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Sara

Chevy Chase, MD, United States | Member Since 2007

63
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 27 reviews
  • 45 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2993)
    Performance
    (2059)
    Story
    (2058)

    Always leave a little salt on the bread. Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.

    karen says: "Best audiobook of the year!"
    "Review of the Trilogy"
    Overall

    I'm going to review the entire Austrailian Trilogy here because the storyline continues throughout the three books, and the first two end in cliff hangers, making it impossible to stop after either of them. Nevertheless, the writing style and tone changes quite a bit from the first to the third and, unfortunately, goes downhill.

    The Potato Factory is wonderful. It is very Dickensian, and although I don't really like the grittiness of Dickens, I loved the story and characters Courtenay creates. Tommo and Hawk starts out very character driven as well, but gets bogged down in endless descriptions of the Maori struggles. It also contains several cringe-inducing sex scenes, which are made all the more embarrassing by Humphrey Bower's explicit narration (leaving no moan or groan to the imagination). I was mortified when my son walked into the room to see what was going on. And, then comes Solomon's Song, which can only be explained by an assumption that Courtenay was worn out. I know it wore me out. Hours were devoted to details of battle tactics at Gallipoli and later France, including readings of very long letters to and from the front. Although dozens of new characters were introduced, for the most part they were merely vehicles to get across the author's views on the horrors of war. I was eager for the book to end, but then the conclsion was so abrubt and unsatisfying, I spent the rest of the evening annoyed.

    I'm giving the trilogy a 4 because the Potato Factory was so excellent and Tommo and Hawk quite good. Also, notwithstanding Bower's sex-scene renderings, his narration was great.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Learning to Swim

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Sara J. Henry
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (144)

    When she witnesses a small child tumbling from a ferry into Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. Harrowing moments later, she bobs to the surface, pulling a terrified little boy with her. As the ferry disappears into the distance, she begins a bone-chilling swim nearly a mile to shore towing a tiny passenger. Surprisingly, he speaks only French. He'll acknowledge that his name is Paul; otherwise, he's resolutely mute.

    Howard says: "A Worthwhile Suspense/Mystery"
    "Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I agree with other reviewers that the story started out strong and then went downhill, but it still kept me engaged. I expect the series will get stronger as it goes along. I did not like Suzanne Toren as the narrator - her voice for Troy was tolerable, but for the other female characters is was downright jarring. I'm glad she's not reading the next one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Painting the Darkness

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Robert Goddard
    • Narrated By Michael Kitchen
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (158)

    On a mild autumn afternoon in 1882, William Trenchard sits smoking his pipe in the garden of his comfortable family home. When the creak of the garden gate heralds the arrival of an unexpected stranger, he is puzzled but not alarmed. He cannot know the destruction this man will wreak on all he holds most dear.

    Janice says: "Skeletons in every closet"
    "What Fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I've never read any Goddard books before, but I will definitely put them on my wish list. This is a fun, well-written, historical thriller. Sort of Dickens, Bronte, and du Maurier combined. Michael Kitchen's narration was fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Last Argument of Kings: The First Law: Book Three

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (2420)
    Performance
    (1672)
    Story
    (1681)

    The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm and there’s only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend and his oldest enemy. It’s time for the Bloody-Nine to come home. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe and no-one can be trusted.

    Lore says: "You have be realistic about these things."
    "Great Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The one thing I hate most in books and movies is gratuitous torture. I'm OK with run of the mill violence, but long descriptions of pulling out teeth, smashing hands on anvils, burning, and castration - just not for me. Given that, I'm not sure why I chose to listen to a series in which one of the main characters is a torturer, and from the very beginning, I knew that Abercrombie was not going to hold back anything. But, listen I did, and I got hooked on the characters, including the torturer. They are complex and funny and sad and it's hard not to get attached to even the worst of them.

    Like some of the other reviewers, I think the ending was disappointing. I was ready for things to be left unresolved, but I don't think it was necessary to leave us in such a dark place.

    I'm done with Abercrombie for now. While he's arguably the best fantasy writer out there, I can't get myself psyched for more gore and torture.


