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MareFlare

Member Since 2018

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 32 ratings
  • 74 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2018
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Christmas Angel Project

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Melody Carlson
    • Narrated By Linda Stephens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club - enjoying one another's company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they're sure that without her the group can't continue.

    lso says: "Lso"
    "Nice Christmas story with a great message"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Melody Carlson always delivers a great Christmas story with an uplifting and meaningful message. This one was a nice story, not too sappy but lighthearted. I gave it only three stars for narration because there was a sort of warbling in the narrator's voice from time to time. I don't know if it was the narrator or the recording, but at times it sounded like I was listening to a mechanical, computerized voice. It came and went, but I was very aware of it and found it irritating. However, it was a perfect Christmas read (or rather, "listen-to").

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Educated: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Tara Westover
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3455)
    Performance
    (3197)
    Story
    (3177)

    Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism.

    Mel says: "Gripping Read "
    "Stunningly raw and authentic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't say I "enjoyed" listening to Educated because at times it was extremely difficult to hear. So many scenes were filled with memories of abuse and raw emotion that I often grimaced, gasped, and found myself shaking my head in disbelief. I'm not sure I've ever reacted to a book in this manner. I felt like I was there with her, this little lost girl who was powerless to save herself. I wanted to jump in and say, "Stop!" Or I kept expecting someone to change their minds and rescue her, as in a novel. But this is not a work of fiction. However, like any good fiction, there is a heroine and she does overcome.

    The story of Tara Westover's upbringing in a fundamentalist Mormon home that didn't value education is a chilling one. At 17, Tara goes to college and on to receive her Ph.D. Sounds nice and neat, but her story is anything but. She is honest and open and vulnerable as she recounts the story of how she got to that point, and how her leaving and getting an education was looked at as a betrayal to her own family.

    Her story is one of abuse and triumph, sadness and joy, wellness and mental illness, betrayal and devotion. Through it all, this young woman still desires to make it right with her family. To fix it. And when she can't, she decides to pursue the path that is healthy for her.

    This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read (listened to). The narration was great, other than all the male voices sounding the same. But it's hard for a woman to get that right without sounding like she's acting, which would draw the attention away from the story...so I'll give her that one. Julia Whelan has a pleasant voice that draws you right into the story.

    Highly, HIGHLY recommend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Who Was There

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Ron Marasco
    • Narrated By Ron Marasco
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (61)

    No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first-century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley's eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we've never experienced before.

    Jocelyn Chandler says: "A story of love, forgiveness and hope beautifully told"
    "Sappy and childish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hate to write poor reviews, but I have to be honest. I listened for a few chapters and had to quit. I felt like I was listening to a children's book. Told from a puppy's point of view just didn't work for me, as an adult. I think it would be best if it was marketed to a younger audience. Writing from an animal's POV is difficult, but from a puppy POV is even harder.It's like writing a coming-of-age book from the adult POV, but keeping it believable as a child. It's tricky, and I don't think Marasco quite pulled it off. At least, not in the beginning, which is where the hook is necessary. And the beginning dragged, so I lost interest. I'm surprised at and disappointed in Thomas Nelson, the biggest Christian book publisher out there.

    Also, sometimes the author should just remain the author. While his narration wasn't bad, it wasn't great. A professional narrator might have been able to give it a better life.

    I'm sure Ron Marasco is an excellent writer, but this book was a waste of my money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Missing

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Caroline Eriksson, Tiina Nunnally - translator
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (115)

    An ordinary outing takes Greta, Alex, and four-year-old Smilla across Sweden's mythical Lake Malice to a tiny, isolated island. While father and daughter tramp into the trees, Greta stays behind in the boat, lulled into a reverie by the misty, moody lake...only later to discover that the two haven't returned. Her frantic search proves futile. They've disappeared without a trace.

    Virginia Drake says: "B o r I n g"
    "Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a writer, I hate to give poor reviews. However, I feel I have to be honest. This book sounded like a great story of suspense. I gave it an hour, hoping it would get better, but I found myself becoming annoyed at the lack of dialogue, description and general stupidity of the main character...the only character, really. It wasn't believable--no mother would just leave and then go back to the cabin and answer a call from her mother who she apparently hates, and not even tell the caller about her dilemma. As a mother, I'd be frantic, screaming, asking anyone for help. And the name of the lake--Lake Malice? Who'd go there for vacation?

