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Bonny

Addicted to books, both print and audio-.

ratings
73
REVIEWS
49
FOLLOWING
10
FOLLOWERS
48
HELPFUL VOTES
419

  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10169)
    Performance
    (9306)
    Story
    (9324)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Boy, am I in the minority on this one."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wanted very much to love this book. I loved Secret History. I'm almost 3/4 of the way through The Goldfinch, trying to hang in there, switching it off in irritation . . . thinking "this is getting such positive reviews; maybe it ends up somewhere better than this," switching it back on . . . and now I'm giving up. It has a great story idea. The opening, particularly once we get to the museum, is very well done. Most of the rest of the book I found incredible repetitive and overwritten. Often the writing is just not good. The author uses seven descriptive terms rather than choosing the best. The protagonist often walks around dazed, confused, blasted out of his mind, stoned out of his mind, and did I mention dazed and confused? It beggars belief that someone this drug- and alcohol-addicted could make it to the age of 27 or 30 able to function in his job and without the people around him noticing. I wanted to send him to rehab. People ask him questions and he repeatedly answers "huh?" "what?" "but –" There is some good in the book, certainly. Boris is a great character and David Pittu does such a good job with him that he keeps talking in my head. Overall I feel David Pittu tries too hard to inflect every single word, and it's exhausting. Let the words speak for themselves. I feel the book is at least half again as long as it should have been. How many detailed and exhaustive scenes of teenage boys getting blasted, stoned and drunk do we need to convey this part of the narrator's life? It just goes on and on. Like my review. So I'll sign off now.

    269 of 291 people found this review helpful
  • In the Woods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (5046)
    Performance
    (3074)
    Story
    (3074)

    As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

    Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.

    Amazon Customer says: "A near-flawless audiobook (but for one thing...)"
    "Another winner from Tana French"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of Tana French's many strengths is the psychological depth of her characters; the criminals, yes, but particularly the detectives. The more we find out about the crime and the suspects, the more we discover about the detectives, and the way she intertwines the backgrounds and stories of the two groups is masterful. Reading through all five of her books, none of whom has the same narrator, we experience the different detectives through their own eyes and through others. In this book, we see through the eyes of Rob Ryan, who is investigating a crime with his partner Cassie Maddox (the primary detective in The Likeness). It doesn't matter in which order you read the books; they all work regardless. The crime Ryan and Maddox are investigating here takes place in the same neighborhood Ryan grew up in, and where he went through an as-yet unexplained trauma. As the investigation progresses, we go deeper and deeper into Ryan's background and his relationship with Cassie. It's heartbreaking, riveting, and very well done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Martin Chuzzlewit

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (65)

    The Chuzzlewits are a family divided by money and selfishness; even young Martin, the eponymous hero, is arrogant and self-centred. He offends his grandfather by falling in love with the latter’s ward, Mary, and sets out to make his own fortune in life, travelling as far as America - which produces from Dickens a savage satire on a new world tainted with the vices of the old. Martin’s nature slowly changes through his bitter experience of life and his enduring love for Mary.

    Carol says: "not my favorite Dickens.... but"
    "Sean Barrett rivals Simon Vance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book, and now I'll have the dilemma of choosing between Sean Barrett and Simon Vance for the Dickens I haven't listened to yet. The narration is exquisite; Mr. Barrett has a lovely voice, and when you listen to Dickens's beautiful writing in Mr. Barrett's beautiful voice . . . well, it's mesmerizing. There are wonderful characters in Martin Chuzzlewit: in particular Mrs. Gamp, the alcoholic nurse who repeatedly violates the Hippocratic Oath, and jolly Mark Tapley, who seeks out trouble and misery because there is "no credit in being jolly" when you're in a good situation. The plot is classic Dickens and if you've read much of his work, you're familiar with his devices, but it's the writing, the characters, and the narration that make this one memorable. As is often the case, Dickens gets pretty Hallmark-ish and treacly at the end, and in his handling of Ruth Pinch, but who cares? It's a great audiobook! Go for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Likeness

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Heather O'Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3062)
    Performance
    (1951)
    Story
    (1956)

    Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

    Michael says: "Really on a Different Level"
    "Superbly-written, complex detective fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my second Tana French novel; I listened to Broken Harbor recently, and recommend that as highly as this one. This is marvelous detective fiction: beautifully written and plotted, with complex and fascinating characters. Heather O'Neill does a brilliant job with the narration, handling a good-sized cast very well, and keeping me on the edge of my seat. I desperately hope she does more books; she has just the right amount of expression and emotion.

