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Tom

ratings
400
REVIEWS
75
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
136

  • The Jewels of Paradise

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (60)

    Caterina Pellegrini is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she’s had to leave home to pursue her career elsewhere, mostly abroad. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Birmingham, England, as a research fellow and assistant professor. Birmingham, however, is no Venice, so when she gets word of a position back home, Caterina jumps at the opportunity. The job is an unusual one.

    Ruth says: "A "mystery" of a different sort, . ."
    "Not the Donna Leon I know"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’m a big fan of Donna Leon so I had to try this book. First, I listened to an hour of the book. Then I went to other pursuits. Two months later, I tried again and made it all the way by stubborn perseverance. While well written and wonderfully narrated, the story is simply not very interesting. One follows the protagonist’s research about an 18th century composer/prelate of sorts, which I found I didn’t care about. The protagonist’s travails as the hired researcher to go through the papers of the composer are only mildly interesting. I’ll stick with Bruneti.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Town Like Alice

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Neil Hunt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (177)

    Eight hundred women and children begin a 1,200-mile journey on foot across Japanese-occupied Malaya. At journey’s end, only 30 will still be alive. This is the story of one woman, of her ordeal, and of how she was saved by the sacrifice of an Australian soldier. It is a story of rare individual courage in the face of certain death, and hope in the face of despair.

    Jean says: "Historical Novel"
    "interesting at first but story wanes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is loosely based on a true story. The main character is a no-nonsense, admirable young woman who becomes a leader of her prisoner group, likely saving many lives, and who eventually becomes an entrepreneur in the Australian outback restoring life to a town which is a mere shadow of its former self in the gold rush years. The prisoner portion of the story is quite interesting (though its not clear there ever was a march like this). When the story moves to Australia, for a good part (at least 1/2 the book) I found myself rather bored. I wish I had had a hard copy so I could have skimmed the last portion. All in all, the book would have been better as a long New Yorker or Atlantic magazine article. It isn't exciting and reads, a bit like a report, which isn't the narrator's fault.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Untamed State

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Roxane Gay
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (64)

    Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom.

    Jen says: "Not for the Faint of Heart"
    "can't finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like another reviewer, I'm about half way through and now I'm skipping through chapters to see what happens. My problems. To describe the protagonist as "strong willed," as the synopsis does, understates the matter. She needs to be "strong willed" while in captivity but the way she behaves in the long and frequent discussions of her family and husband is quite irritating. Spoiled and insensitive to others, she is quick to pick up on insults and not a forgiving person.. The narrator is ok. Maybe it's the character she is reading, but the emphasis she puts on dialogue I find too strident.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Duet

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kimberley Freeman
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (363)
    Performance
    (226)
    Story
    (227)

    From the London pop scene, to the opera stages of Europe; from a tiny Greek island, to a stifling manor house full of secrets and deceptions; from the sun-drenched Queensland coast, to the silent outback; Angela and Ellie are two women both looking for something. One in search of her identity and her memory; the other in search of the love that she had and lost; theirs is a duet whose last note will not be sung until the heart-stopping climax, when a shadow from the past returns to claim them both.

    A User says: "Gosh that was a great story!"
    "good but long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A well written, good story with a superb narration. I thought it a bit long, but that may be because I listened to it mostly in short sessions. There were a couple of unexplained matters that bothered me and the book ends with a number of story lines coming together in a believable, but remarkable way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robinson Crusoe

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Daniel Defoe
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (119)

    Widely regarded as the first English novel, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is one of the most popular and influential adventure stories of all time. This classic tale of shipwreck and survival on an uninhabited island was an instant success when first published in 1719, and it has inspired countless imitations.

