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Karen

Winston-Salem, NC, United States | Member Since 2002

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 43 purchased in 2014
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  • Broken Harbor: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Stephen Hogan
    Overall
    (2273)
    Performance
    (1941)
    Story
    (1927)

    In Broken Harbor, all but one member of the Spain family lies dead, and it’s up to Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy to find out why. Mick must piece together why their house is full of cameras pointed at holes in the walls and how a nighttime intruder bypassed all the locks. Meanwhile, the town of Broken Harbor holds something else for Mick: disturbing memories of a childhood summer gone terribly wrong.

    Amazon Customer says: "Best in the Series"
    "...a Dickens for the Irish in a new century....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tana French moves the murder mystery far beyond "whodunit" into literature in three key elements: beautiful, poetic language, plot development, and character. Her powers of description are so engaging that, despite the sometimes harrowing scenes she sketches, a reader must fall a little in love with Ireland and the Irish. "In the Woods" called back the memory of childhood summers, you'll want to live in a noisy nosy Irish neighborhood after "Faithful Place," and "The Likeness" made me long for the special friendships that grow nowhere but graduate school. Odd comments on gruesome murder mysteries, wouldn't you agree? You decide which nostalgia or desire "Broken Harbor" wakes in you.

    In "Broken Harbor," French, as usual, weaves love and delight expertly with disgust and despair. Stephen Hogan's narration brings a new dimension to mental illness. Neither writer nor narrator will allow you to dismiss or hate a character without seeing that character as a whole person.

    "Broken Harbor" is not an easy listen; it is challenging. But it is also rewarding and well worthwhile.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Thousand White Women

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Jim Fergus, J. Will Dodd (introduction)
    • Narrated By Laura Hicks, Erik Steele
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (660)
    Performance
    (391)
    Story
    (396)

    One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who travel to the Western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians.

    Cynthia says: "Good story, well read, you know how it ends"
    "Truth is stranger than fiction..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    is a writer's golden rule Jim Fergus did not learn. His premise is interesting. The language and tone of the "letters" are authentic. However, a long list of stock characters (the big ugly cheerful immigrant woman, the Irish rouges, the queenly black former slave woman) destroys the novel's masquerade as a true account. It is tedious and predictable, and when Mr. Fergus slides into soft pornography, he abandons his pretense completely.

    So many books, so little time. NO time for this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skippy Dies

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Paul Murray
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, and others
    Overall
    (1428)
    Performance
    (837)
    Story
    (847)

    This touching and uproarious novel by author Paul Murray made everyone’s best fiction of 2010 lists, including The Washington Post, Financial Times, Village Voice, and others. Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the mystery that links the boys of Dublin’s Seabrook College (Ruprecht Van Doren, the overweight genius obsessed with string theory; Carl, the teenager drug dealer and borderline psychotic; Philip Kilfether, the basketball-playing midget) to their parents and teachers in ways that no one could have imagined.

    Laura says: "Funny, touching, entertaining"
    "Sense of humor required!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although I can understand why this book may be disturbing to some people, I think that it is its point, isn't it? If you are willing to read (or listen) to Skippy Dies as a comedy, you will laugh at absurdity but you will also be forced to confront ugly truth. Isn't that humor at its best? Paul Murray's neatly planned and resolved plot and his vernacular dialogue are nothing less than Shakespearean. I loved the many voices narrating the book; I loved the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dervish House

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ian McDonald
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (95)

    It begins with an explosion. Another day, another bus bomb. Everyone, it seems, is after a piece of Turkey. But the shockwaves from this random act of 21st century pandemic terrorism will ripple further and resonate louder than just Enginsoy Square. Welcome to the world of The Dervish House; the great, ancient, paradoxical city of Istanbul, divided like a human brain, in the great, ancient, equally paradoxical nation of Turkey. The year is 2027....

