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Cassi

Cleveland, TN, USA

89
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 43 ratings
  • 147 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Boleyn Inheritance

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Philippa Gregory
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato, Dagmara Dominczyk, Ruthie Henshall
    Overall
    (329)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (52)

    The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration, and power - as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror. Once again, Philippa Gregory has brought a vanished world to life: the whisper of a silk skirt on a stone stair, the yellow glow of candlelight illuminating a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower Green below the newly built scaffold.

    Teddy says: "Simply Awed...."
    "Wonderful!"
    Overall

    I think this has been one of my top 3 favorite listens. Gregory is THE best historical fiction author for the Tudor era ... she gives fabulous perspectives, compelling detail and nuance. Her masterful writing aside, this book was fabulously narrated. I think it was perfectly done having three narrators for the 3 women characters. Each of them did an outstanding job. I hated for this one to end.

    I was particularly impressed by the narration/storyline of Anne of Cleves. She is so often glazed over in the accounts of Henry's wives, with little consideration about her life after her "de-thronement". Ms. Gregory presents such an interesting perspective on this Queen's ongoing life in England, post-Henry (as well as the turbulant family background from Cleves). I have come to believe she was much more cunning and savvy to the entire situation surrounding her betrothal/queenship/dethronement than is usually portrayed. I very much liked Gregory's insight into her character ... which was only enhanced by the sensitive reading by the wonderful narrator. It was my favorite thread of the book.

    If you are interested in Tudor England, this is a great listen. If you are already familiar with Philippa Gregory, this one of her best!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Ed Viesturs, David Roberts
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (100)

    For 18 years, Ed Viesturs pursued climbing's holy grail: to stand atop the world's 14 8,000-meter peaks, without the aid of bottled oxygen. But No Shortcuts to the Top is as much about the man who would become the first American to achieve that goal as it is about his stunning quest. As Viesturs recounts the stories of his most harrowing climbs, he reveals a man torn between the flat, safe world he and his loved ones share and the majestic and deadly places where only he can go.

    Hans says: "Some good, some bad"
    "Big Ego conquers Big Mountains"
    Overall

    I have read many climbing books, including nearly everything in print written about Everest '96. Although the tragic Everest season of '96 is just a portion of this book about Viesturs' 'Endeavor 8000' (or whatever goofy name he gave it), the book seems to be less a narrative of the climbs and more of self-praise book about the man.
    I found it especially odd how Viesturs continually inserts direct quotes and snippets from other climbers that gush praise over his climbing prowess. A lot of "Here's what so-and-so had to say about my superior guiding skills and incredible preparation... yadda, yadda". I especially had to laugh when Viesturs comments about leaving his pregnant wife for one of his Himalayan adventures, promising to check on her frequently by sat-phone. As his focus shifts to climbing, and he indicates his wife's displeasure over lack of communication via sat-phone, he writes it off saying, "Some people might have found (her) to be unreasonable, but I knew I had to focus on the mountain...".
    He's generous in offering critique and criticism of others - from climbers to sponsors to family & friends, to the point of being obnoxious. Anyone who dares to question his decision-making or his tactics, he immediately trashes. I found it very hard to listen to at points.
    I also found the narration to add to the tone of condescension - I don't think Stephen Hoye was the best choice for this one, as he seemed to add a note of whine to mix.
    Bottom line: other climbing authors - from Krakauer to Boukreev, to virtually anybody else, frankly - offer better and more humble and respectful accounts of man vs. mountain. This was a turn-off. Even though I once was a Viesturs admirer,
    I am no longer.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael Pollan
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3471)
    Performance
    (1221)
    Story
    (1218)

    "What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.

    Stephen Redding says: "Great presentation of a moral dilemma"
    "It will change how you eat"
    Overall

    Excellent, excellent book. Well-researched content, riveting to listen to ... and it definitely has made me change my food habits, from what I choose and where I buy it. The first two main sections were most interesting to me - the story of the pervasiveness of corn and corn-derived products in the American diet (along with the reasons behind it), and also the unravelling of the organic movement. Whether you eat hamburgers and Twinkies, or are a raw-food gourmet, this book provides profound information about what shapes our eating habits. Required reading for anyone who eats!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • White

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Rosie Thomas
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Sam McGrath, on impulse, follows a young woman all the way to Nepal. Finch Buchanan flies out as a doctor to an expedition, but she will be reunited with a man she has never been able to forget. And Al Hood has promised his daughter that once he has conquered this last peak he will leave the mountains behind forever. Everest towers over the group, silent and beautiful, watching as their relationships begin to play themselves out, with tragic consequences.

    Marge says: "Engrossing mountaineering adventure"
    "Good narration, weak story"
    Overall

    This book was well-read, but I found the story to be long, drawn-out and rather boring most of the time. There were some rather genuine and fairly accurate details about Everest, and climbing, but it just never grabbed me. I found the woman, Finch, simply annoying, and her relationship with with expedition leader just not believable or convincing. It also seemed like the climax of the story came at the wrong, or at least too early -- ending third of the book was dull and predictable.
    There are many more climbing books and stories that are much more interesting, but I did manage to listen this one out, which is why I gave it 3 stars.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Jean Shepherd
    • Narrated By Dick Cavett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (154)

    The holiday film A Christmas Story, first released in 1983, has become a bona fide Christmas perennial, gaining in stature and fame with each succeeding year. Its affectionate, wacky, and wryly realistic portrayal of an American family's typical Christmas joys and travails in small-town Depression-era Indiana has entered our imagination and our hearts with a force equal to It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.

