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Sheila

Downers Grove, IL, United States | Member Since 2012

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 120 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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  • Mansfield Park (Naxos Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (358)
    Performance
    (271)
    Story
    (276)

    At the tender age of 10, Fanny Price is 'adopted' by her rich relations and is removed from the poverty of her home in Portsmouth to the opulence of Mansfield Park. The transplantation is not a happy one. Dependent, helpless, neglected and forgotten, Fanny struggles to come to terms with her new life until, tested almost to the limits of endurance, she assumes her rightful role....

    Neil Chisholm says: "Oh such felicity, such gaiety, such rapture!"
    "What's not to love?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Mansfield Park again? Why?

    Most definitely. I am a Janeite - love everything Austen wrote. This was the one novel I had never really given myself the time to read without interruption. I would always read a few chapters, put it aside for a few months, read a few more, put aside, etc. and never gave it the time it deserved.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mansfield Park?

    Edmund's final realization of Mary's true character.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Henry's visit to Fanny's parents' home in Plymouth.


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

    Since I was already so aware of the book and storyline, no.


    Any additional comments?

    Juliet Stevenson is a wonderful narrator. This is the 3rd book I have listened to read by her and she is as good as they come. Wonderful job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Highlander's Touch: Highlander, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Karen Marie Moning
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1185)
    Performance
    (736)
    Story
    (735)

    He was a mighty Scottish warrior who lived in a world bound by ancient laws and timeless magic. But no immortal powers could prepare the laird of Castle Brodie for the lovely accursed lass who stood before him. A terrible trick of fate had sent her 700 years back in time and into his private chamber to tempt him with her beauty.

    E. Anderson says: "Fabulous!!"
    "Disappointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not really. This is my first Moning Highlander book. I had heard and read such positive reviews of her books I thought I should venture into the water during my Gabaldon "Outlander" wait for book #9.


    If you’ve listened to books by Karen Marie Moning before, how does this one compare?

    First one I've listened to.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Lisa's voice was irritating to me. All the men's voices were great.


    Was The Highlander's Touch worth the listening time?

    Only in that I didn't have any other audible book to listen to on my commute to work.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm spoiled. Having long been a Diana Gabaldon "Outlander" series fan, I was looking for another Scottish series to read/listen to while waiting for Book #9 to be written and for the mini-series to return in April. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series and so decided to try it.

    I think my disappointment stems from the inescapable comparison in writing and audible book narrations for the two series. If I had read/listened to these books first, I'm sure my enjoyment would have been much greater, but after Outlander, this book really paled in comparison.

    Sorry Ms. Moning. I cannot write myself, and so I give you kudos and great credit for writing these books, but they didn't do it for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18921)
    Performance
    (13018)
    Story
    (12912)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Lulu says: "The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books"
    "ONE OF THE BEST READS EVER"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Outlander in three words, what would they be?

    Epic, enthralling, captivating


    What other book might you compare Outlander to and why?

    There really isn't any comparable book that I have read.

    My other Desert Island book is Pride and Prejudice which I have read so many times I can't even begin to guess. And although they are two completely different stories in two different eras written in totally different styles at different times in history, the couples at the center of both stories are strong, good people who you would want in your life. Love all four of these fictional people and wish they were real.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Too many to choose just one. I think overall my favorites are when Jamie's humor is on display. I am in awe of Diana Gabaldon's mind to be able to write the dialogue of these wonderful characters. Such wit, humor, intelligence and good sense, all rolled into Jamie and Claire. Amazing talent on display.


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

    Extreme reactions every couple pages!

    The hero and heroine of the story are both smart, funny, resilient, capable, dedicated, loyal and totally in love with each other. Jamie Fraser is the kind of man any woman of any time period or generation would want in their life. He's everything you want in a mate, and yet he's certainly not perfect. Claire is so capable and adaptable - so unlike most of us 21st century females - she deserves the love of a man like Jamie.

    The book has adventure, romance, humor, political intrigue, wonderful locations, and everything in between. It's a treasure of a book....and a series.


