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Lemons

Member Since 2012

ratings
78
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
5

  • F--k: An Irreverent History of the F-Word

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Rufus Lodge
    • Narrated By Richard E Grant
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    An amusing, informative, controversial and utterly irreverent history of the world's favourite word. F, U, C and K - four letters that can cause outrage, scandal, embarrassment or instant relief if you hit your thumb with a hammer. In this wide-ranging and frequently hilarious history of the F-word, Rufus Lodge searches out the origins of our language's most popular obscenity, and chronicles its dramatic arrival in our everyday lives.

    Lemons says: "It has its moments"
    "It has its moments"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What about Richard E Grant’s performance did you like?

    He is a joy to listen to. His timbre, pace and versatilty with numerous accents is absolutely delightful. You can almost hear him grinning at times. In any one else's hands, I may not have stayed the distance. I wish he would spread his wings to include more diverse material, as the titles in his repertoire don't appeal.

    His narration of Roald Dahl short stories and Aesop's fables will captivate younger listeners.


    Any additional comments?

    So far, there is only one review on Audible's UK site - nothing on the US site - yet. It looks like either the title is too off-putting, or no-one has the courage to admit having written/read/narrated/listened to this book. The author is hiding under the pseudonym of Rufus Lodge and the British narrator, Richard E Grant is actually Richard Esterhuysen from Swaziland (a small land-locked country in Southern Africa). Thank goodness my reviews are also under a nom-de-plume.

    It was interesting and informative at times, peppered with amusing anecdotes and a fair amount of historical background. The origins of some of the F-bomb's more embellished cousins as well as how it has become almost commonplace, particularly as part of the 60s counterculture, made it a good filler. Authors such as the elusive JD Salinger, Norman Mailer and notables like Allen Ginsberg and John Lennon were also included, among others. There was also a section on acronyms, some of which elicited a smile. No spoiler, but the title word itself is an acronym.

    Where it failed was that it went off topic. In so doing, Rufus Lodge turned it into a tedious swear fest by including almost every other expletive and obscenity. I skimmed these sections.

    At 200 pages / 5 1/2 hours this is a quick, undemanding read which will provide a few "I didn't know that!" or "Did you know?" snippets for the useless-trivia junkie.

    Overall I am giving it 3 stars - 2 for content and 5 for narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unhooked: How to Quit Anything

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Dr. Frederick Woolverton, Susan Shapiro
    • Narrated By Rob Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    We're all addicted to something - but when the crutch gets in the way of living a happy and productive life, it must stop. Over the last 25 years, renowned addiction therapist Dr. Fred Woolverton has used his dynamic, empathetic approach to help thousands of addicts achieve long-term recovery - including himself and his coauthor Susan Shapiro, whom he helped quit smoking and drinking and find success in both love and her career. Dr. Woolverton views the external habit as less important than the chaos and fear underlying the addiction, which we use to regulate our feelings.

    Lemons says: "Sheds new light on the psyche of addiction"
    "Sheds new light on the psyche of addiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Rob Davis rockets along at breakneck speed, as if he has to impart as much information as quickly as possible. Fortunately I am already a great fan of audiobooks so his snappy delivery didn't put me off the medium of audio.

    However, in this case I would recommend a hard copy or Kindle as well as or instead of the audiobook. There is a great deal to absorb, lists to make and one needs to refer back for clarification and reinforcement. This is no drive-by reading.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes, I'm an addict - cigarettes being my poison of choice - for over 40 years. And, yes, I have tried to kick it using books, therapy, acupuncture, programs, medication and nicotine replacement.

    From past experience, the resounding message that usually comes through is that with some assistance and self-discipline, addiction can be beaten - no problem. Some methods are even arrogant enough to claim that they can make the process relatively easy and quote excellent success rates. Many never follow up after completion of their programs, so how do they know how good they really are? It's not easy, hence permanent success rates are statistically fairly disappointing. Addiction in itself is not the problem - it is the manifestation of the problem.