    Karen says: "Listen, but then read"
    "Listen, but then read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a wonderful book, a literate and engaging political, futuristic, sci-fi, spy, thriller, travel, mystery, history, romance, picaresque, philosophical coming of age story. Yes, it defies type casting. It is so intriguing, it will send you straight to Google Maps satellite, Wikipedia, and maybe even the non-fiction stacks of the library. You will want to know more. I love to get my serious thinking with a spoonful of the sugar of imagination and plot. The heroes are many and all unlikely. The villains are bad enough, but not incredibly evil, actually real. The same might be said of the near future setting, which is entirely plausible. Well done, Ian McDonald! Jonathan Davis is a great narrator, managing to find just the right voice for each character without resorting to falsetto women and children or exaggerated accents. My one complaint is that, as the recording is paced, and I am sure this is editing, not narration, there is no pause between apparent chapters, resulting in a seamlessness inappropriate to the story. Just the littlest pause when the scene changes would have eliminated momentary senses of dislocation for the listener as the plot moved forward. This novel deserves to be listened to, but then read with leisure for thinking about McDonald's ideas.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • One Day

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By David Nicholls
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (928)
    Performance
    (517)
    Story
    (518)

    It's 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. They both know that the next day, after college graduation, they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. As the years go by, Dex and Em begin to lead separate lives. And yet, unable to let go of that special something that grabbed onto them that first night, an extraordinary relationship develops between the two.

    Kathy says: "Great book, bad ending"
    "You must hear this"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of those books that seems made to be listened to, or perhaps it's just that Anna Bentinck is such a skilled narrator. David Nicholls' painfully ironic, hilarious, sad and finally redemptive comedy of manners couldn't possibly come off as well in print. I don't believe I could've caught on how desperately unfunny Ian is without Anna Bentinck's dopey voices. A printed page could never convey the lightness or bitterness or love of the banter between great friends.

    I'm ten years older than the characters in the novel, and thought at first I would not be interested. I might not have read the novel, but the narrator pulled me in. Her tone, her facility with accents, even her pace seem perfect for this novel. Bentnick pauses and alters the volume of her voice just enough to allow a listener to follow the shifts in time that give structure to Nicholls' plot. The story itself is grounded in a particular time and place, yet Nicholls touches universal longings. I am impressed with Nicholls' ability to be absolutely honest without making the reader cringe. His language is spare and direct. He writes so beautifully I can almost forgive him for murder.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Firefly Beach

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Luanne Rice
    • Narrated By Alexandra O’Karma
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Luanne Rice, like Anne Rivers Siddons, has an uncanny ability to convey a family’s sweetest joys and its darkest secrets. Firefly Beach is a poignant story of two people struggling to move beyond the tragedy that links their lives. As a child, Caroline Renwick watches, horrified, while a desperate man kills himself. After she learns that the man has a young son, Joe, Caroline begins writing to him, and they become close pen pals. But several years later, when Joe is told the reason for his father’s death, he turns away from her.

    Karen says: "ZZZzzzzzzzz What??!!!!"
    "ZZZzzzzzzzz What??!!!!"
    Overall

    I joined Audible back when they sent you an Otis listening device. This is the first audio book I really just cannot listen to.

    There have been some books I haven't found particularly appealing, and some few I didn't finish. Occasionally the narrators have been irritating or have not seemed right for the story.

    However, not one has been a downright disaster, as the Luanne Rice/Alexandra O'Karma combination is. O Karma (surely this is a made-up name?) sounds depressed or bored or both. Her tone, or lack thereof, just drags my spirits down. She provokes that uneasy state of being very sleepy, but unable to fall asleep because of distressing thoughts. Her voice would make the most cheerful book seem tragic, and the most hilarious book boring. Added to Luanne Rice's preposterous plot, romance novel standard description, and determined torture of her characters, O'Karma's narration drags this tale of disaster to unendurable depths of disbelief.

    But that is not all. O'Karma is the first narrator I have been able to hear licking her lips, swallowing, pulling her tongue from her palate. Why didn't someone give the woman a glass of water? She's just too irritating for words. Literally.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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