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Jennifer

Halifax, NS, Canada | Member Since 2008

99
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 1183 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2015
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7

  • Tommo and Hawk: The Australian Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2138)
    Performance
    (1479)
    Story
    (1481)

    Brutally kidnapped and separated in childhood, Tommo and Hawk are reunited at the age of 15 in Hobart Town. Together, they escape their troubled pasts and set off on a journey into manhood. From whale hunting in the Pacific to the Maori wars of New Zealand, from the Rocks in Sydney to the miners' riots at the goldfields, Tommo and Hawk must learn each other's strengths and weaknesses in order to survive.

    Angie says: "Brillant Narration"
    "Fabulous Second Installment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tommo and Hawk starts with the return of Tommo and ends with the departure of Tommo. In between is the description of the unlikely twins' coming of age and finding themselves.

    As usual, Bryce Courtenay has written a gripping epic novel which is masterfully researched. The description of whaling is brought to life and is utterly gripping and gruesome.

    I was a little afraid that the story of joining the Maori and fighting in New Zealand might become too political and preachy, but as usual, Bryce Courtenay handles things deftly. And as always he sets up scenarios and characters which recur later in the series.

    Getting reacquainted with Billy Lanney was a nice surprise, for example. Getting reacquainted with Sparrow Fart was not such a nice surprise.

    This middle book chronicles a roughly four-year period when the twins leave Mary and become whalers and then join the Maori before returning to Australia. Back in Australia, Hawk meets a courtesan named Maggie Pye and falls in love with her. Tommo unfortunately falls victim to the opium pipe and the clutches of the nefarious Sparrow Fart. In a sense, Hawk grows in this book while Tommo withers. Unfortunately, Tommo is so haunted by his time in the wilds when he was kidnapped as a boy that he cannot escape his demons.

    Toward the end it finally appeared as though things were going to go well for Mary, Tommo, Hawk and Maggie Pye. But as always, fortune has other plans in store.a

    The book again has a Dickensian flavour, although not in the same way as the Potato Factory. But the ending of the book has the flavour of A Tale of Two Cities, and the sacrifice made by Sydney Carton is similar to that made by Tommo.

    Tommo and Hawk is lush and well-written and full of derring-do and acts of heroism. Life in Australia at the gold mining camps is brought to life in all its seedy realism. This is another book with gritty descriptions of the life and times in the early colonization of Australia.

    As always, Humphrey Bower brilliantly narrates the story. His ability as a narrator is I think unparalleled. Bower is an absolute genius.

    I don't understand the negative reviews of this book. I read and listen to a lot of books, and I would put the Australian trilogy at or near the top of my listening list. I often get antsy toward the middle and end of an audiobook, wishing for the end, but that is never the case with any of these books. I have now finished the entire series, and it still resonates. I think I might pick it back up and start again with the Potato Factory.

    I was saddened to hear of Bryce Courtenay's passing in November. Now I have to go and get more of his works.

    Tommo and Hawk does not suffer from the sophomore curse. Nor does it contain excessive or overly graphic content. Whatever graphic content is in the book is necessary to the story. The description of whaling and life aboard a whaling ship is probably more graphic than anything even remotely sexual in the books. Courtenay does not shy away from descriptions of floggings and brutal treatment at the hands of men (and nature). But it all adds to the story and is well done.

    This is definitely worth 5 stars in every category and well worth the credit. It would even be worth paying for at full list price.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16318)
    Performance
    (13600)
    Story
    (13594)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "Crazy little liars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All the characters are crazy and they're all liars. The Girl on the Train is full of deliciously unreliable narrators.

    I guessed the whodunnit part way through but that didn't detract from the way it all unfolded.

    This is a fabulous book. I am going to turn around and listen to it again.

