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Hyacinthe

Prolific reader, writer of short stories, novels and non-fiction.

Member Since 2012

ratings
46
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
1

  • Fishing for Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (466)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (301)

    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"
    "Not up to his usual standards"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not this one. The core story of Anna and Nicolas and Marge the eco-nut was generally acceptable, but why did he create such a profoundly damaged woman as Anna, with her perverse attachment to her Japanese war criminal tormentor. She was never redeemed, which is what I was waiting for. Why was Nick the war hero such an unbelievable wuss with his intimate relationships? The book could have been cut by 1/3 - the diatribe about hydro-electric development, East Timor, oil drilling, gorillas and endangered frogs was a lecture that belonged in a 'green' publication, not a novel.


    Has Fishing for Stars turned you off from other books in this genre?

    This is the last one I had purchased to listen to, which is a good thing. Bryce usually meanders, but not this drastically off topic.


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    Humphrey is always magnificent - the range of his talent seems boundless. But this time, there was no one character whom I'd want to share a beer with. The Yakuza Oyabun and the POW Goji Moru were the most potentially interesting.


    Do you think Fishing for Stars needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Good grief, no. It went on too long and I just didn't care what happened to any of the main characters about 4 chapters before the end of the book. They were all self-absorbed and with the exception of sad, twisted Anna, not fully developed as human beings.


    Any additional comments?

    A disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Valley of Amazement

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Amy Tan
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu, Joyce Bean, Amy Tan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (979)
    Performance
    (862)
    Story
    (876)

    Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West - until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

    Pamela says: "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    "Profoundly shallow, unfeeling protagonist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who has limited interest in character development, genuine emotion and a gripping, believable plot line.


    What could Amy Tan have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Violet starts off as a self-centred spoiled child whose primary emotion is annoyance. She shows more affection for her cat than for her mother. As she becomes a young woman and then a courtesan, she shows little initiative for taking action to change the direction of her life. There was no passion. The portrayal of the character does not build depth or resonance - I stopped trying to care about her when she so meekly let her child be taken from her without putting up any sort of a fight. Her passivity and lack of heroism were overwhelming.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator(s) were adequate, but, like the character Violet, the delivery was flat and without affect.


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

    Fury. Disappointment. Annoyance. Disbelief. I felt tricked by the 4 star ratings because getting deeper into the story did not expose any new truths about Violet's journey to self-discovery. I kept listening for as long as I could bear it, waiting for the shift to action or a lift in the story arc or an aha moment, but simply gave up.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this would be a good book for a 13 hour plane trip but it was not. I'm so disappointed that the contents did not live up to the description.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mad River

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1187)
    Performance
    (1026)
    Story
    (1018)

    Bonnie and Clyde, they thought. And what's-his-name, the sidekick. Three teenagers with dead-end lives, and chips on their shoulders, and guns. The first person they killed was a highway patrolman. The second was a woman during a robbery. Then, hell, why not keep on going? As their crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, some of it captured on the killers' cell phones and sent to a local television station, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins the growing army of cops trying to run them down.

    Bill says: "Good. Not Great. But Virgil is Hard to Skip."
    "Another ripping-good Sandford novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Mad River rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This novel ranks in the top five for me. I've read Sandford since his first book was published over 20 years ago and he always delivers a gripping plot line and sub-plots, vivid characters and a satisfying conclusion. No fluff or filler - just the real thing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The intertwining of events, Virgil, of course, the development of an array of rich characters, whether they are on the side of good or evil, the matter-of-factness that somehow helps to temper the sobering violence. Unfortunately, the theme of multiple murders and shakey motives rings even more true lately.


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

    I love his voice. In future, I will seek out books that he reads.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm looking forward to more Sandford. And Conger.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ladies Farm

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Viqui Litman
    • Narrated By Cynthia Darlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    When four divorced and widowed friends, Pauline, Della, Kat and Rita, decide to open a retreat especially for women who just need to get away from it all, The Ladies Farm is born. Situated beside a lazy river in the idyllic location of Sydonia, Texas, The Ladies Farm seems poised for great success. Then one day Barbara Morrison, the rich widow of Della’s secret lover, arrives in her bright red T-Bird--and she’s brought a whole load of trouble with her.

    norman says: "Steel Magnolias Meet the Yellow Rose(s) of Texas"
    "Pedestrian, disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Viqui Litman and/or Cynthia Darlow?

    No. This is the kind of writing you find in supermarket magazines for women. I have no interest in these types of 'bitchy' relationships involving unlikable females.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Ken Follett - dependably excellent.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Cynthia Darlow’s performances?

    Not really. I wasn't wild about her voice.


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

    Disappointment, annoyance.


    Any additional comments?

    Buying this was a major fail!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Craig Ferguson
    • Narrated By Craig Ferguson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1621)
    Performance
    (1006)
    Story
    (1005)

    In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark - as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

    Diane says: "Unabashedly Honest"
    "Entertaining, poignant tale of a life journey"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does American on Purpose rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the comedy-memoir genre, it ranks up there with Bossypants for me.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Craig Ferguson? Why or why not?

