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Anne

ratings
116
REVIEWS
83
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
95

  • Sold

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Patricia McCormick
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (177)

    Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family's crops, Lakshmi's stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.

    Teddy says: "Perfectly Haunting...."
    "Knocked my socks off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a short (only 3 1/2 hours) powerful story of a frighteningly real horror going on today in Nepal and India. Young girls in the mountains of Nepal are sold by their gullible, desperate parents into what they are told are good jobs as maids in good households in India. What they are really sold into is sexual slavery. They may be sold and resold as they are taken farther and farther into India until they reach a brothel where they are held in captivity and simply used until they sicken and either die or are simply turned out. This story is actually written for young adults, and while it is harsh in its telling of the truth, it's also a story of courage and resiliency and coming of age in a way American children can mostly not imagine.

    Ms. Eyre narrates it beautifully, with exactly the right pacing.

    I was spellbound, but it was not easy to listen to.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Tim Conway, Jane Scovell, Carol Burnett
    • Narrated By Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Dick Hill, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (134)

    Six-time Emmy Award-winning funnyman Tim Conway, best known for his characters on The Carol Burnett Show, offers a straight-shooting and hilarious memoir about his life on stage and off as an actor and comedian. In television history, few entertainers have captured as many hearts and made as many people laugh as Tim Conway. There's nothing in the world that Tim Conway would rather do than entertain - and in his first-ever memoir, What's So Funny?, that's exactly what he does.

    Ruth says: "Funny Man..."
    "What's so funny? Not this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tim Conway should not read his own work - that might have helped. Unfortunately, probably not much. He's a comedian and as a comedian, he is quite funny. But his life - at least up to the point where I stopped listening - hardly qualifies as hilarious. It's not een particularly interesting. Thanks for the effort, Tim. But don't give up your day job to become an author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Bluegrass Baby

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    Overall
    (944)
    Performance
    (881)
    Story
    (874)

    Sadie Hutchins loves her job at the Kentucky Tourism Commission. Not only could her co-workers double as the cast of Parks and Recreation, but she loves finding the unusual sites, hidden gems, and just-plain-odd tourist attractions of her home state. She’s a shoo-in for the director’s job when her boss retires at the end of the year…until hotshot Josh Vaughn shows up to challenge her for the position. Josh is all sophisticated polish while Sadie’s country comfort, and the two have very different ideas of what makes a good campaign.

    Diana Turmenne says: "Made me want to visit Kentucky!"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Molly Harper's novels... usually. This one - not so much. The characters, especially the women, had Harper's usual wit but were largely not well rounded out. The story - and at just over 5 hours, I'd call it a novella, rather than a novel - was as thin as gruel and a so full of simply unbelievable bits as to be distracting. She does a nice job introducing us to Kentucky but I was otherwise seriously underwhelmed and disappointed.

    I note she's written a second sort novella as a sequel. I won't be spending cash or a credit on it unless, perhaps, if it turns up on a daily deal. And if her novels get any shorter, she's going to have to be reassigned to the short story category.

    Amanda Roncini gets full marks for once again nailing a Harper book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Dahlia: In the Garden, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Susie Breck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (924)
    Performance
    (652)
    Story
    (651)

    Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee - and into her new life at Harper House and In the Garden nursery. She isn't intimidated by the house - nor its mistress, local legend Roz Harper.

    bluebelle says: "Wonderful!"
    "A good idea milked to death"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first part of a novel that should have been one book and I feel cheated. It doesn't stand alone except in the most "generous" sense because the characters are all fairly flat and while one storyline for one character is resolved, the rest are left lying there like fish on the counter.

    I eventually bought and finished the 2nd and 3rd installments and by the time I finished the last one I was genuinely annoyed. This is one book puffed and plumped and pumped up with unnecessary "stuff" until it can be called three books. By the third book, I had had all I could stand of long bits about flowers and the increasingly unbelievable ability and behavior of the "Harper Bride".

    Roberts has written some really very nice novels but I don't recommend this one novel pretending to be three (the sequels are The Black Rose and The Red Lily. Ditto this review for those. By the end of the third book you'll be laughing with scorn at the increasing nonsense.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Maisie Dobbs

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Rita Barrington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1364)
    Performance
    (799)
    Story
    (799)

    Maisie Dobbs isn't just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence - and the patronage of her benevolent employers - she works her way into college at Cambridge. After the War I and her service as a nurse, Maisie hangs out her shingle back at home: M. DOBBS, TRADE AND PERSONAL INVESTIGATIONS. But her very first assignment soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

    A User says: "A delightful discovery"
    "This one surprised me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It starts out a little confusing as we are thrown into Maisie's "current" private investigations in such a manner as to suggest we ought to know more than we do. But I hung in there, mostly because I think the "period" Winspear has written was deftly evoked with wonderful details about daily life at the time (a weakness for me.) It's London, about a decade post WWI. I enjoyed being immersed in the period and the atmosphere, so I was willing to just go along to see what would happen.

