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Barbara

ratings
50
REVIEWS
24
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
33

  • The Engagements

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By J. Courtney Sullivan
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (160)

    Evelyn has been married to her husband for 40 years - 40 years since he slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both sides of love - the ecstatic, glorious highs of seduction, and the bitter, spiteful fury that descends when it’s over. James, a paramedic who works the night shift, knows his wife’s family thinks she could have done better; while Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding - beach weddings, backyard weddings, castle weddings - and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own.

    Amazon Customer says: "This story required some brain exercise."
    "The perfect vacation book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Disparate stories of seemingly unconnected lives are slowly revealed over the course of this meaty novel. The characters and situations span many decades and a couple of continents but the highly skilled reader makes it easy to enjoy and retain them all. It didn't really matter to me how it all tied up in the end; the pleasure is in the journey and I enjoyed it all the way through.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mercer Girls

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Libbie Hawker
    • Narrated By Amy McFadden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2036)
    Performance
    (1854)
    Story
    (1849)

    It's 1864 in downtrodden Lowell, Massachusetts. The Civil War has taken its toll on the town - leaving the economy in ruin and its women in dire straits. That is, until Asa Mercer arrives on a peculiar, but providential, errand: he seeks high-minded women who can exert an elevating influence in Seattle, where there are ten men for every woman. Mail-order brides, yes, but of a certain caliber.

    Kirsten Balckwell says: "Delightful"
    "Unlistenable."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The reading is so poor -- like listening to a 13-year-old girl try to read a book out loud to you with no sense of the meaning of her words. The subject sounded interesting but I simply can't listen any longer, and have given up on this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A History of India

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Michael H. Fisher
    • Narrated By Professor Michael H. Fisher
    Overall
    (533)
    Performance
    (466)
    Story
    (465)

    Over 5,000 years, India has been home to a rich tapestry of peoples and cultures. Two of the world's great religions - Hinduism and Buddhism - have their origins in South Asia, and the lands east of the Indus River have long been a central hub for trade, migration, and cultural exchange. Today the subcontinent contains 20 percent of the world's population and is a thriving center for global business, making this region one of most significant economic powerhouses in the world.

    Belinda says: "More like a book than a college course"
    "Terrible reading ruins the value."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was hoping to get a good immersion in India's history before an upcoming trip. Alas, while the prof clearly knows his material, his dry, sometimes halting reading of his notes made it almost impossible to listen for more than a few minutes at a time. Some of The Great Courses are presented, rather than dryly read, but this one's a real snore. I really can't say I got much from it after pushing myself through all those hours of listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Home: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Marilynne Robinson
    • Narrated By Maggi-Meg Reed
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (335)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (235)

    Glory Boughton, aged 38, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack - the prodigal son of the family, gone for 20 years - comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.

    S. Elder says: "Wish that I had read this one"
    "So gloomy and go-nowhere I quit 3/4 of the way in"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have listened to many, many dozens of Audible books and have a reasonably high tolerance for a slow story. But this one is so bleak and relentless, with so little insight into its characters and virtually no story line at all. I kept hoping for something more and finally realized how depressed I felt every time I listened. A good book must deliver more. I stopped listening more than 3/4 of the way through. If something finally happens in the end, I won't know. But life is too short.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Archivist

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Martha Cooley
    • Narrated By George Guidall, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    The Archivist is a debut novel of remarkable depth and power. Set in the hushed world of a prestigious American university, it weaves a story of love and loss, recognition and redemption. Matthias Lane, 65, is the university’s orderly archivist. Graduate student Roberta Spire, 35, is determined to gain access to some of the collection’s sealed letters - ones written by T.S. Eliot to his close friend Emily Hale. Roberta believes they hold the keys to Eliot’s religious conversion, his wife’s suicide, and his emotional detachment.

    Barbara says: "Great reading of a dull book."
    "Great reading of a dull book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My book group read this book and I enjoyed it more than the women who read it in paperback or ebook form. That's a credit to the readers -- a male and a female voice whose excellent performances add dimension to a very flat book. Basically, nothing happens because the story is one of past secrets revealed and attempts to atone for past mistakes. It is weighted down by too many (and too implausible) parallels in this depressing story of madness, betrayal, family lies, the Holocaust, rewriting one's personal history.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • More Tales of the City: Tales of the City, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Armistead Maupin
    • Narrated By Cynthia Nixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (267)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (248)

    The tenants of 28 Barbary Lane have fled their cozy nest for adventures far afield. Mary Ann Singleton finds love at sea with a forgetful stranger, Mona Ramsey discovers her doppelgänger in a desert whorehouse, and Michael Tolliver bumps into his favorite gynecologist in a Mexican bar. Meanwhile, their venerable landlady takes the biggest journey of all - without ever leaving home.

