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Simone

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Member Since 2014

583
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 372 reviews
  • 498 ratings
  • 951 titles in library
  • 38 purchased in 2015
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71

  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood: Outlander, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5252)
    Performance
    (4872)
    Story
    (4861)

    Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to 1743 Scotland, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for a young soldier, James Fraser.

    G. House Sr. says: "Eloquent Fabulous Historical - Grand Continuation"
    "More of the Same: The Good and The Bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jamie gets hurt, Claire performs a bunch of operations, war’s a-brewing, a zillion various calamities… you know: The Usual.

    If you love all the characters, you’ll love this latest instalment in the series. I don’t love them all and so I was alternatively interested and bored. To quote myself from Book 7: “I could not care less about William and Ralf and Murray and Lord So and So the Mohawks and the various battles and the impending Revolution with all the planning and plotting.”

    I do however like the Roger / Brianna story line, and was INSANELY annoyed by the ending. I won’t say more to avoid a spoiler… suffice it to say I am sure Book 9 is in the works.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Thomas Buergenthal
    • Narrated By Thomas Buergenthal, Don Hagen
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    Thomas Buergenthal, now a Judge in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, tells his astonishing experiences as a young boy in his memoir, A Lucky Child. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life.

    Simone says: "Compelling Account"
    "Compelling Account"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never tire of Holocaust Memoirs. I am riveted to the survival stories of ordinary people plunged into extra ordinary situations.

    This book was no exception; very interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Other Side of the Night: The Carpathia, the Californian and the Night the Titanic Was Lost

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Daniel Allen Butler
    • Narrated By Paul Heitsch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    A few minutes before midnight on April 14, 1912, the "unsinkable" RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage to New York, struck an iceberg. Less than three hours later she lay at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. While the world has remained fascinated by the tragedy, the most amazing drama of those fateful hours was not played out aboard the doomed liner. It took place on the decks of two other ships, one 58 miles distant from the sinking Titanic, the other barely 10 miles away.

    W. says: "The Other Side of the Night"
    "Very Informative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was very informative!

    I’ve read many books about the Titanic, and I liked this one because of the “fresh” angle it provided: The story of the Carpathia and the California.

    If knew about the [miss]adventures of California before, it’s hard to imagine that I forgot all about it – it was quite shocking!

    I enjoyed it until about ¾ of the way in, and then the book became too try and textbook for me – it’s as if I got all the info I wanted and then was just dragging it out to the finish; despite that, I still recommend it because I feel like I learned something new.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    What can an Oxford don, a respected society physician, a chic French art dealer, and a charming English lord have in common? Very little, except they've all been swindled out of every cent they had by Harvey Metcalfe, the man who wrote the book on international stock fraud. They haven't a prayer of ever seeing their money again. Or have they?

    Simone says: "Entertaining Caper"
    "Entertaining Caper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was quite an entertaining caper.

    Archer’s writing style is very distinctive:

    • Very little dialogue.

    • A lot of “showing” - No need to exercise your imagination.

    • A propensity to explain plans in minute detail. Sometimes I swear he was reading off a spread sheet! I am paraphrasing here, but not exaggerating : “He owes fifty eight thousand four hundred and nine dollars and fifty two cents, and paid twenty seven thousand six hundred and seventy eight dollars and ninety seven cents, so his remaining balance is thirty thousand seven hundred and thirty dollars and fifty five cents”

    • Books that feel like a collection of short stories.

    • Any excuse to show off his research.

    If you like his style then you’ll enjoy this adventure; it felt nostalgic to me somehow, like an 80s miniseries.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cry Baby

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By David Jackson
    • Narrated By Nick Landrum, Jennifer Woodward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (7)

    It’s every mother’s nightmare - the abduction of her baby. That’s how it starts for Erin Vogel when she is attacked and left unconscious in her apartment. When she awakes it is to find that Georgia, her six-month-old daughter, has been taken. But Erin is given a chance to get Georgia back. At an unthinkable price. Like most mothers, she has always said she would do anything for her child. Now the strength of that bond is about to be put to the ultimate test.

    Simone says: "Riveting Physiological Thriller"
    "Riveting Physiological Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not a fan of gruesome serial-killer cop-dramas, but this book is a exception.

    It’s not a whodunit mystery, we know who does what all the way along, but rather it’s a riveting physiological thriller.

    I did find that there were a few holes in the plot, and some of the twists were a little too convenient, but none of that mattered. Just wondering what would happen next and how it would all end kept the pages turning fast!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Italian Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ann Hood
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    Bound by tradition, she gives birth to seven children; the last, conceived in a passionate affair, Josephine must give up for adoption. Josephine spends the rest of her life searching for this child, keeping her secret even as her other children, whose stories unfold in surprising ways, go off to war, get married, and make their own mistakes: Her son suffers in World War I. Her daughter struggles to assimilate in the new world of the 1950s American suburbs.

    Simone says: "What a HUGE disappointment!"
    "What a HUGE disappointment!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The synopsis promised a sweeping 70-year family saga with a secret about a child put up for adoption – juicy! But it was not even close to good.

    It was a series of vignettes with no point; they did not relate to each other nor back to the premise in the synopsis. Another reviewer wrote that it was “a series of short stories about naive women and their sex lives”. That made me laugh out loud! So true! Over and over I found myself thinking “here we go again!” it was so gratuitous that it was became preposterous and the author’s clear fetish for breasts was just weird.

