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Anne

ratings
130
REVIEWS
94
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
7
HELPFUL VOTES
172

  • 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
    (6285)
    Performance
    (5709)
    Story
    (5704)

    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!"
    "Highly recommend"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Breathtaking story. Sue Monk Kid has matched "The Secret Life of Bees" and I didn't think that was possible. This is a wonderful story, based on the life of the Grimke sisters of Charlotte, NC who were pioneers in the abolitionist and women's suffrage movement. At the end of the novel, Sue Monk Kidd spends a few minutes telling us how this novel developed and helping us understand what parts were historical and what parts were invented by her.

    The narrations of the two main characters - Sarah Grimke and Handful, the slave - by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye were extremely well done. They managed the tone and rhythm of each voice beautifully, along with the other characters in the novel.

    The story encompasses about 35 years of the lives of these two women, beginning when they were about 11 and following each of their parallel paths through some trying and, in some cases, harrowing times. Each is enslaved in a different way and the battles they must fight and the sacrifices they must make are sometimes difficult to reconcile with the idealized history of the USA that is often fed to us these days. Slavery was a terrible institution, backed by the mainline churches, enabled by financial and political institutions and supported by lies and more lies about what it really was like.

    The story also lays bare the helplessness of women at this time and the degree to which they too were enslaved, albeit often in velvet-lined cages that made it very difficult to escape. And if they tried, even the most ardent of male abolitionists often didn't want the womens' voices heard or their situation addressed.

    Kidd gave her characters depth and bredth, flaws and errors, but you really care about them.

    Highly recommend.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Every Reasonable Doubt: Vernetta Henderson Series No. 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Pamela Samuels Young
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (23)

    When attorneys Vernetta Henderson and Neddy McClain are tapped to take on the biggest case of their careers, they are less than thrilled about working together. Their strained relationship, however, is the least of their problems. Their socialite client - charged with the brutal murder of her husband - is demanding an immediate dismissal of the case. But a ruthless prosecutor is determined to make sure that doesn't happen.

    Amazon Customer says: "loved Special"
    "If you can get past the "What?!" parts..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this book OK. The plot is a good one and there are some well-drawn characters with depth and complexity whom I came to enjoy and care about.

    But there was some stuff that made me go, "What?!" The first was the part where, because Vernetta - a associate in a fairly small but apparently prestigious law firm - just won a really big civil suit, she ought to do a high profile criminal case. Um... what?

    The second was when she feels the need to see her OB-Gyn before she goes off the pill. ... What? Then it got downright weird when her gyno, upon learning that this young, healthy couple wants to make a baby, decides to do a "fertility workup" on them, starting with a sperm sample from her husband. This was laughable. All I could think was, "There is no OB on the planet that would order that before she has even gone off the pill, and certainly no insurance company that would cover it!"

    But my favorite was when, as the big important murder trial is coming to an end and the three defense attorneys are worrying about whether or not the prosecutor will tell the jury that the accused knew her husband was a cheating philanderer, it dawns on all three attorneys that no one has thought to interview the housekeeper of the victim and the accused - including, apparently, the police or the prosecutor. WHAT!?

    And it all cases, the author needed the results of these "What?" devises to move the plot. She ought to break that habit.

    If you can ignore this kind of thing, this is a pretty decent first attempt.

    Caveat: The choice of narrator seems strange. Almost every important character in this book is a female. The exceptions are Jefferson, Vernetta's husband; Riley, the managing partner in her firm; and Dave, one of the attorneys. But the narrator is male. He does the male voices - both black and white - fairly effectively, but I think he did a poor job overall on the female voices. His range of "female" seems very narrow and it's often difficult to tell which of the primary female characters is speaking.

    I have the second book in this series and I'm going to give it a try. I'm rather hoping things will have improved.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Bloody Jack

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By L.A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1454)
    Performance
    (943)
    Story
    (935)

    Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of 18th-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret.

    Terry says: "Sometimes it clicks"
    "Great fun if you can stand the narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise and the plot are both are both clever and fun - if you don't mind just ignoring certain issues related to a ... er ... "maturing" woman on a ship with almost no sanitary facilities that have to do with reality. But if you can reign in your inner skeptical grownup, you'll have fun with this story. What you won't have fun with is the narration. She does a nice job with most of the voices and the accents, but the modulation of her voice is painful and when Jacky whines or screams at full volume, be prepared to snatch those earbuds out of your ears quickly, lest you be rendered deaf. I found it irritating and highly distracting.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Birds of a Feather: Maisie Dobbs Mysteries

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Kim Hicks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (778)
    Performance
    (480)
    Story
    (480)

    Maisie Dobbs is back, and this time she has been hired to find a wealthy grocery magnate's daughter who has fled from home. What seems a simple case at first becomes complicated when Maisie learns of the recent violent deaths of three of the heiress's old friends. Is there a connection between her mysterious disappearance and the murders? Who would kill such charming young women? As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers to all her questions lie in the unforgettable agony of The Great War.

