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Desiree

Researcher/oral historian and fitness enthusiast from Austin, TX, currently residing in San Diego. I love to read, but traditional books require a person to be sedentary while reading. Audio books make it possible for me to increase both my physical activity and reading quantity.

United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
99
REVIEWS
18
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
15

  • This Boy's Life

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Tobias Wolff
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (86)

    This book essentially launched the memoir craze that has been going strong ever since. The story is pretty grim: teen-aged Wolff moves with his divorced mother from Florida to Utah to Washington State to escape her violent boyfriend. When she remarries, Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with his abusive stepfather, a contest in which the two prove to be more evenly matched than might have been supposed.

    Darwin8u says: "Beautiful, unsentimental memoir of youth"
    "Great memoir story, solid performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book and the narrator did a great job. As the title implies, it is the story of the author's childhood and adolescence from 1955 to about 1963 (10 to 18 years old). Wolff tells a great story and paints a vivid picture of the underbelly of mid-century All American life--a dark, poignant, tragicomic "Leave it to Beaver." The author, writing as a wiser, much more mature, introspective adult, reflects on the formative years he spent as an immature, naive, foolish boy who lacked direction, role models, and any sense of family and self. He offers clear and touching insights into his self-destructive childhood behavior and the despicable behavior of the adults around him. Still, I found it hard to like the boy or to have much sympathy for him because as soon as I started to like him and feel sorry for him, he'd do something rotten, criminal, or stupid. He is deeply flawed and is at least partially to blame for many of the problems in his life, but I did feel compassion for him and I was deeply interested in his story. Anyway, I don't think the author intended to gain readers' affection or sympathy with his hard-knocks story; I think he sought to come to terms with his past and to examine it with honest self-reflection. This memoir is a journey in which author and reader gain insight from self-examination and gain compassion and forgiveness for self and others.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Pirate Prince: Ascension Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Gaelen Foley
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Wiley
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    The pirate prince Lazar di Fiori returns with lethal grace to avenge what was stolen from him: his kingdom, his birthright, and his soul. Allegra Monteverdi, the daughter of Lazar's sworn enemy, proves an uncommonly powerful adversary. She throws herself on his mercy, her courage and beauty touching his cold, unforgiving heart. He agrees to spare the lives of her family - but only if Allegra sails away with him as his captive.

    Desiree says: "Erotic but Romantic, Classy, and Well Written"
    "Erotic but Romantic, Classy, and Well Written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Pirate Prince is definitely worth your credit or cash if you like historical romance. Unlike a certain truly horrible and worthless book (hint: the title starts with "50" and ends with a color), this book is sensual and erotic yet romantic, classy, educational, and well written. I've listened to two of Gaelen Foley's books so far and each serves as a superior example of both the historical romance and erotic literature genres. Now I am looking forward to listening and reading my way through all of Foley's historical romance books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • One Night of Sin: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Gaelen Foley
    • Narrated By Angele Masters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (330)
    Story
    (329)

    Lord Alec Knight, the most daring and handsome rogue in all of London, is a smooth-talking aristocrat with an abundance of high-society lady admirers. With his irresistible wit, lucky hand at the gaming tables, and enticing charisma, he can have any woman he wants. But when the only girl he would have considered marrying ties the knot with someone else, Alec realizes he doesn't want to be with just any lady - he wants to find the love of his life.