    Any additional comments?

    Davina Porter is another treasure. Having read the books before listening to the audio books I never in a million years would have thought that a woman could pull off what she does with these books. Her voices for the men, especially Jamie, are spot on and her use of different voices and accents as needed are amazing. These books would have been ruined with the wrong narrator. Only now that they are making this series of books into a Starz mini-series and we now know what Sam Heughen's voice as Jamie will sound like can I replace Davina's voice in my head when I read. Until now she had become my voice of Jamie. Another extreme talent is Ms. Porter.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Darcy's Proposal

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Susan Mason-Milks
    • Narrated By Marian Hussey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    A Pride and Prejudice What if? Story... This re-telling of Pride and Prejudice asks "what if" events prevented Fitzwilliam Darcy from proposing to Elizabeth Bennet that day at Hunsford parsonage? Darcy arrives with marriage on his mind, only to find Elizabeth has just received news her father is critically ill and not expected to live. In the process of offering his help to her in traveling home, Darcy discovers what she really thinks of him-and it's not good.

    Sheila says: "A Long Haul Getting Through This"
    "A Long Haul Getting Through This"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Mr. Darcy's Proposal?

    As a long time reader of Jane Austen fanfiction, I found this book so long and drawn out and unrealistic, even by Darcy & Lizzy misunderstanding standards, that I couldn't wait for it to be over and even skipped ahead a chapter or two a couple times.


    What was most disappointing about Susan Mason-Milks’s story?

    As fans of Pride & Prejudice know, Lizzy is smart and opinionated and not afraid to express what she's thinking. Why would she, even knowing that her husband finds her attractive and claims he loves her and shows her affection in between times of pulling away from her for no good reason, why would she go MONTHS and never ask him why he won't come to her bed and consummate their marriage? It makes absolutely no sense to me that she never calls him on this, especially as her feelings toward him get more loving and she thinks about the children she hopes to someday have with him. She is not the Lizzy I know and love and it's all very frustrating. They seem to make some headway and then he backs totally off again and she doesn't question him about it. The book should have been half as long.


    What aspect of Marian Hussey’s performance would you have changed?

    I didn't care for her voice for Darcy and even when there was specific "direction" in the written word as to how something was said, she didn't usually read it in the right way. Disappointing.


    What character would you cut from Mr. Darcy's Proposal?

    None. There were few extraneous characters in the book.


    Any additional comments?

    I am familiar with the author's other works and maybe this just isn't her best. Maybe it's an earlier work before she has improved and tightened up her writing style. I wouldn't waste my money or credit on this one if you are a true lover of P&P and Darcy & Lizzy.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lord of Scoundrels

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Loretta Chase
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (765)
    Performance
    (706)
    Story
    (705)

    Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the "Bane and Blight of the Ballisters", and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He's determined to continue doing what he does best - sin and sin again - and all's going swimmingly…until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.

    Marcheta says: "Witty dialogue highlights battle between the sexes"
    "Still Wonderful After Many Years"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Lord of Scoundrels in three words, what would they be?

    Witty, touching, exemplary


    What other book might you compare Lord of Scoundrels to and why?

    It's difficult to compare this romance novel with any other book because it is so much better written (the dialogue is laugh out loud funny and so much better written) than most romance novels. And comparing a romance novel to other types of novels is difficult. The strong witty heroine, Jessica, reminds me a bit of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice although I'd never compare the two books side by side. And the tormented and defensive Dain, he breaks your heart while at the same time you want to hit upside of the head.


    What does Kate Reading bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Aside from Davina Porter's narrations of the Outlander series, Kate Reading is in a class by herself. She brings the book to life and her timing is impeccable. It's like watching it performed on stage. Amazing narration. Davina and Kate are now my two favorite narrators (with the exception of Colin Firth's narration of The End of the Affair and that is strictly because that man can read the obituaries or the phone book and sound wonderful)!


