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Annie M.

Member Since 2009

1377
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 87 reviews
  • 194 ratings
  • 732 titles in library
  • 33 purchased in 2018
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FOLLOWERS
217

  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Therese Anne Fowler
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1247)
    Performance
    (1120)
    Story
    (1120)

    When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the "ungettable" Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed.

    LP says: "Attraction to the disillusioning 20's comes alive!"
    "Illuminating...and Depressing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald the most enjoyable?

    This is not a book that I'd characterize as "enjoyable." Athough ti will say, off the bat, it is very well-written, extensively researched, and well narrated.

    I've been an ardent fan of both Fitzgeralds (I listen to Tim Robbins' beautiful narration of THE GREAT GATSBY at least once a year) since high school and have read almost everything each has written, including Scott's writer's notebooks. As a youth, I was entranced by the legendary love between Scott and Zelda. As I grew older and learned more, I became less enchanged with these icons of the Jass Age. "Z" pretty much made sure I'd never again hold these people in any kind of esteem--at least as people (as opposed to artists).

    "Z" was exhaustively researched and it re-defines the common myth that Zelda was a self-centered, impetuous, mentally ill cyclone who took her husband along with her as she plummeted from Jazz Age darling to insitutionalized failure. This is the myth.

    Fowler shows Zelda as the woman she actually was--artistic, beautiful, trend-setting, kind, and absolutely dominated by her pathologically insecure, relentlessly alcoholic husband. "Z" is also a reminder of how lucky I am to be a woman in today's world, as opposed to in Zelda's time, when a flapper could be independent and pursue dreams of her own--until she married, that is.

    I now must confess I had a lot of trouble getting through this book, but not because it was poorly written or badly narrated. It was simply depressing. I'd put it down. And then find myself picking it back up, much like the old maxim about a train wreck you can't turn away from.

    I was grateful to the author for the opilogue that allowed us to see Zelda find some recognition on her own through her paintings. If you are interested, there are several websites that showcase much of her art and one can see for oneself that she was, indeed, a talented woman.

    Scott Fitzgerald comes out of this book as such a sorry human being. Talented, yes. But so driven toward his own place in literary history, he put his own name to short stories written exclusively by his wife. That is just one of the many terrible things he did to Zelda during their marriage. It was so sad to read about this stuff.

    He's yet one more example that with great genius, often there comes great neuroses.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like the fact that the legend of Scott and Zelda is put to rest and the truth is out. I am so glad to see Zelda get a hearing of sorts. I wonder what she might have achieved, had she been born in more liberated times--and had she been allowed to develop her many talents to their fullest.


    Have you listened to any of Jenna Lamia’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I listened to Ms. Lamia's performance of THE HELP. Her narration of "Z" compares favorably. She has the Southern accent down pat. And she made me hate, despise, abhor Ernest Hemingway. Which is really saying a lot, if you know how much I love his work.


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

    As mentioned above, I found this a tough book to read, simply because it relentlessly showcases two amazingly gifted people--who disintegrate in slow motion. It's just so sad.


    Any additional comments?

    An interesting read, in light of Baz Lurhman's renditio of THE GREAT GATSBY, due in theatres May 10.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Sarah Vaughan
    • Narrated By Julie Teal, Luke Thompson, Esther Wane, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (188)

    Sophie's husband, James, is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart. Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

    cristina says: "Very satisfying "
    "Try to put it down!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is perfect for today’s climate. It brings up compelling questions of what it means when a woman says no, and how can a man be sure. Even more pointedly, it shows the fall out when hubris makes a man think that a woman saying no actually means yes.

    This book has beautiful pros, and of story that is beautifully woven, and hard to put down.

    I would recommend this book to fans of John Grisham, Scott Turow, he and Hillary Mantell.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Once an Eagle: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Anton Myrer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (870)
    Performance
    (777)
    Story
    (783)

    Once an Eagle is the story of one special man, a soldier named Sam Damon, and his adversary over a lifetime, fellow officer Courtney Massengale. Damon is a professional who puts duty, honor, and the men he commands above selfinterest. Massengale, however, brilliantly advances his career by making the right connections behind the lines and in Washington’s corridors of power.