    CAROLYN says: "My first - but definitely not my last !!"
    "Erotic but Romantic, Classy, and Well Written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One Night of Sin is definitely worth your credit or cash if you like historical romance. Unlike a certain truly horrible and worthless book (hint: the title starts with "50" and ends with a color), this book is sensual and erotic yet romantic, classy, educational, and well written. I've listened to two of Gaelen Foley's books so far and each serves as a superior example of both the historical romance and erotic literature genres. Now I am looking forward to listening and reading my way through all of Foley's historical romance books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (8154)
    Performance
    (6325)
    Story
    (6350)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Shannon says: "Word Thief"
    "Beautiful, Unique Story about Nazi Germany"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Beautifully written story about the power of words and life and death in Nazi Germany told from a very unique perspective. Though there are many books and stories about life and death in Nazi Germany, this book is unlike any of them. In fact, it is unlike anything I've ever read or listened to before. The Book Thief is creative, original, poetic and written from a new perspective.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Labor Day

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Joyce Maynard
    • Narrated By Wilson Bethel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (166)
    Story
    (166)

    In a manner evoking Ian McEwan's Atonement and Nick Hornby's About a Boy, acclaimed author Joyce Maynard weaves a beautiful, poignant tale of love, sex, adolescence, and devastating treachery as seen through the eyes of a young teenage boy - and the man he later becomes - looking back at an unexpected encounter that begins one single, long, hot, life-altering weekend.

    Justin says: "Seemed like a hell of a holiday."
    "Heart-Breaking, Bittersweet, and Very, Very Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Labor Day is a heart-breaking coming-of-age story about love, loss, grief, injustice, betrayal, longing, loneliness, goodness, strength, resiliency, redemption, and fulfillment. Some characters seem, at first, to be less than admirable; they appear weak, mentally unstable, and lacking in good judgement and good character. But as the story unravelled, my opinion changed dramatically: I felt only heart-wrenching sympathy/empathy and admiration for these characters whom I came to view as uncommonly good, strong people. At times, their stories made me incredibly angry and sad (get ready to cry if you are sensitive), but I also found bittersweet happiness and hope in the story. Maynard's narrative is at times poetic and perfect but it is a bit flawed at other times. For example, she writes that a character kept no fresh food or real food of any kind in the house; there were only frozen dinners and cans of soup. Yet, a house-guest was able to make chili, biscuits, pie, and pancakes from scratch without ever leaving the house to go to a grocery store. Other than small narrative inconsistencies like the one just described, Labor Day is a real gem of a story; I'm so thankful that I found it and added it to my library. It was well worth the credit I spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Emily Dickinson
    • Narrated By Mary Woods
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Emily Dickinson today has gained her deserved place alongside Walt Whitman as one of the two greatest American poets of the 19th century. Beginning always with particulars of personal experience, her poems encompass life and death, love and longing, joyfulness and sorrow. With sparse, precise language, she conveyed a penetrating vision of the natural world and an acute understanding of the most profound human truths.

    Desiree says: "Computer Reading Voice"
    "Computer Reading Voice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    According to Audible, this title was "Narrated by Mary Woods". REALLY?! 1) "Mary Woods" must be the name of a computer and 2) I wouldn't call that "narrating." It literally sounds like someone downloaded an eBook of Dickinson's poems, turned on the accessibility feature for blind users, and then recorded the computer reading Dickinson's poems with absolutely no inflection, emotion, human warmth, or personality. I am completely disgusted by the egregious injustice done to Dickinson and her work and I am requesting a refund.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Great North Road

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (965)
    Performance
    (870)
    Story
    (877)

    A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family - composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone "brothers" have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies. Or maybe not so friendly....

    Flapjack says: "Get the Timeline and Cast of Characters"
    "Incredibly Absorbing Visionary Masterpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great North Road is one of the best books I've ever encountered. It's a visionary masterpiece! Even with the few minor flaws in the story and in narration Great North Road is as close to perfect as is possible. I became totally absorbed in the world, characters, and story created by author Peter F. Hamilton and narrator Toby Longworth. Even had dreams about it! This book has everything for everyone -- excellent and creative writing, great characters, thrilling action, adventure, mystery, horror, romance, incredibly imaginative yet believable science fiction, and the narrator did a truly outstanding job! Seriously the best narrator I have yet encountered! I am recommending this book to everyone I know. Plus, it's almost 30 hours long, so it's a great entertainment $/hr bargain.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1151)
    Performance
    (984)
    Story
    (994)

    Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.

