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Penny K

psyki

Member Since 2006

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2014
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  • Betsy-Tacy

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Maud Hart Lovelace
    • Narrated By Sutton Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    Betsy hopes that whoever moves into the house across the street will have a little girl just her age. And the little girl who moves in is just her age. Her name is Tacy. She is very bashful, but she likes to listen to Betsy's stories: wonderful stories that the girls love, and that they keep as their own special secret.

    Penny K says: "A winner"
    "A winner"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Betsy-Tacy again? Why?

    Yes, my 4 year old granddaughter and I have listened to the book over and over again, as we drive back and forth from her house to mine.


    What other book might you compare Betsy-Tacy to and why?

    This book is incomparable. A classic


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

    She has a musical voice, very clear and pleasing to the ear. Much of the pleasure of listening is her perfect intonation.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, one chapter at a time is usually best for a four year old.


    Any additional comments?

    I think this book teaches children very quietly and indirectly about what it means to have an imagination and about the ways that children can entertain themselves without many toys or outside forms of entertainment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Saul Bellow's Heart: A Son's Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Greg Bellow
    • Narrated By Aaron Abano
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Saul Bellow was easily angered, prone to argument, and palpably vulnerable to criticism, but according to his son, his young father was also emotionally accessible, often soft, and possessed of the ability to laugh at the world's folly and at himself. This memoir gives equal weight to the young Saul Bellow - the rebellious, irreverent, and ambitious young writer - who raised Greg, and the older Saul Bellow, famous and fiercely private. It paints a very human portrait of a man who hid behind parabolic stories, jokes, metaphors, and partial truths, never letting the public see his true self.

    Penny K says: "A large-hearted son"
    "A large-hearted son"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Saul Bellow's Heart again? Why?

    Absolutely. This is a fascinating and deeply moving story of a relationship that might easily have failed, but for the loving endurance and perseverance of Greg Bellow, Saul Bellow's eldest son. As a mature man, a father himself and a clinical psychologist, Dr. Bellow writes with a distinct authorial voice which bears little resemblance to that of his famous father. It is clearly his own! Greg Bellow's capacity for self reflection are remarkable.


    What other book might you compare Saul Bellow's Heart to and why?

    I can not think of another book like this one.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The aspect of the book that seemed to elude the author, but seemed evident to me, is the importance of Greg Bellow to Saul, the man. His son's loving attachment, his strong intellect and independent point of view, and his deepening psychological insights must have been vital to his own well-being over the decades. I like to imagine his silent, heartfelt gratitude for the gift of having such a son.


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

    Yes, of course it was Mr Bellow's last visit with his bedridden and soon-to-die father. The last words he shouted over the phone to him, weeks later, were most touching: "I love you, Sweetheart!"


    Any additional comments?

    I was disappointed by the narrator's slightly breathless, saccharine interpretation. I think the story deserved a stronger and more straightforward empathic reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis: Birth of an Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Conn Iggulden
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (894)
    Performance
    (522)
    Story
    (526)

    He was born Temujin, son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the steppe. Temujin's young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe, his family left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured, and from then on, he was driven by a fury to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies from beyond the horizon.

    David says: "Move over Bernard Cornwell"
    "Primitive Violence Galore"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    No way to redeem it, in my eyes. Genghis has been made into a character straight out of a JRR Martin novel. Perhaps this is historically correct, perhaps not. I did not enjoy the story.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Hmm. Good question. I keep returning to Ellis Peters and Patrick Tull to soothe my soul after a listen like this.
    I just enjoyed Harlan Coban's "Six Years" (despite its corny ending). Maybe I'll try another.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Actually, I appreciate the way the author generates images of the landscape of Mongolia. But I became very weary of all the violence. The author seemed to be aiming for sensationalism. I really don't like that attitude.


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

    AS I said above, the landscape is magnificent. And I believe that the narrator gave a credible and creditable performance.


    Any additional comments?

    No. I am really disappointed in the parts I was able to bear hearing of this book and I would like to return it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Infatuations

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Javier Marías, Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    At the Madrid café where she stops for breakfast each day before work, María Dolz finds herself drawn to a couple who is also there every morning. Though she can hardly explain it, observing what she imagines to be their "unblemished" life lifts her out of the doldrums of her own existence. But what begins as mere observation turns into an increasingly complicated entanglement when the man is fatally stabbed in the street. María approaches the widow to offer her condolences, and at the couple’s home she meets - and falls in love with - another man who sheds disturbing new light on the crime.

    stl1111 says: "Skip this one!"
    "Listen to a sample before buying!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I am a lover of Javier Marias novels. I might have stayed with this listen beyond the first ten minutes, had I been able to tolerate the narrator's voice. She sounded drugged!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Javier Marías and Margaret Jull Costa (translator) again?

    Absolutely, with an alive narrator.


    What didn’t you like about Justine Eyre’s performance?

    The timbre of her voice is rather pleasant, but she gives the reading absolutely no life!