    In Broken Harbor and Likeness, Tana Harbor creates intense and compelling mysteries without much violence. I can't read extremely or even moderately violent stuff; it unsettles me, but I love mysteries and have limited patience with "cozies." I'm also picky about good writing. Like P.D. James, Sarah Waters, and Kate Atkinson, French is able to maintain the tension without a lot of graphic violence. And the writing is *really good.* Denise Mina is another writer of marvelous detective fiction; I love her Alex Morrow series, though her Paddy Meehan & Garnethill series are too graphic for me. I notice Heather O'Neill has narrated two of the Paddy Meehans. Perhaps I can work up to one of those . . .

    I get to read three more Tana French novels and then have to wait for her to publish more. I'm thrilled to have discovered her. What a find!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4484)
    Performance
    (2636)
    Story
    (2636)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "Compelling and very much worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A ways into this book, I wasn't sure I was going to keep listening. The writing is straight-forward, terse, without much poetry to it, and I didn't know if I was up to 20+ hours of it. I'm very glad I persisted. It takes a while to get to know the characters, but once you do, they and their situation are compelling. The writing is effective and affecting, and the story is heartbreaking and all too true. If it doesn't grab you right off, keep going; it's well worth it.

    Bronson Pinchot does a magnificent job of voicing the characters and bringing them alive. His command of accents is excellent. I hope he will do more "serious" literature; he seems to do a lot of fairly lightweight material. His narration of this book and of The Child Thief clearly show he is up to more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Bone Clocks

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (315)
    Story
    (313)

    Following a scalding row with her mother, 15-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as "the radio people," Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

    Melinda says: "Not Short Listed, This Time"
    "Uneven"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not a David Mitchell fan; I got through Thousand Autumns, but gave up on Cloud Atlas. I might give Cloud Atlas another try. I tried this book because of Ursula K. LeGuin's review in The Guardian; Ursula's opinion carries a lot of weight with me. I found The Bone Clocks to be seriously uneven. The first three sections & characters I found compelling, interesting and well narrated. The fourth section was difficult because it seemed to go on for a LONG time and the character was just so unpleasant. This might have been an easier read than listen; audiobooks come to life to such a degree that sometimes it's great and sometimes it's a downside. I didn't want to spend any more time with Crispin Hershey . . . but I got through it. I felt section 5 was by far the weakest part of the book. It's where the supernatural elements are strongest, and I just didn't believe it. I'm happy to go along with any number of fantastic constructs and worlds, but I need them to be well constructed and prepared for. These were not; it seemed like Mitchell just came up with a bunch of cool-sounding words and threw them at us. If the psychic weaponry and war make sense to him, that's fine, but it needs to make sense to me as well, and it really, really didn't. The narrator for section 5 didn't really work for me, and constantly mispronounced "Poughkeepsie." A small thing, I know, but it really got on my nerves after the first few times.

    I enjoyed the final section of the book.

    Overall I feel like Mitchell came up with some really interesting characters and didn't do much of interest with them. He can certainly write, no question about that. But the book didn't move me, and the supernatural aspect of the story was so weak that I'm left with no idea why he wrote the book at all.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Our Mutual Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (86)

    A sinister masterpiece, Our Mutual Friend was Dickens' last completed novel. It is perhaps his ultimate vision of a dark, macabre London and the corrupting power of money.

    Erez says: "Worth six stars"
    "Right up there with "A Tale of Two Cities""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was Dickens' last finished novel, and he was at the height of his powers. The plot deals with the death of an heir to a fortune, and the effects of this fortune being settled upon a working-class couple. Along the way we have a couple of love stories, greed, jealousy, mistaken identity and murder. The threads of the plot are woven together beautifully and the characters are very much alive. I didn't want the book to end.

    Simon Vance, as usual, does a superb job with the narration. His reading of the characters brings them to marvelous life. There is plenty of humor in the book, and Vance presents it with exactly the right touch of dryness. And his reading of the darker parts of the novel is extremely effective and affecting. I think this is one of his best narrations.

