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Bette

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ratings
114
REVIEWS
29
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
15

  • The Beginner's Goodbye

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Anne Tyler
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (144)

    Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel in which she explores how a middle-aged man, torn apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances: in their house, on the roadway, in the market. Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family's vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.

    Elizabeth Ward says: "Anne Tyler at her Best"
    "Anne Tyler at Her Same"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll be the first to say that Anne Tyler is one of America's finest contemporary novelists, but I couldn't help feeling a lot of been-there-read-that while listening to 'The Beginner's Goodbye'.

    While Tyler's honed storytelling style and Heyborn's fine narrative got me through the book, I was bored by a too familiar cast of characters involved in yet another long, slow slide toward healing.

    (huh: maybe I'm getting jaded in my old age....)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Her

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Harriet Lane
    • Narrated By Julie Maisey
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Two women; two different worlds. Emma is a struggling mother who has put everything on hold. Nina is sophisticated and independent - entirely in control. When the pair meet, Nina generously draws Emma into her life. But this isn't the first time the women's paths have crossed. Nina remembers Emma and she remembers what Emma did. But what exactly does Nina want from her And how far will she go in pursuit of it?

    Bette says: "It's the little things...."
    "It's the little things...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In a chance meeting on a London street, sophisticated Nina encounters old acquaintance and harried new mum Emma. Nina has a much longer memory than Emma and begins to court lonely, forgetful and isolated Emma, 'Her', as Nina thinks of Emma: HER.

    Harriet Lane's story is told in two voices, one calculating the other rather oblivious and sweet. There are no real surprises in 'Her', but in the two narratives, Lane makes you care about the finely wrought characters- she makes you hope the inevitable and cataclysmic ending can somehow be averted.
    There's no fancy footwork here, no unreliable narrative, misdirection or obstrufication- just taut, excellent storybuilding through two distinct points of view. In fact, 'Her' kind of crept up on me; I was on the fence, thinking it might be a return but after a couple of hours was surprised to find myself utterly engaged.

    Narrator Julie Maisey is superb as both characters, but the audio recording of 'Her' needs two distinct voices: a few times I picked up the story in the middle of a chapter and waited or rewound to figure out whether it was Nina or Emma's narrative.

    Despite the misjudgment in production, 'Her' ranks somewhere near the top of the 400+ books in my library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Gabriel García Márquez
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (330)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (293)

    One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize-winning career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

    Melinda says: "What in the heck happened?????"
    "A Failed Experiment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Along with so many other audible listeners, I clamored for the release of One Hundred Years of Solitude in audio version. About a quarter of the way in, I metaphorically slapped myself upside the head, remembering that the character in this book is the family and the town around it. The people of the story are roots, limbs- vingette characters that together grow into a wondrous portrait of a life.

    One Hundred Years of Solitude is indeed a great book; it is also an intimate book, a private experience between Marquez and you, his reader. No middleman, not even the best of narrators (and they tried three!) can make it work.

    Buy the paperback.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • This Heart of Mine

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (1192)
    Performance
    (543)
    Story
    (547)

    Molly Somerville knows she has a reputation for trouble. She did give away her $15-million inheritance, but, hey, nobody's perfect. Yes, Molly's happy about almost everything...except her long-term crush on the daredevil quarterback for the Chicago Stars. That awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember her name! One night, Molly's penchant for running into trouble runs her right into Kevin himself, turning her world upside down.

    Donna A says: "5 stars"
    "Rape is not Romantic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've really enjoyed SEP's books until now but do not find the act of rape to be an engaging catalyst for a romantic comedy. An unrepentant, mentally ill heroine just doesn't work for me.
    Anna Fields was teriffic as usual, but I really don't care to continue with this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Omens

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Kelley Armstrong
    • Narrated By Carine Montbertrand, Mozhan Marno
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (134)

    Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions. But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence.

    Marianne says: "An Awesome Start to a New Series"
    "Only Part of a Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...and not a very good one at that. After over 14 hours pf painful narrative voice, this dull, drawn out story has absolutely no resolution: the endless budding of a cliched relationship will continue into the next book, the relatively uninteresting detective story will continue into the next book and what of the town- what is with the creepy town? Well- you may find out in the next book.

    Which will likely be narrated by Carine Montbertrand, whose male voices sound like the assortment of 'Lollipop Kids' in the Wizard of Oz.

    I try to make it a rule not to trash other people's art: a LOT of work goes in the the creation of both the novel and the audio performance but Audible should NEVER have offered this incomplete selection.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (5765)
    Performance
    (5241)
    Story
    (5255)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "There's a Red Herring, too."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Audible uses the word 'classic' to describe The Cuckoo's Calling, but 'intentionally and experimentally hackneyed' might be more appropriate. The phrasing, descriptive writing, dialog, characters and story are a modern exploration of the gumshoe cliche. Sometimes it really works; there is an exciting freshness and ease to the images and dialog created anew from the old style that was a joy to listen to. Sometimes it doesn't; the story and it's characters become bogged down by strict adherence to traditional structure resulting in a predictable and dull ending.

    The extraordinary talents of narrator Robert Glenister kept me listening, even after this modern twist on an old cliche lost my interest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2699)
    Performance
    (2498)
    Story
    (2503)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Christopher Barnes says: "D*mn near flawless"
    "Unengaging Story, Bravura Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've forced myself to continue listening to NOS4A2 to the halfway mark and this morning, when I simply couldn't stand the thought of donning headphones wondered "why?".

