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Rosemary Bannon Tyksinski


  • Operation Shylock: A Confession

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Philip Roth
    • Narrated By Fritz Weaver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    What if a look-alike stranger stole your name, usurped your biography, and went about the world pretending to be you? In Operation Shylock, master novelist Philip Roth confronts his double, an impostor whose self-appointed task is to lead the Jews back to Europe from Israel.

    Darwin8u says: "A Jew, a doppelgänger, Israel and the Diaspora"

    I loved this book! I listened to Operation Shylock while commuting to work--I shivered at its brilliance, gasped aloud each time I reached my destination and had to turn it off. As one whose profession it is to sort through the psychological complexities of mental illness, neurosis, psychosis, shifting perceptions and altered realities, I found the minds of the twin Philip Roths (real or imagined?) as fascinating as any patient I've ever had the opportunity to accompany through the dark abyss of self-doubt, creativity, confusion, and triumph. It takes one down thrilling internal twists and turns of the American Jewish psyche, back alleys of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the Nazi war trials. This is one of those rare books I will listen to again.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Charles says: "Completely Engaging"
    "Suspend your belief. Enjoy the ride!"
    What did you love best about 14?

    A small coalition of unexpected allies living in an old, thread bare building, band together to uncover the building's strange "behavior." Their approach to the many mysteries and problems is unique and refreshing.

    What other book might you compare 14 to and why?

    In a small way it is reminiscent of American Gods in its magical realism. While AG is epic, 14 is a tiny story that "jumps the shark" in the second half aspiring to the epic--but it doesn't quite succeed in doing so.

    Which character – as performed by Ray Porter – was your favorite?

    The protagonist is delightful, earnest young guy who works at a dead end, mind numbing job who comes into his own as a courageous leader of a tentative alliance of fellow building tenants.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The writing did manage to generate a few chuckles. I found myself cheering the characters on and believing in their (totally unbelievable) mission.

    Any additional comments?

    The narrator did a fine job of seamlessly and convincingly speaking for a very diverse set of characters. A fun read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dragon Bound: Elder Races Series #1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Thea Harrison
    • Narrated By Sophie Eastlake
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Half human and half Wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the Wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful---and passionate---of the Elder Races.

    Amazon Customer says: "Woo Freakin Hoo!"
    "One-dimensional Sunny California Inferno"
    Would you try another book from Thea Harrison and/or Sophie Eastlake?

    If this book is representative of this author's work, never.

    Would you ever listen to anything by Thea Harrison again?

    I would certainly give her another try as she was restricted by the quality of the material.

    What didn’t you like about Sophie Eastlake’s performance?

    Can a good actor or reader redeem a lifeless, meaningless, poorly written work? I have yet to find one who can.

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

    Easy to sleep while listening to it--no rewinding needed.

    Any additional comments?

    Silly, but not funny. Lively pace that takes you nowhere fast. Has a sunny California feel in a Dante's Inferno setting--very dissonant conceptually but without irony.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Eight Girls Taking Pictures: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Whitney Otto
    • Narrated By Joy Osmanski
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A deeply affecting meditation on the lives of women artists, Whitney Otto's vivid novel explores the ambitions, passions, conflicts and desires of eight female photographers throughout the twentieth century. This spectacular cast of spirited, larger-than-life women offers wide-ranging insight about the times in which they lived. From San Francisco to New York, London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Rome, Otto spins a magical, romantic tale that creates a compelling portrait of the history of feminism and of photography.

    Jan says: "I can't believe it's not true!"
    "Wanted to love this book!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    As a woman photographer, a lover of people and their stories, I really wanted to love this book.
    Had the author settled on "what is this book" and picked a position from which to tell the stories of these women, I believe it could have been a wonderful read.

    What could Whitney Otto have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Had the author stayed with a consistent approach to these stories as a whole, kept with the emotion, thought processes, and experiences of the women rather than go on informational tangents I think it could have held together more and been more enjoyable.

    How could the performance have been better?

    The performance was fine.

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

    The opening story had some compelling moments that were infused with authenticity and promise.

    Any additional comments?

    The book seems to suffer from an identity problem. Is it a documentary? No. Docudrama? Hmm, not exactly. Fiction? It is fictional, sort of, but not a work of fiction. An socialist/communist editorial? A poor one. The book is fragmented and disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Invisible Prey

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the richest neighborhood of Minneapolis, two elderly women lie murdered in their home, killed with a pipe, the rooms tossed, only small items stolen. It is clearly the random work of someone looking for money to buy drugs. But as Davenport looks more closely, he begins to wonder whether the items are actually so small and the victims so random; if there might not be some invisible agenda at work here. Gradually, a pattern begins to emerge, and it leads him to...certainly nothing he ever expected.

