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Sioux Falls, SD, USA | Member Since 2011

  • 10 reviews
  • 105 ratings
  • 175 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Bee Season: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Myla Goldberg
    • Narrated By Myla Goldberg
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable 9-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness.

    Cathy says: "Fascinating concept but something missing"
    "Less Than the Sum of its Parts"

    The failure of this book lies not the author's annoying character voices, or her choice not to leaven the interwoven stories with anything like an upbeat ending. Nor, surprisingly is it a lack of any of the native elements that make a novel work.
    The author uses language in a fresh and original way. Her plotting is uniquely quirky. And she appears to have an imaginative if not experiential grasp of the flavors of mysticism with which the characters variously flirt.
    Yet, by the time satisfaction is achieved along these paths, one grows weary of the endless disfunctionality of the paterfamilias who clodishly sustains it all.
    I picked this book because another listener compared it with "The History of Love" -- a favorite of mine -- and despite the many warnings of other reviewers on this site.
    I finished it out of a sense of duty to the money I spent on the download.
    Not a complete waste of time -- there are phrases, images, even complete sections that will linger after the digital space is trashed. But one hopes that this author will spend her talents on something more satisfying next time.
    And that she'll cede the acting to a professional, if that book is ever recorded.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Voice in the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Francine Rivers
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone

    This heart-stirring tale of a young slave girl, torn between her love for a handsome aristocrat and her faith in God, transcends genres with its awe-inspiring power and emotional intensity.

    Allicia says: "Christian Fiction That Doesn't Back Down"
    "Christian Pablum"

    The editorial blurb says this book "transcends genres." Maybe so, but I could only tolerate about 90 minutes of this wimpy bible-story redress -- and that despite that fact that I'd brought nothing else to listen to on a long car drive.
    Puppet-show Christianity is one of the reasons I bring audio books with me in the car -- to save me from juvenile productions on backwoods radio stations along the way.
    Unless you're one of those church ladies who swoons at the scent of a bible story with a (surprise!) moral and redemption, save your points for something better written and better performed.

    2 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Well Written and Enjoyable"

    In order, the things I look for in an audio book are 1) literary value, 2) engrossing entertainment and 3) good vocal performances. Bonus points are given if I learn something in the process.
    "The Help," by Kathryn Stockett probably doesn't deserve any special note -- for or against -- on the first score. It's well-enough written, but it won't be added to anyone's great books series next century.
    However, it makes up for a lack of literary pretension with engaging characters, a unique view point, and extraordinary performances. What's more, I feel I learned something about American society that I didn't know before.
    I've hit a few clinkers in my Audible subscriptions lately: enough to turn me off the genre. "The Help" was a pleasant way to turn me right back on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Fire: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Shirley Hazzard
    • Narrated By Virginia Leishman

    This mesmerizing, poetic novel won the 2003 National Book Award for fiction and has earned universal acclaim. Set against the beautiful but tragic landscape of post-World War II Asia, The Great Fire tells a sweeping tale of the search for new beginnings in a world ravaged by tragedy.

    Margarita says: "Always found something else to do"
    "So Awful I Can't Finish It"

    The listener reviews on this book were decidedly mixed, so I chose to put my money with those who label this book "Literature," and write off the others as pop fiction fans. Wow. Was I wrong.
    If this book has any merit, you may find it in the printed version. The slow-moving plot, charmless language and unengaging characters may meld into something better in silence and typeset. Here, where the narrator takes enough time to sip water at every punctuation mark, and pauses between each as if to word sound it out phonetically, the tedium is painful.
    In six months of repeated tries, I have been unable to finish the first section of this book.
    Save your money, your time, and the space on your iPod for even a mediocre selection. This novel is not worthy.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"
    "Engaging and Unique"

    A little long in the second (sea survival) section, or I would have rated it higher. But the prolonged discussion has the variety of a well-composed symphonic work, recombining elements and adding something with each challenge that made it more an imaginative exercise than a repetitive re-telling.
    Testament to the power of the work: for several days after finishing this book I found myself wondering which story was "really true." As if the plot of a novel has a REAL truth to it!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Seduction of Water