    Linda P-C says: "Yikes! This is a problem."
    "An unlikely favorite series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Maisie Dobbs. She's an unusual character in an interesting time and the narrator does a very nice job with all of the quirky and unusual characters that clutter Maisie's life. I appreciated the quality of this mystery, but I especially appreciated getting to know Maisie even better as she works to solve the mystery, help her assistant find his way out of loss and addiction and come to terms with her own loneliness.

    I shall continue to follow the adventures of Maisie Dobbs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • These Things Hidden

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Heather Gudenkauf
    • Narrated By Ali Ahn, Angela Lin, Angela Goethals
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (329)
    Performance
    (269)
    Story
    (263)

    Once the golden child of tiny Linden Falls, Iowa, Allison Glenn watches her reputation crumble as she is sent to prison for five years—convicted of a terrible crime. But what really happened that fateful night? Allison’s younger sister is the only other person who knows the truth. Now out of prison, Allison is more desperate than ever to set the record straight, but the revelation of the truth could have far-reaching consequences.

    C. Morris says: "Please save yourself the time"
    "Premise ruined the experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book starts out reasonably well. The narrators do a pretty good job although the woman who voiced Claire and Charm overdid it - too much "drama" in her voice. People don't talk like that.

    Here's what gets this book 3 stars - SPOILER ALERT - we are asked to believe that whoever passed for Social Services in this small town placed a foundling infant who had been left in a fire station at the age of 1 month with a couple who become readily identifiable to every single person involved in the existence of that child. Apparently, in this small town, privacy laws don't exist.

    But that wasn't quite good enough to ensure lives enmesh. When the child's mother returns from prison where she has served 5 years for drowning the child's twin sister, she *just happens* to get a job in the adoptive mother's bookstore - not the diner across the street or the nearby drug store but in the actual bookstore - where she, of course, instantly recognizes her son because he looks exactly like his father.

    The premise ruined the experience for me. It was a cheap plot devise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Our Yesterdays

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Cristin Terrill
    • Narrated By Meredith Mitchell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (364)
    Performance
    (328)
    Story
    (331)

    "You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain. Only Em can complete the final instruction. She's tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present - imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called "the doctor" while war rages outside.

    Lauren says: "Great adventure - couldn't put it down!"
    "It was OK, but frustrating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator did an adequate job although her characters tend to either sound the same (James and Finn) or sound distractingly stereotypical (Marina's mother, her two girlfriends who go mercifully away in the middle of the book.) By the time the book ended, the number of characters had boiled down to just a few and Ms. Mitchell managed them a little better.

    The plot is extremely clever but not well executed. Without inserting spoilers, it's hard to be too specific, but you will definitely find yourself asking yourself, "Wait! How did THAT happen?" For example, while James did, indeed "change everything," what Terrill doesn't let you see any part of is HOW. The mec. But, boy howdy, will you spend an annoyingly huge amount of time listening to Em/Marlina's inner dialogue about James ... and then Finn ... and then James... and then Finn.

    Maybe it was just me.

    Finn was my favorite character but, as only three of the characters had any real depth, there wasn't much to choose from.

    It's an OK read. I finished it and am not asking for a refund.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood: Outlander, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3191)
    Performance
    (2992)
    Story
    (2980)

    Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to 1743 Scotland, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for a young soldier, James Fraser.

    G. House Sr. says: "Eloquent Fabulous Historical - Grand Continuation"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First of all, I must say that Davina Porter is, once again, simply brilliant in her ability to bring all the many and varied characters to life. She is a pleasure to listen to her. Having said that...

    Before I read/listened to MOHB, I revisited "Outlander" and was reminded of what a wonderful author Gabaldon is. I also listened to the first half of "Voyager" which I also enjoyed so much. Then I reread/listened to "Echo in the Bone" and I was struck with a deep foreboding. Between "Voyager" and "Echo," something profoundly changed and I was reminded of the angst I felt during my first reading of this series by the time I got to "Fiery Cross." Too much information; not enough story.

    Gabaldon is having a great time doing research and writing in excruciating detail (and she does it very, very well,) but I think the storyline has taken a back seat to the history lessons and details and minutiae.

    The Brianna/Roger storyline provides an excellent example and is particularly annoying. It was going so well and I was fascinated by the various aspects of Roger's and Brianna's adjustments to the 1980's. I loved the device wherein Jamie and Claire's letters took us back to their "when." Roger and Brianna's careers were taking shape and getting acquainted with Lallybroch in modern times was fun, including the visit from Buck. But, all of a sudden, BAM, that's over and we're off on a tangent.

    And that pretty much sums up the whole experience that the Outlander series has become for me - too many tangents. I've got whiplash from being snapped back and forth among the various characters and each one is left hanging!