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

    I really could not say. I gave the story only one star because I would have to have read the text to rate it fairly.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes. I want to return this book, and I understand that I need to give it less than two stars in order to do so. I wish there were a way to do so without jeopardy -- for instance, a "can't judge" option, when one can not get past the opening, for one reason or another.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Young Fredle

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Cynthia Voigt
    • Narrated By Wendy Carter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Cynthia Voigt crafts a novel about discovery, perspective, and the meaning of home - all through the eyes of an affable and worried little mouse. Fredle is an earnest young fellow suddenly cast out of his cozy home behind the kitchen cabinets - into the outside. It's a new world of color and texture and grass and sky. But with all that comes snakes and rain and lawnmowers and raccoons and a different sort of mouse (field mice, they're called) not entirely trustworthy.

    Penny K says: "Not good for kids under 9yo"
    "Not good for kids under 9yo"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Had it been read by someone with a more interesting voice and had it been pitched for older kids, I think it might be a winner. My 5 year old granddaughter, who loves listening to stories, didn't like it. Coaxed to say a little more, she said it sounded too scary and sad.


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

    It is a very lifelike adventure of the big, scary cruel world of nature.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    A too 'schmaltzy' voice, which adds to tits scariness!


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

    Sadness and anxiety -- me, a psychiatrist!


    Any additional comments?

    None. I think I have made a point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winter Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2640)
    Performance
    (2211)
    Story
    (2214)

    History has all but forgotten.... In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next best-selling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write. But then she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction....

    Martha says: "Get Out Your Hankies"
    "Historical Romance, not Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Women who really like historical romance


    Would you ever listen to anything by Susanna Kearsley again?

    Probably not


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

    The reader did her best with a disappointing book, but she sounds bored!


    What character would you cut from The Winter Sea?

    Most of them. Save the old guy who rents the cottage. At least he sounds real.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1427)
    Performance
    (1196)
    Story
    (1225)

    On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war.

    Jeremiah Duncan says: "Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Informative"
    "Listened to every second!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Team of Rivals again? Why?

    Yes, be reminded of Lincoln's values and of what it means to be a citizen in a democratic society.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Team of Rivals?

    The leadup to and the reading of the Gettysburg Address. Despite my familiarity with the speech, hearing it presented in context and listening to Lincoln's simple, direct, and eternal message was inspiring all over again.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hard to say.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, at many points.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Gregory Maguire
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4226)
    Performance
    (1917)
    Story
    (1941)

    Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

    Suzn F says: "I was not sure for a while then......."
    "Nasty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Wicked?

    The deplorable writing. It is a decent idea and I have appreciated other dark stars in literature, but they must be represented in prose that is alive.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Gregory Maguire again?

    Not, in all probability. Life is too short to waste.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Probably did as well as could be expected, although the nastiness was emphasized overmuch


    What character would you cut from Wicked?

    couldn't say.


    Any additional comments?

    I thank Audible for allowing me to return a book that I would rather not have in my librray

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hell Is Empty: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1413)
    Performance
    (1177)
    Story
    (1171)

    Spur Award-winner Craig Johnson has garnered critical acclaim for his Walt Longmire mysteries. In this riveting seventh entry, Wyoming’s Absaroka County sheriff, Walt Longmire, is pushed beyond his limits. When three hardened convicts escape FBI custody in a mountain blizzard, an armed psychopath leads them up Big Horn Mountain. As Longmire struggles to track their treacherous ascent, he’ll need all the help he can get from the tribal spirits of the towering summit.

    Susan says: "Transcendental"
    "Sorry George"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Craig Johnson and/or George Guidall?

    certainly. But not the combination!


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Calico Joe


    What didn???t you like about George Guidall???s performance?

    His diction was incomprehensible to me because of its indistinctness and blurring of words.
    Usually, I enjoy his voice, its timbre and color are pleasing to me and his speed of reading is comfortable, I believe that it is the accent he was using. It sounded as if he had a plug of tobacco on his tongue.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Hell Is Empty?

    I honestly can not tell. I had to stop listening very early because I could not understand what was being read.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Secret Son

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Laila Lalami
    • Narrated By Lameece Issaq
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Youssef el-Mekki, a young man of 19, is living with his mother in the slums of Casablanca when he discovers that the father he believed to be dead is, in fact, alive and eager to befriend and support him. Leaving his mother behind, Youssef assumes a life he could only dream of: a famous and influential father, his own penthouse apartment, and all the luxuries associated with his new status.

    Penny K says: "not great literature"
    "not great literature"
    Overall

    the first thing that bothered me was the narrator's diction, emphases and pace. Although her voice has a fine timbre and tone, she reads at the top of her voice and her speech is pressured -- throughout. I thought I would adapt, but could not. Then I began to read at double speed to evaluate the story itself. It was a disappointment, too. At first I thought I was reading a Cinderella tale for disillusioned teens; the search of a fatherless son for his paternity and a place in the sun is an archetypal motif that deserves better treatment than to serve as a vehicle for the author to focus on the exploitation of youth by radical Islam parties. Surely the plight of impoverished and unemployed Moroccan underclasses in this age of political and religious strife deserves a more thoughtful exploration than she offers -- which was why I chose the book in the first place.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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