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Vicki

Montpelier, VA, United States | Member Since 2008

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 41 reviews
  • 256 ratings
  • 827 titles in library
  • 72 purchased in 2014
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  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (3304)
    Performance
    (1639)
    Story
    (1639)

    This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

    Jamie says: "Do Not Miss This"
    "Shallow, pointless and agonizingly long"
    Overall

    It's rare that I listen to a book and wish the main character dead, but there were many times during this book when he was in near death situation and I would catch myself saying "please let it end now". I don't know that the point of this book was but I am not a fan of books that center around self-absorbed criminals trying to justify their actions with some "random acts of kindness". His monastic devotion to Carla was a joke. The whole story was ridiculous. I know it's fiction, but really good function leaves you with some send that the story COULD be real. Not this one.
    I read the book all the way though primarily because I bought it but also because the narrator, Humphrey Bower, was outstanding.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Beth Macy
    • Narrated By Kristin Kalbli
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    With over $500 million a year in sales, the Bassett Furniture Company was once the world's biggest wood furniture manufacturer. But beginning in the 1980s, the Bassett company suffered from an influx of cheap Chinese furniture as the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately was forced to send its production offshore to Asia. Only one man fought back. That man is John Bassett III, a descendant of the Bassetts who is now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of over $90 million.

    Catherine S. Read says: "It's the Community, not just the Economy"
    "It's the story of hundreds of factory towns"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Factory Man again? Why?

    Absolutely. I grew up in Bassett and left as soon after high school as I could get away. My parents did not work for any of the factories (a nurse and a teacher) so I really didn't know anything about the businesses or people portrayed in the book. For me it was a story about any of a hundred factory towns (furniture or otherwise) all over the country. The truth is (and always will be) that unskilled jobs will always transition to the low cost provider. It's how JD Bassett got his start in the first place. The other truth is that some businesses are run well and some aren't (just as the Enron employees). This is a well researched and written tale that is a great example of both of those truths.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Factory Man?

    For me it was very touching to know the story behind the naming of my middle school, Mary Hunter.


    Which character – as performed by Kristin Kalbli – was your favorite?

    Of course it's "Little John", JB III. My Mom and Dad remember him being referred to as "Little John".


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    It could be any business in any town.


    Any additional comments?

    Beth Macy did an amazingly thorough job of researching this book and told a very compelling story that I believe was fair from all sides of the tale. She didn't seem to impose her own personal or political views which allowed me to analyze the story and come to my own conclusions. That's a hard thing for a writer to do and I really appreciated it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2100)
    Performance
    (1351)
    Story
    (1359)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    S. Marie says: "A unique perspective of history"
    "I tried....but I just couldn't endure it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I really tried to listen to this book. I eventually trudged through the first installment but found I was avoiding listening to books because I couldn't bear to try to get through the rest of this one. I usually love historical novels like this but it's as if the author was incapable of editing ANYTHING out of the book. It is unnecessarily long and tedious.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator was fine, the problem was the material.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Complete disappointment that I wasted a credit on this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (71)

    A gripping history of banking and the booms and busts that shaped the world on both sides of the Atlantic, The House of Morgan traces the trajectory of the J. P.Morgan empire from its obscure beginnings in Victorian London to the crash of 1987. Ron Chernow paints a fascinating portrait of the private saga of the Morgans and the rarefied world of the American and British elite in which they moved. Based on extensive interviews and access to the family and business archives, The House of Morgan is an investigative masterpiece.

    Courtney says: "Starts out strong but then fractures"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The House of Morgan?

    I love history and I especially love learning history through a narrow point of view, like a biography. This is a fascinating biography of a banking empire. There were parts where it dragged a little but I think that there were simply periods of time where the bank wasn't as influential or interesting as other times.


    What other book might you compare The House of Morgan to and why?

    I would compare this to Titan, also by Chernow.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Robertson Dean is an outstanding narrator and kept the story interesting throughout.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Target

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2889)
    Performance
    (2562)
    Story
    (2546)

    The president knows it's a perilous, high-risk assignment. If he gives the order, he has the opportunity to take down a global menace, once and for all. If the mission fails, he would face certain impeachment, and the threats against the nation would multiply. So the president turns to the one team that can pull off the impossible: Will Robie and his partner, Jessica Reel. Together, Robie and Reel's talents as assassins are unmatched. But there are some in power who don't trust the pair.

