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Wendy

aznurse

Flagstaff, AZ, United States | Member Since 2005

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 30 ratings
  • 274 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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  • Flight Behavior

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1650)
    Performance
    (1437)
    Story
    (1453)

    Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at 17. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media.

    mj says: "Tough Message Delivered in Silk"
    "Watching the flight...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've not been a total Barbara Kingsolver fan... some of her books were amazing, and others lost me in the first chapter .... I did have to listen to the first part 3 times before I understood where she was headed, but after that I was hooked.
    This is a story of culture clashes, environmental issues, and the human condition. Dellarobia, an unlikely heroine, is a bright and articulate woman who is married to the dullard who fathered her children, and stuck in a life of second hand stores and family dysfunction. As she witnesses an environmental oddity, she is thrust into a world that has been hidden from her by her own fate.
    Kingslover weaves a great tale of values, yet some of the story lines get tied up in a hurried manner. Her narration is crisp, but the character voices are a bit beyond her range. That aside, the story is satisfying and enlightening on many levels.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sweetness #9: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephan Eirik Clark
    • Narrated By James Langton
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (25)

    It's 1973, and David Leveraux has landed his dream job as a Flavorist-in-Training, working in the secretive industry where chemists create the flavors for everything from the cherry in your can of soda to the butter on your popcorn. While testing a new artificial sweetener - Sweetness #9 - he notices unusual side-effects in the laboratory rats and monkeys: anxiety, obesity, mutism, and a generalized dissatisfaction with life. David tries to blow the whistle, but he swallows it instead.

    Wendy says: "Disappointing...."
    "Disappointing...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The topic of chemical additives in our food would be such a fertile topic, but this book is filled with missed opportunities. A lack luster central character, tangential side stories that did nothing to enhance the plot, and a fast attempt to tie it all together at the end. This could have been a story about intrigue, corporate politics and public scrutiny. But it was none of these. I was glad when it was over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard C. Morais
    • Narrated By Neil Shah
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1130)
    Performance
    (1036)
    Story
    (1032)

    Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps.

    R. L. Royce says: "YIkes, I don't speak French"
    "Sweet......"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll admit it, I'm a foodie. So this tale of rival restaurants in the south of France is not only food-heaven but a delightful story. This is Hassan's tale. From humble and tragic beginnings in India to London and finally to France, this is the story of awakening, growth, and passion for the art of truly fine food. Family bonds and cultural heritage clash as the family opens an Indian restaurant across the street from a Michelin-starred French eatery, and eventually the rivalry becomes Hassan's salvation. Richly told in lyric prose that brings the smells and tastes of French cuisine to the reader. A feast to the senses.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • China Dolls: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Lisa See
    • Narrated By Jodi Long
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (192)
    Story
    (195)

    It's 1938 in San Francisco: A world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade.

    Mary says: "Need a different reader!! Where is Janet Song??"
    "Good travel book, but not much more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved Lisa See's books. "Snow Flower" was gripping, incredible, heart wrenching and joyful, a seminal work. "Peony" was beautiful and informative. But as her characters move to the US, I'm less enchanted with her work. "Shanghai Girls" and "Dreams of Joy" were OK. "China Dolls" has potential, however......
    The China Dolls: Grace, Ruby, and Helen begin a lifelong friendship in San Francisco where they all get jobs in a chorus line in a Chinatown nightclub just after the depression. Of course, there are love triangles, intrigue, back biting, secrets, lies, and positioning to be the biggest star. The years roll by through WW2 and its aftermath, until the conclusion in 1988.
    This could be a great multigenerational story, the characters are shallow but clear. The plot becomes predictable. The narrator could have done a lot more and given each doll her own voice, a missed opportunity. Janet Song would have been a much better choice to read this book.
    I listened to the whole thing while driving across two states. It worked for that, keeping me alert over my 1200 mile trip. But I was glad when it was over.

    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
    (6837)
    Performance
    (6191)
    Story
    (6191)

    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!"
    "Sweeping account of women and society"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a masterpiece... I did not want it to end! Sue Monk Kidd presents a carefully documented account of suffrage and abolition. Set prior to the Civil War, the story is related by two voices: Sarah, the daughter of a wealthy attorneys family in Charleston SC, and Handful, the slave given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. Both women are held captive by society rules and social strata. Their voices tell of the rules and expectations of the day, yet their spirits carry them beyond the social norm.

    Sarah holds serious reservations about the morality of slaveholding, witnessing the abuse and horrible treatment of the slaves in her household. She yearns to become a jurist like her father, yet women were not afforded the same educational opportunities as men. She and her younger sister, Angelina, become active in the abolitionist movement and become Quakers. Handful remains behind in the family, holding her dreams of freedom as closely as the quilt her mother made.

    The readers bring the story to life. Jenna Lamia, as the voice of Sarah, brings a certain sweetness to the narration, yet maintains the edge that Sarah possesses. Adepero Oduye, as Handful, not only portrays the desperation of the slave culture, but the strength of the character.

    I have found Sue Monk Kidd's work a bit uneven in the past (Dance of the Dissident Daughter [fair], Secret Life of Bees [wonderful], and The Mermaid Chair [chick lit!]). But this is her seminal work displaying superb storytelling, deep character development, and incredible pacing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Michael Pollan
    • Narrated By Michael Pollan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (737)
    Performance
    (657)
    Story
    (658)

    In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements - fire, water, air, and earth - to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world....

