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Redwood City, CA, USA | Member Since 2004

  • 9 reviews
  • 161 ratings
  • 491 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014

  • In a Dry Season

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Peter Robinson
    • Narrated By Ron Keith

    In a Dry Season, winner of the Anthony Award, is an outstanding example of mystery fiction. Peter Robinson's Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks conjures up memories of classic detectives like Philip Marlowe and Sherlock Holmes. An insufferable drought ravages the Yorkshire countryside, depleting the Thornfield Reservoir, revealing the remnants of the flooded town of Hobb's End and the terrible secrets kept safe within its watery tomb. Amongst the ruins, the remains of a woman's body are discovered.

    Hallie says: "Well Constructed Mystery"
    "Too many useless details"

    There wasnt a lot of mystery in this story. The events are told plainly and with out much build up. I also was bored by the side story of the main detective and his personal life. I found myself wishing my player could automatically skip over the pointless extras about his life. I also was very disappointed by the extra story of a gang rape of one of the side characters. It added nothing to the original story or mystery; it seemed to be thrown in just for the sake of telling a rape story. Very disappointing.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Dome: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Raul Esparza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.

    Russell says: "Glad I Listened to 11-22-63 First"
    "Wonderful Story Murdered by Poor Narration"

    Stephen King is a masterful storyteller. Similarly to The Stand, he imagines an external force that has a profound impact on the lives of the people in his story. Then he writes about their reactions and experiences. His novels are more about the people than the wildly imaginative event(s) or circumstance(s) that serves as the catalyst to his story. And that is why the poor narration is such a crime. First, Raul Esparza interjects unintended personality and character traits into the characters with his voice. In the case of Maine citizens, he uses a sleepy, yawning drawl that makes every character sound like a simpleton. Furthermore, his accent is incorrect and distracting. A (very) bad imitation is far worse than reading without the accent. Additionally, Esparza's cadence was extremely awkward. At times he would read quickly, and then trail off or dramatically slow down in mid-sentence. He would read some sentences as if they were questions when they weren't or as if he were personally wondering about the meaning of the words he was reading. It was worse than listening to a middle school-aged child who had learned how to read without stuttering and stammering but hadn't mastered the art of reading aloud with proper tone or inflection.

    I have listened to a lot of audiobooks, and I have never heard such poor narration. Out of curiosity I listened to samples of other novels narrated by Esparza. The short clips that I listened to didn't sound bad. So how could he have been so bad in this performance? It almost makes me wonder if Esparza was intentionally trying sabotage the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: How do you one-up a book that’s already a global literary phenomenon? Hire Simon Vance to (flawlessly) interpret the loves, lives, and murders of Sweden’s cold and secret-filled world. A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It's about the disappearance 40 years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden.

    Pamela Murphy says: "COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN"

    If I had picked up the actual book I would have been turned off by the statisticts about violent crimes against women in Europe that started off every chapter. The story was very disturbing and chaulk full of detalied descriptions of the sex crimes commited. The mystery of the missing Harriet was interesting and I only kept listening to see if justice would be served...I was dissapointed.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • At Home in Mitford: The Mitford Years, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jan Karon
    • Narrated By John McDonough

    It's easy to feel at home in Mitford. In these high, green hills, the air is pure, the village is charming, and the people are generally lovable. Yet Father Tim, the bachelor rector, wants something more. Enter a dog the size of a sofa who moves in and won't go away. Add an attractive neighbor who begins wearing a path through the hedge. Now, stir in a lovable but unloved boy, a mystifying jewel theft, and a secret that's 60 years old.

    Shirley says: "You wish you lived there and knew these people"
    "Totally Wholesome"

    I thought At Home in Mitford was entertaining. It is a little slow in parts but that is to be expected in a story about small town life. The characters are lovable and the story line is interesting. The author manages to tell a story with a little mystery and romance all the while keeping things very innocent. I would recommend this book if you are tired of (or offended by) blood and sex and are looking for some innocent story telling.

