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J

Reader & Listener

Summit, NJ | Member Since 2005

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 116 ratings
  • 449 titles in library
  • 27 purchased in 2014
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  • Getting Rid of Matthew

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jane Fallon
    • Narrated By Adjoa Andoh
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    What to do if Matthew, your secret lover, finally decides to leave his wife and move in, just when you're thinking that you might not want him anymore? Plan A: stop shaving your armpits; stop having sex with him; pick holes in the way he dresses; don't brush your teeth, or your hair. Plan B: accidentally on purpose, bump into his wife; give yourself a fake name and identity; befriend her; actually begin to really like her; befriend Matthew's children. Watch your whole plan go absolutely, horribly wrong.

    Laura Mae says: "Good British Chick Lit"
    "Light and Entertaining"
    Overall

    This is fun Brit-chick-lit: single London career gal approaching her sell-by date, trapped in job and affair with no bright hopes represented in either. It's got a neat, twisty plot that's not entirely predictable, nor too far-fetched. The characters are varied and fairly well fleshed out. Lots of "down with creepy men" vindictiveness, but pretty fair-minded, too. Aww, give it a go!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Accidental Bestseller

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Wendy Wax
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (43)

    Once upon a time four aspiring authors met at their very first writers' conference. Ten years later they're still friends, survivors of the ultra-competitive New York publishing world. Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose best sellers support a lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason is a single mother juggling two jobs, two kids, and too many deadlines. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of inspirational romances: No one would ever guess her explosive secret.

    S says: "Meh....just okay."
    "Could it be much more formulaic?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Accidental Bestseller?

    Everything was so predictable. The characters really seemed to have been picked out of a catalogue--each to cover a trope. Totally two-dimensional.


    What could Wendy Wax have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    It was kind of a cute idea, but beyond the premise, it was really tiresome.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shine Shine Shine

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Lydia Netzer
    • Narrated By Joshilyn Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (82)

    When Maxon met Sunny, he was seven years, four months, and 18 days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the Earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together. Now, 20 years later, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be “normal”. She’s got the housewife thing down perfectly, but Maxon, a genius engineer, is on a NASA mission to the moon, programming robots for a new colony. Once they were two outcasts who found unlikely love in each other. But now they’re parents to an autistic son. And Sunny is pregnant again. And her mother is dying in the hospital.

    Slay the Writer says: "A Delightful Surprise"
    "A Magical Story of Beauty in the Fringes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Shine Shine Shine to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the book in print, but I would assume it doesn't include the adorable bonus musical tracks at the end. The narrator is delightful, and brings a fanciful, whimsical tone to the work.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the way all the plot points were reeled out slowly and steadily, until you find yourself enmeshed in Sunny's eccentric world without actually knowing how you got there--and in the course of the book, the path is revealed, as Sunny discovers the meaning of all that has brought her to the present. The book started out reeking of "chick lit" to me, but its twists and turns reveal it to be far more.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are so many memorable episodes; the book is vividly drawn: Each detail of the car accident, life with Bubber, Sunny's childhood and teenage years with Maxon. The space scenes were gripping, of course, but so were the details of life at home: the neighborhood craft fair, the dinner party, and discovering Les Weathers's house.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    While he's traveling in space, can she keep her life on Earth any less far out?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Good Things

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Mia King
    • Narrated By Jane Jacobs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Deidre McIntosh became famous teaching women to live simply, and simply live - ironic for a woman who thrives on the chaos of a television career, and shares a home with her best friend, the one man she can count on - who happens to be gay. But when her Seattle cooking-and-lifestyle show gets bumped off the air, and her best guy moves in with his boyfriend, she's left trying to figure out the next segment.

    J says: "What good things?"
    "What good things?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have not read a novel with such two-dimensional characters caught in such a flimsy, transparent plot in a long time. I don't even like to insult the "chick lit" genre by categorizing it as such. Middle-aged single woman getting by, even making good, by virtue of her own talents, loses her grasp on the good life, and despite acting like a total idiot, ends back up on top, bigger than ever--But this time, with a filthy rich, handsome, considerate man to love her. Oops, did I spoil it for you? Nope, we all saw it coming, every bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Maria Semple
    • Narrated By Kathleen Wilhoite
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2441)
    Performance
    (2192)
    Story
    (2192)

    Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

    Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle - and people in general - has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands.