    Highly recommended for fans of mysteries and thrillers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Nathan Wolfe
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (452)
    Performance
    (396)
    Story
    (392)

    In The Viral Storm, award-winning biologist Nathan Wolfe tells the story of how viruses and human beings have evolved side by side through history; how deadly viruses like HIV, swine flu, and bird flu almost wiped us out in the past; and why modern life has made our species vulnerable to the threat of a global pandemic. Wolfe's research missions to the jungles have earned him the nickname "the Indiana Jones of virus hunters," and here Wolfe takes listeners along on his groundbreaking and often dangerous research trips - to reveal the surprising origins of the most deadly diseases....

    Erica says: "a bio-geek's wet dream"
    "Good Primer on Viruses"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fans of Richard Preston will like this book. It's a very comprehensive primer on viruses and pandemics.

    It has a bit of an academic tone and can be fairly heavy going, but it's very interesting and thought-provoking.

    It's probably not too simplistic for scientists, and it's not too complex for the rest of us. Nathan Wolfe gets it just right.

    It's thought-provoking and fascinating and has a good blend of the historical and the current.

    I don't think I'll look at chimpanzees the same way again. Or hunting, for that matter.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Judy Melinek, MD, T. J. Mitchell
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (559)
    Performance
    (500)
    Story
    (497)

    Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple.

    R. Milam says: "Great story - but not for the faint of heart!"
    "Fascinating and Well-Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great book. Most people will probably be drawn to it superficially because of the 9/11 connection. However, the 9/11 information is probably the least interesting part of the book. Most of what Dr. Melinek had to work with were tiny pieces and fragments.

    The rest of the books is absolutely fascinating. There's just the right blend of clinical, interesting science, and riveting storyline.

    For anyone who is squeamish or easily offended by death and dead bodies, this is probably not a great listen. But for everyone else, it's a good book. There's a lot of blending of Dr. Melinek's personal history in with the work she was doing.

    At the end I was hoping she would write a follow-up about her experiences in California. To me that's the mark of a good book -- wanting another.

    Two thumbs up!

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Kenneth McKenzie, Todd Harra
    • Narrated By Susan Larkin, Allan Robertson
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    In this macabre and moving compilation, funeral directors across the country share their most embarrassing, jaw-dropping, irreverent, and deeply poignant stories about life at death's door. Discover what scares them and what moves them to tears. Learn about rookie mistakes and why death sometimes calls for duct tape. Enjoy tales of the dearly departed spending eternity naked from the waist down and getting bottled and corked - in a wine bottle.

    Jennifer says: "Reader's Digest Vignettes"
    "Reader's Digest Vignettes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was hoping for something more clinical and less Readers Digest. These stories are in the vein of heart-warming, gently amusing and vaguely spiritual or uplifting.

    The stories are fine for what they are, but they aren't an in-depth look at funeral homes, funeral directors and morticians. I was hoping for something more along the lines of Mary Roach's Stiff.

    I don't think I'll bother finishing listening to these. Or I'll keep them for the category of audiobooks I can listen to while grocery shopping so it doesn't matter if I get distracted.

    These are about as bland and vanilla as you could get.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5579)
    Performance
    (5080)
    Story
    (5075)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    H James Lucas says: "A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters"
    "Slight sophomore curse"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The storyline in the Silkworm isn't quite as compelling as it was in the Cuckoo's Calling. Part of that relates to the completely hideous plotline of Bombyx Mori and the way it is integrated throughout the novel.

    The development of the relationship between Cormoran and Robin is very satisfying and multi-layered. The supporting characters are less dimensional, but they work.

    The only irritating thing is the literary references /quotations at the beginning of each chapter. Okay, JK, we get it. You're a serious writer. I don't need convincing. I'm a card-carrying member of the fan club.

    In all, it's definitely worth a credit. I'm looking forward to the next one in the series.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (8824)
    Performance
    (7969)
    Story
    (7986)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Excellent start to a series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a great first novel in what I hope is a long series.

    The plotting is sharply written, the characters are well drawn and human. The ending comes as a real surprise. This is a great book and proves that JK Rowling is not just a one-hit (series) wonder.

