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I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.

ratings
1028
REVIEWS
187
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
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HELPFUL VOTES
931

  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18816)
    Performance
    (12921)
    Story
    (12817)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Lulu says: "The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books"
    "The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had read a few audiobooks and had even joined Audible. But until I read this book I did not understand the magic of the format. Before reading this book I had no interest in1) romance 2) science fiction or fantasy and 3) time travel genres. I'd heard enough about the series that it piqued my interest because I loved historical fiction. Especially the period of time I knew the book covered. And I always found the challenge of tackling a big book rewarding.

    This book changed so many of my perceptions of genre and reading format. While I still argue that though there is definitely a romantic and sexual relationship at the books core, it was only one part of the adventure. It still doesn't fit the romance genre to me, but it did such a good job of weaving romance and sexuality into the adventure it made me curious to read more traditional romance novels and see if they handled the topic as well. They didn't, but I discovered other good books I never would have tried of not for Outlander.

    Likewise, other than Anne Rice's Vampire series which I had read many years ago, this was one of my very rare ventures into fantasy-science fiction. Setting aside my understanding of reality to accept someone else's is always difficult. But reading Outlander and the subsequent books in the series, I found myself trying to work out in my mind how this might have happened. It encouraged me to explore this genre more thoroughly as well. Even more surprising, it made me evaluate my perception of "time", what it means and how it works. I found myself paying more attention to physics and the study of the time and space relationship.

    The twists and turns of the plot kept me turning the page just like the best mysteries I read. While reading the book there were enough unanswered questions, clues and short glimpses of scenes or events that caught my attention and made me store them away to remember "when all was revealed." But all was not revealed at the end and I found myself turning over these clues and snippets, trying to determine their significance, what I thought they meant and what their purpose was. One requirement of a great book is that you cannot get it out of your mind after you turn the last page. This book met that criteria. I thought about it for weeks.

    Most importantly I learned that other voices can bring a whole new level to the reading experience, if it is the right voice for the right book. I would have enjoyed this book regardless, but if I read it myself and heard my voice in my head the characters would never have come so alive as they did in Davina Porter's voice. This is a perfect marriage of book and narrator. I was so surprised when I later discovered more about Porter's age, experience and background. She made a 21 year old Scotsman come to life. Her voice is Jamie to me. She handled each character wonderfully, although it is the first and only time I have ever listened to a book or series of books and thought a woman narrator did a better job on the men's voices than she did on the women's. I have loved hearing how the narrator has aged the character's voices throughout the series. You hear the young Jamie in the middle aged Jamie's voice, but you also hear the growth and maturity. I have accepted the narrators in the Lord John series, even when the book includes Jamie and actually think they are narrated well. But I am not certain I could accept another narrator for future Outlander books.

    Finally, my initial interest in this book was from a historical fiction viewpoint. A good historical fiction novel, by Bernard Cornwell or Sharon Kay Penman sticks to as much historical fact as possible but presents it in an engaging and relate-able format. It makes you interested enough in the times and events that you will endure the dry-er, less lively recitation of facts of that same event or time in a nonfiction book, just to learn more. Outlander and this series delivered that in spades.





    207 of 229 people found this review helpful
  • All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By John Taliaferro
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (61)

    If Henry James or Edith Wharton had written a novel describing the accomplished and glamorous life and times of John Hay, it would have been thought implausible - a novelist’s fancy. Nevertheless, John Taliaferro’s brilliant biography captures the extraordinary life of Hay, one of the most amazing figures in American history, and restores him to his rightful place. John Hay was both witness and author of many of the most significant chapters in American history - from the birth of the Republican Party, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War, to the prelude to the First World War.

    IRP says: "Great Historical Biography- Well Read"
    "Almost a Five Star"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an engaging book about a fascinating man who at one time was one of the most powerful and important figures in American History. John Hay served the government in various roles from private secretary to Abraham Lincoln, to Secretary of State for Wm. McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. He also served in the administration of James Garfield, so he worked for the first 3 presidents assassinated in office. While Secretary of State to Roosevelt, there was no Vice President, so he essentially filled that capacity as well. He was next in line. Along the way he also found time to write poetry, fiction, serve as a newspaper editor and writer, served in several foreign consulates throughout Europe, including a stint as Ambassador to Great Britain. The scope of his life would be considered wide-spread even now. During the time he lived, it was almost unheard of.

