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LL

edmonds, washington, United States | Member Since 2009

1
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 82 ratings
  • 604 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • The Great Gatsby

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Jake Gyllenhaal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3969)
    Performance
    (3603)
    Story
    (3628)

    F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby....

    Darwin8u says: "Simple, Beautiful, and Exquisitely Textured"
    "Narration was a letdown"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Did Jake Gyllenhaal do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    NO! I was so impressed by the initial narration of the first chapter, but it quickly disintegrated as dialogue and characters were introduced, both in narration quality and in editing, as to become a >complete< flop! Gyllenhaal did not distinguish well between characters, his pace was clunky, and there seemed to be a lot of obvious piecing-together of the editing job. I was very disappointed, almost to the point of distraction. I expected so much more. He has a fantastic voice, but if this performance is any indication, narration is not for his resume.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (885)
    Performance
    (502)
    Story
    (504)

    The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819 the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, and disease and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

    Linda says: "Riveting"
    "Uneven Production"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What aspect of Scott Brick’s performance would you have changed?

    Scott Brick's narration was solid but the production was very uneven with changes in speed and quality, particularly noted at about the halfway point when he suddenly sounded like he had a slight dose of helium. I deducted a star for that issue, not for Mr. Brick's work on the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil in the Marshalsea

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Antonia Hodgson
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    It's 1727. Tom Hawkins is damned if he's going to follow in his father's footsteps and become a country parson. Not for him a quiet life of prayer and propriety. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there's a sense of honor there too, and Tom won't pull family strings to get himself out of debt - not even when faced with the appalling horrors of London's notorious debtors' prison: The Marshalsea Gaol.

    nursebettyknitting says: "Well researched riveting historical fiction"
    "Mixed Bag"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Devil in the Marshalsea had some very strong points and some very weak points, and some points that are very difficult for any author of his genre to escape with me. The strength is in the character building and the duality that Hodgson manages to create in almost every character, while still staying true to their individual natures. We really don't know who to suspect, who to like or dislike, or what the outcome and motive is going to be until the mystery is solved. Unfortunately, the solution to the mystery is a head-scratcher on a number of levels, and ultimately a letdown. The resolution of the mystery isn't the end of the story. Hodgson decided to spend the end of the story resolving some relationship lines, and that drags it out a bit, but it provided a couple more twists that weren't bad. The point that she couldn't escape with me is the "Scooby-Doo" feeling of murder mysteries, and hers having a Dickensian flare made it maybe a bit more pronounced for me.

    Overall, I loved the characters, and missed them after I finished the book, but the story architecture had some serious issues. It was still an enjoyable read that I would probably recommend to someone who likes a mystery that has sufficient twists and very well-written dualities of character to keep it interesting enough to the end, with a warning that the ending can (but didn't for me) make the story feel like a waste of time in the "no way, really? I just read this whole story for >that<?!?" sense. It just doesn't add up. I just didn't care, since I liked the characters and their relationships enough to give her a pass on the "Scooby Don't".

    John Lee is one of my favorite narrators but I would rank this title towards the bottom of his list. It just wasn't as well done as some others I have listened to. His characterizations and differentiations were excellent, and he is one of the few male narrators who can narrate female parts without destroying them, but the first person story narration was a bit stilted with a strange affect I didn't care for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2336)
    Performance
    (1550)
    Story
    (1559)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    Bronwyn Soell says: "One of the finest audiobooks I have heard"
    "Wolf Hall"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Did Simon Slater do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Simon Slater was an unknown narrator to me, but he did a good job. My only issue was with some of his European accents, which weren't great, but his rhythm and narration were solid.


    Any additional comments?

    Wolf Hall exceeded my expectations. Hilary Mantel has truly set herself apart from the typical historical fiction genre to create a story that is unique and compelling despite being filled with familiar characters and well known outcomes. It is not an easy read/listen, but the rhythm and weave of the story is excellent if you are familiar with the history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4088)
    Performance
    (3619)
    Story
    (3622)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Janice says: "Do you believe in miracles??"
    "The Boys in the Boat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Boys in the Boat rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is the last one I read.


