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Kelli

Birmingham, AL, United States | Member Since 2002

25
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 61 ratings
  • 330 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Catch Me If You Can

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Frank W. Abagnale
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    Overall
    (2192)
    Performance
    (951)
    Story
    (959)

    Frank W. Abagnale was one of the most daring conmen, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was 21. His story is now a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

    Steve says: "Really entertaining!"
    "Addictively Easy to Listen To This Story"
    Overall

    Light, entertaining, amazing. Frank Abagnale, Jr.'s short life of crime pulls you in almost immediately and you keep listening to discover just what he has up his sleeve next. I was surprised to hear myself secretly cheering on his masterminds and cons. What an enlightening book to listen to over the holidays.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18418)
    Performance
    (16659)
    Story
    (16792)

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "Great Follow Up to Hunger Games Trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stumbled upon The Hunger Games trilogy last year, reluctantly read the first book despite the genre being one I generally don't tend towards but fell in love. It felt different and I was open to something different. I searched for recommendations on the next book to read and the lovers of The Hunger Games consistently recommended Divergent. They were right! I read it in less than a week and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't a regurgitation of The Hunger Games but something else fresh and new. I'm wondering if I'm now a true convert to this YA dystopian genre. Next up: Uglies.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Swamplandia!

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Karen Russell
    • Narrated By Arielle Sitrick, David Ackroyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (392)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (267)

    The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly number-one in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost.

    Suzn F says: "Sometimes Brilliant, Sometimes Disappointing"
    "A Surprising Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just didn't like it. My boyfriend and I read it together and we both felt a real sense of disappointment. Did we just not "get" the hype? Were we missing something? I felt disjointed most of the time like it was really two novels spliced together - one trying to work its way under the magical realism genre and the other a sort of coming of age humorous one. The result for me was muddled, and maybe I just don't like magical realism or maybe Russell was working just a little too hard at making this a quirky novel. It hit me hardest when I realized what was happening to Ava....and didn't care. Yup, I just didn't care what really happened to any of these characters and, in the end, that's not the way to endear the reader. Oh well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26789)
    Performance
    (20554)
    Story
    (20638)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "Exceeded My Expectations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I generally do not read fantasy but I was drawn to the HBO series and watched it from start to finish. As Season 2 of the series approaches, I have a strong desire to read the second book prior to watching the season. I debated whether to read the first book, A Game of Thrones, before venturing into the second book. Being a purist at heart, I had to and I'm happy I did. My mind's eye, however, was forever set by the characters cast for the series and there was nothing I could do about it. The Cersei, Joffrey, Catelyn, Daenerys, Sansa, and Arya I imagined as I read the book where inexplicably linked to the series. I was also amazed at how well the series captured the entire story laid out in A Game of Thrones. If this is the Grey's Anatomy of fantasy series, as one other reviewer has referred to it, then please give me more McDreamy!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • On Black Sister’s Street

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Chika Unigwe
    • Narrated By Chinasa Ojbuagu
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    This stunning U.S. debut from Chika Unigwe won immense acclaim and immediately established its author as a writer to be reckoned with. Lured to Belgium from Lagos by an unscrupulous businessman, Sisi falls into prostitution, her life disintegrating as Black Sister's Street saps her every hope.

    Kelli says: "Something Different"
    "How 4 African Girls End Up Sex Workers in Belgium"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I discovered this book while looking for a Nigerian author for a reading challenge. As with any book set outside of the United States, I liked being transported to two different countries: Nigeria and Belgium, neither of which I had ever visited. I also liked the structure of the book as it moved from the present in Belgium and the mystery surrounding the murder of a fellow sex worker back to the pasts of four different women and their paths from Africa to Europe and to their current trade. This book is dark and the naivete of the characters seems a bit unrealistic at times, but I found myself moving through the story quickly. Men are the aggressors throughout the book but that part of the story seems based on an all-to-often reality for many women in many parts of the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Mark Richard
    • Narrated By Mark Richard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Award-winning author Mark Richard delivers a fascinating and unique memoir. Born in the South with deformed hips, Richard was tagged a “special” child. Nothing was expected of him. But as a young man, he decided to strike out and experience as much of our strange world as he possibly could.

