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Mary

Member Since 2012

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 50 ratings
  • 406 titles in library
  • 64 purchased in 2014
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  • Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Debbie Macomber
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (95)

    In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, Debbie Macomber rings in the season with the return of Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, delivering laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention. Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel's work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year's Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities.

    Blanche says: "I love! love! love! All the Angel Books"
    "Mediocre unfortunately..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first Debbie Macomber book I have "read" and will likely be the only one. The writing is simply not very good for an adult level book. Perhaps it has been written as such with the intention of being family oriented, but frankly I doubt children would be interested in the storyline. The premise of the story held promise, but the book simply does not hold up. The writing is quite simplistic and often redundant. It serms there is very little effort put into describing the characters feelings and experiences. For instance, several times she describes characters reacting by "frowning" rather than more accurately describing if they are upset, angry, puzzled, distressed, etc...there are a number of emotions which could elicit a frown, but she simply does not make the effort to be more descriptive or expansive. The author was also repetitive in her general writing style throughout the book. The idea of the story is pleasant enough and I like uplifting stories, but this was a disappointment. I agree with previous reviews that the angels were portrayed as being very dumb...yet continually commenting on how slow-witted humans are!
    The narrator affected my experience as well. The accents seemed possibly incorrect and at times inconsistent. The voice she used for the lead male character of Aren sounded very strange. She tried to speak so low for his voice that very little emotion or inflection could be properly portrayed. "His" voice sounded both strained (constipated) and quite monotone (= boring) so it was VERY unappealing to listen to his parts of the story (which are frequent). The parts of the story with only females were much better. I would certainly recommend to the narrator to try not use such an extreme change in lowering her voice for male characters as it simply does not come across well in the way it was done on this audiobook. The general narration as well as the story I often experienced as too syrupy and shallow.
    The resolution between Aren and Lucie occurred, once again, in an over simplistic and unrealistic way. Additionally, for a contemporary book, the way it concluded was very provincial and conservative (narrow-minded even) as far as how the future would play out for the female, Lucie.
    I had hoped for more after seeing and generally enjoying a few TV movies based on Debbie Macomber books, but this book did not deliver for me and I get the sense that the movies are perhaps transformed quite a bit from her books (unless this one is entirely different from the others).
    Wish I had had a better experience with this one!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye: Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Victoria Laurie
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Michaels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1478)
    Performance
    (1146)
    Story
    (1141)

    Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn't foresee the death of one of her clients - or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby's future looks more uncertain than ever.

    Roger says: "review of Abby Cooper series"
    "90% Bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bought this on a daily deal (I think) as the psychic aspect seemed like it could be fun and those parts of the book really are the only interesting portions of the book. Abby is pretty much an arrogant jerk/smart ass a lot of the time - and for that reason would be the last psychic I would choose to consult! Additionally, she is stupid and immature. Not really a protagonist that is either endearing or appealing. Maybe if it had been read differently, perhaps a more appealing quality could have been perceived from her. Though the writing itself pretty much says it all as far as her personality goes...
    As far as the narrator is concerned, she is not the worst but I did not feel it was good either. I could actually say narration could rate at 2.5 to possibly 3 stars at times. I am not sure if this narrator would do better with a more well written book or not since she seemed rather one dimensional. I can say I was relieved that lower male voices were not attempted by her as that so often detracts from a book (and vice versa with a male narrator) unless the narrator has the ideal skill and tonal qualities to do so.
    Spoiler alert!...
    At the point in the story when her life truly appears to be in danger, it is hard to stop thinking about how idiotic she is since she is completely responsible for putting herself there by her own stupid immature arrogant behavior and it also makes you wonder about what the male love prospect sees in her! And on top of that, her psychic intuition fails her when she needs it the most...karma perhaps for being a jerk?
    Not sure if I would have listened to the entire book had I not been under the weather since it was an "easy mindless" listen/story. I am giving it 2 stars for creativity with many of the psychic aspects, otherwise it would only be 1 star. I would not purchase another Abby Cooper novel, however, since there are other light mystery novels available which are much better written and are truly entertaining and enjoyable (also with much better narration). I was definitely disappointed with this one :(. Glad I purchased it at a low price!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (2717)
    Performance
    (1706)
    Story
    (1704)

