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Margaret

ratings
23
REVIEWS
19
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
31

  • March Violets

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Philip Kerr
    • Narrated By Jeff Harding
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Ex-policeman Bernie Gunther thought he'd seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin - until he turned freelance and he is sucked further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture. The year is 1936 and Berlin is preparing for the Olympic Games. Some of Bernie's Jewish friends are beginning to realise that they should have left while they could, and Bernie himself has been hired by a wealthy industrialist to investigate two murders that reach high into the Nazi Party.

    Margaret says: "Missed the mark"
    "Missed the mark"
    Overall

    An interesting premise, and a book that ought to have appealed. But, why does the main character have an American voice? At first, I thought there would be some explanation -- the hero is some sort of Rick figure who got stranded in Germany in the war, or maybe he had an American parent from whom he learned English -- but no, the story makes clear he spent his life in Germany with German parents. Not sure which is more insulting: the idea that a good person wouldn't have a German accent, or that a presumably mostly American audience can't listen to an accent for the entire length of an audio book. Recommend one read the book, not listen to it. Let your inner voice provide the appropriate voices.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (691)
    Performance
    (619)
    Story
    (623)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Sires says: "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"
    "Lightweight imitation of Connie Willis"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After listening to the compelling stories and narration of Connie Willis' time traveling historians, I couldn't get into this flippant imitation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Orchardist

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Amanda Coplin
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (598)
    Performance
    (513)
    Story
    (507)

    At the turn of the 20th century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he's found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadge's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion.

    Marcia says: "Beautiful, rich, sweeping tale, not a fairy tale."
    "This is why I listen to audio books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At their best, audiobooks are not just the convenience of listening while doing other things. Or even the enjoyment having a story told. Rather, the narration takes one so much deeper into the experience than if one read the book oneself. That is the case with this recording of The Orchardist. Had I read this book, I would have raced through parts to see what happens next. Instead, I experienced it as the events unfolded, paying attention to every detail. Sometimes, I had to stop listening for a while, because it felt so real. Had I read it myself, the voiice in my head would have been too thin and superficial. The narrator's voice is ideal for the characters, and somehow evoked the era in which the events occurred. A powerful story about pain and commitment, good people doing their best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Strange Creatures

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Emily Arsenault
    • Narrated By Andi Arndt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea that it is the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet world. Scandal, love, family, and murder combine in this gripping literary mystery by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault, in which a young academic’s life is turned upside down when her brother is arrested for murder and she must prove his innocence.

    Margaret says: "Enough twists to hold your interest"
    "Enough twists to hold your interest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just enough worrisome twists and turns to keep one engaged with the story. Some details and character actions a bit implausible, but mostly the overall story is internally consistent and one can see, with some foreboding, why the characters are behaving as they do. Not to paint too dark a picture: the main characters are warm and likeable. Excellent narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Nickolas Butler
    • Narrated By Scott Shepherd, Ari Fliakos, Maggie Hoffman, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (158)

    It’s a place like hundreds of others, nothing special, really. But for four friends—all born and raised in this small Wisconsin town—it is home. And now they are men, coming into their own, or struggling to do so. One of them never left, still working the family farm that has been tilled for generations. But others felt the need to move on, with varying degrees of success. One trades commodities, another took to the rodeo circuit, and one of them even hit it big as a rock star. And then there’s Beth, a woman who has meant something special in each of their lives.

    Melinda says: "Love Song to Home Town"
    "Characters to care about"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Each character is well developed, and develops more through the course of the novel. The alternating narrators are effective in helping the story move along from each character's point of view. I genuinely cared about these people and what happened to them, individually and as a group.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9855)
    Performance
    (9019)
    Story
    (9033)

    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.

    Cynthia says: "What a slog"
    "The only audio book I've ever listened to twice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a remarkable narration of a remarkable book. Sometimes, I had to stop listening, I felt so strongly the need to tell the main character, "no, don't do it!" And yet, when I got to the end, I started over again. The story is suspenseful and gripping, with an inevitability to the characters' actions that becomes clear at the end. So accomplished a narration, I had trouble shaking the idea that I know the characters personally.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Alan Bradley
    • Narrated By Jayne Entwistle
    Overall
    (471)
    Performance
    (423)
    Story
    (423)

    On a spring morning in 1951, 11-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test.

    Margaret says: "One of my favorite series: try it!"
    "One of my favorite series: try it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Was there ever a better match between character and narrator than Flavia de Luce and Jayne Entwistle? These books are funny, touching, and sometimes nail-bitingly suspenseful. I had trouble seeing with the logic of some parts of this installment, but all was wrapped up in the end in a way that made sense. I do hope there will be more in the series. Hint: don't listen to this one if you haven't listened to the previous installments. And, I do mean listen: truly a case where the narration is superior to anything one can conjure in one's head.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Twelve Clues of Christmas: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2002)
    Performance
    (1776)
    Story
    (1768)

    On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile, Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.

    Felicia The Geeky Blogger says: "It was a great Christmas Who-Done-It!"
    "The narration makes the book: a fun listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Katherine Kellgren is one of the great narrators: every character has a distinct voice, and the pacing is spot-on with the plot. Her range of accents is impressive. This is a light-weight mystery but Ms. Kellgren's narration makes it quite enjoyable.

    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
    (1162)
    Performance
    (1027)
    Story
    (1043)

    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 J says: "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    "Engrossing, deep character and plot development"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Strong and yet realistically flawed women characters in vivid locations and situations. My favorite character was not one of the two main characters, but rather Magic Gourd, possessor of a dry wit and good soul. Beautifully narrated except for one inexplicable section in which a different and not especially convincing narrator takes over Magic Gourd's voice. I suspect it is Amy Tan. Really, it's a rare author who should read his or her works. Leave the writing to the writers and the reading to the actors, please!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Ann Leary
    • Narrated By Mary Beth Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1505)
    Performance
    (1360)
    Story
    (1353)

    The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston's North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She's also a raging alcoholic. Hildy's family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place - "if they invite you over for dinner, and it’s not a major holiday," she advises "run for your life" - and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key.

    Rhonda Morrison says: "What a great book, Hildy is a great character!"
    "So true to life, nearly painful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This tightly novel leaves one off-guard: is the main character developing or deteriorating? The characters are so true to life, they could be one's own family. At first, I was put off by Mary Beth Hurt's narration, with sometimes odd and inappropriate inflection. Turns out, that was part of the character development (or deterioration). By the end, it's hard to imagine Hildy's voice as anyone's but Ms. Hurt's. She excels with the other characters' voices, too.I ran extra errands today in order to have the excuse to find out how this unpredictable plot wrapped up. An involving and often quite amusing listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Natasha Solomon
    • Narrated By Karen Cass
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    When Juliet Montague's husband disappears, so does she. As far as the conservative Jewish community in which she lives is concerned, she is invisible. She does her best to conform to their rules, but then on her thirtieth birthday she does something unexpected. Instead of the fridge she has scrimped for, she impulsively spends her savings on a portrait of herself.It is the first in a series of portraits that punctuate Juliet's adult life as she joins London's lively post-war art scene and proves to be an astute spotter of talent.

    Daniel says: "Best for those with a vivid visual imagination"
    "Complex main character in an interesting time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found myself quite caught up in the story of the not-entirely-sympathetic main character: a woman in an observant Jewish community in post-WWII London who becomes an art dealer -- and therefore is friends with artists from backgrounds very different from hers -- but is still part of her own community. I thought the author does an excellent job of maintaining and developing that tension, even as times change. Along the way, I learned about an aspect of English life I knew nothing about. Super narration: I could identify every character separately.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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