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mary

pmg-fan

Sewickley, PA, United States

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 38 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • State of Wonder: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4118)
    Performance
    (2955)
    Story
    (2951)

    Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend's death, her company's future, and her own past.

    F. B. Herron says: "Do yourself a favor and listen to this book!"
    "Moving and compelling story, well read"
    Overall

    I half read, half listened to this book on my iPod (Hope Davis is lovely as narrator). I got teary at the ending, even though I had peaked ahead and knew the novel's final secrets. Getting there was a thrilling ride, with well developed characters and a plausible if not always believable plot. Dr. Swensen is a formidable presence, and Marina is her match. Still hearing pieces of Ms. Davis' narration in my head several days later.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Marriage Plot

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Eugenides
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1692)
    Performance
    (1399)
    Story
    (1387)

    It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

    FanB14 says: "Esoteric, Vapid, Trite"
    "A disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I graduated from Brown in 1981, one year ahead of the author and the setting of the opening of this novel, so I was excited by the opening chapter, a faithful reenactment of graduation weekend and all the attendant ceremonies, family embarrasments and farewells. Everything is perfect, down to the Talking Heads lyrics and local diners. But as the novel wore on, I became less and less engaged by/with the characters, as their lives moved so slowly forward and backward, a tiresome trio, destined to hurt and pillage each other through their early middle ages. The narrator of the audible version wasn't enough to keep me going. Maybe the marriage plot is too much to carry off after all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sister Mine: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Tawni O'Dell
    • Narrated By Renee Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    When the younger sister she thought was dead arrives on her doorstep, followed closely by a gun-wielding Russian gangster, a shady New York lawyer, and a desperate Connecticut housewife, ex-cop Shae-Lynn Penrose is forced to grapple with the horrible truth she discovers about her sister's life, and with an ominous question: Will her return result in a monstrous act of greed, or one of sacrifice?

    Laurie says: "wonderful"
    "Tough and scrappy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Sister Mine" is the story -- told in the first person -- of a tough and scrappy woman whose life has been shaped by her abusive father and the hard knocks she has absorbed and ultimately overcome. Shae Lynn takes care of everyone except herself, it seems, sacrificing health and happiness for everyone from her sister to her son to two young children at risk of being abandoned by their neglectful parents. In the end, Shae Lynn's goodness (mixed with a heapin' helpin' of grit and more than a little scheming of her own) leads to the happy ending you think she deserves. Well read, with just enough of a mild accent or changed tone to give each speaking character its own identity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Paris Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paula McLain
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1833)
    Performance
    (1257)
    Story
    (1255)

    Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet 28eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

    Pris says: "Delighted in Del Mar"
    "Enjoyed the book, loved the narrator"
    Overall

    I am an avid reader, but not a big Hemingway fan, so I didn't know what to expect from this novel. I found it to be a believable tale of "the wife behind the great man," told from the perspective of the wife. The author does an admirable job of creating suspense and action, even though the reader knows from the outset that separation and divorce and even worse await this loving couple. She also does a good job of giving life to the post-World War I lifestyle and culture of two expats with a thirst for adventure and the drive to seek it out.
    As to the narrator, I disagree with those who have been critical of her. While I acknowledge that the "voice" she used for Hadley's direct quotes was too stereotypically high pitched and whiney, I thought she was a lovely reader, with an interesting "gruffness" for Hemingway and a calming style that made me look forward to my daily commute so that I could enjoy her calming voice. Bravo!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • When the Killing’s Done: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By T. C. Boyle
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (87)

    Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist who is spearheading the efforts to save the Channel Islands’ endangered native creatures from invasive species like rats and feral pigs, which, in her view, must be eliminated. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a dreadlocked local businessman who, along with his lover, the folksinger Anise Reed, is fiercely opposed to the killing of any species whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert the plans of Alma and her colleagues.

    A User says: "Worth the effort"
    "One of Boyle's best novels"
    Overall

    I found this novel to be interesting on many levels -- the way the author weaves the history of the Channel Islands with the stories of the main characters and their families, the struggle to decide what and who is "right", the strength of nature as seen in the power of the ocean and the rain and the will of animals to survive (and of humans to decide and influence that survival). I'm not a fan of Boyle's historical novels (e.g., The Women, Road to Wellville), so I was happy when this more fictional novel came out, and I wasn't disappointed. I compare it to Drop City and Talk Talk as recent favorites from Boyle. I thought the narrator was good, with a bit of cynicism and touch of accent where you would expect it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Driving on the Rim

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Thomas McGuane
    • Narrated By Traber Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    The unforgettable voyager of this dark picaresque is I. B. "Berl" Pickett, M.D., whose die was probably cast the moment his mother thought to name him after Irving Berlin. Other insults piled on apace thereafter: the spasms of Pentecostal Sunday worship; the social debilitation of following his parents' itinerant rug-shampooing business; the erotic initiation at the hands of his aunt. It's hard to imagine what would have become of him had he not gone to medical school.

    Roy says: "Delightful"
    "What fiction can be"
    Overall

    It seemed like the story was not being told in chronological order, yet it was. Like the beautiful silk lining of a fine coat, there were stories layered into stories, stitched with hidden threads, told in a way that didn't make sense till you moved forward or thought back. Then, once you understand what the author's doing and has done, you move into the more straightforward part of the story and it becomes a wonderful novel, with deep characters and plenty of plot. I really liked the narrator (first book I ever listened to and I must say it spoiled me compared to others I've heard since).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Caribou Island: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By David Vann
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (24)

    On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Gary and Irene’s marriage is unraveling. Alone now that the children are grown, Gary, driven by 30 years of diverted plans, is determined to build from scratch the cabin he has always wanted, believing it will recapture what once drew him to Alaska. Irene knows better. She suspects that the cabin is Gary’s first step to leaving her.

    glamazon says: "Stunning story!"
    "Dark secrets, sad endings"
    Overall

    Parts of this book are light and entertaining, others are dark and foretell the darker side of human emotions that lurk deep within those who can't overcome their demons. I suppose I should have seen the ending coming, but didn't. The author tried to save it with a little denouement about one of the more normal (and unknowingly exploited) characters, but it failed to lift the ending for me. I enjoyed the narrator's style and straightforward approach.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swamplandia!

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Karen Russell
    • Narrated By Arielle Sitrick, David Ackroyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (364)
    Performance
    (243)
    Story
    (242)

    The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly number-one in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost.

    Suzn F says: "Sometimes Brilliant, Sometimes Disappointing"
    "What it means to lose your mother as a 13 year old"
    Overall

    To me, this book is about the impact of the death of a mother on a young girl and her isolated, eccentric, unworldly brother and sister. Ava the brave one, Ava the designated successor to her mother as the next great female alligator wrestler, Ava the fearless, sees herself as carrying on her mother's (disappearing) legacy. Her brother, Kiwi, has similar dreams (unrealistic) of saving the family business. And Osceola falls into an unreal world of her own. And in the end, Ava's fearlessness and Kiwi's dumb luck (the result of his unrelenting efforts to make something of himself) save the three of them. There's one surprisingly disturbing scene, but I guess it was necessary. I grew to like the female narrator, realizing that her young girl's voice was right for the role. And I liked the male narrator's interjection of energy and disbelief in reading the chapters about Kiwi's adventures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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