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Shauna

Pasadena, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

99
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 495 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
11

  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2272)
    Performance
    (2018)
    Story
    (2006)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "Like witnessing something you know you should not"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In route to a colonial settlement in the Carolinas known as Fount Royal, a magistrate and his clerk take shelter at a inn. What happens there sets a very dark tone that carries throughout the novel.

    Soon the two reach Fount Royal where they enter into a battle of wills with Robert Bidwell who is both the town's proprietor and their host. The purpose of the magistrate's journey is to try a woman who is accused of witchcraft. Because we live in modern times, it's clear to readers that sorcery doesn't exist, but try to put yourself in the mindset of a small town filled with God-fearing citizens who have no other explanation for what is happening around them. Or are they God-fearing citizens? Over time Matthew, the clerk, peels back the thin veneer of civility, unmasking ignorance, greed, and depravity. Yet no one, not even his mentor the magistrate, will believe him.

    The book starts out a bit slow and predictable but don't give up. Soon you will be intrigued with the characters and their lives. One caution though, there are activities in the book that are repellent.

    The narrator is perfect. He masters all the accents and nuances.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Evil Act: A Lynley Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (253)

    Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: The daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can't really help - Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn't on Hadiyyah's, their daughter's, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold. Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace.

    Ruth Nielsen says: "Not a Fan Anymore!"
    "A Different Kind of Inspector Lynley Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Elizabeth George is one of my favorite writers. Though very good, this was not my favorite of her books. It was as literary and engaging as all of her others. It's just that the main protagonist (if I can call her that) was Barbara Havers rather than Inspector Lynley.

    Barbara is a compelling character when alongside Lynley but in this novel she was on her own. As per the author's design, she made me uncomfortable. In all of us, our strengths can also be our weaknesses. However, Barbara seemed to yield a little too much on the side of situational morality. I can't say more without giving something away.

    The story has a wonderful arc. Donata Peters narrates it brilliantly until she has to speak in Italian. Ms. George introduces some fascinating new characters whom I hope will appear in future books.

    Just One Evil Act is worth your credit and your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Simon Sinek
    • Narrated By Simon Sinek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1769)
    Performance
    (1357)
    Story
    (1351)

    Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their successes over and over? People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with why.

    Allan says: "Important Theme - Repetitive Presentation"
    "Start with Why"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Because they have to or we wouldn't read them, business leadership books oversimplify very complex organizational dynamics. They also repeat themselves and rehash plowed ground. Start with Why is no exception. It relays success stories about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others--stories we have already heard. On the other hand, Mr. Sinek is the exception to the author-narrator stereotype; he is a very good narrator.

    Mr. Sinek does hammer home an important concept that I hadn't given enough thought to, and that's as the title says, Start with Why. This book will change the way I make presentations and work with my colleagues. So, to me, the key message was very valuable.

    Finally, and most importantly, the price was right. This was a daily deal. Thank you, Audible

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Son

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Philipp Meyer
    • Narrated By Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (894)
    Performance
    (807)
    Story
    (825)

    Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. Spring, 1849: Eli McCullough is 13 years old when a marauding band of Comanches takes him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and waging war against their enemies, including white men - which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is.

    Melinda says: "Five Stars for the Lone Star, The Son, & Meyer"
    "The Son: McCulloughs, Cattle and Comanches"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an epic story of Eli McCullough who is captured and lives three years with Comanches. It explores five generations of the McCullough family as well as several layers Texas culture from the Apaches and Comanches, to the Mexicans (aka Tejanos), to the White men and Vaqueros and back to the Apaches. Any romantic views you have about the men of these tribes will disappear quickly. I liked the characters as individuals but hated what they did to each other. The book is bloody and brutal but you wont be able to stop listening.

    The alliances among these groups and McCullough family members shift with the winds. . Because of those changes, as well as the way the story unfolds, it was difficult to keep track of each character's place on the family tree. Play close attention to the opening of each chapter which tells you who is speaking and what the year is or you too will be lost,

    Will Patton voices Eli to perfection. He draws you in from the opening scene. The other narrators are equally effective,

    I give this book five stars for just about every aspect of writing and storytelling. Phillip Meyer is a fabulous writer and I look forward to reading other books by him.



    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Kill Shot: An American Assassin Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3718)
    Performance
    (3185)
    Story
    (3166)

    For months, Mitch Rapp has been steadily working his way through a list of men, bullet by bullet. With each kill, the tangled network of monsters responsible for the slaughter of 270 civilians becomes increasingly clear. He is given his next target: a plump Libyan diplomat who is prone to drink and is currently in Paris without a single bodyguard. Rapp finds him completely unprotected and asleep in his bed. With confidence in his well-honed skills and conviction of the man’s guilt, he easily sends a bullet into the man’s skull. But in the split second it takes the bullet to leave the silenced pistol, everything changes.

    Linda says: "I'd listen to Guidall read the tax code, so..."
    "More Politics than Espionage"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mitch Rapp comes close to being captured and realizes there is traitor within the hierarchy of his agency.Until Mitch can ferret out the impostor he goes rogue. The setting is Paris so both the local police force and the French National Security agency become involved.Each agency has it share of incompetent and self-serving actors. Mitch's handlers go to Paris, thus introducing a third agency into the mix. Mitch doesn't know who he can trust.

    The book has some exciting action sequences. The near-capture scenario is cleverly plotted as is another part wherein Mitch and his girlfriend observe a badly played ambush. George Guidall's narration is excellent.

