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Simone

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Member Since 2006

414
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 302 reviews
  • 436 ratings
  • 843 titles in library
  • 95 purchased in 2014
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59

  • The Prodigal Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (74)

    With a will of steel, Polish immigrant Florentyna Rosnovski is indeed Abel's daughter. She shares with her father a love of America, his ideals, and his dream for the future. But she wants more to be the first female president. Golden boy Richard Kane was born into a life of luxury. The scion of a banking magnate he is successful, handsome, and determined to carve his own path in the world - and to build a future with the woman he loves. With Florentyna's ultimate goal only a heartbeat away, both are about to discover the shattering price of power as a titanic battle of betrayal and deception.

    Simone says: "Not Enough Meat"
    "Not Enough Meat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was weird. I don’t mean the storyline or the plot, that was good enough, but I mean the way it was written. I felt like I was reading an outline instead of a novel.

    The first part of the book covered what we already knew from Book 1 - Kane & Abel, but from the POV of Able’s daughter Florentyna. I felt it was logical that this part of the story was told in bold strokes because it was a recap, but I didn’t realise that this segment was going to take up nearly half the book and that the almost point-form style of the writing would continue throughout.

    It’s as if the author wrote up the entire outline of the story with all the plot points in place, next he started to randomly pepper it with a little bit of dialogue here and there, he developed certain scenes in more detail, then gave up and decided to submit that as the finished product.

    I was never able to warm up to the writing style. With almost no dialogue, we only sporadically heard the character’s voice and therefore never really built an emotional connection to anyone. Consequently, I felt more annoyed by Florentyna rise to the top – it was more like: here we go again, “everything she does is winner” instead of feeling happy for her that she achieved a goal and feeling for her through her struggles to get there.

    I’m still in for book 3 and I will read it next while the story is still fresh in my mind but I really hope that the high-level almost point-form format does not continue in the next instalment!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jonas Jonasson
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1692)
    Performance
    (1512)
    Story
    (1531)

    After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash.

    Sylvia says: "Full of Surprises and Unexpected Events"
    "Delightfully Silly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book was delightfully silly - there is not much more I can say!

    I highly enjoyed this amusing little tale; the title sets the tone perfectly and the story is simply charming.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Timebound

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rysa Walker
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (838)
    Performance
    (761)
    Story
    (765)

    When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and her genetic ability to time travel makes Kate the only one who can fix the future.

    Lessa says: "Completely Enjoyed It"
    "Young Adult Ficton isn't for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really should read more background information on the books I buy before forking over the money!

    I love Time Travel stories so I naturally gravitated towards this one, but about a quarter of the way in I felt like something was lacking. I can’t say it was bad, but the story felt a little simplistic and I didn’t like the way it assumed that the audience would readily accept certain concepts without much hesitation; it all seemed too easy. “Oh you’re a time traveller, cool, ok”

    Based on the tone I started wondering if it was geared towards a Y.A. audience, and I went back to read more about the book - I discovered it was the 2013 Winner for Breakthrough Novel for Young Adult Fiction. Voila! Thought so.

    I hope that this does not sound condescending, or like I am knocking Y.A.; let’s just say the genre is just not for me... possibly because I am far from being a Young Adult!!!!!

    Still, once I readjusted my expectations, I enjoyed the ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mindscan

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (60)

    Jake Sullivan has cheated death: he's discarded his doomed biological body and copied his consciousness into an android form. The new Jake soon finds love, something that eluded him when he was encased in flesh: he falls for the android version of Karen, a woman rediscovering all the joys of life now that she too is no longer constrained by a worn-out body. Karen's son sues her, claiming that by uploading into an immortal body, she has done him out of his inheritance.

    Daphne says: "A most intriguing and disconcerting book"
    "I HEART RJS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have not yet read a Sawyer book that I haven’t absolutely LOVED, and this is a bit of a curse because my standards for his stories have therefore become impossibly high!!

    This book lived up to expectations – no question! Yet again he has come up with a riveting and original plot that had me glued to every word; I just can’t get enough!

    Another hands down hit.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Escape from Sobibor

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Richard Rashke
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (28)

    On October 14, 1943, 600 Jews imprisoned in Sobibor, a secret Nazi death camp in eastern Poland, revolted. They killed a dozen SS officers and guards, trampled the barbed wire fences, and raced across an open field filled with anti-tank mines. Against all odds, more than three hundred made it safely into the woods. Fifty of those men and women managed to survive the rest of the war. In this edition of Escape from Sobibor, fully updated in 2012, Richard Rashke tells their stories

    Dean Thomas says: "Rashke put a face to the good and the bad!"
    "Narration is distractingly bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am ¼ of the way into this book, and my opinion is exactly the same as “Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account” by Miklós Nyiszli... except perhaps I am not as vehement regarding the narration. Although the same complaints apply, I’d give it 1.5 stars instead of just 1. Still, it’s not much better.


    Here is my review of that book:

    It’s hard to criticize the content of someone’s personal recollections of what they experienced in harrowing times. It's interesting, I'm interested.

    I think these things are important to learn about and remember. In some itsy bitsy way it’s giving meaning to their lives.

    The narration of this audiobook however was so poor that sadly it’s about all I am taking away from it. Monotone, staccato, no emotion, unvarying in pitch, no intonation, mechanical… such a shame; it ruined the book for me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of Eternity: The Century Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (603)
    Performance
    (539)
    Story
    (546)

    Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

    Elisa says: "Some good, some bad"
    "Borderline Trashy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For a story I can say I liked, I have a lot of complaints.

    Something bothered me about the book… I can’t quite put my finger on it, but if I could I would have to wash it. It felt so 80s to me and I am not sure I can explain that sentiment. Is it because it was in the 80s that first read sweeping dramatic sagas written by Judith Krantz and Barbara Taylor Bradford? Normally Ken Follett’s books are great, but this one was borderline trashy.

