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Ithaca, New York United States | Member Since 2010

  • 4 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 261 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014

  • The Virgin's Lover

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Philippa Gregory
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the autumn of 1558, church bells across England ring out the joyous news that Elizabeth I is the new queen. One woman hears the tidings with utter dread. Amy Dudley, wife of Sir Robert, knows that the bells she hears will summon her husband once more to power, intrigue, and a passionate love affair. Philippa Gregory paints a picture of a country on the brink of greatness, a young woman grasping at her power, a young man whose ambition is greater than his means, and the wife who cannot forgive them.

    Teddy says: "Interesting Take on Elizabeth"
    "Davina Porter ruins another favorite"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Please bring back Bianca Amato to finish the work she began on this series. Her voice is well moderated, mature and does not interfere with the story. Amato has developed Phillippa Gregory's characters with subtlety and precision and allows the book to speak for itself, rather than imposing a bombastic pretentiousness on the work. It was jarring to hear the over-done, sloppy cadence of Davina Porter being applied to this narrative. Porter's interpretation of the characters, as she has done on the Outlander series, swings between overwrought and flippant, creating a two-dimensional listen out of a complex read.

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Kept with the original reader: Bianca Amato.

    Would you be willing to try another one of Davina Porter’s performances?

    Absolutely not.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Long Live the King

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Fay Weldon
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    As 1901 comes to an end, there is much to be grateful for: The Dilberne fortune has been restored, and the grand Dilberne Court, with its 100 rooms, has been saved. Lord Robert's son, Arthur, is happily married to Chicago heiress, Minnie, who is pregnant and trying to come to terms with her new role as lady of the manor, and her charming but controlling mother-in-law, Lady Isobel. As Lord Robert and Lady Isobel get caught up in the preparations for the coronation of Edward VII, they debate the future of their recently orphaned niece, Adela.

    Kafwood says: "Breaks the "second in a series" curse"
    "Breaks the "second in a series" curse"
    Would you listen to Long Live the King again? Why?

    This book is actually better than the first story, which I enjoyed, but wasn't as fine tuned as this one. The story moves along with tongue-in-cheek humor and an uncharacteristically honest approach to character development.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Minnie's birthing experience.

    Any additional comments?

    A good listen if you're looking for something entertaining and well-told. Narrator does an incredible job with creating distinct voices for the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sisterhood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Helen Bryan
    • Narrated By Laura Roppe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Reeling from a broken engagement, adopted 19-year-old Menina Walker flees to Spain to bury her misery by writing her overdue college thesis - and soon finds herself on an unexpected journey into the past. The subject of her study is Tristan Mendoza, an obscure 16th-century artist whose signature includes a tiny swallow - the same swallow depicted on a medal that is Menina’s only link to her birth family. Hoping her research will reveal the swallow’s significance and clue her in to her origins, Menina discovers the ancient chronicle of a Spanish convent containing the stories of five orphaned girls hidden from the Spanish Inquisition.

    Linda says: "Great way to enjoy a book!"
    "Implausible & schoolgirlish"
    What would have made The Sisterhood better?

    Deeper and more inventive writing, including thorough character development, suspense and a plausible storyline that makes you feel something.

    And then, parts of the research were rather alarming for an historical novel. To avoid spoilers, they can't all be listed. But the silliest is a junior college grad, who couldn't pick up Spanish conversation in the modern day, being able to translate a miraculously well-preserved medieval Spanish text and, with the aid of a dictionary, vulgar Latin too!

    Would you ever listen to anything by Helen Bryan again?

    Probably not. The unabashed Catholic bashing coupled with the good girl focus of this book was off-putting - though I am neither a Catholic or a bad girl. It struck me as a book appealing to christian evangelicals, who mistake dabbling for rigorous study.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The nasal quality and repetitive lilt of the Spanish voices grew increasingly irritating. Made every female Hispanic character succumb to the Speedy Gonzales drawl from Looney Tunes. The frequent slips into American English and inconsistent application of Castilan were notable as well.

    Any additional comments?

    The trite situations, stereotyped characters and neat endings that drive this book make the positive reviews from Amazon baffling. Good girls get their rewards after a struggle or two; bad girls see the error of their ways, etc. Epiphanies abound, yet never scratch the surface of social norms. "Just awful" things are placed where they belong: out of reach of the storyline. Convenient plot devices implode reality. Coincidences. Visions. Miracles too. Rather nauseating overall.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Demon Under The Microscope

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic medication. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine.

    Sara says: "A fantastic book"
    "Captivating book, wretched narration"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, it's definitely worth listening to this book, though if I could do it over, I'd read it because the narrator was so overbearing. I had to continually imagine how the book would read instead of how it sounded in order to get through it. A wonderful topic and eye-opening details about the process of medical discovery and the history of science.

    What other book might you compare The Demon Under The Microscope to and why?

    The biography of Madame Curie. The struggles, painstaking attention to detail and miniscule advances that in the end lead to huge advances in human understanding is very inspiring.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Where do I begin? He was pompous and trite, imparting an astounding insensitivity to the well-researched and well-written material of the book.

    Did The Demon Under The Microscope inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, be more selective about poor narration.

    Introduce the history of science to my homeschooling curriculum.

    Any additional comments?

    I hope Audible doesn't let narrators like Stephen Hoye, Scott Brick and Davinia Porter be the final voices for many of the books they have demolished for listening audiences. Like Thomas Hager, Michael Pollan and Diana Galbaldon deserve another shot having their work read aloud.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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