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"
    "Very illuminating!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is well worth reading to discover how many people you may have known (or know currently) who could possibly be sociopaths. Although this book may not be the most clinically scientific book on the subject of sociopathy, I was engrossed by the composite cases Dr. Stout presents in the book...even though it was at times difficult, creepy and chilling to read. As another reviewer stated, it is more of a "self defense" book regarding sociopaths vs. one which will assist in how to handle a sociopath with whom it is very difficult, or perhaps impossible, for one to cut all ties (a relative, etc). Nonetheless, there is much is this book which is quite enlightening, informative and may very well assist you by helping you to avoid becoming significantly involved with a sociopath in the future...and also help you to recognize when you may have inadvertently encountered one...such as your neighbor. I definitely recommend it and will probably be buying this book for at least a few friends or family members!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Coming Clean

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Narrated By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (216)

    Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a tidy apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You would never guess that Kim grew up behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house, navigating between teetering stacks of aging newspapers, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room - the product of her father’s painful and unending struggle with hoarding. In this moving coming-of-age story, Kim brings to life her rat-infested home and her childhood consumed by concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends.

    Margaret says: "Vicarious Hoarding"
    "Very illuminating true account"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This true account was quite illuminating, recounting the life of a girl raised by a hoarding father and shopaholic mother. Both parents love their daughter but are unable to truly change their habits in order to create even a remotely serene and clean haven as a home for their only child. The hoarding father truly cannot acknowledge, much less address, his mental/emotional condition and resulting hoarding behavior. He is completely incapable of throwing anything away. The untenable conditions of the homes in which Kimberly is raised are disturbing and heartbreaking yet learning of it in this book makes for a moving and educational read/listen. I can also say that reading this true life account could perhaps be more motivational for organizing one's own house (etc) than any book written about organizing! It could virtually "scare" you into organizing just by reading about the out of control conditions described. And, understandably, that is essentially the very effect growing up in it had on Kimberly as, once she no longer lives with her parents, she can only bear to live in extremely tidy, clean and sparse surroundings. It is also very difficult to learn about the negative ramifications their family living conditions had upon Kimberly's ability to live an otherwise normal childhood since she was so embarrassed and ashamed about the situation - she lived her childhood in a way wherein she could hide the situation - subsequently limiting her number of friends, not to mention her ability to be truthful with her friends about her home life until such time(s) she saw no other option(s) but to reveal the truth. Narration by the author, Kimberly, was authentic and generally good. Recommended for anyone interested in hoarding or human behavior in general. I did not know how I would like this book upon buying it, but I am glad to have read it and learned about the realities of such a situation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Susannah Cahalan
    • Narrated By Heather Henderson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1244)
    Performance
    (1118)
    Story
    (1124)

    In 2009, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room strapped to a bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records - from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory - reported psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four-year-old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter

    Eric Schurr says: "Very scary, real story, superbly written and rea"
    "Recommend!..Fascinating and Frightening true story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listened to this book in just 2 days...and I rarely do that - it had me hooked! Highly recommend this book about a young woman's highly scary and disturbing experience with "madness" caused by a treatable illness which was nearly missed entirely by her medical team, but thankfully was ultimately diagnosed correctly. If it had not been correctly diagnosed, she may have ended up in a mental institution. Even if this is not a typical genre of book you read, it is still well worth the time to become familiar with this vexing and mysterious illness which was not discovered and correctly diagnosed until 2007! It is frightening to imagine how many innumerable people may have been institutionalized or died due to it prior to 2007. It is also worth reading so one can ponder about how often patients may be misdiagnosed due to under-informed physicians as well as many other possible reasons doctors may not diagnose accurately or completely. This is not to be a criticism of all doctors, it is simply a reality and the account of Susannah's experience conveys why I believe (from personal experience) it is often in a person's best interest & highest good to seek multiple medical opinions (western, eastern and alternative), most particularly when a person is experiencing a complicated or mysterious "dis-ease", such as Susannah's type of (and many other) auto-immune disorders. This book is a well researched and well written account of the gripping physical and mental roller coaster Susannah experienced and from which she was very fortunately able to substantially, and hopefully nearly fully, recover.
    For me, the narrator/narration was the weakest part of this audiobook. Not awful, but it did not resonate with me overall as an accurate portrayal of the author's emotions, reflections or experiences. There were moments when it grated on me, but all in all I was able to disregard it enough to appreciate, and be engrossed in, the content of this book. Had the narration been superior, I would have given the audiobook an overall 5 star rating. Regardless of feeling the narration could have been much better, I still highly recommend this book in audio or print!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Enchanted

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Alethea Kontis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (277)
    Performance
    (248)
    Story
    (242)

    It isn’t easy being Sunday’s child, not when you’re the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true. When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night, Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him....