    On to the next Dickens/Vance audiobook! Perhaps "Little Dorrit."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2675)
    Performance
    (1973)
    Story
    (1981)

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    Jennie says: "Unbelievably riveting!"
    "Remarkable journey & terrific book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book several years back, and am so glad I decided to listen to it as well. Today we have rich "athletes" who pay to be shepherded up and down Everest. In 1914 they had the real thing. This is a beautifully-written and narrated book that, despite knowing the outcome and having read it before, kept me on the edge of my seat. Most of the men on the expedition kept diaries which survived the journey, so there is a lot of detail and personal reporting; we get to know many of the men personally.

    Simon Prebble's narration is impeccable: the men are distinctly voiced, and his delivery has just the right amount of drama.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Life & Works - Antonin Dvorak

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jeremy Siepmann
    • Narrated By Jeremy Siepmann, Sean Barrett, Jonathan Keeble, and others
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    One of the best-loved composers of all time, Dvorák rose from rural origins to become not only a great but an influential composer. The first composer to put his native Bohemia on the musical map of the world, he was invited to do the same for America. One result was the famous "New World" Symphony, which made him a household name across the globe. Writing music of irresistible color, lilt and peasant vitality, he was also a melodist-in-a-million. This portrait-in-sound follows a lovable and in many ways a very simple, man from hay cart to imperial palace, from tragic loss to heart-warming joy, to pigeon-raising and world celebrity.

    Bonny says: "Serviceable, lightweight bio with music"
    "Serviceable, lightweight bio with music"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love the format, mixing the text with music. I would have been happy with twice or three times as much of each, and would have preferred more depth. I found the narration over the top; the emotion, the cultured accents, were overdone. At times it felt like a Monty Python sketch. But if you're looking for the basics of Dvorak's life and a taste of his music, it's a good choice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2174)
    Performance
    (1960)
    Story
    (1962)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Annie M. says: "Time well spent"
    "Intensely moving, complex, completely absorbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’m finding it hard to put into words how fine and beautiful this novel is. Anthony Doerr has created a stunning book, full of exquisite writing and beautifully-drawn characters. The plot is intricately woven, with several strands that are developed independently, then gradually wind around each other. The book moves forward and backwards in time, always focused on and progressing steadily toward the climax. It is one of the best novels I’ve read about World War II, and possibly the most moving.

    The author writes so comprehensively, with such delicacy and finesse; he creates such vivid circumstances and settings that he doesn’t need to tell us how his characters feel. He lays the framework: we know the characters, we experience their lives with them, and therefore we know how they feel. It is deeply affecting.

    This, like much of the fiction written about World War II, focuses on the suffering and misery of the Jewish people, France, Russia, etc., but here a major theme is also what the Nazis did to themselves and to the German people. They systematically made themselves and their people into monsters, and this is shown in heartbreaking detail. As difficult as that is, the author balances it with humanity, courage, and love. It's not a depressing book, not in the least, but it's not an easy feel-good read; there is a great deal of complexity here.

    The narration is beautifully done by Zach Appelman, who seems to be quite new to audiobooks. His delivery has just the right amount of feeling. He doesn’t over-emote or over-dramatize the material. He mispronounces a few words, but other than that, the narration is flawless.

    It’s a wonderful, engaging, utterly absorbing, highly moving listen. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • An Officer and a Spy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (359)
    Performance
    (311)
    Story
    (314)

    Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.

    Ryan says: "Top Notch Historical Fiction"
    "Exceptional"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book out of the library and was so involved in reading it that I bought the audiobook so I could listen as well. This is a fascinating account of the Dreyfus Affair at the turn of the (previous) century in France. We see everything from the viewpoint of Georges Picquart, an army officer who discovered evidence that Dreyfus was innocent and spent years trying to convince his superiors to do something about it. The book is a great spy thriller, doubly effective because it is true. The writing is excellent, the narration as well, and it's difficult to stop listening/reading. In addition to the spy-thriller aspect, the book provides an in-depth look at the political and social condition of France following its defeat by Germany in 1870, and at its Antisemitism. It's a very absorbing book.

    I was not familiar with the narrator, David Rintoul. He sounds so much like Simon Vance that I was convinced this was one of Vance's aliases, but upon googling Rintoul, it appears that he is a separate person. He does a fabulous job with the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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