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Stephanie

There is no frigate like a book ~ E. Dickinson

262
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 186 ratings
  • 331 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
30

  • Scaramouche

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Rafael Sabatini
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (70)

    With swordfights and romance, adventure and treachery set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, this is the book that made Sabatini famous. Andre-Louis Moreau has good prospects as a young lawyer, but an unfair duel with the ruthlessly cruel Count de La Tour d'Azyr leaves Andre-Louis' best friend dead and Andre-Louis himself a fugitive from the King's justice. While incognito, he becomes both a wildly popular actor and a firebrand of the Revolution.

    Tariq Anis says: "Mesmerizing"
    "Superb"
    Overall

    This book is in my top ten favorites along with Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, The Moonstone, etc. It is a superb action-adventure story told in the very best style. Scaramouche contains all the 'essentials'-- a dashing hero, sword fights, love, revenge, mystery, great dialogue, and clever plot twists. You will find yourself cheering and sighing by turns. Don't miss this book.

    If you enjoy this one then read/listen to Captain Blood, Sabatini's next-best book. Honestly I think that his other books are lousy by comparison. Some authors only have one or two books in them, and that is the case here. But Captain Blood is great fun-- pirates, sea battles, romance, etc.

    The recording and narrator are fair/good. Whitfield sometimes lacks the emotion a scene requires, and his character voices are not always perfect. But I'm being hypercritical-- it is one of my favorite books, after all.

    10/10

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Lorna Doone, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Richard D. Blackmore
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In Volume 2, John Ridd finally confronts the Doone clan. But the politics of the Royal court reach out and embroil not only John Ridd, but the entire area. A pretender to the throne, Monmouth, rebels against King James and leads his army into southwest England to make a last stand. The intricacies of court intrigue, Doone mischief, and the abiding love between Lorna and John make for an exciting and riveting conclusion to one of the all-time greatest romantic novels.

    Stephanie says: "Classic"
    "Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    (Same review for part 1)

    First off, expert narrator and sound quality. Griffin gives each character a voice of his/her own, and he reproduces the accents perfectly. I couldn't rate his performance higher.

    As for the story... I like reading the classics, so this book naturally was on my list. I am glad I listened to it instead of trying to read it. I zoned out during some of the boring bits.

    The plot is very predictable. The characters tend to be over dramatized. The descriptions are too perfect. The story didn't feel realistic. I love books like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, etc, but this story just didn't make the cut.

    Too long, too little plot, and too much 'perfection.' I like my characters to be real, three dimensional human beings, not ethereal angels who can do no wrong.

    On the other hand, if you are looking to round out your reading repertoire then add this one to your list. Just cause it isn't on my favorites list doesn't mean it shouldn't be on the classics list.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27633)
    Performance
    (14222)
    Story
    (14276)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "vibrant, beautiful, and deadly serious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Author Kathryn Stockett tears open a web of loves, hates, kindness, and violence and sweeps you along, breathless, from the first word to the last. I trembled and wanted to cry. I smiled and laughed out loud. I sat alone and thought about the book after I finished it. I am sure that I will listen to it again.

    So listen to this book if you want to understand, in part, what life was like in Mississippi in the 1960s. The story is told from both 'sides'-- black and white. The ugly racism of the upper crust of Jackson, Mississippi is laid bare. The courage and desperation of the 'help'-- the black maids who wait on the elite-- is painted in honest, vibrant colors. Each of the three heroines will become your friends, each one a lady you wish you could call and catch up with. Most of all you will feel righteous anger at the horrors of racism, joy that things are better than they were, and a passion to continue to right the wrongs that still continue.

    The cast of women who read this edition are perfect. The cadence and soothing rhythm of their performances will blow you away.

    Put this one in your shopping cart. You won't regret it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4521)
    Performance
    (3953)
    Story
    (4009)

    Not so very long ago, Eragon - Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider - was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can.