    But, more than the politics, I found the narrative describing the time that Hay lived in fascinating. He came of age during a period of great upheaval and chaos, yet he spent most of his adulthood among the upper class, moving in circles that remained constant to tradition and resistive to change. He followed the norm for his class and married for money and position yet he and his wife seemed to genuinely care for each other. He very much cared for his position in society, yet his closest friends were either snidely critical of society or secretly flaunted its tenets. And he lived through several scandals that might have brought others down. The writer does a good job of moving between the distinctions in his life, allowing us to see Hay change and grow gradually through the years.

    Hay knew essentially everyone worth knowing during the last half of the 19th century and seemed to maintain good relationships with them all. The author spends quite a bit of time addressing his relationship with Henry Adams, and after this book, I am now willing to try and retackle The Education of Henry Adams.

    His experiences and adventures through the Civil War were told in an engaging and easily readable fashion. The details of the crisis he dealt with during his years as Secretary of State were a little harder to get through. The writing seemed to slow down and become heavier, as Hay aged.

    My only complaint had to do with the discussion of her personal life. I understand that this is a serious biography and the focus is not on his personal life. And it is difficult to prove the accuracy of personal stories relayed 100 years later. But the author skimmed over his adult relationships so fleetingly, that what was said didn't jive with the public persona the author spent most of his time portraying. Hay was hyper critical, and made derogatory statements about his oldest son, yet was devastated by his death. The loss of a child would be devastating regardless of your relationship with that child, but he has Hay doing such a 360 degree change in his feelings and emotions, it doesn't make sense.

    The author makes it sound as though Hay was fascinated by the woman he eventually married. He at least a crush on her. But there is no explanation why a 30+ year old man who had avoided commitment, fell at least temporarily in love with a woman that no one describes as attractive. I have to assume it was money. Then once they are married, even though they have four children, she is seldom mentioned.

    I also found it odd that a 60+ year old man who essentially serves as the Premier of the United States, conducting multiple complex treaties at one time, still maintained a decades-long school-boy crush on a woman considerably younger than him, a woman that his best friend also loved, who, based on what I read, had no interest in him.

    A little more backfill on his personal life might have made these discrepancies in his behavior and actions a little more understandable.

    However, my overall impression of the book was very favorable. The narrator did a good job. I highly recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Civil Contract

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Phyllida Nash
    Overall
    (369)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (192)

    Set in the Regency period, this is a classic tale of misunderstood love and an arranged marriage.

    Janet says: "Excellent Narration"
    "An anti-romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    This book is actually an anti-romance. The main character is in love with a woman other than the one he marries for money. And his wife is well aware of that fact. Nevertheless they form a close and strong relationship that grows to the point that at the end the hero realizes he is with the wife best suited for him. I can't say he grows to love her and ceases to love the woman he did not marry. It is more that he accepts his lot in life and realizes it is actually a very pleasant lot.

    I found it a little depressing and sad, although I don't think that was the intent. Marriages such as this were commonplace at the time among this class of individuals and we are told many were very successful. But I had a great deal of sympathy for the wife in this one. The narration was very good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Frederica

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Clifford Norgate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (741)
    Performance
    (441)
    Story
    (441)

    Rich and handsome, the hope of ambitious mothers and despair of his sisters, the Marquis of Alverstoke sees no reason to put himself out for anyone. But when a distant connection applies to him for help, he finds himself far from bored.

    Carol says: "Frederica"
    "My First Heyer Read. Did Not Disappoint"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was one of Heyer's last books. And it was the first Georgette Heyer novel I ever read. I absolutely fell in love with the book and the author. I found the book and the characters in it utterly charming. The book was full of gentle humor and unstated affection. I later learned that a stoic, thoughtful and well regarded hero and a younger, genteel, educated and mentally adept heroine is a consistent standard in her books. The woman is never who society expects the gentleman to fall for, and the gentleman seldom does either.