    Amazon Customer says: "Charming... Enchanting"
    "Charming and Engaging :)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Enchanted is a charming and, yes, enchanting story. The story itself is its own though it weaves elements of multiple fairy tales within it. It is a progressive modern fairy tale. Narration was very good. An engaging, enjoyable and delightful listen suitable for teenagers and up. A good choice as a teen read for the themes and topics addressed within it. I do not have children but am glad to see a book such as this one available for teens as an alternative to the current dystopian trends in teen fiction. Not a Pollyanna story but one with a more positive message than some other teen/YA books. A recommended read for any teen or adult who enjoys fantasy and/or revisiting beloved childhood fairy tales blended together with a modern spin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Summer's Path

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Scott Blum
    • Narrated By Diane Ray
    Overall
    (874)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (260)

    Summer's Path is the remarkable story of Don Newport, an engineer that comes face to face with his personal destiny under extraordinary circumstances. After losing his job and his health insurance, Don learns he has a terminal disease with only a few months left to live. On his death bed, he meets Robert, a brazen angel of death that promises to help Don with a graceful exit.

    ArtC says: "A bad new-age after-school special"
    "Story okay, poor narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    3 stars is probably a stretch for the story, but I am glad the author is putting out ideas and concepts which are not mainstream and those core concepts of this story could be very helpful to people on their spiritual, healing or new age journey. It addressed healing the emotions to heal the body which I believe is extremely important and an element about which many people are completely unaware or do not attempt to acknowledge or consider. Since our mind, body and spirit are all interconnected, this is an important message and theme contained in this book. For me, the writing and the story outline were jumbled and not cohesive, even for out of the ordinary topics such as this book contains. I believe the message in the book could have been delivered much more successfully with better writing and a more fluid story.

    It is also extremely challenging to listen to this narrator. If there was a much better narrator, it would be much more enjoyable to listen to this book and hear the helpful messages within it.

    After listening to the audiobook, I also watched a movie called "Walk-In" which was based on the book. Interestingly, the movie leaves out most of the important messages I feel the book strives to convey and was more unsatisfactory than the book in its content, though the acting in the movie was far superior to the narration of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (618)
    Performance
    (555)
    Story
    (551)

    The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed 20 million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today. World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than 90 years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will.

    Andrew Pilecki says: "Excellent Overview of the "Overshadowed" War"
    "Highly Recommend!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It has been a few months since I listened to this account of The Great War (WWI), so I will not delve into specifics. I can say this book is an excellent historical account of WWI with very competent and appealing narration. As it has been many years since I last studied WWI, I enjoyed and appreciated this thoroughly informative experience...it is certainly a book I fully expect to revisit as the information is voluminous but certainly very interesting and well presented, I highly recommend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • And One Last Thing...

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2828)
    Performance
    (2180)
    Story
    (2176)

    Lacey Terwilliger's shock and humiliation over her husband's philandering prompt her to add some bonus material to Mike's company newsletter: stunning Technicolor descriptions of the special brand of "administrative support" his receptionist gives him. The detailed mass e-mail to Mike's family, friends, and clients blows up in her face, and before one can say "instant urban legend", Lacey has become the pariah of her small Kentucky town and a media punch line....