    Glen says: "Just a great story"
    "War, warriors, and the women who follow them."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book when it first came out in the 70s. Revisiting it has been kind of a shock. There is so much detail about warfare. I am surprised that, as a young woman growing up in the Vietnam era, I would have been interested in this.

    In revisiting this Charles Dickens-length novel, I am intrigued deeply by the relationships between career military men and the women they marry.

    If you are interested in warfare, and the history of warfare, you will like this book. It is well written, with compelling characters that keep you wanting to know what happens next.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Perfect: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated By Paul Rhys
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (287)
    Story
    (285)

    A spellbinding novel that will resonate with readers of Mark Haddon, Louise Erdrich, and John Irving, Perfect tells the story of a young boy who is thrown into the murky, difficult realities of the adult world with far-reaching consequences.

    Amanda says: "Touching and Fragile - Once Untangled."
    "A perfect read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I must confess, I had a little trouble getting into this book. Thank God I didn't stop.

    I just listened to the very last chapter, and my eyes are watering. This is such a touching, sad, thoughtful look at the struggles life hands us, and how resilient we all are.

    If you are a fan of Kate Atkinson (in her "Life after Life" and "A God in Ruins" form), of Julian Barnes, or other, similarly probing authors, you will love this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Final Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Simon Tolkien
    • Narrated By Simon Tolkien
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    One summer night, two men break into an isolated manor house and kill Lady Anne Robinson. Her son, Thomas, convinces the police that his father's beautiful personal assistant sent the killers, but Thomas is known for his overactive imagination, and he has reasons to lie. With tantalizing ambiguity, Tolkien keeps readers guessing about the true motivations of these characters until the final witness.

    Snoodely says: "A worthy scion of J. R. R. Tolkien"
    "Solid whodunnit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first read Simon Tolkien's 2017 book, "No Man's Land," which led me to his second book and ultimately, to this, his first book.

    This is a very solid family/crime/who done it saga.

    I found his third novel, which is the first when I read, to be moving, and deeply thought out. One can see the progression and growth in his writing.

    As to the person who criticized Mr. Tolkien's reading of his book here, I disagree. I think he does a very solid job of narration.

    I strongly strongly strongly recommend that after you read this book, go on to "No Man's Land." It is a brilliant book, with carefully drawn characters, and a great commentary on World War I.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bang

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Barry Lyga
    • Narrated By Charlie Thurston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one - not even Sebastian himself - can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun. Now, 10 years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend - Aneesa - to distract him from his darkest thoughts.

    Annie M. says: "Resilience… With pizza."
    "Resilience… With pizza."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book because I have a very very strong review in the New York Times book review. I read it and stayed with it because it is filled with really good characters, and a storyline that beautiful he expresses why life is still worth living… Even after tragedy

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paradise Lodge

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Nina Stibbe
    • Narrated By Helen Baxendale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (24)

    After succeeding in her quest to help her unconventional mother find a new "man at the helm", 15-year-old Lizzie Vogel simply wants to be a normal teenager. Just when it looks as if things have settled down, her mother goes and has another baby. On top of that, Lizzie's best friend has deserted her for the punk craze, which Lizzie finds too exhausting to commit to herself. But Lizzie soon gets more commitment than she bargained for when she takes a job as a junior nurse at Paradise Lodge, a ramshackle refuge for the elderly.

    Annie M. says: "In the spirit of Ove & Harold Frye"
    "In the spirit of Ove & Harold Frye"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is very much in the vein of "A Man Called Ove." Features a cast of characters with various flaws and fears, all joined together by a troubled teen Who is wiser than she knows.

