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KP

There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson

Oakland, CA | Member Since 2006

88
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 100 reviews
  • 232 ratings
  • 529 titles in library
  • 40 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
10

  • Little Bee: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Chris Cleave
    • Narrated By Anne Flosnik
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1609)
    Performance
    (873)
    Story
    (873)

    British couple Andrew and Sarah O'Rourke, vacationing on a Nigerian beach in a last-ditch effort to save their faltering marriage, come across Little Bee and her sister, Nigerian refugees fleeing from machete-wielding soldiers intent on clearing the beach. The horrific confrontation that follows changes the lives of everyone involved in unimaginable ways.

    Katerina says: "Good book, well told"
    "good but uneven"
    Overall

    I thought Little Bee was really beautifully written. There were so many touching and thought provoking analogies and insights. And the story was compelling and powerful. I do think that it was a little bit uneven... some parts left me a little cold and then some parts did seem really unrealistic. ** spoiler alert ** For example, the whole idea of Sarah and Andrew going to Nigeria in the first place and THEN going out on that beach and ignoring the hotel guard who tried to help them? That seemed totally false. And THEN how Sarah goes back at the end of the book and keeps traveling around getting the "stories" and bribing people for protection? Again, I don't think so. A woman who had undergone what she had years before would have learned her lesson! and then the ending! Actually, the whole deportation idea was unnecessary... from then on I thought it spiraled out of control. However, again, the writing saved it AND I did think there were lots of story elements that were really exciting ...more I thought Little Bee was really beautifully written. There were so many touching and thought provoking analogies and insights. And the story was compelling and powerful. I do think that it was a little bit uneven... some parts left me a little cold and then some parts did seem really unrealistic. For example, the whole idea of Sarah and Andrew going to Nigeria in the first place and THEN going out on that beach and ignoring the hotel guard who tried to help them? That seemed totally false. And THEN how Sarah goes back at the end of the book and keeps traveling around getting the "stories" and bribing people for protection? Again, I don't think so. A woman who had undergone what she had years before would have learned her lesson! and then the ending! Actually, the whole deportation idea was unnecessary... from then on I thought it spiraled out of control. However, again, the writing saved it AND I did think there were lots of story elements that were really exciting and it wa

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jenna Miscavige Hill
    • Narrated By Sandy Rustin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (889)
    Performance
    (810)
    Story
    (813)

    Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org - the church's highest ministry - speaks of her "disconnection" from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.

    Tim says: "The Despicable Truth Behind Scientology"
    "Eye Opening!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! I think Scientology has to be one of the most messed up, horrible organizations I've ever heard of. I won't call it a religion; that would be a sham. The book was fascinating in that it opened my eyes to the reality and the inner workings of Scientology. At the same time, it was pretty boring in its details and the reality which seemed to go on and on. I've heard some bad things about Scientology, BUT now my eyes have been opened to the extent of the rottenness.

    As I was reading about the constant "auditing" (questioning sessions with an e-meter designed to elicit a certain result from the person being audited) and "sec-checks"(confessional given on an e-meter) , it made me think of North Korea in Orphan Master's Son! Seriously, that is how BAD it was. Well, they didn't hook the person up to a pain machine, BUT they did use constant belittling, questioning, humiliating, separation, isolation, and on and on to elicit the response they wanted. I also feel like this girl's parents were partly to blame for allowing her to be taken from them and to be separated from them and sucked into this horror. Of course, she was/is from a 3rd generation Scientology family, so they were ALL brainwashed, I guess.

    The book talks about how the celebrity Scientologists are treated differently, and the world never sees that horrible stuff that goes on in the background. The hypocrisy of Scientology is stunning in its breadth and depth.

    I've got to give this girl credit for getting out and exposing all this to the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Redbreast

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1148)
    Performance
    (891)
    Story
    (894)

    It is 1944: Daniel, a soldier, legendary among the Norwegians fighting the advance of Bolshevism on the Russian front, is killed. Two years later, a wounded soldier wakes up in a Vienna hospital. He becomes involved with a young nurse, the consequences of which will ripple forward to the turn of the next century. In 1999, Harry Hole, alone again after having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, has been promoted to inspector and is lumbered with surveillance duties. He is assigned the task of monitoring neo-Nazi activities....

