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Phyllis

United States | Member Since 2008

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 305 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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  • Emma

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (823)
    Performance
    (529)
    Story
    (533)

    One of Jane Austen's most popular novels. Arrogant, self-willed, and egotistical, Emma is her most unusual heroine.

    H. CRODDICK says: "Wonderful listen"
    "Oh the tedium..."
    Overall

    If I had been reading the hard copy of this book it would have long been back on the shelf collecting well deserved dust. Excellent narration was the only reason I finished listening to this tedious tale. Had I lived during this period of English history, I would have preferred the life of the "less connected" for it sounds like the gentility should have succumbed to early deaths due to boredom or writers cramp from the extensive correspondence that seemed to be the center of their existence. How many pages must the blithering narration of Miss Bates gone on time and time again? Ah, forgive me for this review is beginning to sound much like Miss Austen's prose...endless.

    0 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • On the Beach

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (101)

    A war no one fully understands has devastated the planet with radioactive fallout from massive cobalt bombing. Melbourne, Australia, is the only area whose citizens have not yet succumbed to the contamination. But there isn’t much time left, a few months, maybe more—and the citizens of Melbourne must decide how they will live the remaining weeks of their lives, and how they will face a hopeless future.

    Julie says: "The most emotionally moving story I have ever read"
    "A bit too dated for my taste."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story was interesting although very dated (written in 1957, set in 1963 post nuclear earth).


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

    Nothing needed to be done to change the story. I just have a hard time listening to female characters of this time period being as ignorant as they are frequently portrayed. The stay-at-home wife, Mary was particular tough to listen to.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When the navy commander places the bracelet purchased for his (long dead) wife in his shirt pocket and lays down with his hand on the fishing rod purchased for his (lost) son, it is very poignant.


    Was On the Beach worth the listening time?

    It's worth it if you are interested in that early 1960's timeframe of total nuclear destruction of the planet and how the last survivors would utilize their time. That was an interesting study in how some people face the inevitable.


    Any additional comments?

    None.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5545)
    Performance
    (5274)
    Story
    (5283)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold ""human error"" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Problem Solving at its Best."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Martian?

    Most Sci-Fi books are lacking in an real science or problem solving scenarios. That's not the case here where the protagonist is using everything he's got to stay alive.


    What other book might you compare The Martian to and why?

    Perhaps Mark Watney is just a future Robinson Crusoe using technology and science to survive, but it's no less interesting when you are the only life form on the planet.


    What about R. C. Bray’s performance did you like?

    The narration was amazing! Just the right touch of sarcasm really brought the story to life. I felt as if I was hearing 'Mark Watney' as he was making his journal entries. Outstanding acting.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    If only we realized everything we ever learned was going to be needed to survive long after we had taken the exam.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't wait for another Andy Weir novel. I read/listen to between 55-60 novels a year and I've done so for a very long time. The Martian has now moved into my top 5 list. It's that good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sand: Omnibus Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Karen Chilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (297)

    We live across the thousand dunes with grit in our teeth and sand in our homes. No one will come for us. No one will save us. This is our life, diving for remnants of the old world so that we may build what the wind destroys. No one is looking down on us. Those constellations in the night sky? Those are the backs of gods we see.

    Joy says: "Almost a 5 star"
    "Ugh. Hugh, what happened?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Sand: Omnibus Edition better?

    I am normally a big Hugh Howey fan, but what the hay? This was a very interesting story line (as usual) but it felt fragmented and disjointed. I really could have cared less what happened to the main characters. Although Karen Chilton is a fine actress, there were just too many mispronunciations (three when I quit counting) for me to get past. These were not terms or character portrayals, just things a director or audio editor should have caught. What a bust, the two star rankings are only because I think there was potential for both the story line and the acting, but it just didn't cut it.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something other than scifi/fantasy.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Mispronouncing common terms that had nothing to do with the story line or characters. She just blew it on the read and no one seemed to catch it.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Emptiness...why should I care what happens next?


    Any additional comments?

    Skip this one unless it's on the $4.95 sale rack and you can't live without knowing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (917)
    Performance
    (838)
    Story
    (849)

    >When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.

    Tango says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written"
    "Elephants? Who knew the depths of these animals?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Elephant Whisperer the most enjoyable?

    We have a wonderful herd of elephants at our local zoological park. Knowing the family ties, it still doesn't even come close to the descriptions given in this story. I felt like I was on the reserve and I knew these magnificent creatures.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The authentic nature of the story telling made me feel as if I were on the reserve watching this herd. The animals had personalities, intelligence and most importantly, felt as if they had souls.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    Simon Vance is the bomb of story telling. All of his characters are memorable and I listen to as many of his recordings as I can.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The tragic turn toward the end of the story with a 'lone' elephant was particularly moving. I felt the author's pain during, and most especially later in the story when he discovers the reason behind the behavior of the elephant in question. (Trying to avoid spoilers here.)


    Any additional comments?

