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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
1031
REVIEWS
188
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
246
HELPFUL VOTES
940

  • Dancer

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Colum McCann
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Nick Pauling, Jessica Almasy, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (129)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (73)

    Dancer is the erotically charged story of the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev as told through the cast of those who knew him: there is Anna Vasileva, Rudi's first ballet teacher, who rescues her protege from the stunted life of his provincial town; Yulia, whose sexual and artistic ambitions are thwarted by her Soviet-sanctioned marriage; and Victor, the Venezuelan street hustler, who reveals the lurid underside of the gay celebrity set.

    Chrissie says: "Amazing prose and narration"
    "Impossible to Pigeon Hole"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the most unique books I have ever read. A fictional biography of Rudolph Nureyev, it is never told from his perspective and gave you no idea how the man perceived himself. Instead we get snapshots of a life told from several perspectives, often contradictory. One was never certain which observers were real and which were not. Nor could you tell if the views presented actually represented the person credit with them. I had to assume that there was a basis of truth in the narrative. I knew little about the man except what I read in brief newspaper articles throughout his career. So everything included in the book could have been untrue and I would never know. Yet there was an element of factuality to it. To me, even if the author didn't capture the reality of the man, he captured the essence. Something many fictional biographies fail to do.

    I am not a fan of multiple narrators but they were very helpful here. Without them it would have been difficult to keep track of which of the observers visions were being shared at any given time.

    This was not an easy book to read. In fact, because of how it was written it was easy to pick up and put down. I read a couple of other books at the same time. But that does not mean it had no affect on me. I find myself still thinking about it weeks later. The vision of the Soviet Union during its height were sobering and thought provoking. The glorious madness of the 1970s and 1980s, still came across as glorious even though we now know what happened to so many people at the center of the madness.

    I am always fascinated by people with a single minded intensity to excel at one thing in their life and completely ignore the rest. The intensity of their every moment is amazing to observe - safely - and from a distance. This book allowed me the chance to do that.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Station Eleven

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Emily St. John Mandel
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (205)

    An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

    Stacy says: "gah!"
    "Interesting Concept - Enjoyable Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    realize that saying a book is "interesting" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but this book is actually just that - interesting. It has received so much hype this year, and the publisher's blurb piqued my curiosity just enough that I decided I had to read this, even though I don't usually like dystopian books.

    I did like this book. Primarily because it kept my interest. There were several threads and several time lines and experiencing the author tie them all together was fascinating. I appreciated the way she made a man who died before the world altering event even occurred a major character in the plot. As if she recognized she was taking the reader off into the unknown, so she used this character, who lived and died in the world we all live in, to keep us grounded in the here and now.

    I would assume that if I was one of the lucky survivors of a plague that wiped out 99% of civilization, and I am not sure that would qualify me as "lucky", the last thing I would worry about was keeping orchestral music and Shakespeare alive for the dwindled masses. But maybe that is what survivors of an apocalyptic event should worry about. And a museum dedicated to now useless human accessories like cell phones and credit cards seems almost cruel.

    The book was full of unique twists that when thought about seem obvious. Who hasn't been stuck in an airport so long they began to believe they lived there? So why wouldn't survivors see an airport as a natural home. And if you knew the world was about to end wouldn't the perfect fantasy running through your mind be that you had a grocery store all to yourself and you could fill up an unlimited number of carts without worrying to the damage to your credit card.

    It would have been easy for the author to fill pages with the expected fighting, blood and gore. But she dealt with the fact that the human race was being wiped out gracefully. And by allowing the reader to contemplate this fact one death at a time, rather than en masse, made it more plausible and easier to accept.

    I actually ended up finding the authors view of a post-apocalyptic future rather attractive and not terribly scary. Except for the part about the prophet and his followers. I would hope that if I survived such an event all of the prophets and zealots would not survive with me, nor would the survivors be inclined to create new ones.

    If I had one criticism of the book - or maybe I should say one question to ask the author it would be - what happened to all the cows? Animals evidently weren't affected by the virus, because dogs and deer survived. And the survivors are perpetually killing deer and eating venison. None of them would have to have traveled too far to find cows or cattle. Or pigs or chickens for that matter. Those would have been far easier to kill than hunting deer. And fried chicken, country ham or a sirloin steak would have been a familiar tie to the past.

    The narration fit the book. The narrator did a very good job. I enjoyed the author's writing style and pace. I highly recommend the book.

    2 of 2 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
    (742)
    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
    (184)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (169)

    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
    (74)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (69)

    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
    (1040)
    Performance
    (738)
    Story
    (746)

    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.

    3 of 3 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
    (3561)
    Performance
    (2847)
    Story
    (2838)

    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
    (15)
    Performance
    (12)
    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

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