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Carol Goodman
    • Narrated By Christine Marshall

    For Iris, he sudden impulse to write a piece about her mother leads to a shot at literary success. The piece recounts an eerie Irish fairy tale her mother used to tell her at bedtime - and nestled inside is the sad story of her mother's death, a strange, untimely end in a fire 30 years ago. When Iris returns to the remote Hotel Equinox in the Catskills, the place where she grew up, to write her mother's biography and search for her mother's missing manuscript, she unravels a haunting mystery that threatens to envelope her.

    Susan Delaney says: "Disapointing"
    "Charming, complex, almost Literary"

    Densely interwoven with leitmotifs, fantasy and fairytale allusions, character and plot echoing archetype and rich language, this book only disappoints toward the end, when it settles down into a thriller/mystery plot tie up. Over all an enticing and delightful listen.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Love

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Nicole Krauss
    • Narrated By George Guidall, Barbara Caruso, Julia Gibson, and others

    Nicole Krauss' first novel, Man Walks Into a Room, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and her short fiction has been collected in Best American Short Stories. Now The History of Love proves Krauss is among our finest and freshest literary voices.

    KLBrookline says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written."
    "Like Garcia-Marquez on Anti-Pschyotics"

    What a surprise, a divine revelation to find this treasure buried among the cast offs in Audible's last sale. How is it possible that the title "A History of Love" is not shouted from the roof-tops, bill-boarded along reader's highways and passed around slyly like a rumor between friends-in-the-know.
    Or perhaps it is, and I am just out of the loop, confused by the lack of awards notices on a book that is so far superior to the NY Book Review, Pulitzer, Oprah and Best Seller marks plastered on less-deserving works.
    Though mysterious and filled with shadings of poetry, magical realism and literary allusion this book is nonetheless well grounded in the here-and-now, and straight forward in narrative.
    Of note, the audio version may be superior to the printed in that the listener is spared the work of guessing when voices change, and who is narrating. Also, because the four actors in this recording give outstanding, lyrical and pitch-perfect performances.
    PS: Please save discovery of the narrative for your own pleasure, and avoid pre-reading the plethora of (mostly favorable) reviews about this book. I went through a few after listening, and felt the destructive weight of the spoilers among the praises, even for a book I had already read. Don't let someone else trample through this garden before you've had your joy of it.

    30 of 33 people found this review helpful
  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Laurie Viera Rigler
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy

    After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom, or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

    Twin2th says: "Delightful"
    "A "Chick Flick" for the Ears"

    This is an enjoyable modern take on a period piece, with a bit of self mockery thrown in. Don't expect a coherent explanation for the premise, or great literature, but enjoy the ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Five Skies: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ron Carlson
    • Narrated By Ron Carlson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Five Skies is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho. There he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch, who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life.

    Andrew says: "A first-rate audio experience."
    "A rough sketch for a book"

    Predictable, repetitious character studies that never quite resolve central questions, and finish anticlimactically when the author gets tired of writing. Skip this one.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Devil May Cry: A Dark-Hunter Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Sherrilyn Kenyon
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Sin was born a Sumerian god, until he was tricked into Artemis' service as a Dark-Hunter. This immortal has dreamed only of regaining his godhood and seeking revenge on the goddess who betrayed him. But when a beautiful woman, in perilous danger from those he now hunts, suddenly appears in his life, Sin knows that his world will never be the same again.

    Josaphine says: "Awesome!"
    "better than my rating"

    This was quite an enjoyable "read," but I gave it two stars so as not to skew my personalized recommendations. A cross between steamy romance lit, mythology and fantasy, this book was engaging and funny -- and literate enough to make me wonder about the classic sources for at last of few of its embellished allusions.
    It's great for any fans of each of the above genres. After all, if your book is going to feature monolithic, god-like characters, what better excuse than the fact that they are actually gods?

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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