    Her books are considered romantic, but there is little obvious romance in any of her novels, although she occasionally allows a kiss at the end of the book. This is one of those books where you see romance develop but never overtly and it is seldom recognized as romance by the parties involved.

    This book includes younger children, which aren't typically included in her books. They add to the charm and bring comic relief.

    If you are new to Heyer books, I heartily recommend starting with Frederica. It was wonderful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Venetia

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Phyllida Nash
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (167)

    Venetia Lanyon, beautiful, intelligent and independent, lives in comfortable seclusion in rural Yorkshire with her precocious brother Aubrey. Her future seems safe and predictable: Either marriage to the respectable but dull Edward Yardley, or a life of peaceful spinsterhood. But when she meets the dashing, dangerous rake Lord Damerel, her well-ordered life is turned upside down, and she embarks upon a relationship with him that scandalizes and horrifies the whole community.

    Carol says: "Heaven for Heyer Fans"
    "Ending Wasn't Up to Heyer's Standards"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not my favorite Heyer book. But enjoyable. Typically Heyer wraps up her books quite neatly. The ending to this book - the final resolution, wasn't quite as smooth as I typically find in her books. Phyllida Nash is always an effective narrator on Heyer books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Faro's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Laura Paton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (68)

    Fiery, strong-willed Deb Grantham, who presides over a gaming house with her aunt, is hardly the perfect wife for the young and naive Lord Mablethorpe. His lordship's family are scandalized that he proposes to marry one of 'faro's daughters', and his cousin the proud, wealthy Max Ravenscar - decides to take the matter in hand. Ravenscar always gets his way, but as he and Miss Grantham lock horns, they become increasingly drawn to each other. Amidst all the misunderstandings and entanglements, has Ravenscar finally met his match?

    Nanellen says: "Georgette Heyer is all the better when heard"
    "A Slight Twist on a Successful Heyer Formula"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not your typical Heyer Regency because the heroine is not "quality" or even impoverished gentility. But it follows the successful formula of many of Heyer's novels, and was thoroughly enjoyable. Narration was great.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Light of Day

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Barbara Samuel, Ruth Wind
    • Narrated By Paul Fleschner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Fans of Barbara Freethy, Susan Mallery, and Robyn Carr will love this powerful, full length contemporary romance novel by award-winning Barbara Samuel. Loner Lila Waters had never met a man as fascinating as her new employer. Dashing and charismatic, yet also brooding and distant, Samuel Bashir awakened the hungry, loving woman within her. But too many clues-and the darkness that seemed to surround him-hinted at a mystery that could break her heart.

    Lulu says: "Early Effort And it Shows"
    "Early Effort And it Shows"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Early effort and pretty weak story. It was written in early 1990s and because of the subject matter (and the cigarette smoking) seems incredibly dated now. But there are well written moments that show this novelists future promise. I wonder when fiction ceases to be "contemporary" and becomes "historical."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Devil's Bride: A Cynster Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Stephanie Laurens
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (1037)
    Performance
    (735)
    Story
    (743)

    Governess Honoria Wetherby values her independence. She would rather travel the world than marry and give some man control of her life. Then, one stormy evening, fate changes all her plans. She stumbles upon a mortally wounded young man in the woods. When the stranger dies, she is trapped in a cabin with his body and with his newly arrived cousin, Devil, whom she soon learns is aptly named.

    Scottie in TX says: "Finally! The Book that Started it All!"
    "Over The Top Narration & Strong Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All of the Cynster books Recorded Books produced with Simon Prebble narrating are worth listening to, if only to wait for and truly appreciate the way he says "... and ... then ... she ... shattered!" That alone makes these books listen-worthy. It is in every single book. Wait for it...

    Devil's Bride seems to be considered Ms. Lauren's best work. I probably agree. It started off with a very unique twist, especially for an historical romance. And the two main characters are both larger than life. I give Ms. Lauren's credit for creating heroines every bit as brave and stubborn as her heroes. And I also like that in her books it is typically the man who falls first and he has to work hard to convince the woman of his dreams to take him on. I also appreciate that she puts a plot in each of her books. It may not be plausible or complicated, but it is much preferable to so many historical romances that focus solely on the relationship between the two main characters.

