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Raymond

Spring Valley, CA, United States | Member Since 2005

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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  • My French Whore

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Gene Wilder
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    The beloved actor and screenwriter's first novel, set during World War I, delicately and elegantly explores a most unusual romance. It's almost the end of the war, and Paul Peachy, a young railway employee and amateur actor, enlists and ships off to France. Peachy instantly realizes how out of his depth he is, and never more so than when he is captured. Risking everything, Peachy, who as a child of immigrants speaks German, makes the reckless decision to impersonate one of the enemy's most famous spies.

    Christopher says: "I fell in Love Over My Ears..."
    "It's Fantastic"
    Overall

    I first read about this novel in the pages of the late (as in deceased, unfortunately) American Heritage magazine. I was intrigued enough by the review and by Wilder's comments that I thought I would give it a try. I am so glad I did. In a beautifully crafted, tight narrative, Wilder weaves a tale that is spellbinding. I admit to being a little skeptical (Willy Wonka has written a novel?)--but I'm glad I took chance. You will too. The only disappointment was the brevity of the novel-- I just didn't want it to end!!

    Without question, this was one of the most enjoyable audio books I've ever listened to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Gerard

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By John Bolen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Napoleon's presumptuous but unsung hero, the Brigadier Gerard, faces certain death at every turn while outwitting the enemies of France! Gerard careens across Europe, swept along in the ebb and flow of the Napoleonic wars.

    Lawrence says: "Good Stories, bad Narration"
    "Doyle Strikes Out with Me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Adventures of Gerard better?

    It is obvious I hope from my uniformly giving this title two stars across the board that I am not a fan of this book. I was not expecting anything as brilliant as Doyle's creation of Sherlock Holmes but this book missed the mark in almost every respect. Except for a few mild chuckles, the book did not elicit much from me. The stories were unremarkable, the narration was inconsistent (changed his pronunciation of cavalry to the common mispronunciation of Calvary and back again, as an example) and passionless. I just could not muster any enthusiasm for this book. Its only virtue was that it was mercifully short.


    Has The Adventures of Gerard turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, I remain an optimist at heart. But I probably will preview titles more thoroughly in the future.


    Would you be willing to try another one of John Bolen’s performances?

    I will be very wary of subjecting myself to John Bolen again.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I wish it did make me react with anger, sadness, or disappointment. I just felt blah. Maybe I could call it disappointment at a low frequency. And I wanted to like this book.


    Any additional comments?

    It is rare for me to comment. This book is the first in a long time that I didn't enjoy. At the same time, maybe more sympathetic listeners (or hardcore Doyle enthusiasts) will fancy this book. I didn't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Her Royal Spyness: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (4134)
    Performance
    (3515)
    Story
    (3499)

    Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932. So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

    Coffee Lover says: "Joy, Joy, Joy!"
    "Entertaining piece of fluff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, if my friend was in the mood for some absolutely delightful yet totally frivolous fiction. I am not trying to sound like a snob, because I truly enjoyed this book, but it is the fluffiest pastry of a book that I've either read or listened to in quite some time. That being said, I bought this book for one reason--the narrator. Katherine Kellgren is one of my absolute favorites (is there a fan club?) and I will purchase almost anything she performs. And performance it is. She is a gifted vocal actress and I recommend her to everyone I know, with the caveat that her books tend to be on the light side. Story was fine, sweetly old fashioned British mystery. Safe enough to recommend to aged parents.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1890)
    Performance
    (1751)
    Story
    (1743)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    Thug4life says: "Great for family car ride"
    "Prepare to fall in love again!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to be better than the print version?

    Yes, indeed! While I love reading (my favorite activity) I was entranced by Anne Hathaway's spectacular rendition of the various characters in Oz. She brings a liveliness and sparkle to all the voices which makes this one of those books where you deliberately miss the off-ramp just to keep listening a few minutes longer (you know you do it too). The book is a charming little children's tale. The audio version is a breathless leap into a world that defies imagination.