    In a reasonable time, Winspear takes us back to Maisie's youth and lets us be there as Maisie grows to adulthood and becomes who she is as the novel opens.This part of the story takes us through 6 years of Maisie's life from 13 to 19 (or maybe 20 - I got a little confused.) With a great deal of strength and love, the help of some very interesting people and just a dash of magic, Maisie transforms herself into a brilliant, independent and strong young woman. You will follow her to France as a Red Cross nurse to a frontline casualty station where her life changes forever. It's a wonderful story full of down-to-earth suffering, struggle and loss, but also love and devotion, humor and triumph.

    The mystery she is given to solve at the beginning begins to make sense as her personal story unfolds and at the end, you won't want to leave her behind. I don't want to give away any spoilers because I want this lovely novel to surprise you too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (267)
    Story
    (266)

    Precious Ramotswe has taken on two puzzling cases. First, she is approached by the lawyer Mma Sheba, who is the executor of a deceased farmer’s estate. Mma Sheba has a feeling that the young man who has stepped forward may be falsely impersonating the farmer’s nephew in order to claim his inheritance. Mma Ramotswe agrees to visit the farm and find out what she can about the self-professed nephew. Then the proprietor of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon comes to Mma Ramotswe for advice.

    Pamela says: "This one is for the faithful"
    "Losing the spark"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I fear McCall Smith is beginning to phone these in. This book doesn't reflect the usual wit that Smith brings to these characters. I appreciate that the principle characters are experiencing some changes, but the pace has become glacial. And I was disappointed by the nature of the "cases" the agency is handling in this book. I'd like Smith to not forget that this is a detective agency... the last two books are only marginally "detective stories."

    I suspect Smith has stretched himself thin. We'll see.

    Having said that, Lisette Lecat continues to do a brilliant job narrating these lovely characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Color of Heaven

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Julianne MacLean
    • Narrated By Jennifer O'Donnell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (214)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (187)

    A deeply emotional tale about Sophie Duncan, a successful columnist whose world falls apart after her daughter's unexpected illness and her husband's shocking affair. When it seems nothing else could possibly go wrong, her car skids off an icy road and plunges into a frozen lake. There, in the cold, dark depths of the water a profound and extraordinary experience unlocks the surprising secrets from Sophie's past, and teaches her what it means to truly live...and love.

    James says: "Heartbreaking and Hopeful"
    "From tedious to simply stupid ... on a whisper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know where to start to explain why this is so bad. Maybe a list...

    1. OMG, the narration! Ms. O'Donnell made me shout at my IPod. Seriously! She breaks into whispering at key scenes. It's maddening. I listen when I'm doing other things - driving, cooking, gardening, etc. - and her voice would get softer and softer and softer until the words would begin to run together like a low frequency vibration, rather than actual speech. So I'd stop what I was doing, wipe my hands if working, turn up the volume and go back to work. Then someone "else" would speak in a normal tone and I'm frantically reaching for the volume to back it down to avoid permanent hearing loss. It was maddening. (I've since apologized to my IPod.)

    I suppose that might have been OK if she'd at least had a nice variety of voices. She didn't. Sara sounded like Cora who sounded like Jen who sounded like Sara. Michael sounded like Matt who sounded like Peter who sounded like ... well you get the idea. She could begin with slight differences, but the voices all quickly returned to her "baseline" man and her "baseline" woman.

    2. The story started strong and the scenes during Megan's illness (when I could hear the whispering!) were very moving. Sara's year following Megan's death seemed correctly imagined. But when the whole frozen lake thing began, I felt thoroughly manipulated. This plot device was simply cheap. Instead of working through the challenges and mysteries her main character faced in the real world, the author did the "Poof! Magic will fix it!" miracle solution.

    3. Even if you accept the "miracle" part, her story line was full of the unbelievable and I started to get a hint of what was coming when Sara's perfect, amazing, 10-year fairy-tale, he's-my-best-friend, flawless marriage to perfect Michael went completely to hell and it was ALL HIS FAULT!

    4. The Cora/Peter/Matt subplot was much too long and much too contrived to be believable ... in a novel that had enough "unbelievable" to qualify as science fiction.

    There's more, but this awful novel doesn't deserve any more of my time - and NONE of yours.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Lay Down My Sword and Shield

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (483)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (312)

    Against the backdrop of growing civil rights turmoil in a sultry border town, the hard-drinking ex-POW attorney Hackberry Holland yields to the myriad urgings of his wife, his brother, and his so-called friends to make a bid for a congressional seat - and finds himself embroiled in the seamy world of Texas powerbrokers.

    Cat F. says: "The Publisher's Summary is Anemic"
    "Disappointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from James Lee Burke and/or Will Patton?

    I have read/listened to nearly everything Burke has ever written. His Dave Robauchaux novels are some of the best written and Billy Bob Holland series is also very good. Burke also does a great job of evoking locations so that you can "be there."

    Patton has a compelling and wonderful voice, but he is a "scenery chewer." He doesn't seem to want to let the story compel the reader; he forces emotion into nearly every scene with equal ferocity so that mild annoyance and a moment of happiness and sheer terror are all read with the same fierce ee nun see ay shun. It's quite distracting. You can almost see him squinting and pulling his lips back over his teeth in order to speak every syllable. The book (and most of Burke's work) is already pretty intense. Patton's narration makes it exhausting.


