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Bearwife

Member Since 2005

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 91 ratings
  • 817 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • A Dirty Job

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Fisher Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4336)
    Performance
    (1610)
    Story
    (1621)

    People start dropping dead around Charlie, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death.

    colleen says: "I loved it!"
    "Very very funny"
    Overall

    I just loved this book. It made me laugh from beginning to end, and the plot is nothing if not original! Somehow I found all the supernatural goings ons more credible because the book is set in San Francisco, and picks up on the zaniness and tendency towards eccentrics and strong characters in that city. One flaw I do want to point out is the racism -- per this book Chinese Americans don't just eat pet dogs but any pet they can find. Aside from that, enjoy . . . I'm sorry this book ended.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Death in Holy Orders

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By P.D. James
    • Narrated By Charles Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (540)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (134)

    Atop a sweep of low cliffs stands the small theological college of St. Anselm's. Not far away, smothered beneath a fall of sand, lies the body of one of the school's young ordinands. When Commander Adam Dalgliesh is called to investigate the death, the college is torn apart by another death, a sacrilegious and horrifying murder.

    Jannice says: "Death in Holy Orders - good PBS"
    "P.D. James Seems to Have Lost Her Touch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This might be a good read for someone with serious misgivings about modern church reforms and more tolerance than I have for child molesters.


    If you’ve listened to books by P.D. James before, how does this one compare?

    I thought this was a surprisingly weak entry. Dalgleish retains his fascination, and the story was intricately and interestingly plotted. I also liked that a love interest, Emma Lavenham, emerges in this book. Having said that, I never really got past James' focus on trashing reforms in the Church of England, and her insistence that it is wrong to punish priests who molest young boys. She even asserts, more than once, that priests who touch young boys don't harm them. Where has she been? Under a rock? Perhaps the problem was the religious setting -- it seems to have unearthed the most unreconstructed of James' views.


    What does Charles Keating bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    It is a bit as if Dalgleish himself were narrating his story, Keating brings a sense of intelligent if dispassionate perspective.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Death in Holy Orders?

    All discussion of the badness of modern church reform, and even more, all mention of James' views on the acceptability of child molestation by priests.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope the books in the series after this one display more modernized, enlightened views. I've been a PD James fan for a long time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Storyteller

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno, Jennifer Ikeda, Edoardo Ballerini, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3349)
    Performance
    (2919)
    Story
    (2933)

    Jodi Picoult's poignant number one New York Times best-selling novels about family and love tackle hot-button issues head on. In The Storyteller, Sage Singer befriends Josef Weber, a beloved Little League coach and retired teacher. But then Josef asks Sage for a favor she never could have imagined - to kill him. After Josef reveals the heinous act he committed, Sage feels he may deserve that fate. But would his death be murder or justice?

    Sue says: "Interesting...different than I thought it would be"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jodi Picoult and/or the narrators?

    I'm not sure, as to Picoult. This one, The Tenth Circle, and Lone Wolf, all of which I have read recently, were all disappointing. I did like My Sister's Keeper and Nineteen Minutes very much. As to the narrators, yes indeed. Well done!


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I think the Holocaust was bad enough that Picoult simply did not need to add additional gruesome inventions of her own. She seemed to feel that the mass starvation and extermination of 12 million people (including 6 million Jews) just wasn't over the top enough. Nor did her main character have to be the World's Most Awesome Baker, never mind the extremity of her personal story. And layering onto that endless exaggeration about how impossible it is to find and try Nazis, the inability of an ancient man to die without assistance, and the miraculous ability to spin an gripping horror story from memory alone . . . I don't know, my ability to suspend disbelief just collapsed. Please, Ms. Picoult, pick one serious story and tell it . . . seriously and quietly.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The characters sprang to life through the narrators, despite the overwrought plot devices.


    Could you see The Storyteller being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Probably, with writers who dropped a lot of the less necessary drama. I'd want to give some greater thought to casting, though I think younger, less well known actors would be a better choice for the younger characters . . . maybe in a TV miniseries format for this lengthy tale.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Broadbent
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3168)
    Performance
    (2820)
    Story
    (2826)

    Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack is a letter addressed to Harold from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person.

    FanB14 says: "Wonderful Walkabout"
    "A frustrating listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Yes. So much. It is a book that the author seems to have written without any clear sense of direction, or even a consistent sense of her character, so it has an irritating lack of coherence.


    What could Rachel Joyce have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Serious editing, so that a story that had a lot of appeal also could make more sense.