    Robert says: "All the reviews had me worried for nothing!"
    "sizzle... sputter... *poof*"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It makes me very sad to say so, but frankly this series just sputtered and died for me. I liked Paolini's 1st and 3rd books, and I thought the 2nd wasn't bad either. Book 4 was a huge.... huge... disappointment. And I was really looking forward to it! [FYI, this is coming from the girl who thought the scene where they pick Hrothgar for king was fascinating, lol!]

    There are some high points. Like one... or maybe two. But lets put it this way: 8 hours of Eragon killing 5 thousand helpless soldiers with sorrow in his heart ...OR... Roran mooning about Katrina while slicing and dicing humans into convenient cubes. Then ohmygranniespanties the middle of the book happens (and it has trouble rivaling said item of riveting attire). Then 9 hours are spent tying up loose ends (un-imaginativly, incompletely, and unsatisfactorily). Then the end music plays... and I, at least, was left with the feeling you get on 4th of July when it rains. No fireworks this time around, folks!

    I think this series had a lot of potential. Shame Paolini wrote a bit better at 14 than at 27.

    Recommendations? Suzzane Collins' 'The Hunger Games', Rafael Sabatini's 'Captain Blood' or 'Scaramouche', Jonathan Stroud's 'Bartimaeus' Series. For more, see my reviews.

    31 of 41 people found this review helpful
  • Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By C. S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (286)
    Performance
    (211)
    Story
    (214)

    Set in the pre-Christian world of Glome on the outskirts of Greek civilization, it is a tale of two princesses: the beautiful Psyche, who is loved by the god of love himself, and Orual, Psyche's unattractive and embittered older sister, who loves Psyche with a destructive possessiveness. Her frustration and jealousy over Psyche's fate sets Orual on the troubled path of self-discovery. Lewis's last work of fiction, this is often considered his best by critics.

    Stephanie says: "One of a kind."
    "One of a kind."
    Overall

    I could not rate this author, book, and narrator more highly. I own a hardback copy of 'Till We Have Faces' but I purchased this audio edition too! Adults who enjoyed C.S. Lewis' 'Chronicles of Narnia' or his 'Space Trilogy' will be carried away by this book. The story follows three sisters-- one ugly, one beautiful as a goddess, and one somewhere between the two. As their lives and fates unfold the author unveils human nature with a depth of perception that takes my breath away. One word of advice, if you prefer 'lite' reading this may not be for you. It is well beyond 'Twilight' and things of that nature. Reference my review list if you want to get a sense of what I like.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Ben-Hur

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Lew Wallace
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (103)

    An American classic, Ben-Hur is both a vivid historical epic and the powerful story of one man's spiritual journey from slavery to vengeance to redemption. Born the son of a Jewish nobleman, Ben-Hur is condemned to the galleys for life for accidentally dislodging a piece of tile that falls on the Roman procurator. He is betrayed by his best friend, manages to escape his imprisonment, and gains revenge and glory before the cheering multitudes in the chariot races at the Roman circus in Antioch.

    Stephanie says: "Beautiful & Thought-Provoking"
    "Beautiful & Thought-Provoking"
    Overall

    This book is a masterpiece, a vivid blend of description and larger-than-life characters. The book's full title "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" should clue you into the fact that this story parallels the life of Jesus.

    Ben-Hur is a handsome, intelligent, wealthy Jewish boy who is almost destroyed by the hatred of a former friend and Roman, Messala. Ben-Hur eventually escapes his life-sentence to the galleys and regains his fortune, which he uses to reap vengeance on his betrayer. However, when he learns that 'The King of the Jews' is at hand, he turns all his attention to building armies and preparing for the overthrow of Rome. When the Christ turns out not to be quite what he had expected, Ben-Hur is left with a difficult choice: wage war on Rome or follow the Prince of Peace.

    I give the reader 8/10. Sound quality 10/10. Story 10/10.

    (Fair Warning-- avoid this book if you don't like: descriptions, long books, historical fiction, or readers who actually laugh whenever it says 'so-and-so laughed.' Otherwise, enjoy!)

