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L. Wilson

NJ, USA

1
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 29 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Death of the Heart

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    Orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London. There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and he fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reaason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal.

    John S. says: "Narration makes the story here"
    "Perfect sentences, perfectly narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had this book on my TBR shelf for nearly 2 years. I couldn't part with it without reading it, but I never claimed it for a weekend jaunt. Instead, I decided to listen to it on audio. It was amazing!!!! The writing is fantastically detailed and the narrator brought the characters to life. I appreciated each perfect sentence uttered iin a British accent.

    My heart broke over and over for Portia. Such a "sweet kid" as she was affectionately and derisively known by others. She was doing her best to make her way in an unfamiliar world, hoping for a semblance of a family. Instead, she too soon learns the reality of the falesness of adults and the limits of love.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Fault in Our Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12711)
    Performance
    (11643)
    Story
    (11708)

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

    FanB14 says: "Sad Premise, Fantastic Story"
    "Very good story...some excellent narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story is very moving. I have not read much YA lit in my middle age, and I am happily surprised by the depth of language and metaphor in this story. Beautifully written and it feels real. I appreciate the opportunity to understand the personal experience of cancer by learning from Hazel and Augustus. Although it is ostensibly a sad story, I smiled quite a bit as I listened to the great characters and dialogue.

    My main concern with the narration is that the first few chapters felt like the we're being read at breakneck speed. I kept checking my iPhone to make sure the speed setting was correct. Either I gotta used to it, or it slowed down and was then a fine performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6210)
    Performance
    (5377)
    Story
    (5371)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Fantastic in every way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fantastic! Wow, can Jess Walter write! He describes this book perfectly when referring to it as a "braid" of stories. I am not always a fan of books with many characters and subplots, but Walters made me care about all of them, especially Dee/ Deborah and Pasquale. The other characters, while not as "likable," we're just as compelling in the confusion of their lives.

    And, the narration was such a pleasure to listen to. So many voices, so many accents, all done very well. I look forward to hearing more from this narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Quickening Maze

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Adam Foulds
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    Based on real events, The Quickening Maze won over UK critics and readers alike with its rapturous prose and vivid exploration of poetry and madness. In 1837, after years of struggling with alcoholism and depression, the great nature poet John Clare finds himself in High Beach—a mental institution located in Epping Forest on the outskirts of London.

    L. Wilson says: "Beautiful prose but story fell flat"
    "Beautiful prose but story fell flat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was eager to hear this story due to my love of poetry and interest in the link between poetry and mental illness. So much of this was beautifully written and narrated, but I found it hard to follow the constantly changing point of view. I thought too many stories were told without greater effect for having included them. Overall, gorgeus but ultimately boring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matrimony

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Joshua Henkin
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    It's the fall of 1986, and Julian Wainwright, an aspiring writer, arrives at Graymont College in New England. Here he meets Carter Heinz, with whom he develops a strong but ambivalent friendship, and beautiful Mia Mendelsohn, with whom he falls in love. Spurred on by a family tragedy, Julian and Mia's love affair will carry them to graduation and beyond, taking them through several college towns, over the next 15 years.

    Marcia says: "HO HUM"
    "Pretty good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this as audio book as it was on my TBR shelf for so long that it was the only way to get to it. I loved some of Henkin's phrasing and use of metaphor, but overall, this story had more detail and length than was needed. Or maybe because so much of it was ordinary, it just felt like real life happening without dramatic plot twists. And, I must say there were a number of editorial misses, like the scent of lilacs in November and the characters noting that they heard voices from the street when inside a 17th floor luxury apartment. This errors made me trust the author and the story a little less.

    Narrator okay. Differentiated characters with use of accent more than tone, which I found a little distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How It All Began

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Penelope Lively
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (205)

    When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true.

    Molly-o says: "Wonderful and beautifully written"
    "Great story, superb narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book!!! It could be that I listened to it on a great audio recording, but I believe it to be much more than that. Fluid, insightful writing, a well-integrated storyline, and the examination of the meaning of story and fiction are close to my heart. A storyline about a random act that has repercussions across several lives could be predictable, but this felt fresh to the very last sentence. I did find that this theme was mentioned explicitly by several characters over time, and normally that might annoy me. But here, it worked. It all did.

    Have already urged others to pick this up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Gabrielle Hamilton
    • Narrated By Gabrielle Hamilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (687)
    Performance
    (456)
    Story
    (459)

    Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Above all she sought family, particularly the thrill and the magnificence of the one from her childhood that, in her adult years, eluded her. Hamilton’s ease and comfort in a kitchen were instilled in her at an early age when her parents hosted grand parties, often for more than one hundred friends and neighbors.

    loix says: "A sensory feast"
    "Way too egocentric for my taste"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    If you love good writing, you will love this memoir. Hamilton can make a sentence sound as good as the meals she prepares. You will also love this book if you can bear her sense of self-righteousness about how food is prepared, about how people should behave at a farmer’s market, and if you think it is okay to hate another person because of the way they choose their coffee (double espresso, half decaf latte). I came to abhor her self-centeredness, especially at the very end when she holds her family hostage while she has a blood sugar attack but refuses to eat at an ordinary restaurant. Really? A chef who can’t remember to bring a little food with her when travelling with 2 toddlers to avoid a circumstance just like this?

    In the first half of the book, Hamilton is generous with her stories and her love of what is important to her; enough to make me want to try some foods I wouldn’t normally consider or adventures that are far riskier than I am used to. I admired the way she envisioned her restaurant and made it happen. (Of course, calling herself a “reluctant” chef feels like a marketing ploy as she seems anything but.) However, once she is married, she can’t seem to get enough of putting down her husband and even having the poor grace to complain about a month in Italy every year. Maybe it’s because I listened to the audio book - which she narrates herself - that I come away with a sense of her total self-absorption disguised as wanting to feed her guests and love her children. I finished this book only so that I could close this chapter of my reading life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Father's Secret War: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Lucinda Franks
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    In this moving and compelling memoir about parent and child, father and daughter, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lucinda Franks discovers that the remote, nearly impassive man she grew up with had in fact been a daring spy behind enemy lines in World War II. Sworn to secrecy, he began revealing details of his wartime activities only in the last years of his life, as he became afflicted with Alzheimer's. His exploits revealed a man of remarkable bravado.

    Sara says: "A Sad Story"
    "Too much of an interesting thing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I found the first 3/4 of this story to be engaging, even compelling, in some parts. Franks did deep into the family relationships that encircle her father. She remembers her intense love for him and his sweet protection and teaching of her as a little girl. But family life later disintegrates and her father becomes dependent on her. Her love, rage and disappointment tangle them up and this story is the gradual unknotting of their relationship.

    Franks is driven to know about her father's war time efforts. She uses her investigative reporting skills to uncover his story, initially against his will. This eventually draws them together. For me, the story finishes before the book does. The near final chapters tell of her continued search for details to get the full truth of his covert experiences. I was happy ending it with the details he shared and the meaning she made of them. I lost interest in the final verification of the same. It left me thinking: What is more important - The "real" truth or the meaning we make of our own truths?


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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