    David says: "Bravura writing"
    "Reaching His Stride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yes! With this #3 book in the Harry Hole series, Jo Nesbo has reached his stride and has written a tense and exciting thriller/crime novel. I particularly liked this book because the reader gets to see how Harry Hole meets Raquel (the woman he is so in love with in later books) and find out Raquel's "interesting" background. Having started with some of the later Harry Hole books, I was disappointed when I went back to the beginning with the #1 and #2 books (The Bat and The Cockroaches), but having enjoyed this book so much, I'm now ready to continue on to #4, Nemesis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • We Need New Names: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By NoViolet Bulawayo
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (55)

    Darling is only 10 years old, and yet she must navigate a fragile and violent world. In Zimbabwe, Darling and her friends steal guavas, try to get the baby out of young Chipo's belly, and grasp at memories of Before. Before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the school closed, before the fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad. But Darling has a chance to escape: She has an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America's famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few.

    FanB14 says: "African Girl Does US"
    "First part is best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the writing was often beautiful, this book fell flat, in my opinion. I couldn’t care very much about the main character. Perhaps I did in the beginning, but she and her story became less interesting to me as the book went along. Perhaps it’s because I felt the author was trying to make her story TOO much about the recent history of Zimbabwe and not enough of a novel. The characters all became archetypes of the various problems that immigrants face. First, there was the harsh life in Africa, then there were the harsh realities of trying to fit in to American life, and finally there came the realization that in many ways immigrants can never fit in to the new country, but they can never go home, either.

    I thought the first half of the book was more compelling. In the middle there was a section that was told in the first person plural, like the book about Japanese picture brides, The Buddha in the Attic. That approach is really unsuccessful, in my opinion. It removes the reader from the action, and just seems preachy or false.

    I’m sure that one is supposed to feel pity for the main character and sympathize with her, and I do feel sad about all the harsh circumstances. Somehow, other books with similar situations have managed to pull me in more than this one, however.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cleaner of Chartres

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Salley Vickers
    • Narrated By Pamela Garelick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    There is something very special about Agnès Morel. A quiet presence in the small French town of Chartres, she can be found cleaning the famed medieval cathedral each morning and doing odd jobs for the townspeople. No one knows where she came from or why. Not Abbé Paul, who discovered her one morning 20 years ago, sleeping on the north porch, and not Alain Fleury, the irreverent young restorer who works alongside her each day - and whose attention she catches with her tawny eyes and elusive manner. She has transformed each of their lives in her own subtle way, yet no one suspects the dark secret Agnès is hiding.

    KP says: "Not my favorite S.Vickers, but worth reading!"
    "Not my favorite S.Vickers, but worth reading!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sally Vickers used to be a psychoanalyst, and her past profession lends a depth to her characters, and an interesting air to her books.

    She usually has interesting references to some cultural aspect as well. In The Other Side of You it was painting. In this book, the references to Greek mythology were interesting because they were symbolic of the situations in the book and of life in general. The story of Theseus and the Minotaur was one example. When Agnés finally confesses what she had done as a young girl, her friend Alain says, “The minotaur is dead!” I thought that was great, but then I love symbolism. Agnés’ secret had been trapped like the evil Minotaur, and now it was released - rendered powerless. Her life had expanded and healed a lot already, but now she was truly free.

    I found the writing good, the cultural and psychoanalytic aspects interesting, but overall the story was a bit underwhelming. I enjoyed The Other Side of You much more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cathedral of the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ildefonso Falcones
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    Overall
    (532)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (168)

    At last: The international best seller - which has already sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide - comes to America! Cathedral of the Sea follows the fortunes of the Estanyol family, from their peasant roots to a son, Arnau, who flees the land only to realize spectacular wealth and devastating problems.