    Here are my top 2 complaints:

    1 – It’s just too long. I didn’t feel that way with Books 1 and 2 (perhaps because the events are closer in time to my reality and therefore more interesting by default) but on so many occasions I felt like it was dragging on with pointless scenes and I often found myself wondering what was the point? It was as if he was writing just for the pleasure of it, as opposed to advancing the story.

    2 – The Sex. Dear Lord! Ken Follett just needs to write a dirty book and get it out of his system. Skimming over other reader’s reviews, I see I am in the majority on this one. It was so gratuitous and cringe-worthy that it became simply ridiculous. Every single scene winds up with someone in the sac, or talking about it, or fantasising about it, or reminiscing about it, or planning it, or being coy and alluding to how much (and how hard) they want it. I felt like the actual story was just filler to get to yet another sex scene. It was awkward after a while and extremely tiresome.

    This book could have used a strong and merciless edit to cut it down to half the length, then it would have been a page-turner!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Bless the Bride: A Molly Murphy Mystery, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (140)

    With Molly Murphy’s wedding to NYPD Captain Daniel Sullivan quickly approaching, the Irish P.I. heads to the Westchester County countryside,where Daniel’s mother can counsel her on a bride’s proper place. Surprisingly, Molly seems to be agreeing with her future mother-in-law’s advice. Molly promises to leave her detective work behind and settle down after becoming Daniel’s wife…but she isn’t married yet. So when she gets word of a possible case, Molly sneaks back into the city to squeeze in a little more sleuthing before the wedding bells can ring.

    Simone says: "Dependable “go-to series”"
    "Dependable “go-to series”"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Molly Murphy Books have turned into default reads for me, which is good and bad.

    Good – well, because the stories are good! I know in advance I will like them and can reach for the next installment of the series with confidence knowing I won’t be disappointed.

    Bad – because I am running out of available titles!! This was Book 10 so I only have 11, 12 and 13 left (which I will blow through in no time) and then I will have to wait until the titles are released before reading more. Book 14 is only due out in 2015.

    This is also how I felt when I finished all the titles in Sue Grafton’s alphabet series: going from a new title whenever the mood strikes, to waiting years between installment.

    I like having a dependable “go-to series”; you’re never at a loss for something good to read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11004)
    Performance
    (10255)
    Story
    (10260)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "The Ultimate Video / Role Playing Game!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a sucker for a good idea and I was so interested in this one that is was easy to overlook the book’s short comings. It’s too long and many of the scenes are too drawn out; a good editing would have helped! Still, I found the story so novel and original that I was hooked from the start.

    I can see how if you are of a certain age (under 25) many of the 80s references would sail right over your head, I was born in the early 70s so I am the perfect age for the target audience. In addition to being a unique story, it was an extremely entertaining walk down memory lane.

    Great fun!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard C. Morais
    • Narrated By Neil Shah
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (884)
    Performance
    (811)
    Story
    (803)

    Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps.

    Marci says: "Great details & writing in a flawed story"
    "It was alright, I didn’t love it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book felt like a comedy to me (a boring comedy by the end) and I am not entirely sure it was supposed to. I was not really taken by any of the characters and therefore my interest was not captivated as the story plotted along.

    I just read it because it was on sale and there is a movie coming out; I’m in for seeing the movie because Helen Mirren is excellent in everything she does so I know I will be entertained. I suspect most of the movie will center around the part of the story when Hassan and his family moved in across the street from Madame Mallory; the rest of the book doesn’t have as much meat so I can’t imagine an entire movie!

    The narration was a “fail” for me. I’ve said this a million times, but my biggest audio-book pet peeve is a narrator who doesn’t have a handle on foreign languages. While I am in no position to comment on his Indian (sounded plausible to me) I can unequivocally say the French was terrible. I have zero tolerance anymore for that kind of thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Dan McMillan
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The Holocaust is the defining event of the twentieth century and perhaps all of modern history. Yet for too long, we have ignored the vital question of how and why such a monstrous event could have happened at all. Now, in How Could This Happen, historian Dan McMillan distills the existing Holocaust research into a cogent explanation of the genocide’s causes, revealing how a once progressive society like Germany could commit murder on such a massive scale.

    Simone says: "The Ultimate Unanswerable Question"
    "The Ultimate Unanswerable Question"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There just isn’t an answer... and I think that’s part of what makes it such an intriguing subject to learn about. It just boggles the mind. It’s scary to think that something like this is possible – still possible; call me a cynic but I don’t think humanity is immune from a repeat.

    Paraphrasing myself from another book review: Institutionalized racism is insidious. What starts off as a guideline (often times misguided) for the alleged benefit of the community can quickly devolve into an us versus them mentally, pitting people against each other and stirring up violence and hatred and intolerance. It scares me how people don’t see a slippery slope when it’s staring them in the face. Charter of Values in Quebec anyone?

    This book presents a lot of interesting ideas of how culture and history mixed over the years to create the right conditions for the Holocaust, and it does puts forward some very plausible causes, but in the end I think it’s the ultimate unanswerable question.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Narrated By Mirron Willis
    Overall
    (405)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (293)

    In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out of planethood. Far from the sun, tiny, and eccentric in orbit, it's a wonder Pluto has any fans. Yet during the mounting debate over Pluto's status, Americans rallied behind the extraterrestrial underdog.

    John says: "A Great Value"
    "Just as Expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I only bought it because it was on sale for 2$ and I got my money’s worth. If you like pop-astronomy you’ll be interested; if you don’t, you won’t.

    Over all it was dry, but because it was short it wasn’t so bad. Some boring parts, some interesting factoids….

    I don’t have a whole lot to say on this one!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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