    I read/listen to books to relax and become immersed in another world, but this was one world I was glad I could escape. No dialogue was introduced until chapter 5 (?)-almost an hour in. Greta (whose name we don't even know until she has a flashback of meeting her husband--and that dialogue was about 2 lines) is in her head the whole time. Never says anything out loud. Never cries out the daughter's name (which, by the way, I couldn't get past it sounded like Smell--it's Smilla). I kept shouting at my car radio, "Why don't you call the police?"

    I wish I'd read the reviews before I spent my time and money on something that could have been more polished. A rewrite with a good editor may redeem the novel. Sorry, I wouldn't recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wish Me Home

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Kay Bratt
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (783)
    Performance
    (690)
    Story
    (686)

    A hungry, stray dog is the last thing Cara Butter needs. Stranded in Georgia with only her backpack and a few dwindling dollars, she already has too much baggage. Like her twin sister, Hana, who has broken Cara's heart one too many times. After a lifetime of family troubles, and bouncing from one foster home to another, Cara decides to leave it all behind and strike out alone - on foot.

    Christi says: "I'm so thankful for a good, positive, clean story."
    "Too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise of the story intrigued me... A girl walks to Key West with a dog. At first, the story moved along well. But I wanted her to stay in each place she stopped. Some great characters were introduced only to be abandoned just when they were developing. Then, when she finally got to Key West, it was as if another story took over. It was like two separate stories. At times, I wondered how old Cara was. I learned late in the book that she was nearly 30, but she seemed younger and the book read like a YA novel. I think weaving social issues into a novel is a great idea, but it was a little too much at times. I found that I just wanted it to be over, and ended up speeding up the narration. I wasn't thrilled with the narrator. She enunciated too much so that at times she sounded almost robotic, especially on her "to" and "and."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pecan Man

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Cassie Dandridge Selleck
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2144)
    Performance
    (1988)
    Story
    (1989)

    In the summer of 1976, recently widowed and childless, Ora Lee Beckworth hires a homeless old black man to mow her lawn. The neighborhood children call him the Pee-can Man; their mothers call them inside whenever he appears. When the police chief's son is found stabbed to death near his camp, the man Ora knows as Eddie is arrested and charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, Ora sets out to tell the truth about the Pecan Man.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Still Thinking About this Book"
    "Stunning and surprising!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't usually give five-star reviews because I always find some flaw with a book. This book, however, captivated me from the start. While the narration was a bit slow-paced, it was in keeping with Ora Lee's character-an old Southern woman. The characters were rich and deep and the story engaging, with a good mix of dialogue and description. I honestly can't say that the story got bogged down anywhere. I listen to a lot of audio books, and almost every one loses me at some point. Not so with The Pecan Man.

    This book was described as To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Help. I can't agree more, but I'd also throw in a bit of a more serious Miss Julia, by Ann B. Ross. Suzanne Toren was a superb narrator, moving easily between the voices, and keeping my attention throughout. Her accent was almost flawless, and the voices believable.

    My only complaint was that I thought the author was wrapping things up when there was still an hour left in the audio version (don't know in the print version where that would be). It sounded like she was reading an epilogue, but then it continued. However, as a fellow writer, I know that's often necessary to move from one time frame to another.

    And that's where the shoe dropped! WHAT A SURPRISE ENDING! I never saw it coming. Cassie Dandridge Selleck did a phenomenal job with the use of secrets. She gave the reader some that the characters had (that we knew), some that other characters didn't know (that we knew), but she kept some from us as well. The one at the end was one that shocked me, but when I thought about it, realized that some clues were dropped early on.

    I don't know if this is the author's first book, but if it is, I'm impressed. I'd read another in a heartbeat. The Pecan Man was one of the best books I've read/heard in a long time, and one that I'll have to allow to digest before I can move on to the next.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Black-Eyed Susans: A Novel of Suspense

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Julia Heaberlin
    • Narrated By Whitney Dykhouse, Eric G. Dove, Karen Peakes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4644)
    Performance
    (4223)
    Story
    (4217)

    As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving "Black-Eyed Susan," the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa's testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

    Donna says: "Dark and compelling - Gillian Flynn readalike"
    "Slow-moving and confusing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I always find audible versions of books to be vastly different from text versions, so maybe this is one of those books that is better read than listened to.The narrator was good, with the exception that there was not a big distinction with male voices.