    L.W. says: "Several Stories in One Book..So Good!"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book is for completely loyal Baldacci fans. I have read most of his books and I enjoy them. I especially love the Camel Club series. This is the second Will Robie book I've read.


    What was most disappointing about David Baldacci’s story?

    The book was disappointing because it seemed completely formulaic. The story line with Jessica's personal life was completely frivolous and didn't really add anything to the story. The rest was simply implausible and simplistic. No one invites trained assassins on vacation with their children and trained assassins do not sit down with teenagers to give advice. Big events happen in this story but the preparation for them is mostly skimmed over and "oh look, we got out, mission accomplished now what's next?".


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Ron Mclarty did a fine job but I didn't think that Orlagh Cassidy was a good fit. Jessica is an assassin but the voice is that of a young woman that you meet at the coffee shop and talk about dresses and shoes. She's a fine narrator but I don't think she's a good fit for any of the female characters in this book except for the president's daughter.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I was completely disappointed with this book. It feels like the writer is tired of writing. Maybe he's hired ghost writers just to keep up with demand. I know that people will buy his books simply because his name is on the cover. I was just glad that the book ended and I could move on.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death on a High Floor

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Charles Rosenberg
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (814)
    Performance
    (714)
    Story
    (720)

    On the 85th floor of a glittering high-rise in Los Angeles, Robert Tarza steps into the lobby of the Marbury Marfan law firm to discover his partner Simon Rafer lying in a pool of blood - an ornate dagger plunged into his back. Robert had worked with Simon for decades, and their relationship was fraught with conflict. But he never imagined he would wind up as the prime suspect for his colleague’s murder. As the evidence stacks up against him with frightening speed, he quickly falls from his respected position to that of a criminal dragged through the tabloids.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Excellent Mystery, Brilliant Narration"
    "Surprisingly entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend Death on a High Floor to your friends? Why or why not?

    Probably. It's a good read. It got off to a weird start. I particularly thought that Jenna's behavior was very weird but was never suspected. But once I got into the second half of the book and, particularly, the courtroom scenes it was completely enjoyable. It was easy to tell who "did it" from the beginning but the ride to get there was very interesting.


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Lane – was your favorite?

    Oscar, of course!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There wasn't anything "moving" about the book but there are some hilarious and clever courtroom scenes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Between Love and Honor

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Alexandra Lapierre
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (138)

    In 1839, after decades of conflict, the Russian army and the Muslims of Chechnya are on the verge of a truce. To prove his commitment to peace, warrior chief Imam Shamil offers a hostage: his son, Jamal Eddin. But once the truce is signed, the Russians spirit Jamal Eddin back to Russia, where Czar Nicholas “adopts” the boy. Immersed in imperial court life, Jamal Eddin matures into the consummate courtier. Still, he maintains his Muslim faith - until he falls in love with a beautiful Russian aristocrat.

    ssomers says: "Don't bother!"
    "It didn't do it for me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I know this book got great reviews but I just couldn't get into it. It was a slog to get into and after about 5 hours I just had to give up. The narrator is fine but I found the story not the least bit interesting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nowhere is a Place

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Bernice McFadden
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (185)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (164)

    Nothing can mend a broken heart quite like family. Sherry has struggled all her life to understand who she is, where she comes from, and, most important, why her mother slapped her cheek one summer afternoon. The incident has haunted Sherry, and it causes her to dig into her family's past. Like many family histories, it is fractured and stubbornly reluctant to reveal its secrets. But Sherry is determined to know the full story. In a few days' time, her extended family will gather for a reunion, and Sherry sets off across the country with her mother, Dumpling, to join them.

    Brenda says: "Richly textured and captivating"
    "It's been done."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Bernice McFadden and/or Robin Miles?

    I wouldn't read another book by this author but I'd listen to Robin Miles anytime.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Bernice McFadden again?

    No.


    What about Robin Miles’s performance did you like?