    Darwin8u says: "Mantel Pulls the History out of the History"
    "Different Narrator Makes a Big Difference!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    1. Beautiful, creative, award-worthy writing and a new perspective on a timeless historic tale.

    2. Stands alone.
    It is not necessary to get the first book in the series (Wolf Hall) as Bring Up the Bodies does fine as a stand-alone work, but I am very glad that listened to Wolf Hall prior to Bring Up the Bodies as knowing details and characters in the back story was immensely helpful.

    3. New narrator is a big improvement.
    Unlike Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies does beautifully in the audio format and was very easy to follow because the narrator does such an excellent job. Though Wolf Hall is just as good if not better than Bring Up the Bodies, I gave an unfavorable review to Wolf Hall because I found it hard to follow and hard to stomach in audio format. I mentioned that the narrator might be the cause of this, but I wasn't sure. After listening to a different narrator for Bring Up the Bodies, I am100% sure that the change in narrator made all the difference in my listening experience.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1953)
    Performance
    (1222)
    Story
    (1228)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    S. Marie says: "A unique perspective of history"
    "Beautiful & Original, but Hard to Follow in Audio"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The writing is beautiful and the story is surprisingly original given the the number of pre-existing variations on this old historical tale. This book is well worth the accolades and the purchase price . . . but maybe not in audio format. The narrator's performance was just "okay." I think he made a few mistakes, which made it hard to tell who was speaking at times and whether the dialogue was internal or actually spoken aloud. The most disappointing aspect of this audio book is that some of the narrator's character voices sounded like Sacha Baron Cohen doing his 'Brüno' character--a flamboyantly gay, allegedly-19-year-old, Austrian fashion show presenter, which was totally inappropriate for Mantel's beautiful and original work of art.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3598)
    Performance
    (3148)
    Story
    (3182)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "Great characters make up for story problems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed REAMDE and I found it entertaining for the most part. The narrator gives a perfect performance. The characters are especially captivating. This book is worth purchasing for the characters alone!

    I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book. And, since it is a very long book, this amounted to a good many hours of solid enjoyment. The second half of the book, though more thrilling and faster paced, annoyed me for 2 reasons: #1) the story became rather unrealistic, and not in the sci-fi way for which Neal Stephensen is famous. It was just ridiculously unbelievable. I don't want to give any plot spoilers so I won't go into detail about what, specifically, was unconvincing and implausible about the plot. Also, there were several sub-plots that were never developed. Why introduce an interesting story element, hook the reader on it, but then fail to develop it any further or to offer the reader any resolution? Very frustrating! The only reason I kept listening was because Stephensen's characters were so real and captivating that I could not abandon them.

    Annoying thing #2: Throughout the entire book, but especially in the second half, Stephensen writes at great length about guns. He describes the appearance, feel, sound and action of many, many types of guns (including assault rifles and machine guns) in minute detail. I find guns boring, ugly, and distasteful, so a good deal of this book was unpleasant for me. Instead of focusing on writing in such great detail about guns, Stephensen should have focused more on plot plausibility and on fully developing his story lines.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Daniel Kahneman
    • Narrated By Patrick Egan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2474)
    Performance
    (1931)
    Story
    (1915)

    The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change the way you think about thinking. Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains....

    Mike says: "Difficult Listen, but Probably a Great Read"
    "Nobel Prize Winning Content BUT . . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is not cut out for audio format. Unless you have a visual impairment or a cognitive condition that makes reading print editions difficult, do yourself a favor and buy this book in print. However, if you have a condition that makes reading print difficult, then you will gain great insight and get some very useful information from this audio book. Even though I've already listened to it twice and referred to the print PDF files that accompany the audio file, I am still going to purchase a print copy to keep as a general math/statistics and decision making reference guide. Kahneman's book is extremely useful for this purpose.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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