    Finally a book which tells it like it is! Not only do Fred Woolverton and Susan Shapiro go into the underlying causes of addiction, but warn us up-front that we will suffer through the process - for as long as a year. If you are not prepared for a difficult road, don't go past the first chapter, or don't buy the book. Addiction is the accumulation of years of deep underlying sadness, pain, feeling unworthy or unloved, not a self contained bubble of indulgent pleasure. There is a lot to unravel and heal - it has to take time.

    By allowing ourselves to being open and prepared to gain an understanding of how and why our addictions have come to be, they explain how to approach and eventually free ourselves of the fear of not needing the perceived but ultimately unsatisfying comfort that addictions provide. Far from protecting us, they explain how isolating and destructive the "smokescreen" of addiction is.

    For such a short book, they manage to touch on a wide spectrum of issues, leaving it to us, the readers, to explore independently in detail whichever topic or thread is most pertinent to us. Again, I believe that a wise therapist will succinctly let us know what is "out there", without boring us by belaboring their preferences.

    There are always negative reviews, which is understandable. Unorthodox methods do not resonate for everyone, while others are hoping for another quick fix. Fred often quotes his personal issues and frequently sings his own praises. But I believe that any therapist worth his/her fee should have first hand experience coupled with academic credentials to augment his/her effectiveness.

    Apparently the sign of a good therapist is someone who makes us uncomfortable, to really force us to deal with our issues, not floating on air at the end of each session. Fred and Susan are real people who have done the time and they want us to benefit from their struggles.

    Read and/or listen to this book more than once with an open mind and commitment.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Notwithstanding

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Louis De Bernieres
    • Narrated By Mike Grady
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    From the author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin; a heart-warming collection of stories inspired by life in an English village. Casting his mind back to the village where he grew up, Louis de Bernières brings us a forgotten England: where a lady might dress in plus fours, a retired general might give up wearing clothes and a spiritualist might live with her sister and the ghost of her husband. Here we find the atmosphere of those times as it was in the countryside, and the people whose lives are worth celebrating.

    Lemons says: "Lovely collection of interwoven short stories"
    "Lovely collection of interwoven short stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Have you listened to any of Mike Grady’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not yet, but will keep him in mind. He was truly wonderful to listen to and enhanced my enjoyment of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Louis de Bernieres is always a joy to read or in this particular case, listen to as an audiobook. I even love the appropriately wry title.

    LdB can just as easily turn his hand to a simple refreshing tale such as this, or to the sweeping fact/fiction sagas of Birds Without Wings and Captain Corelli's Mandolin. His satirical War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts is highly entertaining. He seamlessly moves from having a twinkle to a tear in his eye with his poignant and perceptive narratives, which remain in one's mind long after the book is finished. Pathos and humor are handled with equal skill and delicacy.

    Red Dog was not well received in written form (too short), but was made into the most delightful family movie - worth watching.

    Set in the fictional English village of Notwithstanding, each chapter is a short story about the oddball characters and noteworthy incidents in the village, moving across different time zones. As a rule, I am not a fan of short stories, but the personalities in this small community intersect enough between the stories to tie them together into a single canvas.

    I heartily recommend this light enjoyable book with its deadpan turns of phrase. If the subject matter doesn't appeal, you are bound to find a book of his that you will enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Agent to the Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4183)
    Performance
    (3652)
    Story
    (3653)

    The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

    C. Paget says: "excellent"
    "Scalzi turns bad smell into a breath of fresh air"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Have you listened to any of Wil Wheaton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not yet, but definitely will again.

    He is the perfect foil to convey the borderline hysteria that fuels the Hollywood machine. Apparently Wil has narrated other Scalzi books and I would recommend this combination.


    Any additional comments?

    John Scalzi's debut was also his first foray into novel writing, originally posted free on his website as an e-book. With this conservative approach he has proven to be that rare combination of being a master at his craft, without the hubris that invariably accompanies it. His ability to write across genres, from sci-fi to personal finance to astronomy, while keeping the tone at once humorous, perceptive and scathing (in the nicest way), made Agent to the Stars an extremely enjoyable light read. It is not literature - it's too silly for that - but then it's not trying to be.

