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Marjorie

I enjoy literary fiction with character depth and psychological exploration. I am in my 50s, work in psychology, and love the outdoors.

Santa Rosa, CA, United States | Member Since 2015

98
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 61 reviews
  • 186 ratings
  • 460 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
15
FOLLOWERS
5

  • The Murderer's Daughters

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Randy Susan Meyers
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (109)

    This emotional debut by Randy Susan Meyers tells of two sisters torn apart by domestic tragedy. When her mother throws her father out, young Lulu is told never to let him in again. But Lulu disobeys, and the consequences are heartbreaking. Lulu’s mother ends up killed, and Lulu and her sister Merry are orphaned. Now, as the sisters grow into adulthood, they find the ghosts of their past are difficult to outrun.

    Patricia says: "Excellent drama"
    "Beautifully Done Story about Trauma Recovery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I began this book, I was not sure that I could finish it because it begins with a gruesome act of violence but having read many rave reviews, I persevered and am so glad that I did. As one who works with traumatized children and families, I found the author's understanding of recovery from trauma over a lifetime of the two main characters to be true to life and incredibly interesting. While reading the book, I felt I was intimately getting a look into the lives of the two sisters, how each coped and developed. The book not only explored personality development and trauma recovery from many angles, but also explored the intricate nature of family relationships and the burden of the difficult choices people face in life. Not only is the author an extremely talented writer, but also must be a scholar of psychology, trauma and culture to be able to portray relationship and personality complexities as beautifully as she has with this novel. Bravo Ms. Meyers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Us: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By David Nicholls
    • Narrated By David Haig
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (133)

    Douglas Petersen may be mild-mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that seduces beautiful Connie into a second date...and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades later, they live more or less happily in the London suburbs with their moody seventeen year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells him she thinks she wants a divorce. The timing couldn’t be worse. Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead is for the best anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and might even help him to bond with Albie. Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves, and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger.

    Gordon says: "This is a Gem!"
    "This Guy Tries So Hard, I Felt Sad For Him..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    David Nicholls novel, "Us", was an inside look at a marriage written from the male perspective. Douglas, the husband and protagonist, is a man working hard to save his long-term marriage. The author was able to bring me so close to the husband that I longed to talk with him and tell him to stop trying so hard and stop letting Connie make all the decisions. I felt sad for him as he tried too hard to please his beloved wife and sad for the wife that she could not see her husband for the gem that he was. This was a book of angst and frustration; often moving too slowly for my taste. My favorite part of the book was watching Douglas work towards rekindling his relationship with his son and watching him make some hard-won changes in himself towards the end of the novel. As a marital portrayal, the novel is a fairly accurate picture of what could and/or does go on in some marriages. The listening experience was improved through the clarity of voice provided by David Haig. This novel would be an interesting read for a book group that was ready to discuss male/female roles in marriage; other than that, I am not sure I would recommend this due to the long and tedious story line. The listening experience was improved through the clarity of voice provided by David Haig.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Spool of Blue Thread: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Anne Tyler
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (53)

    "It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon..." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture.

    Sierra says: "Ann Tyler doing what she does best"
    "Step Inside The Inner Workings of A Family"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed many of Ann Tyler's novels and thoroughly enjoyed this one. This was not a funny and lyrical story like "Acciddental Tourist" but more of an in depth study of a family over several generations. As ever, though, Ms. Tyler's characters are lively and quirky. Family relationships are explored with humour, integrity and light. The reader experiences the complexities of sibling relationships, the bond created by marital ups and downs, the parental struggles while raising children, and the difficulties involved in having that one child who is "different", whose life never follows an understandable path and who is perplexing at all times and turns. I especially enjoyed the clever way which Ms. Tyler was able to bring the reader into first the parents experiences and then into the experiences of the siblings and how the siblings loved and accepted each other despite their many frustrations and differences. I do recommend this book for the reader who enjoys reading about families' quirks and loyalties and about the nuances of love over a lifetime. What I enjoy about this novel is how it normalizes family experiences, brings the reader behind closed doors, and affords the reader (the listener in this instance) the shared humanity of family; all this done with an air of lightness and pleasure. If you are looking for a great storyline, this is not your book; otherwise, I recommend this novel! The narrator is perfect at bringing all the characters to life.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gabrielle Zevin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1271)
    Performance
    (1123)
    Story
    (1129)

    The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books - the only bookstore on Alice Island - has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose in the most embarrassing of circumstances. The store itself, it seems, will be next to go. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children’s section with a note from her mother pinned to her Elmo doll: I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her.