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

    Read the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Outstanding narration by Edward Herrmann. This is a local story for me, and Brown's depression-era Seattle and surrounding rural Washington State was as much a character in the book as the Boys. Some of the sappiness at the ending (in the Epilogue, actually) had me cringing, but overall a powerful story that kept me on the edge of my seat, even though we all know how it turns out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moby Dick

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (613)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (247)

    The outcast youth Ishmael, succumbing to wanderlust during a dreary New England autumn, signs up for passage aboard a whaling ship. The Pequod sails under the command of the one-legged Captain Ahab, who has set himself on a monomaniacal quest to capture the cunning white whale that robbed him of his leg: Moby-Dick. Capturing life on the sea with robust realism, Melville details the adventures of the colorful crew aboard the ship as Ahab pursues his crusade of revenge, heedless of all cost.

    Sarah says: "Gripping despite the minutiae"
    "Beautiful but Flawed by Technical Issues"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Moby Dick to be better than the print version?

    No. The audio edition is a perfect companion to the print version - this is excellent emersion material. The narration is too good to pass up, but so worthwhile to also sight-read to really pull out all of Melville's twists and turns.

    Also, on a technical note, I only started sight reading in the last 3rd of the book, so I can't speak to the chapters prior to that, but there are consistently large chunks of chapters missing from my audio (consistent with multiple downloads - so it seems to be the file and not a download or device problem). There is probably an hour or so of content missing, based on the difference between the listed audio length and the length showing up on my devices.


    Which character – as performed by Anthony Heald – was your favorite?

    Ishmael! But only because the whale doesn't have a narrated voice. Heald's narration was solid brilliance throughout.


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

    Read the Book.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Grapes of Wrath

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1919)
    Performance
    (1675)
    Story
    (1685)

    At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

    J. H. Monaco says: "Wonderful Tale Punctuated with Loud Harmonic Licks"
    "Dear Audiobook Producers,"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Grapes of Wrath to be better than the print version?

    I would consider the narration to be excellent, but I can't say it is better than the print version due exclusively to the very VERY annoying harmonica music that blasts the eardrums out between chapters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The layers of the story are masterfully crafted, from the characters to the setting, the sounds and flavors of the people and the land are poetically tragic and beautiful.


    What three words best describe Dylan Baker’s voice?

    ...ruined by harmonica.


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

    Read the Book.


    Any additional comments?

    Dear Audiobook Producers, Enough with the music, already. We listen to audiobooks for the story - music is just an annoying distraction and in the case of this book, a painful one. Your sound editor needs a spanking.

    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
    (12285)
    Performance
    (11127)
    Story
    (11152)

    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"
    "Will Not Finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Goldfinch?

    Where to begin? It is an utter failure. The plot is a mess, the characters are cardboard cutouts, stereotypes and cliches abound.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Donna Tartt again?

    No.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by David Pittu?

    If it is a good book, but this was my first experience with him and he didn't have good material to work with.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Irritation.


    Any additional comments?

    How does a young boy escape the bombing of a museum out a "side door" with a priceless famous painting, through crowded New York City streets in the middle of the afternoon, past police and aid workers, across town and into a apartment building, with no one noticing? And what happens to this painting that the story is named for? Well, by about "100 pages" in, I don't know, and as for the rest of the story, I really don't care. And why is there nothing in the story, more than a paragraph about 6 hours in, mentioning his mother's funeral?? And how does a little girl have 5 orthopedic surgeries on one leg in the course of a week? That just doesn't happen. This book is ridiculously sloppy for having taken, supposedly, 10 years to write. Long....drawn....out.....conversations....that consist of little more than "I don't want you to go.... But why do you have to go? I want you to stay. Why can't you stay?" Good grief!!! And does anyone really believe that a 13-year-old boy notices the upholstery on an antique chair?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lolita

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2445)
    Performance
    (1554)
    Story
    (1551)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Among the great literary achievements of the 20th century, Lolita soars in audio thanks to the incomparable Jeremy Irons, bringing to life Nabokov’s ability to shock and enthrall more than 50 years after publication. Lolita became a cause celebre because of the erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Nabokov's masterpiece owes its stature not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.

    Jim says: "An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience"
    "Perfect for emersion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Lolita?

