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Jessica

i'm listening

minneapolis, MN, United States | Member Since 2006

152
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 170 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
5

  • SPQR I: The King's Gambit

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Maddox Roberts
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (186)

    John Maddox Roberts takes listeners back to a Rome filled with violence and evil. Vicious gangs ruled the streets of Crassus and Pompey, routinely preying on plebeian and patrician alike. So the garroting of a lowly ex-slave and the disembowelment of a foreign merchant in the dangerous Subura district seemed of little consequence to the Roman hierarchy.

    Michael says: "Pleasant suprise"
    "excellent historical fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Roman historical fiction can be risky - some of the authors who enjoy writing this period focus on hours long descriptions of torture and pain and violence, and much of it sexual. That's not what I like.
    I like the politics and the social history, the rituals and the food. That, my friends, is what we have here. The mystery gives the story a form and is engaging, but this is more historical fiction and in my opinion, best in class since Colleen Mccullough. And if you know those books this is even more fun because it offers another perspective on the same events.

    I dunno if I want to get the rest of the books though. I love simon vance - he is always always great, but the narrator change is not one that I care for

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Semper Fidelis: A Novel of the Roman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Ruth Downie
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (203)

    As mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to appear in the medical ledgers, it's clear that all is not well amongst the native recruits to Britannia's imperial army. Is the much-decorated centurion Geminus preying on his weaker soldiers? And could this be related to the appearance of Emperor Hadrian? Bound by his sense of duty and ill-advised curiosity, Ruso begins to ask questions nobody wants to hear. Meanwhile his barbarian wife Tilla is finding out some of the answers....

    Margaret says: "Hadrian is here!"
    "This series is great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    whats odd is I never like the new one when it comes out. Its never as good as the last one, which I always come to love. And I love this one now. These stories are a lovely weave of historical fiction, muder mystery, fantasy heroism, and postcolonial politics. For some listeners it may just be a murder mystery with an exotic backdrop, and is certainly enjoyable on that level, but there is a lot more to the narrative if you are open to it. Thats the difference between good and great. These are great. Can't wait for the next one. Do we get to go to Rome ? is Justinus still alive? Will they ever have children? Oh I cannot wait

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14876)
    Performance
    (9250)
    Story
    (9125)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Lulu says: "The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books"
    "THIS IS A ROMANCE NOVEL"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this on a 4.95 special and glad I did. This is not a fantasy novel, this is not historical fiction. This is a romance novel. This has a sex scene every 10 minutes for most of it, complete with stroke count. I will say that its probably a super excellent romance novel because I listened to MOST of it and it is long. I put books on while I go about my day, in and out of the room, in and out of the house. Usually with a book this long I would have to listen 5 times or so to have heard the whole thng for sure. But everytime I came back into the room they were at it again. I only listened once, but I did listen to almost all of it .

    To be sure there is some magic and there is some history and those elements of the story were engaging, but too interrupted and not well enough developed for me. Its a shame, coulda been good. If you like romance novels I think this must be as good as they get.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4488)
    Performance
    (4138)
    Story
    (4151)

    A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

    Dave says: "Oh, the Wondrous Ocean!"
    "this was brave, and well done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Its hard to know what to say about this story, it cuts so close to the bone and touches the heart. When I was in highschool my favorite teacher told me " Art is learning how to see." I keep thinking of that now.

    I can't help but wonder what people who have never been afraid of someone who is suppose to care for them, who was never hurt by such a person, will make of this. I can't talk about this more.... listen to the story and maybe you will understand. Its a good story. It is art. Its learning how to see.

    On the performance, Neil is the only author who I think does his own books justice.

    20 of 34 people found this review helpful
  • The Hangman's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translator)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1303)
    Performance
    (1158)
    Story
    (1151)

    When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. When more children disappear and an orphan is found dead with the same mark, the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth.

    goddess_of_pipework says: "Fascinating"
    "this is really good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    this is a mystery written in simple, plain language. It is engaging from the word go and while it certainly is a bit gruesome at times it is never gross. Also, and I was rather schocked by this, while the plot is fictional the ' world...." the details of what an executioner's life was like in 1600's germany are supposed to be historically acurate. I say supposed to be because how the heck would I know... but it rings true.

