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Joanne M. McGowan

ratings
140
REVIEWS
22
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
18

  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (657)
    Performance
    (296)
    Story
    (301)

    The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the 19th century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

    Kimberly says: "Good book, poor editing ..."
    "Read this for book club"
    Overall

    Hmmm... I'm pretty sure i would not have made it through this book had it not been for a book club assignment. It was an interesting story, but in many areas it was like reading an accounting ledger (yawn... I'm sorry... what was he saying?). Still, I'd recommend it for those not chased away by lots of facts and figures and graphic description. What these men went through was amazing and I really learned a lot about early American whaling.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • One Plus One: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Bower, Ben Elliot, Nicola Stanton, and others
    Overall
    (743)
    Performance
    (675)
    Story
    (681)

    Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math-whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can't afford to pay for. That's Jess' life in a nutshell - until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess' knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages...maybe ever.

    Kathy says: "Sometimes I need a book that is just fun to read."
    "Not Bad... just not great."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Not sure. Just kind of over these "I-love-you-but-i-have-to-act-like-i-dont" characters.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jojo Moyes? Why or why not?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Loved Tansy's character. I'd love to know how her life turned out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Eyes of the Dragon

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1018)
    Performance
    (682)
    Story
    (682)

    A tale of archetypal heroes and sweeping adventures, of dragons and princes and evil wizards, here is epic fantasy as only Stephen King could envision it.

    Christine says: "Enjoyable"
    "Not what I expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Stephen King and/or Bronson Pinchot?

    Yes. I actually bought this one because of Bronson Pinchot's performance of Matterhorn.


    Has The Eyes of the Dragon turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Actually, I was turned off this genre before this book. I just didn't realize this was a fantasy novel.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't take my review into account. If you like fantasy, this may be your thing. I expected Stephen King... you know... Stephen King. I did not expect Stephen King for 12 yr olds.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1746)
    Performance
    (1606)
    Story
    (1598)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    Marci says: "Great story. Genius writing"
    "I didn't want to press the stop button!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Big Little Lies?

    Everything! OK. To be less vague... I loved the characters, I loved the storytelling style (the interview responses were wonderful, and I found myself laughing out loud as I heard people I know in the statements. We all know these people! I loved the way the layers were peeled back to reveal a little more information. I loved Caroline Lee's performance. I'm guessing SHE know these people as well, because she captured their tone of voice and their personalities perfectly. The book was wonderful!


    Which character – as performed by Caroline Lee – was your favorite?

    Madeline and Ed were probably my favorites, but there were many.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Anniversary

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (164)

    Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an unconventional family, where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger. And dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it's about time she started making her own decisions.

    Travis says: "Such a disappointment after "Big Little Lies""
    "Narration can kill an audio book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different narrator who portrayed the personality of the characters. I have LOVED all of Liane Moriarty's other audiobooks, and the narrators (Caroline Lee and Tamara Lovatt Smith) led the listener through the stories with such life and personality in their performance, that I hated to hit the stop button when I arrived at work in the morning! Listening to this book was a completely different experience, and I found myself having to rewind for whole sections because I started drifting off into other things around me and missed parts of the story. The monotonous tone and odd inflection in the narrator's voice was like listening to a story read by my GPS or my iPhone's Siri. Is Heather Wilds an actual person, or was this some sort of software?


    How could the performance have been better?

    Have Caroline Lee read the story!!


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Liane Moriarty has a talent for revealing a story as layers of covering are removed. Although she let the cat out of the bag a bit early in this one, I still think I could have enjoyed the story if I'd read it or if it was narrated by someone else.


    Any additional comments?

    I still can't wait for Ms Moriarty's next book!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Alan Bradley
    • Narrated By Jayne Entwistle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1589)
    Performance
    (1049)
    Story
    (1052)

    It is the summer of 1950 and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.

    Midi says: "Terrific story...spot-on narration"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Maybe someone's 12 year old niece.


    What was most disappointing about Alan Bradley’s story?

    The evidence in the story was just unrealistic... too many unrelated tidbits blown into "and CLEARLY this means..." sort of declarations when there was nothing "clear" about it.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Nothing really. She'd need better material.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Flavia's character was well developed. The author has said that she just showed up when he was writing a different story.


    Any additional comments?

    The book was not really 'bad,' at least not horribly bad. It was just underwhelming, and honestly, I found it kind of annoying. It felt like the evidence was unrelated, yet kept popping up out of nowhere. I'm still trying to figure out why anyone in the world would see pie crust in a hotel waste bin and think "Aha! clearly he smuggled a dead bird in from Norway!" Seriously?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Slam

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Nick Hornby
    • Narrated By Nicholas Hoult
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (45)

    Just when everything is coming together for Sam, his girlfriend, Alicia, drops a bombshell. Make that ex-girlfriend: because by the time she tells him she's pregnant, they¿ve already called it quits. Sam does not want to be a teenage dad.

    Jody R. Nathan says: "Slam Dunk! Great read!"
    "Love both Nicks!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Slam?