    Yes, I'd listen to Craig again. His story is authentic and there's wry humour and honesty, without a hint of pathos or arrogance. The love of his family - and the women in his life - shines through. This is a man who has learned from his life choices and I was glad to hear that, in the end, he triumphed.


    What about Craig Ferguson’s performance did you like?

    He has a great voice and good pacing, when he tried other accents, they were believable. HIs choice of words was authentic. There was a clear arc in the telling - starting off young and exuberant and ending up older and wiser, despite being battered along the way. He has a deft hand - didn't overplay the drunkenness, drugs or his sorrow at what had gone wrong. He's consistently likable, grateful and positive.


    Any additional comments?

    Very enjoyable. I'm going to PVR or YouTube-search his shows, so that I can see him in action.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jenny Lawson
    • Narrated By Jenny Lawson
    Overall
    (1821)
    Performance
    (1662)
    Story
    (1675)

    For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris - Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut. Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives - the ones we'd like to pretend never happened - are in fact the ones that define us. In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor.

    D. S. Smith says: "How the Bloggess almost made me crash my car!"
    "Off-putting & Not funny"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jenny Lawson and/or Jenny Lawson?

    Never. Aside from the bizarre tales of her upbringing (roadkill, anyone), I found this to be a too-long story about the life of a self-absorbed woman without a lot of outside interests. I stopped listening halfway through because Jenny just did not have the knack for genuinely connecting with the people in her life or with me.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, the content was presented in a sardonic way, marred by an unsympathetic portrayal of the other characters (real people), and with a 'look at me, I'm special' tone.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)?

    What followed after the stories about her family was presented in a such a superficial way, e.g., life in the big city, her husband, the birth of her child (which came across as unimportant rather than funny). It's not the individual scenes as much as her me-me-me perspective that quickly became annoying.


    Any additional comments?

    Comparing Jenny to Fey or Sedaris is wrong. She is so far NOT in their league in terms of quality of content, consistency of humour, relevance and connecting with the reader/listener. I was beginning to feel sorry for her rather than being entertained.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • What Every BODY Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Joe Navarro, Marvin Karlins
    • Narrated By Paul Costanzo
    Overall
    (2094)
    Performance
    (1773)
    Story
    (1751)

    Listen to this book and send your nonverbal intelligence soaring. Joe Navarro, a former FBI counterintelligence officer and a recognized expert on nonverbal behavior, explains how to "speed-read" people: decode sentiments and behaviors, avoid hidden pitfalls, and look for deceptive behaviors. You'll also learn how your body language can influence what your boss, family, friends, and strangers think of you.

    Teddy says: "Barely Made It Through This One"
    "Interesting topic, but no zip & a dry presentation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about What Every BODY Is Saying? What did you like least?

    The content was of great interest to me, because as a writer, I want to imbue my characters (especially the dodgy ones) with traits that 'ring true'. The in-depth information about 'happy feet' and other body 'tells' was very useful, especially since we tend to rely overmuch on the face and eyes.

    What I did not like was the constant references to the author as FBI agent in a 'look at me' sort of way, without revealing anything about him as a human being. The stories he recounted were so single dimensional, they made being a high level law enforcement officer seem boring. More anecdotes and exciting events where he used his skills as a 'reader' of body language would have been helpful.

    It annoyed me that I kept being referred to PDF images. He should have been able to describe the visuals accurately, so that I could 'see' them with his words. This is a 'talking book' - I don't carry documents with me when I'm riding my bike or working in the garden.


    Has What Every BODY Is Saying turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator has a strong, pleasing voice, but the monotone delivery reinforced the lack of sparkle in the content. He sounded too much like Sgt. Friday from Dragnet. Good for a 30 minute TV show but not good for listening to for hours on end!


    Do you think What Every BODY Is Saying needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Unless the author is going to increase the pace and layer in some complexity and excitement, no follow up is needed. There are so many other resources out there - the author needs to be able to leverage his experiences being an FBI agent to connect to the reader/listener and energize the story more effectively.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bossypants

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Tina Fey
    • Narrated By Tina Fey
    Overall
    (17203)
    Performance
    (13092)
    Story
    (13034)

    Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told....

    Warren says: "Tina Fey broke my new SUV"
    "An enjoyable, well-done read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I'd recommend it. There is a good balance of humour, life lessons, and insight into the comedy 'biz'. Tina has such a pleasant voice, she's never snarky and she doesn't take herself too seriously. The pacing was excellent - I listened to Bossypants on my daily walks and lost track of how far I'd gone, it was that good. There was just enough name-dropping, too.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bossypants?

    Tina stories about her father were warm, funny and respectful. They gave a good backdrop to her character. The scenes about her husband's experiences with fear of flying were funny and touching, and showed her as a considerate, caring woman who wasn't just out for laughs.


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

    It made me laugh out loud. It reminded me that famous people are just that - people.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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