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theenglishmajor

theenglishmajor

NJ | Member Since 2005

53
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 86 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 63 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
21

  • The Persimmon Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1795)
    Performance
    (1337)
    Story
    (1331)

    The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of getting out are fast dwindling. Amidst the fear and chaos he falls in love with Anna, the beautiful daughter of a Dutch acquaintance, and she nicknames him 'Mr Butterfly'.

    Corinne says: "An excellent sequel"
    "Best Author- Narrator combo on the market"
    Overall

    No one spins a tale quite like Bryce Courtenay. Add Humphrey Bower's narration and you have true magic. Bower is masterful doing all the accents for the multiple nationalities of Courtenay's characters. The two are forever linked in my mind. I waited quite awhile for Audible to offer the Persimmon Tree so I could read this two book series in order. It was well worth the wait. As always with Courtenay, in addition to a great story, you get a bit of history from the other side of the world. This wonderful story takes place during WW II in the South Pacific and brings all the human drama of that time to the listener with wonderful detail. Part of the story was a bit reminiscent of "Geisha". Loved listening to this and am looking forward to "Fishing for Stars" next.

    28 of 29 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
    (1656)
    Performance
    (1464)
    Story
    (1469)

    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!!"
    "Sorry to see it end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Someone in an earlier review used the word cozy. That's exactly how I would have described this book. A cozy is a term used to describe a mystery but it is a word appropriate here. This was so well written. I found myself hoping that the author was really as well read as her characters. And I felt the same angst at AJ regarding the whole ebook phenomenon. I feel so guilty about my gigantic ebook library.
    This is such a wonderful story. I loved every minute of it. I am a huge Scott Brick fan and unlike a previous reviewer, I thought he was the perfect voice, with a dry sense of humor and a slight amount of condescension for this story. I found the whole experience delightful, loved all the characters, and was sorry to see it end.

    1 of 1 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
    (24847)
    Performance
    (20648)
    Story
    (20633)

    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""
    "Wow."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a great story coupled with great performances. I think the author did an excellent job keeping it suspenseful until the very end. I am sure people are going to compare it or liken it to Gone Girl. I can see that to some degree. It has the same suspenseful tone; the same manner of keeping the reader in limbo but I am not certain I would draw conclusions in the writing. They are both excellent in their own separate ways. I am not usually a fan of stories that are told from different points of view but this one worked.I truly enjoyed this down to the very last minute. And would wholeheartedly recommend it.

    0 of 0 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
    (886)
    Performance
    (769)
    Story
    (779)

    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"
    "Characters that grow on you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have come to love this series with its quirky, somewhat flawed characters. The author has done such a great job of differentiated each one, and they are beautifully read here especially Karl and his intrepid Syrian sidekick. It took me halfway thru the first book before I began to like either one, but they soon began to grow on me like old friends. The tales can be a bit gruesome at times but the storylines are addictive. Looking forward to the next in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Alan Bradley
    • Narrated By Jayne Entwistle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (583)
    Performance
    (522)
    Story
    (522)

    On a spring morning in 1951, 11-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test.

    theenglishmajor says: "A twist in the series- loved it!"
    "A twist in the series- loved it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this series and have grown to love the quirky young heroine, wise beyond her years who is the daughter Agatha Christie never had. The audio version is always pitch perfect, the conclusion just beyond your reach and the whole experience scattered with wonderful characters that come alive on the page (so to speak.) This one volume needs to be experienced only in the proper sequence since it ties up some loose ends and launches the character into what can only mean more interesting adventures. I loved the new little character Ondine. Can't wait to see more of her. Can't wait for the next book in the series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sharp Objects

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Ann Marie Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5375)
    Performance
    (4366)
    Story
    (4392)

    Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker's troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, Camille's first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

    Kelley says: "I agree with Stephen King"
    "Pitch Perfect Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I selected this book because I enjoyed "Gone Girl" so much. "Sharp Objects" is equally as brilliant and in some ways, better. Like "Gone Girl", there is an element of suspense that keeps the reader involved until the end. These characters are equally as flawed and as brilliantly portrayed as the characters in Gone Girl. When I was in college, a group of friends in my dorm used to recite dialogue from the movie classic "The Bad Seed" and I found myself thinking of that movie as I was listening. Part "Bad Seed", a little "Lolita" with a bit of Patricia Highsmith thrown in for good measure, the book leaves the reader wondering where the author comes up with her ideas.
    The narrator was perfect, one of the best matches I have come across between a book and reader. Not only did she truly differentiate the characters, but her reading pace was perfect.
    I knew nothing about the premise of the book before I started listening, and I believe that added to my enjoyment.
    I think Gillian Flynn is a gifted young writer, and I look forward to reading more of her novels.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Neverwhere

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7091)
    Performance
    (3799)
    Story
    (3825)

    Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but shrewish fiancée. Then one night he stumbles upon a girl lying on the sidewalk, bleeding. He stops to help her, and his life is changed forever. Soon he finds himself living in a London most people would never have dreamed of: a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels. It is a world that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations.

