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Helen

Great Cacapon, WV, United States | Member Since 2011

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 30 reviews
  • 37 ratings
  • 152 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015
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  • Fingersmith

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Sarah Waters
    • Narrated By Juanita McMahon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (590)
    Performance
    (505)
    Story
    (509)

    Orphaned as an infant, Susan Trinder was raised by Mrs. Sucksby, “mother” to a host of pickpockets and con artists. To pay her debt, she joins legendary thief Gentleman in swindling an innocent woman out of her inheritence. But the two women form an unanticipated bond and the events that follow will surprise every listener. Fingersmith was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize, and was chosen as book of the year 2002 by more organizations than any other novel. Sarah Waters was named Author of the Year at the 2003 British Book Awards.

    shopper from Playa del Rey says: "The BEST BOOK I"ve read this year!"
    "More depressing than entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I enjoyed parts of it. The hatching of the two schemes was interesting and intriguing, but the details became long, heavy, dreary and laborious. By the third segment, I was fast-forwarding through whole chapters.


    Would you recommend Fingersmith to your friends? Why or why not?

    No, unfortunately not. The story could have been told in a tighter, more succinct manner. The plot line was actually good with some neat twists. But it just took too long to develop.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    No it did not. I'm sure the narrator is a fine theater actress, but I grew very weary of all of the East London accents and the soft, spooky way she portrayed Maude. Way too many long pauses for effect. At times, I just wanted to scream "Just read it!!!!"


    Do you think Fingersmith needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. I was happy to say goodbye to the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    This would be a great read as an abridged novel.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Purity of Vengeance: A Department Q Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (787)
    Performance
    (678)
    Story
    (691)

    International superstar Jussi Adler-Olsen, with more than fourteen million copies of his books sold worldwide, returns with the fourth book in his New York Times best-selling Department Q series, about a perplexing cold case with sinister modern-day consequences. In 1987, Nete Hermansen plans revenge on those who abused her in her youth, including Curt Wad, a charismatic surgeon who was part of a movement to sterilize wayward girls in 1950s Denmark.

    Charles Atkinson says: "It's a 5 Star Story of Revenge"
    "My heart went out to a serial killer!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hate when this happens. I wanted Nete Harminson to get her revenge on the cruel individuals who took away her future and her dreams. Curt Wad, a particularly heinous member of this cast becomes the center of attention for Department Q. Sensing the threat posed by Carl and his team, Wad plans to eliminate them one by one. In this fourth book of the series, we get closer to answering other background questions. Just who is Assad? What makes Rose revert to other character personalities? And who is still trying to frame Carl in the nail-gun incident? I like these little extra plot threads for the series reader. They stay in the background, not interfering with the current plot, but add depth to the experience.

    So, in summary: wonderful plot-line...interesting characters...suspense...tense moments, and even a good amount of humor. And now I am off to read Book 5.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night Film: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Marisha Pessl
    • Narrated By Jake Weber
    Overall
    (1482)
    Performance
    (1321)
    Story
    (1343)

    On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive, cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova - a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

    Jacqueline says: "A M A Z I N G"
    "Good characters with one plot twist too many."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the characters. Each was motivated by different events to investigate the death of the mysterious and talented Ashleigh Cordova. McGrath wanted to expose the movie director father of heinous acts, some involving children...Hopper was still hurting from the end of his love affair with Ashleigh...and aspiring actress Nora was just happy to be part of the team. But then the plot wove in and out of black magic, human trafficking, crazy townspeople, old movie plots, cults, etc. Each twist introduced new characters most of whom had no connection with each other. Then there was McGrath's bad trip (meaning this in two ways!!) to the Cordova estate. What was that all about!? And just when I thought everything was being resolved, there was yet another plot twist that took us to an island off of South America. WHAT?
    The reader was pretty good, although I thought his voice for the assistant Inez was almost comically bad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Héctor Tobar
    • Narrated By Henry Leyva
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (223)
    Story
    (223)

    The exclusive, official story of the survival, faith, and family of Chile’s 33 trapped miners. When the San José mine collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped 33 miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking 69 days. Across the globe, we sat riveted to television and computer screens as journalists flocked to the Atacama desert. While we saw what transpired above ground during the grueling and protracted rescue, the story of the miners’ experiences below the Earth’s surface - and the lives that led them there.

