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Simone

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Member Since 2006

419
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 305 reviews
  • 439 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 95 purchased in 2014
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60

  • The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America's First Subway

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Doug Most
    • Narrated By John H. Mayer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    In the late nineteenth century, as cities like Boston and New York grew larger, the streets became increasingly clogged with horse-drawn carts. When the great blizzard of 1888 brought New York City to a halt, a solution had to be found. Two brothers - Henry Melville Whitney of Boston and William Collins Whitney of New York City - pursued the dream of his city being the first American metropolis to have a subway and the great race was on.

    Lynn says: "Informative Cobbled Telling of an Important Story"
    "Would have preferred a more concise overview."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don’t quite see how this was a RACE as the title states. It just seemed like a telling of the developments in each city – I never got the feeling that one was trying to outdo the other, or beat them to the finish line.

    The abridged version would have been better for me, and I should have known after reading (and giving up on) “The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge” by David McCullough.

    The same issues bothered me in both books: too many dry facts! I am interested in the subject in general, but not at this level of detail. The book cast such a wide net over the surrounding particulars that on many occasions I felt it was off topic. Some snippets were interesting, but most just went “in one ear and out the other”.

    Also, I am not that interested the biography of every single person involved in the process, and there were some people who played such a small role in the whole progression that they could have been left out all together.

    I hope I learned my lesson for the next time I pick up a book in this genre: to pause before buying to ask myself: “how much do I REALLY want to know about this topic?”

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • In Spite of Myself

    • ABRIDGED (16 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Christopher Plummer
    • Narrated By Christopher Plummer
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    He was born a Canadian on a Friday the 13th in 1929 - the year of the Crash. His boyhood was one of privilege: an ancestor was a Governor General; his great-grandfather Sir John Abbott was Canada’s third prime minister and owned railroads. There were steam yachts, mansions, and a life of Victorian gentility and somewhat cluttered splendor. Plummer tells how "this young bilingual wastrel, incurably romantic, spoiled rotten, tore himself away from the ski slopes to break into the big bad world of theatre, not from the streets up but from an Edwardian living room down".

    Simone says: "Hilariously Honest"
    "Hilariously Honest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked up this biography not knowing much about the life of Christopher Plummer, I just wanted Sound of Music scoops. I think this book would appeal more to fans of his theater work, it’s all a little too high-brow for me, but still I enjoyed it overall.

    I got so much more out of this memoire than I anticipated, who knew Christopher Plummer was such player... and not just on the stage. He’s a charming, boozing, womanizing, cocky, overconfident man (I would say Captain Von Trapp comes close to being his polar opposite!) but his writing is witty, self deprecating, packed with great one-liners and so hilariously honest that it was a pleasure to read.

    I didn’t get very many Sound of Music scoops, but I love that he refers to it as ‘S&M’. ha! He also says that: “watching the Sound of Music is like being beaten to death with a Hallmark card”. Hysterical!

    If I knew he was Canadian I had forgotten, so it was a real treat to read about Montreal (my city) in the ‘old days’; I found myself pining for a time I didn’t know.

    I think to satisfy my craving for behind the scenes gossip, I’ll give the book “Forever Liesl” by Charmian Carr a try.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Garry Marshall
    • Narrated By Garry Marshall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (103)

    Once called a legend in his own time slot, Garry Marshall has been among the most successful writers, directors, and producers in America for more than five decades. In My Happy Days in Hollywood, Marshall takes us on a journey from his stickball-playing days in the Bronx to his time at the helm of some of the most popular television series and movies of all time, sharing the joys and challenges of working with the Fonz and the young Julia Roberts, the “street performer” Robin Williams, and the young Anne Hathaway, among many others.

    Leslie says: "Heartfelt, Open and Honest"
    "Great Fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was fun to read the behind the scenes details of his various TV shows and movies - very interesting! However, I wanted more! More details, more stories, more factoids... I felt like it was just a pleasant anecdote or two per production.

