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Simone

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Member Since 2014

548
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 352 reviews
  • 486 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2015
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68

  • How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Dan McMillan
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    The Holocaust is the defining event of the twentieth century and perhaps all of modern history. Yet for too long, we have ignored the vital question of how and why such a monstrous event could have happened at all. Now, in How Could This Happen, historian Dan McMillan distills the existing Holocaust research into a cogent explanation of the genocide’s causes, revealing how a once progressive society like Germany could commit murder on such a massive scale.

    Simone says: "The Ultimate Unanswerable Question"
    "The Ultimate Unanswerable Question"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There just isn’t an answer... and I think that’s part of what makes it such an intriguing subject to learn about. It just boggles the mind. It’s scary to think that something like this is possible – still possible; call me a cynic but I don’t think humanity is immune from a repeat.

    Paraphrasing myself from another book review: Institutionalized racism is insidious. What starts off as a guideline (often times misguided) for the alleged benefit of the community can quickly devolve into an us versus them mentally, pitting people against each other and stirring up violence and hatred and intolerance. It scares me how people don’t see a slippery slope when it’s staring them in the face. Charter of Values in Quebec anyone?

    This book presents a lot of interesting ideas of how culture and history mixed over the years to create the right conditions for the Holocaust, and it does puts forward some very plausible causes, but in the end I think it’s the ultimate unanswerable question.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wrong Mother

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Sophie Hannah
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Sastre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (37)

    Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name: Mark Bretherick. It’s a name she shouldn’t know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation—away from her hectic family life—and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark’s wife and daughter are dead—and the safety of Sally’s own family is in doubt.

    Sharon says: "Loved and hated"
    "Good but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this story and I like this style of cop-drama (more psychological mystery-thriller, less maniacal serial-killer blood-lust) but I still had a few issues with the book:

    •Not enough exposition regarding the reoccurring characters - the “Simon & Charlie” storyline.

    This series was recommended to me by a friend, and when I saw that Books 1 & 2 (Little Face & Hurting Distance) were not available on Audible, I asked her if I could start with Book 3. She said yes so I dove in not knowing anything about it. If you are wondering whether you can start with Book 3, I would say no. I felt lost regarding their arc and had no real idea what their story was all about. I read the synopsis of the first 2 books to try and fill in the blanks but it was not that helpful.

    •I SUCK AT NAMES!

    If like me you have a hard time keeping names in stories straight, I urge you to pay extremely close attention because the plot centers around false identities & fake names... very difficult for me!

    Aside from that, I think I will like this series. The mysteries seem very interesting... enough to keep going for now at least.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Three Wishes

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (375)
    Story
    (372)

    In this wise, witty, hilarious new novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their 33rd year, as they struggle to survive their divorced parents' dating each other, their technologically savvy grandmother, a cheating husband, champagne hangovers, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a threesome.

    Jen says: "It's Still Moriarty!"
    "What was the point?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really like this Liane Moriarty, this is the 4th book I have read and they have all been great so far (Little Big Lies, The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot). This one was no exception, even thought I was never really sure what the point was.

    It was a glimpse into the lives of 3 women – their ups and downs, husbands, babies, neurosis… the soap opera of life!

    It was all very entertaining but it sort of lacked a beginning a middle and an ending. Still, it didn’t take away from the enjoyment; it was a fun story and I am looking forward to the next one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Frameshift

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Scott Aiello
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (69)

    This is the story of Pierre Tradivel, a scientist, and his complex battle against deadly illness, and ex-Nazi war criminal still hiding in the U.S., a crooked insurance company, and a plot to make Pierre and his wife the victims of a bizarre genetic experiment. Frameshift is hard science fiction at its best, full of complications and neat surprises.

    David S. says: "Great story, but very emotionally taxing"
    "Great Story / TERRIBLE narration!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In my opinion, Robert Sawyer is terrific. Every book is a hit every time.

    This time however, I have a lot to complain about – but it’s not directed at Sawyer, it’s regarding the narration. Absolutely the WORST interpretation of a French Canadian accent I have ever heard. Hands down.

