhere below the middle of a brutal pecking order.

    But unlike other sardonic cool guys who are better and smarter than their characters (I'm looking at you, Sam Lipsyte), Saunders is not cruel. In fact, these stories are suffused with empathy and tenderness. Even while admiring some amazing feat of form or concept, I often found myself, halted on my morning walk, in tears for these characters.

    I've only read Saunders in the occasional story he publishes in the The New Yorker, and have always relished their strange richness. A whole book of these stories is quite a bit more rich, and strange, so I listened to just one or two at a time. Not just because there's a lot to think about, but because there's also a lot to feel about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Affair: A Jack Reacher Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3341)
    Performance
    (2761)
    Story
    (2767)

    Everything starts somewhere. For elite military cop Jack Reacher, that somewhere was Carter Crossing, Mississippi, way back in 1997. A young woman is dead, and solid evidence points to a soldier at a nearby military base. But that soldier has powerful friends in Washington. Reacher is ordered undercover - to find out everything he can, to control the local police, and then to vanish. Reacher is a good soldier. But when he gets to Carter Crossing, he finds layers no one saw coming, and the investigation spins out of control. Local sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux has a thirst for justice - and an appetite for secrets.

    Melinda says: ""All Aboard!""
    "Lee Child, treading water"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My husband and I are big fans of this series, and enjoy listening to these books on long car rides, partly because every Jack Reacher novel involves a lot of time on the road, a lot of coffee and a lot of cheeseburgers. This book, however, is practically a parody of a Jack Reacher novel. Child reports every event, no matter how trivial, in three different ways in three successive sentences (including three entire sentences describing a shirt button) -- it becomes a strangely Dr. Seuss-like tic. And, had I bought this book the year it came out, I would immediately have nominated it for the Worst Sex Scene of the year: it goes on and on in hilariously flat-footed, repetitive and charmless detail. We listened to it for what seemed like 15 minutes, feeling more and more as if this whole scene is just none of our business, when my husband said chirpily, "Well, more coffee, anyone?!?" and we just fast-forwarded through it.

    And I might as well bring up the Great Mystery of Jack Reacher. Reacher is described as being built along the lines of an upright freezer, with fists of granite, the reaction time of a cobra and the speed of a gazelle. But all he does is drive around, eat cheeseburgers and drink coffee. I've read several hundred of these now, and the guy has not so much as taken a jog around the block or lifted a pink 2 lb. barbell. How does he maintain his boyish figure?

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rod: The Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Rod Stewart
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (104)

    Rod Stewart was born the working class son of a Scottish plumber in north London. Despite some early close shaves with a number of diverse career paths ranging from gravedigging to professional soccer, it was music that truly captured his heart - and he never looked back. Rod’s is an incredible life, and here - thrillingly and for the first time - he tells the entire thing, leaving no knickers under the bed. A rollicking rock ’n’ roll adventure that is at times deeply moving, this is the remarkable journey of a guy with one hell of a voice - and one hell of a head of hair.

    Ninotchka says: "If you think he's sexy - or not - give it a go!"
    "Jack the Lad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you have ever wondered what the British term "Jack the Lad" means (as in, "I was very much Jack-the-lad in my twenties"), this book provides an extended definition. It means behaving like Rod Stewart, who has managed to maintain the stance for nigh unto seventy years. Rod (or his ghostwriter) has shaped an amusing, self-deprecating, lively narrative, long on anecdote and short on self-reflection, that rolls merrily along and does not overstay its welcome. Nor does it peer too closely into the darker corners of rock stardom, or the prolonged adolescence of its hero. Why should it? Rod the Mod is, he reminds us, an entertainer first and foremost. Looking round at his generational cohort, and their success at re-packaging their lives as beacons of boomers' youth (Pete Townshend, Keith Richards and Neil Young are a few who have had successful memoirs lately), he may well have decided to cash in. It's not even irritating when he fetches up at the end with an earnest tease for ... a new album, coming out this spring. Exasperating, but part of the bad-boy charm.

    One of the (perhaps) unintentional running gags in this memoir is Mr. Stewart's persistent habit of marrying/having children by a tall, blonde underwear model. I use the singular because I googled Britt Ekland, Alana Stewart, Kelly Emberg, Rachel Hunter and Penny Lancaster and they all look exactly alike. One hopes all those kids take after their mothers.

