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Member Since 2008

  • 8 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 482 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015

  • Blackout

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

    Monica says: "Double review - Blackout and All Clear"
    "Always read reviews"

    Time travel is among my favorite genre. I love the idea, the design and the execution - usually. This book had no conflict. Characters were dropped 100 years into the past with no cultural challenges, no funny "fashion" mistakes, no one questioning their slightly "off" social behavior. Come on! If I were dropped into 10 years ago, people would notice. The characters just blended in with the "contemps." Unbelievable in a bad way.

    The writing was so simple - 5th grade level - and I am a grown-up woman, so I turned it off. I don't read to learn about people doing household chores and waited to get back to the "drop" (home). I quit in the middle.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Great off the line, then a winning sprint."

    I enjoyed this book very much. The first chapters are arresting and grabbed my attention. I loved the characters and the spirited way they interacted with each other. Narration was lively and really, quite excellent. I found myself wondering how Theo would unload that painting while I was not even listening but doing other (important) tasks.

    I surprised myself by having heaps of sympathy for the Barbours. What a typical and tragic family. Donna description of each of them was artful.

    The bad-ish news: the long chapters about boys getting high and doing nothing, while necessary, seemed to take up a few too many pages.

    Good wrap up. And I loved multi-national Boris to pieces.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Incrementalists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Steven Brust, Skyler White
    • Narrated By Ray Porter, Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Incrementalists - a secret society of 200 people with an unbroken lineage reaching back 40,000 years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, just a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about how to do this is older than most of their individual memories. Phil, whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has loved Celeste - and argued with her - for most of the last 400 years.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "Almost Speechless"
    "Loved the characters, but still lost me."

    I am always searching for inspiring woman characters. Ren did not disappoint. She was lively, smart and skeptical. Just like me! The story was enticing when the boy and girl meet under contrived, yet creative circumstances and love followed. Once that was set up, the other characters were introduced and the hating started. That was ok, but after the femme-drugging, I was lost. I was distracted. I have good focus for audible books and even I stopped listening. I may start up again -- perhaps I will find myself in a mood for caricatures instead of characters.

    I loved the concept of this book. I hope I can put up with the dull members of the secret society of incrementals when I decide to pick it up again.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Crazy Fun-ride!"

    I am looking forward to Peter's next book. This one kept me so enthralled that I continued "reading" while running errands, and I left my tri-tip roast in the Costco parking lot! This book was worth it! I hope someone enjoys a good piece of steak tonight.
    After many years of reading, I find that I can predict the "next moves" in the story, based on effective plot development. That did NOT happen with "14" and I am so glad. The plot was developed well, yet there was a surprise in every turn of the page.

    I did not fall in love with the main character but I consider that the author's bonus. He was flawed like the rest of us. I am so weary of the beautiful, successful, and near-perfect heroes that we find so often in modern fiction.

    Bring on the next one, Peter Clines.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Painted Girls: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Cathy Marie Buchanan
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan, Danny Cambell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Paris, 1878: Following the death of their father from overwork, the three van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without their father’s wages, and with what little their mother earns as a laundress disappearing down the absinthe bottle, eviction from their single boarding room seems imminent. With few options for work available for a girl, bookish 14-year-old Marie and her younger sister Charlotte are dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seven francs a week, the girls will be trained to enter its famous ballet. Their older sister, stubborn and insolent 17-year-old Antoinette, finds herself launched into the orbit of Émile Zola....

    Carole says: "Abundance of Misery"
    "Abundance of Misery"

    This title appealed to me because of the association with Ballet. I have always wanted to learn more about this complex sport/art/science.
    This audio started with the story of three sisters in 19th Century France. The story continued along predictable lines by describing the sisters' starvation, constant work at the barre and miserable boarding house living, where they were all crammed into one room with their mother. I continued to listen, waiting for the conflict, the small success or the intriguing character to enter. Short of a couple of appointments with the great artiste, Degas, nothing happened but more suffering. I tired of the constant whining, worrying and grimy encounters with men. There was no reward or romance - just more wailing about circumstances. Also, predictably one sister, working as a laundress, burned a shirt and was "docked one week's wages." Please! How obvious can you be?
    I commend anyone who endeavors to write a full-length novel. The technical part - the writing - was well done in this book. Nice description and tone. However, my resources were spent and I expected a fair exchange.