    4 of 4 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

    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"
    "Great Story"

    I really enjoyed this story. The characters are rich, you are given a full range of people who could be literary "good-guys" or "bad-guys". Their choices are interesting and the plot is full of turns and even suspense. I would have given this book five starts except a few things bothered me. First the author used quite a bit of foul language in the characters speech. If you are not bothered by four letter words you probably wont notice and enjoy the book just fine. Secondly, to make the antagonist even more sinister the author included several rape scenes with the antagonist enjoying his cruelty. The imaging was disturbing and again, if you are not sensitive to these kinds of scenes it wont be a problem. Over all the story was fantastic and a really interesting read. The book is very long and satisfying. I thought I would get bored but it was great. The reader also does a great job of bringing the different characters to life with different voices.

    49 of 54 people found this review helpful
  • Empress Orchid

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Anchee Min
    • Narrated By Alexandra O'Karma

    Seventeen-year-old Orchid belongs to an aristocratic family that has fallen on hard times. Unexpectedly, she is chosen as one of the emperor's lesser concubines. Within the Forbidden City are thousands of women hoping to bear the emperor a son and become his empress. Orchid, determined and resourceful, schemes her way into the royal bed and seduces the emperor. But as the opium trade erodes the might of the Ch'ing dynasty, Orchid find herself at the center of a crumbling nation.

    Stacey says: "Empress Orchid"

    What I didnt like:
    The Narrator, she read like she was 1/2 asleep and kept on swallowing into the microphone which was very distracting. She also seemed to take long pauses in the middle of a sentence.
    The story was pretty slow and dwelt primarily on Chinese court ediquet. Even at the few sensual and suspensful parts the narrator made me feel like I was falling asleep.
    What I liked:
    The historical acuracy. The book followed true historical events very well. (Maybe that is why the story was so slow)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Northanger Abbey

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Catherine Morland, a country clergyman's daughter, is invited to spend a season in Bath with the fashionable high society, little does she imagine the delights and perils that await her. Captivated and disconcerted by what she finds, and introduced to the joys of "Gothic novels" by her new friend, Isabella, Catherine longs for mystery and romance. When she is invited to stay with the beguiling Henry Tilney and his family at Northanger Abbey, she expects mystery and intrigue at every turn.

    Johnny says: "Awesome"

    This isnt the most entertaining Austin story out there. The tale is pretty drawn out and the romance and suspence are very subdued compared to her other works. I did enjoy the story but found myself frequently checking my MP3 player to see how much was left.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • In a Sunburned Country

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

    Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion on the Appalachian Trail resulted in the best seller A Walk in the Woods. Now, we follow him "Down Under" to Australia with this delectably funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance that combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity. More from Bill Bryson.

    Larry says: "Laugh out loud funny"
    "informative and entertaining"

    Wow! I loved this book. I laughed out loud so many times and was completely entertained for the full reading. Bill Bryson is a great narrator. Funny, very funny. I also learned so much about Australia. Fantastic.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Mapp

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By E. F. Benson
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Miss Elizabeth Mapp, magnificent grande dame and heiress, is always on the lookout lest her neighbors fall outside the bounds of perfect, exemplary manners. But her tightly controlled world is soon beset on all sides by interlopers, first in the disturbingly masculine form of two very different retired army officers, both of whom are anything but retiring in their conflicting aims upon her heart.

    G. Griffin says: "Classic British Turn of the Century Comedy"

    The subject should be all I write on this book...boring. If you are looking for a turn-of-the-century romance, filled with sharp witty dialogue this is not it. If you are looking for a painfully slow story about the shallow cares of high society this is your book. The main character, Miss Mapp, was so annoying I found myself encouraging others in the book to scorn her and found no satisfaction in her happiness. The additional characters were no more loveable and I feel the overall listen was a waste of time.

    4 of 23 people found this review helpful

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