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Brandy

Member Since 2010

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 223 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • Yes, Chef: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Marcus Samuelsson
    • Narrated By Marcus Samuelsson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (451)
    Performance
    (401)
    Story
    (394)

    It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem.

    loix says: "A fun and inspiring civics lesson"
    "Interesting topic, horrible performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yes Chef is the memior of a black, Ethopian/Swedish/American chef. That, in and of itself, is pretty remarkable, and lends a large element of interest to his memior. In addition, for those of us who are totally unfamiliar with what it takes to be a professional chef, the material was quite eye opening and interesting. I also felt that the writing was not bad for a non-native English speaker and an untrained author. My chief complaint, and it was a big one, was the terrible performance of the narrator - Sorry Marcus, you should stick to cooking. The narrator, who is the author/chef, read quite poorly. He chopped his sentences with pauses that were improperly placed, sometimes almost changing the meaning of the sentence. Luckily, he read slowly so I always had time to adjust my understanding to his strange, ungainly reading cadence. In the case of this book, I wished I had chosen to read it instead of buying an audio version.

    1 of 2 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
    (6300)
    Performance
    (5723)
    Story
    (5718)

    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!"
    "Historical Fiction at its Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Invention of Wings in three words, what would they be?

    Gripping, real, heartbreaking


    What did you like best about this story?

    In retrospect, I think what I liked best was discovering how closely the novel followed the actual historical events. The story was entirely engrossing and kept me attentive and unwilling to set the book down.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were many scenes that I enjoyed, as I totally enjoyed the entire book. The story of how a young woman comes to see slavery as wrong and how this conviction grows in her as she reaches adulthood while being raised in a slave owning, Southern family is a fascinating one. I was chilled by the scene involving Sarah and her father in his library following her declaration that she wished to study law. The same goes for several scenes involving Charlotte, who abhors her slavery and never comes to peace with it.


    Any additional comments?

    I found listening to this book to be a completely positive experience that I can highly recommend from every standpoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orphan Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4261)
    Performance
    (3799)
    Story
    (3802)

    Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse.... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

    Kathi says: "Moving story of sharing and transformation."
    "A believable misery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Orphan Train the most enjoyable?

    The story moved ahead at a good pace, and I found myself wanting to listen longer in order to know what would happen next to both of the book's heroines.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I found the narration to be satisfactory, but not more than that. Sometimes a narrator makes the book, but in this case I found it to be only adequate.


    If you could take any character from Orphan Train out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The obvious answer to that question is Vivien, the old woman. I would be interested to know more about her decisions throughout her life. For example, why did she never try to run away from unbearable situations.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed listening to this book. The story is compelling. I have no idea how representative it is of the actual conditions and situations of orphans at that time of American history, but it was certainly a realistic picture of how life is for children that lose the love and protection of caring parents. The two heroines are well developed and I found myself anxious to discover how their lives developed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Husband's Secret

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3335)
    Performance
    (2993)
    Story
    (3004)

    Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive....

    Margaret says: "Escape to the land down under..."
    "What might have been"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Husband's Secret?

    One of the enjoyable aspects of this book was the interconnection of the various characters that were gradually introduced to us. Though at first glance they were not obviously connected, the binding threads began to appear relatively quickly and worked well to hold the story together.I also found all of the characters to be well developed. I could identify personalities that everyone has probably known among their own friends and relatives, which made the story believable.I felt the author did a great job of conveying the feelings of love that parents have for children and how this affects their lives.


    What other book might you compare The Husband's Secret to and why?

    The Time Traveler's Wife. Two things make me think of this book, though the stories are very different. First of all, both do a great job of portraying love and how it drives and directs lives. And secondly, both bring in the element of time and how it affects life. In the Husband's Secret one has to ask again and again, what might have been if ...


    Any additional comments?

    I also really enjoyed the epilogue which added another dimension to the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Vaddey Ratner
    • Narrated By Greta Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (242)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (204)

    For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. Over the next four years, as she endures the deaths of family members, starvation, and brutal forced labor, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of childhood - the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father.

    Melinda says: "A Terrible Tale from A Beautiful Storywriter"
    "A beautifully performed heart-wrenching story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would highly recommend this book. It is beautifully written and tells a story about a place (Cambodia) and a time, the violent era of the 1970's, with which I was almost totally unfamiliar. Through the story I learned about both and suffered with the very true to life characters


    What was one of the most memorable moments of In the Shadow of the Banyan?