    I am a very active reader/listener; consuming 50-60 books a year. This book has moved to number three on my all time best books list. I have already downloaded his later story on rhinos. I can't wait to listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Human Division

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (649)
    Performance
    (580)
    Story
    (591)

    The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance - an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn't obvious or easy.

    linda says: "A Middling Position"
    "Not up to par"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Human Division better?

    Removing the "...said" at the end of nearly every piece of dialogue.


    Would you ever listen to anything by John Scalzi again?

    I've listened to two others (Android's Dream and Fuzzy Nation), both great books.


    What three words best describe William Dufris’s voice?

    Complacent, unmotivated, telling


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I nearly stopped listening due to the redundancy of the dialogue. The sarcastic wit and tongue and cheek humor were missing.


    Any additional comments?

    Editing would have really helped. I realize this was a combined serial story, but the writing was so amateur it was laughable. I'm hoping for better luck with Old Man's War.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Jennet Conant
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (353)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (164)

    Prior to the U.S. entering WWII, a small coterie of British spies in Washington, D.C., was formed. They called themselves the Baker Street Irregulars after the band of street urchins who were the eyes and ears of Sherlock Holmes in some Arthur Conan Doyle stories.

    Karen says: "Witty,entertaining, real spies"
    "Needed a players card to keep track..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jennet Conant and/or Simon Prebble?

    No


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Wrapped up Dahl's life rather quickly in the end.


    Did Simon Prebble do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes, fairly good given the large number of characters with minimal parts.


    Did The Irregulars inspire you to do anything?

    I did have to google several people mentioned just to see what they looked like given the descriptions in the book.


    Any additional comments?

    I would have enjoyed the story more if there actually had been a story. I felt I was listening to a long list of people who showed up at places and hoped something would happen. I was rather disappointed that it read more like a thesis than popular press.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Carrion Comfort

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Mel Foster, Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (423)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (380)

    The Past...Caught behind the lines of Hitler’s Final Solution, Saul Laski is one of the multitudes destined to die in the notorious Chelmno extermination camp. Until he rises to meet his fate and finds himself face-to-face with an evil far older, and far greater, than the Nazis themselves...

    Robert says: "Simmons at his best"
    "A bit gory, but wow; what a listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Carrion Comfort to be better than the print version?

    NO.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved Saul. He was endearing, kind and courageous.


    Have you listened to any of Mel Foster and Laural Merlington ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't believe I have heard either before, but they were amazing.


    If you could rename Carrion Comfort, what would you call it?

    The title is a little off putting, but it fits.


    Any additional comments?

    Although there is a great deal of violence in this book, it’s required to make the story work. The connection made to the characters keeps you coming back for more. Dan Simmons really knows how to craft believable characters and create story lines that are out there, but so believable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage: The Passage Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Justin Cronin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6817)
    Performance
    (3184)
    Story
    (3190)

    First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

    Nicole says: "You love it or you hate it..."
    "Redundancy, repetition and recap"
    Overall

    Don't get me wrong, l love a good long story, but this was ridiculous. Let me echo the book's most annoying theme with these simple words, 'Where was the editor? Where was the editor? Where was the editor?" Redundancy, repetition and recap seemed to be the reason for the exhaustive length. Was Justin Cronin paid by the word? Either Cronin ran out of things to say or the publisher felt he had earned the 'per word maximum payment' because that’s how the book ended; it just stopped. I wanted to like the characters but there was never enough to truly engage the reader into cheering them on. I just kept looking at my count down timer wondering just when this book would end. And then it did, the story just stopped. I kept alive the vain hope that things would finally tie together and there would be some sort of resolution to the various plots; there wasn’t. Perhaps with the strong hand of a good editor there could have been some promise here. I was hoping to discover a new author, but I'll just pass on Mr. Cronin. There are too many great books out there to waste you time with this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Year of Magical Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Joan Didion
    • Narrated By Barbara Caruso
    Overall
    (1265)
    Performance
    (400)
    Story
    (403)

    "Life changes fast....You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." These were among the first words Joan Didion wrote in January 2004. Her daughter was lying unconscious in an intensive care unit, a victim of pneumonia and septic shock. Her husband, John Gregory Dunne, was dead. The night before New Year's Eve, while they were sitting down to dinner, he suffered a massive and fatal coronary. The two had lived and worked side by side for nearly 40 years.

    Darwin8u says: "Sharp, sometimes funny, but always clear & precise"
    "A tough but meaningful listen..."
    Overall

    This was not what I was expecting when my ipod rotated to the "next book" on my list. Having just experienced a sudden and unexpected death in my family only the day before, it was a struggle for the first 90 minutes. I decided since the book was short to finish it up while doing my housework. I'm glad I stuck it out. I think the book was cathartic for the author and it allowed me to think about how my family was dealing with death having lost three members in the past three months. If you are prepared for this type of book, or you are needing to not feel "alone" in your grief, then this is a recommendable listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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