    The perfect match of Nabokov's sparkling prose and Iron's lyrical narration - it was the best book I read this year. It is perfect for "emersion" reading/listening. Cannot recommend more highly, this is a -must listen-


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Humbert, of course. Why? Some things cannot be explained.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. And it is a book to listen to again and again.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is a masterpiece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28820)
    Performance
    (25440)
    Story
    (25511)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "more like checkers than chess"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Gillian Flynn and/or Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne ?

    I might.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Whelan was not good with other character voices. She was good as Amy though. Heyborne was adequate for this type of simple genre fiction, but probably wouldn't hold up to literature or anything too complex.


    What character would you cut from Gone Girl?

    I don't think there was a single worthwhile character in the whole story. I am capable of enjoying horrible characters....Dracula - monster, Ripley - psychopathic multi-murderer, Humbert Humbert - sexual "deviant", and I love those characters and their stories. There is a way to write the horrible reality of humanity, even gut-wrenching suspense, and well-crafted twistedness doesn't have to be completely unredeeming so that you lose your readers' desire to continue. The story was clever in its concept, but the delivery was a complete failure. It felt like the author was playing both sides of a checkers game (not complex enough to use chess as an example), so that every time Nick did "this," she would flip to decide what Amy would do, and vice versa.

    SPOILER ---> She was clever to make the diary a fiction, and not reveal that until it was time to bring Amy back into the story, but it was otherwise just a story filled with incredibly unlikable people doing shitty things to each other. A murder mystery without a murder, and not very mysterious... <-- END SPOILER.

    I shudder to think that this has been optioned as a movie because the producer thinks the story has strong female characters. If this is an example of strong female character, I'll take the 1940s any day of the week. A woman in the role of a murdering manipulative psychopath is just a murdering manipulative psychopath, not a strong woman. The female detective still depended on the man to play "bad cop," and never did anything remotely remarkable in investigation; the sister was a blubbering whiny baby; the mother was an enabling, codependent, airhead; the girlfriend was a clingy twit...and then she assaulted him...but she got the "atta girl" from him when she didn't answer his telephone call - wow - No...these are not strong women. The strongest woman in the story, was Nick.


    Any additional comments?

    In the suspense/mystery genre, there are much much better writers out there; this is NOT a 5-star book. It's at 3 at a stretch, but for me it's a 2.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Woods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (5595)
    Performance
    (3562)
    Story
    (3564)

    As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

    Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.

    Dottie B. says: "Very mixed feelings (semi-spoilers included)"
    "Could have been a solid 4"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narration was superb but the technical/sound editing was so sloppy that I deducted 2 stars!! Shame on the sound crew of this production because I thought the narrator did an excellent job with the story and the characters. One of the few who can pull of solid male and female characters without sounding overdone. But I shouldn't be able to hear his mouth noises and the background stuff. I've seen other complaints along these lines, and it is NOT the narrators fault or problem that we can hear all of this, it's crummy production. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from listening because of this, but it is unfortunate. So, 3 stars for the "performance."

    In terms of the writing, I appreciated the plot and character development, but by 2/3 into the book I was ready for it to be over for a number of reasons that knocked it from a solid 4-star (good) book up to that point, down to a 3-star (average) book. It went from being a crispy and chewy oatmeal cookie, yum!, to a stale old half an oatmeal biscuit that was left in the back of the cupboard, yuck! I hate hate hate that the story, and such enjoyable characters, were utterly destroyed by a stupid plot twist in the relationship that felt so unnecessary and cliche, I went from really liking Ryan and admiring Cassie, to absolutely hating him and rolling my eyes at them both (and a few select "Irish phrases" for the author). And since I was past ready to know "who dunnit already!!!" by then, it is agony to get through the last 1/3.


    Would you recommend In the Woods to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. The relationship twist destroyed the book for me.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Steven Crossley?

    Absolutely, and I would hope he had a better sound team.


    Was In the Woods worth the listening time?

    The first 2/3 were fantastic, loved it. The last 1/3 is such a tedious disappointment, I'm not sure I would say it's worth it.


    Any additional comments?

    Get someone in to clean up the hot mess of this production.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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