    Have you listened to any of Steven Pacey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to other Pacey books, but I will definitely look for him now. He's great.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I can only take so much gore in one sitting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4202)
    Performance
    (3519)
    Story
    (3529)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Jimmy says: "Epic, Remarkable, Easy & Enjoyable!"
    "Good storytelling but predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Ken Follett knows how to tell a good story, but the characters are stock and there's nothing really surprising about what happens. While his books are a good way to learn history, Follett spends way too much time explaining things that are obvious to anyone above 3rd grade. And, his sex scenes are adolescent and cringe-inducing (come on Ken, the word "ejaculation" should never be used except in a sex-ed textbook). But, I managed to get through this book and the one before it, and I might even listen to the third when it comes out. They are embarrassingly addictive.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5)

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Minnie Goode
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (912)
    Performance
    (837)
    Story
    (835)

    This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

    Think about this says: "I was consumed by this story!"
    "Possibly worst narration ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Different narrator!


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Minnie Goode?

    Almost anyone. Surprisingly, her female voices were much worse than the male ones. I turned it off about a quarter way through and bought the Kindle version. It's a very good book.


    Was Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5) worth the listening time?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Read the book yourself unless Audible decides to re-record this one with a different narrator based on the reviews.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Beautiful Place to Die

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Malla Nunn
    • Narrated By Saul Reichlin
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (58)

    Unfolding in 1952 South Africa, A Beautiful Place to Die is a riveting international mystery that flows from the pen of author Malla Nunn. Police officer Emmanuel Cooper is dispatched to a remote town after a police captain is found murdered in a creek. Even though Cooper judges the crime open and shut, the government's feared Special Branch is summoned, making for an intrigue that will titillate any mystery fan.

    Amazon Queen says: "Excellent"
    "Wonderful, well-written mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although this novel provides fascinating background on the beginning of official apartheid in South Africa, it is first and foremost a murder mystery with great character development and storytelling. I was worried it would be preachy or depressing, but it's not. Definitely worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Scar

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko, Elinor Huntington (translator)
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (638)
    Performance
    (567)
    Story
    (565)

    Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him. Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice.

    Robert says: "Highly, highly, Highly Recommended"
    "When will the story start?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm generally a patient reader (or listener) but I've stopped and restarted this book three times and still have only made it half way. It's more of an allegory than a novel, and forgoes real character development in favor of stock characters (the unloving father, the beautiful maiden, the tavern wench, the ink-stained student, the brash city guards) who fit into the author's morality tale. There's nothing subtle about the story and I just don't care anymore about the protagonist's lapse into cowardice and his (I assume) eventual redemption. Boring, boring, boring.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Laini Taylor
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1589)
    Performance
    (1417)
    Story
    (1430)

    Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages - not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color.

    FanB14 says: "Beautiful Writing, Mediocre Romance"
    "Juvenile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lovely writing and an interesting premise are eclipsed by hours of tedium. The romance is so overwrought and immature -- in a Twilight-y, not Harry Potter-y, way -- that I barely made it to the end. I mean hours upon hours of aching and yearning and descriptions of beauty so pure it burns your soul. The only reason I stuck with it was to learn what happens to the few interesting characters introduced near the beginning of the book. And, even though I didn't get my answers, nothing will make me listen to the second book in the series. NOTHING! Hvam's narration fits perfectly with the strained prose.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (640)
    Performance
    (480)
    Story
    (486)

    The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie’s survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations.

    Ginger says: "Missed Matched Pair"
    "Irritating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This could have been a decent story, but ended up being a teen romance with fairies instead of vampires. Lots of angst about fitting in interspersed with stupid dialog and stupider quips. The silly protaganist gets herself in all sorts of scrapes, getting shot, knifed, almost drowned, etc., but you know she'll emerge stronger than ever. The worst part, however, is the narration. It is just so wrong.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Observations

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jane Harris
    • Narrated By Jane Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (192)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    In this novel, set in Scotland in 1863, Bessy Buckley attempts to escape her past by taking a job as a maid in a big house outside of Edinburgh, where she works for the beautiful Arabella. Bessy is intrigued by her new employer, but puzzled by her increasingly strange requests.

    Angela says: "Great book!"
    "Wonderful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story was funny without being flip, and the writing excellent. But, best of all was Harris' narration. Sometimes when I'm listening to a book I wonder whether the author intended a particular pronunciation or emphasis. Here, we don't have to guess. I wish there were more Harris books to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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