    I live in Montreal, I do speak French, I am surrounded on a daily basis with French Canadians speaking English. This guy obviously never set foot in Quebec! His accent is so comically bad that it’s doing this otherwise compelling story a huge disservice. Really, it’s distractingly bad. (At the risk of being perceived as a lunatic, I even wrote to Robert Sawyer about it in case he has some sort of creative control over these things for future books).

    French Canadians ‘tok da en-glish like diss’. I promise you ‘Zay do not zound lika zizz’ ... (if you will allow me a tangent, they don’t speak English, they talk English. They don’t make decisions, they take decisions. They don’t turn off the light, they close the light. But those details are not related to their accent, and I can understand how Sawyer would not want to include a lot of phraseology that only a small percentage of readers would understand)

    If you aren’t Canadian or if you just don’t know what a Quebecois accent sounds like then you probably weren’t distracted. If like me, you are Quebecois – then you were annoyed and irritated the entire way through.

    When a French Canadian speaks English, The = da. This = Diss. They drop Hs when they should be there, and add them where they shouldn’t be, for example:

    I am happy to see you = “I am appy to see you”
    How are you = “Ow are you”
    It’s so hot outside = “It’s so ott hhoutside”
    Happy Birthday = “Appy Birdday”
    Can I ask you a question = “Can I hhask you a question”
    That guy always thinks he’s right = “Dat guy hhalways tinks ee is right”
    Is that her book over there = “is dat err book hhoe-verr derr”

    I won’t even get into examples of how they put the emphasis on the wrong syllable, more towards the end of the word – naturally where it would be in French.

    All this to say, the story was excellent but the narration disappointed me immensely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8394)
    Performance
    (7031)
    Story
    (7037)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    Paula says: "Mind Boggling Thrilling Mystery! Don't Miss It!"
    "A Riveting Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’m an early bird, and therefore I’m usually in bed by 9PM – sometimes earlier. The fact that was I was up until 11PM finishing the book should give you a pretty good indication of how into it I was!!

    It’s so satisfying to get your hands on a good book and being so immersed by the story that you devour it in just a few sittings (would have been one if I didn’t have to work!)

    The book had me on the edge of my seat, constantly wondering where it was going and what would happen next. It was gripping, enthralling and suspenseful; a great riveting thriller!!!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris
    Overall
    (3817)
    Performance
    (3469)
    Story
    (3450)

    From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.

    FanB14 says: "Devout Fan Disappointed"
    "Perfect Medicine"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the perfect book for my mood. After plodding though “Crime and Punishment”, I needed a light pick me up and this collection of comical essays did the trick!

    Regarding the performance, just like in “When You Are Engulfed In Flames” the laughs in the live-stand-up-speeches are BEYOND irritating.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crime and Punishment

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett (translator)
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (553)
    Performance
    (386)
    Story
    (388)

    In this intense detective thriller instilled with philosophical, religious, and social commentary, Dostoevsky studies the psychological impact upon a desperate and impoverished student when he murders a despicable pawnbroker, transgressing moral law to ultimately "benefit humanity".

    Mubarak says: "Excellent Excellent Excellent!"
    "Not an easy read for me!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How can you rate-evaluate-criticise a classic? There is a reason why it has been popular since 1866; almost 150 years! Overall I enjoyed the story very much…. but….

    My ever present difficulty for keeping track of people was made extra challenging by the Russian names; it seemed to me that everyone had the same name!! Example: Alyona Ivanovna and Avdotya Romanovna… I can’t keep them straight.

    I had to use mnemonics to help remember who was who, like for instance the main character’s name: Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. I would say to myself: “Raskolnikov is a rascal, and rascals are up to no good – therefore he’s the killer” but that only helped when I heard his name. I could not retain it 3 paragraphs later to save my life.

    It was extremely hard for me to keep up and I had to keep cheating and reread the synopsis on Wikipedia to understand the story; but that’s my problem, not the book’s. I think I have literary A.D.D.

    If there is a translation out there where the main characters are called Jim, and Bob, and Fred, I’d read it again – the core story was riveting.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robin Sloan
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    Overall
    (2993)
    Performance
    (2692)
    Story
    (2677)

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything....

    Susan says: "Fun, thought-provoking, mysterious.... and FUN !"
    "I didn’t get it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn’t get it.