    That said, I was confused with the names Tessie and Tessa right off the bat. I kept thinking, "I'm sure the author has a good reason for this...that the editor and publisher agree on, but why would you name two characters the same with only a minute difference?" Then, the chapter titles of "Tessie" and "Tessa" abruptly stopped and I was even more confused. I'm not sure that whole close name thing was necessary. It didn't work for me.

    I read many reviews that claimed the book was suspenseful, but I found it boring. The only reason I hung in there was to find out who the "monster" was. Because it was an audio book, I couldn't skim the pages and flip to the end. I wound up turning the narration speed up just to get through the last three hours. Too tedious. I thought the ending was a bit contrived and too neatly packaged.

    Lastly, I was irritated with the constant use of continuous verb tenses--He is grinning, she is talking...vs. the active--He grins, she talks. By the last few chapters, they became nails on a chalkboard to me.

    All in all, I was disappointed.

    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
    Overall
    (5360)
    Performance
    (4893)
    Story
    (4891)

    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.

    tooonce72 says: "Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way"
    "An Extra-Ordinary Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't usually give five star reviews unless I can't find a flaw. Truly, this book is worthy of five stars across the board. The narration was superb. Just enough of a vocal inflection to change the character, but not over the top. Orlow even captured a deaf persons speech beautifully.

    The book seemed to drag a little for me in the beginning, but most audio books do, because I am still learning about the characters, setting, and plot. So I gave it some more time and I'm glad I did. I was captivated by the small town life in the 1960s and the relationships between the characters. And curious how a thirteen year old boy was going to figure out what to do with each twist and turn. Krueger obviously knows his craft, as he executed each one like a pro, making the story not only believable, but enriching the plot.

    A writer myself, I admit that I was attracted to the book because of the similar genre and time (Coming of age in the 1960s). I'm always looking to read/listen to books that can help me hone my craft and voice. At times, I was so drawn into the story that I forgot to pay attention to how the author got there and how he resolved the conflict, and other times, I was so taken by the his rich writing that I forgot to listen to the story. A win-win.

    I recommend this book to those who enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, or Angela's Ashes, as well as anyone who just wants to read a good book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    Overall
    (4275)
    Performance
    (3861)
    Story
    (3864)

    Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. This first in the series sends Emily on her first case after she successfully persuades a skeptical CIA recruitment officer that she is the best person for the job.

    Barbara says: "Barbara Rosenblatt: THE Voice!"
    "An Unexpected Wonderful Find"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I love mysteries, especially ones that 1) are clean, 2) have strong heroines, and 3) have a bit of humor. Mrs. Pollifax is a delightful middle-aged woman who fulfilled all three. Barbara Rosenblat captured her voice from the first page (or first few minutes, since I wasn't actually reading), and kept my interest throughout the book. There was just enough international intrigue to keep me listening, but not so much that I became bored with technical or political jargon or issues I didn't understand. Dorothy Gilman did a superb job of moving the plot along with dialogue and great characterizations. I just love Mrs. Pollifax, and I can't wait to experience the next book! I've already told two people about her, and they're off to the library to get their copies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Evelyn, After: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Victoria Helen Stone
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (668)
    Performance
    (588)
    Story
    (583)

    Evelyn Tester is sleepwalking through her suburban life - until a late-night phone call startles her awake. Her husband, a prestigious psychiatrist, has been in an accident. And he isn't alone. Suddenly Evelyn's world isn't as tidy as she thought. And in the midst of it all is Juliette, not only her husband's secret lover but also his patient. If news of the affair were to get out, it would ruin more than just Evelyn's marriage. Although it's a bitter pill for Evelyn to swallow, protecting her family means staying silent.

    barbara says: "Self pitying schlock"
    "Shallow story, tedious pace"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the standard story about a husband who has an affair and the wife who wants revenge. For an author who has written several books, I expected more mature writing with a better storyline. I gave up halfway through after hearing about her public hair at least five times and her frumpy middle-aged body more times than I wanted to. The story dragged and had no substance. At times, the narrator sounded almost robotic. I hate to give bad reviews, but this one is just not worth the money you'll spend.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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