    Paul says: "Its not the movie but its still good"
    "A Fun Listen"
    Overall

    Got this for a holiday car trip, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It took a while to get used to the narrator (whom I am not convinced was the best choice), but it was as charming as the movie, and maybe even more so.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Meditation for Beginners

    • NONE (1 hr and 38 mins)
    • By Jack Kornfield
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (35)

    Theodore says: "Great, compact, effective"
    "just as it says"
    Overall

    If you are beginning to explore sitting meditation, this is an excellent audio guide and introduction. The guided practice is succinct and well-done, and I appreciated the commentary before and after. It is a nice progression - from breathing meditation and slightly beyond - easy to listen to and nicely explained. A friend had recommended the printed version of this book, but I found that having the audio guided practice much more appropriate than trying to read/remember/practice. Initially, the audio helps me to re-direct/return to focus. Highly recommended.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Alison Weir
    • Narrated By Stina Nielsen, Davina Porter, Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1439)
    Performance
    (676)
    Story
    (683)

    The child of a scheming father and ruthless mother, Lady Jane Grey is born during a time when ambition dictates action. Cousin to Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I, she is merely a pawn in a political and religious game in which one false step means a certain demise. But Lady Jane has remarkable qualities that help her to withstand the constant pressures of the royal machinery far better than most expect.

    Jt says: "Superior listen!"
    "Top Listen!"
    Overall

    Allison Weir is one of the best historical fiction writers on the bookshelves, and this book is superb. The brief reign of the Lady Jane Grey is not often written about, and Ms. Weir does an extraordinary job capturing her life and the circumstances that made her such a tragic figure in the Tudor legacy. To enhance the storyline, the tale is told from the pov's of a number of different characters - from Lady Jane, to her mother, to the last of Henry's wives, Katherine Parr.

    What makes this colorful and outstanding narrative come completely to life is the selection of excellent readers for each of the characters. They were cast perfectly. This multi-narrator treatment works extremely well to make it a "can't stop" listen ... And if you enjoy this style, as well as the time period/Tudor era, you will also like Philippa Gregory's 'The Boleyn Inheritance', which is narrated in similar manner.

    Don't hesitate to get this book - you will not want it to end.

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • 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"
    "Chilling!"
    Overall

    This is one of the best listens in my 3+ years of audio-book listening. It is extremely well-read, has wonderful flow, and includes lots and lots of relative facts and detail which serve to enlighten the tale and not bog it down. The events and people are fascinating and inspiring, and the history is amazing -- sometimes hard to believe that it all actually occurred in the early 20th century, at a time when most of the country (lower 48) enjoyed modern luxuries and forms of transportation.

    I found this book so fascinating, that I purchased the written volume also, and my young son and I read along/listened to the entire thing for a history lesson. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Alaska, sled dogs, or simply a fascinating event in American history.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Looking for Alaska

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Peter Jenkins
    • Narrated By Peter Jenkins, Rebekah Jenkins
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (29)

    Looking for Alaska is Peter's account of eighteen months spent traveling over twenty thousand miles in tiny bush planes, on snow machines and snowshoes, in fishing boats and kayaks, on the Alaska Marine Highway and the Haul Road. Hearing and living the amazing stories of many Alaskans from Barrow to Craig, Seward to Deering, and everywhere in between, Peter gets to know this place in a way that only he can.

    KPS says: "good yarn, poor delivery"
    "A Strange Mix"
    Overall

    This was the strangest listen I have had so far. The stories were quite captivating, but the narration was so pitiful that it felt like my brain was fighting with itself. How badly do I want to hear the rest, or do I just want to shut this guy up? My family made me turn it off about an hour into a car trip, laughing at his lackadaisical delivery of more than one dramatic moment (oh-no-the-dog-was-lying-dead-in-a-crumpled-heap-gosh). I listened to the remainder on headphones simply because the tales were interesting.

    I will give it 3 stars for content - 0 for presentation. I think reading the printed book might be the best option. His descriptions and adventures are fascinating and well written, altough sometimes needlessly overly-dramatic. The sound bites (of people he interviewed) were generally a nice touch. I'm sorry to say I found his daughter's contributions somewhat trite and naive, and in the end I felt they didn't add anything worth saying.

    If I were to recommend this book to anyone, I'd advise them to read the book rather than listen to this audio version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Himalaya

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Michael Palin
    • Narrated By Michael Palin
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    In his most challenging journey to date, Palin tackles the Himalayas, the greatest mountain range on earth. It is a virtually unbroken wall of rock stretching 1,800 miles from the borders of Afghanistan to south-west China. Penetrated but never conquered, it remains the world's most majestic natural barrier, a magnificent wilderness that shapes the history and politics of Asia to this day.

    Martha says: "It took me far away from home"
    "Wonderful!!!!"
    Overall

    This is the best audiobook I have purchased so far, hands down. I had always liked Michael Palin from his Python days, but this was a delightful new side to him. He conveys his great excitement and inquisitive nature in all circumstances of his travels. He is sensitive and humble, and genuinely enthralled with his surroundings. The trip's itinerary was beyond fascinating in itself - from Pakistan to the foot of Everest to Lhasa to Bhutan - his accounts of his experiences are culturally sensitive, exquisitely detailed, and perfectly read.

    When I think of a Himalaya trek, Kathmandu and some of the more familiar places come to mind ... but in this book, he also takes you off the beaten path and into some remote and vastly interesting places, experiences and cultures. He reveals sides of Pakistan and other politically 'controversial' countries in very different and fascinating light and perspective. He is able to describe everything - the people, the activities, the lodging, the food, the mechanics of the trip - in fantastic detail. If you've ever longed travel to the Himalaya, this book may be as close to actually getting there without having to board a plane. I will definitely repeat this listen!

    For me, the best chuckle of the tale came as Michael Palin met up with some other trekkers and a woman stopped him, realizing he looked familiar, and then exclaimed, "Yes .... that's Eric Idle!!!" Palin's response was delightful! (You'll have to listen!)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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