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Mary

Madison, WI, United States | Member Since 2012

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 53 ratings
  • 168 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2014
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  • The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (156)

    Pat Conroy's father, Donald Patrick Conroy, was a towering figure in his son's life. The Marine Corps fighter pilot was often brutal, cruel, and violent; as Pat says, "I hated my father long before I knew there was an English word for 'hate.'" As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the toll his father's behavior took on his siblings, and especially on his mother, Peg. She was Pat's lifeline to a better world - that of books and culture.

    Sandra says: "Santini should have stayed dead"
    "Pat Conroy Settles Scores"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. I am a big fan of Pat Conroy's novels and this memoir, though self-serving, gives additional depth to his novels. Having said that, he's not a very likable person.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    It was extremely interesting to me that while he has spent a lifetime attacking his own abuser (his father), he supported and excused his sister's abuser (their mother). No wonder she hated him--I would have, too.


    What about Dick Hill’s performance did you like?

    I can't say I loved it. Maybe because I have always imagined Pat Conroy's voice to be more like Nick Nolte's in Prince of Tides. It took me a while to get used to it.


    Could you see The Death of Santini being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I can see it, but I don't it should be made into a movie. He's hurt his family enough. This memoir is supposed to be the one that puts his relationship with his father to rest. Making a movie of it would make a lie of the premise of the book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Coroner’s Lunch: The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (413)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (346)

    Laos, 1975: The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old Paris-trained doctor, is appointed national coroner. Although he has no training for the job, there is no one else: the rest of the educated class have fled.

    Jane says: "a splendid story"
    "My Favorite Detective Ever!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is full of delightful characters, with Dr. Siri leading the way. What fun! I plan to give this to a friend as a gift.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Case of Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1528)
    Performance
    (1317)
    Story
    (1330)

    A high-profile attorney in the middle of a leave of absence following a personal tragedy is drawn back into the legal arena amidst a media firestorm when he agrees to represent a popular rap artist accused of brutally murdering his pop star girlfriend. With its powerful voice, pause-resisting tension, and strong cast of characters, Adam Mitzner’s novels are reminiscent of such best-selling authors as Scott Turow and John Grisham.

    cristina says: "Excellent"
    "Watch out for bruised and bleeding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A good friend of mine used to say "watch out for bruised and bleeding," meaning someone who is still in too much pain from the last heartbreak is not a good candidate for a relationship. It's hard to say more without giving too much away. I do think the author effectively used vulnerability as a motivator for more than one of the characters.

    Several characters, especially the ADA and the judge, were one-dimensional and unbelievable.

    Several reviewers have said the ending was predictable and obvious. I don't usually spend too much time trying to figure out the twist, so maybe that's why I missed it.

    I didn't love the narrator--too earnest.

    It was a good "read"--not great, but good. I recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brilliance

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Marcus Sakey
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1319)
    Performance
    (1170)
    Story
    (1172)

    In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible. They’re called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in.

    Benjamin says: "Predictable Thriller"
    "I get the point, already!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a good story and a good read. I would have liked to give it four stars.

    But the author doesn't trust the reader to get the point. He hits the reader over the head with it, over and over again. It's like the Holocaust (boink!). It's like making the Jews wear a yellow star (boink!). It's like the WWII Japanese internment camps (boink!). It's like racism (boink!). It's like homophobia (boink!). And then I read an article he wrote and he also says it's about autism.

    By doing this, he disrespects the reader and adds a falseness to the story. He's not black. He's not gay. He's not Japanese. He's not autistic. (I don't know if he's Jewish, but even if he is, he grew up in America and never had to wear a yellow star!)

    It's always risky to tell a story not your own. But, hey, that's what fiction is. But then just tell the story and trust the reader to make her or his own connections and comparisons.

    The narrator was okay, but not my favorite. He only had one alternate voice other than Cooper's and it was rather annoying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Martin Sixsmith
    • Narrated By John Curless
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (515)
    Performance
    (466)
    Story
    (464)

    Now a major motion picture directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) and starring Judi Dench (Skyfall, Notes on a Scandal) and Steve Coogan (The Trip, Hamlet 2): the heartbreaking true story of an Irishwoman and the secret she kept for 50 years. When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a "fallen woman". Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him.

    Fajola Wenders says: "Rivetting Story and Performance"
    "Bad fiction disguised as memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I only give this book one star, because I can't give it zero stars.

