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Alison

Washington, DC, United States

ratings
122
REVIEWS
24
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • The Aviator's Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Melanie Benjamin
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    Overall
    (561)
    Performance
    (491)
    Story
    (500)

    For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.

    Audrey says: "The Megalomaniac's Wife"
    "Can't believe she was a feminist."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Aviator's Wife rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Average, not stellar. The story was fine, but I think I was emotionally turned off. I headed into it without much knowledge of the Lindberghs other than that he was a pilot, she was a feminist and their baby was kidnapped. This book did a good job filling in the gaps - but I found it hard to reconcile this version of Anne Morrow Lindbergh with the feminist - she seemed to tolerate a lot of crap and dish out a lot of self-pity. I know it was fictionalized, but she wasn't a very inspiring or sympathetic character, and Charles seemed like a Grade-A douche.

    Don't get me wrong - it's a quick listen and a fun way to fill your gaps about the LIndbergh lore, but it's hard to find a single character you actually like.


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

    It made me want to kick everyone... Anne needed to grow a set and Charles needed to have his set removed.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Casebook: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Mona Simpson
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    From the acclaimed and award-winning author of Anywhere But Here and My Hollywood, a powerful new novel about a young boy’s quest to uncover the mysteries of his unraveling family. What he discovers turns out to be what he least wants to know: the inner workings of his parents’ lives. And even then he can’t stop searching.

    Alison says: "Just OK."
    "Just OK."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to like this. I was hoping for an adult version of Harriet the Spy, told from a boy's perspective. Instead, I got a front seat for the end of a marriage told through one boy's love for his mother. The story itself would be fine if the title didn't gear me up for a sleuth-like tale. The spying felt a bit forced, as if it were an after-thought or a device introduced to filter the narrative. Don't get me wrong - the book gathers steam as it goes and the second-half is better than the first, though I think part of that was my willingness to shift focus and accept the story for what it was rather than what I wanted it to be.

    So in summary: it's a fine story if you're looking for a book about the complexity of relationships. If you're only buying it because you liked the cover or title - skip it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Keeper

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2839)
    Performance
    (2435)
    Story
    (2447)

    England, 1959: Laurel Nicolson is 16 years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

    Maria says: "Kate Morton (and Caroline Lee) does it again!"
    "A fun escape!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first Kate Morton book, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Bottomline: Based on this one, I'll check out another. If you're looking for great literature, you'll be disappointed. But if you're looking for a mystery that doesn't follow the traditional mold, then you'll enjoy this. I would call it a beach read, but it's a bit longer than your typical vacation book. The story toggles between WWII, the early 1960s and present day, and between narrators - yet it isn't confusing and the pacing doesn't feel contrived or annoying. This is a story of loss, love, second chances, deception and atonement. The narration seems simplistic at times, but it's easily forgiven if you allow yourself to go with the fun of the mystery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Chris Hadfield
    • Narrated By Chris Hadfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (200)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (188)

    Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success - and survival - is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst and enjoy every moment of it.

    Ann says: "Bought this three times, worth every penny"
    "Real life rocket man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    If you've ever been curious about space travel and all the work that goes into it, then you'll find this to be a well-written, interesting true story by a recently retired astronaut. Hadfield is at his best when he's describing the experience since it's as close as I'll ever come to space. The "life lessons" imparted throughout don't really strengthen the story and make it a bit preachy. I think he would've been better served if he'd simply focused on his bio without the take-aways. That said, it's still a great read. It made this week's launch of the Soyuz (and its delay in connecting with ISS) really come to life for me. He seems like a solid human, and I was glad to see that he realized his life's dream.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1112)
    Performance
    (1005)
    Story
    (989)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "If only Bryson had been my history teacher..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    If Bill Bryson wrote history textbooks, my knowledge on the topic would likely be improved ten-fold. He’s such a great storyteller, he’s able to suss out the interesting details that make people, places and times come to life.

    In One Summer, he specifically focuses on the events of 1927, though - in honesty - it seems like that’s kind of an excuse for him to write about whatever he found interesting in the first quarter of the century, since he often backtracks to provide back-story leading up to the events of 1927. Regardless, it’s a great ride. One of the reviews I read criticized the book for being disjointed because Bryson hops from topic to topic without a clear plan. That might bother some people, but I didn’t find it distracting.

    This book touches on:


    * Babe Ruth
    * Lou Gerhig
    * Charles Lindbergh
    * Aviation
    * Henry Ford (in general, but also the Model T, the Model A and - most interestingly - Fordlandia)
    * The mafia (specifically Chicago and Al Capone)
    * Prohibition
    * Hollywood

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Bayou

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By James Daniels, Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1015)
    Performance
    (823)
    Story
    (826)

    Declan Fitzgerald had always been the family maverick, but even he couldn't understand his impulse to buy a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans. All he knew was that ever since he saw Manet Hall, he'd been enchanted - and obsessed - with it. So when the opportunity to buy the house comes up Declan jumps at the chance to live out a dream.

