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Lawrence

Charlottesville, VA, United States | Member Since 2006

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 81 ratings
  • 367 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9984)
    Performance
    (6062)
    Story
    (6091)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Anastasia Burke says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Intense but ultimately shallow and unsatisfying"
    Overall

    The first half was a detailed and engaging story of the Louis's development, his military training, combat, and survival at sea. The relentless and sadistic brutality of the Japanese captors frankly grew repetitive... I got the picture more than once. (Possible spoiler alert as to what follows...) But the superficial and uncritical handling of his conversion and salvation following a couple encounters with Billy Graham was disappointing.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (628)
    Performance
    (570)
    Story
    (582)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Benoibe says: "Best book of the year!"
    "Just fantastic - compelling and inspiring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this and in fact, bought two copies for friends/family.


    What did you like best about this story?

    True story of character and grit triumphing. Especially like the challenge faced by Joe, the protagonist, as he struggles to be a self-made man while being a true (and trusting) member of a team. Given his history of abandonment, this is no easy task.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5810)
    Performance
    (5255)
    Story
    (5250)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "Disappointing - repetitive and obvious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Not sure why this is getting rave reviews. The basic premise (that an African-American housekeeper might inherit a gazillion bucks in a deep southern town, and that this might cause a stir...) is repeated over and over. The characters are one dimensional, and the resolution to the big question (why did the dead man give her all this money in his will) is obvious 2/3s of the way through. This is the second recent Grisham book I've been disappointed by... and I'm done.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Likeness

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Heather O'Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2569)
    Performance
    (1486)
    Story
    (1496)

    Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

    Michael says: "Really on a Different Level"
    "Disappointing: hokey premise and too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The premise, that a murder victim looked exactly like our detective Cassie, was just too far-fetched. Add to that the associated assumptions: that she could impersonate the dead woman among her closest friends, students, and colleagues, and that it was somehow worth risking Cassie's life to send her undercover as the dead woman, and you've got something just too bogus to swallow. I pressed on to the end because I loved the first book in the series ("In the Woods") and I loved the character (Cassie) from it. I had also been captivated by the author's beautiful writing and characterizations, some of which came through in this second book. As a result, I'll consider the next one in the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Racketeer

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By J.D. Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3630)
    Performance
    (3062)
    Story
    (3043)

    Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.... Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller.

    Ed says: "Grisham Light"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Much of the time the main character is off setting up a plan that he knows about, but hasn't shared with the audience. So the big reveal is simply a matter of finally letting us in on what he has known all along. It is far better when the reader and the hero are both discovering new information and sharing in the suspense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bel Canto

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1551)
    Performance
    (730)
    Story
    (736)

    Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

    Brian says: "Surprisingly engrossing"
    "Tried, but couldn't get into it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to like the book, but it was too slow and after 3 hours of listening (with my iPod turned up to "fast" narration) I gave up, mainly because I realized I didn't care about the characters even after so much time with them. I can generally tolerate and appreciate slow character development, as long as it is sufficiently rewarding. Something about these folks didn't click and I don't really care how their hostage ordeal ends...

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3984)
    Performance
    (2177)
    Story
    (2178)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "Couldn't put it down - gripping and compelling"
    Overall

    One of the best Audible books I've ever listened to. Great narration. Great story. You really get to know the characters at many levels, magnified by the intensity of warfare. So many big issues (like the meaning of life, good vs. evil, race relations) are woven into exquisitely detailed scenes populated by characters you grow to love. The sights, the smells, the sounds, the terror, the relief, and ultimately the brotherhood of combat are all there. You'll be infuriated by incompetent leaders. You'll laugh and cry along with troops. Hated to see it end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Freedom: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jonathan Franzen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3326)
    Performance
    (1057)
    Story
    (1060)

    Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world.

    Lawrence says: "Believe the Hype"
    "Gave up"
    Overall

    I only made it 1/4 through. Just didn't care enough for the main character (Patty) to tolerate her self-indulgence and dysfunction. And something about the narrator's snide tone started to become intolerable. I tried to stick out out, but the benefits were repeatedly exceeded by the displeasure.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jamie Ford
    • Narrated By Feodor Chin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1822)
    Performance
    (767)
    Story
    (763)

    In the opening pages of Jamie Ford's stunning debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

    Christopher says: "Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet"
    "Sweet and touching"
    Overall

    Found this book as a recommendation for those who loved "The Help". While slower, and in many ways simpler, I still found it heart warming. The simple prose is often poetic and it speaks to classic themes of youth, aging, love... and whether losses can be mended over time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26027)
    Performance
    (12682)
    Story
    (12723)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Heartwarming and insightful - Wonderful"
    Overall

    Listened during long commutes and didn't want my drives to end! Complex but engaging characters, wonderful narration, humor and depth, themes of justice and freedom that transcend racial and political stereotypes. You really care about the characters and grow to love them. Best book I've listened to in 10 years. Now the biggest problem is what to read next? Nothing is likely to come up to this standard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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