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Sarah

Philadelphia, PA, United States | Member Since 2009

42
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 40 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4598)
    Performance
    (3863)
    Story
    (3872)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Jimmy says: "Epic, Remarkable, Easy & Enjoyable!"
    "Solid, but nothing like Herman Wouk/Kevin Periseau"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Winter of the World explores the events leading up to/during WWII using perspectives from characters representing the main players (U.S., U.K., U.S.S.R., and Germany). Follett clearly did a lot of research and even teases out some of the less-popularly-explored parts of the War (for example: the Battle of Cable Street, an East End protest against a British Union of Fascists march in 1936). The storylines are good--some of the torture scenes are (I think unnecessarily) graphic, and there are a few too many gratuitous sex scenes for my taste. The way the characters' stories intertwine is perhaps a bit predictable, but I suppose that is how epic drama genres generally work.

    In the end, though, I think the main reason I was even drawn to this book because I miss so much Herman Wouk's The Winds of War/War and Remembrance. Where Wouk's characters were deeply developed, Follett's seem contrived. Wouk's writing, though just as gripping (perhaps even more so, because of the wonderful characters), is not sensational or trite in the way that Follett's can be. John Lee, though certainly a good and well-respected reader, has nothing on Kevin Periseau: when one has had the experience of listening to Periseau's remarkable character studies and even singing, Lee's narration (though good) seems a little empty.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Murder at the Breakers

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alyssa Maxwell
    • Narrated By Eva Kaminsky
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, 21-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts' summer home. She also has a job to do - report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer. But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder.

    Sarah says: "Historical Fiction, without the History."
    "Historical Fiction, without the History."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know that this book is not meant to be Serious Literature, and I was searching for something casual and easy when I purchased it, but...
    Did Alyssa Maxwell do any research when she wrote this book? It reads more like a guidebook (for children) to Newport than historical fiction. The author's perspective seems an attempt at describing the past from a present (tourist) point-of-view instead of historical fiction written with integrity, which at its best should pull a reader into a time and place so that it almost feels lived. And appropriate linguistic details are lacking: I am sure, for example, that no heroine--spunky though she may have been--would have said "Oops" in Gilded-Age-Newport.
    Eva Kaminsky's narration takes this experience from bad to worse: her always-slightly-ironic-and-smug voice makes the characters sound like millenials (but not even real ones--just the kind of stereotypical millenial the media love to lambast).
    I am returning this book so that I can use my credit more wisely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Holy Disorders: A Gervase Fen Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Edmund Crispin
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    Holy Disorders takes Oxford don and part-time detective, Gervase Fen to the town of Tolnbridge, where he is happily bounding around with a butterfly net until the cathedral organist is murdered, giving Fen the chance to play sleuth.

    Coffee Lover says: "Crispin Can't be Bettered!"
    "keep a dictionary on your passenger seat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Crispin's writing style is superbly witty and his sentences are so effectively put-together that one feels cleverer and more intelligent just for listening. And the level of knowledgeable detail for all aspects of the characters' interests and idiosyncrasies--butterfly-catching, church and organ music, English literature, the Anglican Church--assures the reader that Crispin was one of those supremely well-educated English Renaissance men of the 20th century.

    Even though Stephen Thorne's narration was quite successful and entertaining, I enjoyed this so much that I ordered all of the treasury editions of Crispin's mysteries. I hate to miss one (I'm a reader who likes to go in order) and Audible is missing some of the novels.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2604)
    Performance
    (2325)
    Story
    (2310)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "how many obstacles can a protagonist encounter?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    About halfway through, I started to wonder how I could possibly have fifteen more hours to go. The historical detail was wonderful, the story was an interesting one, but it just went on too long. There were several times when the book could have been wrapped up, but instead the author just provided a new twist that ended up being fairly meaningless to the overall story. Also, characters appear to add intrigue or some development, but then they disappear and their importance to the plot is never explained (or realized).
    Summary: it was good and it was interesting, but it was far too long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Habits of the House

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Fay Weldon
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (131)

    As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert’s wife, Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady’s maid who orders the life of her mistress.