    Trish says: "Loved, Loved, Loved It!!"
    "I Love Bookstores, Time Slips Away..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I got lost in the story and found A.J. (the bookstore owner) to have clever, biting observations about life. I enjoyed experiencing A.J.'s changes over a decade of his lifetime. I was afraid that the book would be too trite and cliche'd but the story was engaging and the characters so lively that I never experienced a less than delightful moment of listening. Because A.J. owns a bookstore and his life is about books, there are many references comparing life experiences to various authors and book titles. He reminds the readers about finding companionship in a good book, about traveling to other times and places in a good book, and about the importance of asking a new friend, "what is your favorite book?" I had moments where I just broke out laughing while listening. I know some reviewers have remarked that this book should be regarded as "chick lit" (since A.J.'s relationship development does traverse the novel) but I see this novel also in the category of "literary fiction". The language is precise, the prose is well developed, and the story is different; refreshing. The narrator brings to life the personalities of all the characters and speaks clearly and consistently throughout. I highly recommend this novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hollow Ground

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Natalie S. Harnett
    • Narrated By Luci Christian
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (269)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (242)

    The underground mine fires ravaging Pennsylvania coal country have forced 11-year-old Brigid Howley and her family to seek refuge with her estranged grandparents, the formidable Gram and the black lung-stricken Gramp. Tragedy is no stranger to the Howleys, a proud Irish-American clan who takes strange pleasure in the “curse” laid upon them generations earlier by a priest who ran afoul of the Molly Maguires.

    NHull says: "Disfunction makes a good read"
    "The Fires Below The Earth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have a mixed review of this novel. I do enjoy historical fiction and was fascinated to learn about the coal mines in Pennsylvania during the early 60's. I knew nothing about the fires in the mines nor about the land sinking into the tunnels left behind from the mines. This novel was written primarily from the viewpoint of a young girl growing up in the early 60s in a coal-mining town of Pennsylvania. The family dynamics were well developed and the child's relationship with her father, the miner, were believable and did draw me into the child's world. I do agree that this is more of a "young adult" novel than it is an adult literary experience. The historical aspects were not explained or explored as much as I would have appreciated following the interest developed at the start of the book regarding the fires raging in the mining tunnels and the ensuing problems to the land. The author chose a topic, place and period of time that were ripe for good story telling, and although she did a good job transporting the reader into the family and the experiences of the early adolescent protagonist; she fails to develop the historical aspects and the story complexity which could have moved this book out of the Young Adult category and into Adult Historical Fiction category. I do recommend this book for a reader interested in "light" historical fiction combined with a family study written from a young girl's perspective.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Descent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Tim Johnston
    • Narrated By Xe Sands, R.C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (257)
    Performance
    (228)
    Story
    (226)

    From the day Caitlin vanishes the lives of her family members are irrevocably altered, each assuming blame for that day's tragic events. As the initial days of hope are replaced by weeks of anxiety and despair, they find themselves increasingly isolated, each wondering: Is she still alive? Will we ever know what happened?

    Susan says: "Tragic."
    "Disappointing Descent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After reading many raving reviews about this mystery, I gave it a listen. Unfortunately, I found the story to be maddeningly slow. It reminded me of watching a bad television mystery; predictable and lacking any character depth. I wanted to like this book but, from start to finish, it lacked in development of the characters, lacked in developing the investigative inquiry, and just, overall, lacked imagination. I do not recommend.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Water: A Shetland Mystery, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Anne Cleeves
    • Narrated By Kenny Blyth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (96)

    When the body of a journalist is found, Detective Inspector Willow Reeves is drafted from outside to head up the investigation. Inspector Jimmy Perez has been out of the loop, but his local knowledge is needed in this case, and he decides to help Willow. The dead journalist had left the islands years before to pursue his writing career. In his wake, he left a scandal involving a young girl. When Willow and Jimmy dig deeper, they realize that the journalist was chasing a story that many Shetlanders didn't want to come to the surface.