    On the other hand, he is so prolific that if he would have delved deeper into detail, the book would have been thousands of pages long!

    I like Garry Marshall’s style and sense of humour, this was a really fun read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Birds of a Feather: Maisie Dobbs Mysteries

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Kim Hicks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (784)
    Performance
    (484)
    Story
    (484)

    Maisie Dobbs is back, and this time she has been hired to find a wealthy grocery magnate's daughter who has fled from home. What seems a simple case at first becomes complicated when Maisie learns of the recent violent deaths of three of the heiress's old friends. Is there a connection between her mysterious disappearance and the murders? Who would kill such charming young women? As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers to all her questions lie in the unforgettable agony of The Great War.

    Linda P-C says: "Yikes! This is a problem."
    "My Next Go-To Series?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The fact that this is a series is what keeps me going (12 volumes so far). The idea of a go-to series appeals to me so I am determined to get into these books!!

    This instalment entertained me enough to keep going, I enjoyed the reoccurring characters, the setting, and the overall mood... I did find the pace a little slow mind you.

    In general; I like it. I am up for more and hope that the more I read the more I will want to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jonas Jonasson
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1718)
    Performance
    (1534)
    Story
    (1553)

    After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash.

    Sylvia says: "Full of Surprises and Unexpected Events"
    "Delightfully Silly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book was delightfully silly - there is not much more I can say!

    I highly enjoyed this amusing little tale; the title sets the tone perfectly and the story is simply charming.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Timebound

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rysa Walker
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (871)
    Performance
    (790)
    Story
    (794)

    When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and her genetic ability to time travel makes Kate the only one who can fix the future.

    Lessa says: "Completely Enjoyed It"
    "Young Adult Ficton isn't for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really should read more background information on the books I buy before forking over the money!

    I love Time Travel stories so I naturally gravitated towards this one, but about a quarter of the way in I felt like something was lacking. I can’t say it was bad, but the story felt a little simplistic and I didn’t like the way it assumed that the audience would readily accept certain concepts without much hesitation; it all seemed too easy. “Oh you’re a time traveller, cool, ok”

    Based on the tone I started wondering if it was geared towards a Y.A. audience, and I went back to read more about the book - I discovered it was the 2013 Winner for Breakthrough Novel for Young Adult Fiction. Voila! Thought so.

    I hope that this does not sound condescending, or like I am knocking Y.A.; let’s just say the genre is just not for me... possibly because I am far from being a Young Adult!!!!!

    Still, once I readjusted my expectations, I enjoyed the ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mindscan

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    Jake Sullivan has cheated death: he's discarded his doomed biological body and copied his consciousness into an android form. The new Jake soon finds love, something that eluded him when he was encased in flesh: he falls for the android version of Karen, a woman rediscovering all the joys of life now that she too is no longer constrained by a worn-out body. Karen's son sues her, claiming that by uploading into an immortal body, she has done him out of his inheritance.

    Daphne says: "A most intriguing and disconcerting book"
    "I HEART RJS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have not yet read a Sawyer book that I haven’t absolutely LOVED, and this is a bit of a curse because my standards for his stories have therefore become impossibly high!!

    This book lived up to expectations – no question! Yet again he has come up with a riveting and original plot that had me glued to every word; I just can’t get enough!

    Another hands down hit.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Escape from Sobibor

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Richard Rashke
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (29)

    On October 14, 1943, 600 Jews imprisoned in Sobibor, a secret Nazi death camp in eastern Poland, revolted. They killed a dozen SS officers and guards, trampled the barbed wire fences, and raced across an open field filled with anti-tank mines. Against all odds, more than three hundred made it safely into the woods. Fifty of those men and women managed to survive the rest of the war. In this edition of Escape from Sobibor, fully updated in 2012, Richard Rashke tells their stories

    Dean Thomas says: "Rashke put a face to the good and the bad!"
    "Narration is distractingly bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am ¼ of the way into this book, and my opinion is exactly the same as “Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account” by Miklós Nyiszli... except perhaps I am not as vehement regarding the narration. Although the same complaints apply, I’d give it 1.5 stars instead of just 1. Still, it’s not much better.