    So why did I give the story only 3 stars? There were too many stereotypical characters and I would have preferred less focus on internal politics and more on the adventures of Mitch Rapp.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (3132)
    Performance
    (1479)
    Story
    (1480)

    This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

    Jamie says: "Do Not Miss This"
    "Outstanding narration of a great story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Shantaram is the nickname of the lead character, Lin. Lin escaped from prison in Australia and moved to India where he uses his intelligence to adapt to a different cultures. He quickly forges common ground with the fringes of Bombay society and the moguls of the underground economy. His rise is accelerated by learning and speaking local languages.

    The book is narrated by Humphrey Bower. Given the languages, the characters, the cultures, I cannot imagine a book more difficult to narrate, yet Mr. Bower's rendition was flawless.

    The author, David Gregory Roberts, is a supreme story teller. His descriptions of venues and scenes are rich and fulfilling. I felt like I was there. The characters are complex. Lin is flawed, falling back into an old heroin habit and relying on flexible morals. Yet, he is altruistic and conscience-driven. Ironically, it's the members of the lowest rung of Bombay society who seem to have the strongest moral code. To a great extent, the book is about doing the wrong things for the right reasons.

    What I liked best about Shantaram was learning about people of India, especially the slum-dwellers. I also liked the explanations of underground economies including money exchange, passport fraud, and the tourist drug trade. What I liked least was Lin's seeming inability to foresee how his actions predicted his outcomes.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Defending Jacob: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By William Landay
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3547)
    Performance
    (3020)
    Story
    (3014)

    Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: his 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

    Shauna says: "Defending Jacob"
    "Defending Jacob"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Defending Jacob is a brilliant story, written very neatly -- no extra words, artifacts or superfluous emotions. I was captivated from start to finish.

    The writer portrays the dilemmas faced by the main characters, Andy Barber, and his wife, Laurie. The two have opposing views of how to handle a situation wherein their 14 year old son has been accused of murder. They even have differing recollections on their son as a child and an adolescent despite having lived together since he was born. I found myself wavering back and forth on guilt or innocence depending on the trial evidence and what is revealed by the various characters.

    The story is made more complex by the fact that Andy Barber is a prosecutor who has some involvement with the case before his son is charged. The case is taken over by one of Andy's proteges who then views Andy as a nemesis. The interaction between those two is also very interesting because you don't know whether the new prosecutor has a case or is simply trying to defeat someone whom he views as a rival.

    This novel is along the lines of "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver, also an excellent book, but written in a more thought provoking way. Whereas "Kevin" leads to an obvious conclusion, Defending Jacob keeps you guessing.



    .



    55 of 56 people found this review helpful
  • The Fear Index

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (264)
    Performance
    (210)
    Story
    (216)

    Dr. Alex Hoffmann’s name is carefully guarded from the general public, but within the secretive inner circles of the ultrarich he is a legend. He has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that predicts movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions. But one morning before dawn, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of his lakeside mansion, and so begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence.

    Ted says: "The Book Dan Brown Wished He Wrote"
    "Greed + ego = fear"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Fear Index is morality tale about two partners, Hugo and Alex, who manage a phenomenally successful hedge fund. The backdrop is Geneva, Switzerland, where money is the primary industry. The book is fast paced and provides insights into hedge fund operations and machine intelligence. One of the most interesting aspects was the author's use of Darwin's Origin of the Species to foreshadow events.

    As the previous reviewer said, it's easy to discern the perpetrator of the fear and paranoia that consumes Alex, the protagonist. The author portrays Alex as a genius who lacks some important social skills. I would have given this book an additional star had I felt some sympathy for Alex.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drop: Harry Bosch, Book 17

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Len Cariou
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2914)
    Performance
    (2372)
    Story
    (2338)

    Harry Bosch has been given three years before he must retire from the LAPD, and he wants cases more fiercely than ever. In one morning, he gets two. DNA from a 1989 rape and murder matches a 29-year-old convicted rapist. Was he an eight-year-old killer, or has something gone terribly wrong in the new Regional Crime Lab? Then Bosch and his partner are called to a death scene fraught with internal politics....

    Joanne says: "A completely satisfying listen"
    "Connelly just gets better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In this case, Harry comes up against "high jingo" better known as the internal politics within LAPD when he investigates the death of the son of his nemesis on the city council. This book takes takes several twists and turns as it lays out multiple story lines. Just when you think one case is solved, you find that there is more in store. If you are a Harry Bosch fan, don't miss this one. It is compelling from beginning to end.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Redbreast

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (957)
    Performance
    (734)
    Story
    (736)

    It is 1944: Daniel, a soldier, legendary among the Norwegians fighting the advance of Bolshevism on the Russian front, is killed. Two years later, a wounded soldier wakes up in a Vienna hospital. He becomes involved with a young nurse, the consequences of which will ripple forward to the turn of the next century. In 1999, Harry Hole, alone again after having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, has been promoted to inspector and is lumbered with surveillance duties. He is assigned the task of monitoring neo-Nazi activities....

    David says: "Bravura writing"
    "History and Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an excellent Harry Hole story that is laced with neoNazism of current day Norway and the real Nazism of WWII. The book provides a hard look at the actions of Norway citizens and royalty during that era. The mystery is always intriguing in a Jo Nesbo offering. I highly recommend it.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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