    I need something to grab me after the first three hours. I listed to most of the first part, then I quit.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Lifeboat: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Charlotte Rogan
    • Narrated By Rebecca Gibel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life. In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband, Henry, across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die. As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found.

    Amazon Customer says: "Lord of the Flies on the Water"
    "Perilous but no conflict"

    First, I loved the premise and the idea. Always great to delve into the minds of people who have survived such a horrible experience. Wonderful idea to have Grace time-skipping over her trial for murder and her wet ankles. I couldn't wait to read this book.
    The book inspired me to write my own novel with some surprises and more exciting conflict than I found in this book. The passengers were throwing people off the lifeboat! That indeed should have caused some visceral emotions among the survivors, but not it did not, not really. I felt that the characters' reactions were, "oh gosh, there goes another one, but it wasn't me so I'm good."

    Also, I would have made someone on the lifeboat the culprit. Why did the mysterious ocean liner explosion happen? No back story about the ocean liner. Perhaps the reader was supposed to assume all the Titanic background applied. But better: maybe Grace was REALLY devious and evil, as well as being just a run-of-the-mill un-unhinged woman of her time. She should have been in cahoots with some unknown person to destroy lives for her own self-centered goals. Now there's a survival story!

    The book could have been set in an upscale parlor instead of a lifeboat. There was so little conflict or character development. The only thing I learned about Marianne was that she was a big whiner. I would have added 100 pages to learn more about the passengers and how they ended up on a lifeboat in the middle of nowhere. There was no explanation about how they found themselves in this dire situation.

    The so-called nefarious seaman who was aboard didn't seem that horrible. He was the only character who could have and should have, been the hero! It wasn't our girl, Grace. No hero in this book where one would have been welcome.

    Good first effort. I am certainly not the writer that Ms. Rogan is.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Skippy Dies

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Paul Murray
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, and others

    This touching and uproarious novel by author Paul Murray made everyone’s best fiction of 2010 lists, including The Washington Post, Financial Times, Village Voice, and others. Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the mystery that links the boys of Dublin’s Seabrook College (Ruprecht Van Doren, the overweight genius obsessed with string theory; Carl, the teenager drug dealer and borderline psychotic; Philip Kilfether, the basketball-playing midget) to their parents and teachers in ways that no one could have imagined.

    Laura says: "Funny, touching, entertaining"
    "Rambling and Disconnected"

    I look so forward to a book narrated by Irishmen. I loved Frank McCourt's books when they were read by the author. "Angelas Ashes" is on top of my all-time list.
    I believed that this book was among the same genre. I thought it was about young, Irish students trying to make a go of life. Turns out, it was a long and detailed list of the angst of teenage boys and the turmoil they face while struggling through daily life.
    It was just No big deal. I did NOT like the characters. They didn't bring me into their heads. If I cared about them, I may have paid better attention. I hope to struggle to the end of this book and find out why and how Skippy dies. That will be enough for a credit lost.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Empress Orchid

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Anchee Min
    • Narrated By Alexandra O'Karma

    Seventeen-year-old Orchid belongs to an aristocratic family that has fallen on hard times. Unexpectedly, she is chosen as one of the emperor's lesser concubines. Within the Forbidden City are thousands of women hoping to bear the emperor a son and become his empress. Orchid, determined and resourceful, schemes her way into the royal bed and seduces the emperor. But as the opium trade erodes the might of the Ch'ing dynasty, Orchid find herself at the center of a crumbling nation.

    Stacey says: "Empress Orchid"
    "Story Great - Narration flat"

    I have enjoyed all of Anchee Min's books. I love reading about Chinese culture and especially the methods women used to gain their own sort of power against, but through the men. This book never caught my attention because the narrator was so flat. She did have a nice Asian tone to her voice, but no character or life to the dialogue. I had to stop mid-way through -- something I avoid doing with vigor. Try the "sample" and if the reader resonates with you, buy the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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