    But again, Simon Prebble's narration alone makes this book and all of the Lauren's books he narrated worth listening to. I doubt that I would ever have picked this book up in paperback.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Rob Lowe
    • Narrated By Rob Lowe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3555)
    Performance
    (2841)
    Story
    (2832)

    A teen idol at 15, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at 20, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences. Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last 25 years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.

    N. Belle says: "Great Book and Great Story"
    "Enjoyed this Autobiography Far More than Expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. Rob Lowe either had a talented ghost writer working with him or he is a very entertaining author. I think he actually wrote it himself. One of the things that made this most enjoyable was I listened to it on audiobook and Rob Lowe narrated it himself. He is an excellent narrator. He does gloss over a couple of events and circumstances that I wish he spent more time on, but all in all, the book was very satisfying. And he does a great impression of several of his contemporaries.

    About a year before I read this book I read Robert Wagner's autobiography, You Must Remember This and after I finished Lowe's book I felt like they were bookends. I know Rob Lowe played a young Robert Wagner in the Austin Powers movies, but there are so many similarities to me, that it was almost like reading the same story, 30 years later.

    I think Lowe is under-utilized in Hollywood. If he ever gets frustrated enough, he can always quit acting and write full time. He seems to have the talent to do so. I am looking forward to reading Lowe's second book. It is in my tbr stack.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Slight Change of Plan

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Dee Ernst
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Widowed Kate Everett is looking forward to starting her "second act". She’s planned out everything that she wants - a new house, a new job, maybe even a new man. She can’t wait until everything falls into place. But life has a way of butting in, and Kate soon finds herself dealing with unexpected houseguests, helping her daughter plan the world’s smallest wedding, and sudden unemployment. Things get even more complicated with the reappearance of her old college love, Jake. He realizes the mistake he made years ago in letting her go, and is eager to win her back.

    Lulu says: "Terrible Narration Makes Book Unreadable"
    "Terrible Narration Makes Book Unreadable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think I would like this book. I have liked the two other Dee Ernst books I have listened to. And I have several Joyce Bean narrated books in my library. She isn't on my "absolute-favorite narrator of all time list" but she is generally a good "reader". However she affects such a stereotypical New Jersey accent in this book, I could not finish it. It grated on my nerves so badly, I had to stop reading. A strong New Jersey accent is challenging to listen to even if it is authentic. This was so affected and such a caricature of the real thing, if I was from New Jersey I would be insulted.

    I will probably pick up the ebook and read it eventually. It is going to take awhile for the awfulness of the audiobook to be wiped from my memory though.

    If you are a huge Dee Ernst fan, the narration might be acceptable to you. If not, listener be warned.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Better Off Without Him

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Dee Ernst
    • Narrated By Gillian Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (38)

    Mona Berman is an expert at Happily Ever After - after all, she's a best-selling Romance writer and happy endings are what she does best. So when her husband of 20 years leaves her for somebody 15 years younger, 30 pounds lighter, and French, she's got a lot of adjusting to do, both personally and professionally. Lucky for her she's got three savvy teen daughters, a few good friends, and Ben, the world's sexiest plumber, to help her along the way.

    Lulu says: "Readable Middle Aged Chick-Lit"
    "Readable Middle Aged Chick-Lit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To me, Chick-Lit describes books written about twenty-somethings. Or maybe up to mid-thirty-somethings at best. Once the main character moves beyond that age the term "chick", which is already slightly insulting, becomes even more so. But there isn't another genre to describe this, except for "Contemporary Fiction", which is entirely too vague. It definitely isn't a romance novel. There isn't much romance in it. Maybe it is a "coming of middle-aged" novel.

    Whatever the label, this was a well written, enjoyable, easy to read, fluffy with just a little weight to it, book. The characters were portrayed realistically and sympathetically. Even the "bad guy", whom I suppose is the ex, had his better moments.

    My only complaint was that the romantic interest comes to play at the very end of the book. It seemed to be an afterthought. I imagined an editor or publisher reading the draft and saying "This is really good, but it needs some romance", so rather than weave a romantic component throughout the book, the author added two more pages at the end of the book that dealt with the heroine's budding romance. I would have liked it better if she just left that out entirely.

    I thought the narrator did a very good job. Other than the anti-climactic romance element, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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