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Shannon

sohara28

Member Since 2005

ratings
330
REVIEWS
16
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
12

  • Flight

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Sherman Alexie
    • Narrated By Adam Beach
    Overall
    (197)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (109)

    Flight is the hilarious and tragic story of an orphaned Indian boy - "Zits" - who travels back and forth through time in a charged search for his true identity. With powerful, swift prose, Flight follows the troubled teenager as he learns that violence is not the answer.

    chris says: "Search ends"
    "Annoying narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story for this was ok, but the narrator was very annoying. He had a laconic voice which could have passed for an alienated teen. He lost me when he mispronounced "cavalry" as "Calvary" literally hundreds of times in one passage. The story was intense and somewhat mystical, with a heart-warming (if unlikely) ending. The narrator ruined it for me, and I will avoid him in the future.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Mystery of Mercy Close

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Marian Keyes
    • Narrated By Caroline Lennon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (84)

    As the youngest of the five Walsh girls, Helen has had a tough time finding her way in the world. At 33, her job as a private investigator has proven less than fruitful and after losing her apartment, she’s moved back in with Mammy Walsh. In desperation, Helen takes on a case to locate the missing member of a once wildly popular boy band. The only hitch is that she has to work with her ex-boyfriend.

    Tiffany says: "I love Marian Keyes"
    "Mordantly funny, surprisingly mysterious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I started this book, I thought I had made a terrible mistake. The protagonist, Helen, seemed like an awful person. She arrives at her parents' house, lets herself in with the key she told them years ago she lost (while secretly holding it "just in case") and announces she's moving in.

    Her parents are less than thrilled.

    Helen seems to have nothing nice to say about anyone she's ever met.

    As the book goes on, serious matters (mental illness) are woven in with a missing boy band member (now age 37), various romantic entanglements, a hilarious depressive's line of paint names, and a lot of detail about the actual work of becoming and surviving as a private eye.

    I had no idea what had happened to the boy bander (although the clues were all there), and grew to love and admire Helen.

    There were many smiles and a few laughs out loud.

    This is apparently one of a series of books about the 5 girls in the family, and I will definitely check out the other books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Clear

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1535)
    Performance
    (994)
    Story
    (1016)

    Three time-traveling historians are visiting World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler's bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Rescued by the second half"
    "30 hours of great material in 50 hours"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked the characters in this book. We came to know and care about many of the people stuck in the London blitz. There was a lot of excellent history, and I think the author did a fabulous job letting us experience the terror of constant bombing, the privation of constant rationing and the courage shown by much of the population.

    The cutting back and forth between different centuries and different locations was a little harder to follow in an audiobook than in print.

    What made me subtract a star from the overall score was the constant repetition of the same themes - "I'm stuck, no one can rescue me", "I may have changed history" and "I'm not going to tell my friends what's really going on because I don't want them to worry."

    The six parts that make up the two books in this series were probably twice as long as they needed to be.

    I'm no stranger to, or enemy of, extremely long books, but I do want the story to keep moving. The same thoughts kept running through the characters' heads, and it was tiresome to hear them over and over.

    We also got to hear slightly humorous or sarcastic thoughts, almost never voiced, which was also annoying. One character might say, "That's a dangerous job" and another would think "Not as dangerous as rescuing prisoners from Dunkirk".

    I wondered why the characters couldn't occasionally voice their thoughts. It also occurred to me that characters, like people, probably only think interesting thoughts a small percentage of the time. Listening to every boring thought that anyone might have in a day is almost torture.

    Perhaps this review is more negative than I intend, but I like Connie Willis' work in general, and I liked the characters and theme of this book. If the redundant thoughts were eliminated, I think this would be a great read for lovers of history, sci-fi fans and those looking for an exciting listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Homicidal

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Paul Alexander
    • Narrated By Paul Christy
    Overall
    (821)
    Performance
    (709)
    Story
    (721)

    Homicidal is the story of the almost 25-year serial-murder crime spree of Lonnie Franklin Jr., who is alleged to have killed at least 10 women in Los Angeles, if not more. Nicknamed by the media the Grim Sleeper, because there appeared to be a 13-year lull in the killings, Franklin met most of the women through random encounters that ended in murder. Significant blunders by the Los Angeles Police Department helped Franklin avoid arrest for years.

    Ian says: "Why was this written?"
    "Not ready for publication"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book seemed to be the first draft of a book. There were interesting stories about killers, but there didn't seem to be any connection between the various stories except that all the killers were active in Los Angeles. The opening story, of the so-called Grim Sleeper, was captivating, but the book was not even able to provide a conclusion, as the man arrested had not been convicted by the end of the book.

    There were no insights into what made a person "homicidal", nor how the police could easily recognize incipient serial killers.

