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Joyce

Arroyo Grande, CA | Member Since 2009

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 50 ratings
  • 142 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015
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  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11556)
    Performance
    (10487)
    Story
    (10514)

    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"
    "Too long ... too boring ... too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's always hard to give a really good writer a bad review but this book is just too much ... too long, too depressing, too long, too one dimensional, too long ...

    I've listened to about 14 hours of Theo being the good-but-stupid kid. I don't think it's worth another 18 hours of my life, especially when the opening told me Theo is still in the midst of self-destructing. If this is so Dickensian, I might as well go back and read Dickens.

    I want to reach out and hug Theo, take him home and comfort him ... but I also want to shake him silly. He made a friend in Hobie and then just lets it go. I want a book to have an arc ... this one just seems to be one long, joyless ride to nowhere.

    While some have complained about the narrator, I thought he did a great job and probably kept me listening several hours longer than I would have otherwise.

    11 of 13 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
    (7903)
    Performance
    (7126)
    Story
    (7132)

    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!"
    "Made me question myself"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    SMK is a fine writer with a delightful mastery of the language. She is also an excellent storyteller. That would have been enough, however, when I learned that this story was based on the lives and work of two real sisters, it took everything to a much deeper level.

    I couldn't help ask myself ... would I have been that brave? Would I have seen the evil in a common practice accepted by everyone in my world? Would I have risked jail and the hatred that were unleashed by speaking my beliefs?

    It also makes me ask: what is it in my world today that is calling for that type of courage?

    Thanks to SMK for introducing me to the Grimke sisters. And, thanks to the Grimke sisters for all they did to change our world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Signature of All Things: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1618)
    Performance
    (1467)
    Story
    (1478)

    In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker - a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia.

    Molly-o says: "Don't miss this one"
    "Remarkable!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A truly remarkable book! Listening to the recorded version was a journey that opened up like an unknown flower. I never knew where it was going or what color it would reveal. Alma Whittaker feels like a member of my family, a treasured friend, a remarkable mentor. I feel like Oliver standing with my hands out, begging, "More, please!"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Loving Frank

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Nancy Horan
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (792)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (363)

    I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current. So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them.

    Eva Gannon says: "Fascinating"
    "Powerful and Thought Provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a FLW fan so I didn't expect to be so surprised and engaged by this book. The underlying questions of love, responsibility, family and freedom stimulated a lot of thought and conversation with friends. Mamah was a remarkable woman forced to make a decision that I'm thankful I never had to contemplate in my own life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1273)
    Performance
    (1111)
    Story
    (1124)

    In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his life... and then walk a mile to a doctor's house for help? Who was the crooked little "color man" Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue? These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent's friends who vow to discover the truth of van Gogh's untimely death.

    John says: "Not Moore at his funniest, but Moore completely"
    "Powerful and Thought Provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a FLW fan so I didn't expect to be so surprised and engaged by this book. The underlying questions of love, responsibility, family and freedom stimulated a lot of thought and conversation with friends. Mamah was a remarkable woman forced to make a decision that I'm thankful I never had to contemplate in my own life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Saving Ceecee Honeycutt

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Beth Hoffman
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2840)
    Performance
    (1527)
    Story
    (1542)

    Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.

    A User says: "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt"
    "Mind-numbing beginning ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With an 8-hour drive in front of me, I was looking forward to listening to this book. After an hour, I turned it off. Maybe it got better ... I'll never know. It was so full of cliches and a story that didn't hold together, that silence was a better option. The narration was fine, it was everything else that was slow torture.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lay Down My Sword and Shield

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (589)
    Performance
    (406)
    Story
    (399)

    Against the backdrop of growing civil rights turmoil in a sultry border town, the hard-drinking ex-POW attorney Hackberry Holland yields to the myriad urgings of his wife, his brother, and his so-called friends to make a bid for a congressional seat - and finds himself embroiled in the seamy world of Texas powerbrokers.

    Cat F. says: "The Publisher's Summary is Anemic"
    "Only Burke could have gotten me into this book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a hard book to listen to and Burke walks the knife's edge through the horrors of war both abroad and at home. He puts you into places of terror without ever glorifying the violence. His books always make me feel like I've been some place real and met people I would otherwise never meet. Will Patton's reading brings the story alive.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Imperfectionists

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Tom Rachman
    • Narrated By Christopher Welch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (244)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (128)

    Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Tom Rachman’s wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English-language newspaper as they struggle to keep it - and themselves - afloat. This hilarious and poignant look at the struggles of print news will establish Rachman as one of the 21st century’s most perceptive talents.

    Debra says: "love it"
    "Bumper Sticker"
    Overall

    This book could be condensed to a bumper sticker ... life's a bitch and then you die. While it is well-written and the newspaper background is somewhat interesting, the characters tend to be pathetic and the book moves plotlessly along at a snail's pace.

    9 of 17 people found this review helpful

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