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

    I had read this book many years ago twice and loved it. I had forgotten, however, why I had loved it so much. Ms. Reading reminded me within 60 seconds why this romance novel is in another level of excellence than other romance novels. I laughed outloud often, especially during the first half, and found my eyes misting at other points. That's what makes this book so special. The full gambit of emotions. Not just hop in bed over and over again.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't hesitate to buy this audiobook. It's a delight. Both authoress and narrator are at the top of their games.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3022)
    Performance
    (2655)
    Story
    (2682)

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "Well Done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Casual Vacancy in three words, what would they be?

    Family, Community, Reality


    If you could rename The Casual Vacancy, what would you call it?

    Behind Closed Doors


    Any additional comments?

    Having not read the Harry Potter series, I had no preconceived ideas of Rowling's writing skills. Making oodles of money from a series of adolescent/preteen novels does not necessarily mean the writer's talent is extraordinary - only that her conceived storytelling ideas are engrossing and unique. I enjoyed this book and it's construction and now know that Ms. Rowling is a great writer in addition to being a great storyteller.

    The idea that we don't really know what's going on in the lives of the people we think we know and what they really think of us is universal. The folks in this story could be living in any community in the western world. I know most of them in my own little subdivision!

    Tom Hollander does a fine job of reading. The narrator can make or break any novel and I thought his pacing and his inflections were spot on. Good job1

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Proposal

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Mary Balogh
    • Narrated By Rebecca De Leeuw
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (213)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (190)

    Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Mary Balogh delights fans with historical romantic tales that touch the heart. After her husband dies in a freak accident, Lady Gwendoline Muir never dreams she’ll love again. So when soldier-turned-nobleman Lord Hugo Trentham stirs feelings in her that have lain dormant for years, she can’t help but imagine his strong embrace. Hugo finds himself drawn to Gwen, but he’s never courted a woman before. Can he muster the right words to make Gwen open her heart and love once more?

    ~~ DARA ~~ says: "So Very Romantic!"
    "Another Balogh Hit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Proposal again? Why?

    Most definitely. I have read many of Mary Balogh's novels and some are true treasures. I think this might be one of them. Not her best, but very enjoyable. But the best part was the wonderful narration by Rebecca de Leeuw. I can't think of another female reader, aside from Davina Porter, who can transfix you and easily move from one voice to another and do male voices so well. Often the female readers have little quirks about their voices that drive me mad..


    What did you like best about this story?

    The hero, Hugo, as not born to the peerage but who tries to do what's best for his sister, but who refuses to follow all the "gentleman's" rules. And his struggle to forgive himself for what he has taken part in in the war with Napoleon. He's a hero to everyone but himself. It's a real struggle for him to love himself enough to give his love to a woman. I really liked this character.


    Have you listened to any of Rebecca De Leeuw’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I'd like to have her do other Balogh stories.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Abigail Reynolds
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Klett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    It's the best of all worlds - five short Pride & Prejudice variations by best-selling writer Abigail Reynolds gathered in one volume. Can Mr. Darcy win Elizabeth Bennet's heart... or will they misunderstand each other forever? Can he stand by and watch Elizabeth lose everything she holds precious... including him?

    Sheila says: "Love Abigail's P&P Stories"
    "Love Abigail's P&P Stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to A Pemberley Medley again? Why?

    Yes, as I have read all these stories over the years many times and always enjoy my favorite literary couple's re-imaginings.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Can't have Darcy without Elizabeth. All ladies want to BE Elizabeth and want to WIN THE LOVE AND DEVOTION of Darcy. All other characters are minor. They are Lizzy and Darcy's stories.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Elizabeth Klett’s performances?

    If I had the choice of listening to the same story by Ms. Klett or another narrator, I would probably choose the other narrator. I found Ms. Klett's slight lisp, especially on the word "Elizabeth", which is everywhere in the story, annoying to say the least. It became more and more difficult to hear - like fingernails on a chalkboard. Seeing as it's also the narrator's own name, I found it even more annoying. It was a subtle lisp, but when the word occurs hundreds of times in a story it drives me crazy.Perhaps it is something about an English accent and the word Elizabeth since another of Ms. Reynold's stories, with a different narrator, also seemed to have a lisp as well. Maybe it's my ears, but I am quite used to listening to actresses with an English accent and don't hear this type of subtle lisp in them. Maybe it's the recording equipment.