    What about Jim Broadbent’s performance did you like?

    What a wonderful voice! He made Harold lovable throughout, and gave personality to a large cast of characters.


    Could you see The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Not unless someone talented rewrites it for meaningful plot and consistent characterization.


    Any additional comments?

    This book had a gripping start, and it is impossible not to fall for Harold. But the book's revelations were, frankly, hardly a surprise when they finally arrived, and there was a sense of simply traveling in meaningless circles for a good deal of the book. I also disliked the way the author lost her sense of Harold, turning him into some sort of magical mystical nature guru for a lot of the book. And there was an obvious implausibility to so much of this book, too -- for example, Harold's mileage was ridiculously slow, his complete mastery of flora and fauna from checking one book over a short period of time was utterly unbelievable, and his deification for part of the book was inexplicable. In short, this book needed lots of editing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7332)
    Performance
    (3718)
    Story
    (3775)

    Eerie, dreamlike, set in a world that is weirdly related to our own, The Gunslinger introduces Roland Deschain of Gilead, of In-World that was, as he pursues his enigmatic antagonist to the mountains that separate the desert from the Western Sea in the first volume of The Dark Tower series. Roland, the last gunslinger, is a solitary figure, perhaps accursed, who with a strange single-mindedness traverses an exhausted, almost timeless landscape of good and evil.

    Valerie says: "Just As Wonderful as I Remembered!"
    "Not King's best, but an interesting listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Gunslinger rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is among the bottom 50%.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    This is a very early King novel, and it shows. I think it is important to anyone who wants to master the whole huge Gunslinger series, but it drags Quite a Lot.


    What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

    Great job throughout. He voiced even the dullest characters well, and kept me listening even for the long stretches of nothingness that occupy a bit too much of this book.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Gunslinger and why?

    Really, only the Gunslinger has dimension as a person, and he doesn't have much.


    Any additional comments?

    I think this is probably the best format to get the first book in the Dark Tower series under one's belt. I think King is a remarkable writer, and he has done a lot with this series, so I think someone who cares about mastering it is going to find this audible version the easiest way of getting through what is probably the least interesting of the books in it.

    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
    (6155)
    Performance
    (5330)
    Story
    (5323)

    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"
    "Hammering Hollywood"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It is a loooong book, and I think I might have liked it more if I'd read it, as I generally read faster than narrators narrate. But it is an interesting look at the contrast between New and Old Hollywood, and specifically at the time period when Burton and Taylor were filming Cleopatra.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jess Walter? Why or why not?

    Unlikely. It took a long while to absorb what essentially boiled down to a snarky depiction of almost everyone and every event in the book. I didn't think there was enough to this book to justify its length and detail. After awhile, I longed for an editor's pen.


    Which character – as performed by Edoardo Ballerini – was your favorite?

    Pasquale, who retained his humility, humanity, and innocence while everyone around him displayed greed, vanity, egotism, self-absorption, or a heartbreaking level of ignorance.


    Was Beautiful Ruins worth the listening time?

    It was worth about 3/4 of the listening time. It is a good book. It is also too long.


    Any additional comments?

    There is a lot to like in this book -- a really fascinating look backward at Hollywood history, what appears to be a well informed rip of modern Hollywood, and flawed but interesting characters, plus a truly savagely funny depiction of a Hollywood producer. But it's not about anything truly important, so after awhile I really, really wished it were shorter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thankless in Death: In Death, Book 37

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By J. D. Robb
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1536)
    Performance
    (1376)
    Story
    (1388)

    For Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the NYPSD, the job is a useful reminder of what she has to be grateful for this season. Hosting Roarke's big Irish family for the holiday may be challenging, but it’s a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood. Other couples aren’t as lucky as Eve and Roarke. The Reinholds, for example, are lying on the floor of their Downing Street apartment, stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned - and even more heartbroken by the overwhelming evidence that they were murdered by their own son.

    Patricia says: "Violence vs. Sentiment"
    "Dallas Does Thanksgiving!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, assuming the friend is also hooked on the Dallas series.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Eve, of course. But Roark is always a close second.


    Have you listened to any of Susan Ericksen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    She really is THE narrator for the Eve Dallas series, in my humble opinion. I much prefer listening to her to reading the books, she is that good.


    If you could rename Thankless in Death, what would you call it?