    This book was also very short, reminding me of the joke from Annie Hall, "The food isn't very good...And such small portions!"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Great American Music: Broadway Musicals

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bill Messenger
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    Rodgers and Hart. George and Ira Gershwin. Cole Porter. Lerner and Loewe. For most people who've grown up with and shared America's musical heritage, great songs open the floodgates to memories and feelings. Perhaps nowhere is this more profound than in the world of Broadway musicals, with their iconic melodies and memorable lyrics.Revisit the standards, originally written for the stage, that have both delighted and helped mend the broken hearts of Americans for decades.

    L. Burbach says: "The Best of My 23 Audible Purchases So Far."
    "Great music, trivia and history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this series. Professor Messenger has a wealth of knowledge, a pleasant voice, a trove of old recordings and a cast of musicians and singers on call.

    We learned of the origins of musical theater in revues, minstrel shows and musicals.

    Many different performers, composers and lyricists are discussed, including Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor and many more. Andrew Lloyd Weber even rates a bit of discussion in the last lecture.

    I learned a lot, and I loved listening to the music.

    As a person who has never taken any sort of music class, there were parts of two lectures that I didn't fully understand. Professor Messenger discussed phrasing (AABC, AABB, and/or some other patterns that I couldn't hear) and he discussed blue notes, which I think I did understand.

    Those were the only even moderately technical discussions. The rest of the series involved history, themes, current events, race relations in the theater and the world, as well as other topics easily understood by anyone.

    I am sure that I will listen to this very enjoyable series again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Operas of Mozart

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in 1791 at the age of just 35, he nonetheless left behind the defining composition in every available musical genre of his time: symphony, chamber music, masses, and above all - opera. Opera was the prestige genre of the era, and the thought of it, Mozart wrote, made him, "beside myself at once." It was a form he loved dearly, depending on it heavily for personal, professional, artistic, and financial reasons of the greatest weight.

    Doggy Bird says: "One of the best values on Audible!"
    "Good history, not enough Marriage"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been an opera lover for decades, and Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" is my absolute favorite. I also like "The Magic Flute" and "Don Giovanni" very much. I wanted to know more about Mozart and his operas, and this title did deliver.

    Unfortunately, the first third of the series was devoted to "Cosi Fan Tutte". While I did learn a lot about Cosi, I have always disliked the inane story, and the lectures changed my opinion only slightly for the better.

    The middle third of the series was devoted to Mozart's early life and early works, and (IIRC) "Don Giovanni". I found the information, and some of the selections, fascinating.

    The last third gave very short shrift to "The Marriage of Figaro". I think Marriage might have gotten 1 lecture (45 minutes), possibly 2. The lack of attention paid to "Marriage" is perplexing, since Dr. Greenberg points out its many stellar arias, particularly the sextet when Susanna learns Figaro's parentage. "The Abduction from the Seraglio" is barely mentioned. A lot of time was spent explaining the Masonic origins and meanings in "The Magic Flute". I've always felt "Flute" dragged during the Masonic tests, but Dr. Greenberg's explanation made those sections more interesting to me, as well as explaining why Pamina joined Tamino for the last test, and why Papageno was not punished for his general bad behavior.

    In addition to my disappointment in the relative amount of time spent on the various operas, I also found Dr. Greenberg's voice somewhat grating. I did enjoy his enthusiasm for his subject.

    In summary, I'd say that this lecture provides excellent information and musical selections, but I wish Mozart's great operas had all gotten equal analysis time.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Empress Orchid

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Anchee Min
    • Narrated By Alexandra O'Karma
    Overall
    (310)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (92)

    Seventeen-year-old Orchid belongs to an aristocratic family that has fallen on hard times. Unexpectedly, she is chosen as one of the emperor's lesser concubines. Within the Forbidden City are thousands of women hoping to bear the emperor a son and become his empress. Orchid, determined and resourceful, schemes her way into the royal bed and seduces the emperor. But as the opium trade erodes the might of the Ch'ing dynasty, Orchid find herself at the center of a crumbling nation.

    Stacey says: "Empress Orchid"
    "Narrator's sinus-y, protagonist's impotent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book interesting, particularly regarding the manners and goings on in the mysterious Forbidden City. I don't think the character of Orchid was particularly well-developed. She recognizes that her husband has many problems (both personal and political) but doesn't seem to do anything to help him overcome his personal problems, and doesn't plot to help him avoid his political troubles (she does answer his mail in his name.) While it may be historically accurate that there's not much she could do while her husband was alive, history now records her as far from retiring or inactive.

    More annoying, especially at the beginning of the book, was the narrator's apparent sinus trouble. She constantly seemed to be dealing with post nasal drip, which required audible gulps.

    In addition, her voice throughout the book was extremely calm and placid. While this might seem to be appropriate for an empress, Orchid never seemed to convey any excitement. Even when she sees the marvels of Forbidden City, which she says are amazing, the narrator shows no awe in her voice.