    By the time I was half way done with the book, I was fed up: yet another inane vignette, yet another pointless sex scene… and endless boobs. Boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs. It was ridiculous.

    I kept going because I wanted to know what happened to the daughter that was put up for adoption, but I was listening in triple speed to get it over with. The lying synopsis said that: Josephine spends the rest of her life searching for her lost child – well if she did, that was in another book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Face of Deception

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Iris Johansen
    • Narrated By Jill Hennessy
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    A forensic sculptor with the rare gift for reconstructing the identity of the dead from their skulls, Eve Duncan is made an offer she can't financially refuse: to reconstruct the face of an adult murder victim. It's a simple bargain, yet its' the most dangerous one she'll ever make.

    Frank says: "Great story; poor narration"
    "Over Abridged!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I should have returned this book because the fact that it was an abridged version ruined it for me.

    There is a lot to be said for the pace of a story; abridging can ruin that. This story seemed very disjointed to me - it’s started off with an intriguing premise and then all of a sudden everyone is running for their lives. Huh?

    Too much was missing... I could tell it was condensed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone for Good

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Jonathan Marosz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (534)
    Performance
    (267)
    Story
    (272)

    In a bold novel, Harlan Coben (Tell No One) continues to stake out new ground in suspense, unleashing a haunting tale of secrets and betrayal...and of one man's search for his missing brother that spirals into a breakneck hunt for a killer, a victim, and the truth.

    Ed says: "Excellent twists and turns"
    "Too Many Tangents"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book in 2009 and gave it 2 stars, after rereading it now in 2015 I stand by that rating.

    I didn’t really enjoy it that much, I found that there were too many tangents and sub-plots that made following the core narrative difficult for me. It felt too convoluted and weighed down with too many characters who all have too much baggage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Henrietta Howard: King's Mistress, Queen's Servant

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Tracy Borman
    • Narrated By Julia Franklin
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    She was far more than mistress to the king; Henrietta Howard was a dedicated patron of the arts, a lively and talented intellectual, and a passionate advocate for the rights of women long before the dawn of feminism. The mark that this enigmatic royal mistress left on the society and culture of early Georgian England was to resonate well beyond the confines of the court, and can still be felt today.

    Simone says: "Better the Second Time Around"
    "Better the Second Time Around"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first read this book in 2011 and only gave it 2 stars. I think that’s proof that you have to be in the right mood for a book because this time I would easily give it 4 stars if not 4 ½.

    It’s all so interesting!! Not just the life of Henrietta, but the history of the Hanoverian Court, how King George I and II came to the throne, their acrimonious relationship, life in London in the early 1700s, the lifestyle of George and Caroline when they were still Prince and Princess of Wales… all of it!

    It’s a very well written book; not dry or text-booky at all. I really feel like I learned something… I’m glad I decided to pick it up again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Charlotte and Leopold: The True Story of the Original People's Princess

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By James Chambers
    • Narrated By Jilly Bond
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    From the day she was born, Charlotte won the hearts of her subjects and yet behind the scenes she was used, abused and victimized by rivalries-between her parents; between her Father (the Prince Regent, later George IV) and (Mad King) George III: between her tutors, governesses and other members of her discordant household; and ultimately between the Whigs and the Tories. Her death in childbirth-the result of medical incompetence-was followed by an unseemly scramble to produce a substitute heir.

    Simone says: "Royal Biographies"
    "Royal Biographies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I always enjoy reading Royal Biographies and the story of Charlotte and Leopold is yet another engaging chapter in a long long long line of interesting stories.

    The more I read, the more the links come together and I can better understand how all the players interconnect. I knew Leopold was Queen Victoria's uncle, but I was never sure just how she was related to Charlotte. I knew Charlotte was a popular Princess, but I never knew why.

    I first read this book back in 2012, yet I feel like I got more out of it this time. Now, I plan to reread "Henrietta Howard: King's Mistress, Queen's Servant" by Tracy Borman in the same hope of feeling like I learned something new.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hausfrau: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jill Alexander Essbaum
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (180)

    Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno - a banker - and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zürich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences.

    NMwritergal says: "Wonderful writing; pathetic, passive protagonist &"
    "Self Indulgent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was hard to enjoy because the main character is so unlikable! “Oh woe is me, I’m such a bad person, I deserve all the bad things that come to me... and I look to put myself in bad situations...” I don’t find any of that interesting – I find it tedious and self indulgent.

    Also, nothing really happened in this story outside of the main character’s introspections... it made me wonder if the point of it all was just to be shocking??

    What I did like about the book, and why I read it in the first place is because it takes place in Switzerland. That was a lot of fun! I have family in Switzerland, I speak and understand Schweizerdeutsch (Schwyzerdütsch) and have been to Switzerland many times so I got all the cultural references. I know where the town she lives in is, and was easily able to picture it all.

    The narration was good, except for the doctor who’s accent was not Swiss but German. I would have been extra impressed had the narrator been able to do a Swiss accent! But it’s not easy – it’s just like French when people try to do a Quebecois accent and just sound Parisian.

    If you like all the Swiss references in this book and want to learn more, I recommend Swiss Watching by Decon Lewis.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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