    Deborah says: "Profound"
    "You just can't make this stuff up!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Better than any work of fiction describing ordinary humans facing extraordinary challenges, Tobar writes a narrative that etches in all of the mortal flaws and strengths making this unremarkable group of miners stand out as almost mythological characters. They fight, they pray, they joke, they cry, they starve, they suffer, and they both fear and face the seemingly inevitable tragic death that looms. Meanwhile, their families, especially their women, refuse to give up. Their strong advocacy keeps the search and the drilling alive even when officials quietly predict failure. And that is only the story leading up to the miraculous rescue. The remaining chapters are equally dramatic. The rescued miners now become celebrities on the world stage. Some fall victim to the stardom for which they are arguably even less prepared than their underground ordeal.
    What a fascinating book. I will never forget it. And the narrator is amazing. He treats his characters with a dignity and clarity that serves to bring each to life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Keeper of Lost Causes: Department Q, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1841)
    Performance
    (1604)
    Story
    (1600)

    Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in northern Europe, and he's won just about every Nordic crime-writing award, including the prestigious Glass Key Award-also won by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and Jo Nesbo. Now, Dutton is thrilled to introduce him to America.

    Kelli N. Perkins says: "Maximum Thrill and Fabulous Characters"
    "Another good series to devour!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ahhh. Just when Jo Nesbo seems to be winding down his Harry Hole series, Adler-Olsen gives us some good dark Scandanavian thrillers to devour. Carl Mork is the central character, a troubled police veteran with just the right amount of flaws. I like the way his unlikely partner emerges...Ahsad (may have the spelling wrong for these names) at first appears awkward and inept and then amazes all with his brilliant deductive skills and uncanny defensive moves. By now, I am on Book 4, so I'll just say that another "interesting" team member, Rose, appears in Book 2. The plots are well paced with plenty of fascinating twists and some graphic scenes of violence and brutality.

    Erik Davies reads well, but I like the narrator in the subsequent books even better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Timothy Egan
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (930)
    Performance
    (558)
    Story
    (559)

    In The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan put the environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl at the center of a rich history, told through characters he brought to indelible life. Now he performs the same alchemy with The Big Burn, the largest-ever forest fire in America, a tragedy that cemented Teddy Roosevelt's legacy.

    P. Bergh says: "A fascinating history of early Forest Service"
    "Heroics beyond imagination"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an extraordinary cast of characters were assembled to battle one of the most horrific natural disasters in our nation's history! The cast includes the greediest millionaires, the most spiritual nature lovers, the strongest and the weakest leaders, the Buffalo soldiers in search of honor, and the townspeople caught in the cross-hairs. As the saying goes, "You just can't make this stuff up!" Egan's descriptions of the forest and the wall of fire are first rate. His vivid prose gives the listener all the special effects needed to make this book memorable. The narrator was good, not great. But I'm grateful that he didn't over dramatize the scenes that truly did not need embellishment.

    I'm glad I listened to this after I watched the Ken Burns Roosevelt series on PBS. It rounds out Teddy Roosevelt's legacy and deepens my gratitude and admiration for his dedication to preserving our most precious wild places. I shudder to think what the American West would have become without him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night over Water

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By Tom Casaletto
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (763)
    Performance
    (457)
    Story
    (456)

    On a bright September morning in 1939, two days after Britain declares war on Germany, a group of privileged but desperate people gather in Southhampton to board the largest, most luxurious airliner ever built - the Pan American Clipper - bound for New York.