    What other book might you compare The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to and why?

    Nothing really compares to the world of Oz. But, for fun you might like Gregory Maguire's alternate take on the Oz myth, Wicked and the sequels.Not as good as Baum's originals but good nonetheless.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    While it is impossible to pick out a single favorite, I have to say everything with the soft-spoken wizard was delightful. Hathaway's southern inflected wizard is a joy.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me grin like a maniac with pleasure. This performance is close to perfect. In fact, give it a ten! Or, maybe an eleven (with apologies to Spinal Tap).


    Any additional comments?

    Don't think this is just for kids. Be warned though. Stodgy people, young or old, will not like or get it. But then, they never did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Winter's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Mark Helprin
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (520)
    Performance
    (342)
    Story
    (349)

    One night, Peter Lake - orphan, master-mechanic, and master second-story man - attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the affair between the middle-aged Irish burglar and Beverly Penn, a young girl who is dying. Because of a love that at first he cannot fully understand, Peter, a simple and uneducated man, will be driven "to stop time and bring back the dead".

    David says: "Great book and narrator - bad technical glitch"
    "Avoid this bizarre book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Oh, let's see...a comprehensible narrative? or, perhaps a different narrator? or, I don't know, a book that didn't seem as if written on a drunken dare? Hmm. How about, all of the above.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    A non Mark Helprin book


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    His nasal inflected voice at times was very annoying.


    What character would you cut from Winter's Tale?

    Honestly, none of the characters were believable or even very likeable. They all just seemed to be bizarre cartoons.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks--a variety of genres and narrators. This is the first one that I could not bring myself to finish. I listened to about two-thirds before I finally listened to my wife's counsel of to just quit torturing myself. The book has nothing that compelled my attention. Just kind of wandered around, looking for a place to land.

    1 of 2 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
    (1909)
    Performance
    (1186)
    Story
    (1188)

    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"
    "Great story and perfect narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Blackout the most enjoyable?

    I loved the quick pace of the novel and I absolutely adored Katherine Kellgren's spot on narration. It's such a good story and I was thrilled when I realized that I would get to listen to more of Kellgren in the sequel. Truly flawless.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The two urchins, Alf and
    Binnie (spelling?). They were such scamps and I found myself laughing aloud at their manipulative behavior and their comically adorable exchanges.


    Which character ??? as performed by Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis ??? was your favorite?

    This was a tie between Alf and Binnie. Both are charming little con artists. Maybe a slight edge to Binnie.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I loved the pathos of Dunkirk. The dilemma of not wanting to change history but finding oneself stuck in a situation that required true heroism.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope more of the titles I love feature truly gifted narrators like Kellgren. Gifted narrators like her are a big part of why I have fallen in love with audio books. I will look for more titles narrated by her specifically.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Oliver Sacks
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (446)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (154)

    Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does - humans are a musical species.

    Shimon says: "A must for music lovers"
    "Great Entertainment"
    Overall

    Well, entertainment is only one of many reasons to get this book. I have been sharing the inspirational and just flat-out amazing stories with friends, colleagues, students and family. Sacks is a good writer who does not overwhelm or, at the other end, trivialize his material. Also, the reader of this book has a fantastic voice, rich and well-modulated. You will be well-rewarded with this book.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • An Old Man's Love

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Tony Britton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (31)

    William Whittlestaff becomes a guardian to Mary Lawrie, the orphaned and penniless daughter of an old friend, and gradually finds himself falling in love with her.

    Raymond says: "Fantastic British Fiction"
    "Fantastic British Fiction"
    Overall

    If you like the stately pace of Victorian fiction, you'll love this marvelous less well-known Trollope novel. The reader of this work does a spectacular job--the accents, the peculiar character's voices and idiosyncracies, and very credible female voices all make this a delight to listen to. Also, the book is not overly long and is broken up into manageable chapter lengths. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Enjoy!

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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