    Here is my review of that book:

    It’s hard to criticize the content of someone’s personal recollections of what they experienced in harrowing times. It's interesting, I'm interested.

    I think these things are important to learn about and remember. In some itsy bitsy way it’s giving meaning to their lives.

    The narration of this audiobook however was so poor that sadly it’s about all I am taking away from it. Monotone, staccato, no emotion, unvarying in pitch, no intonation, mechanical… such a shame; it ruined the book for me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of Eternity: The Century Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (794)
    Performance
    (710)
    Story
    (715)

    Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

    Elisa says: "Some good, some bad"
    "Borderline Trashy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For a story I can say I liked, I have a lot of complaints.

    Something bothered me about the book… I can’t quite put my finger on it, but if I could I would have to wash it. It felt so 80s to me and I am not sure I can explain that sentiment. Is it because it was in the 80s that first read sweeping dramatic sagas written by Judith Krantz and Barbara Taylor Bradford? Normally Ken Follett’s books are great, but this one was borderline trashy.

    Here are my top 2 complaints:

    1 – It’s just too long. I didn’t feel that way with Books 1 and 2 (perhaps because the events are closer in time to my reality and therefore more interesting by default) but on so many occasions I felt like it was dragging on with pointless scenes and I often found myself wondering what was the point? It was as if he was writing just for the pleasure of it, as opposed to advancing the story.

    2 – The Sex. Dear Lord! Ken Follett just needs to write a dirty book and get it out of his system. Skimming over other reader’s reviews, I see I am in the majority on this one. It was so gratuitous and cringe-worthy that it became simply ridiculous. Every single scene winds up with someone in the sac, or talking about it, or fantasising about it, or reminiscing about it, or planning it, or being coy and alluding to how much (and how hard) they want it. I felt like the actual story was just filler to get to yet another sex scene. It was awkward after a while and extremely tiresome.

    This book could have used a strong and merciless edit to cut it down to half the length, then it would have been a page-turner!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Bless the Bride: A Molly Murphy Mystery, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (141)

    With Molly Murphy’s wedding to NYPD Captain Daniel Sullivan quickly approaching, the Irish P.I. heads to the Westchester County countryside,where Daniel’s mother can counsel her on a bride’s proper place. Surprisingly, Molly seems to be agreeing with her future mother-in-law’s advice. Molly promises to leave her detective work behind and settle down after becoming Daniel’s wife…but she isn’t married yet. So when she gets word of a possible case, Molly sneaks back into the city to squeeze in a little more sleuthing before the wedding bells can ring.

    Simone says: "Dependable “go-to series”"
    "Dependable “go-to series”"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Molly Murphy Books have turned into default reads for me, which is good and bad.

    Good – well, because the stories are good! I know in advance I will like them and can reach for the next installment of the series with confidence knowing I won’t be disappointed.

    Bad – because I am running out of available titles!! This was Book 10 so I only have 11, 12 and 13 left (which I will blow through in no time) and then I will have to wait until the titles are released before reading more. Book 14 is only due out in 2015.

    This is also how I felt when I finished all the titles in Sue Grafton’s alphabet series: going from a new title whenever the mood strikes, to waiting years between installment.

    I like having a dependable “go-to series”; you’re never at a loss for something good to read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11083)
    Performance
    (10332)
    Story
    (10337)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "The Ultimate Video / Role Playing Game!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a sucker for a good idea and I was so interested in this one that is was easy to overlook the book’s short comings. It’s too long and many of the scenes are too drawn out; a good editing would have helped! Still, I found the story so novel and original that I was hooked from the start.

    I can see how if you are of a certain age (under 25) many of the 80s references would sail right over your head, I was born in the early 70s so I am the perfect age for the target audience. In addition to being a unique story, it was an extremely entertaining walk down memory lane.

    Great fun!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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