    Scott says: "More Real City Life Captured by Maupin"
    "So well read, it's like going to the theater!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a treat to listen to Cynthia Nixon PERFORM all the parts, rather than just read them as so many narrators do! I lived in San Francisco when Tales of the City ran in the Chronicle each week so this is a walk down memory lane for me. I doubt it will resonate with a young reader (it's set in the 1970s and boy, have times changed) but the story is vivid, the characters quirky and appealing, and the reading, superb. This is light but very satisfying listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • China Dolls: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Lisa See
    • Narrated By Jodi Long
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (582)
    Performance
    (529)
    Story
    (532)

    It's 1938 in San Francisco: A world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade.

    Barbara says: "New Narrator needed!"
    "Interesting history but ho-hum story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The best part of this novel is the history that inspired it. The author paints a vivid portrait of how Asians were treated in the 1930s and 40s and how they adapted, and occasionally flourished, in the face of ignorance and bigotry. The 3 women whose lives are intertwined in the world of theater and dance are not clearly drawn, however. Each is a "type" but the author assigns a generic voice to all 3 so it's hard to keep straight who is speaking.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Snow Queen: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Michael Cunningham
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (145)
    Story
    (143)

    It’s November 2004. Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, is walking through Central Park when he is inspired to look up at the sky; there he sees a pale, translucent light that seems to regard him in a distinctly godlike way. Barrett doesn’t believe in visions - or in God - but he can’t deny what he’s seen. At the same time, in the not-quite-gentrified Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, Tyler, Barrett’s older brother, a struggling musician, is trying - and failing - to write a wedding song for Beth, his wife-to-be, who is seriously ill.

    Barbara says: "Couldn't make it all the way through."
    "Couldn't make it all the way through."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just didn't care enough about the characters, their interactions, or the plot to force myself through this one. Claire Danes as the reader is wasted on what's just a bad book. I made it 3/4 of the way through and thought, why am I forcing myself to listen to something so unsatisfying? The nice thing about being an adult (and not a student with homework) is that you really DON'T have to finish a book that doesn't warrant the time or attention.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Orphan Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
    Overall
    (16382)
    Performance
    (14560)
    Story
    (14570)

    Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse.... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

    Kathi says: "Moving story of sharing and transformation."
    "A fascinating story, outstandingly performed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This historical novel gives depth and dimension to a fascinating piece of American history. I knew a little about the orphan trains that carried NY's "unwanted" to the midwest but what became of them forms the basis of this compelling novel. The readers are true actors, making the characters fully dimensional from an Irish 9-year-old to a 91-year-old woman in Maine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Lynne Martin
    • Narrated By Lynne Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (228)
    Performance
    (211)
    Story
    (213)

    Reunited in love after 35 years and suffering from a serious case of pre-retirement wanderlust, Lynne and Tim Martin made a life-altering decision: They sold their house and possessions and hit the road to live internationally full-time. Now tethered to nothing but their suitcases, each other, and their next exotic location, they've never looked back. From sky-high pyramids in Mexico to monkeys in Marrakech, this delightful, inspiring memoir is a romantic tale of derring-do for grown-ups and a road map for anyone who dreams of turning the idea of life abroad into a reality.

    Barbara says: "She makes it sound SO unappealing!"
    "She makes it sound SO unappealing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a globetrotter myself, I was intrigued with the idea behind this book. Unfortunately, the authors come across as hopelessly naive. They didn't do their homework (why would retired people opt to spend the beastly hot summer months living in Italy -- and then complain how beastly hot it is?). They blithely assumed they could live as long as they wanted to, anywhere in Europe. (Never heard of visas and their restrictions -- really?) Their travels sound very stressful (who wants to uproot and start over as soon as you figure out the driving patterns, lifestyle, and maybe meet a few people?) What initially seems romantic and appealing actually sounds lonely and isolating as they describe it. Lynne Martin is not a great writer, which hampers the book. Her reading is much too enthusiastic and gee-whiz. Foods are "the best" and a friend, "the funniest". The "how to" in the title is a bit deceptive. To me, it was more of a "how NOT to" guide.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Kinsey and Me: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Sue Grafton
    • Narrated By Judy Kaye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (131)

    In 1982, Sue Grafton introduced us to Kinsey Millhone. Thirty years later, Kinsey is an established international icon and Sue, a number-one best-selling author. To mark this anniversary year, Sue has given us stories that reveal Kinsey’s origins and Sue’s past. Kinsey and Me has two parts: The nine Kinsey stories (1986-93), each a gem of detection; and the And Me stories, written in the decade after Grafton's mother died. Together, they show just how much of Kinsey is a distillation of her creator’s past.

    Jean says: "How did Grafton create Kinsey?"
    "A weird, unsuccessful hybrid"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have no idea why this book was ever written. It feels like "outtakes" -- the weaker Kinsey Milhone short stories that lack the quirky charm of Sue Grafton's full-length books, followed by grim, graphic autobiographical passages that read like private journal entries that should never have been aired. I thought her memoirs would relate in some way to her books and lead character but that's not the case. They are sad, depressing anecdotes about her alcoholic parents, mother's suicide, failed marriages. Judy Kaye is the reader so that part works, but she really didn't have much to go on here. I love the alphabet mysteries but this one's a turkey.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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