    See my review title -- Eve and Roark and All the Irish Clan do Thanksgiving. Or -- Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the more upsetting books in the series -- more than one extremely likable victim dies, and not well. But that underlines Robbs/Roberts' point -- Eve does an important job, and she does it as fast and well as anyone could. I thought this story made a great point dealing with the difference between a truly thankful and truly thankless attitude, and how each shapes everything else about the way someone lives their life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3424)
    Performance
    (3107)
    Story
    (3121)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Michael says: "Who or What defines Quality of Life?"
    "A memorable story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Me Before You rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is definitely in the top quarter.


    What other book might you compare Me Before You to and why?

    I can't think of anything quite like it. It hits some of the same themes -- illness and death - as other books I've liked, from The Fault in Our Stars to The Magic Mountain.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The principal narrator, who handles Lou's sections, brings her and her milieu to life in a way that I could not have experienced if I read the book. For one thing, the differences in accents said volumes about social standing that cannot be conveyed as well on the page.


    Who was the most memorable character of Me Before You and why?

    Lou. But Will Traynor - and his name is most definitely a meaningful, multilayered pun -- is likewise very hard to forget.


    Any additional comments?

    This book taught me a lot about quadriplegia, and it put me inside that experience in a way I found enlightening and saddening. It's also a lovely story of how people who really care about each other can best express their love with relinquishment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight?

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 17 mins)
    • By Mishka Shubaly
    • Narrated By Mishka Shubaly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (494)
    Performance
    (420)
    Story
    (428)

    Two-time best-selling Kindle Singles author Mishka Shubaly is back with a dark, intimate, fascinating story of love, hope, and human connection... gone horribly, horribly awry.

    caroline says: "Hysterical telling of the dangers of social media"
    "A well done short story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Are You Lonesome Tonight? the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed Shubaly's metaphors -- they were overblown at times, but nonetheless both fresh and descriptive.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There is no one to like in this story!


    Which character – as performed by Mishka Shubaly – was your favorite?

    The narrator.


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

    It's a creepy story. It definitely gave me some goose bumps.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a fast "listen" and worth the time. There is nothing likable about any of these untruthful, shallow, and self-absorbed characters, but nonetheless the writing and the story stay with me. I enjoyed Shubaly's narration, too. My favorite passage was toward the end, when he described videos of cuckoo behavior.

    0 of 0 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
    (12390)
    Performance
    (11354)
    Story
    (11420)

    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"
    "Remarkably good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Fault in Our Stars?

    This is an intelligently written book. The issues it raises are as serious as death (pun intended) and Green treats them thoughtfully.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hazel, of course. She is truly a marvelous teen.


    Which character – as performed by Kate Rudd – was your favorite?

    Hazel, again. This story is written from her viewpoint.


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

    I smiled a lot, because the humor is well done, including the teenage snark, and despite my jaded, hard hearted ways, it brought me close to tears more than once.


    Any additional comments?

    This really is one of the best books I've read in quite awhile. It is grown up YA -- written for well read, thoughtful adolescents, but aimed at the fundamental questions which preoccupy every thinking adult, such as whether life has meaning, whether human beings really have any importance in the universe, what illness is, whether any of the popular stereotypes about illness have content, and, most of all, how to confront our own deaths and those of the people we love. In addition, the principal characters are funny, thoughtful, loving, and passionate, and I genuinely liked and cared about them. I am too hardhearted, I suppose, to cry as often as some readers understandably do, but I also found the book exceptionally touching and poignant. I'd add that this is a book worth "reading" in audio form as I did, because the audible.com narrator, Kate Rudd, is exceptional, and because the audio book includes a very interesting section of thanks/acknowledgments by Green, as well as a short interview of Green about the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By W. Bruce Cameron
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2156)
    Performance
    (1449)
    Story
    (1452)

    After a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey is surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy. Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of eight-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures, Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?

    Blythe says: "Best dog book ever!"
    "A Don't Miss Listen for Humans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to A Dog's Purpose again? Why?

    Disclaimer: I am a total sucker for dogs and stories about them. I can maintain my composure in a movie when a person dies, but never when a dog does. Unless you share this mindset, this book may not be for you. But if you love dogs, you'll love this story. I highly recommend the narrator, George K. Wilson, who somehow sounds exactly as a dog should. The book got me 1) even more tuned in than before to my dog's point of view and 2) panting (ok, bad pun) to read the second book in the series, A Dog's Journey. I will admit that the story is a little bit Disney-esque, in that almost everything turns out fairly well, and some people are a bit too good to be true, but hey, I like my dog books happy. Enjoy, fellow dog fans


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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