    If you'd like to hear about life at the end of the imperial age, this may be worth a listen, provided the narrator's sinuses and placidity don't turn you off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crime and Punishment (Recorded Books Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1379)
    Performance
    (582)
    Story
    (579)

    Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is universally regarded as one of literature's finest achievements, as the great Russian novelist explores the inner workings of a troubled intellectual. Raskolnikov, a nihilistic young man in the midst of a spiritual crisis, makes the fateful decision to murder a cruel pawnbroker, justifying his actions by relying on science and reason, and creating his own morality system. Dehumanized yet sympathetic, exhausted yet hopeful, Raskolnikov represents the best and worst elements of modern intellectualism. The aftermath of his crime and Petrovich's murder investigation result in an utterly compelling, truly unforgettable cat-and-mouse game. This stunning dramatization of Dostoevsky's magnum opus brings the slums of St. Petersburg and the demons of Raskolnikov's tortured mind vividly to life.

    Greg says: "Wonderful Book"
    "A masterwork that holds up"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book thirty years ago, but remembered only that Raskolnikov "took an axe, gave the pawnbroker 30 whacks, when he saw what he had done, he gave her sister 31." (This was a popular ditty in my literature class.) I also remembered that I liked it.

    When I purchased this audio version, I was surprised that it was long-ish. When I started listening, I was amazed how psychologically intense it was. I don't know if it was the narrator's skill or my own maturity, but I found this book incredibly disturbing.

    We suffer with Raskolnikov. We share his fears of his own sanity. We also see the injustice done to innocent Lizavetta, something that virtually no one in the book mentions.

    Raskolnikov's justification for his actions, and lack of remorse, reminded me of what might be the sentiments of the various killers who feel that the sacrifice of innocent lives in a cause they believe is just is not worth any consideration.

    This is truly a work well worth hearing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Origin of Species

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Charles Darwin
    • Narrated By David Case
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (238)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (72)

    One of the most famous and influential books of its (or any) time, The Origin of Species is, surprisingly, little read. True enough, most people know what it says, or think they do, at any rate. The first comprehensive statement of the theory of natural selection, it does, indeed, provide the basic argument and demonstration of what we think of as Darwinism.

    William L says: "I loved it"
    "A book best read in print"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have long wanted to read this book. It was on sale on Audible, and I thought the perfect opportunity had arisen.

    Although the book is well-written and competently narrated, I found it very difficult to follow in audio. Were I reading a printed copy, I would have turned back to previous pages or chapters to review the information. I also believe a printed copy would have illustrations that added to the written word.

    I did learn a lot, but not nearly so much as I am sure there is to learn.

    I think this book is best read in print.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hamlet

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (80)

    The Hamlet, the first novel of Faulkner's Snopes trilogy, is both an ironic take on classical tragedy and a mordant commentary on the grand pretensions of the antebellum South and the depths of its decay in the aftermath of war and Reconstruction. It tells of the advent and the rise of the Snopes family in Frenchman's Bend, a small town built on the ruins of a once-stately plantation.

    Shannon says: "Great narrator, great book, better read than heard"
    "Great narrator, great book, better read than heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator of this book is excellent. The stories themselves are excellent. The complexity of Faulkner's sentences and story structure, however, often forced me to rewind, because I wasn't certain if I had missed something.

    Each story was fascinating, with tales of trickery and veniality mixed in with occasional kindness and hope.

    I certainly cannot fault the narrator, who does a wonderful job with accents and differentiating the different speakers. Having read (in print) other books by Faulkner, I knew that he loves a rambling sentence, and always tells a moving tale.

    If I had read this book (in print) before, perhaps I would not have been as confused by the sometimes abrupt turns the stories took.

    It's book well worth reading, beautifully narrated, but I would recommend that if you haven't encountered Faulkner before, or if you like obvious continuity, you get the print edition.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Something Fresh

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By P. G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (43)

    As Wodehouse himself once noted, "Blandings has impostors like other houses have mice." On this particular occasion, there are two imposters, both intent on a dangerous enterprise. Lord Emsworth's secretary, the Efficient Baxter, is on the alert and determined to discover what is afoot - despite the distractions caused by the Honorable Freddie Threepwood's hapless affair of the heart.

    Sarah says: "Not terrible - but not a must-have, either"
    "Blandings A-borning"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the intro to the book, PG Wodehouse tells us that this was his first big sale. He and his wife felt quite comfortable with their savings of $175, then he sold this book to (IIRC) The Atlantic for the unbelievable fortune of over $3000! He goes on to help aspiring writers of serial novels by telling them some lessons he learned (be vague about dates and locations - if you're still writing 50 years later you don't want the characters to be centenarians who live too far away from London to come up for a day trip.)

    The story concerns the residents of Blandings Castle, pre-Empress, with (as usual) imposters visiting in order to steal something. The Earl, though absent minded and none-too-bright, is not the anti-social idiot we've come to know and love. His sister Ann is serving as chatelaine, and unlike his other sisters, is of an extremely retiring nature, seldom leaving her room and her voluminous correspondence. Baxter is there, determined to get to the bottom of things, as well as assorted pairs of mismatched lovers.

    It will surprise no one to learn that, as always, skulduggery and love triumph at Blandings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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