    Science fiction rarely features in my catholic reading choices, but glowing reviews motivated me to try it out. If you are like-minded, I encourage you to sample this gem, which entertained me on a long flight. This is sci-fi lite, focusing more on the entertainment industry.There are enough other commentaries outlining plot and personalities. I echo their opinions of John Scalzi's breezy, effortless style. He doesn't preach - his injection of social commentary and opinion is decidedly palatable. The super-intelligent Yherajk, stuck in their time warp mannerisms, acquired via old sit-coms, epitomize the cheesy 50s and 60s first contact movies. Malodorous they may be, but refreshing nonetheless.

    There are only two areas of criticism that I would level, if I am to be picky. The first is that everyone, including the aliens, has a similar turn of phrase and wry humor, despite a generation dividing their vernacular. The characters are rendered monochromatic and superficial.

    The other is the unnecessarily repetitive "he said/she said" appended at the end of almost every sentence. With a competent narrator (such as Wil), one has the advantage of different accents or cadence to identify the characters. However, regardless of the format, if one is even halfway paying attention to the thread of dialog, it is easy to work out who is having a conversation. Trimming the excessively irritating "he said/she said" and creating discrete personalities would have elevated this to a 5* review.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silent Sleep of the Dying

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Keith McCarthy
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (43)

    When Mark Hartmann is asked to perform a post-mortem on a lab assistant killed by cancer, everything looks straightforward. But his initial findings are surprising: Millicent Sweet appears to have died of several different, aggressive tumours. Before he can discuss this with colleagues, he's called to a conference in Scotland. A serious error of judgement gives a pharmaceutical company a handle on him, and they threaten to expose his excesses unless he falsifies his report on Sweet.

    Debbie says: "The narration makes it worth the listen."
    "Insubstantial plot and character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I discovered Keith McCarthy's Eisenmenger/Flemming series via the narrator, Sean Barrett, who is a favorite of mine. His timbre, pace, pronunciation and accents are superb. I could listen to him reading a shopping list!

    If I am to start a series, I prefer to do so in sequence, to acquaint myself with the personalities and foibles of the characters, hence I started with "A Feast of Carrion", which I enjoyed. Fairly gory, which is fine by me, but masterfully written too. McCarthy's use of language, coupled with his extensive forensic knowledge are a very attractive combination. So onto the second in the series, "The Silent Sleep of the Dying". My rating goes to Sean Barrett's narration and McCarthy's prose. The story is not worth more than 2*, so will compromise on 2 1/2* for the package.

    Frankly, it was a disappointment. Had it been my first McCarthy book, I doubt whether I would have stayed with the series. I'm sure every author has a bomb now and again, so I will give his next book, "The Final Analysis" a try, before "writing him off" altogether. Alternatively I may try one of his Lance Elliott mysteries. His adroit use of language deserves some perseverance and based on "Feast of Carrion", he is capable of better.

    So what is wrong with "The Silent Sleep of the Dying"? The two key ingredients of a good story center around character development and plot, both of which are scanty here. There is little recap of existing protagonists, nor do we get to know them more intimately this time around. They surface periodically (and quite late in the story) as shadowy bit players, while some of the new players are almost caricatures in their superficiality. The broad premise was good enough, but could have been handled better. I may have missed things while listening - at times, my concentration wandered as aimlessly as the tale. McCarthy was not focused on keeping it tight, nor did his editors tweak as much as they might have done.

    I would certainly recommend "A Feast of Carrion and cannot yet comment on the next one, "The Final Analysis". I don't believe it would hamper the reader's sense of continuity by skipping "The Silent Sleep of the Dying" and going straight on to the third book in the series - if it passes muster.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lemon Orchard

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Luanne Rice
    • Narrated By Blair Brown
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    In the five years since Julia last visited her aunt and uncle’s home in Malibu, her life has been turned upside down by her daughter’s death. She expects to find nothing more than peace and solitude as she house-sits with only her dog, Bonnie, for company. But she finds herself drawn to the handsome man who oversees the lemon orchard. Roberto expertly tends the trees, using the money to support his extended Mexican family. What connection could these two people share? The answer comes as Roberto reveals the heartbreaking story of his own loss – a pain Julia knows all too well, but for one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost but never found. And despite the odds he cannot bear to give up hope.