    I was very disappointed in this book from this amazingly talented author.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Helen & Troy's Epic Road Quest

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (243)

    Witness the epic battle of the cyclops! Visit the endangered dragon preserve! Please, no slaying. Solve the mystery of The Mystery Cottage, if you dare! Buy some knickknacks from The Fates! They might come in handy later. On a road trip across an enchanted America, Helen and Troy will discover all this and more. If the curse placed upon them by an ancient god doesn't kill them or the pack of reluctant orc assassins don't catch up to them, Helen and Troy might reach the end their journey in one piece, where they might just end up destroying the world.

    Charlene says: "A little twee but very funny."
    "Fast food for your ears."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe it's just me, but this one just didn't grab me on any level. I was mostly just bored, bored, bored. Poorly plotted, poorly written, poorly read. Perhaps if the author had grabbed me more effectively at the beginning I might have gotten into it and stuck it out. After all, you'd think a story about a minotaur in a burger joint would be "compelling."

    Unfortunately, in the case of this one, the burger joint" aspect won out and, well, is there anything more predictable, flavorless and boring than a fast-food restaurant? This is a "fast-food book." I'm giving this one back to Audible.

    Not recommending.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Gregory Boyle
    • Narrated By Gregory Boyle
    Overall
    (448)
    Performance
    (397)
    Story
    (399)

    As a pastor working in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles, Gregory Boyle created an organization to provide jobs, job training, and encouragement so that young people could work together and learn the mutual respect that comes from collaboration.

    Jeremy says: "Perhaps the best book I've read in years."
    "Hopeful and inspiring memoir tugs at the heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm glad I listened to this book, rather than read it. Father Boyle does a wonderful job of telling his story, getting the accents and ages and dialects so "just right." He's a powerful artist on many levels and his voice is just one of his skills.

    The memoir is really a collection of anecdotes about the people he's encountered during his 20 years developing and running "Homeboy Industries" in a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as the "gang capital."

    His stories are a walk into a world many of us could not imagine is real but is, in fact, deadly so, endearingly so, dangerously so. But they also provide hope and humor while they break your heart. It's a wonderful gift Boyle has to be able to make the people he's encountered come very much alive and make us care about them. And if you don't laugh out loud and also find yourself tearing up at least once while you listen to this, you're made of stone.

    Recommend without hesitation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses: Half Moon Hollow, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2164)
    Performance
    (2002)
    Story
    (1995)

    Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it. Complication One: The artifacts are lost somewhere in vampire Jane Jameson’s occult bookshop. Complication Two: Her new neighbor, Jed Trudeau, keeps turning up half-naked at the strangest times....

    Diana Turmenne says: "One of the best spin offs I have read!"
    "More Half Moon Hollow craziness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's Molly Harper, so you know it's going to be funny. And quirky. And adult. And fun.

    It's Half Moon Hollow so you know the setting will be full of crazy characters in her fictional "post vampire liberation" world of witches and werewolves and vampires trying to make their way in the "human" world.

    And it's Amanda Ronconi so you know you are going to be treated to a wonderful performance of Molly Harper's interesting if somewhat unbelievable plot involving a witch hunt of most unusual parameters. If you're a Harper and Half Moon Hollow fan, you'll recognize and welcome back a number of your favorite denizens of this funky Kentucky town.

    These are adult "fairy tales" and meant to be read for the sheer fun of it. Let your imagination loose and have fun!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Coming Clean

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Narrated By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (216)

    Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a tidy apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You would never guess that Kim grew up behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house, navigating between teetering stacks of aging newspapers, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room - the product of her father’s painful and unending struggle with hoarding. In this moving coming-of-age story, Kim brings to life her rat-infested home and her childhood consumed by concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends.

    Margaret says: "Vicarious Hoarding"
    "Amazingly difficult story with a "happy ending.""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not since "Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls has a memoir moved me so deeply (and if, after reading Coming Clean, you find yourself thinking "what a great book!" you might want to read or listen to "The Glass Castle: A Memoir")

    I digress. Ms. Miller offers the memoir of her childhood entrapment in and young adulthood escape from the misery of her very sick parents with simple, very clean prose (fitting, it would seem.) From the first words, it was clear that this was an unusually bright child with a very big problem - two, in fact. Her parents' mental and physical challenges create a world for this little girl that is difficult to imagine ... until she tells us about it. Then it comes to life.

    Her gift for presenting her little girl's world with the brutal frankness of a child, without flinching from the facts or sparing our feelings makes the unfolding of the story mesmerizing. But it is in some ways also joyful to read because, as adults, we understand how broken her life was and yet how much she was given by parents who, while damaged and damaging, were also as loving and generous and giving as they knew how to be.

    The book is also a testament to the tenacity of some people and their ability to overcome. She could do what her father and mother could not and thus saved not only herself but, to a great extent, her parents as well.

    I found Ms. Miller's reading of the book to be less than satisfactory as her very soft voice and the "flat" presentation were distracting. I also found her range of voices was very limited so It was sometimes difficult to follow who was speaking when it was not her character, her father or her mother. A professional narrator might have given the characters more depth, which I think would have been a good thing.

    Nevertheless, it's a deeply moving, extremely compelling, what-in-the-world-will-happen-next story.

    Highly recommend for either reading or listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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