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Karen

living in los angeles I drive a lot, so audio books save me from a lot of frustration!

los angeles, CA, United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
179
REVIEWS
33
FOLLOWING
96
FOLLOWERS
14
HELPFUL VOTES
63

  • Freedom: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jonathan Franzen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3474)
    Performance
    (1195)
    Story
    (1200)

    Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world.

    Lawrence says: "Believe the Hype"
    "I just didn't get it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe it went over my head. The only thing that surprised me about this book was how much sex there was, since so many contemporary authors don't even bother with it. Of course, this being Franzen, the sex was not enjoyable to read, being a lot of pathetic, compulsive masturbation, men being led by their d---ks and people so caught up in their own misery and self consciousness that they can't enjoy it. This is my biggest problem with Franzen's writing -- he very much dislikes/holds at a distance/tortures his characters. So why should I care about them? However, after slogging through, albeit skimming a bit, the ending did get to me, but maybe it was due to the sheer relief that it was over.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Hampton Sides
    • Narrated By Hampton Sides
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (393)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (185)

    On April 23, 1967, Prisoner #416J, an inmate at the notorious Missouri State Penitentiary, escaped in a breadbox. Fashioning himself Eric Galt, this nondescript thief and con man - whose real name was James Earl Ray -drifted through the South, into Mexico, and then Los Angeles, where he was galvanized by George Wallace's racist presidential campaign. With relentless storytelling drive, Sides follows Galt and King as they crisscross the country, one stalking the other, until the crushing moment at the Lorraine Motel.

    E. L. Robertson says: "Who Knew"
    "Stranger than fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had forgotten so much about the hunt for an MLK's killer that reading this was truly eye opening. Highly recommended with many twists and turns and interesting historical details--Like the fact that several wealthy Klan Organizations had bounties placed on MLK's head, and how J. Edgar Hoover, who hated King and had tried to get him to commit suicide, was then was placed in charge of finding his killer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Round House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Louise Erdrich
    • Narrated By Gary Farmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1026)
    Performance
    (874)
    Story
    (873)

    One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and 13-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

    Melinda says: "Heavy in My Heart"
    "Suspenseful, funny, and haunting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of my favorites for the year. It's an amazing coming of age story, a good mystery, and an interesting and deep portrait of reservation life with elements of magical realism. What more could you ask for in a novel? She deserved the National Book Award.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Barbara Demick
    • Narrated By Karen White
    Overall
    (1590)
    Performance
    (1001)
    Story
    (1006)

    Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years - a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung and the unchallenged rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape never before seen, Demick brings to life what it means to be an average Korean citizen, living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today.

    Gohar says: "The man who wants to be GOD"
    "The Hunger Games for real!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Foraging for wild greens, forbidden love, separation, prison camps and brainwashing. This reads like a dystopian novel and although it gets tough at times, you know that since their stories are being told, the people in this novel eventually escaped. Truly mind blowing and highly recommended.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Kind Words: A Terrier Rand Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Tom Piccirilli
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    From award-winning author Tom Piccirilli comes a wholly original crime novel introducing the Rands, a vipers' nest of crooks and cons, one generation stealing from the next. Upon the razor-thin edge between love and violence lives a pair of brothers, their bonds frayed by betrayals and guilt, their loyalty to each other their last salvation. Raised to pick a pocket before he could walk, Terry Rand cut free from his family after his older brother, Collie, went on a senseless killing spree that left eight dead.

    Michael Kitto says: "The Last Kind Words"
    "Not the mystery I was expecting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has almost zero twists or turns. It is a character study of a family of criminals, and not a deep one at that. I had to force myself to get to the end to see if there was something I missed, but even the ending was disappointing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Deception

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Denise Mina
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    From Scotland's most exciting up-and-coming mystery novelist comes a story of Lachlan Harriot, a man who refuses to believe his wife, Susie, is a killer, even though she had been working with Andrew Gow, a paroled serial killer, as his court-appointed psychologist, when she was found covered in blood near the spot where his and his wife's bodies were discovered. Desperate to clear his wife's name, Lachlan searches her home office for proof of her innocence.

    Julie Campbell says: "Realistic and riveting"
    "Tried but could not finish!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a strange book. It was in diary form where all the action takes place in someone else's life as the narrator figures out a mystery in his own extremely desultory way. There was no danger or suspense and I had to put it down. I'm sure this author has written better books.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • People of the Book

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Geraldine Brooks
    • Narrated By Edwina Wren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1042)
    Performance
    (495)
    Story
    (488)

    This ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in 15th-century Spain.

    When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding - an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair - only begin to unlock its deep mysteries.

    Yvette says: "Amazing, fabulous, wonderful!!!"
    "Could not get pass the horrible narration!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave this book a good shot by listening to over half of it, but still was not drawn in by the writing and the narration was absolutely distracting to no end.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Ghosts of Belfast

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Stuart Neville
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1084)
    Performance
    (473)
    Story
    (474)

    Fegan has been a "hard man" - an IRA killer in Northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by 12 ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he's going to have to kill the men who gave him orders. As he's working his way down the list, he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too.

    David P. McGivern says: "What an unexpected good read!"
    "Had to put it down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although the writing and the narration was good, the story just did not hook me. It seemed too predictable, but I have high hopes for this author.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mistress of the Art of Death: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Ariana Franklin
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1063)
    Performance
    (337)
    Story
    (337)

    In medieval England, four children have been murdered, and the townsfolk blame their Jewish neighbors. The doctor chosen to investigate is a woman, Adelia. As she examines the victims and retraces their last steps, she must conceal her true identity in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she's assisted by Sir Rowley Picot, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. A former Crusader knight, Rowley may be a needed friend - or the fiend for whom they are searching.

    Irenehope says: "History-Mystery of the Year & its only March"
    "Couldn't finish it, but...maybe it's just me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had trouble caring about the story and the character to the point where I skipped many chapters and jumped to the end. There, I was quite surprised that the book had turned into a romance that reminded me of the Outlander series, which I couldn't get though either.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (17682)
    Performance
    (15722)
    Story
    (15675)

    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"
    "Not a King fan, but he kept me listening!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought the book bogged down in the middle and Craig Wasson read the book so slowly that at times I turned it up to double speed. However, there's no mystery why King sells so many books. I guess in the end, I would have liked a more complex plot and characters, but, I did cry...

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel of North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Adam Johnson
    • Narrated By Tim Kang, Josiah D. Lee, James Kyson Lee, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1129)
    Performance
    (980)
    Story
    (989)

    Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother - a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang - and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

    Lisa says: "The most compelling listen I've ever owned"
    "THE DARK SIDE OF CASABLANCA"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This insanely unique novel is hard to describe. Its a literary thriller, a modern-day Casablanca, a character study and a unrelenting bleak and painful portrait of a Country (North Korea) where people are forced to live according to a script written by their sadistic leader, and one wrong word could land you in a prison camp. The pace doesn't let up for a moment as the author explores the effects of constant propaganda, deprivation, and the pain of having to hide your true self or risk torture or death. He weaves his story around a man who starts out in an orphanage, becomes a spy, a kidnapper, and ultimately, an imposter who takes on Kim Jong Il. It's beautifully written, brutally realistic and definitely not for the squeamish.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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