    Michael says: "Very enjoyable listen!"
    "I'm newly inspired....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, I'm a total Michael Pollan fan. I first read "Food Rules" many years ago, which made so much sense that it became the springboard for my becoming vegan, a lifestyle that has lasted and lasted. Each and every one of his books has rekindled my commitment to stay away from processed foods and the other over-manufactured foods on the grocery shelves.

    "Cooked" takes the next step. Pollan uses the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) to show us the delights of home cooking and the benefits therein. While I don't eat meat, I still enjoyed his adventures thru barbeque and braising (without any desire to try the foods he cooked), but it was his adventures into bread baking and fermentation that really spurred my imagination.

    Pollan, a polished and award winning writer, takes the under-recognized elements of food and nutrition and makes them mystical. For example, the intricate interplay of microbes used in bread baking become characters in the drama of the baked loaf. He has an understanding of the interrelationship between food and society that made me sit back and sigh. Yes, it's all so clear now.

    This is a very special book ... a perfect companion to Michael Moss' "Salt Sugar Fat." We can turn the current health crisis around if we listen to these sages of food.

    I could write more, but I need to go punch down the bread dough that is rising in the kitchen....

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fever: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Mary Beth Keane
    • Narrated By Candace Thaxton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (352)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (319)

    Mary Mallon was a courageous, headstrong Irish immigrant woman who bravely came to America alone, fought hard to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic service ladder, and discovered in herself an uncanny, and coveted, talent for cooking. Working in the kitchens of the upper class, she left a trail of disease in her wake, until one enterprising and ruthless "medical engineer" proposed the inconceivable notion of the "asymptomatic carrier" - and from then on Mary Mallon was a hunted woman.

    Sand says: "A vivid and revealing slice of NYC history"
    "Reads like a medical mystery... which it is..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mary Mallon, a young, fiesty Irish immigrant, has been historically labeled as "Typhoid Mary" for over a century. Tied to multiple outbreaks of typhoid fever in families and facilities where she was employed as cook, she was eventually tracked down, and held in semi isolation for many years of her life.

    The charm of this book is the fictionalization and glimpse into New York City at the turn of the 20th century. The medical climate is primitive by today's standards, but understandable and well portrayed. The plight of the residents of the ethnic neighborhoods generates a deeper understanding of the era.

    The author weaves a wonderful mix of history and fiction, bringing characters to life as they share the challenges of their lives, their poverty, and their connections.

    Well worth the read....

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Buddha, Geoff and Me

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Edward Canfor-Dumas
    • Narrated By Nicholas Bell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    Ed is having a hard time - at work, in his love life and, well, generally. Then he meets an unlikely Buddhist - who drinks and smokes and talks his kind of language. Bit by bit, things begin to change...Ed doesn't always take Geoff's advice. Or, when he does he lapses at the crucial moment. His path to understanding is not a straight one, especially as life keeps throwing more and more 'stuff' at him.

    Tony says: "Fantastic Book, Recommend to Everyone"
    "Quietly satisfying"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After devouring and adoring "Breakfast with Buddha," I found this book to be similar but not quite as earth shattering. As with most of us intrigued by Buddhism, the lead character, Eddy, becomes acquainted with Geoff, a practicing Buddhist. Their interactions form the context of the story, the ups and downs of everyday life. Geoff's gentle guidance helps Eddy begin to reassess his life and his responses. The story helps develop the pretexts of Buddhism without being preachy or overzealous.

    The narrator's accent made some words difficult for my ear, but overall, well done with a great message.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Roland Merullo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (486)
    Performance
    (414)
    Story
    (416)

    When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger---and amuse himself---he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way.

    Mary McCarthy says: "a thoughtful and often hilarious journey"
    "So engaging...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Breakfast with Buddha the most enjoyable?

    Altho the story is a little contrived, the message and the teachings of Buddhism come thru in this wonderful book. I could easily picture the midwestern landmarks and the characters traversing the country. I wanted to be in the back seat llistening to their every word. I laughed and cried and had to back up the iPod several times to truly absorb the wisdom that the Rinpoche shared thru everyday experiences and delights. Even thought this is fiction, the teachings were clear and easy to understand.


    What other book might you compare Breakfast with Buddha to and why?

    I've been reading a lot about yoga (I'm a dedicated yoga practitioner), India, Buddhism and Hinduism.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Runnette – was your favorite?

    The Rinpoche!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The gentle teachings of the Rinpoche, set in every day experiences.... much easier to internalize and integrate.


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't want it to end. I wish there was a sequel!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • If You Ask Me

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Betty White
    • Narrated By Betty White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (427)
    Performance
    (351)
    Story
    (349)

    It-girl Betty White delivers a hilarious, slyly profound take on love, life, celebrity, and everything in between. Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White's wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty's candid take on everything....

    Lizz says: "I'd ask Betty!"
    "I have always loved Betty White..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Short little book ... really no depth to the content, it's really more of Betty's recollections and thoughts and wisdom... but an enjoyable listen because there is no one like Betty White.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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