    Robert Glenister's narration is excellent. His voices are well done and completely appropriate to the characters..

    I will continue to buy these from Audible as long as they continue to be written and published.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beneath the Dark Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Greig Beck
    • Narrated By Sean Mangan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (516)
    Performance
    (463)
    Story
    (464)

    When a plane crashes into the Antarctic ice, exposing a massive cave beneath, a rescue and research team is dispatched. Twenty-four hours later, all contact is lost. Captain Alex Hunter and his highly trained squad of commandos are fast tracked to the hot zone to find out what went wrong - and to follow up the detection of a vast underground reservoir.

    Bob says: "A fun and interesting read."
    "Good story, irritating narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love these kinds of adventure tales. This series has such promise. I love the early James Rollins books, and this is similar.

    The problem with this series is the narration. Sean Mangan has the diction of someone who is inebriated and who is trying to enunciate clearly and yet slurs at the same time. It's irritating. He also doesn't do a terribly good job of distinguishing between the particular characters. Alex Hunter sounds just like Amy.

    I may or may not buy the next one in audiobook form. I may just get them all on Kindle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Indexing

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (325)
    Performance
    (305)
    Story
    (303)

    For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected - perhaps infected is a better word - by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

    Erin - Audible says: "The X-Files meets Grimm meets Law and Order"
    "Lost in a Good Fairy Tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fans of Jasper Fforde's novels and fairly tales would like this.

    It's a reasonably interesting novel with some quirky characters and interesting plot devices. The narration is fairly well done, and the story is interesting enough.

    Is it great? No, but it's fairly good. This is in the category of light fantasy summer reading.

    It's about fairy tale archetypes which occur in real life and the squad of characters hired to stop the stories from taking over and having dire consequences. The main protagonist is a Snow White character who ends up getting pulled inside her own story.

    As I say, if you like Jasper Fforde's work, then this is right up your alley.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Oblivion

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jay Bonansinga
    • Narrated By Nick Santa Maria
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Oblivion the listener on a unique and frightening ride described in terrifying detail from this bestselling writer. In a dramatic showdown between the forces of good and evil, mankind's salvation rests in the hands of a burnt-out relic of a priest. Father Martin is an ordinary man, a man of doubts and fears, a man who has failed once in banishing a demon to the dark pits of hell. Now, he must stand against the army of darkness with only his wavering faith to support him.

    Jennifer says: "Performance Better than the Story"
    "Performance Better than the Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the few audiobooks where the narration is miles better than the story.

    It's an interesting premise (priest called on to exorcise the White House) but it ultimately doesn't deliver. This would have made an interesting long short story or very short novella, but it just drags out interminably.

    Take a stereotypical aging alcoholic defrocked priest, possessed building, and throw in some slavery history and some utterly uninteresting tidbits about prior inhabitants of the White House. Shake well and then discard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nor All Your Tears

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Keith McCarthy
    • Narrated By Seán Barrett
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    July, 1977. Lance’s eccentric father, the retired Dr Benjamin Elliott, has been running a Horticultural Club at local Bensham Manor School, a good deed he decided to take on to impress Ada Clarke, the head dinner lady at the school. One summer’s evening, Lance and his girlfriend Max turn up for the school’s parents evening to show their support of the elder Dr Elliott’s efforts.

    Dottie B. says: "Where was the suspense?"
    "Another good medico-police procedural"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Unfortunately, this is the third in a series, and the first two aren't available on Audible. Hint, Audible: Get on that.

    There is obviously some backstory missing, but the reader/listener can make an educated guess about what has happened in the previous two books.

    Interesting mix of English suburban village (do the outskirts of London count as "village"), residents with secrets, and an interesting cast of characters.

    Shawn Barrett's narration is great and he does all voices well. I didn't see the whodunnit coming.

    Interesting placement of the story back in the mid-70s as well.

    For fans of the Eisenmenger books, this is another winner by Keith McCarthy. His writing is dryly amusing and droll and I find it very appealing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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