    Joseph says: "Very good historical novel."
    "In the mood for BARCELONA!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm glad I read it. I finished as I arrived in Barcelona, so that made it really fun since the book has so much to do with that city. Now I HAVE to see the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar! As for the book itself: good on the history of the city, but I have to say that it was a potboiler and extremely overdone. At first I thought it seemed a little like Ken Follett in Pillars of the Earth, but really I think Ken Follett was a better writer. There are just too many heaving bosoms, too many characters who are extremely good or extremely evil, OR too many characters who could also change on a dime from one to the other.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Americanah

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Narrated By Adjoa Andoh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (610)
    Performance
    (563)
    Story
    (567)

    Anna-Bo-Banana says: "Dazzling, Romantic, and Witty"
    "Didactic to a fault!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a beautifully written book, and I enjoyed the story. The author’s keen insights into issues of immigration and race and what it means to be black in America AND in Africa were really interesting. It was particularly interesting to read about Nigeria from the viewpoint of some very well educated people. The main problem I had with the book is that it was too didactic. The author was critical of whites, critical of blacks - Nigerians, and Americans. That’s ok, and a lot of it was interesting, BUT it just went on too long. All of the preaching bogged the book down. Much of it could have been edited out, and the powerful main points would still have had as much or more impact.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cockroaches: The Second Inspector Harry Hole Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (392)
    Performance
    (348)
    Story
    (349)

    When the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand is found dead in a Bangkok brothel, Inspector Harry Hole is dispatched from Oslo to help hush up the case. But once he arrives Harry discovers that this case is about much more than one random murder. There is something else, something more pervasive, scrabbling around behind the scenes. Or, put another way, for every cockroach you see in your hotel room, there are hundreds behind the walls.

    L. O. Pardue says: "The Rest of the Harry Hole Series is Excellent!"
    "Nesbo is Warming Up Here...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This #2 book in the Harry Hole series was just recently translated into English. As with the 1st book in the series, The Bat, I think the reason they weren’t translated before is because neither #1 or #2 are as good as the later books written by Jo Nesbo. I started with The Snowman and was hooked! I had to wait for #1 and #2, and I hope now that I’m done with those two, the series will get better. That’s what the reviews seem to tell me. The Redbreast, #3, has been around for a while; I’ll move on to that one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6904)
    Performance
    (6250)
    Story
    (6250)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "Entertaining and Educational"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed reading The Invention of Wings for two reasons. First, it was a good story. Second, when I realized it was based on the true story of the Grimke sisters, I appreciated it even more. As real characters, the Grimke sisters in this book were fascinating to me because they gave me a way to imagine how two women of the early 1800’s in Charleston could become such rebels! They became abolitionists, which was radical enough, but they also were some of the very early feminists. That part was fascinating to me. I liked the structure of the book: the way it went back and forth between the point of view of Sarah, one of the Grimke sisters, and then the point of view of one of the slaves, Hetty. I thought the writing was serviceable, but it was more the story and the history that stood out in my mind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Brass Verdict: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    Overall
    (4388)
    Performance
    (1924)
    Story
    (1916)

    Things are finally looking up for defense attorney Mickey Haller. After two years of wrong turns, Haller is back in the courtroom. When Hollywood lawyer Jerry Vincent is murdered, Haller inherits his biggest case yet: the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her lover. But as Haller prepares for the case that could launch him into the big time, he learns that Vincent's killer may be coming for him next.

    Jeff says: "Five Star Book; Three Star Narration"
    "Two of My Favorite Characters Together!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wanted to read this book because it brings together two of Michael Connelly’s best main characters from two different series, Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller. It was enjoyable in a crime fiction kind of way, but I didn’t think it was as enjoyable as either The Lincoln Lawyer (with Mickey Haller), or most of the Harry Bosch novels I’ve read. Also, I thought it seemed a little too forced to have those two characters end up finding that they are half brothers. The origin of the title, The Brass Verdict is interesting: it simply means “street justice,” and it is how the bad guy in this book ends up getting his due in a twist of fate at the end of the trial .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Brené Brown
    • Narrated By Lauren Fortgang
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1508)
    Performance
    (1232)
    Story
    (1213)

    Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?

    A. Yoshida says: "Feel good therapy session"
    "Nothing new under the sun."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sorry, I just wasn't that impressed with Brene Brown. There's nothing wrong with the book per se, but I feel like it's all been written before and in a way that impacted me more powerfully. She definitely did a lot of research, but when it boiled down to making her points, well, as i said, it was nothing new.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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