    Cindy says: "A Downtonlike story read by my favorite narrator?"
    "skip this and go to the primary sources"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was boring--slim on plot and characters with any personality whatsoever. I find it hard to believe that it is only one of a forthcoming trilogy. If it is meant, as I suspect, to appeal to "Downton Abbey" or "Upstairs, Downstairs" fans in the "off-season," then editors are either severely underestimating the fans' intelligence levels or I am overestimating them. I hope the former, but fear the latter.

    Do your brain a favor and use your credit on Edith Wharton or Henry James. If you want to know more about servant's lives, read any of the well-researched books or memoirs: "Up and Down Stairs," by Jeremy Musson, or "Below Stairs," by Margaret Powell.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Marking Time

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Jane Howard
    • Narrated By Jill Balcon
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    At Home Place, the windows are blacked out and food is becoming scarce as a new generation of Cazalets takes up the story. Louise dreams of being a great actress, Clary is an aspiring writer, while Polly, is burdened with knowledge and the need to share it. This is the sequel to "The Light Years".

    Sarah says: "Gentle, but Compelling"
    "Gentle, but Compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed both this book and its predecessor in the quartet, _The Light Years_, for its range of characters--mostly sweet and kind people who are flawed in relatable ways. The narrator is excellent. These are books that I don't have to tune into every day, as the plot continues gently and is more about the thoughts and feelings of the many characters than about exciting development, but I find myself becoming more and more drawn in as the books proceed. I feel connected to the characters and think about them, almost as real people, even when I'm not listening.
    I am looking forward to the final two in the series.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Time In Between: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Maria Duenas
    • Narrated By Zilah Mendoza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (87)

    The thrilling, internationally bestselling novel about a haute couture seamstress who becomes an undercover spy for the British Secret Service during World War II. #1 bestseller in Spain with more than 1.5 million copies sold, The Time In Between has taken readers by storm with its unforgettable tale of adventure, tragedy, love, and war. Readers will fall in love with MarÍa DueÑas’s dazzlingly inspiring heroine, Sira Quiroga.

    Sarah says: "terrible narration"
    "terrible narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I haven't even made it to the end and could not stop myself from commenting on the narrator's flat, lackluster performance and many, many mispronounced (English) words. I am enjoying the story, which is the only reason I predict that I will make it to the end (that, and the fact that I paid for this one, having used all my credits for the month).
    Pick this one up in paper form from the library or bookstore.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • War and Remembrance

    • UNABRIDGED (56 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (1796)
    Performance
    (1514)
    Story
    (1501)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with The Winds of War and continues here in War and Remembrance, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    aaron says: "What can I say that hasn't already been said??"
    "some of the best narration I've ever heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kevin Pariseau has done another outstanding job in this sequel to _The Winds of War_, bringing to life each character and connecting each narrative thread throughout this long and involved history. There are so many aspects of the story and history that are enhanced by Pariseau's reading; his singing of Jewish songs (in Yiddish and English), for example, made me feel a much deeper connection with the story that I could not possibly have created for myself while reading from a printed page.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winds of War

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2599)
    Performance
    (2188)
    Story
    (2193)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    Robert says: "A Masterpiece"
    "splendid narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed the story so much: Wouk combined interesting, engaging characters with fantastically well-researched historical information, described in an approachable way. The narration takes this production to the next level, though; Kevin Pariseau gets the accents, personalities, and even the songs down pat. Wonderful. I went through the first 24 hours of the book in no time, shocking myself every time I reached the end of an 8-hr section and had to download the next!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (7840)
    Performance
    (4562)
    Story
    (4547)

    Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

    Louis says: "Loved it and learned alot."
    "easy listening"
    Overall

    A good choice for menial household tasks and trips to the dog park--not too much thinking required. I'm not too disappointed, as that's what I was doing when I listened, but wouldn't have kept me going on a long road trip.
    Predictable characters, each with predictable stories and dialogue--even a few lines I found myself saying out loud before the narrator read them. But an easy overview to some of the political and military decisions made during WWI, and a useful illustrator of some of the feelings that contributed to WWII. The gratuitous sex and its description was unnecessary.

    19 of 25 people found this review helpful

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