    I contrast this with another book I downloaded at the same time that launched into a complicated explaination of the political structure of the world using affected language .... turned me off totally. This is a story well told and you do come to understand the politics of the place as things happen. Its a good story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winds of War

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2610)
    Performance
    (2198)
    Story
    (2203)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    Robert says: "A Masterpiece"
    "fantastic performance of a great historical drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love historical fiction when its done well. Done well to me means the social and political period is layed out and experienced through the life stories of actual people. There are several points of view in this third person narration and their stories are engaging and thoughtful.

    The performance is one of the best I have heard yet. This art of performing books is a fine and subtle one. Too much and the story is cartoonish and painful, not enough and its a droning bore. This one is perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8283)
    Performance
    (7588)
    Story
    (7620)

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "HOORAY! WE GOT OUR WISH"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Imagine my surprise when I was clicking around for something new in the epic fantasy section and my eye just happened to see Roy's name on the splash page that shows the new releases. Like so many others I bought the John Lee recording of this story some years ago and found it to be a terrible listen. Many, many, many of us begged for Roy Dotrice to record this story, and now here it is.

    I have accepted after listening to Dance that I will not hear the same powerful performance that we were so lucky to have on the first three books, and I am ok with that. Time marches on mercilessly for all of us and those recordings were many and more years ago.

    This performance is much, much better than the last recording of Feast and for me its like I get to hear the story for the first time . THANK YOU for doing this.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Roots: The Saga of an American Family

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Alex Haley
    • Narrated By Avery Brooks
    Overall
    (1971)
    Performance
    (1094)
    Story
    (1110)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A masterpiece like none other, Brooks’ powerful performance of Haley’s words has been known to leave listeners in tears. It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree.

    Kevin says: "Powerful"
    "I never made it off the boat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Let me start by saying that I would pay money to listen to Avery Brooks read a phone book. I have seen the mini series and I even have it on ITunes. But I couldn't listen to all of this. I tried.

    The very start of the story - herding goats in Africa was very dull. Too dull.

    Then there was the torturous boat. Too much graphic detail about all the putrid details of every kind of nasty fluid a sick and tortured body can produce and it went on forever. I couldnt. I just couldnt.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Ruth Downie
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (844)
    Performance
    (427)
    Story
    (429)

    Gaius Petrius Ruso is a divorced and down-on-his-luck army doctor who has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. After a 36-hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner. And before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar.

    Lehua says: "Took Me by Surprise"
    "Great fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think I might have named my dog after the Medicus. His name is Gaius. He is so very likeable and at the same time seems totally real. At this point I have all 4 of Ruth Downie's books in this series. They are very entertaining murder mysteries peppered with the historically interesting.

    This one is the funniest, though it has a very serious story too. There are parts of it that made me laugh out loud. I am more of a chuckler in most cases. The characterizations and the writing are great so these are stories you can listen to more than once. There's a lot more about them to enjoy even after you know who done it .

    Simon Vance, as always, is perfect

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Palace of Illusions

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
    • Narrated By Sneha Mathan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India.

    Richard says: "timeless story"
    "A good listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this largely because audible doesn't have any recordings of the Mahabahrata. ( I am never sure if I have the H in the right spot, please forgive.) Last time I looked audible was not lacking in "classics" how is it possible they fail on this? Seems rather a crime to me really.

    2 days after I went searching for a recording of the Maha and this came up in the search, I saw this story recommended on a fantasy read list on the Tor website. So I came back for it

    Its a good story, plenty of intrigue, plenty of magic. First person narrative ALWAYS puts me off. Every wicked thought is worse and every kind thought sounds self- serving. For me, that means there cannot be love for a story, because I don't trust it.

    The central idea is to tell the story from the woman's point of view... but I am not sure that she comes off as a genuine- to - period woman. If you enjoy considering issues like that, and I am just the sort of nerd who does, then this is worth your time. I did listen through, and that's not something that I can say for many first person audiobooks. Wish they would get a copy of the Mahabarhata- yeah I think that's right- then I would listen to this again.

    The performance is terrific, couldn't be better

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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