    Daniel Mcafee says: "Fun Listen"
    "Are you sure Ken Follett wrote this?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After listening to the Pillars of the Earth and the Century Trilogy, I was expecting another wonderful Follett experience. Ugh. This one just didn't measure up. Not even close. The plot was something of a cliche...Every passenger about to take an epic journey has a background story. Who are they? Why are they going? What are they afraid of? What are they trying to escape? etc etc. At first I was unhappy with Casaletto's rapid cadence. (I had to check my player to see if it was on the wrong speed.) Later, I was grateful for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Joseph J. Ellis
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (673)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (206)

    A New York Times best seller, Founding Brothers is an engrossing work of nonfiction from National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Joseph J. Ellis. It is a book that uncovers the substance behind many of our most cherished historical tales. Here are six fascinating, well-researched chapters involving such icons as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

    Vernon says: "Remarkably moving book"
    "Things really haven't changed as much as I thought"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How fascinating and remarkable to meet these founding brothers (plus one sister...Abigail) as human beings with fragile egos, remarkable strengths, and human frailties. Jefferson came across as a bit of a bully, Adams as a stubborn egotist, and Franklin as a showman. Washington came through the best. He embodied the Revolutionary spirit that kept the show from closing early!

    One can't resist comparing these loyalties to those that came after World War II. We had the unassailable Eisenhower and a period of bipartisan achievements. The question is, can we achieve the same as we move farther from that "finest hour" mentality?

    The founders knew there were challenges down the road as the nation would finally confront the slavery issue. And yet they chose to dodge the bullet leaving it for the next generation.

    Interesting.

    I thought the prose and the reading was a bit tedious and pedantic. I think there are better story tellers, but the way the subject was researched and packaged was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Prey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1081)
    Performance
    (932)
    Story
    (923)

    G.Monie says: "Top 3 out of his 23 Davenport Novels"
    "I'm done with the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was ready to settle into a new series starring Lucas Davenport. I liked Rules of Prey a lot. But this one was a put-off on several levels. I felt like the author wrote about native Americans without knowing very much about them. (Contrast this with the Tony Hillerman books) However, he included all of the "no good" stereotypes. We had drunken, drugged, miserable Indian characters in this tale, not one of whom inspired any real interest or worth for the plot. But it was the Lucas character that left me disgusted....the way he uses women with no regret. He just goes on about how he loves women, can't help it, and...implied...."take it or leave it." He's now a father...but that changes nothing. I felt sympathy for the New York lady cop who fell into step with this character and cries and begs at the end. Not fun to read. I'm not easily put off by personality flaws. So many great characters in other action novels are deeply flawed....Like Jo Nesbo's Harry....but this Lucas guy just bugs me!!!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Heist

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1349)
    Performance
    (1198)
    Story
    (1201)

    Master novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled listeners with 16 thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back - from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. His brilliant creation, Gabriel Allon - art restorer, assassin, spy - has joined the pantheon of great fictional secret agents, including George Smiley, Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and Simon Templar.

    Brian says: "If new to Daniel Silva, great book. Otherwise..."
    "Ending was out of character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    OK. Since I was troubled / puzzled by the ending, I should warn that my review might give too much away.

    So, let me get this straight. Eight billion or so dollars were cleverly drained away from the evil Syrian regime (the heist!), potentially weakening its power to kill and torture its citizens. Great!

    But, in order to save the book's appealing heroine from her hostage state, Allon negotiates her release, lets one of the evil doers slip back into his role, and releases the fortune back to the regime. In short....Allon negotiates with terrorists to save one life and, quite possibly, seals the miserable fate of thousands for years to come. Oh....but.....happy ending....he finds a lost painting.

    I have either read or listened to every Daniel Silva book, and I'll probably continue to do so. But this one seemed strangely out of character.

    Finally, George Guidall is an excellent reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hiding Place

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (454)
    Performance
    (408)
    Story
    (414)

    At one time, Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that she had a story to tell. For the first 50 years of her life, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to her. She was a spinster watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny house over their shop in Haarlem. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. But with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed....

    Sara says: "Inspiring"
    "Powerful and radiant with faith"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story had details of agony and misery that might not be something everyone would choose to experience. The book was recommended to me by a Dutch friend who lived through the German occupation. She wanted me to understand the circumstances surrounding her early years. For her sake, I was glad to read it. But...oh....the layers and layers of faith and prayer that served the main characters so well. Would the writer have survived had her Christian convictions not been so firm? I was both drawn and repelled by some of the simplistic views of Corrie and her sister Betsy. I am still mulling over how I would have responded to their ministry in the concentration camp. The reader has an air of missionary goodness in her tone. I'm sure it matches the intent of the writer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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