    S says: "One of my top 10 listens of the year!"
    "A Hoot and a Half (and no apology to Carl Hiaasen)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I felt I finally had a context for this book when I found out the author was a writer for "Arrested Development." The characters in this nutty mystery were not created in any mold I recognized. OK, maybe the precocious but unconventional 14 year-old Bee watching out for her agoraphobic mother, Bernadette, or the clueless, aspirational Microsoft drone, or the high-and-mighty private school PTA diva, or the consultant hired to attract "Mercedes Parents" to their school look familiar, but everyone has their unexpected edge, and I couldn't wait to hear what happened next. Oh, the situations are preposterous: the personal assistant who manages Bernadette's needs to the nth degree from India, Bernadette's hilltop manse invaded by blackberry canes, a family holiday to Antarctica--but it is all spun together with surprising credibility in a myriad of delightful voices. And all of this buoyant hilarity arising from soggy Seattle--Gotta love it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Siddhartha Mukherjee
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2403)
    Performance
    (1568)
    Story
    (1567)

    Written by cancer physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies is a stunning combination of medical history, cutting-edge science, and narrative journalism that transforms our understanding of cancer and much of the world around us. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a novelist's richness of detail, a historian's range, and a biographer's passion.

    Paul Krasner says: "Spectacular!"
    "Insightful & Illuminating"
    Overall

    I am in awe of how the author made this such a captivating work--He gives so many perspectives on cancer: The personal (his own patients), anthropological (evidence in ancient cultures), historical, and political, with current research and some conjecture about future directions in research and treatment. The fact that it became an instant bestseller can partly be attributed to how many peoples' lives are affected by this disease, but also by what a brilliant book this is.
    Audio version is well read.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Run

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Peter Francis James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (371)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (106)

    Since their mother's death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive, and ambitious father. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard Doyle cares about is his ability to keep his children, all of his children, safe.

    Jeanne says: "Disappointing"
    "Fine writing"
    Overall

    While this book coesn't soar to the heights of "Bel Canto", its content is certainly more accessible. I enjoyed following the journeys of the diverse, and mostly believable characters in the book. In fact, I wish there was more revealed about several of them. The author interview after the book was surprising; I didn't perceive the same political focus in the book that the author seemed to think it had, but it was value added, nonetheless.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • On Chesil Beach

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Ian McEwan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (42)

    It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come.

    George says: "One of the best new novels in recent years"
    "Short One, But Decent"
    Overall

    This does not approach "Atonement" (one of my all-time favorite books) in quality, but is quite worth reading. The situation is infuriating, and the ending a bit bland compared to the heart of the story, but it certainly is a compelling portrait of the clashing mores of its time (early sixties). The author interview after the book is a significant value-added feature that makes the audio version preferable to the print.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Flamenco Academy

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Sarah Bird
    • Narrated By Alyssa Bresnahan
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Rae's life falls apart when her father dies of cancer and her mother joins a religious cult. The only person who understands Rae is local bad girl Didi, who is experiencing a similar loss. Both girls fall in love with handsome flamenco guitarist Tomás Montenegro, whose aunt teaches at the university's flamenco academy. Rae and Didi take the class and become obsessed with the dance.

    Victoria Weisfeld says: "Mesmerizing"
    "Much Too Full of Itself"
    Overall

    I don't know how much of this is the author's fault, and how much is the narrator's. I've gone back and forth on Sarah Bird (LOVED "Yakota Officer's Club", but found earlier stuff uneven), but this one won't go on my "must recommend" list. The narrator constantly tried to sound ever-so-dramatic, on the verge of tears, no matter what was happening. Sometimes it gave me a headache, sometimes it made me laugh. But mostly I gagged.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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