    Kelli says: "Author-Read Not Always Best Choice"
    "Conflicted Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Usually an audiobook read by the author adds extra authenticity and intensity to the audio experience. For this book, however, the unabridged reading by Mark Richard (which was generally in a monotone and flat voice) left me conflicted. I was alternately intrigued by the memoir despite Richard's reading style and distracted by his lack of inflection. The writing itself is good, to the point, and hits you over the head with its directness. Richard's life is fascinating and inspiring and his attitude in the face of such adversity is unapologetic and admirable. At times I longed for further development of concepts and events but was left only with sparse prose. I was also caught off guard to some extent by the use of second person narration which seems particularly strange given that the audiobook was being read by the author. It just seemed an odd choice and it stripped away some of the emotional connection to the author which may have been exactly what Mark Richard was hoping to achieve.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Confederacy of Dunces

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By John Kennedy Toole
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1966)
    Performance
    (977)
    Story
    (982)

    The hero of John Kennedy Toole's incomparable, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly, "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter". His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures.

    Jon says: "Well Done"
    "Worthy of Pulitzer?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I started this unabridged audiobook on my 24-hour roundtrip drive to my parent's house (Alabama to Texas) for Thanksgiving this year. I was looking specifically for a humorous novel and selected this one from the Good Reads listopia for Best Humorous Books. I was intrigued by the author's tragic story, the setting of New Orleans and the fact that the book was first published in 1980 by LSU Press (my alma mater). The first 1/3 of the book was laugh out loud funny but as the story progressed, the humor grew stale. As the book came to an end, I wondered whether its Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was a bit misplaced or was based, instead, on the incredible story surrounding the book instead of the book itself. I do, however, agree that the depiction of New Orleans was outstanding and the city truly served as a character in the story itself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Dai Sijie
    • Narrated By B.D. Wong
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (83)

    From within the hopelessness and terror of China's Cultural Revolution, Dai Sijie has fashioned a beguiling and unexpected story about the resilience of the human spirit, the wonder of romantic awakening, and the magical power of storytelling. "An unexpected miracle," raves the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "a delicate, and often hilarious, tale."

    Yicheng says: "Excellent!"
    "Culture Shock"
    Overall

    What a wonderfully enlightening (and slightly shocking) introduction to Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution in China during the 1970's. I had never studied nor read books about this historical period so this story turned out to be both entertaining and educational for me. The narrator was effective and the story flowed seamlessly to a somewhat quick conclusion. I listened to the book on a road trip and I was rather disappointed to see the book end when I still had many questions left unanswered. I recommend this story to the listener seeking cultural diversity and historical perspective.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Shark Trouble: True Stories About Sharks and the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Peter Benchley
    • Narrated By Peter Benchley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (17)

    Master storyteller Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, combines high adventure with practical information in Shark Trouble, a book that is at once a thriller and a valuable guide to being safe in, on, under, and around the sea. Booklist calls this "a suspenseful and resonantly informative overview."

    Amazon Customer says: "Before diving with sharks be sure to read this..."
    "Quick Listen & Interesting Topic"
    Overall

    This was an extremely enjoyable listen about a fascinating topic. The author does an excellent job of narrating his own story and adds a special element of emotion as he describes his up-close and personal accounts with dangerous beasts of the deep. At times I felt the book swayed towards self-interest but most of this short listen was filled with suspense-filled tales of close encounters of the wet kind.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Three Junes

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Julia Glass
    • Narrated By John Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1161)
    Performance
    (290)
    Story
    (295)

    Three Junes is a vividly textured symphonic novel set on both sides of the Atlantic during three fateful summers in the lives of a Scottish family. Three Junes "almost threatens to burst with all the life it contains...extraordinary," says Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours.

    Dagmar says: "Beautiful Narration of a Wonderful Story!"
    "Tough to Follow But Worth the Listen"
    Overall

    Stopping in the middle was not an option. I was captivated by the characters immediately despite the tough listen. Moving back and forth in time made it difficult to follow but John Keating's Scottish accent added such an intriguing layer that I held out for more. Of the three parts, I was most engaged by the second June, Fenno's story, the longest part. I think it would benefit me to listen again to the first June, Paul's story. At the time I wasn't prepared for the mental alertness required and I might just pick up a few tidbits that would enhance my understanding. I recommend this book to the reader that likes a challenge.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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