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Jennifer Hall

Bellevue, WA United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
134
REVIEWS
5
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
13

  • A Sudden Country

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Karen Fisher
    • Narrated By Cassandra Cambell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Alive with incident and insight, presenting with rare scope and intimacy the complex relations among nineteenth-century traders, immigrants, and Native Americans, A Sudden Country is, above all, a heroic and unforgettable story of love and loss, sacrifice and understanding.

    Jennifer Hall says: "Eloquent simplicity"
    "Eloquent simplicity"
    Overall

    I loved listening to this book. The story is gripping, with two flawed and complex protagonists whose lives intersect and then diverge again. The prose is simple, yet somehow reveals emotional depth and conveys both the joys and the horrors of life along the Oregon Trail. The narrator's understated performance matches the writing perfectly.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (8051)
    Performance
    (6235)
    Story
    (6256)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Shannon says: "Word Thief"
    "Beautifully written, beautifully read"
    Overall

    I don't have much to add to the chorus of accolades, except that I thought Allen Corduner's narration was absolutely perfect. This is a gem of a book that I will be recommending to everyone I know.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Water for Elephants Part 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Sara Gruen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux, John Randolph Jones
    Overall
    (4125)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

    Becky says: "Excellent book"
    "Hated for it to end"
    Overall

    This story is told in two voices of one character: Jacob at 25 and Jacob at 90 (or 93). Though I thought the younger narrator's reading was overly melodramatic, I loved the older one, and the story was so great it deserved 5 stars anyway.

    This is a fascinating look into the circus business circa 1930...gritty, violent and rambunctious...with a love story woven in and marvelous characters with real depth. It's also a realistic but loving look at life in a nursing home.

    I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7778)
    Performance
    (2957)
    Story
    (3012)

    When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

    Sandra says: "Utterly Awesome!"
    "A worthy effort"
    Overall

    This story has definite echoes of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and to a lesser degree, Harry Potter, but it has its own unique aspects, too. I found the writing and narrator both to be MUCH better than "The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches," which reviewers on this site were also raving about. No, Paolini hasn't yet achieved Tolkien's greatness (I'm fairly certain that Tolkien wouldn't have used the verb "morphed"), but he's come a lot closer than many! I'm looking forward to the continuation of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Robert Stanek
    Overall
    (1073)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (87)

    After the Great War that divided the peoples, the kingdoms of men plunged into a Dark Age that lasted 500 years. To heal the lands and restore the light, the great kings decreed that magic and all that is magical, be it creature, man, or device, shall be cleansed to dust. The cleansing raged for so long that no human could recall a time without it and it is in this time that the Dark Lord Sathar returned from the dark beyond.

    Lawrence says: "What the....?"
    "Not a bad story"
    Overall

    I've just finished the first book, so my opinion may change as time goes on, but I think the comparisons to "Lord of the Rings" are as overblown as some of the prose passages in the book.

    The story jumps around a lot, and I think the narrator could have done a much better job of changing tone and timbre to indicate jumps in time or between characters. It's not all his fault, though; there were some transitions that left me wondering if my iPod Shuffle had skipped a section (it has trouble with bookmarking), but no -- when I re-wound I hadn't really missed anything.

    All that said, the story is sufficiently original and interesting that I do intend to at least get the second book to see if the disparate story lines ever come together!

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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