    Phyllis says: "Not the Norm"
    "Couldn't even finish it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This was my first Nora Roberts book. I've long avoided her because I thought she primarily penned formulaic romances. So when this popped up as the Daily Deal, I read the reviews and the majority of them focused on the mystery-aspect of the plot, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to check her out.

    I swear, I really did go in with an open mind. But I couldn't even make it half-way through the book before abandoning. The premise was interesting enough and the writing wasn't horrible... but I just find romance/bodice rippers to be lame. Eventually that part of the story outweighed the good and I felt I was wasting my time listening to trash. (Lest you think I'm prudish or anti-sex - I'm not. I just appreciate it being a thin vein of the story as opposed to its main artery.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4809)
    Performance
    (4380)
    Story
    (4371)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "History with a heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Whenever I start a book of historical fiction, I find often get frustrated because the author is so busy trying to construct the setting, that s/he neglects the characters and delivers two-dimensional paper dolls. Not Sue Monk Kidd. This book did a great job establishing very vivid characters and using their personal plights to illuminate the reality of that time period. While it's certainly an exploration of slavery and the morality of "owning" other humans, the real theme is independence - both what it means for slaves, and what it means to the daughter of a prominent southern family. This book doesn't resonate as emotionally as "The Secret Life of Bees," but it's well-written and thought provoking, with characters you can't help but root for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ben Fountain
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (308)
    Performance
    (274)
    Story
    (275)

    A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal" - three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew - has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America's most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys....

    Melinda says: "Oh-ooo Say, Can We See?"
    "Not what I expected - in a good way!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Usually war books don't do it for me. But this story is so wholly different, I not only enjoyed it, but recommended to to several people. The entire story takes place on Thanksgiving Day, when Billy and his crew are attending a Cowboys game before deploying back to Iraq. Although everything unfolds over one day, the author manages to weave in a lot of other threads - about their time in Iraq, about the friendship the guys share, about the family drama on the home-front. It's a cleverly constructed story, but what I enjoyed most was the humor - both in the form of dialogue between the soldiers (which may offend some because it's f-bomb heavy, but it rang true and hilarious to me), and the more subtle humor, which the author used to deliver an almost-under-the-radar political commentary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Susannah Cahalan
    • Narrated By Heather Henderson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (983)
    Performance
    (879)
    Story
    (883)

    In 2009, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room strapped to a bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records - from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory - reported psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four-year-old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter

    Brian Quaranta says: "For those interested in neurology & psychology"
    "What a nightmare!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I normally don't go in for "true drama" stories, but I purchased this because it was a daily deal and sounded intriguing. Since that's not my genre of choice, I'm glad I got it on sale, but if you DO generally like that genre, this is a good listen. It's well written, it moves quickly, and it is easy to sympathize with the protagonist. It's almost like a feeling of claustrophobia, imagining what it would be like to realize you're going crazy but not knowing why. I found it interesting enough that I googled both the author and the disease after finishing the book to learn more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 600 Hours of Edward

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Craig Lancaster
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (534)
    Performance
    (492)
    Story
    (491)

    A 39-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10:00 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10:00 p.m.). But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone....

    Lulu says: "A Very Good Book with a Very Difficult Hero"
    "If you liked "Silver Linings Playbook...""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book had mixed reviews, so I was slow to pull the trigger. When I started, I found the repetition of "I like facts" to be somewhat annoying - but I powered through and it ended up fading to the background. I'm glad I ignored that minor blip, because the overall story was compelling, well constructed, and well told. The performer did a great job reading it too - I think it probably was more effective as an audiobook than a printed book. I'd definitely recommend it - especially to anyone who enjoyed "Silver Linings Playbook." It's not the same story, but it has enough of the same vibe for that to be a good indicator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Sheryl Sandberg
    • Narrated By Elisa Donovan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2296)
    Performance
    (2026)
    Story
    (2033)

    Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business - has become one of America's most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.

    Claudia says: "Make your life count - no matter what you do"
    "Why did I wait so long to read this?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    From its first sentences, this book spoke to me. I found myself walking and nodding, fist-pumping as Sandberg nailed it. FINALLY, I thought, someone is speaking my language. She did a great job presenting a balanced case for feminism - one that should appeal not only to successful professional women like myself, but also full-time mothers, women balancing work and children, and even men - not only the supportive husbands and fathers of women, but also the men leading companies. She made a great case for how fostering equality for women helps everyone.


    Any additional comments?

    Since listening to this book, I've recommended it to every woman I talk to and have purchased it for three others - including two who are also senior leaders in my company. Some of us may have succeeded individually, but we owe it to society to help lift others with us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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