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

    I always enjoy Abigail's variations on P&P. She has a great knack with writing humor (wit).


    Any additional comments?

    The wonderful stories overrides the slight qualms I had with the narrator, so overall I would not discourage others to listen to this audiobook. Perhaps I am too picky.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sharp Objects

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Ann Marie Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3731)
    Performance
    (2998)
    Story
    (3023)

    Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker's troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, Camille's first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

    Kelley says: "I agree with Stephen King"
    "Narrator ruined the experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend Sharp Objects to your friends? Why or why not?

    I know this was a best seller as are the author's other novels, but I was disappointed in this book. I was looking forward to reading it. The other members of my book club did like it though, so I guess I am in the minority. I thought the clue's dropped were so obvious it made the suspense disappear for me. Maybe the fact that I did not enjoy the first 1/3 due to the narrator's reading, maybe that could explain why I was turned off in the end.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ann Marie Lee’s performances?

    No. Her very slow reading made me want to shake her and tell her to wake up. This was my book club's read for the month and I thought it would be fun to listen to it instead of read it. The narrator made the book drag so much I finally got the book from the library and finished the last 2/3 by reading it myself. I couldn't take her reading anymore.


    Do you think Sharp Objects needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. I really couldn't connect with Camille by the end of the book. I didn't care what happened to her.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Acheron: A Dark-Hunter Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Sherrilyn Kenyon
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1384)
    Performance
    (833)
    Story
    (843)

    Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. His human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Brought back against his will, he became the sole defender of mankind.

    Josaphine says: "Yumm!"
    "Mixed Feelings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, with a small reservation. I read many of the DH books several years back and then got away from them as they began to feel tedious. I did, however, always want to know more about Acheron, and when the novel originally came out I found little time for reading and so put it off. I came to this audiobook with great expectations.Although I understand the need to show how horribly horrific his early life was, after awhile it too became tedious. The biggest disappointment was Risa's failure to understand that Ash would never say no to her because he knew she was the only person on the earth who really cared about him, and yet she continues to ask him to do things and go places that would, in the end, end up with him being cruelly punished while she was powerless to do anything to help him. He tells her he's not allowed to do this or go there and she comes up with some weak reason why he will be safe - and then he never is. She is just too dumb and naive. Once the story came to present day I liked it much better - not because he wasn't being beaten and sliced and diced anymore, but because there wasn't some silly girl getting him into trouble because she was so stupid. Tori was a much better female presence than Risa was.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Acheron?

    Acheron making love to Tori for the first time.


    What three words best describe Holter Graham’s voice?

    Great for all the male voices and irritatingly Valley Girl for the women's voices - especially Risa's. She always sounded like a child rather than his big/grown sister. I did like Simi's voice, however.


    What would have made this romance irresistible?

    The romance was fine as it is.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (2099)
    Performance
    (1105)
    Story
    (1112)

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem.

    Katelyn says: "One word - Awesome!"
    "Pleasantly Surprised"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

    The altered treatment of George Wickham as compared to canon. This is what we all hoped Darcy would do to him in the original.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

    Charlotte explaining to Lizzy what had happened to her.


    Which character – as performed by Katherine Kellgren – was your favorite?

    Lizzy


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Moved? Not exactly. It isn't the kind of book that "moves" you. It is a spoof and as such is tongue in cheek in the altered parts.


    Any additional comments?

    As a true Janeite for many years I was skeptical about the idea of placing Zombies into my most beloved story. Surprisingly I found it fun, although I believe Jane Austen should get first billing in the authorship since he changed/added very little to the original text. I'd guess less than 5% of the total word count was Seth's and the rest Ms. Austen.

    I believe listening to this was more enjoyable than if I had read it. It was an enjoyable listen. I think I might even give the Dawn of the Dreadfuls a go after listening to this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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