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Laura

Markham, ON, Canada | Member Since 2013

20
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 17 ratings
  • 127 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel of North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Adam Johnson
    • Narrated By Tim Kang, Josiah D. Lee, James Kyson Lee, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1240)
    Performance
    (1072)
    Story
    (1081)

    Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother - a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang - and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

    Lisa says: "The most compelling listen I've ever owned"
    "Overall - I didn't like this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To be honest, the plot was slow and I found it depressing. The narration was good however.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Son

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Philipp Meyer
    • Narrated By Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1357)
    Performance
    (1208)
    Story
    (1230)

    Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. Spring, 1849: Eli McCullough is 13 years old when a marauding band of Comanches takes him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and waging war against their enemies, including white men - which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is.

    Melinda says: "Five Stars for the Lone Star, The Son, & Meyer"
    "Disppointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are 3 stories. The writer jumps between them, but only one is interesting. During the other two stories I was bored and couldn't wait for them to end so I could get back to the exciting one. Returning it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Rhoda Janzen
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (322)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (126)

    The same week her husband of 15 years ditches her for a guy he met on Gay.com, a partially inebriated teenage driver smacks her VW Beetle head-on. Marriage over, body bruised, life upside-down, Rhoda does what any sensible 43-year-old would do: She goes home. But hers is not just any home. It's a Mennonite home, the scene of her painfully uncool childhood and the bosom of her family.

    Dotty says: "It's OK"
    "I wasn't great."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even by the title you can get a glimpse into the mindset of the author, that she is too grand for her awkward 'anti-cool' Mennonite upbringing.
    It made me wince with embarrassment as she seemed to underline, again and again how vulgar and frumpy her family culture is compared to the educated and sophisticated circles in which she moves now.
    The juxtaposition was amusing, (after her marriage fails, she returns to the bosom of her Mennonite family for some recovery time). However, I felt it got tired.
    The plot - being a memoir, was not exciting, and I was bored.
    Couldn't wait for it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Handmaid's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3929)
    Performance
    (3547)
    Story
    (3571)

    Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

    Emily - Audible says: "My Top Pick for 2012"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has been on my wish list for some time. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. So well reviewed! Arthur C. Clarke award. It all sounded amazing, including the synopsis.

    I am 3/4 of the way through and I am ready to give up. I remember now why Margaret Atwood was on my blacklist from about 12 years ago. It's all coming back to me.

    There is hardly any plot progression. The narration is first person and meanders through an ENDLESS internal dialogue with incessant flashbacks, meanwhile, in the present tense - nothing is happening. Everything is unnecessarily over-described. Every thought, every emotion, every item in the room. The clock, the mantle, the wallpaper in the bathroom (Small flowers, forget-me-nots, purple). I don't need car chases, hijacks and bombs, but this is just exasperating.

    I get the symbolism, the eggs, the eyes, the flowers. I get the themes, but it all seems like tokenism. They all seem 'glued onto the outside'.

    When I come back to the book, I am rewinding and forwarding through the book, all to try to find the place where I was the last time I listened, to remember what was happening, who did what, who said what, even though it was 4 hours ago when I last listened. There are no plot points to attach a memory to.

    I would press on, but I read the ending was a disappointment too...so I am in a dilemma.

    I think I just don't like her writing style. 90% of the plot happened in the past and is meted out in tiny portions and almost nothing happens in the present, which is slow and overly descriptive. Not my thing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Piper Kerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3356)
    Performance
    (3039)
    Story
    (3065)

    With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

    Mark says: "My favorite book of the year, so far"
    "Interesting book. A learning experience."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this book.

    It is autobiographical, therefore the plot doesn't have the same flow as fiction. There is no rise and fall of Protagonists vs. Antagonists. No 'all is lost' moment at the end of Act II and then a 'hero conquers all' third Act.

    It is simply a narrative - with less drama - told in the first person, of one person's struggle to retain normality and sanity in ridiculously curious circumstances.

    To me it was a cross between a documentary and a diary. It has all the personal hallmarks of a secret diary. An internal dialogue, thoughts, feelings. It also had the descriptive elements of a documentary.

    I really enjoyed the Netflix TV series. I enjoyed this maybe a little less - it has less drama. But it was truly eye-opening.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (7248)
    Performance
    (6589)
    Story
    (6602)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "LOVED this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    OK - I only bought this because I already knew this was J K Rowling. I was curious to see her write in a new genre. She totally delivers.

    This book is beautifully set in crummy London venues and streets that I remember well. It really placed me there.
    The characters are skillfully written and believable.
    The plot is excellent, she constructs the mystery and the clues beautifully.

    Can't wait for the next one!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Marissa Meyer
    • Narrated By Rebecca Soler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2148)
    Performance
    (1936)
    Story
    (1944)

    Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.... Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle.

    Staaj says: "Surpised by how much I enjoyed it"
    "Pleasantly surprised but also disappointed."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was chosen by my book club, so is a departure for me. I was trepidatious about the idea of a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella. Let's face it - most fairytales are outdated and misogynistic.

    However, the story and the narration held my attention and it was very entertaining. It is in fact only very loosely based on the fairytale.

    The ending however was a HUGE disappointment! I knew this was part of a series, but assumed each book would be self-contained whole, with a proper ending. Nope - this book just stopped - seemingly in the middle. A big 'to be continued'.

    Now I feel cheated. I am somewhat compelled to buy the next one, but a little afraid I will be left hanging at the end again. I read that there will be 4 books in the Lunar Chronicles. Each one focusing on a different fairytale. Not sure I want to commit to all 4....

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Water for Elephants

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sara Gruen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux, John Randolph Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13584)
    Performance
    (5979)
    Story
    (6058)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

    Kindle Customer says: "Great Narration!!"
    "AMAZING Book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can honestly say I haven't enjoyed a book so much in years. The narration was INCREDIBLE, I loved how it switched between the voices of Jacob at 23 and at 93.
    An excellent read. You won't be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pride and Prejudice

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Margarite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (50)

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was first published in 1813. The story follows Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, moral rightness, education and marriage in her aristocratic society of early 19th century England. Elizabeth is the second eldest of five daughters of a country gentleman living in the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, not far from London.

    Laura says: "Excellent version to choose"
    "Excellent version to choose"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Really nice narration. I really liked her voice. I liked her characterisation and accent. It was perfect.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Stand

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6941)
    Performance
    (6154)
    Story
    (6213)

    This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides - or are chosen.

    Keith says: "Worth the wait!"
    "Great book, very good narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I actually bought this book for my son, not intending to listen to it myself (as I have literally read it 4 times before), but...I got hooked. Again.
    Very good performance by the narrator. Believable voice and acting. The mother Abigail was a bit suspect, but apart from that, very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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