    Queenb says: "Another great read"
    "Crude and Amaturish"

    I was looking forward to this listen based on other reviews. I found the story line intriguing but the language and attitude of the adult characters was crude and juvenile. I do not object to harsh or crude language as long as it is woven into the story and the fabric of the character's psyche. But here the vulgarity came across as gratuitous and unnecessarily repetitive. The indifference and superficiality of the characters was tedious. I tried but failed to like or identify with anyone in the story. There are much better books in this genre I am sorry I wasted my time on this one.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Dangerous Women: Original Stories from Today's Greatest Suspense Writers

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Edited by Otto Penzler
    • Narrated By Ellen Archer, Patrick Lawlor, Michael Prichard, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Prepare to meet the most seductively female and the most shockingly fatal of femmes fatales, brought to you by 17 of today's finest authors of mystery and suspense fiction. Award-winning editor Otto Penzler presents a collection of short and sizzling masterpieces of kisses and kiss-offs, gams and gats, published for the first time anywhere.

    Rosemary Bannon Tyksinski says: "Creepy...a little too"
    "Creepy...a little too"

    This selection includes a variety of stories each of which has a creepy twist. I suppose that is what one should suspect from such a collection. Those who seek a high creep-level will not be disappointed! Have at it. I love a good thriller or murder mystery however, in this collection I did not find even one likable character in the bunch. For me to truly engage is a story that features severe pathology or evil it has to be balanced by at least one redeeming character who represents or fights for good. If I could, I'd give you my copy!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The First Man in Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Colleen McCullough
    • Narrated By Jill Tanner

    Author of the beloved classic The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough creates sweeping sagas that are unparalleled in their drama and emotional grandeur. Now she carries listeners into the pageantry and passion, politics and intrigue of ancient Rome. Cunning and ambition were prized in this vast and powerful empire, but what would it take to win its highest honor, to be First Man in Rome?

    Jessica says: "Best Historical Fiction Ever"
    "Fabulous--too short at 41 + hours!"

    Took me awhile to get up the nerve to start this tome--now, I can't believe it is already over. This book broadened my understanding of world politics, human nature, classism, elitism, the foundations of Western civilization, and of representative democracy. A fabulous and enriching read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Xenocide

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Gabrielle de Cuir, Amanda Karr, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Xenocide is the third installment of the Ender series. On Lusitania, Ender found a world where humans and pequeninos and the Hive Queen could all live together; where three very different intelligent species could find common ground at last. Or so he thought. But Lusitania also harbors the descolada, a virus which kills all humans it infects, but which the pequeninos require in order to transform into adults.

    David says: "full of passion"
    "Flawed but definately worth the trouble"

    Where Ender's Game portrayed Andrew Wiggin as a brilliant military strategist-child-victim and Speaker for the Dead portrayed him as a compassionate, mature, almost messianic figure, Xenocide presented Andrew as a confused, thoroughly human, middle aged man who missed critical phases of his emotional development (while saving humanity),then marries poorly, ending up in the middle of science fiction's most dysfunctional and tragic, albeit brilliant, stepfamily.

    The story starts and ends on the Chinese world of Path introducing new characters and flavors to the Ender series. However the real story takes place back on Lusitania picking up where Speaker for the Dead left off and is awkwardly sandwiched in the middle-- although Card makes a moderately successful attempt to weave the story lines and worlds together.

    I agree with other readers who found aspects of the narration troublesome; the actor portraying the Hive Queen reads with a labored, creepy, sneering tone, and those reading the Chinese characters parts do so with silly, inconsistent accents make that make the reading irritating and almost comical.

    There are three competing equally apocalyptic sub-plots two of which are all too abruptly and unbelievably solved. In contrast the interpersonal subplots get increasingly messy (but believable) and are left hopelessly unsolvable.

    Given all of that, I really enjoyed the novel. However tedious, I especially liked the explication of theological, political, psychological, and philosophical dilemmas that reveal hidden human motivations and set the characters' heads spinning in search of solutions that allow them to preserve the beliefs at the center of their identities.

    The novel left me ready to tackle Children of the Mind.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Jolie Blon's Bounce

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Return to James Lee Burke's "timeless, parallel universe" with detective Dave Robicheaux, as he investigates the murders of two women, tries to prove one man's innocence, and faces an enemy unlike any he has ever known. Gothic, dense, brutal, touching, and always compelling, Jolie Blon's Bounce is classic storytelling from a writer who has been dubbed "the Faulkner of crime fiction."

    JD. says: "Sorry I was wrong"
    "The perfect narration of a near perfect novel"

    Mark Hammer's masterful narration of this book (and the other Robicheaux books) reveals the complexity and drama of a man whose depth of character, grief, personal struggle, and sociological conflicts are entwined with the rich, raw, and sensual Cajun culture. His subtle inflections and careful pacing exudes with authenticity, sorrow, and life-fatigue that distinguishes Dave Robicheaux's search for justice and meaning, in a world that challenges both. He faces pure evil in the person of the indomitable, elderly Legion Guidry, the portrayal of whom made the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up, with each encounter. William Patton who narrates Purple Cane Road, by the same author, is excellent in his narrative vibrancy, flexibility, and skill but tells very different story of Dave Robicheaux through his voice than that of Mark Hammer. I loved all of the Robicheax stories, but this is the best of all.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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