    Nick Hornby's character development is brilliant, as is his sense of humor!! I found myself laughing outloud in several areas of the book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Slam?

    I won't even pick one. The whole book was memorable.


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

    No. This is the only title listed for him, but I hope he does more. He did a wonderful job, and caught the attitude of this snarky, teen-aged, skate-rat perfectly!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I nearly did. I've listened to it twice now and laughed the second time too.


    Any additional comments?

    Great read. Makes you laugh, but also handles a very tough subject. The characters are believable and their reactions to their situation felt realistic to me. Hornby really writes well as a young boy... must once have been one. :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Don't Like Ugly

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mary Monroe
    • Narrated By Denise Burse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (55)

    In God Don't Like Ugly, she weaves a powerful tale of devastating abuse, the strength of friendship, and the burden of terrible secrets. Shy, overweight Annette Goode is only seven years old when Mr. Boatwright, a boarder in her house, begins sexually abusing her. She keeps this information to herself for years, until gorgeous, self-assured Rhoda Nelson becomes her new friend. Annette confides in Rhoda and finds the strength and courage to survive to adulthood.

    Amazon Customer says: "Wonderful series"
    "I finished it, but it was a struggle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you ever listen to anything by Mary Monroe again?

    Probably not


    How could the performance have been better?

    The voices were whiny and began to grate on me after a while.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm not sure if it was the narration, the story, the characters, or the fact that my lack of sympathy for the main character makes me feel like a horrible human, but something about this book really turned me off. I finished listening to it, but it was painful. I am horrified at my lack of sympathy for the young girl in this story, but honestly, I just didn't find her situation realistic. Maybe if the author had done more to help me believe in her, or the narrator hadn't made me want to scream "JUST TELL YOUR DAM**D MOM, ALREADY, SO I CAN STOP LISTENING TO THIS BOOK!!" I may have been more on her side.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Funny Thing Is...

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ellen Degeneres
    • Narrated By Ellen Degeneres
    Overall
    (672)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (175)

    Ellen DeGeneres published her first book of comic essays, the #1 best selling My Point...and I Do Have One, way back in 1996. Not one to rest on her laurels, the witty star of stage and screen has since dedicated her life to writing a hilarious new book. That book is this audiobook.

    Heidi says: "Ellen's latest book- The Funny Thing Is..."
    "Just couldn't finish this"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Did you just ask me if i have any stupid friends?


    What could Ellen Degeneres have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Write a story rather than attempting a comedy club act.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Everything seemed to be an over-the-top punchline attempt. Not entertaining OR funny.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Funny Thing Is...?

    Most of what I listened to did not seem like "scenes" at all... just a bunch of bad punchlines. The brunch was the only actual "story" I remember.


    Any additional comments?

    I got about an hour in, but it was like swallowing glass... so I stopped.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By E. L. James
    • Narrated By Becca Battoe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15674)
    Performance
    (12975)
    Story
    (13610)

    When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

    Amazon Customer says: "Holy Crap minus the Holy"
    "I want 19 hours and 45 minutes of my life back"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Fifty Shades of Grey better?

    Better dialogue, better writing, and a far less annoying main character. If it was possible to give a book less that one star in the Audible system, this one would have gotten a 1/2.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not another E.L James book


    What character would you cut from Fifty Shades of Grey?

    Anastasia Steele is one of the most annoying characters I've read in a very long time. I wanted to slap her myself... only not with a velvet glove. The words "Oh my" have become like nails on a chalk board.


    Any additional comments?

    I can only assume that this book is so popular because it has stirred up so much controversy, because I REALLY don't get the hype. While I can understand how the subject matter and the graphic scenarios have stirred up those opposed to such things as well as those titillated by such things, if you take that all away, underneath, this is just not a well written book. I wanted to read it, and quite frankly may have found the scenarios hot... had I found the main characters the least bit sexy. This was worse than porn with really unattractive people. Unfortunately Anastasia Steele's constant and pathetic self-talk made her wimpy, unsympathetic, and completely unlikable as a character. Hard to get my panties in a bunch over someone so unappealing, no how many positions you tie her up in. Christian Grey was one dimensional and I really didn't care what he did, didn't do, felt, etc.

    The storyline also seemed EERILY close in many ways (though not so well done) to the 2002 movie, Secretary, with Maggie Gyllenhaall and James Spader (whose character is also named Mr. Grey, btw). The story felt so familiar when I began listening that I actually looked up the movie to be sure it wasn't based on this book. Bottom line, I want my 19 hours and 45 minutes back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tiger's Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Tea Obreht
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden, Robin Sachs
    Overall
    (832)
    Performance
    (547)
    Story
    (546)

    In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.

    Howard says: "Left me unfulfilled!"
    "Couldn't finish this one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Tea Obreht and/or Susan Duerden and Robin Sachs ?

    Maybe


    Would you ever listen to anything by Tea Obreht again?

    Maybe


    Would you be willing to try another one of Susan Duerden and Robin Sachs ???s performances?

    Maybe


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

    Boredom and apathy


    Any additional comments?

    I just could not get interested in the characters or the story. I got about 1/2 way through and just stopped.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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