    This may be the most unhelpful review... but I can’t think of anything more to say - it just flew right over my head.

    Based on the mostly positive reviews, clearly it was just me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Juliet

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Anne Fortier
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (445)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (171)

    Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.

    Glory says: "Excellent! Merits 20 hours"
    "The True Story of Romeo and Juliet?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is supposed to recall the true story of Romeo and Juliet and also follows their descendants (who are irritatingly also named Romeo and Juliet) on a Davinci-Code-like quest through Siena to find a hidden statue and break a 600 year old curse. It's not terrible, I teetered on the verge of liking it, but I eventually fell into the "I don't like it" camp.

    I came across a review on Good Reads that perfectly explains why I would not recommend the book:

    _____________________________

    “There were things in the book that did not make it past my suspension of disbelief. I find it hard to believe that the Virgin Mary would curse a family for 600 years just because she didn't get her way with the original Romeo and Juliet. I also didn't like how the ancestors of Romeo and Juliet seemed to have this "Well, you're named after Romeo and I'm named after Juliet, so we're supposed to be with each other and fall in love" attitude. It was weird and I didn't find it to be the least-bit romantic. And I found it infuriating the way that none of the characters were ever straight with each other on anything until the very end. And while the climax of the book was satisfying, a great portion of the book left me rolling my eyes.

    If you have a deep love of Romeo and Juliet, can buy into the idea of your life being controlled by "fate" and curses, and have sappy notions about romance, then you might like this book. Otherwise, I recommend that you pass it up”

    ______________________________

    I agree 100%! (well, more like 99% - I didn’t find the book’s climax satisfying)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In Cold Blood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2832)
    Performance
    (1571)
    Story
    (1574)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s a story that most people know, told here in an unforgettable way – an audio masterpiece that rivals the best thrillers, thanks to Capote genre-defining words and Brick’s subtle but powerful characterizations. On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

    Lisa says: "Still the Best"
    "I regret this purchase"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was curious about this book because of its notoriety; according to Wikipedia it’s the second biggest selling true crime book in publishing history, the first being “Helter Skelter” published in 1974 about the Manson Murders.

    I feel ambivalent about the merits of these kinds of books as they feel sort of exploitive to me, but I suppose that makes me a hypocrite because I am the first one to tune into Dateline Mystery or 48 Hours or the Discovery Investigation Channel!

    I think I understand what made the book so all the rage when it was published in 1966, as a society now-a-days we are sadly desensitized to this kind of thing (almost everything on TV feels like Murdertainment), whereas in the 60s we weren’t and so the case was more compelling. In today’s context, this true life murder doesn’t really stand out.

    What a horrible thing to say! That the murder is not good enough to be interesting… believe me I am not that callous, just impervious over time. I don’t know if it’s me or the writing style but I just found it boring. I know the point of writing it as a novel was to humanize the people but it didn’t do that for me at all - in fact, it bored me so much I just hurried up to get to the end! Frankly I should have just abandoned it.

    I also read that some parts of the story were embellished by Capote and some details were exaggerated to make the story more interesting! If that’s true then it’s another black mark for the book. Overall, I regret this purchase.

    Regarding the narration, I just don’t like Scott Brick. Objectively he’s good, (and quite prolific – 584 titles in Audible) but to me he seems overly dramatic. I’ve said about him before: I get sidetracked by HOW he’s saying things as opposed to WHAT he’s saying – it’s distracting and makes it hard to concentrate on the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Mary Kubica
    • Narrated By Lindy Nettleton, Johnny Heller, Tom Taylorson, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2266)
    Performance
    (1942)
    Story
    (1951)

    Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, Colin Thatcher seems at first like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

    Roger says: "Brilliant performances, moving story"
    "Can we please stop..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ... comparing every suspenseful thriller with a twist told in alternating points of views to “Gone Girl”???

    I understand that the idea is to inform people who liked one that they might like the other, but I think it does a disservice to the book because it can cause false expectations and potentially set the reader up for disappointment.

    The Good Girl stands up on its own - a great page turner that I easily devoured in a day... stay tuned for the movie, you know it’s coming!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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