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J. Speer

discerning shopper

OHIO | Member Since 2007

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 68 ratings
  • 443 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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  • The Photograph: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Penelope Lively
    • Narrated By Daniel Gerroll, Patricia Kalember
    Overall
    (174)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    Booker Prize¿winning novelist Penelope Lively's latest masterpiece opens with a snapshot: Kath, before her death, at an unknown gathering, holding hands with a man who is not her husband. The photograph is in an envelope marked "DON'T OPEN - DESTROY." But Kath's husband does not heed the warning, embarking on a journey of discovery that reveals a tight web of secrets within marriages, between sisters, and at the heart of an affair.

    Rebecca says: "good but sad"
    "Not so great"
    Overall

    I wonder what puts this book on lists... whether bestseller or book clubs. It was only ok. There are so many fabulous reads, pass this one up. It never got me wrapped up in the story, the characters did not move me; the plot held little interest for me. I enjoy the obscure but this was nearly mundane.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By E. L. James
    • Narrated By Becca Battoe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8278)
    Performance
    (7271)
    Story
    (7291)

    When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees. Now, Ana and Christian have it all - love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy.

    SIMARA says: "We ate the dessert first..."
    "I wanted to like it - every woman over 35 did...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...but not me. I will make this a brief review. If you are an avid reader, please don't pick this book up. Maybe, possibly read the first one. And by read I mean READ. I positively adore Audible books but this narration combined with the most abhorrent prose (dare I even call it prose) is downright painful. I read the first two and listened to the last. I will never get that time back and so I beg you don't walk down the same road. The narrator (hopefully only reading 50 Shades) sounds like a constipated teenager trying to sound sexy in spite of her mouth guard. The book, in my opinion, really serves to belittle the complex sexuality and intelligence of the average American woman in her 30-40's. We are smarter! We are sexier! We don't "trip over our own feet" (who on earth does this anyway?) And I hope we know more about sex, intimacy and relationships than Ana does. She is the dumbest ivy league grad ever described. Let's all take a journey back to real literature and if we want to be stimulated let's read The Story of O.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Host: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Stephenie Meyer
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5262)
    Performance
    (2855)
    Story
    (2896)

    Earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. But Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.

    Keith says: "Great story in a genre only touched upon before"
    "Slow at first but then it sucks you in"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am NOT a Twilight fan. I grabbed this book not even realizing it was the same author (no, I wasn't living under a rock... but yes, very unaware at the time). I noticed this book is only now hitting the best seller lists so I thought I would weigh in. Weird? Yes. Quirky? Yes. Deep? No. Good... Very! I am still surprised to say that but indeed you will decide in the end that you thoroughly enjoyed this story and the characters will grow on you. I also found myself so vividly imagining their underground dwelling that I felt a little like a child daydreaming...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lottery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Patricia Wood
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (83)

    Perry's IQ is only 76, but he's not stupid. His grandmother taught him everything he needs to know to survive: she taught him to write things down so he won't forget them. She taught him to play the lottery every week. And, most important, she taught him whom to trust. When Gram dies, Perry is left orphaned and bereft at the age of 31. Then his weekly Washington State Lottery ticket wins him 12 million dollars, and he finds he has more family than he knows what to do with.

    Lyman says: "lottery"
    "A Very Special Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was such an entertaining and unique read. I kept passing on excerpts to my husband as I listened. The story, character descriptions and messages have stuck me now for quite awhile. I highly recommend this little-known book. You will be glad you experienced it and I think you'll pass it along too. Special credit given to the narrator who made me like him as much as the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27497)
    Performance
    (14099)
    Story
    (14148)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Simple amazing story and narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love an opportunity to learn while becoming absorbed in the story and the characters. The Help is a sad, inspiring and enriching story. The narration will have you hearing the character's voices long after the book has ended, all the while, learning more about our nation's trying civil rights movement. I highly recommend The Help.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Barack Obama
    • Narrated By Barack Obama
    Overall
    (1712)
    Performance
    (447)
    Story
    (451)

    In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father, a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man, has been killed in a car accident.

    Kathryn says: "A wonderful, insightful, non-political story"
    "A Must Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was beautiful and brilliant. His life story, though short thus far is amazing. Listening to Barack narrate was a treat as well! I highly recommend this book for people who either want to learn more about our 44th president, people who still have doubts or people who already believe in Obama, a very insightful and profound man!

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Road

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5987)
    Performance
    (2573)
    Story
    (2609)

    America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

    Taryn says: "Will touch your soul"
    "What was all the hype about?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I tried and tried to find the hidden meaning, to discover my "aha" moment and realize what all the hype was over this book. When it ended I still hadn't found it. I was truly disappointed and at times, revolted by this book.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Kim Edwards
    • Narrated By Ilyana Kadushin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (596)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (180)

    Kim Edwards' stunning family drama evokes the spirit of Sue Miller and Alice Sebold, articulating every mother's silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you?

    In 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins, he immediately recognizes that one of them has Down Syndrome and makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever.

    ciscospice says: "Is it over yet?"
    "read it - don't rely on the movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The movie (as most do) over-simplifies this complex tale. Nothing extraordinary as far as plot goes but the author does a great job weaving the characters and story through time. While not deep, moving or informative it is a fine tale and will hold your interest well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Night

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Elie Wiesel
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2187)
    Performance
    (957)
    Story
    (974)

    Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel offers an unforgettable account of Hitler's horrific reign of terror in Night. This definitive edition features a new translation from the original French by Wiesel's wife and frequent translator, Marion Wiesel.

    Jacobus says: "A quality production of a gripping tradegy"
    "Moving, a must-read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We can never know enough about the holocaust. To be drawn in by both the story iteself and the narration... I felt as though I were sitting across from Mr. Weisel as he told his story for the first time. I was moved, interested, anxious. Hopefully you will get the version with the Pulitzer acceptance speech at the end. This is a book for your must-read list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Atossa Leoni
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5210)
    Performance
    (1433)
    Story
    (1436)

    Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

    David says: "Somber but gripping"
    "touching, lovely, thrilling, intriguing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cannot say enough about how gifted Khaled Hosseini is. We live in a world where most of us are satisfyingly sheltered from the poverty, injustice, inhumane treatment and devastation that others endure. It is a toss-up which book I liked better: Kite Runner or Suns... but if you have read Kite Runner I would say that A Thousand Splendid Suns is a must-read. If you haven't read Kite Runner, do so and then move on to Suns. The narrator does a fabulous job speaking in both languages and drawing you into the Afghanistan world. I love books that stimulate me, educate me and move me. I await Mr. Hosseini's next novel anxiously.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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