    The narrator, Simon Vance, deserves a special shout-out for conveying exactly the right tone without being intrusive. I am most used to listening to Mr. Vance as I make my way through Anthony Trollope's vast oeuvre, so to find him here amid amps and microphones was both funny and reassuring.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dressed for Death

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (148)
    Story
    (147)

    Commissario Guido Brunetti's hopes for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera--a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the corpse but is met with a wall of silence. He then receives a telephone call from a contact who promises some tantalizing information.

    Tom says: "marvelous duo"
    "Meh!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Donna Leon's series has been so highly recommended by so many people for so long that I finally downloaded this book. I found the first half to be very slow-moving, as Leon carefully seeded her plot with clues, red herrings and domestic details. The villains were almost immediately identified, and painted with a very broad brush; the murder "twist" was quickly obvious; the observations on Venetian life only moderately interesting. Then the second half just kind of stumbled to a conclusion. Leon seems very impressed with the decency of her decent characters, which gives the book an odd air of self-satisfaction.

    But perhaps it's the narration I found the most off-putting. The narrator is American, so the descriptive bits feel quite transparent to this listener. But, if every single one of your characters is Italian, why adopt an Italian accent in the dialogue? It's not as if we need to distinguish among nationalities (as we did in Neal Stephenson's "Reamde", for instance, or Jess Walter's "Beautiful Ruins"). It puts an unnecessary distance between the listener and the characters, as if they are "colorful characters" rather than people.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Live by Night

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (281)
    Performance
    (233)
    Story
    (239)

    Boston, 1926. The ‘20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city's most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.

    Richard Delman says: "Lehane shows off his skills."
    "Not for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been reading laudatory reviews of Mr. Lehane's work for years, and have enjoyed listening to interviews with him on NPR. And I love gangster movies and noir thrillers. But this was just not for me. This book traverses a queasy tightrope between the sentimental and the horrific, with not much in between. When I wasn't annoyed at the tough-guy codes (concealing deep and lardy emotions), I was dreading the next revolting description of physical torture. At about hour two, I decided I just wasn't enjoying it: not the plot, not the characters and not the writing.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Silver: Return to Treasure Island

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Andrew Motion
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    In the eastern reaches of the Thames lies the Hispaniola, an inn kept by Jim Hawkins and his son. Late one night, a mysterious girl named Natty arrives on the river with a request for Jim from her father - Long John Silver. Aged and weak, but still possessing a strange power, the pirate proposes Jim and Natty sail to Treasure Island in search of Captain Flint's hidden bounty. But the thrill of the ocean odyssey gives way to terror as the Nightingale reaches its destination, for it seems Treasure Island is not as uninhabited as it once was....

    Michele says: "An Enchanting Idea"
    "An Enchanting Idea"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is so beautifully conceived and beautifully written -- astonishing imagery coupled with shrewd insight -- that I ran out and bought a HARDBOUND copy for my sister! The son of Jim Hawkins and the daughter of Long John Silver set off for treasure, just as their fathers did, and, like their fathers, end up in the land of mature experience, a treasure in itself. If there is a fault, it is that it devolves into mere action adventure at the very end (keeping an eye on a Disney franchise?). But on the way it delivers some very thoughtful entertainment.

    Special praise goes to the narrator, David Tennant, for providing excellent characterizations for a large cast -- not too broad, not too dry.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Treasure Island

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (120)
    Story
    (120)

    The narrator of this timeless adventure story is the lad, Jim Hawkins, whose mother keeps the Admiral Benbow, an inn on the west coast of England in the 18th century. An old buccaneer takes up residence at the inn. He has in his sea chest a map to the hiding place of Captain Flint's treasure. A gang of cutthroats are determined to get his treasure map, and - led by the sinister, blind pirate, Pew - descend on the inn.

    Michele says: "Always a pleasure"
    "Always a pleasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is always a pleasure, at least for the reader, to revisit Treasure Island. Stevenson billed it as a "boy's book", but it is more than that. The hero, Jim Hawkins, IS a boy, and has all of a boy's heedless impulsiveness, and none of an adult's analysis or judgment. But Stevenson, using Jim as his narrator, manages his characters so shrewdly that the reader can analyze and judge far beyond Jim's ability. It's an interesting feat: Jim is by no means an unreliable narrator, but the adult reader sees much more than Jim does. I enjoy the squire and the doctor much more than I did when I was young, now that I am their age and have many friends with both their failings and their virtues. And Long John Silver retains both his insinuating charm, and terrifying malevolence.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.