    Robin Miles is a true professional. She did a great job. I only got through this book because of her narration.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    A lot of rolling eyes. This story has been done over and over. Everything about it was cliche. Why does every older black woman have to be overweight and sound like she didn't make it past 5th grade? The daughter is a weak character who is almost middle aged and still can't hold her own life together. She cleans rooms in a motel in Mexico. Where did she get the money to rent or buy and SUV? Why is she so hung up and hateful to her mother over one slap she received as a child? I got slapped my my mother when I deserved it. I learned, got over it and moved on. Why does the author need a trip back through generations to slavery to deal with being slapped as a child? The whole story is a collection of one cliche after another. There are no truly unique characters. We've seen all of these characters before and read all of the stories before.
    If you like stories of slavery and the South, read The Kitchen House. It's much better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10176)
    Performance
    (9313)
    Story
    (9332)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "It started off good......"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Donna Tartt and/or David Pittu?

    I really enjoyed the narration and would listen to another David Pittu book in a heartbeat. I'm not so sure about another book by this author.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Donna Tartt? Why or why not?

    I so wanted to love this book especially give the glowing reviews but it just wasn't to be. I don't have a problem with characters with drug problems or other serious character flaws but don't try to make them also portray characteristics beyond any possible capability of such a person. She made the 13 year old Theo, who can barely put one foot in front of the other, into someone with the introspection of someone who has lived a long hard life. He's way too immature for that. At times the character is so stoned that he can barely talk and yet he's able to function in school and at home. There's no way that this character made it to adulthood with the drugs he took and the way he stumbled through decision in his life. Also, the dog lived an unbelievably long time. The book just got way out of hand. It needed some serious editing.


    What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator is excellent and is what kept me in the book to the end. He has an ability to put you right in the moment with the character even when the moment is absurd.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    The book has a good premise and a movie screenwriter could make a great movie from it. Screenwriters know how to edit to get the essence of the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kissinger: A Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (54)

    By the time Henry Kissinger was made secretary of state in 1973, he had become, according to a Gallup poll, the most admired person in America and one of the most unlikely celebrities ever to capture the world’s imagination. Yet Kissinger was also reviled by large segments of the American public, ranging from liberal intellectuals to conservative activists. Kissinger explores the relationship between this complex man's personality and the foreign policy he pursued.

    Maya A. says: "Thorough, well-researched and interesting bio."
    "Disappointing and Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, I agree with everything Mike for Mesa had to say except that I found the narrator's use of mimic to be really annoying. I agree with Judith that it was tedious.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Kissinger is a very interesting person but no one is interesting when you tediously slog through the events of their life. So much could have been edited from this book and you would still "know" Kissinger. Although, I agree with Mike that the author seemed to have it in for Kissinger and purposely shown him in the worst light possible. That surprised me after reading Steve Jobs and Einstein. In fact I picked this book only because I wanted to read something else from Walter Isaacson.


    What aspect of Malcolm Hillgartner’s performance would you have changed?

    He mimicked Kissinger, Nixon and other main characters. I don't know why but I found it to be really annoying. It was as if he was mocking them.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Soundtrack of My Life

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Clive Davis
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris, Clive Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (118)

    In this star-studded autobiography, Clive Davis shares a personal, candid look into his remarkable life and the last 50 years of popular music as only a true insider can. In the history of popular music, no one looms as large as Clive Davis. His career has spanned more than 40 years, and he has discovered, signed, or worked with a staggering array of artists: Whitney Houston, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Dionne Warwick, Carlos Santana, The Grateful Dead, Alicia Keyes, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and Aretha Franklin, to name a few.

    Andy says: "great story and sensational narration...a #1 hit!"
    "I, I, I, me, me, me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Clive Davis and/or Dennis Boutsikaris and Clive Davis ?

    I would not read another book by Clive Davis. I thought the narrator did a fine job. He couldn't fix the problems with this book.


    Has The Soundtrack of My Life turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, I love autobiographies and have developed a specific love for autobiographies of people in the entertainment industry.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I didn't love the book but I didn't totally hate it either. I just had to take it in small doses. There were bits of information but this book is all about him and the great things he did. He apparently never made a mistake, gave nothing but great advice and wasn't very personally connected to his artists. It was more of a history of contracts than a history of artists and relationships with artists.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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