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Joyann Sanz-agero

Joy Sanz-Agero

St. Louis, MO | Member Since 2013

  • 5 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 95 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015

  • The Barbarian Nurseries

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Héctor Tobar
    • Narrated By Frankie J. Alvarez
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    With The Barbarian Nurseries, Héctor Tobar gives our most misunderstood metropolis its great contemporary novel, taking us beyond the glimmer of Hollywood and deeper than camera-ready crime stories to reveal Southern California life as it really is, across its vast, sunshiny sprawl of classes, languages, dreams, and ambitions.

    David says: "A modern classic for 21st century Los Angeles"
    "Interesting and Entertaining"
    Would you listen to The Barbarian Nurseries again? Why?

    Hector nailed this story about the taciturn, but extremely competent housekeeper, Ariceli, from Mexico who had worked hard to keep the house clean for her Orange County employers who had a penchant to overspend, which finally caused the camel's back to break. The lives of the Torres-Thompsons Family and their mistakes along with the wrong-decisions made for the right reasons by their housekeeper-pushed-nanny made a lot of changes in both their lives. Listened to it a lot which is the same as can't put it down.. Reader was excellent too. Reminded me a little of some of T.C Boyles' books like Tortilla Curtain. Good book.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character, of course, was Ariceli.

    What about Frankie J. Alvarez’s performance did you like?

    His ability to smoothly transition from the Spanish used to the English. The steady speed of the words and not over-emoting.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


    Any additional comments?

    It's not literature, but it is a story about illegals who often go unfeatured in books today, though they are talked about constantly in the political world of the news.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ordinary Grace

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By William Kent Krueger
    • Narrated By Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.

    Jen says: "Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way"
    "Figured It Out Half Way Through"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ordinary Grace to be better than the print version?

    I only listened to it. I thought the narrator was excellent and his pace of reading was great. I got interested in the characters and wanted to stay with it. Which I did until I finished it in one day. ,

    Would you recommend Ordinary Grace to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend it wholeheartedly, but with caveats. It was too easy figuring out who was the killer.The fact that the family in this story was a minister's family I should have noted before choosing this story. How his wife could complain so much about her husband's relationship with God, feeling the way she did re the same was puzzling. We spent too much time in church that was not to my liking, I know some of my friends would feel the same way. Others would be perfectly okay with that as are most of the people who really loved the book. I would probably have chosen another novel had I read more about who and where and when this story involved.

    What about Rich Orlow’s performance did you like?

    Rich Orlow's reading and interpretation of the various characters in the book was a lot of the reason I hung in there with the story. He was just right in getting some of the different speech patterns and tones done the way I would expect them to speak. Excellent reading.

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

    I was entertained by the story, their relationships, and how they interacted with each other as husband, wife, the two boys, their sister, and the other persons that came in as various characters in the town where the people lived. Doyle, Gus, and the Indians who peopled the book seemed to come alive. The one we should have gotten to know better would have been Ariel. Perhaps, the author deliberately kept details about her purposely vague. But, no, I did not laugh or cry. I purposely fast-forwarded through the minister's long sermon directed toward his relationship with God, at the point in time when most readers would probably listen and shed tears. .

    Any additional comments?

    I can see see where people who are deep into belief in God and relationship with that aspect of life would enjoy this more than I. As I said, I was not all that unprepared for finding out who the wrong-doers were.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise & Fall of Great Powers: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Tom Rachman
    • Narrated By Penelope Rawlins

    Tooly Zylberberg, the American owner of an isolated bookshop in the Welsh countryside, conducts a life full of reading, but with few human beings. Books are safer than people, who might ask awkward questions about her life. She prefers never to mention the strange events of her youth, which mystify and worry her still. Taken from home as a girl, Tooly found herself spirited away by a group of seductive outsiders, implicated in capers from Asia to Europe to the United States. But who were her abductors? Why did they take her? What did they really want?

    Amazon Customer says: "Wonderful book. Superb narration."
    "Disappointed A Lot"
    What disappointed you about The Rise & Fall of Great Powers?

    The main character was bizarre, and her story failed to interest me. Tulie or Matilda, and the strange life she led was just that, strange. It seems to me that Mr. Rachman has a philosophy about life and the world he and all of us are living in, and some, if not all of characters impart these ideas as we move through the novel.

    What was most disappointing about Tom Rachman’s story?

    It lacked any storyline that failed to interest me. Not Humphrey, Paul, Sarah, Tulie, Duncan. any of them.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Oh, yes the narrator did not help increase the enjoyment of this book. Her efforts to dramatize every character's voice in the novel, including little 10 year old Tulie and grown-up Tulie, Humphrey, Sarah, et al. Dramatization of a story can be more detrimental to the author's text than enhancing it. . It was so slow going, and when I tried to increase the speed, it just didn't help.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Rise & Fall of Great Powers?

    Sorry, but I can't nail down the specific scenes that should be cut. I was just glad when the end came, and my thought was, and so, that's it?

    Any additional comments?

    I will not be recommending this book to any of my friends. Maybe I might have enjoyed it more if I read the book and did not audit it. The Imperfectionists by Mr. Rachman, I enjoyed.,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret History

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By Donna Tartt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.

    Barry Hill says: "Intriguing story, unfortunate narration."
    "Why Do Authors Narrate Their Novels?"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Secret History to be better than the print version?

    I can't answer that since I listened to the book in almost its entirety. I know that Donna's narration did not improve my enjoyment of the tale. It is a first person account by one of the characters, and he is male, as are most of the main characters, That character is from Plano, CA, not Missisippi. Also the voice of Bunny and his character were so annoying, I even wanted to kill him within the first hour of the book. I guess that's the point of story. Some people deserve to be dead.

    If you’ve listened to books by Donna Tartt before, how does this one compare?

    I read the Goldfinch, or rather listened to it, and thought that male reader was excellent, as was the story.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I think I have answered that question already. Donna found from the reviews from this book that a female author, or most authors just should leave the reading to the specialists.the narration interferes with the enjoyment of the story, which is quirky to say the least, but involving.

    If you could rename The Secret History, what would you call it?

    Sorry. No title comes to mind. At Play in Ivy-covered Walls?i

    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed Goldfinch much more. This story was too single-faceted.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Circle

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity.

    Suzn F says: "Big Brother Employer"
    "Scary Story, Fears of a 1984 Blossom"
    Where does The Circle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really listened to this almost non-stop, though I was annoyed by the reader, who read too fast, and there was no way to slow it down without distorting the voice. It is scary to think that young college graduates like the 'heroine' of this novel can acquire millions of followers through messaging, and photographing everything. In this modern world of cameras on city-streets and at every traffic light, smartphones that are everywhere, the Google-glasses, Insta-grams, Twitter, and everything we do online ourselves with Facebook and Amazon, and the fact that what we do on these internet connected sites is being watched, it is a credible step to The Circle.

    What did you like best about this story?

    How fast one single young woman is persuaded that she was important to the world scheme of her bosses, and how she was an important entity in connecting the world through a Google-like private company. Lots of people already believe that positioning of cameras is essential to preventing crimes, or at least apprehending criminals already. Is transparency a good thing, or not?

    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I was caught up in it, and for the first time couldn't stop listening, though I found the speed of the narrator a shade fast for my old ears. Just a shade too fast, as I understand the need to move it along.

    If you could rename The Circle, what would you call it?

    That name is good enough. I am not clever enough to think of another.

    Any additional comments?

    I will not reveal any of the most important, dramatic happenings. You will have to read it yourself to see how the story evolves, or devolves.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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