    Donna A says: "A story to tug at your heart"
    "Perfect for the holidays"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    It was adequately narrated by Blair Brown.


    Any additional comments?

    I was in the mood for a light read and given the many positive reviews, The Lemon Orchard was a good choice.

    Temporarily relocated to her uncle's estate in Malibu while he is away, Julia is still trying to come to terms with her grief at the death of her daughter Jenny, for which she feels responsible. She connects with the orchard manager Roberto, an illegal immigrant who suffered the loss of his daughter Rosa, conveniently also five years previously and coincidentally for which he too feels responsible.

    Julia's connection and love for Bonnie, her daughter's dog is touching, but we are offered little of the intimacy of their mother/daughter relationship. Julia emanates guilt, rather than grief. On the other hand, one truly feels Roberto's grief, albeit with a strong but appropriate element of guilt too. Roberto is believable, Julia - not quite.

    Both Julia and Roberto are sympathetic characters and their mutual attraction, despite the social divide is credible. Julia needs to heal herself by resolving the unknown fate of Roberto's 6-year old daughter who went missing during his aborted border crossing. Julia is conveniently placed in Roberto's orbit as this is essentially his story, not hers.

    For invaluable insight into the bravery and desperation that motivate this undertaking, read Luis Alberto Urrea's "The Devil's Highway". This explicit and deeply moving account of what Mexicans go through to seek better lives for themselves and their families is an ideal companion to the Lemon Orchard and any other novel covering illegal migration from Mexico. Possibly it is this record that subliminally filled the gaps for me in The Lemon Orchard.

    Luanne Rice's descriptive passages of the orchard, surrounding countryside and the fire that ravages the estate are beautifully written. Roberto is believable as a decent, hardworking man with a shadow hanging over him. Julia, however, does not fully transcend into much more than a vehicle for Roberto.

    The story loses its way in the middle, but picks up towards the end for a satisfying, if predictable conclusion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Child

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By John Hart
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1094)
    Performance
    (472)
    Story
    (464)

    his most powerful and intricately-plotted novel yet. Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: happy parents and a twin sister that meant the world to him. But Alyssa went missing a year ago, stolen off the side of a lonely street with only one witness to the crime. His family shattered, his sister presumed dead, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown in a last, desperate search.

    Christine says: "Stick With It!"
    "The narration detracts from the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This dark and sad tale was a little slow to get started and somewhat overlong. I am glad I stayed with it - the pace picked up in the last third.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Johnny Merriman is determined to get to the bottom of what happened to his twin sister Alyssa. Her disappearance destroyed their family unit and his mother has sunk into depression, exacerbated by her relationship with abusive Ken Holloway. Johnny has had to grow up fast - he takes care of the home and his mother. Nevertheless, his thinking is too mature for a thirteen year old.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I agree with many reviewers that Scott Sowers narration was appalling. His accent complemented the Southern style and vernacular, but his enunciation was uneven. Within a single paragraph, he would alternate between pronouncing "a" and "the" as "ah" and "thuh", then switch to "ay" and "thee" sounding like a 3rd grader, breaking words into too many syllables. I was so irritated by this that I had to replay sections, because I lost the thread of the story.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Last Child?

    I would not have cut out scenes, per se, just shortened them. Without giving too much away, there is a scene where Hart tries to intervene in the arrest if his partner. This went on and on, with repeated "Step asides", followed by "No" from Hart, to the point where I could happily have thrown it in the bin.


    Any additional comments?

    I will read more of John Hart, but will avoid Scott Sowers at all costs.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cloud Atlas

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Tim Pigott-Smith, Charles Collingwood, Jane Collingwood
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified 'dinery server' on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation....

    Gail says: "Many stories all join together"
    "Do your homework"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Cloud Atlas?

    As I started reading, I realised this was the abridged version. I always read the full version. Unfortunately, the unabridged version is not available where I live, so I had to buy the book. Didn't get around to reading it in time to return it. My fault for not checking. Have since read the book & it was amazing - I can only imagine that anyone reading the abridged version wold be totally confused, as many people who watched the movie without reading the book were.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Didn't spend enough time on the book to comment


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I didn't finish reading it so, cannot comment.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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