    Charming.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Wonder

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Emma Donoghue
    • Narrated By Kate Lock
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1031)
    Performance
    (955)
    Story
    (960)

    In Emma Donoghue's latest masterpiece, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle - a girl said to have survived without food for months - soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

    Annie M. says: "Could not get past the narration"
    "Could not get past the narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this author. I waited eagerly for this book's publication. I tried to listen five different times. Alas, when Kate Lock launched from her very pleasing narration of the basic text into her shrill, banshee interpretation on Irish accent, I just. Couldn't.Take. It.

    Why a producer thought this accent was a good idea is simply confounding. It ruined this listen.

    I am blind and "read" all my books and magazines on audio. I am supremely tolerant of imperfections in narration.

    Alas, not so much here.

    35 of 39 people found this review helpful
  • Winter Journey

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Diane Armstrong
    • Narrated By Deidre Rubenstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1103)
    Performance
    (882)
    Story
    (875)

    Halina Shore is a Polish born forensic dentist living in Australia. When she travels to Poland to take part in the investigation of a war crime, she finds herself at the center of a bitter struggle in a community that has been divided by a grim legacy. As the investigation proceeds, her professional assignment becomes a confronting personal odyssey as the truth about her own past begins to emerge.

    Debbie says: "Historical Story Marred by Unnecessary Fluff"
    "Stunning story with a surprising twist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very creative, yet totally believable novel about an enterprising young woman the most best to gate and atrocity committed during the Holocaust. This is not a novel about the holocaust per se, but what happens to perfectly ordinary people when groupthink catches on.

    VgFrom Australia to Poland, from despair to love, from family secrets to a surprising twist, this novel has it all.

    I had previously given narrator Deirdre Rubenstein a terrible review for a narration she did of one of Armstrong's previous novels. So very happy to say that her reading hair is spot on, absolutely perfect.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Nocturne

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs)
    • By Diane Armstrong
    • Narrated By Deidre Rubenstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (31)

    It is Warsaw, 1939, and Elzunia is an indulged teenager who longs for a heroic life filled with romance. But the outbreak of war shatters all her dreams. As bombs fall, she meets Adam, a taciturn airman whose fate becomes entwined with hers. In despair over the occupation, Adam joins the Polish resistance, then flies bombers for the RAF.

    Annie M. says: "The narrator ruined it for me"
    "The narrator ruined it for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read Armstrong's superb novel "Winter Journey. That book made me want to read more by this author. Unfortunately Nocturn did not work for me on two levels… The first is the coincidental reading of "The Book of Aron," a novel based on the true story of a heroic priest and life in the Warsaw ghetto.

    The two books are so similar in terms of subject manner. And Armstrong's book suffers and comparison, primarily due to the narrator.

    Deirdre Rubenstein is a extremely good narrator when she's not making up voices. I know that she was trying to interpret her characters, but every time she did this it just annoyed me tremendously. I found the characterizations alternately shrill, growly, and just so annoying In the way they pulled me out of the story, not deeper into it.

    I like this author so much, and actually like Rubenstein's narrative work when she plays it straight. She has a lovely voice, and excellent cadence. She could have read this straight and I would've loved it.

    As it is I couldn't finish the book.b

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Unleashed: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Meg Rosoff
    • Narrated By Alexander Cendese
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    Jonathan Trefoil's boss is unhinged, his relationship baffling and his apartment just the wrong side of legal. His girlfriend wants to marry someone just like him - only richer and with a different sense of humor. He doesn't remember life being this confusing, back before everyone expected him to act like a grown up.

    Annie M. says: "Whimsical modern love from a guy's point of view"
    "Whimsical modern love from a guy's point of view"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book reminds me of something written by Jonathan Tropper… Whimsical, touching, and often laugh out loud funny. The main character is a creative, Walter Mitty type who lives more in his head than in the Real world. This results in poor decision-making skills, and philosophical dilemmas that are completely modern and funny. T The pros is very spare, but this leanness allows the book to flow forward fast, at a pace that makes you want to keep reading. I really did enjoy this book and I will read it again. I am a 58-year-old woman, but I'm going to send it to my 3 millennial sons.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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