    Ducky says: "For me this was such a HOOT!!!"
    "Waste of time...all downhill from the start :("
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought I would buy this book for some light humorous easy listening and with the high ratings, decided to give this a try. Well, the first few chapters or so may have held my attention fairly well with some mild amusement and curiosity. Beyond that, the entire story line and writing took a nosedive into meaningless humorless drivel - boring plot and boring writing. Any humor in the book quickly lost its appeal as it was based on self-absorbed snarky jabs wallowing in the protagonist's whiny self pity, effectively whined by the narrator's ultimately grating voice. The writer's "humor" rapidly declined from any use of clever language and relied on attempting humor based upon nastiness in thoughts and words. Had this been a 2 hour short story, it may have been able to rate higher for me as an amusing brief diversion. As a full novel, it became painful boring and humorless listening which I was unable to endure and consequently i did not finish the book...I struggled through about 2/3 or 3/4 of the book, hoping for improvement which was at that point an unrealistic outcome. I decided my time and brain power could be utilized much more valuably and enjoyably with other endeavors or books.
    Perhaps there is some sort of redeeming ending to the story, but the writing and story content in getting there were simply not worth my time. The portions of the story where Lacey is learning to write a novel (an endeavor based upon her ability to rake her cheating husband over the coals via writing his company newsletter) were extraordinarily uninteresting as were her "friends with benefits" relationship and sexual encounters with her new neighbor. The purpose of the sex scenes seemed to be trying to make a boring story more interesting, but they did not achieve that goal.
    The narration became mostly annoying and grating to me. I felt the narration was as one dimensional as the book. Her vocal intonation was effectively whiny sounding, but to listen to that throughout for the primary character also diminished my listening experience along with the writing and story content. I have not heard this narrator (Amanda Ronconi) before and would not seek out books narrated by her in the future, though her narration could be more appealing for a different book or story. The most painful part of her narration for me was her portrayal of the male characters, especially Lacey's love interest, Monroe, since he is the primary male character. In her portrayal, the male voice sounded strained and constipated because of apparently forcing her voice into an unnatural vocal range. My personal preference for narrating of the opposite sex is when the reader maintains an unforced and more natural vocal range as otherwise the effect is very unappealing and makes listening more difficult to enjoy (conversely...such as some male narrators creating female voices who all sound like wimpy airheads is equally unpleasant).
    I do not anticipate purchasing more books by Molly Harper and I definitely hope to use Audible's return policy for this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (584)
    Performance
    (500)
    Story
    (503)

    Emily Pollifax is one of a precious few gray-haired female sleuths who solve their cases through unflagging determination, moral courage and wisdom that comes with age. In "The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax", Emily answers the call of that “nice Mr. Carstairs” to go to Istanbul as a courier and search for a missing agent.

    Coffee Lover says: "Wonderful story, perfect narration!"
    "Enjoyed from beginning to end!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a lot of fun combined with mystery and suspense creating a fun lighter spy novel. Barbara Rosenblat narrates beautifully and brings the book even more to life. This is the first Mrs. Pollifax novel I have read (not the first in the series, but the first I have "read") and was delighted to find it and I am eager to purchase more of these books. Mrs. Pollifax is a wonderful character and the other characters in the novel are also interesting and entertaining. I greatly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Zimmermann Telegram

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (287)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (204)

    In the dark winter of 1917, as World War I was deadlocked, Britain knew that Europe could be saved only if the United States joined the war. But President Wilson remained unshakable in his neutrality. Then, with a single stroke, the tool to propel America into the war came into a quiet British office. One of countless messages intercepted by the crack team of British decoders, the Zimmermann telegram was a top-secret message from Berlin inviting Mexico to join Japan in an invasion of the United States.

    Mike From Mesa says: "US entry to World War I"
    "Disappointed by this audio...Narrator too fast."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was disappointed in this listening experience. As this is an historical account of actual events during WWI, the narrator read it much too fast for my preference. It made it difficult to absorb many of the details of the information and difficult to understand some of her words at times. I felt like the reading was taking place under time constraints or as a contest in speed-reading the book. Additionally, the narrator added more characterization and dramatization than I found preferable for an historical account. I was relieved to finish the book (which seemed to take 3 times longer than actual time). The book itself provided a lot of information regarding this particular event and multiple events and scenarios prior to the telegram. It included many years prior to the telegram and, for me, it seemed more than necessary. Or perhaps if the narration was better for this type of book, it would have proved more interesting.
    I recently finished "A World Undone" written by G.J. Meyer and narrated by Robin Sachs. It is a complete account of WWI and though it is lengthy, both the book and narration were very well done and held my interest. I thought The Zimmerman Telegram would be a good supplement to it, but I could have skipped it...this version at least. Perhaps if the book was shorter and/or had more effective narration, I would have enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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