    William says: "Fantastic Story and Excellent Narration"
    "good, but 2nd best in English fiction lit, no"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The only thing I knew of Robinson Crusoe was two guys, RC and Friday, stranded on a desert island. The story is a good one but I was surprised to see The Guardian list is as the no. 2 in the ranking of English novels. For today's reader, the fact that RC traded in enslaved Africans and saw nothing wrong with slavery is a downer. The occasional killing of animals for sport likewise. And, he had a dog for about 15 years who he never named! Or, didn't bother to reveal his name. He gets "religion" half way through but his proclamations of God's goodness seem shallow. When Friday asks him why, if God is all powerful,as RC tells Friday, doesn't God do away with the devil, RC has no answer, At least he acknowledges it to be a tough question.
    Simon Vance's narration is top notch.
    And, if like me, you want to educate yourself about classics of literature, the book is worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Fighting Chance

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Warren
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Warren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (619)
    Performance
    (577)
    Story
    (577)

    As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher - an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but 15 years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington, DC, to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?

    Amy says: "Great Book. Great Narration."
    "I'd vote for her"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Warren's personal story is interesting and it supports the sincerity of her policy positions. She writes of a sad chapter in our history and presents hard facts of how the banking industry and Wall Street, control so much of what Washington does. Through federal legislation, these vested interests, who mouth support for a free market, are subsidized by ordinary taxpayers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7399)
    Performance
    (6689)
    Story
    (6692)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "Simply excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think one should know that the main characters, the Grimke sisters, did exist and did the things the book describes. The author tells that in the epilogue. I would save the details of the true story to the last, where the author places it. But, knowing Sarah Grimke was a real person takes away any doubt you have as a listener that the story is realistic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Michael Shaara
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1256)
    Performance
    (669)
    Story
    (683)

    After 30 years and with three million copies in print, Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War classic, The Killer Angels, remains as vivid and powerful as the day it was originally published.

    Gene says: "Almost a Perfect Audiobook"
    "Very, very good; read before you visit Gettysburg"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We listened to this book as we drove across the country to visit the battlefield. There is nothing bad to say about the book. Assuming one has not studied the battle, one learns a tremendous amount.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christine Falls: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Benjamin Black
    • Narrated By Timothy Dalton
    Overall
    (768)
    Performance
    (331)
    Story
    (326)

    It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse, and concealing the cause of death.

    Stephen McLeod says: "Great Listen"
    "dashed expectations, irritating throughout"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Someone recommended Benjamin Black. I wish I remembered who it was so I would know to ignore them next time round. The atmosphere is dark. The characters, all of them, are unattractive people. The protagonist is by far the most unpleasant, with snide remarks and axes to grind; he is unnecessarily obtuse with his family, making driving everyone nuts. A depressed alcoholic. His only arguably redeeming quality is his book long effort to discover what happened to the baby Christine. But, it's an obsession that seems out of character.

    The narrator is a famous actor with a beautiful deep voice. But his narration, which fits the book's style, is harsh and, for me, it became tiresome, almost oppressive.

    Why did I persist in listening to the whole book. Well, I'm rather ashamed of myself for thinking so little of the value of my time. But, I'm retired.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3566)
    Performance
    (2557)
    Story
    (2563)

    Always leave a little salt on the bread. Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.

    karen says: "Best audiobook of the year!"
    "a wonderful surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I expected a story of Australia. And yet, the first third (almost) of the book is spent in London. The intrigues abounded and when I realized that much of what I read had actually happened. The story grew, the characters expanded into the most interesting people. As with many of the best audio books, the narration is so very good, reminiscent of Simon Vance's performance of David Copperfield.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heartstone: A Matthew Shardlake Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By C. J. Sansom
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (512)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (383)

    Consistently appearing on US and UK best-seller lists, C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake mysteries have earned considerable critical acclaim, including a CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award. At the behest of a former servant to Catherine Parr, Shardlake travels to Portsmouth to investigate claims of unspeakable crimes committed upon a young ward of the court. There, Shardlake uncovers disturbing evidence even as England’s continuing war with France rages around him.

    MLKIllory says: "Worth the time and money"
    "as usual a great story . . . but a bit too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've liked all of the Shardlake books for their history and cleverness, Crossely is a great narrator. He, of course, is Matthew Shardlake, I wouldn't be able to listen to a Shardlake book if Crossely wasn't the narrator. I did think this book was a bit too long.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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