    This book is filled with thoughts and imaginings that the author cannot possibly know occurred. He cannot possibly know what happened in the final conversation Michael had with his uncle. He cannot possibly know how Michael or Mary felt when they were three years old. He has invented his version of Michael for his story. When I began to wonder how he could possibly know these and other things, I went to the internet and found that a number of Michael's friends have objected to the invented darkness that the author created to foreshadow his later life and death.

    The author should have stuck to Philomena's story.

    As a memoir, this is fake. As fiction, it is melodrama. I do not recommend this book to anyone.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Professionals

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Owen Laukkanen
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (204)

    Four friends, recent college graduates, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it's no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise - quick, efficient, low risk - works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man. Now two groups they've very much wanted to avoid are after them - the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized-crime outfit looking for payback.

    Richard Delman says: "A thrilling new voice in thrillers"
    "The Un-Professionals"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was compelling from the start. It was an original premise; young adults with no job prospects turn to kidnapping.

    I thought the title "The Professionals" was interesting and ironic--though I don't know if the author meant it to be. It seems that every character in the book, though a professional in her/his "field," got into trouble by acting un-professionally.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Cut: Spero Lucas, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By George Pelecanos
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (115)

    Spero Lucas has a new line of work. Since he returned home after serving in Iraq, he has been doing special investigations for a defense attorney. He's good at it, and he has carved out a niche: recovering stolen property, no questions asked. His cut is 40 percent. But is any cut worth your family, your lover, your life?

    Cori says: "So entertaining and surprising!"
    "Stereotypes, caricatures and cliches"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who like their characters and plots to be simple and predictable.


    Would you ever listen to anything by George Pelecanos again?

    Probably not.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Not sure. It needed a better book.


    What character would you cut from The Cut?

    Spero Lucas


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first book I've read from Pelecanos. It will be the last. Is there any character that isn't a caricature or stereotype? Could it be any less predictable? I don't think so. A good mystery writer should first be a good writer.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Light Between Oceans: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By M. L. Stedman
    • Narrated By Noah Taylor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1260)
    Performance
    (1109)
    Story
    (1091)

    In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel.

    Sandra says: "Wonderful story.....terrible narrator."
    "Worst narrator ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not sure yet.


    Would you recommend The Light Between Oceans to your friends? Why or why not?

    I might recommend the book, but I can't recommend the audio version.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Noah Taylor’s performances?

    Never. Besides the monotone, which I could take, his voice speeds up and drops at the end of nearly every sentence. Combined with the Australian accent (which would ordinarily be an asset to the audiobook), this makes the narration very difficult to understand. I'm constantly having to back up, sometimes several times, to understand what he is reading. It's hard to enjoy a book when it's this much work.


    Was The Light Between Oceans worth the listening time?

    Not sure yet.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Tooth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (644)
    Performance
    (546)
    Story
    (548)

    Winner of such prestigious honors as the Booker Prize and Whitbread Award, Ian McEwan is justifiably regarded as a modern master. Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth follows Cambridge student Serena Frome, whose intelligence and beauty land her a job with England's intelligence agency, MI5. In an attempt to monitor writers' politics, MI5 tasks Serena with infiltrating the literary circle of author Tom Healy. But soon matters of trust and identity subvert the operation.

    Susianna says: "Perfect Book for your Literary Sweet Tooth"
    "Sweet But Unsatisfying - Like Mediocre Chocolate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a spy novel like Hershey's is fine chocolate--okay, but a pale imitation of the real thing.

    It was gimmicky, like the middle school game where one child asks another a series of questions with one-word answers, then makes up a story that incorporates all the words. Maybe it makes sense, maybe not. But everything that happens--even seemingly irrelevant details-- show up in the end.

    The best parts were the short stories that Tom wrote--and be sure to pay attention, because like everything else, they will show up in the end.

    Oddly, the book wasn't boring, even though all the main characters were boring and unlikeable (except for Shirley, who was a hoot.). Once I realized that there was no "there" there, I stopped waiting for anything substantial to happen and just listened to the narrative. This was actually pleasant, since the writing flowed well and the narrator was excellent.

    Every book doesn't have to be a great book--and this certainly isn't. But if you quickly give up that expectation, it's a good read--like a Hershey's bar.



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16568)
    Performance
    (14727)
    Story
    (14771)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Twisted and compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It is extremely compelling. I normally listen to audiobooks on my commute to and from work. But I found myself making time to listen when I was at home.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I'm not sure. The only likable character was Officer Boney.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The ending, I think. It seems that many otherwise really good novels fail at the end; they get wrapped up too neatly and/or are unbelievable. While there were several possible endings, I thought this one was truest to the nature of the characters and their sick and twisted relationship.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely, though it is way too long to be able to do so.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrators were perfectly cast.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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