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Portrait of an Unknown Woman: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Vanora Bennett
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    Set against the turmoil, intrigue and, tragedy of Henry VIII's court, Portrait of an Unknown Woman vividly evokes 16th-century England on the verge of enormous change. As the Protestant Reformation sweeps across Europe to lap at England's shores, relations between her king and the Catholic Church begin to plummet, driven by Henry VIII's insatiable need for a male heir and the urgings of his cunning mistress Anne Boleyn. And heresy begins to take hold.

    Stephanie says: "Revisionist History"
    "Revisionist History"
    Overall

    I'll start off by saying that the narration and sound quality of this recording are excellent. Ms Bailey is a highly talented narrator. Each character has a distinguishable voice, and the accents are well mimicked.

    However I was deeply disappointed by the book itself for the following reasons:

    1. Thomas Moore, Meg Giggs adoptive father, is portrayed as half monster, half loving parent. It is hard to believe, but the author goes so far as to portray Moore as a man who, among other things, personally tortured heretics in his out-buildings. There is no historical evidence to even slightly support this scandalous representation. The author's note at the end doesn't even endeavor to claim historical accuracy on this point. Saying Abraham Lincoln was a pedophile wouldn't make it true... it seems wrong to make up something so damaging and unfounded.

    2. One of the characters turns out to be a prince in disguise. I felt intellectually insulted. The cliche fitted into the story, but that didn't make me any happier about it.

    3. The author did not do her linguistic research very carefully. The dialogue didn't need to be archaic, but sometimes the sentence construction or words used were so blatantly modern I felt myself wincing. I expected someone to exclaim 'cool' or 'shut up.'

    4. The characters did not feel like they belonged in that era either. Meg Giggs, the main character, thought and acted like a modern woman. That irked me. It was incongruous.

    5. The story changes perspective all the time. Sometimes it is in the third person, and sometimes it is Meg's, Hans', or another character's perspective. Sometimes the perspective even changes mid paragraph (seriously!) Nice try at creativity, but it didn't work for me.

    On the other hand the author has a good turn for description, a clever eye for the dramatic, and reasonable talent for keeping you interested. At best I'd call this book 'sensational historical fiction.'

    30 of 33 people found this review helpful
  • I, Claudius

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Robert Graves
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (1447)
    Performance
    (728)
    Story
    (734)

    Here is one of the best historical novels ever written. Lame, stammering Claudius, once a major embarrassment to the imperial family and now emperor of Rome, writes an eyewitness account of the reign of the first four Caesars: the noble Augustus and his cunning wife, Livia; the reptilian Tiberius; the monstrous Caligula; and finally old Claudius himself. Filled with poisonings, betrayal, and shocking excesses, I Claudius is history that rivals the most exciting contemporary fiction.

    Chris says: "Unsurpassed, addictive brilliance"
    "Illuminating"
    Overall

    This book is an excellent way to acquaint yourself with the character of Rome at the dawn of the first century. I, Claudius plunges you into a world of intrigues, murder, cruelty, and vice-- in short a world in which "Poison is Queen."

    If you are anticipating a page-turner-'novel' don't purchase this audio book. It is more like a well dramatized history. The story is told in first person by Claudius himself, and follows his life from its earliest years to nearly the end of his life. Claudius was born a cripple and a stammerer, and it is amazing to see how he not only overcame his disabilities, but how he used them to his advantage. Hundreds died in the struggle for power, but every killer overlooked 'the half-wit.'

    The narrator is top notch. I couldn't give his performance a higher rating. The sound quality is excellent.

    A good book, not a sensational one. I might find myself re-listening to it someday just to re-aquaint myself with this era in human history.

    34 of 34 people found this review helpful
  • Jane Eyre, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Charlotte Bronte
    • Narrated By Amanda Root
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    One of the greatest love stories ever written, Jane Eyre is the tale of a young woman entangled with the powerful Mr. Rochester. What lurks in the attic at Thornfield, the ancestral home of the surly Mr. Rochester? Will the governess Jane Eyre discover his secret, and having discovered it, live to regret that knowledge? Battling inside Jane are passion and prudence; she struggles to survive the turmoil they cause.