    Julie Jones says: "Atmospheric mystery"
    "What A Disappointment After Enjoying ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the first of book of this series, "Raven Black". Perhaps because I enjoyed the first book so much, I expected too much of this novel but I don't think so. The narrator, Kenny Blyth, presented such a thick brogue that I found myself wishing he would enunciate more clearly. I could not understand many of the words that he spoke. I found the mystery itself to be rather slow moving with the most interesting part of the story being the dynamics between the female detective and her male counterpart in contrast to the solving of the mystery. In summary, if you have listened to the first novel of the series and you enjoyed it, don't expect to have the same experience with this one. Also, it is important to note that this is a five book series with only Book 1 and Book 5 available. Perhaps that is also why this mystery was so unsatisfying.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Raven Black: Book One of the Shetland Island Quartet

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Ann Cleeves
    • Narrated By Gordon Griffin
    Overall
    (275)
    Performance
    (243)
    Story
    (243)

    It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a splash of color on the frozen ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbor, Catherine Ross. The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man - loner and simpleton Magnus Tait.

    Rachel says: "HEY AUDIBLE!!! Get more Ann Cleeves!! good stuff!"
    "Scottish Mystery Hits the Mark"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This mystery was a pleasure to experience. The narrator, Gordon Griffin, was able to enunciate clearly while continuing to express the Scottish brogue in a convincing, lyrical manner. The accent added to the Scottish characters and helped escort me to the Island of Shetland, Scotland, where the novel took place. Ann Cleeves' was able to beautifully create her characters whom I easily imagined in the the Scottish Island's tiny community. The mystery was well developed allowing for the characters to be developed, the suspicions to build and the curiosity to remain piqued throughout. I describe this novel as a contemporary and quaint classic mystery set in an unusual but beautiful part of the world. By the end of this listening, I was anxious to look for the next book in the series.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9706)
    Performance
    (8125)
    Story
    (8126)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "An Unusual Perspective and Creative Storytelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this "who dunnit" mystery. The narration was well done though possibly over dramatized at times. I liked the ideas the author was able to create. Ms. Hawkins utilized alholic memory problems and the daily experiences of the main character while also incorporating the thoughts and experiences of two other involved parties to keep the reader guessing throughout. There was a small amount of tedium in the middle where I felt that the different voices were dragging-on a bit but, by the end, I understood why the author presented the material the way that she did. I found this book to be equally as entertaining as "Gone Girl" and also would describe it as being in the same genre. I would recommend this book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • What Is the What

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (916)
    Performance
    (452)
    Story
    (455)

    Valentino's travels, truly Biblical in scope, bring him in contact with government soldiers, janjaweed-like militias, liberation rebels, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation, and a string of unexpected romances. Ultimately, Valentino finds safety in Kenya and, just after the millennium, is finally resettled in the United States, from where this novel is narrated.

    Susan says: "A Story Aching to be Told"
    "A Stand-Out "Must Read" for All"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel is compelling in its ability to describe the experiences of one young man who lived to tell the tale of the loss of his homeland and his journey through the dessert as one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan". The protagonist is able to relay his story with humility and humor while providing the reader with a glimpse of the suffering, hardships and adventures of a remarkable young man coming of age while traveling the dessert with hundreds of other boys (and some girls) and then while living in a refugee camp. I knew almost nothing about the civil war in Sudan until listening to this book and, therefore, there is no background knowledge required to experience and to learn from this study. Not only was David Eggers able to draw me into the "story" but the author was also able to provide a rendition of this young man's harrowing journeys while providing the reader with chances to laugh and cry and experience interesting characters of all types. There is boyhood adventure, romance, humor, loss, joy, and sadness all while providing a glimpse into the life of the refugees that have worked so hard to adapt to life away from their homelands. This particular young man comes to the U.S.A. and the author has very creatively set the stage so that the reader can begin to understand the differences between the two worlds of these refugees. To top off this deeply interesting book, the narration is top-notch. Listening to the voice of Dion Graham further added to my experience of "knowing" the main character. Mr. Graham reads this novel/biography as though he is telling the story of his own life. It's just beautiful. I learned so much about contemporary Sudan as well as about the ability of humans to persevere, find humor, and meaning through the toughest of times. Each and every minute of this listen will be worth your time. I highly recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5753)
    Performance
    (5083)
    Story
    (5079)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    Sandy C. Jourdain says: "Not interesting"
    "A Fun, Kind of Silly, Mystery; Enjoyable Enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you don't mind the heavy Australian accent, the narration of this novel is well done. I found that the longer I listened, the more I could overlook the heavy accent and enjoy the sing-song quality of the voices presented. The story is kind-of a fun suburban mystery involving several Australian families. This book could be in the "chick-lit" category because so many of the main characters are suburban, middle-aged women who are coping with children, husbands, jealousies and, then, a murder. The story held my interest and I do recommend it as a light, fun, and different kind of mystery novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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