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Alissa

Arlington, VA, United States | Member Since 2004

29
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 135 ratings
  • 449 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Gay Salisbury, Laney Salisbury
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    The year is 1925. It is sixty degrees below zero. The wind sweeps tons of snow over the deep-frozen Alaskan landscape. The nearest railhead is seven hundred miles away. Airplanes cannot fly. The way to Nome is blocked by a treacherous frozen sound, an icebound port, and mountains to the west. But there is a diphtheria epidemic in Nome. The children need serum from the outside world if they are to survive. Their only hope is a few chosen Eskimo drivers and their teams of dogs.

    Susan Carter says: "The Cruelest Miles Makes Exciting Reading"
    "a cold book"
    Overall

    I liked thenarrator. His grizzled low voice lent itself well to the mushers in the story.
    But I was dissapointed with the story not because of the subject matter but because of the anticlamax. For an author who is able to take the reader onto the dog sled itself, he does a terrible job of describing the illness (just another case of excuciating bleeding membrane in the throat) and the sense of urgency, and I sometimes had trouble following where the dogs were and how much back-up serum remained. There were elements of the story (like the air rescue attempt) that I believe took away from the narrative. And the epilogue just got more and more depressing! Don't listen to it!
    This book may have come first, but I think that society is now saturated with TV dramas that attempt similar plot lines.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dragon's Tooth: Ashtown Burials, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By N. D. Wilson
    • Narrated By Thomas Vincent Kelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (56)

    For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room. Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world's secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia.

    Nancy Stubbs says: "Great story - great narration"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to like this book. I heard the author give an interview and I was excited to read a book about how the real world can be magical and how children have to take responsibility for their own learning so that they can participate in battling the world's evils. But instead the main characters keep waiting for adults and other Order members to take care of them, teach them, feed them, solve their problems for them. And the "real-life" villans sound nothing like the ones I'm familiar with. Rather than political despots and child abusers I was expecting, these 2-dimensional villans heave fireballs, steal dragon's teeth, and intrude telepathically into people's minds seemingly without motive. The description of place is also lacking. I keep finding myself imagining the scenes taking place in the dark.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16507)
    Performance
    (10774)
    Story
    (10654)

    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"
    "Excellent Setup, Poor Finish"
    Overall

    I basked in the first three quarters of this long but engaging tale of a woman transported back in time. The dialogue is natural and the characters fleshed out. The poetic explanation of what it feels like to be pregnant stands out in my mind. There are several suspenseful scenes that had me staying up late at night to finish them.

    But the author sets up some provocative situations that she then spends little time addressing later on. I don't think I'm spoiling anything to say that for a nurse who has just seen the atrocities of the Second World War, it surprised me that she spent no time musing about the morality of killing off the Hitler line before Adolph could be born. The nurse does have a conversation with a priest where she asks, "if you knew that a lot of people would get hurt, would you do anything to stop it?" But it turned out that she was thinking of trying to avert a single (albeit bloody) battle that took place in 1745. The 6x-great-grandfather of her 1945 husband turns out to be a vicious sadist, but she spends no time wondering if she loves her 1742 life enough to kill the sadist, thus preventing her 1945 husband from being born. The most frustrating part of the book for me was that the main character knows the date of the sadist's death but finds out that he did not die when she thought he would. But she looks down at the ring on her finger from 1945, notices it's still there, and the matter doesn't bother her any longer.

    Rather than explore the moral and temporal ramifications of the main character's actions, the last quarter of the book is silly and maudlin. It gives the story no forward momentum and prevents anything of substance from happening. Worst of all, the book ends before we find out how the nurse's actions might have influenced the immediate future.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • People of the Book

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Geraldine Brooks
    • Narrated By Edwina Wren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1057)
    Performance
    (508)
    Story
    (501)

    This ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in 15th-century Spain.

    When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding - an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair - only begin to unlock its deep mysteries.

    Yvette says: "Amazing, fabulous, wonderful!!!"
    "Fantastic Piece of Literature"
    Overall

    I was expecting to read a rather cheesy Passover story and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was nothing of the sort. An excellent storyline with fantastic vignettes, convincingly real dialogue, and authentic accents. The narrator was good enough that I could not tell which accent was her native tongue. Overall, a top-rate product.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dracula (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Full Cast
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Stylish gentlemen and ladies await their carriages in the Victorian London night. But lurking in the shadows is one of the creatures of the night, one who brings chilling fear to those he encounters, a man who cannot die yet must prey upon the blood of others to prolong his doomed existence...the vampire Dracula.

    Alissa says: "No horror to speak of"
    "No horror to speak of"
    Overall

    I chose this abridged version of Dracula because I wanted to learn the basic plot. I think that this abridgment might have strained out all the fun parts of the book.

    It seemed to me as though Dracula was a perfectly polite, if mysterious host, and Harker, the guest, comes off as this self-important worry wart with delusions that his host is trying to kill him.

    It reminded me of any number of old westerns where the cowboy hero fights against the Indian villains. But when you watch those films nowadays, they seem completely silly, and so does this version of the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Daniel G. Amen
    • Narrated By Marc Cashman
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    Daniel Amen, M.D., one of the world's foremost authorities on the brain, has news for you: your brain is involved in everything you do; learn to care for it properly, and you will be smarter, healthier, and happier in as little as 15 days!

    Kenneth W. James says: "A large advertisement and excessive repetition"
    "Better to read than listen"
    Overall

    This is the type of book that is not intended to be read all the way through, it's better to take the survey, then concentrate on the areas of the book that refer to your brain.
    I had the impression that there were many tables being read that would have made much more sense to look at than hear.
    Also, there is a recipe section of the book. Listening to recitaions of recipes is almost totally pointless.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Ireland

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Frank Delaney
    • Narrated By Frank Delaney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (632)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (170)

    One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside. In exchange for a bed and a warm meal, he invites his hosts and their neighbors to join him by the wintry fireside, and begins to tell formative stories of Ireland's history. Ronan, a 9-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the storytelling that, when the old man leaves abruptly under mysterious circumstances, the boy devotes himself to finding him again.

    S. Marie says: "A wonderfully read history of Ireland"
    "narrator problems"
    Overall

    Let me preface this comment by saying that I am an audio book addict.

    I'm not sure what it is about the narrator, but I can't seem to pay attention to him for more than a couple seconds without completely losing track and falling into a daze. I couldn't tell you what this story is even about.

    3 of 14 people found this review helpful

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