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Tina

Novato, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

106
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 24 reviews
  • 753 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 83 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
8

  • Listening Is an Act of Love

    • ABRIDGED (55 mins)
    • By Dave Isay
    • Narrated By Dave Isay
    Overall
    (1615)
    Performance
    (1351)
    Story
    (1360)

    Drawn from the work of StoryCorps, the largest and most ambitious private oral history project in American history, comes this tapestry of the stories Americans have been sharing from their lives to leave behind to their loved ones.

    Debra says: "Touching"
    "Do NOT listen to this in the car!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You have been warned. I nearly caused several accidents and finally had to turn off this collection until I got home.

    You see, you are going to be bawling. Tears of incredible joy. You won't be able to help yourself. In fact, I dare you not to. And if you do not cry, you just might not have a heart; best see a doctor.

    This is an incredibly moving collection of conversations, recollections, tributes, and memories. Of ordinary, extraordinary people. God bless the StoryCorps, and all of the beautiful stories it is collecting. What a treasure.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Baking Cakes in Kigali

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Gaile Parkin
    • Narrated By Adenrele Ojo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    Once in a great while a debut novelist comes along who dazzles us with rare eloquence and humanity, who takes us to bold new places and into previously unimaginable lives. Gaile Parkin is just such a talent and Baking Cakes in Kilgali is just such a novel. This gloriously written tale, set in modern-day Rwanda, introduces one of the most singular and engaging characters in recent fiction: Angel Tungaraza; mother, cake baker, keeper of secrets, a woman living on the edge of chaos.

    Tina says: "Wonderful slice of life in modern Africa"
    "Wonderful slice of life in modern Africa"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Finished last night on the way home. The reader did a marvelous job with the many characters and accents!

    Absolutely lovely slice of life in modern Africa (the Rwandan city of Kigali), in a series of vignettes that unfold as people come to Angel to order a cake for some occasion in their lives. From the wife of the Tanzanian minister, to American aid workers and educators, a Rwandan soldier who was pressed into the conflict as a boy, an Indian professor and his germaphobe wife, Kenyans, South Africans, and more, you get a sense of the polyglot nature of the city, a soft-focus picture of what all of these people have witnessed, and a sense of the hope and renewal they are feeling.

    Angel herself, not well-educated but with an instinctive wisdom, plays consultant, matchmaker, peacemaker, negotiator of water bills, and mother to her five orphaned grandchildren, as well as the rest of her neighborhood. She doesn't seem to realize that she is the beloved center of her community.

    I loved the humor and tone of this book, and the chance to see into Africa in this way. I loved the snippets of languages (people in Kigali, even the least educated, speak multiple languages at least in part, in order to interact). There is Swahili, Kenyawandan, English, French, Africaans, and a host of funny-sweet-sensible colloquialisms which are easily understood, such as Angel's assurance to her clients of confidentiality "because I am a Professional Somebody."

    And there is cooking! Each of Angel's cakes is as unique as the person who ordered it. The family's excitement over scoring a bag of freshly-caught grasshoppers, and preparation of them for an evening feast (remove the legs, boil for a few minutes, then coat and fry) reminds me of a soft-shell crab or shrimp fry in the U.S. and actually made me want to try them.

    Eye-opening, rewarding read and an enjoyable treat. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Art Forger

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By B. A. Shapiro
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (901)
    Performance
    (788)
    Story
    (789)

    Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting - a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum - in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire's studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery. Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.

    Cynthia says: "The Art Forger"
    "Painting intrigue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Highly enjoyable whodunit, howdunit, wasitdun plot, powered by some excellent bits of art history, and the techniques of forgery.

    The romance was a bit flat, but all of the art stuff was fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blackout

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2125)
    Performance
    (1374)
    Story
    (1382)

    In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

    Monica says: "Double review - Blackout and All Clear"
    "Cliffhanger!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I protest, ARGH, boo, durnit, it's a cliffhanger!! Why didn't somebody warn me?!

    Of course it's good stuff; it's Connie Willis. We've got three historians stranded in England in WWII, mostly in the middle of the blitz, with their time-travel portals out of commission. Slowly, slowly, wounded or burdened or hampered by the privations and inconveniences of war, they are making their way toward each other. And just as they come together, still wondering what is wrong with the drop portals, another historian comes through a fresh drop site in St Paul's underground station. Bombs begin to hit all around him...

    and the book concludes, telling you to go get the next one, All Clear.