    I have tried to think how to answer this question without giving away important parts of the book, and feel that I cannot. Instead, I will say that what was memorable for me was the way in which a very young child was forced to mature and take responsibility at way too early an age.


    Which character – as performed by Greta Lee – was your favorite?

    The main character, a 7 year old girl called Rami.


    Any additional comments?

    At times I felt that Rami was actually too mature for her age, but the horrors of senseless cruelty and depravation can be very maturing factors in one's life. Even had she been twice her age at the onset of the book, the story would have been no less dramatic and touching.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9346)
    Performance
    (8562)
    Story
    (8573)

    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"
    "A long build up to nothing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Yes, the length of the book and the ending, which I felt was a huge let down after so much action and drama.


    What could Donna Tartt have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I am sure that had I read the book rather than listening to it I would have put it down after the first 50 pages. The performance was so excellent, though, that I listened to the entire, long, dramatic, unbelievable thing only to find that the ending was a total let down.


    What about David Pittu’s performance did you like?

    Yes, it was fantastic.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The View from Castle Rock

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alice Munro
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (20)

    A young boy is taken to Edinburgh Castle Rock, where his father assures him that on a clear day he can see America, and he catches a glimpse of his father's dream. In stories that follow, as the dream becomes a reality, two sisters-in-law experience very different kinds of passion on the long voyage to the New World. Other stories take place in more familiar Munro territory, the towns and countryside around Lake Huron, where the past shows through the present like the traces of a glacier on the landscape, and strong emotions stir just beneath the surface of ordinary comings and goings.

    Brandy says: "Alice Munro is always good, but this isn't her bes"
    "Alice Munro is always good, but this isn't her bes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    In my opinion Munro is a good story teller, and I have yet to read something she has written that I did not enjoy. However, this partially autobiographical work was not one of her best.


    If you’ve listened to books by Alice Munro before, how does this one compare?

    My least favorite.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The last chapter was my favorite.


    Who was the most memorable character of The View from Castle Rock and why?

    I felt that the narrator was the most memorable character. She holds the work together and in the end we learn about her life, which to me was the most interesting of all.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • When a Crocodile Eats the Sun

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Peter Godwin
    • Narrated By Peter Godwin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    Peter Godwin, an award-winning writer, is on assignment in Zululand when he is summoned by his mother to Zimbabwe, his birthplace. His father is seriously ill; she fears he is dying. Godwin finds his country, once a post-colonial success story, descending into a vortex of violence and racial hatred.

    Lisbeth says: "Entertaining and Educating"
    "A real nightmare"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This memoir is a real eye opener. I am embarrased to say that despite a visit on my part 26 years ago to Victoria Falls, I knew next to nothing about the ongoing drama of life in Zimbabwe. It is a nightmare - only real. Because Zimbabwe has no natural assets that draw the interest of the world's businessmen, the ubelievable horror of daily life continues with no intervention and little concern from countries in Europe and North America. The book is well written and the narration was excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cutting for Stone: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Abraham Verghese
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4922)
    Performance
    (2313)
    Story
    (2327)

    Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics - their passion for the same woman - that will tear them apart.

    Mary Lynn says: "Brilliant story, pitch perfect narration"
    "A Beautiful Experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this novel from the inception. The narrator does a wonderful job, providing a realism that adds to the story. The characters are well formed and sympathetic. I found myself listening way past the allotted time of each session and was sorry for the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2387)
    Performance
    (1756)
    Story
    (1758)

    The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....

    Patrick says: "compelling father-daughter story"
    "An Uneasy Service"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book much more surprising revealing than I had anticipated. I was ready to dislike Ambassador Dod and his daughter from page 1, but was surprised by how, despite their many failings, this look inside their lives in Germany during 1938 - 1939 provided a totally different perspective. As their naivete diminished I gained an appreciation for how difficult it must have been for the Ambassador and how daunting a task he had to face.
    The book is well written and entertaining while informative of the horrible events of that era. The narrator did a good job. I highly recommend it in every aspect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11541)
    Performance
    (10486)
    Story
    (10508)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "A listen I couldn't quit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am relatively new to this genre and did not suspect that I would enjoy it so much. The story is engaging, exciting, crazy, unbelievable and scary and the characters ring true. I found my self wanting to listen way past my 40 minute drive home. In fact I whizzed through this book so fast that I know I will be looking for another Peter Clines book soon.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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