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

    I don't feel like any of it was particularly "interesting" as, except for the minute study of abject misery that was the prison camp chapters, not much depth was given to any aspect. Every plot line seemed to be a vehicle for setting up Holland's rage and unrelenting self-destruction and justifying his often selfish, amoral or merely unconscionable behavior (although Burke really does love this sort of character; he writes them a lot.) Yes, Holland redeemed himself in the end but it all seemed terribly predictable.


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

    Truth be told... boredom. Oh, and he isn't great at reading women. They all tend to sound the same.


    Did Lay Down My Sword and Shield inspire you to do anything?

    Write this review and not listen to another Burke novel narrated by Will Patton (this is my third and last.)


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Siegfried Knappe, Ted Brusaw
    • Narrated By John Wray
    Overall
    (234)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (210)

    A German soldier during World War II offers an inside look at the Nazi war machine, using his wartime diaries to describe how a ruthless psychopath motivated an entire generation of ordinary Germans to carry out his monstrous schemes.

    Erik says: "An incredible true story"
    "Compelling story, grocery list delivery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author covers his own life and career, which parallels the rise and fall of the Third Reich. His focus is on his experiences, however; not the political issues or overall situation in Germany unless these things directly touched his life. His history is fascinating and his story gave me an insight I had not previously had about what life was like for "ordinary Germans." I am very glad I completed this book.

    Having said that, the depth of the characters and the breadth of the story were not done ANY justice by the narration. It was flat, uninteresting and delivered as if the author was some kind of stereotypical extreme of the Nazi automaton. By the time the book was half completed, I was truly angry with the narration. If the main character was having dinner in Paris the narrator gave it exactly - EXACTLY - the same intonation, emotion and impact as he gave the death of Knappe's brother. I could read a grocery list with more depth and humanity.'

    Having soundly criticized the narration, however, I am still glad I listened to this. Flaws of delivery notwithstanding, it was moving, fascinating and gave me an insight I have never had before.

    1 of 1 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
    (2383)
    Performance
    (2174)
    Story
    (2166)

    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!"
    "Highly recommend"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Breathtaking story. Sue Monk Kid has matched "The Secret Life of Bees" and I didn't think that was possible. This is a wonderful story, based on the life of the Grimke sisters of Charlotte, NC who were pioneers in the abolitionist and women's suffrage movement. At the end of the novel, Sue Monk Kidd spends a few minutes telling us how this novel developed and helping us understand what parts were historical and what parts were invented by her.

    The narrations of the two main characters - Sarah Grimke and Handful, the slave - by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye were extremely well done. They managed the tone and rhythm of each voice beautifully, along with the other characters in the novel.

    The story encompasses about 35 years of the lives of these two women, beginning when they were about 11 and following each of their parallel paths through some trying and, in some cases, harrowing times. Each is enslaved in a different way and the battles they must fight and the sacrifices they must make are sometimes difficult to reconcile with the idealized history of the USA that is often fed to us these days. Slavery was a terrible institution, backed by the mainline churches, enabled by financial and political institutions and supported by lies and more lies about what it really was like.

    The story also lays bare the helplessness of women at this time and the degree to which they too were enslaved, albeit often in velvet-lined cages that made it very difficult to escape. And if they tried, even the most ardent of male abolitionists often didn't want the womens' voices heard or their situation addressed.

    Kidd gave her characters depth and bredth, flaws and errors, but you really care about them.

    Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daughters for a Time

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Jennifer Handford
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    Feelings of abandonment filled Helen at a too-young age when her mother died and her father walked out. Left in the care of her sister, Claire, she moved on, but never truly healed. Now thirty-five, married, and starting her own family, she must confront her inability to bear children by accepting the idea of adopting. But just when Helen experiences holding her new baby for the first time, she is blindsided with the worst possible news: Claire has cancer. Helen’s wounds are again torn open as she balances the delight of parenthood with the grief of her ailing sister.A poignant and probing exploration of life and loss, Daughters for a Time is a tale of unconditional love, the destructive and healing powers of family, and the search for solid ground between pain and joy.

    Lisa says: "A Very Real Story"
    "Potential squandered"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a good story and Handford is a good storyteller. The narrator did an excellent job. My problem was that, after about the the first couple of hours, I'd had about all I could stand of the unrelenting self-absorption, self-centeredness and self-pitying of Helen, the central character of this book. She really spoiled the story for me only because she was so endlessly whiny and self-pitying. I do understand that the author had beset this poor woman with many woes in her childhood and young adulthood, but her life wasn't exactly horrible. I just got so sick of her endless self-pity. Even when she did things "right," she still seemed terribly self-absorbed and constantly ready for life to deal her another blow.

    And, of course, it did. And in the end, she grew up and grew a backbone, so I suppose that was the point. But she was very annoying.

    I very much enjoyed the part of the book that dealt with the adoption of her first child from China. That was very interesting.

    It's not that I don't think you should buy the book, but I was mildly distracted by Helen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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