    Katherine Kellgren is a marvelous reader, but the recording quality has her a bit shrill; I'm wishing there were bass/treble adjustments on my mp3 player to compensate.

    If I had known that I'd spend 18 hours building to a cliffhanger, when I can't get the next book for weeks, I would have planned differently. I could not be more frustrated than just at the moment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3018)
    Performance
    (2651)
    Story
    (2678)

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "Brilliant but unlovable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it's really well-written social satire and dark comedy, and on the other, it's like women who wear unrelieved black all the time. You wish they'd throw a bright scarf over it sometimes, to lighten things up.

    Book clubs would love this one; much to discuss. The very smallness of the concerns of self-satisfied small-town residents, NIMBY, generational gaps in understanding, the way she NAILED teen attitudes and obsessions, and the nuances of marriage and other relationships.

    I didn't love it, but it certainly was a GOOD book. If you know what I mean.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Leonardo and the Last Supper

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Ross King
    • Narrated By Mark Meadows
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    Milan, 1496 and 44-year-old Leonardo da Vinci is in a state of professional uncertainty and financial difficulty. For 18 months he has been painting murals in both the Sforza Castle in Milan and the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The latter project will become The Last Supper, a complex mural that took three years to complete on a surface 15 feet high by 20 feet wide. He had never attempted a painting so big, and had no experience with fresco.

    Jean says: "Fascinating"
    "Solidly interesting art history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not so magical as King's Judgement of Paris or Brunelleschi's Dome, this is still a lovely art history report.

    At times you'll wonder at the way it seems to jump from topic to topic (from wars and alliances between Italian dukedoms and Charles of France, one is suddenly discussing human flight, party tricks for bored courtiers, the chemistry of paint on fresco, or the Fibonacci sequence), until you realize that King has allowed you a glimpse into the mind of the brilliant Leonardo, and the way so many subjects preyed upon his ravenous attention simultaneously. It's the one truly inspired aspect of this narrative, and very well done.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21097)
    Performance
    (18917)
    Story
    (18985)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "What a ride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's impossible to review this book in any depth without spoiling one of the numerous plot twists. It's a thriller, it's riveting, it's readable and totally engaging.

    As a water-cooler or book club discussion focus, this book is a gold mine. Insights into marriage? Check. Point of view switching? Check. Unreliable narrator(s)? Check. Also do-I-like-them-or-not characters, will s/he won't s/he, oh-no-you-DIDN'T, and much more, handled with adroit skill by former Entertainment Weekly reviewer Gillian Flynn.

    The woman is a helluva novelist.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6272)
    Performance
    (5842)
    Story
    (5844)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Paige says: "Not his Wheal-house"
    "Time travel, Star Trek geek love, and hilarity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Andy Dahl is a newly-assigned ensign on the Universal Union's flagship in the star fleet, the Intrepid, in the year 2400-something. He and his fellow ensigns soon learn that new crew members of the Intrepid, especially when on Away Team missions, or if they happen to be present on decks 6 through 12 if the ship is under attack, have a near-100% mortality rate. Rather than take this with the fatalism of the more seasoned crew members, Dahl investigates.

    It seems the Intrepid and its crew are actually the stars of a television show written in 2012, and when The Narrative takes over, they are helpless to control their actions, and are swept along in it. He develops a bold plan to go back in time from 2400 to 2012, and stop the Hollywood production of the show that runs their lives.

    Obviously, for you Star Trek fans out there, this is an entire book based on the very old fan adage, that the poor characters wearing the Red Shirts on that show (usually ensign rank), always died first on Away missions or in battle. It's the cleverest danged thing I've read, well, since the last John Scalzi book I read. Loved it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4336)
    Performance
    (3826)
    Story
    (3827)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Funny, sweet, and action-packed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Loved it, loved it. Funny, clever, action-packed, and yet it still found time for sweet and poignant moments as well.

    This is wonderfully read by Wil Wheaton, and includes the bonus of the original story, Little Fuzzy, on which Scalzi based this book. Bang for your buck.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • How It All Began

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Penelope Lively
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (205)

    When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true.

    Molly-o says: "Wonderful and beautifully written"
    "Light British fare"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Light and easy reading, a thoughtful book about intersecting lives in London, with a bit of romance, a bit of humor, and some likable characters.

    Warning: the narrator is a bit loud and shrill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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