    Amy says: "Best ever"
    "Perfect!"
    Overall

    The Narrator:
    Amanda Root earns my deep respect for her performance. Every character has a distinct, appropriate voice. Root packs each scene with emotion and life-- no dead-pan dialogues here. The sound quality is excellent.

    My complaint? They have broken the book into two parts! The quality of the performance makes it worth it, but it irked me to use to credits when the other versions needed only one. I'd still advise biting the bullet and purchasing this version. There is no comparison when it comes to quality.

    The story:
    This is one of my all time favorite books. What a classic! This stormy romance is a treat for any reader. Jane Eyre is an original heroine-- neither a beauty nor a wealthy woman, she embodies the indomitable spirit pitted against the world's injustice. Her integrity, wit, and inflexible character rapidly earn your respect. Her decisions reflect an independent mind, something that would have been remarkable in England at the time this book was written. Charlotte Bronte was clearly ahead of her times.

    Mr. Rochester is the dark, mysterious hero. His relationship with Jane alternates between passionate, provoking, and desperate. He reminds me strongly of Mr. Darcy in some ways, but he is a darker, deeper character. His close-guarded secret will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final pages.

    Truly a masterpiece.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Jane Eyre, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Charlotte Bronte
    • Narrated By Amanda Root
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (33)

    One of the greatest love stories ever written, Jane Eyre is the tale of a young woman entangled with the powerful Mr. Rochester. What lurks in the attic at Thornfield, the ancestral home of the surly Mr. Rochester? Will the governess Jane Eyre discover his secret, and having discovered it, live to regret that knowledge? Battling inside Jane are passion and prudence; she struggles to survive the turmoil they cause.

    Stephanie says: "Perfect"
    "Perfect"
    Overall

    The Narrator:
    Amanda Root earns my deep respect for her performance. Every character has a distinct, appropriate voice. Root packs each scene with emotion and life-- no dead-pan dialogues here. The sound quality is excellent.

    My complaint? They have broken the book into two parts! The quality of the performance makes it worth it, but it irked me to use to credits when the other versions needed only one. I'd still advise biting the bullet and purchasing this version. There is no comparison when it comes to quality.

    The story:
    This is one of my all time favorite books. What a classic! This stormy romance is a treat for any reader. Jane Eyre is an original heroine-- neither a beauty nor a wealthy woman, she embodies the indomitable spirit pitted against the world's injustice. Her integrity, wit, and inflexible character rapidly earn your respect. Her decisions reflect an independent mind, something that would have been remarkable in England at the time this book was written. Charlotte Bronte was clearly ahead of her times.

    Mr. Rochester is the dark, mysterious hero. His relationship with Jane alternates between passionate, provoking, and desperate. He reminds me strongly of Mr. Darcy in some ways, but he is a darker, deeper character. His close-guarded secret will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final pages.

    Truly a masterpiece.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Wuthering Heights

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Emily Bronte
    • Narrated By Janet McTeer, David Timson
    Overall
    (685)
    Performance
    (316)
    Story
    (324)

    When Mr. Earnshaw brings a black-haired foundling child into his home on the Yorkshire moors, he little imagines the dramatic events which will follow. The passionate relationship between Cathy Earnshaw and the foundling, Heathcliff, is a story of love, hate, pity, and retribution, the effects of which reverberate throughout the succeeding generations.

    Stephanie says: "Classic"
    "Classic"
    Overall

    Put this book on your list. No reading list is complete without it.

    Emily Bronte here offers the classic Gothic novel. Dark secrets, vindictive villains, retribution, mystery... it's all included. The tale is a dark one. It has a semi-happy ending, but for the most part the story keeps to a dark, somber mood.

    I enjoyed the recording. Janet McTeer and David Timson are two of my favorite narrators, and they put on first rate performances for this novel. Sound quality is excellent.

    If you are looking for a happier book along the same lines then try Jane Eyre by Emily's sister, Charlotte Bronte. I prefer Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights, but would suggest listening to both.

    8/10

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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