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Knoxville, TN, United States | Member Since 2015

  • 2 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 250 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015

  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Beautiful Surprise!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beautiful Ruins to be better than the print version?

    Edoardo Bellerini is possibly the best narrator I have ever listened to. There is no doubt that his impeccable narration added to my enjoyment of Jess Walter's novel. Many narrators are not able to successfully read with different accents or different genders - Bellerini does it beautifully, and truly captures the personalities of each character, as well as the humor in the book.

    What other book might you compare Beautiful Ruins to and why?

    In a way it reminded me of Seating Arrangements, though I'm not sure why; maybe because it exposes the flaws of the characters. The technique of alternating between the past and the present reminds me of Olive Kittredge and Gone Girl. But in reality, Beautiful Ruins bears no resemblance to these stories.

    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    His voice is strong. He absolutely gets the book, so his voice reflects humor when the story is funny, and is solemn when the story is sad. Bellerini has the rare talent of being able to read the male and female parts convincingly. He also does a good job with the Italian and the Italian accents of Pasquale and the other Italiian characters. Bellerini could read the phone book and I would listen! I think of all of the audiobooks I haven't enjoyed, and I wonder how my listening experience would change if Bellerini narrated them.

    If you could rename Beautiful Ruins, what would you call it?

    I like the name, but I titled my review Beautiful Surprises because this book was a complete surprise to me, not only in the plot, but because I was never sure what was going to happen to the characters. And I cared about each one, even the completely obnoxious ones! I also was expecting a drama, and got so much more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love Over Scotland: A 44 Scotland Street Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Robert Ian MacKenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Internationally best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, creator of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels, offers the third installment from his popular Scotland Street series. The endearing denizens of 44 Scotland Street soldier on, both domestically and across the globe, in this entertaining mosaic that is filled with the author's trademark wit and charm.

    Lois says: "The Best 44 Scotland St. Book Yet"
    "The Best 44 Scotland St. Book Yet"

    I have read all of this series, have enjoyed them immensely, and find this to be the most enjoyable. The characters, as usual, are highly developed and seem to come to life. It's fun, too, having a history with these characters, and much of the plot is a continuation of their past exploits. I would carefully dole out my listening time because I didn't want to get to the end! The narrator is terrific. If you've never read any of these books, start with the first one.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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