    Why would I continue listening to a story that has nothing to offer the reader? The characters are utterly unengaging, to the point that I could not care less what happens to them next and the story itself is relentlessly dismal and spun out. While I'm leaving this one, I won't write author Joe Hill off- he can REALLY write, bringing scenes and ideas to life as few writers can.

    The answer to the question 'why?" lies with Kate Mulgrew's bravura, daring, scenery chewing performance of Hill's words. I've never heard anything like it and although I'm not certain I want to again, in this instance it is a magnificent, outrageous, dialog chomping, scene stomping one woman show.

    Do I recommend it? You decide: the audiobook of NOS4A2 is a not-to-be-missed performance of a story in need of serious editing and (as another reviewer wrote) a little heart.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jasper Fforde
    • Narrated By Susan Duerdan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (845)
    Performance
    (522)
    Story
    (525)

    In Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection.

    Rosemary says: "A Worthy Read"
    "Pedantic Dr Who"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first 45 minutes of 'The Eyre Affair' amount to a literary Schrodinger's Cat-trick, a paradox I learned from Heinlein in 4 concise minutes of reading when I was 12.

    If only one of you, my compatriots, had mentioned Dr Who in the many reviews I read, I'd never have bought this book: I despise Dr Who.....and conversely, someone who enjoys Dr Who is likely to enjoy this book. It is superbly narrated.

    Oddly, I think I was warned about this book just two weeks ago, but wasn't given the title. Anybody else read Ian McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth'?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Luanne Rice
    • Narrated By Christina Traister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    Beneath his controlled demeanor, attorney John O’Rourke is a man in turmoil. Since the death of his wife, he has been juggling the rigors of a controversial capital murder case and the demands of raising two children. As 11-year-old Maggie and 14-year-old Teddy long for the past, they must also contend with the hostility that swirls around them since their father took on the defense of a despised killer - including a brick through their window one autumn morning.

    Bette says: "It's a Fairy Tale...eventually"
    "It's a Fairy Tale...eventually"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a sucker for magical realism and Luanne Rice is one of the best Americans writing in that genre today. Her stories tend to be tightly crafted, her characters masterful and in each book, she creates a world of it's own with new rules for 'the way things work'.

    'The Secret Hour' threw me for a loop. The story seemed to uncharacteristically meander. I kept wondering where Rice was going and why certain scenes even existed. I even began to wonder if Rice herself knew where she was going with this dull, uncompelling love story and disappearance mystery. I should have known better: near the end of the book, with one brush stroke in one scene, 'The Secret Hour' pulled itself into a tightly written, enjoyable and very adult fairy tale.

    'Oh, duh”, I thought, chiding myself for doubting the author.

    Narrator Christina Traister is so very good at narrative passages and so bad at male voices that I thought she was new to her craft and her talent instinctual. With a little vocal training, I thought, she'll be at the top of her game. When I looked her up, I was surprised to find 40 credits to her name and 'The Secret Hour' one of her most recent.

    This isn't a book for listeners unfamiliar with Luanne Rice: it's a story that takes patience and trust. You've got to love her work to enjoy 'The Secret Hour'.
    I did. In the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Tooth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (625)
    Performance
    (529)
    Story
    (530)

    Winner of such prestigious honors as the Booker Prize and Whitbread Award, Ian McEwan is justifiably regarded as a modern master. Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth follows Cambridge student Serena Frome, whose intelligence and beauty land her a job with England's intelligence agency, MI5. In an attempt to monitor writers' politics, MI5 tasks Serena with infiltrating the literary circle of author Tom Healy. But soon matters of trust and identity subvert the operation.

    Susianna says: "Perfect Book for your Literary Sweet Tooth"
    "Too Clever by Half..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I came close to abandoning Sweet Tooth at about the two thirds mark. On the surface, Ian McEwan's Serena Frome is yet another poorly crafted unreliable narrator from the UK's literary in-crowd, but well- it's Ian McEwan so I stuck with it. I suspected the discussion of various 'literary tricks' (Serena's term, not mine) peppered throughout the novel would eventually be applied to this tale of espionage, literature, love and naivete.
    I was not disappointed: not really. Those literary discussions do indeed telegraph to the the reader what's really going on: it’s all very clever and exquisitely crafted with not a stitch dropped, a superfluous word or clue misplaced in this literary mystery.

    The problem is Serena. My mind accompanied Juliet Stevenson's superb reading of Sweet Tooth with a constant harangue of “what a TWIT!”. In the end, the reader is made privy to the reasons for Serena's utter twitiness, but in order to get there, one suffers through her entire banal, twitty narrative. McEwan made one mistake, holding himself back too much with that voice: he seems to have forgotten the reader in all his clever construction. That one mistake prevents Sweet Tooth from being a masterpiece.

    Impressed as I was with Sweet Tooth, the reader has to work too hard to arrive at a resolution to the mystery of Serena Frome.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Haunting of Josie

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Kay Hooper
    • Narrated By Traci Svendsgaard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    Josie Douglas came to the isolated country cottage with her research, a good alibi, and a gun. She hoped that she'd have enough time to unravel the facts behind the tragedy that, years before, had shattered her life. Instead, she found herself in a house haunted by its own dark history.

    Bette says: "This is not unabridged?"
    "This is not unabridged?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Really? 'Cause if it's not unabridged, Kay Hooper forgot to write about a third of this book.
    Of course, The Haunting of Josie is so cliched, you can fill in the blanks yourself.

    I did, however, discover a really fine narrator, Traci Svensgaard, who managed to elevate even the tritest of language (he..."covered her startled lips with his"). Only my enjoyment of her skillful reading sustained me to the end of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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