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Carol

ratings
18
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
14

  • The Postmistress

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Sarah Blake
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (524)
    Performance
    (197)
    Story
    (195)

    Alternating between an America still cocooned in its inability to grasp the danger at hand and a Europe being torn apart by war, The Postmistress gives us two women who find themselves unable to deliver the news, and a third woman desperately waiting for news yet afraid to hear it. Sarah Blake's The Postmistress shows how we bear the fact that war goes on around us while ordinary lives continue. Filled with stunning parallels to today, it is a remarkable novel.

    Babs says: "Reasonably enjoyable, but too full of stereotypes"
    "Wordy and overdone"
    Overall

    I love historical novels, and am particularly interested in the WWII era, so I really wanted to like this book. I listened for about 4 hours, and just couldn't bring myself to finish it. The author has an very wordy writing style that makes it seem as if she attended too many creative writing classes. The characters seem overly "dark," and, as another reviewer noted, fall into typical stereotypes. It's almost as if the author tried to make the book more edgy and violent than necessary, (dark plots with a lot of emotional angst are "artsy," after all) which detracts significantly from what could have been an excellent plot. I found the overall "atmosphere" of the book to be overdone . The narration is not great either. A big disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Betty Smith
    • Narrated By Kate Burton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1201)
    Performance
    (620)
    Story
    (624)

    A moving coming-of-age story set in the 1900s, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the lives of 11-year-old Francie Nolan, her younger brother Neely, and their parents, Irish immigrants who have settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Johnny Nolan is as loving and fanciful as they come, but he is also often drunk and out of work, unable to find his place in the land of opportunity.

    Nancy says: "Leaves you wondering what happened next -"
    "Classic story, awful narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? What did you like least?

    This story is a timeless coming of age story which also introduces the reader to the life and struggles of an immigrant working family. It is not always a happy story, and the author does a great job portraying what life would really have been like for a family such as Francie's. Unfortunately, I felt the narrator did a very poor job performing this story. She spoke in a flat, boring monotone for much of the book. Although she performed a Brooklyn accent very well, the majority of the book is written in the third person, so her lack of intonation really drags the story down. Sadly, I became so frustrated with the narration that I couldn't finish listening to this wonderful story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I most enjoyed the characters of Francie and her mother Katie, for their perseverance and hope.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator of this book needs to be able to speak in a younger person's voice, and bring the story to life with excellent intonation and interpretation of the author's words. This narrator failed to do that by a long shot.


    Do you think A Tree Grows in Brooklyn needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, this book is a classic and stands on it's own.


    Any additional comments?

    The sample portion of the book that is available to readers prior to purchase does NOT sound like narrator of the entire book. Since the sample text is part of the prologue, is it possible that the performer for the sample is different than the performer for the main body of the book? If I had heard the actual narrator, I never would have purchased this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Spy in the House: The Agency 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Y. S. Lee
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (48)

    In Victorian England, orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of 12, she’s rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary acquires a singular education, fine manners, and a surprising opportunity. The school is a cover for the Agency — an elite, top secret corps of female investigators with a reputation for results — and at 17, Mary’s about to join their ranks.

    Amazon Customer says: "Enchanting mystery/spy novel"
    "Great for adults, too!"
    Overall

    This is one of the best listens I've ever downloaded from Audible. Although technically a young adult book, I was immediately hooked on it, and luckily there is an equally fantastic sequel! The book has a funny and feisty heroine, a lot of great historical background, an intricate mystery plot that will keep you guessing, and a splash of delightful romance. The narrator is fabulous as well. You can't go wrong!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Body at the Tower: The Agency, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Y. S. Lee
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (31)

    Now nearly a full-fledged member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary Quinn is back for another action-packed adventure. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, she must brave the grimy underbelly of Victorian London - as well as childhood memories of fear, hunger, and constant want - to unmask the identity of a murderer.

    Carol says: "Totally fun, not just for young adults!"
    "Totally fun, not just for young adults!"
    Overall

    This is the second book in "The Agency" series (the first is "A Spy in the House") and it as one of the most entertaining listens I've found yet. It tells the continued story of 17-year old Mary Quinn, and adventurous and progressive young woman living in Victorian London. On the surface, Mary appears to be a respectable young teacher at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, but she really is a secret agent employed by an all-female detective agency. Mary takes an assignment which requires her to go undercover as a 12 year old boy to investigate a suspicious death at a London building site. Mary has to hold her own in this rough and tumble environment, and although she manages with skill, wit, and toughness, she is forced to relive some of her difficult past. Also, she finds herself once again crossing paths with James Easton, an old flame who she thought was safely away in India. The descriptions of Victorian London and the often brutal life of an unskilled laborer are fascinating, and the complex unfolding of the details of the mystery will keep you on your toes. But what makes this book so wonderful is the evolving relationship of Mary and James. James is fascinated by Mary's untraditional attitudes and lifestyle, and Mary tumbles head over heals for him. She struggles with her intensifying feelings for James, and the knowledge that her work as a secret agent makes romance impossible. The flirty banter between James and Mary is absolutely irresistible -- sexy and delicious while at the same time being perfectly "clean." Mary is a refreshing change from the typical female character who gives up everything for the guy. With Mary as it's feisty, complex and endearing main character, this book is great for teens, but as an adult, I also found it wonderfully entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13485)
    Performance
    (5791)
    Story
    (5833)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    CynNC says: "Captivating"
    "Could have been great, but......"
    Overall