    Thomas says: "Neverwhere is Great"
    "One of my favorites"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Neverwhere the most enjoyable?

    I love Neil Gaiman and especially love the books he narrates himself. This book was such fun to listen to....kind of a Charles Dickens meets the netherworld. I hated to see it I end and will definitely lo pistes to it again. The characters are so well defined not only by the writing but by the reading. What delicious fun.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dying Fall: A Ruth Galloway Investigation

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Elly Griffiths
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (174)
    Performance
    (148)
    Story
    (146)

    Ruth Galloway receives a phone call that bears shocking news. A friend of hers from college, Dan Golding, has been killed in a fire at his Lancashire home. Her shock turns to alarm when she gets a letter from Dan. He has made a discovery that will change archaeology forever but he needs Ruth's advice. Even more alarming, he sounds vulnerable and frightened. DCI Harry Nelson is also rediscovering his past. Up north for a holiday, he meets his former colleague Sandy MacLeod, now at Blackpool CID.

    Aryn says: "Still a great series"
    "Worst narration ever but a good story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator attempted to do several accents. If I were from Yorkshire, I would have been offended. Just because someone has an accent is no reason to make them sound stupid. The regular narration was so soft, I had to turn the volume way up. Even then, I could hardly hear it. But the "accents" were so loud and horrible that the dialogue seemed as if it were being yelled. Even the poor two year old screamed every single word of her dialogue. All in all, a ridiculous circus that really detracted from the book.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Frederick Kempe
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (49)

    A former Wall Street Journal editor and the current president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe draws on recently released documents and personal interviews to re-create the powder keg that was 1961 Berlin. In Cold War Berlin, the United States and the Soviet Union stand nose to nose, with the possibility of nuclear war just one misstep away.

    theenglishmajor says: "I am scared in retrospect"
    "I am scared in retrospect"
    Overall

    I was living in Berlin as an American military dependent during the time period that this book examines. I was horrified to learn how close we came, those of us living in West Berlin and going about our daily lives, to being vaporized by the Russians. I must have sensed the anxiety because I remember vividly asking my father on a regular basis "If we went to war with the Russians, who would win?" I remember the question. I do not remember the answer. My father was the commanding officer of AFN Berlin, the American Forces Network radio station at the time. We had no TV. We only had the radio. I remember all the circumstances described in the book. I was largely unaware of the context. Indeed, I was in East Berlin on a "tour" with my sister and a Swedish cousin who was visiting, one week before the wall went up. I was actually in Sweden visiting relatives with my parents the day the wall went up on August 13, 1961. I remember vividly the trek thru the Eastern Germany and the Checkpoint like a Hitchcock movie. We hurried back to West Berlin as my two younger brothers were still in the city in the care of a babysitter. My father is no longer alive to discuss these events with me so I only have the memories of the time and the conversations we had about those events. I found this book to be so insightful albeit terrifying. It is so frightening to learn after the fact how close to the front line we were living (for 5 years!) unaware of the danger we were in. Berlin, its charm and its drama had such an effect on all of the Americans that lived through those days that we have "found" each other and formed a group, a collective it you will. The experience defines us like no other experience has. Mr. Kempe did an outstanding job bringing those days to life again.... in all their triumph and fear. Reading the book I felt in a way that family secrets were being revealed. Enjoyed this book immensely and have recommended it hi

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Alan Bradley
    • Narrated By Jayne Entwistle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2096)
    Performance
    (1495)
    Story
    (1496)

    It is the summer of 1950 and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.

    'Nathan says: "Phenomenal!"
    "Loved it"
    Overall

    I loved this book and the narrator was wonderful, capuring perfectly the voice of its precocious main character. I went on to listen to the second book and like that one equally as wekk. I look forward to more in this series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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