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Vicki

Montpelier, VA, United States | Member Since 2008

ratings
234
REVIEWS
37
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
21

  • Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lynne Olson
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (561)
    Performance
    (303)
    Story
    (319)

    Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and a reluctant American public to support the British at a critical time.

    Susan says: "If we are together nothing is impossible"
    "I'm apathetic"
    Overall

    While there was some great historical information in the book I felt that it was quite a lot to slog through. I love history books and I love long history books, as long as they are well organized and engaging. This one took me 3 weeks to get through.

    Had it been a biography of Winant, Harriman and Murrow, I think it would have been much more engaging but it veered off into many other directions. It's as if the author gathered much more research that she needed and was damned determined to fit it all in one book. It really needed some editing. Also, a good historical author should be able to leave her own political views out of historical text. She was completely unable to do that and I feel that it cheapened the value of the book overall.

    It's not a horrible book and I learned a lot about all 3 of these men, but I don't think I could recommend it to anyone except a hard core history buff who has a lot of time and patience.

    6 of 8 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
    (651)
    Performance
    (572)
    Story
    (575)

    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
    (120)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (106)

    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.

    Mandi says: "Historically Interesting if nothing else."
    "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
    (169)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (148)

    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 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8296)
    Performance
    (7605)
    Story
    (7612)

    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
    (51)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    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.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A dissapointment"
    "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
    (122)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (109)

    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
  • Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Peter Guralnick
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    This concluding volume recounts the second half of Elvis' life in rich and previously unimagined detail, and confirms Guralnick's status as one of the great biographers of our time. Beginning with Presley's army service in Germany in 1958 and ending with his death in Memphis in 1977, Careless Love chronicles the unraveling of the dream that once shone so brightly, homing in on the complex playing-out of Elvis' relationship with his Machiavellian manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

    Vicki says: "Elvis has a new fan"
    "Elvis has a new fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Careless Love?

    I just finished both volumes of Peter Guralnick's biography of Elvis. By the time I reached my teens and started paying attention to music Elvis was already past his career revival so I never really had an appreciation for him or his music. This book changed all of that for me. It's a beautifully written biography of one of the most charismatic, talented and influential musicians ever. I enjoyed every word and am grateful to the author for finally introducing me ti Elvis Presley.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter Guralnick
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley is the first biography to go past that myth and present an Elvis beyond the legend. Based on hundreds of interviews and nearly a decade of research, it traces the evolution not just of the man but of the music and of the culture he left utterly transformed, creating a completely fresh portrait of Elvis and his world. This volume tracks the first 24 years of Elvis' life, covering his childhood, the stunning first recordings at Sun Records, and the early RCA hits.

    Vicki says: "I'm an Elvis fan now"
    "I'm an Elvis fan now"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Last Train to Memphis rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I love biographies and, in recent years, have really enjoyed biographies from the music industry. Elvis was a little before my time so his music wasn't "my" music. I appreciated the impact that he had on rock and roll but I didn't really appreciate his music.

    Much of what I knew about his was from the later part of his career. I knew nothing about his early years in the business. Mr. Guralnick did a great job of telling that story. The book was interesting from the first word to the last. It also prompted me to YouTube where I was able to see some of his work from his early years.

    Now I understand what it was all about and I have a new appreciation for the man and his work.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fishing for Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (481)
    Performance
    (313)
    Story
    (314)

    Nicholas Duncan is a semi-retired shipping magnate who resides in idyllic Beautiful Bay in Indonesia, where he is known as the old patriarch of the islands. He is grieving the loss of his beautiful Eurasian wife, Anna, and is suffering for the first time from disturbing flashbacks to WWII, the scene of their first meeting and early love. His other wartime lover is the striking Marg Hamilton, a powerful and influential political player in Australia who has remained close to Nick.

    Louise says: "Okay Bryce I Just Finished Fishing For Stars"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Fishing for Stars better?

    I love Bryce Courtenay's books and especially enjoyed The Persimmon Tree. Unfortunately, I wish I had left this one on the shelf. It's as if Mr. Courtenay was told to weave some more "modern" topics in his books. This one has it all: environmentalism, sexual dysfunction, breast cancer, superhuman woman and greed. I imagine that he Googled "current issues" and picked the top 10 and made a game of including them all in one book. The whole story is simply ridiculous and the book is very weak compared to his other books.


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

    Humphrey Bower is such an exceptional narrator that I'm convinced that he's the only reason I was able to finish this book.


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

    Not really.


    Any additional comments?

    DOn't let this book turn you away from Bryce Courtenay. Every other book I've read I have enjoyed, especially The Australian Triology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16551)
    Performance
    (14712)
    Story
    (14756)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Sick, Demented and Pointless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I am not bothered that the story in this book is sick. What bothered me was the tediousness of it all. About half way through I found myself wanting a terrorist to appear and blow up the entire town. It was difficult to like any of the characters and I would have loved a War of the Roses ending for Nick and Amy. But I stuck with it just to see how it ended and was met with disappointment. Glad to put this one behind me.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Gillian Flynn again?

    Probably not.


    Have you listened to any of Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not but both were excellent narrators. They made the story bearable.


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

    No way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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