    I really enjoy well-researched historical novels, and also enjoy art history, so I couldn't wait to get started on this book. I was completely disappointed, and although I really wanted to like it, I quit after completing the first two parts. It quickly became quite clear to me that this book was written by a male author who is unable to create female characters with depth, and who do not fall into typical stereotypes. Also, despite the potentially fabulous plot, the author couldn't resist including graphic rape scenes, detailed descriptions of random sexual encounters (the author's own private fantasies, perhaps?) , and battle scenes with excruciatingly predictable gory details. I realize that the time period in which this book is set was a violent one, but none of these scenes contribute to the plot whatsoever, and are at times so random as to be laughable. (Example: Tom's wife dies giving birth to his son, and literally two hours later, he finds himself in the sack with a woman who he met once before, and who just happened to be walking through the chilly woods, naked underneath her cloak, looking for him. Please.) This book is overly long, overly predictable, and overly violent. Could have been great but missed the mark big time. For those of you who are looking for an alternative listen, set in a similar time in England, and with a similar genre, try "The Illuminator" by Brenda Rickman Vantrease, also available through Audible. All of the historical detail and a terrific plot, with none of the violence and degradation of women.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wishes and Tears

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Dee Williams
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    When a naïve encounter at a coronation party leaves 16-year-old Janet Slater pregnant, there's no question in her scandalized parents' minds of her keeping the baby. Bundled off to a home for unmarried mothers in South London, Janet is about to face the hardest moment of her sheltered life, alone. Forced to give her tiny daughter up for adoption, Janet promises her that one day, come what may, she'll find her.

    Nadine says: "Wonderful and Touching"
    "Superficial and drawn-out"
    Overall

    This book was a real disappointment. The characters seemed superficial and hard to relate to. The author develops the main character, Janet, into such a spineless victim of fate throughout her life that I found it hard to have much empathy for her. Also, the entire book is stuffed full of amazingly simplistic stereotypes -- overly strict ministers, naive single mothers hoping that the fathers of their babies will miraculously want to share their lives, a free-wheeling married man interested only in sex, abusive adoptive parents, and a too-good-to-be true reunion of an adopted child and her biological mother after 25 years of being separated. At times, all of this bordered on the ridiculous, and the only reason I finished listening to the book is because I used one credit on it! Also of serious concern is the very negative way adoption is presented in this book. Adoptive parents are portrayed as unloving and dangerous, with only superficial feelings for their child, and the biological mother is painted as a desperate victim. This is not a book to be shared with an family built by adoption, and I think the negative stereotypes of adoption could potentially be very upsetting for an adoptive child. Nadia May was an excellent narrator as usual, and her narration was the only thing that made this book worth listening to. If you're looking for a sensitive book about adoption, stay away from this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To Shield the Queen

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Fiona Buckley
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    Rumor has linked Queen Elizabeth I to her master of the horse, Robin Dudley. As gossip would have it, only his ailing wife, Amy, prevents marriage between Dudley and the Queen. To quell the idle tongues at court, the Queen dispatches Ursula Blanchard to tend to the sick woman's needs. But not even Ursula can prevent the "accident" that takes Amy's life. Did she fall or was she pushed? Was Ursula a pawn of Dudley and the Queen?

    Wadie says: "Very good"
    "Fun and engrossing"
    Overall

    This is the first of several books featuring Elizabethean sleuth Ursula Blanchard. The whole series is delightful. Nadia May is a fantastic narrator, and brings the characters alive. What's great about this series is that the author picks a historically accurate event to focus on (in this book, it is the mysterious death of Sir Robin Dudley's wife), but about which modern historians do not have "all the answers." She then weaves a complex story line presenting what possibly could have happened. Heroine Ursula is a thoroughly likeable and amusing character, and if she seems too "modern" sometimes, who cares? This is wonderful "cloaks and daggers" stuff, complete with secret documents, court intrigue, and complicated clues to "who did it." If you like historical fiction, and want a really fun and entertaining way to spend a rainy evening, you can't go wrong with this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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